Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Secret of the Resurrection

I will tell you a secret. I love Jesus.

Okay, so it’s not so much a secret, but there is something secretive about those words, is there not? It is no secret that a family loves one another, but the way in which that love is exchanged between, say, a father and one of his sons will differ with the other or with his daughter or with his wife. That specific love which he shares uniquely with each is a secretive love. Its existence is evident; its content, unknowable. In this way, my love for Jesus is both shared and guarded—it is at the same time expressed and withheld—it is for you and all the world; it is exclusively mine.

In a way Easter presents us with this dynamic. Jesus is risen, but he’s appearing first here to Mary Magdalen, then there to Peter and John, and later to the two on their way to Emmaus. He’s allowing each their own personal interaction with his resurrection—something they don’t have to share—something they can only hope all will have. His resurrection is at the same time for each personally and for all. And so we find that the deeper this secret roots itself in the soul, the more one will have to talk about it. The more profoundly we long for the risen Christ, the more pressing is our desire to shake the world from its slumber that they too may run out to meet him. And so your life with Christ becomes both hidden and revealed.

And while I hope the whole world cannot escape the clamoring of our hearts for him, there must always remain this personal, hidden rendezvous. No one else is there when you lay your head upon your pillow and have one final conversation with Him who will be the last one to tuck you in and the first to awaken you in the morning. Your every day is seasoned with moments no one else will ever have access to but Christ. It is in this sense we are able to share our life with Jesus in secret.

These words, “I love Jesus,” are words you could shout from the rooftops (it may not be a bad idea), but they are also words you should be able to whisper when no one else is around. They are words you will understand for yourself in a way no one else can.

+ Br. Joseph Michael Fino, CFR
Paterson, NJ
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Friday, April 25, 2014


The Healing Humanity of 2PopeSaints!

Two Sons of Peter - 
Shepherds chosen by Jesus - 
Instruments of Hope - 

#2popesaints #holyhaiku #John23 #JP2

On April 27, Divine Mercy Sunday, Pope Francis will canonize Pope John 23rd and Pope John Paul II, officially declaring them to be saints. One surprised the world by calling Vatican Council II, the other guided the Church in it's authentic implementation.

One insight from people who knew them: they both lived their humanity in a warm and inspiring way. In a world that is so wounded, I think that we really need this example of manliness and fatherhood in particular. Get to know them and you will be healed by their humanity - God is always at work through the humanity of those He chooses. Modern man is so often allergic to authority. These two were shepherds after the heart of the Good Shepherd - serving with love not lording it over those in their charge.

I was able to meet Pope John Paul twice, and I felt that I was speaking with my grandfather - such love radiated from his eyes and voice! I believe that he embodied what Jesus had in mind when He instituted the Office of the Papacy.

Saint Popes John and John Paul, pray for us who are still making our way to the Father's House!

+ Fr. Luke Mary Fletcher, CFR
Yonkers, NY
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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Happy Easter!

No need to double-check the date. I know Easter Sunday has come and gone—but it’s still Easter! The Church’s celebration of the Resurrection of Christ will be in full swing for over a week. We are presently in the Easter Octave, which means we commemorate the Solemnity of Our Lord’s resurrection for eight days. A Solemnity is like a majestic bell that signals the beginning of a liturgical season; it reverberates for days on end. Once, after giving some teens an instruction on the Church’s celebrations (solemnities, feasts, octaves, and seasons) one boy enthusiastically said, “The church really knows how to party!”

Over the centuries, devout Christians not only celebrated their feasts in Church, but also at home. Faith stirred the imagination of many to employ common everyday things to convey the message and meaning of great feasts like Easter. The little chicks coming out of their egg, for example, were used to represent Christ emerging from the tomb. The rabbit was known by all to signify fecundity and vitality, while the fragrant lily has not only a beautiful and pervasive scent, but also a trumpet-like appearance for proclaiming the good news of Christ’s resurrection. In many places, since Easter is celebrated at the end of winter, dreary coats are put aside for brighter and lighter clothing, thus beginning the tradition of “spring fashions” and the sometimes ostentatious Easter bonnet!
Speaking about spring fashions, I remember as a young boy praying on Holy Saturday for good weather the next day. It should be sunny and warm enough so I wouldn’t have to wear my winter coat over my brand-new suit jacket, shirt and tie! My “less-than-spiritual” spirituality was also evidenced at Easter Mass when I was thinking about going home to open my Easter basket, filled with chocolate eggs tightly wrapped in colored foil, bright yellow marshmallow chicks, and a milk chocolate Easter bunny with really long ears.

Like Christmas, Easter not only meant a long Mass, but an even longer meal at my grandparents’ house. Actually, the better word is marathon meal. This simply meant spending the entire day at the table talking and eating everything from homemade pasta to roasted lamb to my grandmother’s Easter grain pie. I can still hear my grandfather greeting us at the door with his broken English, “Hap-East!” At the end of the day, my grandmother would send everyone home with odd-shaped packages wrapped in foil so that the next day we could enjoy a “nice sang-wich.”

As you see, my recollections of Easter are not terribly “spiritual.” Some might call them worldly. Yet, strange as it may seem, the religious reality was always there, inches away, although admittedly we rarely talked about it. For me, being Catholic was as natural as being American—and I only waved a flag on the Fourth of July! Holy days were sort of braided with holidays, and somehow the spiritual coexisted with the secular. The problem, however, about being a cultural Catholic is that you don’t really appreciate and fully understand the treasure you have.

