Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Only If I Serve My Neighbor Can My Eyes Be Opened

Oil on canvas, Antonella Cappuccio (Italian, b. 1946)


Only if I serve my neighbor can my eyes be opened to what God does for me and how much he loves me. The saints—consider the example of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta—constantly renewed their capacity for love of neighbor from their encounter with the Eucharistic Lord, and conversely this encounter acquired its real-ism and depth in their service to others. Love of God and love of neighbor are thus inseparable, they form a single commandment. But both live from the love of God who has loved us first. No longer is it a question, then, of a “commandment” imposed from without and calling for the impossible, but rather of a freely-bestowed experience of love from within, a love which by its very nature must then be shared with others. Love grows through love. Love is “divine” because it comes from God and unites us to God; through this unifying process it makes us a “we” which transcends our divisions and makes us one, until in the end God is “all in all” (1 Cor 15:28).

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A Portrait of Merton by Ed Rice

What is the real face of Thomas Merton?

When he painted the portrait of his friend Merton standing near the Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky, Ed Rice deliberately blanked out Tom's face. He confessed to being confused. Over the years, the scholars, the followers, publishers, the church itself, had drawn a portrait that was unrecognizable, that of a plastic saint, a monk interested mainly in pulling nonbelievers, and believers in other faiths, into the one true religion. This was not the Merton that his friends from younger days and later days, Jim Knight and Ed Rice, knew. Merton was eminently human. He honored, and reached out to other faiths. He loved, he laughed. In essence he was a poet, who used words to help us understand the thousands of things we need to understand. This is his portrait, as recalled by his very close friends. - Jim Knight

* Many thanks to Beth at Louie, Louie for this post. This portrait is beautiful.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Mother's Relics in Newark, NJ




"Follow His footsteps wherever He goes in search of souls."

"Jesus is my All."


A Rose

It is summer here in New Jersey and the temperatures the last few days are surely proof. Yesterday I spent some time at St. Augustine Church in Newark, venerating the relics of our Blessed Mother Teresa. The temperature in the small mission church must have been near 90 degrees. But how appropriate was that - as Mother served the poorest of the poor in the conditions of the day - hot or cold. And most of the time in Calcutta, it was well over 100 degrees F., sometimes as high as 120 degrees.

The roses in Brookdale Park are blooming. Many thanks to those volunteers who care for the garden, weeding and pruning and feeding. So does our Lord with us - weed, prune and feed - making us more beautiful than the roses.

When I walk through the rose garden, I think of all those who I love - those here, those gone. If you get a chance today, take a walk in a rose garden.

The Rose Family by Robert Frost

The rose is a rose,
And was always a rose.
But now the theory goes
That the apple's a rose,
And the pear is, and so's
The plum, I suppose.
The dear only knows
What will next prove a rose.
You, of course, are a rose
But were always a rose.

* Image @bjm

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Blessed Teresa of Calcutta

Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, you showed us the beauty of a life lived in and for love and you never stop reminding us that we are all “created for greater things, to love and be loved." Help us to live, like you, a life of love that is worthy of our calling as children of God. Amen.

Lord, make me a channel of your peace.

To understand than to be understood.

Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, pray for us!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010



The 100th anniversary of the birth of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta will take place on August 26th. The Sisters of the Missionaries of Charity in Newark will begin a centennial celebration on Saturday, June 26th.

All are invited to visit St. Augustine Church, 170 Sussex Avenue in Newark for the veneration of relics of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 26. Relics belonging to Mother Teresa, including her crucifix, Rosary and sandals will be displayed. Holy Mass will be celebrated at 4:00 p.m.

Following a calling to work among the poorest of the poor, Mother Teresa began working with the poor in the slums of Calcutta. She founded the order of the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta in 1950. Today, the order now has more than 4,500 sisters, as well as priests and brothers, and is active around the world. Mother Teresa died at the motherhouse in Calcutta on September 5, 1997. She was beatified by Pope John Paul II on October 19, 2003.

* Above image: Children kiss a container holding a drop of Mother Teresa’s blood, one of the relics on display yesterday at Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta Church in Dorchester Massachusetts.

