Greater than the Sum of the Parts


English     Castellano

The most commonly used weapon today is probably the most harmful to the user as well as the victim.  The weapon is “negativity.”

Modern man seems to have mastered the art of criticizing, insulting, and belittling, which is different from critique and constructive criticism.  He finds fault in whatever he does not like.  Truth be told, not everything that we dislike is flawed.  I hate asparagus; but that does not mean that there is something wrong with this vegetable or with its consumption.  I simply do not like its taste and texture.

In simple English, we need to tone it down when we disapprove of something.  To be pro-life is to be pro-person.  Every person is part of the whole, with his virtues and faults.

We who find fault in everything we dislike can land on a slippery moral slope and we don’t realize it.  We begin to sound like self-appointed judges, jury and executioners.  This is that last thing that any man or woman of faith should be.  Jesus said, “Let him who has no sin throw the first stone.”

Granted, criticizing another person’s pet, house, or dinner party is not on the same scale as passing judgment on one who may have committed adultery.  But the matter is serious, though not as serious as adultery.  There are two moral issues here:  justice and charity.  They are the opposite sides of the same coin and they are to be taken very seriously, because Jesus did so.

When we criticize, insult or offend without reason, we are violating justice. When we say something about a person, group, event, organization or even the State, without full knowledge, we violate justice and charity.  Paul reminds the Ephesians, “No foul language should come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for needed edification, that it may impart grace to those who hear, (4:29).

We tend to claim that life is flawed when things don’t go our way.  Even when the situation is not tragic or the situation is natural, like raining on a car that has just been washed.

Criticism becomes more serious when the person doing the criticizing lowers himself to using vulgarity and blasphemy.  Christ says it very clearly, “What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them,” (Matt 15:11).  We fall into this behavior very frequently.  When confronted about it, our immediate defense is to justify ourselves by punting the blame, “he made me do it,” or “she got me angry.”

Some people need to see and hear themselves on a DVD to know how they look and sound.  Most would be horrified.  Most human beings are decent people.  Many of these decent people have reckless tongues.  Thankfully, blasphemers and vulgar people do not make up much of any society.

A very reliable source once explained to me that in certain cultures, blasphemy is tolerated among adolescents as a sign of “manliness” or of approaching adulthood.  They take the name of the Lord in vain, they say vulgar things about the Holy Eucharist and the Virgin Mother of God.  Most of the time, these teens have no idea of the gravity involved here.  It does not change the fact that objectively they are committing mortal sin and that the adults around them have a moral duty to educated them on the Commandment, “You shall not invoke the name of the Lord, your God, in vain.  For the Lord will not leave unpunished anyone who invokes his name in vain,” (Ex 20:7).

We can’t go around speaking about God and other holy things as if God and neighbor were deaf.  Our neighbor may be deaf or daft, but God is neither.  Among the great religions of the world:  Christianity, Judaism and Islam, the name of God is sacred and some other names and titles are to be spoken with veneration, not anger, criticism, mockery or used to posture.  This begs the question.  Do we tolerate such inappropriate behavior because we fail to understand that culture should enhance human communication and respect for God and neighbor or is culture just about what’s “in” today?

Some of us have a nasty habit that needs to be controlled.  For some, it’s impossible to go a day without finding something wrong every hour on the hour for 24-hours.  Putting it mildly, we criticize, complain, insult, or curse something because we’re irritated.  Often, our irritation does not involve the target of our criticism or the target does not merit our criticism.

Some of us use negative comments to hide our feelings of inadequacy or to exalt ourselves.  Reckless criticism can be a very destructive form of pride.  It is so destructive that it pollutes the social environment in which we live and work.  If offends some and pushes away loved ones.

There are people who claim that they care not if others are offended.  This is a grave moral claim. St. Paul reminds the people of Corinth, Now you are Christ’s body, and individually parts of it,” (1Cor 12:27).  One must wonder if the person who cares very little about offending another is deflecting fault or truly does not care.  If he does not care, how does such a person explain being part of Christ’s body?

We must never forget that we are part of the body we criticize, that we condemn, that we curse, we disfigure with pride and judgment, that we humiliate with actions and words.  We must remember that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.  The whole is Christ himself.

