Sunday, December 28, 2014

El Greco’s Evangelist

Paint. Paint the soft lines
of damp cheeks across a canvas.
Paint the little hand, the deep
eyes and the orb.
Splash some color along the curve
of her neck and suggest
the wafting scent of his musty flesh,
the earth soiling her mantle’s hem,
the wet hay and animal sweat.
Fill out her rounded face
and his chubby legs. Paint well
her ponderous humanity and his
unquestioned divinity
and her smile, Luke. Paint her smile
and we shall see
how well your lazy eye can see.

+ Br. Joseph Michael Fino, CFR
Yonkers, NY
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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Born in Bronx-lehem

We rejoice! The Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ is upon us once again. Merry Christmas everybody - or as a local carwash sign has it, “Happy Everything!” We remember that Christ was born in Bethlehem and we rejoice!

But why do we rejoice? Saint Pope John Paul II put it this way when he preached at Bethlehem (March 2000): “The joy announced by the angel is not a thing of the past. It is a joy of today… Because it is always Christmas in Bethlehem, every day is Christmas in the hearts of Christians. And every day we are called to proclaim the message of Bethlehem to the world.”

But how do we rejoice? While in the past Jesus was born in Bethlehem, he is born in Bronx-lehem this day. He is born anew in every place where faith-filled hearts welcome him with joy. I was reminded of this life-shaking truth as I participated in our Saint Francis Youth Center Nativity Play. Our young people prepared and practiced to re-enact that sacred story in the Bronx milieu. The characters all spoke with authentic NYC accents while Fr. Stan Fortuna provided the appropriate soundtrack (something to see and hear)! The message was clear: Yoforeal! Jesus is born for us, for us y’all and so we rejoice!

I remember the semester I spent abroad in Austria. The local churches had the Christmas crèche characters dressed in traditional Austrian outfits. The message was clear: Jesus is born for us and we rejoice. So, welcome him into your heart, your home and your town. I don’t know if Santa Claus is coming to your town, but Jesus certainly is. Simply add a “-lehem” to your location and dress those Nativity figures as farmers if you live in the Midwest! Jesus Christ is born for us and this makes everything happy!

+ Fr. Luke Mary Fletcher, CFR
Bronx, NY
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Saturday, December 20, 2014

Simple and Straightforward

So often our mind and imagination is full of all sorts of different ideas and images of what the Nativity of Jesus must have looked like. There are movies and plays, music and poetry, and many other mediums that try to impress upon us the significance of the event of the Word becoming flesh. It was on my heart however that for our Nativity Play this year at the Saint Francis Youth Center we should attempt to use the Gospels as our inspiration, nothing more and nothing less. The Gospels reveal to us a story full of wonder, glory, haste, hospitality, family, trial, fear, peace, and several other actions, emotions, and relationships. The Nativity Story is, just like many of our lives are, very full. And it is into the midst of this fullness that Jesus comes to us, to turn what we think might be a fulfilling life into one that is overflowing and brimming with divine life.

“Every idea of [God] we form, He must in mercy shatter.” I recently came across this quote from C.S. Lewis, and it struck a chord with my experience of looking anew at the Nativity of Jesus Christ. I have over the years become stuck in imagining His birth taking place in a certain way. For instance, where I saw something all too simple (the shepherds) the glory of God appears with a multitude of angels. There were many other moments like this that grabbed my attention, which surprised me, and that left me thinking, ‘how could I have forgotten that.

I think my point is this: we frequently allow our minds to wander and our hearts to become fugitives from the reality that we are designed from the beginning for a fullness beyond anything we could imagine. By becoming the human being Jesus, God wants to share with each human person his own eternal life, in such a way that our fragile, contradictory human nature would not be overwhelmed or crushed, but filled utterly.

