Our mother and our friend . . . thoughts for the new year


ImageWhere does one begin to talk about Mary, Mother of God?  In my mind, there is nothing and no one that can compare to her.  She’s all that I have ever wanted and more.  She’s my mother, my friend and my hope.  I understand that Jesus is our hope.  However, how do we get to Jesus?  How did Jesus come to us?  Who will intercede for us before the throne of God at our final judgment?  Whose prayers will ring the loudest across the heavens begging God’s mercy for us?  Who will ask her Son not to look upon our sins, but to have compassion on our ignorance?  Who will gather the saints of heaven around the throne of Christ to pray for our souls?

At the wedding in Cana, Mary goes before Jesus and says, “They have no more wine.”  Jesus responded, “What does this have to do with me?  My time has not yet come.”  In modern language one would say, “Their poor planning does not mean an emergency for me?

If we believe in the saying, “Silence is consent,” then we can assume that Mary agreed, because she does not debate the point with Jesus.  However, despite the fact that there may have been poor planning on the part of the hosts, Mary knows that her concerns are her son’s concerns and that once she expresses compassion for an unfortunate person Jesus will not let it go without acting on it.  Inspired with this knowledge, she tells the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”  So they did.  They brought the jugs of water, just as Jesus asked them to do.

I can’t help thinking about this.  All these servants did was to bring some jugs of water to Jesus, no great accomplishment.  Yet, Jesus turns the water into wine and saves the host the embarrassment of not having more wine.  It is this combination of doing what Jesus tells them and Mary’s intervention that saves the day, obedience and prayer.

ImageWithout her intervention there would have been no wine.  Without the wine, there would have been a scandal.  It was scandalous for a host not to have more food and drink than his guest could consume.

No one knows what God has in mind until it happens.  One thing is certain.  From all eternity, God knew that this moment would come.  The Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity knew that it would be his mother who would set his public life into motion.  Did God plan it this way?  I doubt it.  God does not manipulate human freedom.  The poor planning was just that, poor planning.  Mary’s intervention was of her own initiative, not a divine manipulation.  Jesus’ assent to his mother’s concern was also freely given.

When everything else failed, the Mother of God was their last hope.  It was not Jesus’ time.  He had no plans to begin his public ministry at this wedding; even though he knew that this was how it was going to begin.  And so it has been for me throughout my entire life.  My poor planning, my self-indulgence, my ignorance, arrogance and at times laziness has often led me into situations similar to that of the wedding hosts, apparent dead ends and anxiety.  Yet, when I remember the scriptures there are several verses that always come to mind, one of them is, “Do whatever he tells you.”

I struggle with temptation and sin.  I’m not going to say how much more or how much less than others, because I don’t know and it’s not that important.  The fact is that for me the struggle often seems insurmountable.  When I’m about to give up and just stop trying to climb up the mountain, I remember her words, her face and her heart.

Hers must be the most beautiful face in the universe.  I have musings of this tender mother, whose face shines so gloriously that it’s blinding to the naked eye.  Yet, she makes it possible for us to gaze on her with the confidence of nursing children looking at their mother’s breast, knowing that she will feed them.  I often imagine her glorious beauty coming through the light with a pleasant look of concern and compassion.

In the same image, I can see her heart; an immaculate heart filled with love . . . a heart where there is no room for resentment and rejection.  Stop and think about this for a moment.  Where is a mother’s heart?  It’s directly over her womb.  It’s the one sound that every child hears and recognizes as his mother’s.  ImageDuring those 40 weeks in the womb, it is the beating of the mother’s heart that puts the child to sleep, that sets the rhythm of the days and nights for the child, and after the child’s birth, it is through the beating heart that the child first identifies his mother.  Remember, he has never seen her face, but he knows her heart.