St. Augustine Church > MAPQUEST

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

More on Discipleship

In the words of Blessed Mother Teresa – “It is in the contemplation of the crucified Christ that all vocations find their inspiration.” Look behind me, set your eyes and your mind on the crucified Christ? Do you see His suffering? Do you see and feel the outpouring of love for you and me? Do you more immediately and profoundly experience the truth of God - who is love?” “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” We can only be inspired by Jesus, who gave his all – to free us - gifting us with a redeeming hope. Pope Benedict says this loving act of Jesus is “radical humility, which is in stark contrast with human pride, truly an expression of divine love; it is followed by that elevation into Heaven to which God attracts us with his love.” By meditating on the suffering Christ, with the helping grace of the Holy Spirit, we will discern his call – and then act upon it. To follow Him. To imitate Him.

By answering that call to Discipleship – we are placed on a sure path to heaven. To reach that ultimate reality – we must travel through the cross. There is no other way – it is through the narrow gate. The Christian must accept suffering – not any kind of suffering - a holy suffering. Suffering has no power and no value of its own. Suffering must be consecrated to God by faith - not by faith in suffering, but by faith in God.

We find our vocation in the meditation of the crucified Christ. So what is our vocation? As a Lay Missionary of Charity, I learned the charism of Mother Teresa by working day by day with her sisters. Living whole-hearted and free service to the poorest of the poor. Mother’s charism is a total surrender – Her “simple path” applies to all Christians – it is truly our vocation.

We are sent by Jesus -

To be carriers of God’s love, ready to go in haste, like Mary – in search of souls,

We are to be burning lights that give light to all mankind

We are to be the salt of the earth

We are to be consumed with one desire – Jesus. To keep His interests continually in our hearts and minds, carrying our Lord to places he has not walked before.

To be fearless in doing things He did, courageously going through danger – and sometimes death with him and for him,

To accept joyously the need to die daily to bring souls to God

To be happy to undertake any labor and toil, and glad to make any sacrifice involved in our Christian life.

You may say – this is hard. Just keep your eye on the crucified Christ.

With God, nothing is impossible.


Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day

St. Joseph, guardian of Jesus and chaste husband of Mary, you passed your life in loving fulfillment of duty. You supported the holy family of Nazareth with the work of your hands. Kindly protect those who trustingly come to you. You know their aspirations, their hardships, their hopes. They look to you because they know you will understand and protect them. You too knew trial, labor and weariness. But amid the worries of material life your soul was full of deep peace and sang out in true joy through intimacy with God's Son entrusted to you and with Mary, his tender Mother. Assure those you protect that they do not labor alone. Teach them to find Jesus near them and to watch over him faithfully as you have done.

Pope John XXIII

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Father and Daughter

I posted this Paul Simon video last year - I like it so much I am posting it again !

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Quote for Today - Immaculee Ilibagiza

Immaculée Ilibagiza was born in Rwanda and studied Electronic and Mechanical Engineering at the National University of Rwanda. Her life transformed dramatically in 1994 during the Rwanda genocide when she and seven other women huddled silently together in a cramped bathroom of a local pastor’s house for 91 days! During this horrific ordeal, Immaculée lost most of her family, but she survived to share the story and her miraculous transition into forgiveness and a profound relationship with God.

"...I came to realize that God never shows us something we aren't ready to understand. Instead, He lets us see what we need to see, when we need to see it. He'll wait until our eyes and hearts are open to Him, and then when we're ready. He will plant our feet on the path that's best for us. . . but it's up to us to do the walking."

— Immaculee Ilibagiza


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Blessed Mother Teresa

I first watched this movie in Rome, in 2003, while attending the festivities for Blessed Mother Teresa's beatification. Every now and then I go back and watch it - to remind me - how beautiful Mother was, and is - and how important the Missionaries of Charity are in my life.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

St. Bernard's Sermon 61:3-5

This morning I was looking through some old files I used years ago for my CCD classes. I came upon this sermon written by St. Bernard of Clairvaux. He is considered the primary builder of the reforming Cistercian monastic order. At his death in 1153, he had founded 343 monasteries. This particular reading is full of confidence in the Lord, an understanding that suffering is redemptive, an understanding that no sin is too great that it can not be forgiven - and our duty to spread the Good News wherever we go. Today we need this confidence, especially in light of all the attacks upon Holy Mother Church, and the attacks upon the dignity of the human person, most importantly the global attack on our weakest neighbors, the unborn.

