Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Faith Side: Influenced by Inflowance

The Faith Side: Influenced by Inflowance
- new video from YoFoREAL.com

Fr. Larry Garson (Fr. Luke Fletcher, CFR) encourages us to develop a healthy sense of discernment, becoming aware of the many influences in our lives. Above and beyond all of the passing fads and politically correct ideas, what God has revealed in Jesus Christ is the unchanging rock upon which we can build our lives...
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Friday, July 26, 2013

Why Me?

When people ask me how or why I came to be a Franciscan Friar of the Renewal, my first response is usually “It wasn’t my idea!” It really wasn’t! I was very unqualified, having spent my high school and college years running from God and living in direct opposition to the teachings of Jesus. Besides, I had other plans, like having a large family and making a million dollars. Still, the call came. God called me, the sinful guy with other plans, to follow Him, to be with Him, to live for Him, and to serve His people. I tried to protest, tried to run, but ultimately I surrendered to God’s mysterious, yet clear and relentless pursuit of me.

I thought of this recently as the daily mass readings from Exodus 3 recounted the call of Moses (readings for July 17 and 18). At the time of his call, Moses already had a life of his own. With his Egyptian life behind him, he was now married and tending the flocks of his father-in-law in the land of Midian. It seems that he also felt unqualified. In fact, he felt terrified. God was asking him to return to Egypt and liberate His people from their slavery. The problem, at least as Moses saw it, was that he had a death sentence hanging over his head. Years earlier, he had fled for his life after killing an Egyptian in defense of one of his fellow Hebrews. Now, God wanted to send him back to face Pharaoh and demand that he release God’s people. Moreover, it seems that Moses was not a great speaker (Ex. 4:10). So, in understandable exasperation, he questions God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and lead the children of Israel out of Egypt?” It’s a good question. In a way, Moses really wasn’t the best choice.

The Lord’s response to this good question was simple: “I will be with you.” God doesn’t try to reassure Moses by listing all of his admirable qualities. The Lord’s response implies that He didn’t choose Moses because he was the best choice or the most qualified. He chose Moses in order to demonstrate His own power and love. The Lord chose Moses so that he and all of the Israelites would know that it is God—working through Moses—who saved His people. Moses’ only reassurance in the midst of his own weakness and unworthiness is the Presence of God Himself!

Brothers and Sisters, is it not the same for us? Have we not felt our own weakness in the face of the call of God? Whether it be “the call” to a particular vocation or the daily call to live the gospel, we can easily feel unworthy and incapable of responding. But there’s a hidden wisdom at work here, even if it seems foolish.

In moments of self-doubt, when you’re asking “Why me”, remember these words of St. Paul: For consider your call, brethren; not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth; but God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise, God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong…[His] grace is sufficient for you, for [His] power is made perfect in weakness…[Therefore let us] gladly boast of [our] weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon [us] (1 Cor 1:26-27; 2 Cor 12:9).

+ Fr. Isaac Mary Spinharney, CFR
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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

ReviveFaith Video: How do I use my talents to serve God?

A new video from ReviveFaith.com
How do I use my talents to serve God?
answered by Fr. Giuseppe Maria Siniscalchi, CFR

(read about Fr. Giuseppe here)
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Monday, July 22, 2013

Lifeful Faith

There is life in our faith and not ephemeral but everlasting. There is love in the Lord’s touch, in his eyes. There is movement in his hands and speech in his mouth. There is compassion in his heart—there is certainly that. In Nain he raised a widow’s son like Elijah of old had done in Zarephath. You could almost hear the prophet’s heart as he cried out, “O God, let your life-breath come back to him.” Stretching himself over the boy because what else could he do? In dramatic moments dramatic gestures are always appropriate; it reveals the confidence and the reverence Elijah had toward God, but also the disparity of his heart and also the total investment of his body, heart and soul in his prayer.

Jesus raises the son of the widow in a manner dramatic for its subtleties rather than its grand gestures. Its in the way you hear him say gently to the widow, “do not weep,” and placing his hand on the bier, the bearers stand still, and I hear him nearly whispering to the boy, “young man, I say to you arise: like how caressing Jarius’ daughter, he takes her hand and says, “little girl, arise,” and they do. It’s almost as if they’re doing him a favor like a child coming out of slumber at his parent’s command despite a confused state of lingering sleepiness. It’s beautiful because it’s delicate. The resurrection of life is here almost as fragile as its cessation, but what, in reality, what could be powerful?