The Incarnate Son of God, through whom we were created and for whom we were created also knows his mother’s heart.   Her prayers, her desire for our salvation, her love for us and her maternal assistance are well known to him.  For this New Year, I pray that we may all make greater effort to live as closely as possible to the Mother of God, whose heart will guide our steps to do what her son asks of us. At the end of our life, her heart will open itself to her Son as it did at Cana.  Just like at Cana, he will again be unable to resist the love that he sees in his mother’s heart and he will have compassion on us who have appealed to her for assistance.

 A New Chapter . . . 2013

You know, in the world of Kindle, Nook, iPads and Internet, the typical book is becoming an artifact.  It’s a pity, because a book is a very powerful icon of human life.  I was thinking about this during mass.  OK, you got me.  I was wool gathering during mass.  Actually, the sermon triggered it.  It was one of the best sermons I’ve heard all year.  My compliments to Father Nestor of the Archdiocese of Miami for an inspirational homily on the meaning of New Year’s Day.

As Father was speaking about the need to take inventory of how we have lived our faith and the opportunity to plan for a better year, I suddenly thought of a book.  I could see this small, traditional red hard cover book in my mind.  It reminded me of life, yours and mine.  Our lives are like a book.  That’s why I regret that in the not too distant future, the traditional book will become an artifact, because it’s a wonderful icon, as I have already said above.

ImageA book has a visible beginning and end.  It has perceptible chapters.  One ends and the other begins.  So too do our earthly lives.  They begin at conception and end at death.  Each year is a chapter.  One ends and one begins.

The attempt of a good writer is to keep the story moving, to inspire the reader to go on to the next chapter.  To do so, the writer works hard to keep our attention focused.  He has a thread that runs through the book, often referred to as a plot.  There is always a protagonist and an antagonist, not necessarily human, but there are conflicting forces.  It’s tension that keeps the reader’s interest.  It’s funny, because we live in a society where we’re all dying of heart conditions, but we thrive on tension . . . go figure.

New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day is not just another year out and a new one in.  It’s a point of transition in our history.  It’s also an opportunity to tighten up the plot to give pleasure to the reader.  To do so, we have to look back at the chapter that is closing and carefully lay out the next chapter.  Like any good piece of literature, there are adjustments made along the way for the unexpected.  But like a good writer, we should never begin a new year without a plan.  Such an action is reckless.  It’s a sin against the God who created time for our benefit, not his.  God does not live in time and space.  Our lives must be a book that is pleasing to God.  Each chapter or year should represent an attempt to outshine the previous one.  Otherwise, we’re wasting the gift of time.

Here are some questions to help us examine our previous chapter and plan the next one.  I’m sure that there are more.  If you want to share them, please post them.  I’ll make sure that they are seen.

  1. Did I make proper use of the sacraments this past year?
  2. How much time did I give to prayer?
  3. Did I forgive and ask for forgiveness?
  4. What about the things that I own and the money that I make?  Did I use it wisely?
  5. Did I make proper distinctions between what my family and I need and what my family and I want?
  6. Were my business dealings honest and were my business decisions just and fair to those who are weaker than I am?Image
  7. Did I cave to pressure rather than stand up for the voiceless?
  8. What about the Church, am I faithful to her teachings or is being Catholic just a family tradition?
  9. If I’m a parent, did I take seriously my responsibility for my children’s souls or did I give them passes on mass and religious education?
  10. Let’s go back to material things.  How much of an effort did I make to teach my children that all created things are not for them and that everything that God gives us is for the benefit of others as well as our own or did I fulfill their every desire reinforcing their sense of entitlement?
  11. Do I manage my relationships out of love or out of guilt?
  12. Are my relationships based on charity and concern for the other and the satisfaction of the other person’s company or are they purely utilitarian?
  13. Do I knowingly let others use me and my gifts for their selfish purpose?
  14. Have I stood up to challenge immorality in our society, in my family, in my workplace or did I cave because, “I have a family to think about?”  Since when does family take precedence over truth?
  15. Am I aware of the four last things:  death, judgment, heaven and hell?  What would God say about my book, if I died tonight?

If this last chapter has not been as good as we would like it to be, God is still giving us time to begin a better chapter.  Let us make good use of the precious gift of time.

