About Friar Musings

Franciscan friar and Catholic priest at St. Francis of Assisi in Triangle, VA

Lessons from Suffering

Job was nearly crushed by the pain of suffering. He tore his robe, shaved his head, and fell to the ground when he heard that his children had died (Job 1:20). And yet in the midst of such pain and heartache, Job cried out.

Naked I came forth from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I go back again. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD!” (Job 1:21)

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Something described as sporadic occurs occasionally, irregularly, or randomly across time or space. The word comes from Medieval Latin sporadicus, which is itself derived from Greek sporadēn, meaning “here and there.” It is also related to the Greek verb speirein (“to sow”), the ancestor from which we get our word spore (the reproductive cell of a fungus, microorganism, or some plants), hinting at the seemingly scattered nature by which such cells spread and germinate. Things like this are why etymology has always fascinated me. (Source: Merriam Webster’s Word of the Day)

This day in history

In the early afternoon of September 26, 1997 a sequence of earthquakes hit the Italian province of Umbria. The two main quakes, with a magnitude of 5.6-5.8, were followed by a series of aftershocks – one aftershock was so strong that it caused the partial collapse of the damaged roof of the basilica of St. Francis of Assisi. This dramatic event was filmed, which helped to evaluate the damage sustained by the historic frescos of the ceiling. Continue reading

Lessons for disciples

This coming Sunday is the 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time in Lectionary Cycle C. Throughout the previous chapter (Luke 16), Jesus has addressed the Pharisees and scribes (scholars of the law) with beginning and ending parables: the dishonest steward and the rich man and Lazarus – each begins with a statement, “There was a rich man.” The clear target were the lovers of money, i.e., those whose love of riches prevented them from truly being lovers of God. Although the parable is aimed at the Pharisees the lesson continues a theme of 12:1 “Beware of the leaven–that is, the hypocrisy–of the Pharisees.”  The disciples are reminded of the characteristics of true discipleship and the pitfalls along the way. Continue reading

What divides us

…between us and you a great chasm is established to prevent anyone from crossing who might wish to go from our side to yours or from your side to ours.…”  Such are words spoken about Lazarus and the rich man, traditionally known as Dives. The words describe their fates in the afterlife: Lazarus comforted by Abraham while Dives languishes in a hellish afterlife. But here is the thing – the chasm really wasn’t new. Continue reading

Bumblebees are not Fish

Yesterday the California Supreme Court ruled that the state’s bumblebees can be protected under the law as a type of fish according to California Endangered Species Act. Ahhh….ok…. This has to be fodder for all manner of internet memes, YouTube videos and possibly a SNL skit. The court actually ruled that it would not hear arguments over whether the California Fish and Game Commission can consider granting protections to a number of bumblebee species whose populations are in steady decline. In writing for the court, however, Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye said that even though the law does not use the word “insects,” sections of the law suggest that invertebrates may be grouped under the category of fish. She also suggested that the Legislature “is in a position to make whatever statutory amendments it may regard as necessary or useful” to clarify such ambiguities in the endangered species act. The Chief Justice warned against misconstruing the decision as “an affirmative determination by this court that under the law, bumblebees are fish.”  A needed clarification.


I could not begin to guess the number of times I have said or heard the words: “Do this in remembrance of me” – part of the Eucharist prayer celebrated at the Holy Mass in places and times around the world. I imagine that across the globe, at every moment of time there is a voice speaking those words. At every moment of time there are believers gathered to worship and collectively remember the story we live by – the life and redeeming death of Jesus Christ. Continue reading

The Third Exchange

This coming Sunday is the 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time. In yesterday’s post we heard the second of the three exchanges between the rich man and Abraham in which it is requested that Lazarus be sent to warn the brothers of the rich man about what fate awaits them. Abraham notes that their fate – good and bad – has already been well explained by the prophets. Continue reading