The miracles reveal different aspects of God: the first his majesty and power, the second his closeness and intimate tenderness. For us we see how God likes to work through compassionate hearts tender and capable of being moved, and confident that in crying out or merely whispering, they will be heard. Yes, they will be heard because there is life in our faith not ephemeral but everlasting.

+ Br. Joseph Michael Fino, CFR
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Thursday, July 18, 2013

What do I do with my pain?

A new video from YoFoREAL.com

Br. Pius, CFR, tackles a great topic in this answer
to a question that we are all asking.
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Friday, July 12, 2013

Jesus is Our Ladder

In the first reading from mass on Monday, July 8, Genesis 28:11-22, we hear the story of Jacob’s ladder. The Fathers of the Church saw in Jacob’s ladder a prophetic image of Jesus Christ. Jesus, who is both True God and True Man, is a ladder uniting heaven and earth upon which God first descends to us so that we might ascend to Him!

We see this ladder image played out in Matthew 9:18-26, the gospel passage from the same day. In this passage, Jesus heals two people, the woman with the hemorrhage and the official’s daughter. By a simple touch Jesus descends into their hopelessness allowing them to ascend the ladder of hope and healing to new life in God.

The fact that He touched them, or allowed Himself to be touched in the case of the woman with the hemorrhage, is significant. According to Jewish ceremonial law, touching the bleeding woman or the corpse of the official’s daughter rendered Jesus ritually unclean; that is, unfit for Temple sacrifice and worship. But Jesus has already said to the Pharisees who were outraged that He was eating with sinners that God “desires mercy, not sacrifice” (Mt 9:13). Jesus ranks mercy over the ceremonial law because only the ladder of God’s mercy, only His sacrifice, can bridge the infinite gap between God and man.

Brothers and Sisters, what about us? Do we experience the mercy of God in our own lives? Do we try to ascend to God by the ladder of sacrifice and human effort or do we beg Him to first come to us? Do we allow the ladder of God’s mercy to touch down upon those areas of our hearts that are bleeding or even dead so that we might rise and ascend to new life in Him?

This is God’s desire for us, that we would allow His mercy, which comes to us in the sacrifice of Jesus, to be the ladder by which we climb to Him. This can happen every time we go to mass. In the Eucharist—the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus—heaven and earth are united. In the Eucharist, Jesus comes to us as we are, to once again eat with poor sinners. He comes to forgive, He comes to heal, He comes so that through Him, we might return to God our Father!

+ Fr. Isaac Spinharney, CFR
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Monday, July 8, 2013

New video from the Friars

Fr. Agustino, CFR, answers the question:
Can the Church survive without money?
From ReviveFaith.com and YoFoREAL.com

July Devoted to the Precious Blood of Jesus

Litany of the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ

This Litany in honor of Jesus in His Most Precious Blood was 
drawn up by the Sacred Congregation of Rites and promulgated by Pope 
John XXIII on February 24, 1960. The devotion to Jesus in His most 
Precious Blood was first popularized by St. Gaspar del Bufalo (1786-1837,
feast Dec. 28) who founded the Missioners of the Most Precious Blood. 
A partial indulgence is granted to the faithful who recite this litany. 

Lord, have mercy.    Lord, have mercy. 
Christ, have mercy.  Christ, have mercy. 
Lord, have mercy.    Lord, have mercy. 
Christ, hear us. Christ, hear us. 
Christ, graciously hear us. Christ, graciously hear us. 