 

 

Mayor que la Suma de las Partes


English     Castellano

El arma mayormente usada hoy en día es probablemente la más dañina para ambos la víctima y quien la usa. Esa arma se llama “negatividad”.

El hombre moderno parece haber adquirido maestría en las artes de criticar, insultar, y empequeñecer al próximo, algo muy distinto de la crítica constructiva. Hallamos falta en todo lo que no nos gusta. En verdad, no todo lo que nos disgusta tiene defectos. Detesto comer espárragos; esto no significa que algo está mal con este vegetal o con su consumo. Simplemente no me gusta su sabor.

En Castellano sencillo: necesitamos suavizar el tono cuando no aprobamos de algo. Ser pro-vida es ser pro-persona. Toda persona es parte del todo, con sus virtudes y defectos.

Hallar falla en todo lo que nos suscita aversión nos pone en una situación resbaladiza sin que nos demos cuenta. De pronto nos parecemos juez, juria, y verdugo. Sin embargo, esto es lo último a lo que la persona de fe debería aspirar. Nuestro Señor Jesucristo dijo, “Que tire la primera piedra el que esté libre de pecado”.

Claro está que criticar el perro, la casa, o la cena de otra persona no está al mismo nivel que juzgar si alguien ha cometido adulterio. Sin embargo, la materia es grave – aunque no tan grave como lo del adulterio. Nos enfrentamos a dos situaciones morales: justicia y caridad. Son caras opuestas de una misma moneda, y deben de ser tomadas muy en serio, ya que así lo hizo y lo quiso, Nuestro Señor.

Cuando criticamos, insultamos, u ofendemos sin razón, fallamos en justicia. Cuando decimos algo sobre una persona, un grupo, un evento, una organización, o hasta el mismo Estado, sin tener pleno conocimiento, fallamos en justicia y en caridad. San Pablo le recuerda a los Efesios: “No salga de la boca de ustedes ninguna palabra mala, sino sólo la que sea buena para edificación, según la necesidad del momento, para que imparta gracia a los que escuchan” (4:12)

Nuestra tendencia es afirmar que la vida misma es problemática cuando las cosas no salen a nuestra manera – aun cuando la situación no sea trágica o hasta sea puramente natural, como la lluvia sobre el carro que acabamos de lavar.

La crítica se vuelve mucho más seria cuando el “criticón” se rebaja a utilizar vulgaridad y blasfemias. Nuestro Señor lo ha expresado con claridad: “no es lo que entra en la boca lo que contamina al hombre; sino lo que sale de la boca, eso es lo que contamina al hombre” (Mt 15:11).

¡Cuán frecuentemente caemos en este comportamiento! Y si alguien se atreve a comentarlo, cuán rápidamente nos justificamos con darle la culpa a otro: “él me enojó”, “ella me hizo…”.

Hay quienes deberían verse y oírse en DVD para de veras entender cómo actúan. Quedarían horrorizados. La mayoría de los seres humanos son personas decentes, pero muchos tienen lenguas inconsideradas. Gracias a Dios, los vulgares y blasfemos no constituyen sino que una pequeña parte de toda sociedad.

Una persona de confianza me explicó que en algunas culturas la blasfemia se tolera en los adolescentes como signo de “hombría” o pasaje a la edad adulta. Por esa razón toman el nombre del Señor en vano, dicen vulgaridades al respecto de la Santa Eucaristía y de la Virgen Madre de Dios, y no parecen tener ni la menor idea de la gravedad de la situación. Su ignorancia en este aspecto no cambia el hecho de que, objetivamente, caen en pecado mortal. Además, los adultos a su alrededor tienen el deber moral de educarlos en el Mandamiento: “No tomarás el nombre del Señor tu Dios en vano, porque el Señor no dejará sin castigo al que tome Su nombre en vano.” (Ex 20:7).

No podemos andar por ahí hablando de Dios y de lo sagrado como si Dios y el próximo estuviesen sordos. Las personas a nuestro alrededor puede que no oigan bien (y “no hay peor sordo de quien no quiere oír”), pero Dios no padece de sordera. En las religiones mayores (Cristianismo, Judaísmo, e Islam)  el nombre de Dios es sagrado y algún otro nombre o título ha de usarse al referirse a Él, y ha de usarse con veneración, no con rabia, criticismo, o burla. Esto conlleva a preguntarnos por qué toleramos tales comportamientos inapropiados. ¿Es que no entendemos que la cultura debe mejorar la comunicación humana y aumentar el respeto hacia Dios y el próximo? O ¿es que creemos que “cultura” es lo que es tendencia y moda hoy en día?