Where can the weak find a place of perfect security and peace except in the wounds of the Savior? There the measure of my security is his power to save. The world rages, the body weighs me down, the devil lays snares for me, but I do not fall because my feet are planted on firm rock I may have sinned gravely. My conscience would be troubled but I would not despair for I would call to mind the wounds of the Lord. He was wounded for our iniquities. What sin is so deadly that it cannot be pardoned by the death of Christ? If I remember this powerful and effective remedy the malignancy of sin can no longer terrify me. Surely the man was wrong who said: My sin is too great to be pardoned. He was speaking as though he were not a member of Christ and had no share in his merits. A member of Christ can claim Christ’s merits as his own, just as a member of the body can claim what belongs to the head. As for me, I confidently take all I lack from the heart of the Lord, for that heart overflows with mercy. It does not lack openings through which mercy may pour out for they pierced his hands and feet and opened his side with a spear. Through these clefts I may suck honey from the rock and oil from the hardest stone. In other words, I may taste and see that the Lord is sweet. He was thinking thoughts of peace and I did not know it, for who knows the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor? But the piercing nail has become a key to unlock the door so that I may see the Lord’s will And what can I see as I look through the hole? Both the nail and the wound cry out that God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself. The sword pierced his soul and came close to his heart so that he might be able to feel compassion for me in my weakness. Through these sacred wounds the secret of his heart lies open, the great mystery of love is revealed, the tender mercy of our God which caused the Dayspring from on high to visit us is manifested. Where have your love, your mercy, your compassion shone out more luminously than in your wounds, sweet, gentle Lord of mercy? More mercy than this no one has than to lay down his life for those doomed to death.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Saint Brother Albert Chmielowski

Saint Brother Albert Chmielowski

At the age of eighteen, while Adam was a student at the Polytechnical Institute at Puławy, he lost his leg while taking part in the 1863 uprising. Because of the political repression following the uprising, he left Poland. In Gand (Belgium) Adam studied engineering; however, having discovered his artistic ability, he devoted his time and studies to the arts, especially painting, in Paris and Munich, Germany.

In 1874 he returned to Poland as an accomplished artist. Slowly, with the desire "to dedicate his thoughts and talents to the glory of God", Adam began to paint subjects with a religious theme. One of his most famous artistic works was "Ecce Homo", the result of his recognition of God's love for man, which led Chmielowski to a spiritual metamorphose.

In Cracow's public dormitories Adam saw the material and moral misery of the homeless and the derelicts, and for the love of Christ, whose countenance he recognised in their foresaken manhood, he decided to abandon his career, to live among the poor and needy and to accept a beggar's life and lifestyle.

On August 25, 1887 Adam clothed himself in a grey habit and assumed a new name, Brother Albert. The following year he professed religious vows and founded the Congregation of the Brothers of the Third Order of St Francis Servants of the Poor, (Albertine Brothers). In 1891 he founded a similar Congregation of Albertine Sisters whose aim was to provide assistance to poor and needy women and children.

Brother Albert organized shelters and homes for the crippled and incurables, soup kitchens for the poor, nurseries and institutions for homeless children and youth. He sent sisters to work in military hospitals and lazarets. In the shelters, the hungry received bread, the homeless found a place to live, the naked were clothed and work was available to the unemployed. A helping hand was extended to everyone, regardless of one's religion or nationality. While trying to meet the basic needs of the poor, Brother Albert with a fatherly love concerned himself with the spiritual welfare of those to whom he ministered. He instilled within them a proper respect for one's dignity and brought them to reconciliation with God. Brother Albert drew his strength to fulfill these acts of charity from his love for the Eucharist and for Jesus on the Cross.

Brother Albert died on Christmas day 1916, in Cracow, in the shelter founded by him, poor among the poor. The legacy he bequeathed to his spiritual brothers and sisters was the complete gift of himself to God in the service of the poor and needy, a life of evangelical poverty according to the example of St. Francis of Assisi, unconditional trust in the Providence of God, prayer and union with God in the work of every day. "You must be as good as bread, which for everyone rests on the table and from which everyone, if hungry, may cut himself a piece for nourishment" is the lesson Brother Albert's unselfish life teaches us.

The spiritual heritage of Brother Albert was joyfully accepted by the members of his Congregations, who today continue his mission to the poor and needy in Poland as well as other countries of the world.