God the Father of Heaven,   have mercy on us. 
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us. 
God, the Holy Spirit,   have mercy on us. 
Holy Trinity, One God,  have mercy on us. 
Blood of Christ, only-begotten Son of the eternal Father, save us. 
Blood of Christ, Incarnate Word or God, save us. 
Blood of Christ, of the New and Eternal Testament, save us. 
Blood of Christ, falling upon the earth in Agony, save us. 
Blood of Christ, shed profusely in the Scourging, save us. 
Blood of Christ, flowing forth in the Crowning with Thorns, save us. 
Blood of Christ, poured out on the Cross, save us. 
Blood of Christ, price of our salvation, save us. 
Blood of Christ, without which there is no forgiveness, save us. 
Blood of Christ, Eucharistic drink and refreshment of souls, save us. 
Blood of Christ, stream of mercy, save us. 
Blood of Christ, victor over demons, save us. 
Blood of Christ, courage of Martyrs, save us. 
Blood of Christ, strength of Confessors, save us. 
Blood of Christ, bringing forth Virgins, save us. 
Blood of Christ, help of those in peril, save us. 
Blood of Christ, relief of the burdened, save us. 
Blood of Christ, solace in sorrow, save us. 
Blood of Christ, hope of the penitent, save us. 
Blood of Christ, consolation of the dying, save us. 
Blood of Christ, peace and tenderness of hearts, save us. 
Blood of Christ, pledge of eternal life, save us. 
Blood of Christ, freeing souls from purgatory, save us. 
Blood of Christ, most worthy of all glory and honor, save us. 
Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world, spare us, O Lord. 
Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O Lord. 
Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world, have mercy on us, O Lord. 
V. Thou hast redeemed us, O Lord, in Thy Blood. 
R. And made us, for our God, a kingdom. 
Let us pray; 
Almighty and eternal God, Thou hast appointed Thine only-begotten Son the 
Redeemer of the world and willed to be appeased by his blood. Grant, we beg 
of Thee, that we may worthily adore this price of our salvation and through its 
power be safeguarded from the evils of the present life so that we may rejoice 
in its fruits forever in heaven. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.
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Friday, July 5, 2013

Video: 26th Annual Polish Walking Pilgrimage

Information for Pilgrims - www.walkingpilgrimage.us

XXVI Walking Pilgrimage

from Great Meadows, NJ to the American Czestochowa
in Doylestown, PA August 8-11 2013

Walking Pilgrimage to The National Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa from Brett Botula on Vimeo.
The pilgrims journey 60 miles across the course of 4 days and 3 nights. They start out from Great Meadows, NJ, and make their way down to Doylestown, PA, where the Shrine is located. During the 3 nights, the pilgrims camp out in state parks and on farmland.

While the number of pilgrims is sizable, the experience of walking is intimate. The pilgrims are staged in 3 groups, which as the days go on, become like walking villages in their friendly camaraderie. After the pilgrimage, I asked a Franciscan friar about his experiences along the way. He said, "I had some very anointed conversations." I like how he put that -- anointed conversations -- that very much captures what occurs on the road, through the forests, and at night in camp. You would misunderstand, however, if you imagined all the pilgrims were extraordinarily pious. That is not so; and not a few devout people are struggling with big questions, deep sorrows, and painful doubts. What makes the pilgrimage unique, in my experience, is that this questioning and "wrestling with angels", occurs while passing through gently shifting landscapes of fellowship: through talk, through silence, through song and prayer, through sacrament, through the reflections of the wise, through listening to the story of the person walking alongside you; and all this, within a spirit of goodwill, which continually pervades the journey.

The roots of the pilgrimage to venerate the icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa, the "Black Madonna", reach back hundreds of years into the devotional life of the Polish people. The American Czestochowa, the current Shrine and monastery, were dedicated in 1966. In 1988, the very first walking pilgrimage group in the United States, departed from St. Peter & Paul Church in Great Meadows.

Seventeen Polish Catholics left Great Meadows in 1988. Fast forward, and 3,000 pilgrims, of every kind of background, including a Spanish speaking contingent, arrived at the Shrine, 25 years later, (in 2012, the year I shot this video), to celebrate mass and honor Our Lady of Czestochowa.

It makes you wonder what is the attraction, to what on the surface, you would assume is just some sort of "ethnic" festival? I don't have a simple answer for you. But I hope this video provides you with at least a hint, an inkling, of some small aspect, of what draws people from such diverse backgrounds, to make this sixty mile trek, to make a visit to Our Lady.

This year's pilgrimage dates are August 8-11, 2013


"All Creatures" performed by Sarah MacIntosh, from her album "Then Sings My Soul" © 2004 Horizon Music. http://sarahmacintosh.com

"Offertory" performed by Luke Spehar from his album "No Other Way" © 2011 Luke Spehar

© 2013 Franciscan Renewal Ministries, Inc. All rights reserved.
© 2013 Brett Botula. All videography rights reserved.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Irish, Catholic, and Dangerous: 10 Reasons Why Catholic Men Should Have Beards

Irish, Catholic, and Dangerous: 10 Reasons Why Catholic Men Should Have Beards: 10. William Shakespeare "The Bard" was a corruption of his real nickname: "The Beard" He was Catholic and the great...

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Revive Faith: Fr Isaac: Should I Leave?

A great new video from ReviveFaith.com. Our own Fr. Isaac Spinharney, CFR, offers a great answer to a difficult question. Enjoy and pass the word!
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