Matthew 28:16-20 16 The eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had ordered them. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped, but they doubted. 18 Then Jesus approached and said to them, “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go, therefore, and make disciples of […]
Reflection for the 7th Sunday of Easter by FAN Board Treasurer, Br. Paul Crawford, OFM, Cap. This reflection was originally posted in our May 22nd newsletter “I am with you always, until the end of the age.” The Celebration of the Ascension always reminds me of the various times of goodbyes and moving on in […]
May 21-27, 2017
1 Peter 3: 15-18 is so heartening, it bears repeating here:
Beloved: Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts.
Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you
a reason for your hope, but do it with gentleness and reverence, keeping your conscience clear,
so that, when you are maligned, those who defame your good conduct in Christ
may themselves be put to shame.
For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that be the will of God, than for doing evil.
For Christ also suffered for sins once,
the righteous for the sake of the unrighteous, that he might lead you to God.
Put to death in the flesh, he was brought to life in the Spirit.
It is hard to believe our rash and quick to anger Peter, could write such calm and gentle words. However, his own experience of the denial of Jesus, certainly had a profound effect on him. He was brought to his kneels so that he could stand humbly in his leadership of Christ’s Church. We, too, can find this “gentleness and reverence” in our daily lives, because we can bow our heads with Peter and ask for mercy and forgiveness for our various sins.
Sometimes you may hear a priest say, “Jesus, the Christ,” in his preaching and wonder, if he made a mistake. In the Jewish belief “the Christ,” was the savior, the Messiah, so, as we see in Acts 8: 5-8; 14-17, Philip used the expression, “…proclaimed the Christ to them.” As time went on the name of Jesus was shortened to “Jesus Christ,” like saying “Jesus Savior” or “Jesus Messiah.”
The great Feast of the Ascension is celebrated this week Thursday or Sunday to come. I often wonder what it was like to spend some forty days of instruction given by the Risen Savior. The disciples probably had awe written on their faces, as they soaked in the words of this Jesus alive. What a letdown it must have been to see him leave. However, Jesus made a promise, as we see in John 14: 15-21, when we hear him say, I will ask the Father and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of Truth. We also have the gift, Whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him. It may seem a little scary to believe that Jesus will reveal himself to us. Isn’t that for saints? Well, what are we anyhow, if we live in the grace of God and are forgiven?
St. Rita of Cascia is the Patron of impossible causes and hopeless circumstances. She was forced to marry at twelve years of age and suffered a violent and abusive marriage. After the death of her husband and two sons, she entered the Augustinian nuns. She received the stigmata by way of a thorn in her forehead. Her body is incorruptible. CatholicCompany.com
St. Philip Neri was called the Third Apostle of Rome in the 16th century after Peter and Paul. He was a priest who was full of joy and brought that spirit to all whom he served. Many said that they only needed to stand near his room after his death to feel peace and joy. Catholicsaints.com
St. Augustine of Canterbury was a Benedictine monk of Italian heritage in the 6th century. He was appointed the first archbishop of Canterbury. He is the Patron of the English and considered the founder of the English Church. CatholicEncyclopedia.com
Live in the blessings of the Ascended Lord Jesus,
Sister Rosemarie Goins, CSSF, Director
A Reason for Our Hope
As I reflect on the readings for this Sunday I wonder, am I really attentive to the great love that God bestows upon me, upon us, upon all people? Our gracious and generous God has blessed us with Incarnate Love, the gift of Christ, become one with us so that we may know God’s great desire to dwell with us.
God’s generosity does not stop there! As we hear Jesus proclaim in the gospel, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot accept, because it neither sees nor knows him. But you know him, because he remains with you, and will be in you.”
Our Triune God, the dynamic presence of relationship, Father/Creator, Christ/Sanctifier, Spirit/Advocate is continuously gracious and generative. God continually invites us into this Divine Relationship of overflowing Love, to be one with Love. How do we give voice and witness to this deep, generative love of God in our world today?
Granted, we are faced with overwhelming challenges of terrorism, violence, poverty, hunger, human exploitation and trafficking, and mounting pollution and degradation of our land, air and water. We listen to national and world leaders calling for isolationism, nationalism, and protectionism, forgetting that every nation and all people live on this one single planet, till the same soil, and breathe the same air.
The vision and words of these leaders are being called into question, as they should be, because their message seems to have gone so far afield from the wisdom and truth of the gospel. As we continue to be underwhelmed by the message of popular leaders, we are called and challenged to be the clarion call that we hear in the first Letter of Peter, “Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope.”
I often hear and read Franciscan scholar, Br. Bill Short, OFM, use this text as a foundation for our Franciscan presence, spirituality and theology needed in our world today. Br. Bill states, “People are seeking an alternative language – an alternate way of looking at the human person, the meaning of the Church, and its place in the world, who God is, what Christ represents, what salvation or creation means in our day. We have a hopeful word to speak to the concerns present in today’s Church and to the crises affecting our society.”
