Saturday, June 27, 2015

Statement on the Supreme Court Decision

FRANCISCAN FRIARS OF THE RENEWAL – Statement on the Supreme Court Decision

Statement on the Supreme Court Decision | Same Sex Marriage Ruling

“Grace Abounds”…Romans 5:20

In the midst of present day moral confusion and the cultural attack on the Christian way of life in the United States and around the world, there is a real temptation to discouragement and even despair. As the news continues to report the “victory lap” that is being taken by those who offer a different way of understanding marriage and sexuality, the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal find great hope in the powerful presence of God at work in the countless couples, families, and individuals who are heroically faithful to the Gospel and the truth of marriage and sexuality according to God’s design. We also find great hope in those individuals who experience same sex attraction and have made the free, heroic and self-sacrificing choice to live the virtue of chastity in a culture where the alternative is in fact much easier and socially celebrated.

There are many questions being asked about the way forward for the Church as she faces the stark reality of these present day challenges and trials. As we have heard echoed over the past few days from the Bishops in the United States and from those who speak in fidelity with the Church and her teaching, Christ is the answer. Jesus who is the Truth (John 14:6) is our refuge, strength, consolation, and way forward. His Grace abounds in the midst of temptation, confusion, and darkness. His love is our response, the powerful statement that must be made to those who agree with the Church and also for those who disagree.  In a time where a misguided compassion seems to dictate that true love and true religion not only should accept the sinner but also the sin, we with great respect and humility, boldly call for a renewed courageous witness among all Catholics, Christians and people of good will. This witness, modeled by Jesus, doesn’t tire of loving and showing genuine compassion to our brothers and sisters who experience same sex attraction and who are caught up in the challenges and difficulties of the current cultural crisis. However, at the same time we urge an ever more courageous proclamation of the truth of marriage and God’s beautiful plan for human sexuality.

In this pressing time, we pray for the intercession of our late founder Fr. Benedict Groeschel and his dear friend Fr. John Harvey, who was the founder of Courage, an outreach to those who experience same sex attraction and strive to freely choose to live a chaste way of life (http://couragerc.org/). We are inspired by their fidelity and commitment to the truth of the Church and the Gospel.

Statement by Courge Internatinal

Statement by the USCCB

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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Sr. Nirmala, MC, Rest in Peace

Sr. Nirmala, MC, successor to Mother Teresa as the general superior of the Missionaries of Charity has passed. May she rest in peace! Watch an interview with her here: http://youtu.be/IZcIw3sb72Q

Monday, June 15, 2015

The Fulcrum

People, we have to talk about the Mass.

If the basic game-plan for the spiritual life is monthly confession, weekly Mass (on Sundays, of course) and daily prayer, we find Mass not so much a second step in a list of three but a fulcrum on which the other two balance.

Mass is for us the source of our life. The human person has a few spheres of life intersecting with one another within us: our physical life, our intellectual life and spiritual life, and each of these have their appropriate sources of nourishment. Obviously are physical life is nourished by the various foods and proteins we eat throughout the day—generally there are no problems here. Our intellectual life is nourished by truth—this seems a bit tricky these days but that’s a conversation for another time. Our spiritual life is nourished most certainly and concretely by the Eucharist. Jesus says very clearly, “For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him….He who eats this bread will live forever” (Jn 6:55-58). The day will come for us all when our physical and intellectual life falters, flickering out like a candle in a mush of wax. Our spiritual life, however, will carry us on into eternity—eternal life if we’re spiritually alive or eternal death if we’re spiritually dead.

It is good for one’s life to be balanced, yes; but you have to ask yourself, just on what is my life balancing? Let it be upon the Eucharist—which is to say upon the Lord. You won’t be disappointed.

+ Br. Joseph Michael Fino, CFR
Yonkers, NY
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Friday, June 12, 2015

Keep It Simple

I was preaching in Spanish at a local Harlem church. Preaching in another language forces you to simplify your message, what is the heart of what I want to say? Pointing to the beautiful Sacred Heart of Jesus statue I said, "Look! The heart of Jesus is on fire, on fire with love. We need that fire in our hearts!

¡Mira! El corazón de Jesús está en fuego, en el fuego de amor. Necesitamos que el fuego en nuestros corazones!"

Great modern art piece by Fr. Paulus Tautz, CFR

+ Fr. Luke Mary Fletcher, CFR
New York
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Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Desire for God

“Father Jeremiah,” a brother’s voice spoke over the intercom, “a woman is on the phone who would like to talk to a priest.”

“Um, ok…” I responded somewhat hesitantly. 

Why I responded hesitantly I am not sure.  Quite honestly phone calls like that, someone “needing” to talk to a priest, happen at least a few times a week.

When I answered the call and introduced myself the woman simply responded.

“I recently went to a parish mission…I have been away from church for years…I haven’t been praying…I realize that my life is empty, etc.”  And then she said it, “I want to know who God is.

“Ok…” I responded feeling energized by her honesty.  “Would you like to get together so we can talk?”

“Yes,” she responded immediately.

As I scheduled an appointment with her and hung up the phone I stood there repeating her very own words, “I want to know who God is.”  The reason, I believe, those words affected me so deeply was because she revealed to me my own heart.  It is what I have always wanted and what I still want now, even though that desire often gets distracted and settles for substitutes and idols that only leave me feeling empty and alone. 

What I love about this woman’s story is that she allowed her life history to lead her to something more.  Surely she had moments of happiness and sadness in her life, moments of light and darkness and everything else in between.  Yet, it wasn’t enough.  She wasn’t settling for second best.   She needed more, hence the cry of her heart, “I want to know who God is.” 

May we be so brave! 

+ Fr. Jeremiah Myriam Shryock, CFR
Saint Joseph Friary Harlem, NY
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Tuesday, June 2, 2015

God Has a Heart

This Sacred Heart of Jesus statue is in our small Bronx church. It is greatly loved by many of God's poor (who are rich in faith). I once saw a poor old woman, before this image, pour out her whole heart in a mighty widow's-mite offering. I wish I could love Jesus like her. Her name was Frances and she passed away last week, may she pray for us from the other side - that place where He is seen in reality, no longer in image...

+ Fr. Luke Mary Fletcher, CFR
Bronx, NY
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