Preaching with Brothers

The Lenten season gives us the chance to look beyond our sufferings and see the joys of living the Gospel.  Being able to be involved in the preaching ministry of our Norbertine Priory, located right outside of Jackson, Mississippi, gave me this distinct happiness. At the invitation of the Pastor, Rev. Ricardo Phipps, and with the support of my Norbertine brother, Rev. Jeremy Tobin, O.Praem. we teamed up and had a great Lenten Parish Renewal at Christ the King Catholic Church that focused on graces that a scripture-based life can bring. My time of prayer and reflection each day was spent at the priory shown in the picture I am sharing with you. This house of contemplative prayer was a great blessing to me and my ability to share the Gospel with others.

panorama

Jeremy - Ric - Gerard

Strength for the Journey

St. Augustine teaches us that not to go forward on the path to God is to go backward. He even raises the question…“What’s the use of be a Christian on the right path if by loving the world we are looking back and returning to the place from which we started? Sermon 346B,2

My desire to fulfill my vocation and move closer to holiness not only gives me the strength to never give up, even when the odds are against me, and to walk towards holiness, but it also lightens the burden of the journey and gives me strength.  While in formation, I have learned that if my desire to serve the church as a priest and my desire for holiness is one in the same, then I can never stop walking towards them, and so I will, with the help of God, reach the fulfillment of my call from the Divine one day.  If I allow others to crush and steal my desire then I would only begin walking backwards, and will always find himself more imperfect than before. I pray that you, the reader, have the faith to always move forward toward God. This is how you can find strength for the journey.

The Sisters of Saint Joseph in Baden, PA

Today we celebrate the solemnity of Saint Joseph.  This is a special feast day for me since I grew up next to the Mother House of the Sisters of Saint Joseph in Baden, PA.  On this day I always remember the Sisters because they taught me for eight years at Mt. Gallitzin Academy (and for four more years in high school).  I give thanks to God for the Sisters of Saint Joseph who helped me to discover the love of God at such an early time in my life that continues to have a lasting impact on my Journey of Faith.  From Sr. Anne Celine who challenged me as an eighth grade student to “hear” the Good News of Jesus Christ with a mature ear to Sr. Ruth who “tried” to teach me how to play the clarinet in second grade.  Today I once again give thanks for all the good work the Sisters of Saint Joseph do for the People of God in proclaiming the Kingdom of Jesus Christ.

srRuth

 

The Three Norbertines

I had the honor and privilege of doing vocations ministry at the Religious Education Congress in Anaheim, CA recently. The highlight of my trip was visiting with my brother Norbertines from St. Michael’s Abbey of Orange, CA. It really is good when brothers can pray and work together.

The Three Norbertines

 

Daylight Savings Time

Last Thursday, we here in Paoli, experienced our heaviest snowfall of the year, ten inches of snow fell and the abbey’s grounds became a winter wonderland…trees covered with snow, the grounds looking like a large container of vanilla ice cream, all ready for the chocolate syrup…..but as I walked outside to get into a car to go and celebrate an early morning Mass at one of the local parishes, the quiet stillness enabled me to “tune in” to the God of my heart as God allowed me to experience the calm communion of my heart and mind with God’s.  In quiet Communion, I felt an sense of calm, an easiness that all is well and God’s love is covering the earth just like the snow was covering the Abbey’s grounds…..it was a intensely spiritual moment and in the darkness I felt God’s presence leading me onward…..

Advance three days ahead and the clocks were moved ahead one hour and the temperatures “soared”, if I can use that term, to the 50’s. The snow began to melt and green started to appear…..Once again, walking out in the early morning sunlight I saw new life that was emerging from the white snow and the parable of the grain of wheat came to mind…….I had just celebrated the funeral of a friend of mine on Saturday and this morning as I walked and heard and saw the dripping water from the melting snow casting shining glimmers of light in the warming sun, that sense of communion re-appeared in my being and I was “tuned in” this time to the rhythm of the melting drops of snow, falling in a pattern that matched a beating heart – a beating heart that reminded me of God and how my friend was now emerging from the blanket of death into a new life of communion with her God….

All of this gave me a sense of calling, a direction, of being led by a God of love along the journey of life ready to do God’s will in  my regard and smiling that now he has given me an extra hour of daylight each day to recognize the warmth and new life of Spring…..may you have that same experience in your “daylight savings time zone”……just stay zoned in and not zoned out! God be praised and Godspeed to all of you.

Invisible Light?

What better way to welcome in the beginning of Daylight Savings Time than to have a Lectio Divina session with one’s confreres, a session spent meditating on John’s Gospel 3:14-21. The word “Light” is used five times by the Gospel writer to show that God wants us to not live and dwell in darkness, but to thrive in the light and truth of Christ. Previously, I believed that my individual actions (works) could only reveal that light to others, but now I understand and see things in a whole new light (pun intended). Light can be revealed not only through the tangible Christ-like actions of feeding the poor, consoling those who grieve, and loving those who may be difficult to love, but also through the everyday “unseen” commitments made to Christ Jesus. For me, this is made manifest in my discernment as a Novice of this cannonry at Daylesford. The very fact that I’m working on dying to self and contemplating what the vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience look like in the years ahead, all reveal light in a most special way. The point and message of this blog post is to communicate to you that a forecast for cloudy skies does not mean that the Sun is refusing to shine…no, it may just mean that we could be looking at things from a lower altitude and not from the height(s) God sees us from.