Br. Lazarus Sharpe, CFR
Bronx, NY
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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Open Your Heart to Christ (4 of 4)

4) "Commitment to the Poor Christ: a priceless opportunity to give yourself to God in others by humble charity" (4 of 4)
It is just not enough to go to Mass on Sunday, pray the Rosary daily, avoid mortal sin, and love your close circle of friends - especially in our spiritually depraved and very desperate society today.
Jesus Christ calls each of us to make a firm and zealous commitment of our time, energy, and gifts to help reveal and build up His Kingdom here on earth. An essential part of this is the practice of the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy, which are practical forms of loving our neighbors who take the place of Christ among us.
Christ's Vicar, Pope Francis, has been calling us to go the "outskirts" of existence, to the "fringes" of society, to seek out the lost sheep and bring them home to the Father's House. It's high time to quit living in a "maintenance mode" or a "me only" culture when souls are dying of thirst for Christ's Love all around us.
God has chosen to save people precisely through those to whom He has already revealed Himself - through *our* very human mediation and participation (sound crazy?). God created YOU for a specific purpose and with a unique mission. (After you die, you will find out which souls you helped to save for all eternity, and you will be surprised!)
Every day I need to take time to examine my conscience, life and relationships; to listen to God in His Word in Scripture and in prayer; and to discern what He is asking of me. Every moment He invites me to freely, lovingly, cheerfully say "yes," "amen", to Him and to His Holy Will for me. (If you're unsure what He's asking of you, keep praying, studying your faith, talking with holy people, going to spiritual direction, and serving the needy; take a step forward in faith and God will illumine the next one!)
What is the Lord asking of you? How is He asking you to serve Him in the poor, needy, sick, suffering, lonely, elderly, unborn, rejected, abandoned (etc.)? How are you going to respond to Christ's invitation? What are you going to do for love of Him?
Today? Now?
Then whenever we die and go before Our Lord and He asks us: "How did you love me? What did you do for Me in My beloved least ones?", we will have something real to show Him by the way we loved our neighbors, especially the poor (re-read Matthew, chapter 25). Let us begin!
+Br. Philip Maria Allen, CFR
St. Felix Friary
Yonkers, NY, USA
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Saturday, December 13, 2014

HolyHaiku Gaudete Sunday


John, The Living Dawn
Rose Sky: Sign of Coming Sun
Joy when the Son comes!
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3rd Sunday of Advent


3rd Sunday of #Advent
by Br. Justin Alarcón, CFR


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Thursday, December 11, 2014

EWTN Sunday Night Prime - The Late Fr. Benedict Groeschel

EWTN Sunday Night Prime
The Late #FrBenedict Groeschel, CFR
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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Open Your Heart to Christ (3 of 4)

3) "Receiving Blessings from Chosen Vessels" (3 of 4)
Mary is the Model of Christian Discipleship, since she loved Jesus most purely from her Immaculate Conception and faithfully all the way through the Cross and Resurrection. We know that God has made her the Mediatrix of All Graces. And yet God still chooses to employ further "mediations" for grace to reach us, including: events, circumstances (especially crosses), and people - especially the poor and our "enemies".

Because the poor and afflicted are "empty vessels", they become for us like "other Marys" who mediate JESUS to us (often unknowingly, both to them and to us!). They are like a prism that of itself gives off no light, but when sunlight flows through it there shines out the most brilliant colors and radiance.
God didn't just make a "New Adam" (Jesus); He also made a "New Eve" (Mary)! She is the Perfect Archetype of the Church's filial obedience to God in love, whose heel crushes the head of the Enemy of mankind. She best represents how souls are called to be united to God.
Jesus is not *only* present inside of physical church buildings. Yes, Christ isreally present in His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Most Holy Eucharist in a most amazing way. But He also chooses to be present to us and among us - in and through the members of His Mystical Body the Church (i.e. in our sisters and brothers!).
The only way we can really prove our love for God is how we love our neighbor in imitation of Christ. (For how can we love the God we don't see if we don't love the people we do see?)
There is no closer place on earth to God and to Heaven after the Eucharist than in our brethren, and indeed in our own soul. And whomever we find more difficult to love (perhaps even in our own families), the more graces we receive - since our faith and love will be all the more pure and empty of tainted, selfish motives.
+Br. Philip Maria Allen, CFR
St. Felix Friary
Yonkers, NY, USA
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Sunday, December 7, 2014