Information night on the Franciscans of Life and

Project Joseph — January 7, 2013 — 7:30 PM to 9:30 PM

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Proud dad and daughter
(Published with permission)

St. Maximilian Kolbe Education Center

701 N. Hiatus Road, Room 206

Pembroke Pines, FL 33026

For driving directions call

954 – 432 – 0206

DO NOT call Br. Jay.  He gets lost going to the kitchen.

However, for more information contact us .

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The Franciscan Brothers of Life wish you and your family a happy and grace-filled New Year — Br. Jay, FFV

Published in: on December 31, 2012 at 11:01 PM  Leave a Comment  
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Venite Adoremus


“In the City of David, a child is born.”  These are the words enshrined in Luke’s Gospel forever.  But as we sit and reflect on them, we realize that there is more to this message than a proclamation of Christ’s birth.  The second of many prophecies about the Messiah has been fulfilled.  The first of course was, “A virgin shall conceive . . . “

When we ask ourselves, “Why does Luke want us to know that a child is born in the City of David, other than to prove that the prophecies are being fulfilled one at a time,” we realize that Luke is telling the world that Jesus is real.  Unlike the gods of the pagans whose origins are mythical, Jesus’ human origins take place within human history, in a human city and at a very specific cave in the outskirts of Bethlehem.  The God who created history has broken into human history.  People may question Jesus’ divine origins, if they wish; however, there is no question about the reality of his existence.   Luke pinpoints it not only giving us an address, but also giving us a time.  He gives us a list of the prominent people of the time.  In doing so, he places Jesus into a social, political, cultural and religious context.  The birth of Christ is not an abstract.  It is a verifiable historical reality.Image

There are other important messages in Luke’s testament.  Caesar Augustus was the emperor.  It is an often forgotten fact that during the reign of Caesar Augustus there was a period of peace throughout the known world and that the emperor’s name referred to him as the savior or the August One in our language.  What we see here is how Roman history, helped set the stage for the birth of Christ.  God, in his divine and eternal wisdom, prepared the world to receive his son at a time of peace, which the pagans thought was designated for the emperor of Rome.  In reality, it was predesigned by the Father for the eternal King of the Universe.

I’d like to draw the attention to one more detail.  Christian iconography has adopted the ox and the ass as part of the manger scene.  The truth is that Luke does not mention any animals in his narrative.  However, the prophets had predicted that the ox and the ass would know their place, but the House of Israel would not recognize the savior.

The ox and the ass become the icon for the Gentiles and the Jews.  Christ had entered into the world for both; but one, being more stubborn than the other, would struggle to accept the Eternal Son of God as the promised Messiah.

Now, we must fast forward in time and ask ourselves, “What does this have to do with us in the 21st century and what is the message for us?”

Let’s take this in two parts. Let’s answer the first question.  God the Father knew us and loved us long before we were formed in our mother’s womb.  And so he sent His only begotten son into the world as one of us.  But he did not come just for the ox or the ass.  He came for Gentile and Jew alike.  He came to call all men and women, of every race and tongue, of every family and nation, back to the love of his Father.  He came to rescue all of us from sin.

Therefore, he was born with a price tag on his head.  This was the infant who was sentenced to death, at the time of his birth.  The scriptures foreshadow that Jesus must die.  Herod orders the slaughter of the innocent children.  Jesus is the innocent Son who 33 years after this night would be executed to break open the doors that barricaded man out of heaven, because of our sins.

The second part is equally important to us.  Jesus is not a figment of someone’s wild imagination, nor is he a legend.  He is a real child born in a real city at a very specific point in history to a very real mother.  As far as the eye of man was concerned, to a real father named Joseph.  For his divine sonship would only be discerned by those who believed.  It was there for everyone to see, but only those who desire to see shall see.  The blind shall remain blind, not through any fault of nature, but through their own choice or because those who have seen have failed to invite their neighbors to the stable to come and see.