Varios entre nosotros tienen este desagradable vicio a controlar. Para algunos es virtualmente imposible transcurrir un día sin hallar falla cada hora de las 24 horas. Critican, se quejan, insultan, o maldicen porque están irritados. Para empeorar las cosas, su irritación muy frecuentemente nada tiene a que ver con el objeto de sus críticas, o dicho objeto no es merecedor de tales críticas.

Hay quienes usan comentarios negativos para ocultar sus sentimientos de insuficiencia o para exaltarse sobre medida. El criticismo desenfrenado puede ser una forma muy destructiva de orgullo – tan destructiva que hasta contamina el ambiente en el que vivimos y trabajamos. Ofende algunos y aleja a otros, particularmente a seres queridos.

Algunas personas no tienen vergüenza de afirmar que no les importa si los demás se ofenden. Esta afirmación es moralmente una falla muy grave. San Pablo le recuerda a los feligreses de Corintio: “Ahora ustedes son el cuerpo de Cristo, y cada uno individualmente un miembro de Él” (1Co 12:27). Hay que preguntarse si la persona a la que no le importa ofender al próximo de veras no le importa o acaso está desviando la culpa. Pues si no le importa, ¿cómo justifica esta persona su ser parte del cuerpo de Cristo?

No podemos olvidar que somos parte del cuerpo que criticamos, que condenamos, que maldecimos, que desfiguramos con nuestro orgullo y prejuicios, que humillamos en palabra y obra. Debemos recordar que el todo es mayor que la suma de las partes. El todo es Cristo.

Published in: on May 27, 2017 at 6:31 PM  Leave a Comment  

In Your Kindness, Remember…


We wish to inform our benefactors and friends of the passing of Dr. Franco Camarca, the father of our Brother Bernardo D’Carmine.

Dr. Camarca went to the Home of Our Heavenly Father on Saturday evening, after receiving the Sacraments of Holy Mother Church.  He passed away very peacefully in the presence of his loved ones.

He leaves behind his wife, his only son Brother Bernardo, and the Franciscan Brothers of Life. St. Francis of Assisi always taught us that the parents of one brother were the parents of all.

We were all blessed to have had Dr. Camarca in our lives.  Please keep him and us in your prayers.  Ask Dr. Camarca to pray for us as well.  Don’t forget, the souls in Purgatory can intercede for us.

Here is a biographical note written by Br. Bernardo and an essay on St. Francis written in 2011 by Dr. Camarca.

If you wish to send a spiritual gift, please follow this link.

You can also write to Br. Bernardo and his family via email or to this address:

Franciscans of Life

9461 Palm Cir S

Pembroke Pines, FL 33025

The funeral is being arranged through the courtesy and generosity of many friends and benefactors, in particular the Archdiocese of Miami, the Knights of Columbus, the deacons and priests at St. Maximilian Kolbe Catholic Church, Msgr. Oscar Castañeda, Chaplain at Jackson Memorial Hospital, Scarano Funeral Homes, Respect Life Ministry, and Franciscans of Life. To them the Camarca family wishes to offer their gratitude and appreciation.

 

 

 

 

The Franciscans of Life

“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good.”

Dr. Franco Camarca – Biographical Note


+Franco Camarca was born July 14 1950 in Bisaccia (Avellino, Italy), son of +Carmine, construction worker and sculptor, and Maria Grazia.

From his 20s, Franco was very involved helping the unemployed – young adults with disabilities, former drug addicts, and ex-convicts, to pursue an education and/or learn a trade.

A bright young adult, he earned a scholarship and began the study of Psychology at the University La Sapienza in Rome. Since draft was still compulsory, he applied to become an officer in the Italian Air Force. While in the Air Force he completed his Doctorate with a one-of-a-kind dissertation: “Effects of the flight on supersonic planes on the psychology of Combat Ready pilots of the Italian Air Force”.

