As Lent Continues…


We are now in the fourth week of Lent. The year seems to be moving fast, as the season of joy quickly made room for the season of penance and atonement.

As you know, this has been a difficult time for our community, as our Superior was hospitalized in critical condition and it appeared that he was at the end of his earthly journey. He may wish to describe his journey later on. As a bystander, I can mention that he was unexpectedly sick and that his condition at the ER became critical. Our good friend Fr. Jeff, Pastor of St. Maximilian Kolbe parish, came in as quick as possible to anoint Brother Jay.

He was in an induced coma and a ventilator for two weeks, surrounded by the love and prayers of his community, his family, friends, and benefactors. Friends from across the globe joined in prayer. The amount of support he received was overwhelming, and a true blessing for those of us who still need Brother Jay in our formation and daily life as a mentor, guardian, and even “just” as a friend.

While at the hospital he received the best care but we also witnessed the ongoing struggle between two mindsets, one fed by the Culture of Death that focuses on giving up, taking shortcuts, and ultimately trying to “focus on the quality of life” (that is to say, slowly push over the edge the person who is chronically or terminally ill), the other one fed by the Gospel of Life, manifested by many who expressed hope and even faith in the improvement and recovery of Br. Jay, if it be God’s will.

To make a long story short, Brother Jay recuperated slowly, was eventually transferred to an acute rehab center where he met the kindest people but also was under a strict schedule that involved early rising, hours of physical and occupational therapy, and lights off at midnight. Brother Jay went into induced coma praying the Divine Mercy chaplet and, ever since waking up and having the ventilator removed, resumed as much as possible his prayer life. This was a powerful example for us his brothers and disciples, and also for those who take care of patients who are chronically or terminally ill.

By the grace of God he completed his rehab program faster than anyone could have predicted, and was discharged to the motherhouse. His journey is far from over, and his medical condition remains, as always, delicate, therefore we do appreciate your prayers and, if possible, even a bit of your support. However if “the flesh is weak”, “the spirit is willing”. Tonight we gathered again to “look back” at the last month or so and make plans to “move forward” in accordance with our charism. We have many ongoing projects and we have not slowed down our Lenten penance one bit.

We would like to take this opportunity to promote an upcoming Respect Life Ministry event. As you know, the Franciscans of Life work closely with Respect Life Ministry Archdiocese of Miami, particularly through our joint venture, Project Joseph, still led by our Superior. And by the way, we would like to acknowledge the support received by the Knights of Columbus towards promoting and expanding Project Joseph. This is very motivating. We are especially grateful for the dedication shown by the Sir Knight Ed Suazo, who was trained and installed as Project Joseph mentor at the South Dade Pregnancy Help Center near FIU.

We would also like to acknowledge that we have been invited by Ave Maria University for their upcoming Pro Life Workshop to give a talk on pro-life ministry to men. Given the recovery of our Superior we are not sure we will be able to attend but we strongly encourage you to support this event. It is worth noting that one of the conference organizers is an FIU Campus Ministry alumni with an outstanding record of dedication for the proclamation of the Gospel of Life.

We cannot conclude without mentioning that our prayers have been and will continue to reach out to those affected by the nearby tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, which occurred on the very day when the Universal Church gathers to receive the ashes as a sign of penance for the sins of the world and the remembrance that “we are dust, and to dust we shall return” and we are therefore to “repent and believe in the Gospel”, which is the only way to eternal life.

One of the victims was a CCD teacher at a nearby parish known to some in the CCD staff at St. Max, while another one was a parishioner of Nativity Catholic Church and one of our brothers was able to attend his funeral, one among a large crowd including survivors from the event, veterans from the military (as the victim was a veteran himself) and also the Governor and H.E. the Archbishop. We pray to the Almighty for the eternal rest of the souls of the victims and for the healing and consolation of those affected directly or indirectly by this tragic event.

(c) Jim Rassol / Sun Sentinel

We also and especially pray for the conversion and healing of the perpetrator, who has been demonized by the media, forsaken by many (his natural parents have passed away), and now faces the inhumanity of the death penalty.

Last, we pray for all those who have made use of this tragic event – many in good faith! – to further or fuel their political agendas through the media (including the social media outlets) and even through social activism. Let us never forget that (a) there are much larger and deeper roots to this evil that would become visible if we took at step back and engaged in some introspection, and (b) that a society that has forsaken all faith in the true God, has embraced a relativistic concept of good and evil, and promotes, as it were, in a bipartisan effort, the Culture of Death, has entirely lost its moral and ethical compass, and therefore will never be able to bring about, by mere legislative changes, peace and social justice as understood and taught by the Catholic Church.