Are we always ready to give the explanation for our hope? Recently, I had another opportunity to speak at a premier of the Sultan and the Saint, this time in Orlando, FL. Before and after every premier I am attentive to the people gathering, welcoming and thanking them for coming and for the work they are doing to bring the message of peace to their community. At this Orlando premier as I was greeting people an older Muslim woman approached me and thanked me for being there. She asked me if I was a nun. I told her, “Yes, I am a Franciscan sister.” I felt her look deeply into me as she exclaimed, “This is wonderful! You have dedicated your life to God and to God alone. This is a great witness to all of us. Thank you. We need people to know this.” She then asked if we could give each other a hug.
Her words, this encounter, still resonates within me, especially in light of our scriptures. We all need to reveal and recognize the dynamic presence of God’s love with us and within every one of us by our very presence, by connecting person to person. We need to explain and give witness to our hope, the dynamic gift of love that we are called to invite others to share.
On April 25, 2017 Pope Francis spoke via video at a TED conference of people gathered in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. His message was one of encounter as he stated, “Through the darkness of today’s conflicts, each and every one of us can become a bright candle, a reminder that light will overcome darkness, and never the other way around.” The Pope called for a ‘revolution of tenderness.’ “And what is tenderness? It is the love that comes close and becomes real. It is a movement that starts from our heart and reaches the eyes, the ears and the hands.”
For those who have not had the opportunity, I urge you to watch and listen to Pope Francis’ TED talk on hope and tenderness. If you have watched it, I invite you to watch it again and be open to the encounter of hope and of love.
As we reflect and prepare to encounter Christ and one another in the Eucharistic feast, let us also be ready to go forth, incarnating love and be ready to give the explanation to anyone who asks for the reason for our hope. And remember to always do it with gentleness, tenderness, and reverence.
John 14:15-21 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, 17 the Spirit of truth, which the world cannot accept, because it neither sees nor knows it. But you know it, because it remains with […]
FROM ST. AUGUSTINE SPIRITUALITY CENTER
Sister Rosemarie Goins, Felician Franciscan
Praise God and give thanks for the wonderful gift and creation of motherhood. God so valued motherhood that he chose to create one for himself, the Blessed Virgin Mary. This mystery was the downfall of some of the angels, who refused to worship the child of this woman. This child was to be both human and divine. These angels believed themselves greater than humans and would not accept this seeming humiliation. From thence, Mary became the enemy of these angels. We often see imagines of Mary standing on the head of the serpent, the devil. She is the Mother of Mothers and lives as an example of the compassionate, loving woman for whom we give thanks. This day we also give thanks to the women who gave us life and cradled us in their wombs. There are also many women along our life’s journey, who have nurtured us. For them we give thanks, too.
The ordinary stone is used symbolically in Sunday’s readings from 1 Peter 2: 4-9. It seems appropriate for Peter, who is the “rock upon which Jesus built his church,” Matthew 16:18 to preach about Jesus as the “living stone.” “Come to him, a living stone, rejected by human beings, but chosen and precious in the sight of God, and, like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house…” Jesus is the cornerstone that holds up the whole edifice of the church, just as he is the cornerstone in each of our spiritual houses. This cornerstone needs protection through prayer and good works, so that it is not dislodged by the evil one.
John 14: 1-12 gives us the wonderful image of Jesus as, “I am the way and the truth and the life.” It shows us the timelessness of Jesus – “I Am.” The path is marked clearly. No lies distort this journey. It is one of clarity and transparency. The reward is life here and hereafter – the resurrection.
The Feast of St. Isidore the Farmer is one very beloved by the rural communities. He came on the scene in the 11th-12th centuries in Spain. Because his family was so poor, he was hired out to a farmer, whom he served for the rest of his life. He was often late for work, because he was serving Mass, but his plowing was done by angels, according to legend, and yielded plentiful crops. He was highly respected by the other employees and his master. Miracles were attributed to him of the feeding of the hungry, even birds. His body is uncorrupt. Savior.org
In 1400 during a terrible plague a young man, Bernardine, approached a hospital in Siena, Italy and offered to care for the sick and dying. He served there for four months and then collapsed from exhaustion. When he recovered, he cared for an aunt. Being of noble birth, he continued his studies after her death. Because he was unsatisfied with his life, he decided to enter the Franciscan Order. He became a priest and was commissioned to preach, but his voice was too weak and raspy. He became the head of the order and strove to bring back the original spirit of St. Francis of Assisi. After this ministry he became healed of his weakness of voice and became a great preacher throughout Italy. He was hailed as the “Apostle of Italy” and was sometimes compared to St. Paul. He brought about reform in his own religious community, as well as, the church and the political and social communities of his day. Newadvent.com
As we see the working of these “living stones,” Isadore and Bernardine, both peasant and nobleman, we can take heart and be “living stones” today. Perhaps we are already well on the path of building the “spiritual house” of ourselves and others. May these endeavors be blessed with the “cornerstone – Jesus.”
Your sister on the journey,
Sister Rosemarie Goins, Felician Franciscan
I was 19 when my cousin came to live with my family. He was just out of the Marines. He was not doing very well and was lost in many ways. When we were children we had been close, but it had been a few years since we had seen each other, and trying to re-establish our friendship was hard.