Honorably discharged from the Air Force as Second Lieutenant, he returned to his small hometown, where he became the highest-ranking medical officer, responsible of the Territorial Units of Rehabilitation, and of the Office of Documentation and Promotion for the Insertion in the Workplace of the Disabled, Formerly Addicted, or Socially Emarginated Youth.

Eventually he began to collaborate on a number of research projects directly with groups of the Italian Parliament as well as with the Church (Caritas Italy, C.E.I.). He was named Organizer of the Italian Citizens Residing Abroad by a commission of the Chamber of Deputies of the Italian Parliament in order to help Italians abroad and their descendants learn how to claim Italian citizenship and voting rights. His work brought him to travel abroad for over a decade. He returned to Italy from one such trip with a wife, Angela Consuelo Torres Guerra, and a child, Raul Carmine, our brother Bernardo.

Being a published writer and journalist as a result of his research and investigative work, he collaborated with a number of newspapers, magazines, and scholarly publications. He focused on the situation of children with disabilities, inmates, and the phenomenon of immigration from outside the European Union, which at the time was merely beginning. He founded the first “Center for the Family and Service for Immigrants”, in the municipality of Civitavecchia, in collaboration with the Catholic Church (Caritas Italia) and the local Police Department. Centers such as these are now found throughout Italy.

When he moved with his family to the United States, Dr. Camarca continued his work for the immigrant poor. He received letters of introduction to the Archbishop of Miami from Mons. Saviola, the Director of the Migrantes Foundation (part of the Italian Episcopal Conference). He established a small group to help Italian immigrants, called “Italian Counseling”, which would provide free of charge translations, notarizations, assistance to find out how to obtain work and study visas. He also cooperated with several groups, among which Youth Co-op (a non-profit dedicated to improve the social and economic conditions of immigrant and refugee families and individuals), Solidaridad Sin Fronteras (a non-profit that aids foreign trained healthcare professionals to revalidate their licenses and be trained to work in the US healthcare system), and Achieve Counseling (a group of immigration and naturalization consultants particularly involved with refugees).

After working briefly as a Private Security Officer, he became foreign correspondent of Italian newspapers  and published several short books and a series of essays. He was also hired as instructor of Italian at Miami-Dade College.

Dr. Camarca began to battle cancer in 2010, surviving three delicate surgeries, including one in Italy by Dr. Spriano, primary surgeon of the National Cancer Institute in Rome. While in remission, he saw his son become a Franciscan of Life, graduate with a Master’s in Computer Science, and become very involved in the service of the preborn child through Respect Life and Project Joseph, of the chronically and terminally ill through Memorial West Hospital and St Maximilian Kolbe parish, and of the immigrant poor by directly pointing those who reached out to him in the right directions. He also saw his son work as a teacher at a school for at-risk youth, while pursuing professional teaching licenses and studying philosophy and theology.

In 2016 Dr. Camarca began to have serious breathing problems. Despite a number of visits to ERs and a number of tests and scans, the doctors could not find anything serious.

In 2017 he began to experience a strong pain in the jaw. Visited by one of the lead maxillofacial surgeons of South Florida, he was told that he may have a tumor and he was admitted to the University of Miami Hospital on Good Friday. In a matter of weeks, his situation was deemed terminal. He was transferred to the Hospice floor where he received excellent care. On May 5th he received the Last Rites from a good friend of our community and of the Camarca family, Msgr. Oscar Castañeda, the Chaplain at Jackson Memorial Hospital. Our Superior was present alongside brother and his mom.

When offered the Eucharist, Dr. Camarca reached out to the host, and after receiving a small fragment under the tongue he “lit up” as if he had received a spark of life. He  smiled at his loved ones, and even sat on the side of the bed, leaning back to back with Br. Jay.

Dr. Camarca was wearing a crucifix and had accepted a scapular from his wife and son. The Franciscans of Life donated him a 10″ wooden crucifix that he could hold next to him in the hospital bed.

The following night Brother and Dr. Camarca’s wife received an emergency call. Dr. Camarca had a respiratory crisis.  A nurse found him unable to breath, clutching the wooden crucifix in his hands. The crisis passed. Brother and his mom spent the next day with him, aided by the kindness and professionalism of the staff. Dr. Camarca had a tough time breathing, but was not in distress. At evening time, he appeared more peaceful.  Brother resolved to return to the Motherhouse rather than exercise his permission to remain the night.