This Lent, let us reflect on the absolute, unconditional dignity of human life, and on the love shown to sinners and saints by God who dwelt among us, suffered with us, and died for us, only to rise and proclaim that there is no such thing as death for those who follow the Way, in the footsteps of a King whose homeland is not in or of this world.

Published in: on March 12, 2018 at 11:43 PM  Comments (1)  

Prayer request


In your kindness please pray for our Superior, Br Jay, who is currently very sick.

*** Update 2/24 Br Jay “graduated” from the acute rehab center and is back at the Motherhouse 🙂 God bless you for your prayers and support during this difficult time. ***

** Update 2/14 Br. Jay begins his Lent in an acute rehab facility to perform occupational and physical therapy. If God wills, he will continue recovering and will be able to come back to the Motherhouse soon. **

** Update 2/11 There has been significant improvement in Br. Jay’s health. He is still in the hospital but undergoing physical therapy. He thanks you all for the ongoing prayers. May God continue to strengthen him. **

** Update 2/5 11 PM Our Superior is out of critical care but still hospitalized. He is very grateful to all. Praying that he regain strength. **

** Update 2/2 11 PM No major changes. Every day the numbers show a bit of improvement. However please pray in a special way for removal of ventilator. Your prayers are efficacious – thank you! **

** Update 1/29 5 PM Things keep improving a bit at a time. Please keep praying for Br. Jay who is still in critical care, and for those who are overseeing his healthcare. **

** Update 1/28 4 PM More signs of improvement. **

** Update 1/27 12 noon Slight signs of improvement. **

** Update 1/26 3:00 AM Br. Jay’s secondary issue (breathing) deteriorated, requiring additional critical care. Praying for continuation of recovery. **

** Update 1/24 4:00 AM Br. Jay’s condition has shown a significant improvement. Still in ICU. Please pray for his breathing to stabilize, if it be God’s will. Br. Jay expresses his gratitude to everyone who has been praying for him and touching base with us. **

** Update 1/23 11:30 AM Br. Jay’s condition has improved a little bit. Still very sick. Prayers greatly appreciated. **

 

¿Podremos Salvarnos de nosotros mismos?



English version:  CAN WE SAVE US FROM OURSELVES? 

Esta semana, muchas personas han escrito sobre la causa de justicia social representada por el Reverendo Martin Luther King, Jr. Es bueno recordar la importancia y la necesidad de que aún debemos vencer el odio y las diferentes formas de prejuicio. Además, hay marchas pro-vida, discursos y manifestaciones en todo el país, a pesar de las bajas temperaturas en algunas ciudades. No piense que Dios no nota tal sacrificio. Estos sacrificios son más significativos para él que los “holocaustos”.

A medida que avanzamos, es importante mirar hacia atrás. El que no mira hacia atrás para ver dónde ha estado y el progreso que ha hecho, no tiene idea de qué tan lejos llegar y cuánto más debe hacer. El problema provida es uno de los que debe examinarse en el contexto de una tradición de derechos humanos bien establecida.

Esta semana no es una protesta política contra el aborto, contra el racismo, contra la eutanasia o cualquier otra violación. Si reducimos nuestro lenguaje, nuestra actividad y limitamos todos nuestros recursos para derrocar el aborto y las leyes de eutanasia, existe la posibilidad de que esas leyes nos acompañen por mucho tiempo y puedan afectar muchas más vidas.

Debemos educar a otros. Hay quienes para quien el racismo, el aborto, la eutanasia, la trata de personas y otros crímenes atroces sean “guerras de la cultura católica” o “guerras culturales negras” o cualquier otra guerra cultural que podamos imaginar. Nuestro principal deber moral es ayudar a hombres y mujeres de todas las edades, todas las religiones, todos los grupos étnicos, todos los ámbitos de la vida y cualquier preferencia sexual a abrazar el DERECHO A LA VIDA, no crear más divisiones y más guerras. El derecho a la vida comienza con el derecho a nacer. Pero no debemos sentirnos cómodos porque la cantidad de abortos está disminuyendo mientras que la cantidad de personas mayores, enfermas y discapacitadas que están siendo sometidas a eutanasia está aumentando.

