Friday, February 12, 2016

Why Do We Fast ? (1 of 3)

Every year Lent comes around and we give something up. But why? To lose weight? To test our will power? What’s the real reason that we fast? There are several good ways to answer this question. I’d like to examine Jesus’ responses to the devil during his own fast. Each of his three answers to Satan’s three temptations reveals to us something of the purpose of fasting.

Juan de Flandes, Temptation of Christ (Franciscan Devil??)

“If you are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” “It is written, ‘Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word which comes forth from the mouth of God.”

We fast to remind us of our need for God. When we are hungry, we experience our weakness. Deprived of a little food, we start to feel faint and tired, or perhaps grumpy. We start to discover that we’re not all we thought we were. We remember that we are frail creatures dependent on God for everything, even our next breath.

The point of fasting is to bring us from our hunger for food and to a hunger for God’s Word. We experience our need for food, but the Lord reminds us that, as much as we need food, we need the Word of the Father even more. We live not by bread alone, but by every word which comes forth from the mouth of God. Of course, there is only one Word which comes from the mouth of the Father, and that is Jesus, the Word Made Flesh, whom we receive in the Eucharist. May we long for this Bread of Angels more than we long for earthly food!

+ Br. Ignatius Pio Mariae, CFR
Comayagua, Honduras
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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Death as Healing – Lent as Life in Miniature

“Remember that you are dust, and unto dust you shall return!” With these words, accompanied by the sign of ashes marked upon the forehead in the shape of the cross, we begin the holy season of Lent. Inspired by God’s punishment of Adam’s sin, these words are a reminder of death, a prophecy of our certain future. Allow me to play the prophet, in the future you will die! Lent is a time to get ready.

As a newly ordained priest, my first time administering the anointing of the sick reminded me of Ash Wednesday. “Through this holy anointing may the Lord in his love and mercy help you with the grace of the Holy Spirit.” With these words, accompanied by the sacramental sign of oil marked upon the forehead in the shape of the cross, we pray for healing. Ash and oil, death and life - the parallels here are profound. 

We can be sick physically and spiritually, in body and in soul. When we heal from bodily infirmity we are only postponing the inevitable, gaining a little more time. I don’t mean this in a cynical sense. Every person Jesus healed did get sick again. Eventually they all would have died. Eventually, even the resuscitated Lazarus would have died again (second time’s a charm). Yet when we heal from spiritual infirmity the effects remain. 

Lent is a period of time when we prepare for Easter. The Resurrection of Jesus has changed everything, including bodily death! For those who die while in God’s good graces, death will be the ultimate healing. Only in the fullness of life in heaven will there be no more death, sickness, sorrow, pain or tears (Isaiah 25). 

Let Lent be life in miniature. If Lent is a period of time when we prepare for Easter, see life as a period of time when we prepare for death, that moment when we will encounter Him who has conquered death and transformed it into the fullness of healing.

+ Fr. Luke Mary Fletcher, CFR

Yonkers, NY
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Monday, February 8, 2016

From Father Jeremiah

In Letters of Hope and Consolation, Fr. Jeremiah Myriam Shryock, CFR simply responds to questions regarding the deepest desire of the human heart which is eternal union with God. His powerful insights serve to motivate people to live a life by seeking the love and promises of the Lord. Fr. Jeremiah Myriam Shryock entered into the Community of Franciscan Friars of the Renewal in 2002 and was ordained a priest in 2011. He has served in various roles of formation and is currently a Spiritual Director residing at the House of Prayer in Monticello, New York.

Find it here:

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Kick the Sacred Cow!

by Cuyler Black at InheritTheMirth

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Two Tables

The two tables of religious life: the altar & supper table.
We had a blessed World Day of Consecrated Life! The Year of Consecrated Life ended today.

Prayer as Listening


Friday, January 22, 2016

Mass at an Unholy Place

Once again we were able to offer Mass on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade at an office which is next door to an infamous abortion center (near Washington D.C.). The unholy place was literally on the other side of the wall of our Mass. Having just returned from the Holy Land, a special connection came to mind.

If you go to all of the places of Jesus' passion, you will find an altar marking each spot today. The Mass is now offered at the very place where Judas gave his traitorous kiss, where Jesus was mocked and abused, where He was scourged and crowned with thorns, and most especially at the very place where His cross was inserted into the earth. These unholy places have been transformed by the love of Christ.

Under this altar is the spot of Jesus' crucifixion

Today we offered the Mass at the modern Mount Calvary, an abortuary. We do so as a prayer for the mothers, fathers, babies and the abortion workers. We make Jesus' prayer our own, "Father forgive them..." We do so with hope filled hearts. One day we will remember the anniversary of the overruling of Roe v. Wade. That will be a day that life triumphs over death! Come Lord Jesus!

+ Fr. Luke Mary Fletcher, CFR
Yonkers, NY
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