2nd Sunday of Advent

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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Open Your Heart to Christ (2 of 4)

2) "Greater Reverence and Love for Every Person" (2 of 4)
While God calls each of us to love Him and one another as Jesus has loved us, we also have an Enemy who desires just the opposite. The Enemy, using whatever means possible (especially the high-powered people and media of our age), tries to label, categorize, marginalize, and ultimately eliminate people - especially the poor and people who believe in God and love their neighbor.
Jesus died for everyone, setting us free to share in His own full, abundant, divine life eternally. By loving us first, He revealed God's Love for us and showed us what it means to love.
All of us are called to recognize in our brothers and sisters the sublime dignity of one redeemed by Christ's Most Precious Blood shed on the Cross for our salvation, and to receive them as we ourselves want to be received by God. We need to honor people for the goodness and gifts we see in them as reflections of God's own Glory and "living conduits" of His Divine Mercy, however weak or broken they may appear to be to our very imperfect spiritual vision.
We are created for compassion, to sympathize with others' sufferings, and to prodigally lavish the Love of our Heavenly Father upon all without limits. Only in completely giving ourselves will we also be filled completely and to overflowing by the Holy Spirit and His Divine Indwelling, Whom we have already received 'as a first installment' through Baptism, Confirmation, and in every Communion.
This is an essential part of the "New Pentecost" the Church is ardently longing for. It will come when enough people freely offer themselves as a living sacrifice of praise to the Father for the salvation of souls - in union Jesus, Mary, and the Church - however He wills.
+Br. Philip Maria Allen, CFR
St. Felix Friary
Yonkers, NY, USA
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Saturday, November 29, 2014

HolyHaiku Advent Season

The #Advent Season
He came, when will He return?
watching and waiting
#holyhaiku #Jesus
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Friday, November 28, 2014

1st Sunday of Advent


The Waiting of Advent
by Br. Bernadino Maria Soukup, CFR

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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

GrayFriar News Winter 2014 Tribute to Fr. Benedict Groeschel, CFR

May the Lord give you His peace!

As we enter into the holy days of Thanksgiving, Advent and Christmas, we are happy to offer our recent newsletter. This edition is a special tribute to our dear Fr. Benedict with great pictures and a moving remembrance written by Fr. Glenn. A must read!

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Monday, November 24, 2014

Live Stream Blessing of the Cross in Nica

Thanksgiving Day Special!

EWTN Español will broadcast the blessing of the Cross & Virgin of Guadalupe
which has been built by our friars in Matagalpa, Nicaragua.

Live on Thursday, November 27, 4 PM (EST)
Replay @ 9:30 PM (EST)
(1 hour 30 minute program)

Watch it live here:

Same as Chromeless Video Player, but does not start playing until user manually starts playback

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Open Your Heart to Christ (1 of 4)

Open Your Heart to Christ
(4-part series on the graces of serving Christ in our brothers and sisters)
1) "Awe and Wonder in God's Presence" (1 of 4)
Whenever you spend time serving Jesus in your brothers and sisters, especially in those who are most in need, God confers a multitude of graces upon your soul. What are some of these graces? (there are certainly many more than these)
a) Awe and wonder in God's Presence in your brother or sister
b) Greater reverence and love for every person created in God's divine image and likeness
c) Reception of blessings from the pure vessel of a poor and empty heart
d) The priceless opportunity to give yourself to God in others by humble charity.
Christian ministry to Christ in the poor (cf. Matthew 25: "whatever you did to the least of my brothers, you did it to me") is not just a secularized humanitarian form of service. It is rather a whole-hearted embrace of the Presence of the Lord dwelling within people, and of persons themselves for Christ's sake. This first involves acknowledging with the eyes of faith that your sister or brother is one of your own kin, part of your family (the one human family), and part of GOD'S Family.
Your neighbor is "a presence of Christ" on earth, and so after your own relationship to God in prayer we are called to a very important "being with" our brethren in a spirit of grateful solidarity, selflessness, and availability. This includes spending time with people, smiling and welcoming them, making them feel "at home" with you, being present to them, listening attentively to them and *their* "love story" with God (including the trials!), learning more about them and how God is alive and working in their life, affirming them in their humanity as they are now with all their shortcomings and failures, and encouraging and challenging them forward toward ever greater union with the Lord in humble, joyful love.
For whenever we truly encounter another person in love, Christ encounters us through them, and so we also encounter Christ in a new and deeper way.
+Br. Philip Maria Allen, CFR
St. Felix Friary
Yonkers, NY, USA
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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Famous Drawing of Fr. Benedict Groeschel, CFR