No podemos sentirnos demasiado cómodos con la idea de que personas de color, caucásicas y personas de diversas culturas puedan coexistir en cualquier comunidad. Eso es solo una ilusión. El hombre viene al mundo para más que convivir con otros hombres. El hombre viene al mundo a vivir. Somos el resultado de un principio natural básico llamado “generatividad”, del término “génesis”. Cuando interferimos con el nacimiento, la vida y la muerte, en lugar de seguir las leyes incorporadas en la naturaleza, nos encontramos haciendo lo antinatural. Negar a alguien el derecho de nacer y otorgarle a alguien el derecho de tomar la vida de otra persona o ayudar a otra a quitarse la vida, es un intento irracional de parte de la humanidad que pretende dominar la naturaleza.

Si bien es cierto que no somos bestias del campo que viven y cazan por instinto, somos criaturas de la Tierra. Si ese no fuera el caso, no estaríamos tan agobiados por la ansiedad sobre el medio ambiente y el futuro del ecosistema. Estos son importantes para nosotros ¿Por qué? Consciente o inconscientemente, reconocemos que somos parte del mundo natural y que el mundo natural es necesario para el desarrollo individual y comunitario.

En algún nivel, sabemos que somos seres naturales; entonces, luchamos para preservar el medio ambiente que necesitamos para prosperar. Negarle a un ser humano el derecho a nacer, el derecho a agua y alimentación, en lugar de cuidar del otro hasta que muera sin que nosotros los empujemos por un precipicio, es suponer que tenemos dominio absoluto sobre la misma naturaleza de la cual formamos parte.

Somos parte de la humanidad o somos dueños de la humanidad. La mano no tiene derecho a despedir al pulmón. Tampoco el oído tiene el derecho de despedir al pie. Cada uno es parte de un ser. El hombre o la mujer que autoriza el asesinato del niño, los enfermos, ancianos y discapacitados o que lleva a cabo tal acto, se ha puesto a sí misma por encima de la humanidad.

Un hombre o una mujer que gasta energía en el “derecho a terminar con la vida” en el útero o años después del nacimiento, pretended que ya no comparte la naturaleza humana. Esa persona se ha engañado a sí mismo y a los demás. Muchos creen que aquel que puede terminar una vida o sabotear un nacimiento es una persona poderosa. La verdad es muy diferente. Tal persona es un cobarde que le teme a la humanidad.  Dicho miedo los lleva a buscar dominio y el “derecho” a la intervención sobre quién nace, quién vive y cuándo otros mueren.

Los esfuerzos combinados del Dr. King y el movimiento Pro-vida tienen un solo objetivo y un solo fin: salvarnos de nosotros mismos.

 

Published in: on January 22, 2018 at 11:39 AM  Comments (1)  

CAN WE SAVE US FROM OURSELVES?


¿Podremos Salvarnos de nosotros mismos?   Versión en español

This week, many people have written about the social justice cause represented by the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.  It’s good to remember the importance, and the need that we still have, to conquer hatred and different forms of prejudice.  Also, there are pro-life marches, speeches and demonstrations around the country, despite the freezing temperatures in some cities.  Don’t think that God does not notice such a sacrifice.  These sacrifices are more meaningful to him than “burnt offerings.”

As we progress forward, it’s important to look back.  One who does not look back to see where he’s been and the progress he has made, has no sense of how far to go and how much more he must do.  The pro-life issue is one of those that must be examined within the context of an established tradition of human rights.

This week is not a political protest against abortion, against racism, against euthanasia or any other violation.  If we narrow down our language, our activity, and limit all our resources to overthrow abortion and euthanasia laws, there is a possibility that such laws will be with us for a long time and may affect many more lives.

We must educate others.  There are those who make racism, abortion, euthanasia, human trafficking and other heinous crimes “Catholic Culture Wars” or “Black Culture Wars” or any other culture war that we can imagine.

Our primary moral duty is to help men and women of every age, every faith, every ethnic group, every walk of life and any sexual preference embrace the RIGHT TO LIFE, not create more divisions and more wars.  The Right to Life begins with the right to be born.  But we must not get comfortable because the number of abortion is decreasing while the number of older, sick and disabled people being euthanized is rising.

We can’t get too comfortable with the idea that People of Color, Caucasians, and people of diverse cultures can coexist in any community.  That’s just wishful thinking.  Man comes into the world to do more than coexist with other men.  Man comes into the world to live.  We are the result of a basic natural principle called, “generativity”, from the term “genesis”.  When we interfere with birth, life and death, instead of following the laws built into nature, we find ourselves doing the unnatural.  To deny someone the right to be born and to grant someone the right to take another person’s life or help another take his or her life, is an irrational attempt on the part of humanity to dominate nature.

