Monday, April 29, 2013

Sanctification: The Process of Becoming

In life there are various processes of becoming. Children are in the process of becoming adults, students are in the process of becoming professionals, but life itself can be said to be one of these processes. It is the process of becoming saints. Now as with all processes the challenge for us is constancy, fidelity, patience and perseverance. 

Here's how it happens: we set our expectations high, they’re not met, we become despondent and we bail, give up, lose hope or whatever lesser way we’ve found to cope with disappoint, discouragement or general down-in-the-dumpiness. Now, this is not an exhortation on lowering your expectations for sanctity—expect it! (in the very least, desire it ambitiously). It’s what you’re made for. Just don’t expect it in the blink of an eye or a genuflection. 

Sanctity is the culmination of a (often times long) process of becoming, and this process is the trying of our intentions and motivations—the refining of our desires. The saints were not made of plaster but of flesh; they knew their limits and embraced them. Their days went by with longing for what seemed an ever evasive ideal, and mostly they were oblivious to the transformation of their souls much like the slow unfolding of the flower goes unnoticed until suddenly it's in bloom. They were not impressed by their sanctity because they knew it was anything but theirs. They didn't think about virtues and miracles but simply went about their day with a unique disposition that says, yes. 

Remember, You need not be today who you are to be tomorrow, but today--whoever you are--be that person in God's grace, and tomorrow a petal will fall as this process of becoming unfolds unto your salvation.

+ Br. Joseph Michael Fino, CFR
Most Blessed Sacrament Friary
Newark, NJ
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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Revive Faith: Understanding Purgatory - Episode 3

Another video from ReviveFaith.com , Understanding Purgatory - Episode 3 by Br. Philip, CFR

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Faith Side: Does God Listen to Our Prayers?

Another video from YoFoReal.com, The Faith Side: Does God Listen?

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Great Response to the Boston Bombings

Here is a quote I heard on WCBS 880 AM Radio from Chester Elton:

"I’ll tell you what, Michael, you know that in a lot of cultures one terrorist will spawn a bunch of other terrorists, right? “You blow me up - I blow you up.” What I love about American culture is, this one terrorist spawned a whole bunch of heroes and I love that about our society - that just because one guy went crazy and caused some crazy things and whatever, we don’t retaliate and become like them. A terrorist in American society creates heroes not more terrorists."

click here to hear the audio (2 minutes long)

Below is the full transcript (posted with permission):

Woman: Companies large and small have stepped up to help the victims of Monday’s bombings in Boston by donating millions of dollars to The One Fund.

Man: Corporate Host Chester Elton joins us. It’s a pretty impressive list Chester.

Chester: John Hancock the Insurance Company, they have been headquartered in Boston for over 150 years, immediately donated a million dollars to people that were affected by the tragedy. One of my favorite ones was the Boston Craft Brewery Association – you know all these little pubs that have their own breweries – 21 of these little breweries are having an event this week and 100% of the sale of their beers goes to the victims. Bane Capital steps up; the Boston Foundation; the Celtics and the Red Sox. There are baseball players and football players that have dedicated X amount of dollars per homerun or per catch. I just love companies that, when stuff like this happens, they immediately step up. I think that it speaks to their character. It speaks to their employees. Those are the kind of brands that you want to support and that you love and count on. 

Man: I know that you are also impressed by what Google did in the minutes after the attacks.

Chester: Isn’t that remarkable? The biggest fear you have is, “Was one of my loved ones affected?” And Google takes their technology and immediately says, “Hey, sign on here, find out.” Can you imagine the stress that it relieves for literally thousands and thousands of people when they found out that their loved ones were safe? Google is beyond cool with their technology.

I’ll tell you what, Michael, you know that in a lot of cultures one terrorist will spawn a bunch of other terrorists, right? “You blow me up - I blow you up.” What I love about American culture is, this one terrorist spawned a whole bunch of heroes and I love that about our society - that just because one guy went crazy and caused some crazy things and whatever, we don’t retaliate and become like them. A terrorist in American society creates heroes not more terrorists. 

Man: Well put Chester Elton the Apostle of Appreciation. Thanks Chester.
I hope this encourages you as it does me!

Fr. Luke Mary Fletcher, CFR
Harlem, NYC

Thursday, April 18, 2013


A must see new video from GrassRootsFilms (there are some friars in there)!!

Letters of hope and consolation # 23

Between us and God there is always what I like to call an “unfair exchange.” On even your best days you simply cannot give God even half of what he continually gives you.

On the day of your baptism what did you bring to God? You arrived at the baptismal font with a frail and scattered humanity, while in return God welcomed you into his family as an adopted child and from that day until now he has dwelt in the depths of your soul. Every time when you approach him in the sacrament of confession what do you bring to God? You come with your sinfulness, your brokenness and all the things you most likely do not want other people to know. In return for those things God gives you love, mercy and forgiveness. Every time you approach him in the Eucharist you are there with such a variety of experiences; joy, fear, hope, sadness, heartache, etc and yet God always gives you his body, blood, soul and divinity. No exceptions!

Does the fact that there is little you can do for God overwhelm you? On the contrary this knowledge should fill you with joy and leave you marveling at the generosity and love of God who always pours himself out abundantly for you. Don’t try to figure it out, don’t try and convince yourself that you do or do not deserve it, simply receive it into the depths of your being and take great delight in the strange yet beautiful ways that God chooses to work in your life.

God bless you,
Fr. Jeremiah Myriam Shryock, CFR
Sacred Heart of Jesus Friary
Fort Worth, TX
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Monday, April 15, 2013

Lessons in Evangelization

If the sun were to rise shooting his rays only directly upward like a spot light, it would profit us nothing save a few stars we would surely not be alive to see. Instead the sun is good and reasonable to radiate his light like an iron stove does its heat casting itself on all things on all sides at all times. And why should we, in the radiation of our light, be so stingy?