The story behind the drawing we used for Fr. Benedict's funeral card!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Homily by Fr. Stan Fortuna

Fr. Stan preached a powerful homily at the Mass for Fr. Benedict on October 8, 2014,
at St. Crispin Friary (our first foundation) in the South Bronx.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The ‘Ripple Effect’ of Fr. Benedict Groeschel’s ‘Yes’ to God

“If it hadn’t been for Fr. Benedict, I don’t know where I’d be.”  These words, spoken by a young man who had lived at the St Francis House for boys founded by Fr. Benedict in the 60’s, have been echoed by the sentiments of countless others during these days of prayer and rememberance.  As Fr. Andrew preached at yesterday’s funeral, “No Fr. Benedict, no CFR’s!” and so without Fr. Benedict, I don’t know where I would be! 

We CFR’s have been powerfully reminded (and perhaps educated) this week that Fr. Benedict’s untiring and faithful “yes” to God for over 60 years has been a source of tremendous grace for thousands, if not millions of people; bishop’s; priests; families in poverty; religious sisters; boys from Children’s Village; viewers of EWTN; readers of his 43 books; homeless men; women in crisis pregnancy and who knows how many more…?  And who knows what the ripple effect of God’s grace has been through the lives of those touched by Fr. Benedict?  Only God.  And that’s how Fr. Benedict would like it. 

So often the news is disturbing and frightening.  War, terrorism, disease, moral confusion.  There is a great deal of fear in our culture.  People feel helpless and hopeless in the face of everything and so do nothing.  But that wasn’t Fr. Benedict’s style!  He was a man of faith and hope, impelled by the love of Christ and so he had to do something.  And he did a lot!

But what is our response?  What is my response?  It must be the same response uttered by Fr. Benedict when he was 17 years old, as he left home to follow Jesus and join the Capuchins.  It must be the same response that then led him (some 30 years later) as he left the Capuchins (his home) to follow Jesus and begin the CFR’s.  The same response he uttered, not without struggle and suffering, for over 60 years. We can almost hear him say it in his unmistakable quiet voice, “Yes Lord.” 

Just the other day I read this quote from St. John Paul II and thought of Fr. Benedict:

The first duty of the consecrated life is to make visible the marvels wrought by God in the frail humanity of those who are called.  They bear witness to these marvels not so much in works as by the eloquent language of a transfigured life, capable of amazing the world  (Vita Consecrata). 

Fr. Benedict wasn’t perfect and nor are any of us.  I’m not called to be Fr. Benedict and nor are you but his powerful “yes” challenges each of us, in our frail humanity, to offer our lives to God wherever we are, with the same passion and generosity.  Fr. Benedict’s life made visible the marvels of God and you know what?  So can we!!  And that’s what amazes the world - the ripple effect of grace!

+ Fr. Emmanuel Mary Mansford, CFR
Harlem, NY
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Monday, October 13, 2014

To Obtain Father Benedict Memorial Cards

Due to the overwhelming number of requests for Father Benedict memorial cards, we have created a new page with a form:

If you already emailed us via the "contact page" of our website, we will be processing your request, no need to re-submit. Thanks!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Fr. Benedict J. Groeschel, CFR, rest in peace

Father Benedict J. Groeschel, CFR, passed away on October 3rd at 11 PM.

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and may he rest in peace!

