Thursday, April 30, 2009

Sunday May 3, 2009 - World Day of Prayer for Vocations


“Pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest” (Mt 9:38)

Let us join the worldwide church in prayer that more people around the world will answer God's call to the priesthood and religious life.

In the Holy Father's message regarding this day he said:

The awareness of being saved by the love of Christ, which every Mass nourishes in the faithful and especially in priests, cannot but arouse within them a trusting self-abandonment to Christ who gave his life for us. To believe in the Lord and to accept his gift, therefore, leads us to entrust ourselves to Him with thankful hearts, adhering to his plan of salvation. When this does happen, the one who is “called” voluntarily leaves everything and submits himself to the teaching of the divine Master; hence a fruitful dialogue between God and man begins, a mysterious encounter between the love of the Lord who calls and the freedom of man who responds in love, hearing the words of Jesus echoing in his soul, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide” (Jn 15:16).


p.s. Happy B-day Lizzy boo (I am saying this, not the Holy Father for those of your who were confused)


Saturday, April 25, 2009

Unless....

Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
- John 12:24

These words of Jesus have been following me through the Lenten season and into the Easter season. I seem to hear them in communion antiphons, Gospel readings, church hymns, even on the radio. As I consider the next steps in my life and in my relationship with God, it seems appropriate that this quote from John follow me in my prayers, constantly reminding me that it is not all about me, but it is all about my salvation as well as others who I might touch as I move through this life.

Please Lord, give me the strength to be this grain of wheat, it is only through losing myself that I will truly find myself and find deep joy. It is only through you that I can become who I am truly meant to be.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter in Denver at the Community of the Beatitudes

My dear friend Lucie invited me to spend Easter with her in Denver, Colorado with the Community of the Beatitudes:

Sister Nikki is the first person I meet. She walks up to us, tall dressed in an all-white habit. I imagine her wearing hiking books and being outdoors leading a group into the Grand Canyon. Her lips blue from eating the principal's birthday cake at the Catholic School where she teaches gym.

Sister Annie is from Senegal, even when she is not smiling, she is smiling, her joy hidden just beneath the surface.

Sophie is from France, she used to work for Luis Vuitton before she left her job to spend a year discerning what God wants for her life. Maria is Sophie's close friend. They both wear white bubble jackets so Lucie and I joke that they are like two marshmallows walking along together, never separated. She is Vietnamese and a huge clown. Even in Easter Mass she is giggling and smiling mischievously.

Marcello, Hank, Randy and Andre are the men in the School of Life in the community. It is inspiring to see such prayerful men. Marcello is Brazilian, handsome and always put together. He wants to become a priest. Hank is quiet but when he talks, he talks without embarrassment about how Jesus saved him when he was 21. Randy is always chatting and kidding around. He wears an American flag tie to the Easter Vigil mass. On Holy Saturday, Andre stays until the church is empty, his head down in prayer.

Clotilde is taller than most of the men, her eyes soft and light. She makes icons, many of which hang around the chapel and are sold in the church.

Jud and his wife Mariane are the quiet backbone of the church. Mariane shows me how to sponge up the Holy Water from the marble bowls around the church so we can clean them out. Jud's eyes tell you he is strong and loves his faith. He used to be a Hindu until Mary called him to the Catholic faith.

Father Nathaniel is young, his eyes like a cat. He gives a homily on Holy Thursday that moves me to tears. He brings the Blessed Sacrament to the "Garden of Gethsemane" and remains, on his knees, his head tilted in silent prayer for several hours.

Father Sebastien is the pastor of the church, his head shaved bald - he is a force to be reckoned with. Everyone around him waits in delighted anticipation of the next antic he is going to pull. He is unpredictable, intuitive and strong.

Father John is full of the joy and strength of the Holy Spirit. He gives a homily in half Spanish and half English, never losing his train of thought. His words are not just words, they are feelings. In his Easter homily, he brings us through the pain and death of Jesus to the Resurrection not just in our minds but with the feelings of our hearts.

Thank you Lord for the beautiful example of what our Catholic faith can look like. Rooted in the power of the Eucharist, this community overflows in the richness of God.