Yet note how even the sun may not directly illumine the backside of a mountain, the crevice of a ravine or the depths of the cave. And see also how with patience he radiates himself constantly until the earth's spinning makes the mountain's opposing face and the ravine's sinking fissure ready to receive his steadfast light. Even the cave who will never know day will always have day at its doorstep as a constant witness to its warmth and light in an otherwise dark and cold reality. 

Evangelization is not the assertion of one's will over another's, nor is it the triumph of skillful argumentation or sarcastic banter. Evangelization is the uncompromising presence of the evident and attractive source of eternal life. That is all; nothing more. And may it never be anything less.

+ Br. Joseph Michael Fino, CFR
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Thursday, April 11, 2013

From My Modern-Day Idols” (part 3 of 3)

Here are more thoughts of ‘good habits’ I might consider to begin cultivating:

Service: doing someone else’s chores (service starts at home!), silence (you bet! ;-), visiting someone who is sick, elderly or in prison; serving the poor at a soup kitchen, going on a mission trip, talking to a homeless person, helping a neighbor.

‘Humanity’: going for a walk or bike-ride, taking a well-deserved NAP, reading, exercising, taking a hot bath, gardening, taking a drive to somewhere beautiful, watching a sunset, doing absolutely nothing for awhile & just ‘being’ w/o ‘doing’.

Sacrifices: doing some activities you don’t like, getting up early to pray, holding your tongue, repenting/Confession, accepting your cross, rejoicing in adversity, fasting from foods or activities you like/are attached to, offering up extra prayers or sufferings for the pope, president, or those near death; praying for the Holy Souls.

Try to get to know yourself, Jesus & others better, since knowledge naturally leads to greater love for God & others: the goal of Lent!

+Br. Philip Maria Allen, CFR

P.S. If ‘not drinking coffee’ or ‘getting too little sleep’ makes you terribly irritable to others, maybe you should be creative & try giving up something else for Lent! ;-). Whatever doesn’t lead to a deeper love/gratitude for God & others is not helpful, since fasting, prayer, almsgiving & sacrifices, etc., are simply a means to this end. It might be better to a pick a few things you can manage so you’ll stick to them!
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Monday, April 8, 2013

Resurrection Musings: Jesus and the Apostles

And what of Jesus?  What was his experience of the Resurrection?  Okay, it’s a question someone should wade into with more than just the theological floaties I wear. But let’s take a simple angle.  What we can affirm is this: he loved it.   In the Resurrection he is no phantom nor is he the man who lived before.  He can hold substance but he cannot be held bound by it.  He is the same; he is radically different.  He is living a new kind of existence.  A new way of being the world had never known.

By the sea they breakfasted and they laughed.  They marveled that he could laugh, and he was glad they did, for it was all very marvelous.  “Can you imagine,” he said to them, “can you just try to imagine what joy is mine in the resurrection?  Can you begin to comprehend how delighted I am to begin our new way of living?  I’ve come back for you—I said I would—because I wanted to be with you forever. Do you now understand? Are you yet believing?  I have come that you may have life; you have yet to truly know the life I give you.”

The Lord laughed.  He stood up on his feet, the sand pushing boastfully through their wounds.  His laughter rolled gladly from his gut.  Peter was hunched over, one hand held high shielding the rising sun, watching the silhouette of the Lord’s heaving torso and the mist of his breath meeting forcefully the salty air.  John, propelled by the pushing and stammering of his little heart, sprung up amid his own laughter clinging to Jesus and he felt like flying.  James, his brother, remained seated beside Peter at the charcoal fire chewing the meat of the fish and staring at the two men.  The meat was easy, and he used the bones to pluck it out from between his molars while he studied the man’s hands through which sunbeams passed as if they held the morning star.  He looked at Peter who was tearful and smiling, and to John, bouncing around with the One who rose from the dead, and he looked behind them both where the seagulls perched about his old fishing boat with its nets packed and taut, wedged into the  beach where he left it.  James put his hands to his knees and pushed himself up from his seat.  He stretched his back and flicked his toothpick to the wind.  “This is going to be very interesting,” he said and he said it again even softer as the seagulls circled out to sea around them.  And it was.  That is the one thing it would always be, fascinating.

+ Br. Joseph Michael Fino, CFR
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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Letters of hope and consolation #22

Scripture gives us many interesting images of what union with God looks like. “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose hope is the Lord. He is like a tree planted beside the water that stretches out its roots to the stream” (Jeremiah 17:7-8, emphasis added). In a very similar fashion the Psalmist writes that blessed are those for whom “the law of the Lord is their joy; God’s law they study day and night. They are like a tree planted near streams of water that yields its fruit in season” (Psalm 1:2-3, emphasis added). 

In both passages the biblical authors use water as an image that surrounds the soul that is united to God. Water is the source of life, wherever there is water there is life. What leads a soul to water is trust in the Lord and pondering his word. You can apply this to your spiritual life as well by saying that whenever you are trusting in the Lord and pondering his word you are surrounded by water, i.e. a place where life, in particular your life, can flourish and grow. Unfortunately the opposite is true. Wherever there is a lack of trust in God and an inordinate trust in oneself or other people and wherever there is a lack of reflection of God’s word a soul moves into a dry and barren desert. It is a land filled with doubt, insecurity and most importantly, no water. Hence, the command of the Lord is clear, stay near the water! Trust in God and ponder his word daily and your soul will never be thirsty.

God bless you,
Fr. Jeremiah Myriam Shryock, CFR

Sacred Heart of Jesus Friary
Fort Worth, TX
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