His wife went downstairs for a cup of coffee and returned to speak to Dr. Camarca (still unconscious). They held hands. She then sat down to read. After a few minutes, she noticed something unusual and called the nurse.

Mrs. Torres called the Franciscan of Life Motherhouse.  Brother Bernardo was still on the way home.  When he arrived, Brother Superior redirected him back to the hospital.  So peaceful and composed was his father’s countenance, that Brother Bernardo’s first impression was that he was asleep.

Franco had passed away, peacefully and discretely. Our Lord Jesus Christ had come “like a thief in the night” and taken his soul in His loving arms. It was the night of May 6, 2017. Dr. Camarca was 66 years old.

After spending some time with him, the family left the hospital in the company of our superior.

The Camarca family incurred serious medical expenses during the past six years, and more than once the Franciscans of Life had provided them with support and guidance.

The funeral is being arranged through the courtesy and generosity of many friends and benefactors: the Archdiocese of Miami, the Knights of Columbus, the deacons and priests at St. Maximilian Kolbe Catholic Church, Msgr. Oscar Castañeda, Chaplain at Jackson Memorial Hospital, Scarano Funeral Homes, Respect Life Ministry, and Franciscans of Life. To them the Camarca family wishes to offer their gratitude and appreciation.

You may see a “memorial wall” of Dr. Camarca and his family by following this link: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0B-a2Tfg_0-y3eVhTa0FNLW92N3c?usp=sharing

  • In the near future we will insert a link to the “memorial page” kindly hosted by Scarano Funeral Homes.
Published in: on May 9, 2017 at 4:06 AM  Comments Off on Dr. Franco Camarca – Biographical Note  

FRANCIS OF ASSISI, EVERYONE’S SAINT


 Essay written in 2011

by +Dr. Franco Camarca (1950-2017)

Psychologist, Writer, Journalist

Father of Brother Bernardo, FFV


“The Providence, which rules the world…

…two Princes ordained in its behalf”.

Dante, Paradiso

Saint Francis of Assisi is perhaps the most “universal” Italian saint. We defined him “everyone’s Saint” to underscore this peculiarity of his person: venerated by Catholics but respected even by Muslims, when he joined a Crusade to preach the Good News, and studied by the Protestants, of whom Peter Sabatier wrote in 1893 the “Life” that has become a classic of world literature.

Assisi presents itself as a city dominated by a castle and surrounded by towers, fortified walls, and other constructions that immediately bring war to mind. Francis, of wealthy merchant family, contributed to those constructions, probably to defend the city against Perugia in one of the many wars that characterized his time. Francis lived between the 1100s and the 1200s: a time of wars between Christians and Saracens, Empire and Church, city and city, for prestige and commercial predominance. In the war against Perugia he was made prisoner for two years, 1202-03, and he was also sick for a long time. Once healed, he threw himself into a new adventure, but at Spoleto he was stopped by a new illness and by a vision that invited him to follow the example of Jesus and “rebuild the Church”.

What was the situation of the Church in that epoch?

Let’s briefly say that there was a deep popular displeasure against the excesses of wealth and corruption that characterized the high clergy. Preachers in the public squares condemned all of it, reminding all of the simple life preached by the Gospel. In Italy in the XI and XII centuries many social movements were born which united politics and religion, since political freedom and religious purity were values deeply sought after by the people.

Thus Dante wrote in Canto XI of “Paradiso”:

The Providence, which rules the world…

…two Princes ordained in its behalf,

who should serve it as guides on either side.

 (Verses 28 & 35-36) 

 

The “guides” to whom Dante refers are Saint Francis and Saint Dominic. Three more centuries awaited the necessary Reform of the Council of Trent, and a number of historians agree that without those powers of new purity triggered by the Franciscan and Dominican movements the Church would have suffered very grave damages.

His first companions and biographers called Francis “the herald of Christ”, “the invincible knight”, and the said he was “armed with the weapons of Christ”. In another contemporary work, “Speculum perfectionis”, he is compared with his disciples to the Knights of the Round Table. And the spouse – “dominam”, as one of his biographers says – of such knight was poverty, who appears symbolically in classical vestments in the frescoes of the great Giotto.

