Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Eucharist- The Supreme “moment of transcendence.”

Every person experiences in their life what I call “moments of transcendence.” A moment of transcendence is an experience where our hearts, minds and souls are lifted up away from ourselves, and for a moment, often only a very short moment, we experience the presence of God in a deep and profound way. They can occur while we are walking on the beach as the sun begins to set, while a parent holds their newborn child in their arms for the first time, or even when we are simply enjoying a meal with a friend who we love dearly. These moments do not follow a strict pattern or method, they can occur anywhere and at any time.

What do these moments tell us about ourselves? Are they merely just psychological projections resulting from frustration with our daily lives or are they tiny glimpses into the destiny that we are all a part of?

These moments, though they are often rare, remind us of our destiny. They whisper to us of a future life, a life we are slowly moving towards each day. A life where suffering and pain are extinguished, a life where confusion and anxiety is replaced by clarity and peace, and a life where God, no longer “hidden” beyond the distractions we have placed before him in this world, stands before us with arms ready to embrace us. In short, these moments are little glimpses of heaven, that “place” of ultimate fulfillment, peace and joy.

Yet these moments, as wonderful as they are, do not have to be rare occasions for us. They occur everyday in the Eucharist, because it is there where we not only encounter God and adore him from a distance, but it is there where he allows himself to be consumed by us and enters into the very depths of our being. He who is the creator of the universe “hides” himself under the appearance of bread so that we would not be afraid to approach him.

The Eucharist is a foretaste of heaven because it is Jesus Christ we receive in the Eucharist, not a symbol but a person, and it is that same Jesus Christ who is heaven itself. At each Mass we have the opportunity to experience the ultimate “moment of transcendence,” that moment where we are lifted up from ourselves and this world and kneel before the destiny that awaits us all, the destiny which we are all created for.

There is nothing greater in this life than the Eucharist. Though there are many “moments of transcendence” that we experience in this life, the Eucharist is that supreme moment of transcendence because it reveals God himself. The good news is that we do not have to search far and wide for this experience, it is available to us each day in the Mass.

God bless you,
Fr. Jeremiah Myriam Shryock, CFR
St. Felix Friary, Yonkers, New York

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Holy Spirit Inspiration

In the early days of the order, Saint Francis and the friars would gather for a special meeting (chapter) around the feast of Pentecost. This was a time to pray together as brothers, invoking the help of the Holy Spirit as they discussed various questions concerning the direction of the order. This became a tradition which continues to our day.

In our little community we have our General Chapter every three years. All of the friars in final vows gather to pray and discuss various items. We also elect the leadership for the next three years. This year our General Chapter will be held for one week beginning on June 12, the feast of Pentecost. Please pray for a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit as we gather together.
Giotto fresco of the Pentecost chapter meeting of 1232 in Arles.
Saint Anthony of Padua (l) had an apparition of the recently deceased Saint Francis (r).
God bless you,
Fr. Luke Mary Fletcher, CFR
St. Joseph Friary, New York, New York

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Jesus - The Good Shepherd

One of the images Jesus uses to reveal himself is that of the Good Shepherd (Jn 10:11). This shepherd not only takes care of the physical needs of his sheep but in fact “lays down his life for the sheep” (Jn 10:11). Jesus is the shepherd who exceeds all the demands that one could naturally place upon a shepherd. His mission is much deeper than mere commitment to a task and much greater than simply fulfilling one’s obligations. He is motivated by pure love for his sheep and his desire to spend eternity with them. Dying for them is his way of expressing the profound love of the Father. There is never a moment’s hesitation, only the willingness to fulfill all that the Father desires, “not my will but yours be done” (Lk 22:42).

How does this love of the Good Shepherd make us feel? Does self-hate and false humility prevent us from receiving the tremendous love the Good Shepherd offers us? Why is it that so many times we can speak of God’s great love to other people but then when it comes to us we have such a difficult time believing it? All the reasons we create and the excuses we make for why God should not love us are exactly that, excuses. They are not the truth. God looks at our list of excuses, simply smiles at them, and then throws them away. They are not good enough for him.

He is the Good Shepherd, who even if one of his sheep goes astray, will leave the ninety nine other sheep to rescue the one that is lost (Mt 18:10-14). Let us stop running, let us stop making excuses as to why we are not good enough. Let us humbly receive His love and allow Him to place us on His shoulders and carry us away to the secret recesses of His heart where His love can replace all of our insecurities.

God bless you,
Fr. Jeremiah Myriam Shryock, CFR
St. Felix Friary, Yonkers, New York

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