Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Writing Leads Me to the Heart of God

I have always benefited from writing.  For me it almost always brings clarity, insight and understanding.  Sure enough every time I finish writing, whether it is for 10 minutes, 20 minutes or a whole hour I feel refreshed and rejuvenated.  Miraculously, the world, or at least my own inner world, is less confusing and a bit easier to approach.

Lately though I have realized that writing has become…annoying.  Just recently I was re-reading my current journal and recognized that still my life is not some nice, clean, organized space that I control.  Quite honestly my life is anything but that; it is slippery, disorganized and dirty.  I do not understand God, myself, or others.  And if that is not enough writing continues to reveal to me that I am still often afraid, insecure and often times blind to the goodness of God all around me.

There could be of course an easy solution to this, stop writing and then you won’t have to “deal” with these issues.  On one level it makes sense, if something is causing you pain stop doing that which is causing the pain and the pain will stop.  I could theoretically stop writing and thereby avoid the confrontation it brings me with my true self.  But the truth is… I don’t want to stop.  On some strange level I like it …and it is actually healing.  Discovering the “chaos” of my heart more deeply has led me to a profound conclusion.  I am in need, not of just another friend, therapist, diet, or vacation, as good as all of those things are, but I am in need of someone who is truly capable of healing my entire being from the inside out.  In short, I need Jesus.

It is true; I could run from this reality and continue to live under the illusion that I am self-sufficient and capable of self perfection.  But why would I want to do that?  Writing leads me to the heart of God.

+ Fr. Jeremiah Myriam Shryock, CFR
Saint Joseph Friary
Harlem, NY
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Monday, May 25, 2015

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

May is Mary’s Month

Its hard not to love Mary—at least that’s what I think now. I remember praying my first rosary tucked away in my room at college. The door was locked. Well Jesus, I said, if this offends you, I’m sorry, but it just seems right. I am happy to report there were neither natural nor supernatural calamities that day. I don’t remember anything extraordinarily profound occurring either. As something of an Evangelical I had entered into a great wrestling match with God over the Church and the Eucharist, and if, as I had found, the Catholic Church was right on these matters, then, I reasoned, She must be right about Mary.

Mary. The truth is I know no sweeter name. It was hard at first to feel warmly towards her, but she led me along very easily, very freely. I made my little efforts having something of a resolve to trust the Church that gave me the Eucharist: praying the rosary, kneeling before her statue asking for prayers, talking to her the way I learned to talk to other saints, and I was always honest. I figured she could take it. One day I remember becoming aware that every time I went to or from the adoration chapel I would be sure to stop by her statue and say a prayer. That’s the day I realized this was more than just one of my little efforts. It had become one of my little needs.

Looking back on my experience of discernment and my initial years of friary life, I can find no greater support than hers. Somehow she is able to love me, really. It’s not because I’m special; it’s just because I’m a Christian—a Christian aware that there is this woman in Heaven with all sorts of affection for me. I don’t know how I would live without her. There is a need within me for her love and support, and now, unlike before, I have no reason to fear that. After all, this same need was heavy in our Lord’s heart. And His is the only heart I could hope to imitate.

+ Br. Joseph Michael Fino, CFR
Yonkers, NY
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Thursday, May 14, 2015

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

May Ordinations

Please pray for Deacon Brothers Christopher Joseph McBride & Ignatius Mary Shin who will be ordained to the priesthood on May 23rd. They will be ordained, along with their New York classmates, by His Eminence Timothy Cardinal Dolan at 9 AM at St. Patrick's Cathedral. The first Mass will be on Sunday, May 24th, at 10:30 AM at St. Crispin Friary in the South Bronx.

Read Fr. Christopher's story here.

Read Fr. Ignatius' story here.

Please pray for Brothers Innocent, Xavier, Dismas, Bernardino & Antonio who will be ordained to the transitional Diaconate on May 18th. They will be ordained by Bishop John O'Hara at 1:30 PM at St. Crispin Friary in the South Bronx .

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Spiritual Maturity

Perhaps the greatest temptation we are faced with in the spiritual life is to pursue the things of God rather than God himself. After all, it is the things of God that often fill our senses with delight and consolation, whereas God himself always transcends our senses and their experience. This is why all the great spiritual masters remind us that we must welcome consolation, moments where we can “feel” God’s presence and times of great enthusiasm in our spiritual life. However, we cannot stop there nor can we rely on them to always be there. In short, we can never find our rest in anything but God, not even in his works.

In a mysterious way, the spiritual life really begins when we stop “feeling” God and when all the lights we relied on to get to him have been dimmed or even turned off. It is here where faith, hope and love, the theological virtues that ultimately lead us to union with God, become activated and we begin to really make “progress” in the spiritual life. St. Paul himself alludes to this when he reminds the Corinthians that they are to, “walk by faith, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:7

Ultimately, God wants our love to become mature. In the beginning of our journey God used our senses and his works to get our attention and draw us to him. But as we grow God wants us to be ready for a deeper experience of him, which means that we have to leave behind the “things” that once drew us to God so as to receive something greater, namely God himself.     

+ Fr. Jeremiah Myriam Shryock, CFR
Saint Joseph Friary
Harlem, NY

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