We have posted a Fr. Benedict page on our website found here:


To make a memorial offering in honor of Fr. Benedict click here

Details for the wake and funeral will be forth coming.

Press Release PDF here

Statement from the friars PDF here

Friday, October 3, 2014

Happy Feast of Saint Francis!

Perfect paradox
This little poor humble man,
magnified the LORD!
The friars would like to thank all of you for the love and support! May Our Holy Father Saint Francis intercede for us so that we may, like Our Lady, magnify the LORD with our little lives! You have our prayers as well.
+ the friars
We need your help!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

My Angel Made Me Forget!

Last night I heard confessions at a great young adult event at Saint Patrick's Cathedral (NYC). After all was said and done, despite my usual ability to remember, I could not remember where I parked my car. I went to the spot where I thought the car was and it was not there! "STOLEN!", I thought out loud.

Just then I saw some guys and an immodestly dressed woman get out of a mysterious van right in front of me. My eyes met hers and I had an uneasy feeling. I immediately headed back to the Cathedral in search of a police officer. Just before I spoke to the officer - out of nowhere -  I remembered that I had parked one block over from where I thought. Sure enough the car was still there...

This morning during Mass I had a heavy burden to pray for that woman. I now understand that my Guardian Angel had helped me to forget (later to remember) where I had parked so that I would see her and pray for her. Would you join me today in praying for all women who are in need of help?

From the closing prayer for today's Mass:
"As you are pleased to nourish us for eternal life
with so great a Sacrament, O Lord,
direct us by the ministry of Angels
into the way of salvation and peace.
Through Christ our Lord."

+ Fr. Luke Mary Fletcher, CFR
Yonkers, NY
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Thursday, September 25, 2014

HolyHaiku 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Matt 21:28-32)

A Man had two sons, -
Which one did the Father's will? -
God loves humble hearts! -

#holyhaiku (Matt 21:28-32)

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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Worship (Matt 12:1-8)

Authentic worship involves our lowly and broken human heart bowing down before the transcendence and mercy of God. To do this the Church gives us aids such as words, bread, wine, water, oil, etc., to worship God in the manner he has chosen best. These aids are important and necessary. Yet ultimately it is the human heart that gives God worship. To not engage our hearts in worship is to fail to give God what he ultimately desires. Hence, real authentic worship is a way of life.

+ Fr. Jeremiah Myriam Shryock, CFR
Saint Joseph Friary
Harlem, NY
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Thursday, September 18, 2014

HolyHaiku St. Joseph of Cupertino

Lifted up in prayer
Body and Soul united
Seek what is above
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Monday, September 15, 2014

Breathe Deeply

St. Therese is famous for describing her vocation as a contemplative nun saying, “I will be love in the heart of the Church.” Then what’s that make us, I asked? Our life as friars is similar to the lay-life insofar as it is “active-contemplative;” it is a life of prayer and action. So if St. Therese is love contemplating the mysteries of God in the heart of the Church, interceding and living secretly for the life of the whole body, we might be likened to the breath of the Church.

First the inhale: the sustaining breath drawn deep into the lungs near the heart and its mysteries, then the exhale: the life gained within the body is breathed forth upon the world, shared in words, love and emotion, and then, again drawn deep into the body to recharge and ruminate on the mysteries of God, and the cycle repeats for the good of one and for all.

+ Br. Joseph Michael Fino, CFR
Yonkers, NY
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Thursday, September 11, 2014

CFR Sisters Investiture

Our Postulant Sisters were invested on August 2, 2014.
As they begin their Novitiate we await the arrival of our new Candidates!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Summer 2014 New Photo Albums

CFR friars final vows, first vows, investiture & CFR Sisters final vows with Cardinal Dolan! Praise the Lord we will receive 9 young men as Postulants on September 8th.
Thank you for the prayers and support.

As promised, great new Facebook photo albums found here.
(Photos are open to public view, you don't have to have facebook to see them).

Friday, August 29, 2014

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Blessing of the Children

Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked them, but Jesus said, “Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

I always tell people there is no greater gift you can give someone than an authentically catholic childhood.