The angels of whom Luke writes foreshadow the community of believers whom Christ would send into the world to proclaim the Good News that “Today in the City of David a son is born . . . venite adoremus”

Published in: on December 25, 2012 at 8:25 PM  Leave a Comment  

Did Pope Paul VI Miss the Mark on Birth Control?


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Faith enlightens human knowledge

Let’s look at this as the Church looks at it. Faith enlightens facts, not the other way around. The question is whether our faith is placed in the right place.

The answer is simple. If we place our faith in Jesus, then it’s in the right place. Jesus revealed himself as the Second Person of the Trinity. Therefore, he is truly God.

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Blessed John Paul II

God, made man, promised that the Church would never teach error. God does not lie, nor does God revoke his promises. Therefore, we can safely believe that the Church cannot teach error in matters of morality or dogma.

Jesus also said that he was building his Church on the faith of Peter. Peter was a simple fisherman, not a god. Yet, it is on his faith that the Church is built. Is it possible for God to build his Church on quicksand? No, absolutely not. God’s desire is that we be saved, not that we be swallowed up. Therefore, the logical conclusion is that although Peter is a sinful man, very simple in his knowledge, and a novice in matters of leadership, Jesus must provide him with the help that he needs to support the Church.

Jesus tells Peter, “The gates of hell shall not prevail against you.” There it is, the promise of the grace to help Peter do what Jesus is about to tell him.

Jesus follows this by telling Peter, “Feed my sheep and strengthen your brothers.” If Peter is to feed Christ’s sheep and strengthen his brothers, he must have what he needs to do so. Christ would not set him up for an impossible task, nor set up the rest of the Church with a pope who would be unable to teach Truth.

The future of the Church is guaranteed. Peter now has the grace of the Jesus promises that he will send the Holy Spirit and he fulfills that promise on Pentecost.

The future of the Church is guaranteed. Peter now has the grace of the Holy Spirit to strengthen and feed his brothers with the Truth and only the Truth.

Finally, Jesus leaves us with a message in a roundabout kind of way. He says to Peter, “I give you the keys to the Kingdom. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven. Whatever you loose on earth, shall be loosed in heaven.” He gives Peter the complete authority to bind us or to release us and promises Peter and those who are paying attention that he will back up whatever Peter says. Jesus does not place any contingencies here except one. Peter must be speaking about what God has revealed, which is dogma and moral law.

Christ’s gift to the pope does not stop with Peter. This would make no sense. Christ knew that the Church would survive until the end of time. To give St. Peter all of this divine assistance and authority to teach and to bind, but make it impossible to pass it on to his successor would be nihilistic. In other words, once Peter was dead, the Church would have been without God’s protection and without the guidance of the Holy Spirit, because it expired when Peter died. That makes no sense.

The early Christians elected Peter’s successor with full confidence that what was given to Peter would transfer to his successor. To make this more credible, here is a very important fact. John the Apostle and St. Luke were alive at the time of the election of the second pope. They were alive after Peter’s death. Had the early Christians been wrong in their belief that everything that Christ had given to Peter and said to Peter could be handed down to the second generation, they would have said so. They did not. In fact, we have it from St. Polycarp, who studied under St. John the Apostle, that John was perfectly comfortable with the succession and the transmission of power and authority.

This is very important, because it was John who was present when Christ said these things to St. Peter. It is John who wrote them down. John knew exactly what Christ said and exactly what Christ meant. He knew that the power to bind and unbind, the gift of infallibility in faith and morals, and the ability to teach truth without any error was not a gift for Peter alone, but for anyone who occupied Peter’s chair. He understood the nuance in Christ’s words.

Yes, when we say that this is Truth, it is a fact. The fact comes to us from the apostles evangelists who were alive to see Peter’s succession. Therefore, when Pope Paul VI, finally invokes the authority of Peter to say that artificial birth control is intrinsically evil, this is the absolute Truth and the only Truth. His authority to say this without making a mistake is based on all of the above facts.