The Order of friars minor, his Rule, was approved by pope Innocent III, who also gave them permission to preach. Before we expose our thoughts on the Saint let us briefly mention some biographical notes, referring to the historical data of Martignetti (Italian Encyclopedia). Returned to Assisi, Francis founded with Saint Clare the “second order of the poor clares” and then went to preach the Gospel amidst the Saracens. His followers grew fast, reaching the thousands, but the Saint went back to preach to Egypt, where he was honored by the Sultan, and in Palestine. Returned to Italy in 1220 and leaving the direction of the Order to Pietro Cattani and eventually to friar Elias, he prepared the “first Rule” (1221) and then dictated the text of the “Second [Third] Rule” that pope Honorius III approved in 1223. Continuing in an intense spiritual life which included preaching – which did not impeded him to ‘invent’ in 1222 the Crèche that became one of the most intimate representations of Christmas – he founded the “Third order of the penitents”.

We thus reach 1224, when in a spiritual retreat of fasting on mount la Verna he received the stigmata.

      Then we find his autograph writings, the “Laudes Dei” and the “Canticle of brother Sun” in which, according to authoritative reviewers, “the rigid Benedictine spirituality is overcome in favor of a new conception of Creation characterized by an exaltation of a sense of universal brotherhood”, and, we think, of a sort of mystical fusion with nature and thus with the omnipresent God.

The hymn begins with an invocation to God, followed by the sun “beautiful and radiant”, the moon and the stars “clear and precious and beautiful”; then the four elements: the earth, the water “useful and humble and precious and chaste”, the fire “beautiful and playful and robust and strong”, and the air.

Our Prezzolini, faculty of Columbia University, mentions that the adjectives applied by the Saint reveal a new interpretation of Nature and place it in a new relationship with Man. The hymn is not written in Latin but in the vulgate language of the people of Umbria, which for the first time assumes an artistic form, although preserving the simplicity and characteristics of the local dialect. The language is mixed with Latinized words; the verses do not have a regular metric yet there are many rhymes and assonances. The epilogue, according to Prezzolini, was added at the nearing of the Saint’s death in 1226, a death that Francis calls “sister”.

It is worth mentioning what Sapegno recalls in his History of literature: “It is certain that the hymn of grace, raised to the Creator by a beautiful world, admirable in its harmony and its ends, finds its roots not in an easy and superficial enthusiasm, but in the “labor pains” of ascesis and penance, from which the soul resurrects renewed, capable of contemplating the things and events of the earth with new, peaceful, and joyful eyes. The simple poetry of the Saint translates itself in the adjectives that accompany one step at a time the evocation of the creatures and they underscore the poetic aspect […] but the power and resonance of the hymn resides instead in the deep intimacy and novelty of the religious feeling that pervades it, outside and in a certain sense above pure poetry”.

The behavior of Saint Francis towards animals, with whom he spoke (like the wolf of Gubbio) opened a new field in painting: Giotto and his successors felt a great influence and even the architectonic structures of the churches of the Franciscan order displayed a new disposition of the altars, a new amplitude of the walls, a significant austerity in their entire edification.

Towards the end of his life, with a serious illness in his eyes, Francis returned to Assisi and asked to be taken to Saint Mary of the Angels, where lying on the bare ground he reached the Lord that he so much loved in 1226.

Saint Francis was canonized by Gregory IX in 1228. His feast in the Catholic Church is October 4th and Pope Pius XII proclaimed him, with Saint Catherine of Siena, “Patron of Italy”.

It is interesting to note that many centuries later the charm and personality of Saint Francis still live. His fame is worldwide. Saint Francis remains one of those figures of Western civilization without whom our history would not be complete.

The Franciscans are today, and we witness it by our personal and direct experience, an imperishable and daily example for all the orders.

The letting go of Saint Francis was in actuality acquisition of a superior freedom and his poverty was the acquisition of spiritual wealth, and Jesus rewarded him with the gift of the stigmata.

Published in: on May 9, 2017 at 3:09 AM  Comments Off on FRANCIS OF ASSISI, EVERYONE’S SAINT