Let me say goodbye…

Jesus from the Deesis Mosaic

The 13th Sunday of Ordinary Time: Luke 9:51-62

51 When the days for his being taken up were fulfilled, he resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem, 52 and he sent messengers ahead of him. On the way they entered a Samaritan village to prepare for his reception there, 53 but they would not welcome him because the destination of his journey was Jerusalem. 54 When the disciples James and John saw this they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to consume them?” 55 Jesus turned and rebuked them, 56 and they journeyed to another village. 57 As they were proceeding on their journey someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” 58 Jesus answered him, “Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.” 59 And to another he said, “Follow me.” But he replied, ”(Lord,) let me go first and bury my father.” 60 But he answered him, “Let the dead bury their dead. But you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” 61 And another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but first let me say farewell to my family at home.” 62 (To him) Jesus said, “No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God.” Continue reading

While Francis Was Away…

saint-francis-of-assisi-cimabueIn our previous three articles we described Francis’ part of the 5th Crusade and his meeting with the Sultan of Egypt, Al-Malik al-Kamil.  We know that Francis was away at a time when the community began to grow rapidly – and not just around Assisi, but in many other parts of Italy, Spain, France, and the Germanic nations as well.  While Francis was away, what happened to the friars he left behind?

Francis had delegated his powers to two vicars during his absence:  Matthew of Narni, who remained in Assisi, and Gregory of Naples, who visited the communities throughout Italy.  Another friar, Phillip the Tall, was entrusted with the care of St. Clare and her sisters, the Poor Ladies of San Damiano.  They were given very few orders or instructions.  This might seem odd, given that religious life in the 13th century was quite ordered and obedience was a topic often written about – even by Francis himself.  However, the friars were not technically an ordo, a religious order – they were still a “religious movement” – albeit, a quite famous and rapidly growing one that had the attention of the Pope and the Roman Curia – both in praise and concern. Continue reading

Lawn Care

A garden statue of Francis of Assisi with birds

A garden statue of Francis of Assisi with birds (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is not original – been floating around the Internet for a couple of years at least – but it always bring a smile.  Enjoy.

GOD:   Frank, you know all about gardens and nature. What in the world is going on down there on the planet? What happened to the dandelions, violets, milkweeds and stuff I started eons ago? I had a perfect no-maintenance garden plan. Those plants grow in any type of soil, withstand drought and multiply with abandon. The nectar from the long-lasting blossoms attracts butterflies, honey bees and flocks of songbirds. I expected to see a vast garden of colors by now. But, all I see are these green rectangles. Continue reading

Who do you say that I am ….

English: Jesus Christ - detail from Deesis mos...

English: Jesus Christ – detail from Deesis mosaic, Hagia Sophia, Istanbul (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

12th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C

18 Once when Jesus was praying in solitude, and the disciples were with him, he asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?” 19 They said in reply, “John the Baptist; others, Elijah; still others, ‘One of the ancient prophets has arisen.’” 20 Then he said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter said in reply, “The Christ of God.” 21 He rebuked them and directed them not to tell this to anyone.  22 He said, “The Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised.”  23 Then he said to all, “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.” (Luke 9:18-24) Continue reading

A Prophet, a Pharisee, and a Loving Woman

The 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time: Luke 7:36-8:3

36 A Pharisee invited him to dine with him, and he entered the Pharisee’s house and reclined at table. 37 Now there was a sinful woman in the city who learned that he was at table in the house of the Pharisee. Bringing an alabaster flask of ointment, 38 she stood

Rubens-Feast of Simon the Pharisee

Rubens-Feast of Simon the Pharisee (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

behind him at his feet weeping and began to bathe his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them, and anointed them with the ointment. 39 When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, that she is a sinner.” 40 Jesus said to him in reply, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” “Tell me, teacher,” he said. 41 “Two people were in debt to a certain creditor; one owed five hundred days’ wages and the other owed fifty. 42 Since they were unable to repay the debt, he forgave it for both. Which of them will love him more?” 43 Simon said in reply, “The one, I suppose, whose larger debt was forgiven.” He said to him, “You have judged rightly.” 44 Then he turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? When I entered your house, you did not give me water for my feet, but she has bathed them with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You did not give me a kiss, but she has not ceased kissing my feet since the time I entered. 46 You did not anoint my head with oil, but she anointed my feet with ointment. 47 So I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven; hence, she has shown great love. But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little.” 48 He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” 49 The others at table said to themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” 50 But he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” 1 Afterward he journeyed from one town and village to another, preaching and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. Accompanying him were the Twelve 2 and some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, 3 Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, Susanna, and many others who provided for them out of their resources.

When the clay fights back…

earthen-vessels

We hold this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing power may be of God and not from us. (2 Cor 7; NAB)

I have a friend who “throws” clay pots.  She swears that sometimes as the clay is spinning and she lovingly tries to give shape to the clay – the clay begins to fight back and seek a shape other than what she intends.  I suspect that God sometimes has that same reaction with us.

My friend adapts and will work with whatever notion the clay seems to intend, be it a good idea or no. I suspect God is the same way; the potter never abandons us, never gives up trying to shape us to the fullness of what He intends for us.

Everything indeed is for you, so that the grace bestowed in abundance on more and more people may cause the thanksgiving to overflow for the glory of God (2 Cor 15).

St. Anthony of Padua – part 4

anthony-padua2Miracles and Traditions of St. Anthony. St. Anthony Bread is a term used for offerings made in thanksgiving to God for blessings received through the prayers of St. Anthony. Sometimes the alms are given for the education of priests. In some places parents also make a gift for the poor after placing a newborn child under the protection of St. Anthony. It is a practice in some churches to bless small loaves of bread on the feast of St. Anthony and give them to those who want them.

Different legends or stories account for the donation of what is called St. Anthony Bread. By at least one account it goes back to 1263, when it is said a child drowned near the Basilica of St. Anthony, which was still being built. His mother promised that if the child was restored to her she would give for the poor an amount of corn equal to the child’s weight. Her prayer and promise were rewarded with the boy’s return to life. Continue reading

St. Anthony of Padua – part 3

tn_anthony-padua1Public Preacher, Franciscan Teacher. Anthony’s superior, St. Francis, was cautious about education such as his protégé possessed. He had seen too many theologians taking pride in their sophisticated knowledge leading to an abandonment of their commitment to a life of real poverty. In Anthony, however, he found a kindred spirit for his vision, who was also able to provide the teaching needed by young members of the order who might seek ordination. Francis wrote in 1224, “It pleases me that you should teach the friars sacred theology, provided that in such studies they do not destroy the spirit of holy prayer and devotedness, as contained in the Rule.” He thereby entrusted the pursuit of studies for any of his friars to the care of Brother Anthony. From then on his skills were used to the utmost by the Church. Occasionally he took another post, as a teacher, for instance, at the universities of Montpellier and Toulouse in southern France, but it was as a preacher that Anthony revealed his supreme gift. Continue reading

St. Anthony of Padua – part 2

tn_anthony-padua1Before He Was Anthony of Padua.  Anthony of Padua was born Fernando Martins de Bulhões on August 15, 1195 in Lisbon, Portugal. His was in a very rich family of the nobility who wanted him to become educated, and they arranged for him to be instructed at the local cathedral school. Against the wishes of his family, however, at the age of 15 he entered the community of Canons Regular at the Abbey of St. Vincent on the outskirts of Lisbon. Monastery life was hardly peaceful for young Fernando, nor conducive to prayer and study, as his old friends came to visit frequently and engaged in vehement political discussions. Continue reading