Recognizing the sanctity of Brother Albert, his contemporaries referred to him as "the greatest person of his time". Seen as the twentieth century Polish St. Francis, Brother Albert was beatified by Pope John Paul II on June 22, 1983 in Cracow.

In proclaiming him among the saints on November 12, 1989 in Rome, the Church presents Brother Albert to a world in need of this witness of God's mercy by one who opened himself to the needs of others, in the spirit of evangelical goodness.

Check out the Albertine Brothers HERE

Friday, June 11, 2010

Prayers are answered

Abby Sunderland's yacht was spotted by an aerial search team in the southern Indian Ocean, midway between Australia and Africa.

Three ships are on their way to pick her up - the first is expected to be with her in 24 hours.

The teenager's family lost contact with her for some 20 hours, after she said she was caught in 30ft (9m) high waves.

Shortly after contact was lost, at around 1300 GMT on Thursday, the yacht's emergency beacons were manually activated, more than 3,220km (2,000 miles) from the coasts of both Africa and Australia.

A Qantas Airbus A330 search plane - scrambled from Perth early on Friday - spotted the teenager's boat, called Wild Eyes, and made contact with her.


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Abbey Sunderland - Keep Abbey In Your Prayers

Please keep Abbey Sunderland in your prayers. Abbey is a brave and inspiring young individual. Abbey is attempting a solo trip around the world. She is now located in the Southern Indian Ocean. Abbey's yacht is named "Wild Eyes." Two emergency satellite beacons from the yacht have been activated. Rescue efforts are underway.

You can find out more HERE

Here is Abbey's story....

Christians Persecuted in England

This video concerning the Christian persecution in England is disturbing. If our present government wants us to become like Europe, watch out! Now is the time to stay close to the Church, be always ready to defend Her - in all circumstances. Do not be afraid to let everyone know you are a Catholic Christian, at home, on the street, and in the workplace. Spread the Good News, everywhere you go!

"Blessed are you when they have slandered you, and persecuted you, and spoken all kinds of evil against you, falsely, for my sake: be glad and exult, for your reward in heaven is plentiful. For so they persecuted the prophets who were before you".
Matt 5:11-12

Monday, June 7, 2010


Here is the first picture of our Earth and moon, taken from NASA's Mars Global Surveyor. Looking at our home, I am so amazed - there is so much life on one little ball in space. There is so much love - so much hurt - so much war.

Do you think we are alone in space? Did God truly make us
for Himself?

I think so....

Does He expect better from us?

I know so...

For God alone my soul waits in silence;
from him comes my salvation.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken.

Psalm 62:1-3

Sunday, June 6, 2010


Holy Gospel according to Luke 9:11-17

Jesus made the crowds welcome and talked to them about the kingdom of God; and he cured those who were in need of healing.

It was late afternoon when the Twelve came to him and said, ‘Send the people away, and they can go to the villages and farms round about to find lodging and food; for we are in a lonely place here.’ He replied, ‘Give them something to eat yourselves.’ But they said, ‘We have no more than five loaves and two fish, unless we are to go ourselves and buy food for all these people’ For there were about five thousand men. But he said to his disciples, ‘Get them to sit down in parties of about fifty.’ They did so and made them all sit down. Then he took the five loaves and the two fish, raised his eyes to heaven, and said the blessing over them; then he broke them and handed them to his disciples to distribute among the crowd. They all ate as much as they wanted, and when the scraps remaining were collected they filled twelve baskets.

The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ is also known as the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, which translates from Latin to "Body of Christ." This feast originated in France in the midthirteenth century and was extended to the whole Church by Pope Urban IV in 1264. This feast is celebrated on the Thursday following the Trinity Sunday or, as in the USA, on the Sunday following that

This feast calls us to focus on two manifestations of the Body of Christ, the Holy Eucharist and the Church. The primary purpose of this feast is to focus our attention on the Eucharist. The opening prayer at Mass calls our attention to Jesus' suffering and death and our worship of Him, especially in the Eucharist.

At every Mass our attention is called to the Eucharist and the Real Presence of Christ in it. The secondary focus of this feast upon the Body of Christ as it is present in the Church. The Church called the Body of Christ because of the intimate communion which Jesus shares with his disciples. He expresses this in the gospels by using the metaphor of a body where He is the head. This image helps keep in focus both the unity and the diversity of the Church.

