Saturday, March 10, 2018

Minister's Message for Lent 2018

As Lent Begins
Beloved National Family,

It’s our season. Time to redouble our efforts.
Lent is upon us, beckoning us.

We seek a meaningful Lent. A fruitful Lent. So, what will we "do" for Lent?
Where is the Lord leading me? Will I really hear his voice in the desert?

I’m stressed. Worrying too much about too many things.
"Therefore… let us be very much on our guard that, under the guise of some reward or assistance, we do not lose or take our mind away from God." (Francis, the Earlier Rule)

You mean, just sit here and pray? When so much needs to be done?
"Trust in the Lord … and he will direct your paths." (Proverbs 3:5-6)

"Oh, let all who thirst, come to the water…  Why should you spend your life… except for the Lord?" (Isaiah 55)

As I sought meaning, the meaningful way opened. I heard His voice in the desert.
"A voice of one calling in the wilderness…" (Mark 1:3)

It was in the desert that "meaning" found me. I know now what I need to do. Peace overflows.
"You prepare a feast for me …. My cup overflows with blessings. (Psalm 23)

A feast? Yes, right here in the desert! Fasting from worry. Feasting on trust.
The joy of the Lord is my strength! (Nehemiah 8:10)

My Lenten journey has begun. I’m on my way. But I did not get here on my own. I am blessed to share this journey with you, my brothers and sisters who mean so much to me.
May the grace of the Holy Spirit, the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and our holy father St. Francis, and the fraternal bonds of community always be my help, so that I may reach my goal of perfect Christian love. (From the Rite of Profession in the Secular Franciscan Oder)


When I sat down to write this message, I had a very different one in mind. But this is the message that got written. What a blessing it is to be on this Lenten journey with you! Honestly, I would not be where I am at without you. Thank you for being my brothers and sisters in Christ, Francis and Clare.

Peace, love and Lenten joy,

Pax et bonum

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Franciscan Spirituality



Franciscan Spirituality is an incarnational, earthy spirituality. God is close to creation, not far away, “up there.” As St. Bonaventure put it, God bends down to us, lifting us up. Franciscan spirituality reveres the Eucharist as the humility of God for us.

Faithful to the Gospel and the Church

Franciscan Spirituality includes as a fundamental component obedience and loyalty to the Church and magisterium. Franciscan spirituality has an engaging, inviting stance toward the world encouraging dialogue along with a healthy and prophetic critique of modern secular culture and its values.

Rooted in Prayer, Contemplation, and Service

Franciscan spirituality hinges on the synthesis of action and contemplation; prayer leads to work and ministry; work and ministry bring us back to prayer. Contemplation is the impetus for mission. Franciscan spirituality understands authority and obedience in terms of mutual service, not submission or domination. It embraces and supports the growth and development of the arts and sciences in dialogue with revelation and faith.

Committed to Upholding the Dignity of All of Creation

Franciscan spirituality manifests a profound reverence for the human person as one made in the image and likeness of God and values and esteems creation as brother and sister, reflections of God’s goodness and glory. It understands that Creation and the world, despite the impact of sin, remain fundamentally good as gifts from God. In its witness to fraternity has an appreciation of and reverence for the individual within the global community. Franciscan spirituality acknowledges the necessity of human work and strives to uphold the value of human labor and the dignity of workers. It insists on a commitment to social justice by striving for solidarity with the poor and marginalized, the powerless and the voiceless as images of Christ Crucified. It seeks to give concrete expression of and commitment to global and local peacemaking by seeking and initiating the process of reconciliation.

Source: Mount Saint Francis Center for Spirituality, Mt. St. Francis, Indiana.
Pax et bonum

Monday, February 12, 2018

Questions for Chapters 15 and 16

Padre Pio: The True Story          Chapters 15-16

Padre Pio could not understand what about others’ spiritual lives?

As his fame grew, what one material thing that came his way posed a problem. What was it?
       How did this problem cause him additional problems in Chapter 16?

Padre Pio was not involved in politics per se, yet how did the politics affect him and the monastery?

What kind of suggestions did he offer to political leaders?

Why might the people have become so violent?

Who was emerging as a major foe of Padre Pio in Chapter 15 - and will cause him serious problems in Chapter 16?

What were the charges leveled against Padre Pio in Chapter 16?

How are they “typical” charges leveled in situations like this?

Can you recall other situations where holy people faced such charges?

In the end, what saves Padre Pio?

Pax et bonum

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

St. Angela of Foligno: Pray

No one can be saved without divine light. Divine light causes us to begin and to make progress, and it leads us to the summit of perfection. Therefore if you want to begin and to receive this divine light, pray. If you have begun to make progress and want this light to be intensified within you, pray. And if you have reached the summit of perfection, and want to be superillumined so as to remain in that state, pray.

- St. Angela of Foligno

Pax et bonum

Monday, January 1, 2018

Pope on New Year’s Day: Devotion to Mary is a must

Pope on New Year’s Day: Devotion to Mary is a must: At the start of the new year, Pope Francis said that having a devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary isn’t just something that is nice or good to do, but is an obligation in the life of a Christian.

Pax et bonum

Thursday, December 21, 2017

St. Francis and the First Creche

With ox and ass and manger and hay
St. Francis recalled that holy day.
But before that Greccio scene was done
The Father again provided his Son.

Pax et bonum