Faith is not just a matter of what one person believes and another person believes. That’s relativism. Faith is about believing the Truth. There can only be one Truth. If two people have incompatible beliefs, then one or both are wrong. Truth does not contradict itself. ABC cannot be intrinsically evil for person A and acceptable for person B.
If Peter’s authority and his gift to speak only the truth on these matters has been transmitted through 2,000 years, the what Pope Paul VI said is Truth, because it is protected by the promises and commands that Christ gave to St. Peter. Again, it would make no sense for Christ to promise Peter infallibility and complete authority over the Christian faithful, but not intend for it to be handed on to Peter’s successor, since Peter was executed 34 years after Christ’s ascension. Jesus knew this was going to happen. Jesus would not have given the Church such protection for 34 years and then leave us to figure it out on our own from that point forward.

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Pope Paul VI

Published in: on December 16, 2012 at 2:12 PM  Comments (2)  

Children Deserve a Christ-Centered World


As I read here and there about this week’s tragedy I can’t help wonder what’s happening to us.  Schools were places where Jesus and childchildren were bored, not afraid for their lives.  I’m also thinking about the right to life and thinking that it really is more encompassing than we think.

We often think of the right to life when we think of the unborn, the terminally ill and elderly who are threatened with euthanasia or assisted suicide, and those on death roll.  There is more to it than that.  Every human being who has been created has a right to be born and a right to live free of fear.  Life has six dimensions, all created by God.

First:  there is biology.  We’re animals and like every animal we’re conceived and throughout the course of our lives we evolve biologically from zygotes to senior citizens.  ImageDuring that process, our bodies change and adapt to new situations.

Second: there is the soul.  Unlike other animals that have a material soul that is finite, we have an immortal soul.  Once God calls it into existence it will never die.  It will remain with our bodies while we travel through life in this world and eventually be liberated from the body at the moment of biological death.  It will spend eternity in heaven or hell, depending on the choices that we make during our lives.

Third: we have a mind.  We are self-aware.  This is important.  Because the justification that many people use for abortion is the fetus is not self-aware.  However, the real question is this.  Is there any human being on this planet who knows himself?  Aren’t we all in the process of knowing more about ourselves with each experience?  What really is self-awareness?  Is it something that you achieve and move on or is it a dynamic process that lasts an entire life?  I would hate to think that God made us so boring and so limited that we can become fully self-aware by age 25.  Now, if I follow the norm, I have to live with myself until age 80.  OK, that’s only 55 years away.  For the next 55 years, I will become no more aware of myself, who I am, my purpose in life, my place in the universe and my destiny, because I have reached self-awareness.  That doesn’t sound right.  It’s a recipe for suicide; because we run the risk of becoming so bored with ourselves that the only way to get away from ourselves is suicide.  I don’t think God had this in mind.  Therefore, self-awareness begins in tiny steps in the womb and continues in steps to the tomb.

Fourth:  believe it or not, we have all some degree of intelligence.  OK, some of us have a hard time proving that we’re intelligent, but we are.  Human intelligence is not divorced from God.  I remember being in college studying for an exam in math history, yes there is such a thing as the history of math.  Since I was a math major, I had to take it.  But I digress, I was preparing for an exam.  It dawned on me that there is nothing in math that man created.  The Chinese, Arabs, Romans, Greeks, Mayans, Aztecs, Egyptians and every great civilization has made some contribution to mathematics, but no one has created mathematics.  Every mathematician has discovered a law that works.  We call them formulae, theorems, postulates, and functions.  Well, let’s look at this.  If there is a law that consistently works, did it come into existence randomly?  How is it that something that randomly appears on the horizon of human intelligence functions so predictably?  Does it change from being random to predictable?  In other words, are those things that are consistent such as a2 + b2 = c2 random expressions of order?  It seems that order is predictable.  Predictability has intent behind it.  If there is intent, there must be an intelligence behind these laws, an intelligence that is the Law-Giver itself.  In reality, human intelligence has two qualities.  First, it is capable of discovering, understanding and using the laws given to us by the Law-Giver.  Second, it is the living proof that there is a Law-Giver, since we have not created a single law of math or science.  Yet, we can understand them, use them, but we can’t control them.  They are static.  2 + 2 will always equal 4.