The Feast of Corpus Christi is commonly used as an opportunity for public Eucharistic processions, which serve as a sign of common faith and adoration. Our worship of Jesus in His Body and Blood calls us to offer to God our Father a pledge of undivided love and an offering of ourselves to the service of others.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

E-Letter from Fr. Glenn Sudano, CFR.

If you’re an American Catholic over fifty, you certainly remember beginning and ending your prayers with the sign of the cross while saying: “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” If you were like me, the only ghost you knew was in the movies or in the comics. His name— Casper! He was white; he smiled, floated about, and was, well, friendly! Some other ghosts I knew were on a television show called “Topper.” Remember their names? George and Marian! Boy, are you old!

Maybe this is why some people have only a vague notion of the Third Person of the Trinity. To say that the Holy Spirit is “an invisible friend who floats around with a silly smile” —well, that’s not vague, it’s wrong!

If you can at least understand the question, “Who is the Holy Spirit?” you can then begin to answer it. We say “Who” and not “what” because the Holy Spirit is a Person, not a “thing.” The Holy Spirit is not a part of God; the Holy Spirit is God, as the Father is God and the Son is God; yet, there is only one God. Is that clear? If we’re honest, our answer would be a resounding “No!” The reason for this answer is not because we’re ignorant or uneducated, but rather, we’re human. This means we do not have the capacity to understand everything, at least not now. As people’s personal beliefs are full of myths and misnomers, our Catholic faith is full of mystery.

There are those who laugh at us and say, “How can you believe in something you don’t see and understand?” To these I reply, “How many things in life do we actually see and fully understand?” We know it is dangerous to stick a knife in an outlet; we can see the dangerous effects of a mystery which we have named “electricity.” Yet, while I am grateful for the force which keeps my feet on the floor, I don’t recall any scientist seeing or understanding the mystery we call gravity. This is the reason why since time began, mankind has never ceased to look up and out and in. Whether it is medicine or mathematics, physics or philosophy, stars or snails, astronomy or atoms—the more we look, the more we learn. Yes, mystery is certainly all around us. In fact, we are a mystery unto ourselves.

The time between Ascension Thursday and Pentecost Sunday is nine days. This is where we get the word novena; “novem” in Latin means nine. The first novena wasn’t prayed to Our Lady or to any saint, but by Our Lady and by some saints! They were praying together as Our Lord instructed them to for “the gift of the Father”. After nine days, the gift was delivered—and it didn’t drop quietly through the mail slot! “What was the gift?” you ask. No, you mean, “Who was the gift?”

Fr. Glenn Sudano, CFR

Most Blessed Sacrament Friary, Newark, New Jersey


Thursday, June 3, 2010


Last evening I shot some images of the up and coming roses at the Brookdale Rose Garden in Montclair, NJ. Being in quiet places, whether it is a rose garden, a beach, or a Monastery - I enjoy the sense of peace - the meditation you can find there. In Thomas Merton's book "Thoughts on Solitude", he says "When I am silent, I hear my true self and reach my soul. When I am silent, I hear with a caring heart. Silence teaches us to know reality by respecting it where words have defiled it. If our life is poured out in useless words, we will never hear anything because we have said everything before we had anything to say."

Summer is a good time to find some quiet - find a place close by, a park, a beach, a Church, your own room. God will fill you with many graces in His silence.

Let us remember to pray for our country, and especially for those who are suffering directly from the ongoing tragedy in the Gulf.

Here are a few "rose" images - you can find more on my photoblogs...

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

In Support of Israel

Let us support our elder brothers in the faith of Abraham.

Almighty and Ever loving God,
yours are all things in heaven and in earth;
mercifully hear the urgent supplications of your people,
stay the hand of the violent, and grant us peace.
Holy God, Holy and Mighty, Holy Immortal One, have mercy.

Merton on Vocation

We know when we are following our vocation when our soul is set free from preoccupation with itself and is able to seek God and even to find Him, even though it may not appear to find Him. Gratitude and confidence and freedom from ourselves: these are signs that we have found our vocation and are living up to it even though everything else may seem to have gone wrong. They give us peace in any suffering. They teach us to laugh at despair. And we may have to. - from No Man is an Island - Merton