While it’s true that we’re not beasts of the fields who live and hunt on instinct, we are creatures of the Earth.  If that were not the case, then we would not be so consumed by anxiety over the environment and the future of the eco-system.  These are important to us.  Why?  Consciously or unconsciously, we recognize that we are part of the natural world and that the natural world is necessary for individual and communal growth.

At some level, we know that we are natural beings; so, we fight to preserve the environment that we need to prosper.  To deny a human being the right to be born, the right to care and support until that person dies without us pushing them over a cliff, is to assume that we are masters over the very nature of which we are part.  Either we are part of humanity or we are masters of humanity.  The hand has no right to dismiss the lung.  Nor does the ear have a right to dismiss the foot.  Each is part of a whole.  The man or woman who authorizes the killing of the preborn child, the sick, the elderly and the disabled or who carries out such an act, that person has placed himself or herself above humanity.

A man or woman who expends energy on the “right to terminate life” in the womb or years after birth, such a person no longer shares in human nature.  That person has deceived himself and others.  Everyone now believes that a person who can terminate a life or sabotage a birth is a person of power.  The truth is very different.  Such a person is filled with fear, fear of humanity.  It is in their best interested to have some control over who is born, who lives and when others die.

The combined efforts of Dr. King and the Pro-life movement have one goal and one goal only, to save us from ourselves.

The Holy Family: “Plan A”


This Sunday, which is also New Year’s Eve, we celebrate the Holy Family.

In the eyes of Joseph, Mary, and Jesus we find a family that experiences an intense relationship with God while at the same time deeply involved in the everyday struggles of daily life – yes, even Our Lord, who “in every respect was tempted like us yet did not sin” (Hebrews 4:15).

Pious modern considerations aside, we must bear in mind that the Holy Family is not the result of lack of planning. The Incarnation and Nativity of the Savior may have been surprising, but not unplanned. The Holy Family is the very mirror of the Holy Trinity, a mirror thought by the Almighty before the beginning of time and manifested only in the “fullness of time”.

Joseph of Bethlehem, of the line of King David, was not living at Nazareth by coincidence. He did not meet Our Lady by coincidence. They were soulmates. He is the good, faithful, and discrete servant of God, of whom the Church says: “He made him the lord of his household, and prince over all his possessions” (Litany of St. Joseph, 1909). He is the model of fatherhood for the divine Child.

Mary of Nazareth, of the line of King David, was not just any woman. As the ancient Little Breviary says, “In the beginning, before the centuries, I was created, and for eternity I shall remain. In the holy place I ministered before Him” (Eccl. 24) She is the Woman of whom Genesis spoke. She is that virgin handmaiden that would be found with child, a child to be named “God is with us” (Isaiah 7:14). She is the “Spouse of the Holy Spirit”.

And what shall we say of the Infant, the Child, the Man Jesus, born in Bethlehem, called from Egypt, known as the Nazarene? He is the Christ, the Son of the Living God. He is our Lord and our God. He is the Just One that rains down from above, the King of Glory who comes, the Hope of the Nations. He is “the Living One, who was dead, and now is alive forever and ever” (Rev 1:18). “For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given” (Isaiah 9:6).

The Almighty for whom nothing is impossible has brought forth in the Holy Family the mirror of the domestic Church. As the Holy Father reminds us, the Holy Family is united in pilgrimage, and in doing so it teaches us, and our families, to journey together in a life that is a series of small and big pilgrimages.

This relationship of faith, peace, joy, and deep charity is never isolated and exclusive, but rather always open and welcoming towards the other, the neighbor, even the stranger. Do we not see Our Lady and the preborn Christ undertake a difficult journey and a long stay to visit Elizabeth, mother of the Baptizer? Do we not see relatives of the Lord traveling with, and even dedicating their lives to, our Lord? We hear of “his brothers and sisters”, and of James “the brother of the Lord”, and exegesis teaches us that they were not children of Joseph or Mary, but relatives. Does not the Lord after the Resurrection tell the holy women to go back to the apostles with a message that begins: “Tell my brothers…”? And did He not say, surrounded by the crowd, “he who does the wil of my Father is my brother and sister”? Did Mary not welcome John as her son, and John take Mary as his mother? Has she not called upon us time and again as “her children”?

The Lord came “that we may have life, and have it to the fullness”. The Holy Family proclaims the value and inviolability of human life from the first instant of conception to the very last moment of our life on earth, when we experience natural death as willed by God. In this we have the experience of St. Joseph, patron of a holy death, the first of the Holy Family to end the earthly pilgrimage.

