Wednesday, March 21, 2012


Is there any legitimate limit to the power of the government?  Is there any area of our lives that are protected from governmental control?  This great country of the United States of America was founded on the principles of individual liberties.  Our founding fathers all agreed that there are areas of our lives that the government has no business meddling with.

In recent months we have seen the government attacking and infringing upon one of these fundamental areas: religious liberty.  In fact, it is the very first of the Amendments to our honorable Constitution that ensure freedom of religious, freedom, that is, from governmental intrusion in the area of belief.  Does the government have the right to tell you what to believe?  Can the government force you to do that which you find morally reprehensible?

The recent H.H.S. Mandate attacks and undermines this fundamental principle of our American way of life. Therefore, the Community of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal stands shoulder to shoulder with our Bishops and all those who defend our American values.  Our founding Fathers sacrificed for what they believed in and left us a powerful legacy.  Following their courageous example, we will peacefully and steadfastly resist any infringement upon our religious liberties and our deep-seated beliefs.

Whether someone agrees with the Catholic position or not, it must be admitted that the Catholic position is a deep-seated, ancient and constant belief of the Catholic faithful.  It goes back to the time of the Apostles.  It is quintessentially a religious belief.  It is a belief that the Almighty God created human life and it is very good.  It is a belief that each human person has an inalienable value because of a God-given immortal soul.  It is a belief that we are all daughters and sons of a Loving Father.  Only in acting with dignity and purity do we express the full wonder of being human.  Anything that artificially interferes with the beautiful act of the marital embrace or involves a voluntary mutilation of a healthy person or causes the deliberate death of an innocent human being is diametrically opposed to the goodness of life and the love of God.  Accordingly, all of these acts are beneath our dignity and can never be supported by those who hold the Catholic faith.

We ask our politicians and our fellow Americans to stand with us against this assault on our freedoms.  If we can be forced to act against our fundamental beliefs, how long will it be before you are forced to do the same?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Letters of hope and consolation # 3

Imagine if you had the opportunity to watch a slideshow of your life from your birth up

until the present moment. As all the moments of your life pass before you what do you think

you would learn? Have you arrived at the place you are right now in your life because of

coincidence, your own abilities, or gifts? The truth is God has been with you your entire life.

He has always been with you, helping you to walk when you believed you couldn’t, opening

your eyes when you felt unable to see and opening your heart to believe when you felt that life

was empty.

The rest of the slideshow, beginning now until the last day of your life, is not available

yet. However, the question remains, how will you live the rest of your life? If God has been

with you in the past, will you allow him to be with you in the present and in the future? Or will

you live as if you are in control and spend the rest of your days trying to “be” God, instead of

living in the freedom that belongs to you as one of his children?

Whether it is the past, present or future God is in control. There is only one God and

there is no need for us to try and be Him. He has done a good enough job on his own and does

not heed our help!

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

Friday, March 9, 2012

The Meaning of Lent

Christianity is a religion centered on Easter, that annual remembrance of the defeat of sin, death and the devil. Every year, Easter comes and Easter goes. Each year we should be entering into the sacred mysteries ever more deeply. Try to imagine your life like the accent of a spiral staircase or coil. As we come around to the point of Easter again, hopefully we are higher, closer to heaven.

The historical origins of the holy season of Lent derive from the early Church practice of preparing for the celebration of Easter. The English word Lent has the meaning of springtime. The traditional Lenten practices of prayer, fasting and almsgiving help us to be spiritually prepared to enter into the mystery of Easter more deeply. It is the mystery of Jesus Christ rising to new life. Let us pray for a spiritual springtime of new life in the world today, a world which needs it like never before.

Pray, pray, pray!

Fr. Luke Mary Fletcher, CFR
St. Joseph Friary, New York, NY

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