Here, in the nineteenth chapter of Matthew's gospel, we have positive proof. These children
are brought to Jesus by their mothers and fathers that this holy man or wise teacher or--as we know and maybe they believed--Messiah and God might lay his hands upon them or perhaps even embrace them. And so the Church is given a manifesto. Is it not the Church, after all, known to be the body of Christ?

It is a marvelous image that Jesus should receive and embrace the children, that he should wrap his protective and loving arms around them. And that they, in all their little obedience to the prodding of their mothers, should approach him trustingly, be drawn to his body, his warmth, and even the kisses of grace that fall upon them from his head. All of this is given to us as an image of the Church's role in the life of man.

Yet amazingly (and scandalously) the apostles try to prevent such a thing from happening. The twelve here representing the very hierarchy they will establish put themselves at odds with the very mission of the Church and are decidedly rebuked by the Lord himself. The bishops and priests of his Church are to be hospitable to even the littlest of her members--and apparently some of the most important. It is to them, in the end, to whom the Kingdom of Heaven belongs.

I imagine, too, that were we all able to approach the Lord and his Church as these children,
ready, available and willing, in innocence and trust, we too would receive such love as only the Body of Jesus Christ can give to us. We have been given much, those of us who were carried to the baptismal fount, who like these little ones were brought to the Lord's body by our parents that he should lay his hands upon us and bless us and we should abide in the comfort of his body, the Church, and all she has to offer us, namely, the Kingdom of God.

+ Br. Joseph Michael Fino, CFR
Yonkers, NY
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Thursday, August 21, 2014

A True Life (Mt 10:34-39)

Jesus reminds us that the only true life is one that is given away. It is a life free of self-obsession and of being overly concerned with what other people think. It is a life indifferent to the current trends of political correctness and popular opinion and one that is zealous for the truth that God proclaims about himself and humanity. It is a life not measured by the tiny instruments of men but by the infinite space of God’s self-giving and unconditional love.

+ Fr. Jeremiah Myriam Shryock, CFR
Saint Joseph Friary
Harlem, NY
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Friday, August 15, 2014

HolyHaiku The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

From start to finish -
Masterpiece of creation -
Foretaste of our end -
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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

High points at the Highpoint

So what does a friar actually do after making his final vows? Does he go to Disney World? A Yankees game? Does he go on pilgrimage to Rome and Assisi? Is a cross country road-trip in order? Cliff jumping in Chile? Well, in this friar's case he went and stood on top of Idaho. Bet you didn't see that one coming.

Mt. Borah, boasting the highest peak in the state at 12,655 ft. above sea level, taunted my father and I with a steep hike, barely any trace of a trail and rock scrambles and climbs making it the sixth most difficult highpoint climb in the states. Going up was hard and coming down wasn't really any easier.

Can you remember any mountain-top scenes in the scriptures? Think of Moses, Elijah, even Noah had Ararat, or of the Lord's great Sermon, Mount Zion and of course Peter, James and John on the recently celebrated Mount of the Transfiguration. All of these mountain-top experiences are places where God is encountered. Whether it's as a gentle wind, a place of rest, a tempest or fire, man comes cheek to jaw with the reality of God, and the world after descending is never quite the same for him as it was before. Any real, undeniable encounter with God puts us at a cross roads or before a threshold where we realize that this thing we call religion isn't just a cute little game we're playing, but this God of ours exists outside of the inside of our heads, and usually that's either consoling or terrifying or maybe--eventually--both!

I think of the three apostles who were privileged to see our Lord transfigured. Jesus ceased to be the man they always knew and assumed an obviously divine mode of being. "And he was transfigured before them; his face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light" (Mt. 17:2). Enter Moses and Elijah, and by the time the three descend, I don't think they have any idea what just happened, but very shortly Jesus begins his road to Jerusalem and towards his crucifixion.