Thousands of years – in fact, millions of years, according to the most widely accepted scientific theories – have passed in the life of humankind. “Grow and multiply” was the commandment given to Adam and Eve, and one of the unfortunate effects of Original Sin (welcomed by some confused scientists as a “survival skill”) was the disordered, unregulated search of a mate not merely for reproduction but also for mutual pleasure, often without any stable bonds. We see this even in some of the early parts of the history of the Chosen People of God, to whom the Lord commands not to commit adultery and not to desire the neighbor’s spouse. We witness it in the astonishment of the crowd when Christ says: “He who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart…what God has united no man can divide”.

God’s perfect plan for the human family, like all things in the economy of salvation, developed over time (our time, since God transcends such limitations). Wisdom and knowledge were given to mankind to bring forth order, stability, and holiness in society and in the world.

However, the same Culture of Death that led to the slaughter of the Innocents and to the unspeakable depravity of the pagan nations has slowly regained its grip upon the world at large, thanks to a slow but steady process of secularization that has broken the divine bond between faith and science and relegated religion to the sphere of the few while building altar upon altar to the Idol of Science, the golden calf of modern mankind, from whose udders all seek to drink a life-giving milk that cannot be and will not be. Nihilism and two world wars have brought disillusionment and despair in the hearts of men. A distorted rebound has led to narcissism, hedonism, and the hyper-sexualization of entire sectors of society.

It was only a matter of time before man’s idolatry brought forth artificial means to regulate birth and, when impossible, to terminate preborn life before, as someone once said, “the pregnancy becomes established”, or even afterwards, for no atrocity of old ages can compare to the sanitized surgical procedures employed in “early termination of pregnancy”, or rather, extermination of the unborn through abortion.

Now we have stores, pharmacies, places once honored as houses of healing, not merely selling means of contraception but in fact “joyfully” promoting abortifacient drugs such as Levonorgestrel, popularly known as “Plan B” or “Take Action”, marketed with the absurd misnomer “emergency contraceptive” based on brand-new definitions of “conception” and “pregnancy”.

From a Facebook pharmacy group

And we see some pharmacists and pharmacy staff react with amusement and even joy at the spike of sales of such products during the Holidays – especially during Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas!

The Curse of Babel still weighing heavily upon us, men have become better at verbal engineering than they have at chemical and genetic engineering. Therefore while the methods to tamper with God’s perfect plan for human reproduction are still rather primitive, the Culture of Death has developed beautiful, polished words to define and re-define concepts, with the ultimate goal of rationalize its own selfishness and then, in total delusion, establish it as the superlative of its very essence, speaking of “reproductive healthcare” to describe drugs and surgeries that alter, cut, destroy, and kill. And to all those involved in healthcare, we ask the question – whatever happened of the enlightened ethical principle of Hippocrates, upon whom the medical profession was once bound by oath, which begins with the imperative “Primum, Non Nocere”, “First, Do No Harm”?

The manufacturers of “Plan B” state that their product “is believed to act as an emergency contraceptive principally by preventing ovulation or fertilization. In addition, it may inhibit implantation by altering the endometrium.” In other words, “Plan B” may cause a newly-conceived embryo to die (and be expelled) because it cannot implant itself in the lining of the womb.

“May” is a vague word. Can it be quantified? Yes, to some degree. Dr. Donna Harrison has written extensively on how when “Plan B” is administered one to two days before the egg is due to be released, then egg release is not reliably prevented and breakthrough ovulation occur 71% of the time. Furthermore, most of those ovulations show luteal-phase defect, namely the ovary does not produce enough progesterone to allow the embryo to survive. So, the embryo formed would not survive long enough to produce a positive pregnancy test.

Can we quantify even further?

Dr Chris Kahlenborn writes that Plan B “has a high potential to work as an abortifacient” and “taken on the day of ovulation or later…it appears to be useless and may actually increase a woman’s risk of becoming pregnant” – a fact verified by pro-Plan B scholars (Trussel, Davidoff). Furthermore, women with a BMI over 30 who take Plan B have a 400% higher failure rate (confirmed by Dr. Anna Glasier).

DOJ recommends Plan B for raped women, but most emergency rooms rarely if ever test women’s ovulatory status (luteinizing hormone and progesterone levels), actually increasing their risk of pregnancy. Dr. Kahlenborn also points out that there is theoretical evidence that Plan B — like other progestins — may cause slowing of tubal transport of the embryo, which increases the risk of ectopic pregnancy (generally fatal for the embryo with or without emergency surgery).