Fifth: are relationships.  We’re social animals.  Ethologists would say pack animals.  This is true.  Even a hermit needs human contact.  The Carthusians are a community of hermits.  Each brother lives in a cottage with a walled garden.  They work, pray, study, eat and sleep in their little cottages.  However, it’s interesting to note that the Carthusians all wear the Imagesame habit, follow the same schedule, and say the same prayers at the same time.  Even though they eat alone, they eat the same foods.  While they may be physically alone, they are socially connected to a pack.  Relationships take many forms, some healthy and some very dysfunctional.  God has revealed himself as a communion of relationship:  Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  He models for us how to live in relationship with others as one.  It is we who do not use our intelligence and our mind to pay attention and learn.  Then we wonder why we have conflict, terrorism and violence as we have seen this week.

Sixth and last:  we seek to transcend.  Even the most primitive cultures, no matter how disconnected they may be from monotheism believes that there is more to life than what is here and now.  We live in a beautiful world of expectation.  It’s a good expectation.  We expect to be called to the net life at any moment.  The question is, if it happens as suddenly and as violently as was the case this past week at the school, are we ready?

We want to see God.  We want to move beyond the complications of this world and find peace.  We want to love and be loved without contingencies.  All of this is possible, if we order our lives appropriately.  God does not choose for us how we order our lives, we choose this for ourselves.  Instead of ordering our lives toward that which lies ahead, we have disordered our lives.  Instead of seeking the transcendent God, we get stuck in pain, anger, resentment, fear and selfishness of the present moment.  These feelings release Imagethe destructive power of sin.  Sin seeks the opposite of transcendence.  Sin seeks to separate us from that which is ongoing and noble and it locks us in a present, which can be very threatening, dysfunctional, hateful and eventually violent.  It is a present without God.

I look at what happened this past week and I believe that the further we get away from God, the deeper that we go into this present without him and as a consequence, we’re going to see greater acts of violence.  The solution is simple.  We have to place God back in the center of our personal lives, families, communities and our nation.

As we prepare to commemorate God’s entrance into human history in Bethlehem 2000 years ago, let us not forget that the child in the manger was a victim child.  He was born with a price on his head.  It’s a price that we put there when we choose to leave God out of our lives or even part of our lives.  Let us look at the child in the manger, pick him up and make him the center of our journey through life.  Our children deserve to live in a world where God is present.  Let us allow Christ to come to our children.

Published in: on December 16, 2012 at 1:36 AM  Leave a Comment  

Project Joseph Workshop


IMG_2388In mid-November, we had a workshop to train lay volunteers to work with Project Joseph.  It was the first time that the brothers delivered the talks.  Normally, I deliver all the talks.  They were outstanding.  I was very proud of their knowledge of theology, spirituality, the life issues and pastoral care.  These guys are in the early stages of formation and doing a million other things.  Remember, we get no money from anywhere.  St. Francis said that the brothers had to work for a living.  Our brothers hold jobs, support the ministry, themselves and loved ones.  They divide their time between community, work, ministry, prayer, family and friends, and more prayer.  The workshop went well.  Our next step is to place the new volunteers and have them shadow us for a few weeks until they get the hang of it.

Published in: on December 12, 2012 at 9:08 PM  Leave a Comment  

New Faces


New Brothers

Christ, Br. Bill, Br. Jay, Ruban

We have a few new faces among the Franciscans of life.  I’ll be doing a write-up on each of these ugly mutts.  For the time being, I’ll just show you some pictures.  Of course, if you are interested in adopting or fostering one of these pets, we would be glad to assist you.   All joking aside, we’re very blessed to have these new members to our great Franciscan family.  The most wonderful thing about this is that the Lord sent them.  We did nothing to recruit.