None of us live on the mountain top. Our spiritual lives are full of peaks and valleys and like all pilgrims we traverse them with alternating ambition and futility, but when God gives us a healthy dose of Himself, a real encounter with his divine Godhead, we can not afford to forget that. We have to remember. I think that St. John--during our Lord's passion--must have never forgot the transfiguration. I think his memory of Christ in all his divine glory was a source of strength as he, alone of the apostles, followed Jesus closely throughout his passion and death, through that long Saturday following sustaining him with hope until the Resurrection. The experience of the mountain has to be remembered in the valley, dwelled upon, processed and digested into fuel for the road ahead.

Of course, we don't have to actually go up a mountain to have this kind of encounter of God, but it might help sometimes. What was my mountain-top experience this go-around? Nothing dramatic, and yet I did feel amazingly small. Smaller than an ant. The farms (circular for the irrigation systems) were the size of frisbees. The stark, brown earth looked desolate and unforgiving, and God became immense! God was big and far reaching, and I was small and frail, and this is a helpful perspective.

+ Br. Joseph Michael Fino, CFR
Bronx, NY
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Saturday, August 9, 2014

Fasting (Matt 9:14-17)

Fasting is a reminder that one’s true nourishment does not come from this world. It prophetically stands before all the world’s promises and says, “You are not enough, there is more that I desire.” Hence, the true nature of fasting is not the giving up of things, but creating space for the One that matters most.

+ Fr. Jeremiah Myriam Shryock, CFR
Sacred Heart of Jesus Friary
Ft. Worth, TX
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Monday, August 4, 2014

One Small Bite

If you live in the Northeastern corner of the United States you are probably aware of Lyme's disease. One small bite from a deer tick the size of the tip of a pen can change your life for the worse. In our spiritual life skeptical cynicism can function in the same way. Just think of the serpent's tactic in the garden, "Did God really say that? Ahhh that's not true, you won't die....."

One of our friars had a sad encounter with a young man in our Newark neighborhood: "Hey there officer, I know that you're an officer. I know what you're about, officer." "I'm a Catholic priest!" "Whatever, officer..." Somehow skeptical cynicism was blinding that young man from encountering reality. Only God knows how he got that way.

We all have blind spots which are often rooted in hurts and wounds (not to mention the skeptical cynicism so prevalent in our modern times). Today would be a great time to pray and ask for the healing power of the Lord to open our eyes to reality. Maybe the person we would rather avoid is a loving instrument waiting to deliver a blessing from God.

+ Fr. Luke Mary Fletcher, CFR
Yonkers, NY
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Friday, August 1, 2014

HolyHaiku 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time Matthew 14:13-21

God always provides
He sends needed nourishment
now through His people

Matthew 14:13-21
When Jesus heard of it, he withdrew in a boat to a deserted place by himself. The crowds heard of this and followed him on foot from their towns.When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, and he cured their sick.When it was evening, the disciples approached him and said, “This is a deserted place and it is already late; dismiss the crowds so that they can go to the villages and buy food for themselves.” [Jesus] said to them, “There is no need for them to go away; give them some food yourselves.” But they said to him, “Five loaves and two fish are all we have here.” Then he said, “Bring them here to me,” and he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, he said the blessing, broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, who in turn gave them to the crowds. They all ate and were satisfied, and they picked up the fragments left over twelve wicker baskets full. Those who ate were about five thousand men, not counting women and children.

#HolyHaiku #Matt14
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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Loving One’s Enemies (Matt 5:43-48)

God has many enemies; the atheist who mocks him, the agnostic who is indifferent and the lapsed that is worldly minded. Each in their own way has marked themselves against God. Yet God in return loves them and asks the same of us in return. We who have fewer enemies and whose enemies are less passionate and less violent are called to imitate God. Our hearts, like his, are meant to become a wide open space where even our enemies can come and take refuge.

Matthew 5:43-48
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have? Do not the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brothers only, what is unusual about that? Do not the pagans do the same? So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect."

+ Fr. Jeremiah Myriam Shryock, CFR
Sacred Heart of Jesus Friary
Ft. Worth, TX
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Thursday, July 24, 2014