Finally Dr. Kahlenborn mentions that soon we will be able to better quantify the abortifacient effect of “Plan B” through advanced testing – still experimental – that can often detect the presence of pregnancy within 48 hours of fertilization.

But those who state such facts are bound to become pariahs of the academic and research ivory towers, and to be labeled in the public square either with political misnomers or with the good old slogans of “railing against women’s rights”, particularly the “right to choose what to do with her own body” – although it is a fact that the result of a sperm fertilizing an egg is, at best, a new human being and, at worst, a parasite, but in any case an independent being, not part in any way of the mother’s body. And for those who insist on pushing the idea that the fruit of conception “holds the mother hostage for 35-40 weeks”, we must remind you that the mother-preborn relationship is not symbiotic but mutually protective, as countless scientific papers have shown.

In the past Centuy, St. John XXIII and Blessed Paul VI worked arduously in examining views and opinions concerning married life, and especially the correct regulation of births. The result was the groundbreaking, magisterial document “Humanae Vitae”, in which Paul VI, against a worldly tide that sought to strike God’s plan for the family with a “new plan”, declared infallibly that “Marriage…far from being the effect of chance or the result of the blind evolution of natural forces…is in reality the wise and provident institution of God the Creator… that union of two persons in which they perfect one another, cooperating with God in the generation and rearing of new lives… Married love is total…faithful…exclusive…fecund…ordained toward the procreation and education of children”.

While calling upon married couples to embrace responsible parenthood with regards to both biological processes and innate drives and emotions, Paul VI reminded us that there are precepts of natural law, expounded by the magisterium of the Church…established by God, which man on his own initiative may not break. Among these shines forth the fact that “an act of mutual love which impairs the capacity to transmit life which God the Creator, through specific laws, has built into it, frustrates His design which constitutes the norm of marriage, and contradicts the will of the Author of life” and therefore such an act is not just wrong for Catholics, but is in fact “equally repugnant to the nature of man and of woman”.

It is a truth of the faith and a part of natural law that the direct interruption of the generative process already begun and, above all, all direct abortion, even for therapeutic reasons, are to be absolutely excluded, as is direct sterilization and any action which either before, at the moment of, or after sexual intercourse, is specifically intended to prevent procreation.

While the world and the Culture of Death recoiled in horror at the “atrocious” and “merciless” statement of the Church, lifting up the banners of “overpopulation” and “sexually-transmitted diseases”, and the politically powerful banners of “empowerment of women”, the Holy Father declared in Christ that “though it is true that sometimes it is lawful to tolerate a lesser moral evil in order to avoid a greater evil or in order to promote a greater good, it is never lawful, even for the gravest reasons, to do evil that good may come of it…consequently, it is a serious error to think that a whole married life of otherwise normal relations can justify sexual intercourse which is deliberately contraceptive and so intrinsically wrong.”

Humanae Vitae was prophetic in understanding the consequences that this mindset would have on mankind: “marital infidelity and a general lowering of moral standards…man may forget the reverence due to a woman, and, disregarding her physical and emotional equilibrium, reduce her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires…the danger of this power passing into the hands of those public authorities who care little for the precepts of the moral law…the responsibility of procreating life…left to the arbitrary decision of men”.

St. John Paul II reinforced this theme in Evangelium Vitae, discussing all new threats to human life. Specifically mentioning contraception and of the more dangerous “contraceptive mentality”, the Holy Father declared that often contraception and abortion are “fruits of the same tree” and that, even when “practised under the pressure of real- life difficulties”, are a great evil, to be avoided at all costs.

In a very concrete, level-headed stance, the Holy Father also reminds us that “in very many other instances such practices are rooted in a hedonistic mentality unwilling to accept responsibility in matters of sexuality, and they imply a self-centered concept of freedom, which regards procreation as an obstacle to personal fulfilment. The life which could result from a sexual encounter thus becomes an enemy to be avoided at all costs, and abortion becomes the only possible decisive response to failed contraception.”

The issue at hand is not the use of this product or that chemical, but what St. John Paul called “an objective “conspiracy against life”, involving even international Institutions, engaged in encouraging and carrying out actual campaigns to make contraception, sterilization and abortion widely available [and presenting them] as a mark of progress and a victory of freedom”.

St. John Paul points out that, in partial fulfillment of what Paul VI had written, various declarations of human rights show a remarkable contradiction, namely “the mentality which carries the concept of subjectivity to an extreme and even distorts it, and recognizes as a subject of rights only the person who enjoys full or at least incipient autonomy and who emerges from a state of total dependence on others”. In other words, this is a Hobbesian “state of war agaist all” in which “man is a wolf to man” and only the fit deserve to survive. Yet “the theory of human rights is based precisely on the affirmation that the human person, unlike animals and things, cannot be subjected to domination by others”!