I suspect there are many of you who have had a reawakening of your faith in recent years. Perhaps, like me, you were born and bred in a culture exported from Catholic Europe. At some time, perhaps during adolescence, a question came to mind, “Why do I believe at all?” This one question led to others, and in time, the tight knot which kept us close to shore loosened; we became untethered, and then we quietly drifted away. How and why we came back is a book in itself, but thanks to God’s grace, the story of our adventure will have a very happy ending.

Statistics attest that thousands joyfully entered the Church this Easter, but only God knows the number of those who quietly came back. This is why the Church parties for eight days—She’s real happy! To these we say, “Welcome home!” and “Hap-East!”

+ Fr. Glenn Sudano, CFR
 Most Blessed Sacrament Friary, Newark, NJ
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Saturday, April 19, 2014

HolyHaiku Easter Resurrection

The Resurrection
is the ultimate proof of
His love and mercy

Sidnote: “ 'If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain' (1 Cor 15:14) .The Resurrection above all constitutes the confirmation of all Christ’s works and teachings. All truths, even those most inaccessible to human reason, find their justification if Christ by his Resurrection has given the definitive proof of his divine authority, which he had promised" (The Catechism of the Catholic Church, #651).

#holyhaiku #Easter #Resurrection
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Friday, April 18, 2014

HolyHaiku Sorrowful Mysteries

Contradiction's sign -
History's diving line -
accept     Love     or not -
How can God be sad?
Some will freely spurn His love.
Our love consoles Him.
sin carries burden
Eternity enters time
cross carries freedom

The King of Glory
Crowned in all Obedience
Humbled for us all

Christ had died for me
Love so great laid down for friends
Hope dies not also

Watching her Son die
Perfectly takes up her cross
A Mother's heart pierced
#holyhaiku #Lent #HolyWeek
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Thursday, April 17, 2014

HolyHaiku Holy Thursday Eucharist

Unbound Love for all -
Sacrifice on Calvary -
Made present for all -
Sidenote: This #holyhaiku highlights the deep theological connection between the Holy Eucharist and the sacrifice of Jesus' crucifixion on Good Friday. The ancient custom of molding the image of the crucifixion on the host is an apt expression of the mystery. The very words which Jesus used as he instituted the Eucharist ("... my body given for you ... my blood poured out for the forgiveness of sins ...") point to the close connection. The Mass is the place where we are most intimately placed in communion with the one offering of Jesus...
#holyhaiku #Lent
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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Comedy of Lent

It’s always a comedy, folks; it is never a tragedy. Even in lent we should remember that any time Jesus predicted his death, he always made mention of his resurrection.

You cannot even imagine the curtain to close once he’s placed in the tomb only to be opened with the stone three days later. No, there is no period only an ellipse, a dramatic pause. The movement of life continues through the false climax of the crucifixion to the real climax of the resurrection. If they were not so tightly knit together we would surely have neither one. For how could our Lord have seen his crucifixion to the end if he didn’t have his resurrection sustaining and propelling him? And what resurrection would there be if he was unable to fully complete his salvific act of self-offering? 

Please remember—always remember—that for Christ the story never ends with his crucifixion, and so it is for you, the Christian, the other Christ also. You may dwell there. You may meditate on the mystery of his passion, of course. And surely You will participate in it yourself, but it is precisely this reason why you cannot stay there, because neither did he.

We must always live with the resurrection in the forefront of our minds. Otherwise we will look like pickled peppers, and our Pope told us not to do that.

+ Br. Joseph Michael Fino, CFR
Paterson, NJ 
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Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Stations of the Cross HolyHaiku

#holyhaiku #stationsofthecross #Lent
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Friday, April 11, 2014

Palm Sunday

Jesus Drawing Near
Hosanna in the Highest
Humble Messiah

#holyhaiku #PalmSunday
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Freedom and Truth

Once at St. Lucy’s Shelter in Jersey City, I met a homeless man who taught me something about how the truth sets us free. He is a recovering alcoholic who has been sober for about a year. He mentioned a few times how humbling it was to be in a shelter situation since he had a college education and had done very well in the film industry. He spoke very articulately about how drinking had eventually caused him to lose everything and to isolate himself, too proud to ask any of his friends or co-workers for help.

After spending some time at the Salvation Army and now at St. Lucy’s, he is getting back on his feet. What was most impressive, however, was the apparent joy and glimmer in his eye as he spoke about how he was much more free than ever before in his life. He didn’t care anymore about all of the material goods he used to have—as long as he had a sandwich and a cup of coffee, he was content; although he was looking forward to the privacy of his own room again. He is a Christian man who has come to realize that he can’t simply rely on his own strength. Although not a Catholic, he was eager to receive a rosary and learn how he could pray with it.

Our Saviour’s line about “the poor you will always have with you, but me you will not always have” (Jn 12:8) sometimes throws us off a bit, as if we don’t need to be concerned about the poor. Our Lord was in fact quoting the Old Testament (Dt. 15:11), and was speaking to Judas, who was more concerned about his bank account than helping the poor anyway. But this homeless man came to realize as a poor man how the Lord Jesus is truly our greatest treasure, the Truth Himself, who sets us free. Paradoxically, we realize that we always have Jesus with us in the poor, who will always be with us. Where there is humble poverty, we find the truth that sets us free.

+ Fr. Richard Roemer, CFR
Yonkers, NY
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Thursday, April 3, 2014

5th Sunday of Lent - Resurrection

waiting for new life - 
like creation in winter - 
Resurrection springs! - 

#holyhaiku #Lent

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