Br. William Vito, FFV

The fellow in the grey habit is Brother William Vito (aka. Bill).  Br. Bill is a novice, that’s why he’s wearing the grey habit.  He is a computer geek and is very invested in serving the voiceless among people with disabilities.  He is also an outstanding religious educator.  He teaches teens, preparing them for Confirmation.  He teaches with conviction, passion, love and most important, fidelity to Holy Mother Church.

Then there is Postulant Chris.  Chris is another computer geek.  Chris runs Project Joseph in Ft. Lauderdale.  He commutes over 30 miles to make himself available to our dads.  The best part about Chris is his contagious smile, especially when he messes up.

Postulant Chris

Postulant Chris

We won’t mention the fact that the superior asked him to organize a photo shoot and to make sure that everyone who needed to be there was there and was properly dressed.  To make a long story short (too late), Chris is very obedient.  He did exactly as asked.  On the day of the photo shoot, the brothers who were supposed to be there were there.  Did I mention that Chris was also supposed to be in the picture?

OK, I forgot that important detail.  In any case, guess who walked into the room in his grunge clothes?  You guessed it right, Postulant Chris.  Suddenly, all eyes are on him.  Chris had completely forgotten the very event that he had set up.  The photo shoot had to be postponed.  Who could get angry?  Chris just put on that little boy smile, like the kid with his hands in the cookie jar.  In all honesty, if you ever forget the definition of Franciscan joy, all you have to do is look at Postulant Chris.  He projects that joy no matter what the situation.

 Postulant Ruban

Postulant Ruban

Ruban, no I did not misspell it, is from India and you guessed it, he too is a computer geek.  I believe that God may be trying to tell us something.  He keeps sending us these guys from the world of technology.  Ruban does not have a pastoral assignment yet, as he is too young in the Franciscan life.  Right now, he’s concentrating on mastering the outer expressions of Catholicism and Franciscan life.  This is very important.  There is no such thing as a good Franciscan, Jesuit, Benedictine, Dominican or Diocesan priest unless the man is first a good Catholic.

The first three months are very hard on the brothers.  There are many externals and changes that one has to learn while on the run.  Therefore, Ruban spends a lot of time before the Blessed Sacrament, learning to navigate the breviary, understanding the rubrics of the mass, the constitutions and other externals that are essential to the life of a Catholic and a future novice.  The one thing that no one misses when one meets Ruban is his curious nature.  I’m seriously thinking of giving him the name George as his religious name.  Curious George would describe him well.

Closing Thoughts

I would like to close this entry with one thought.  As we approach Christmas and we look upon the Christ Child in the manger, let us remember that human nature was the Father’s gift to his most beloved Son.  God the Father would never give his Son a gift that was not precious in his eyes.  The infant in the manger shares the same nature as your neighbor and yourself.  Thank God for the gift of being human and show Him your gratitude by treating every human being with the same gentleness and care that St. Joseph and Our Lady had for Jesus.

Published in: on December 12, 2012 at 8:16 PM  Leave a Comment  

I’m Back . . .


br jay and baby

Baby is not too sure about this

as I promised.  It’s been a very busy year.  Let’s see, . . . where to start counting the Lord’s blessings.

ImageLet’s begin with ministry.  Our Project Joseph, which for those who don’t know is our ministry to fathers in crisis pregnancies is growing.  This past year we moved to a new location in Miami and BOOM!  We suddenly had to start two groups to serve the needs of the dads.  Now we have five groups going in four centers.  This year, we reached 50 Project Joseph Babies.  Who are the Project Joseph Babies?  These are the babies born to dads in our program.  They’re all beautiful, healthy and happy kids.  We’re very glad to have them and very thankful to Our Lady of Guadalupe who protected in the womb.  We are very proud of their parents too.  For some of our parents, having a child is very frightening.  These are hard times in which we live.  Let’s thank Our Lady for protecting the unborn and send up a cheer for the parents who trusted.  I’m always reminded of Elizabeth’s words to Mary, “Blessed is she who trusted . . . “  It’s interesting, because Elizabeth is speaking to an expectant mother.

Published in: on December 12, 2012 at 7:38 PM  Comments (1)