Furthermore, St. John Paul points out that this distorted, self-centered, and delusional notion of freedom “marked by a mistaken sense of altruism and human compassion”, “exalts the isolated individual in an absolute way, and gives no place to solidarity, to openness to others and service of them”. Reaching the heights of contradiction, then, in the Culture of Death “freedom negates and destroys itself, and becomes a factor leading to the destruction of others”.

Furthermore, at a biological and psychological level “the body is no longer perceived as a properly personal reality, a sign and place of relations with others, with God and with the world. It is reduced to pure materiality: it is simply a complex of organs, functions and energies to be used according to the sole criteria of pleasure and efficiency. Consequently, sexuality too is depersonalized and exploited”.

“Thus the original import of human sexuality is distorted and falsified, and the two meanings, unitive and procreative, inherent in the very nature of the conjugal act, are artificially separated: in this way the marriage union is betrayed and its fruitfulness is subjected to the caprice of the couple. Procreation then becomes the “enemy” to be avoided in sexual activity: if it is welcomed, this is only because it expresses a desire, not because it signifies the complete acceptance of the other and therefore an openness to the richness of life which the child represents.”

Pope Francis emphasized in “Laudato Si” that this mindset extends indeed beyond the care for self and brings a deterioration of the care we have for our common home:

” How can we genuinely teach the importance of concern for other vulnerable beings, however troublesome or inconvenient they may be, if we fail to protect a human embryo, even when its presence is uncomfortable and creates difficulties? “If personal and social sensitivity towards the acceptance of the new life is lost, then other forms of acceptance that are valuable for society also wither away””.

Pope Francis, living one century later, teaches that the world has gone beyond doctrinal relativism and has embraced “a misguided anthropocentrism, a practical relativism [where human beings] give absolute priority to immediate convenience and all else becomes relative…irrelevant unless it serves one’s own immediate interests”. This indeed has given birth to a new idol, this time a true “abomination of desolation”, namely “the omnipresent technocratic paradigm and the cult of unlimited human power”, in an inseparable, contradictory spiral of mutual enslaving and annihilation.

In “Amoris Laetitia”, the Holy Father points out yet another very modern issue, namely how “consumerism may deter people from having children, simply so that they can maintain a certain freedom and life-style”. This is certainly not a difficulty in the face of “forced State intervention in favor of contraception, sterilization, and even abortion”, which “the Church strongly rejects”. He further points out that today’s growing trend to either enter marriage in a hasty way or cohabitate without marriage is “selfish, calculating, and petty…[failing] to recognize the rights of another person and to present him or her to society as someone worthy of unconditional love”.

What are we to conclude?

The mindset that seeks to control beyond all natural and moral law ultimately tampers with the very nature of human beings. It is foolish at best, insane at worst, to tamper with something impressive and delicate like the reproductive system, with consequences that transcend the biological and span into psychology, social development, and human ecology.

Our stance on life, parenting, birth control, contraception, and abortion fundamentally alters and determines our relationship with self, other members of our species, our environment, and other species.

Ultimately, the rationale for contracepting is rooted in very simplistic and hedonistic reasons, backed up by cheap science, industry-funded academia, and politically backed organizational policies.

The Culture of Death to whom so many subscribe has developed all sorts of more-or-less-veritable stories (overpopulation, reducing STDs, reducing world hunger, women’s healthcare, reproductive rights) to justify a simple fact, that stands alone in all its base, brainstem-cerebellum (primitive) selfishness: human want to fornicate with as many mates as possible, no commitments, no matter the consequences, based on external consideration and pheromonal drive. Faith-based and religious considerations aside, from a purely evolutionary standpoint one may even go as far as to argue that such an attitude made sense… 2 million years ago! However, today it is nothing but primitive and irresponsible.

Yet in the first world, it is the foundation of “reproductive healthcare” and is being imposed on its citizens, misused for population control of the pariah of society, and exported to third-world countries whose natural resources are more important than their human resources! How can we open our hearts to migrants, if we are involved in a collective effort to reduce their population in their home countries? How can we become welcoming towards the stranger that unjustly has nothing and out of mercy needs everything, when we are hostile towards the very fruit of the womb, who in justice has nothing and deserves everything?

May the contemplation of the Holy Family, so important and dear to St. Francis, lead us back on the Way, that we may understand or at least humbly and wisely submit to God’s perfect plan for humankind.

Contemplando el Pesebre Desde Una Ventana Franciscana


[English version]

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Querida familia:

A medida que se acerca la temporada de Navidad, sentí que debería contribuir una publicación estimulante sobre el significado de la Navidad. Cuanto más pensaba en ello, menos palabras me venían a la mente. Supongo que mucho de lo que puedo decir sobre Navidad se ha dicho mucho más elocuentemente. Es difícil encontrar algo diferente.

Entonces, pensé que compartiría una teología a través de la historia; algo que aprendí de San Agustín y Joseph Ratzinger.

No automatic alt text available.Ahora, el primer pesebre de Navidad fue creado por San Francisco de Asís, después de su peregrinación a Tierra Santa. Algunos historiadores colocan este acontecimiento alrededor del año 1223.  Por 794 años, la familia franciscana ha representado a Belén, como la entendió San Francisco.

Esto es importante. Su punto de referencia fue lo que vio en Tierra Santa, lo que leyó st josephen la Sagrada Escritura y la descripción que le transmitió la tradición oral. Esto no significa que su representación de la Natividad sea incorrecta. Al contrario, es la representación más confiable del nacimiento de Cristo, porque San Francisco extrajo de varias fuentes, incluyendo lo que vio con sus propios ojos en Tierra Santa. Cuanto más detalles se tengan sobre un evento, mayores son los puntos de consistencia y más diferencias entre las narraciones.

¡Seamos cuidadosos! Estamos hablando sobre diferencias en las narrativas, no sobre contradicciones. Ninguna de las narraciones del nacimiento de Cristo contradice la otra. Cada una contiene algún detalle que no se menciona en otra fuente: tradición bíblica, oral o arte. Pero se ajustan como piezas de un rompecabezas. Esto hace que la representación de S. Francisco de la Natividad sea una de las más confiables de la historia. Combinó todas las fuentes que él conocía, rellenando los vacíos de una fuente, con información de otra fuente. Uno puede preguntarse a sí mismo: “¿Por qué el hermano nos dice esto?”

WP_20151220_001Todos los años, las iglesias y los hogares exhiben el nacimiento con diferentes medios artísticos. Desafortunadamente, algunas representaciones, a pesar de que son bellas, incluyen elementos que no son históricos, como el Papá Noel venerando al Mesías recién nacido o pequeños pueblos, completos con trenes. Aún más común es inserción de nieve o de las figuras de los Magos venerando al Rey recién nacido.

Cuando San Francisco reconstruyó el primer pesebre, lo hizo por razones de devoción y para enseñar una catequesis sólida.

Primero: era prácticamente imposible que a los cristianos se les permitiera entrar a Tierra Santa en peregrinación a los sitios importantes de nuestra historia de salvación.

Muchos cristianos habían olvidado partes de la historia de Navidad y algunas personas habían agregado o eliminado de la historia original.

Segundo: muchos europeos eran analfabetos. Los pocos que sabían leer, a menudo carecían de competencia Joseph fatherhoodsuficiente en griego y latín como para entender la Sagrada Escritura. Estos contribuyeron al inicio de mitos sobre la Natividad. Cuando uno reemplaza los hechos con la imaginación, uno corre el riesgo de malinterpretar lo que Dios está revelando acerca de sí mismo. Francisco vivió la representación de la Natividad como lo aprendió a través de la experiencia personal y de las diversas fuentes que lo ayudaron a él, a sus hermanos y al mundo a ver la maravilla de la Navidad, en toda su pureza, sencillez, humildad y claridad.

Tercero: San Francisco nos deja ver que el Hijo de Dios vino al mundo como un ser humano real de un vientre humano y “tomó la forma de un esclavo, naciendo un verdadero hombre”, humilde y sin pecado, [aquellos hombres siendo los pastores campesinos que pasaba las noches cuidando las ovejas de sus patrones en cuevas y cabañas impropias para un rey]. Desde el momento en que la Segunda Persona de la Trinidad irrumpió en la historia humana, ingresó al mundo como un hombre pobre que compartía la suerte de los pastores. Ellos no eran dueños de las ovejas. Jesús claramente nos recordó que había venido para hacer la voluntad de Aquel que lo envió, no su voluntad y que él es el Buen Pastor, lo que significa que no es dueño de las ovejas. El Padre posee las ovejas Nosotros pertenecemos al Padre.

Cuarto: El Hijo del Padre adquiere una segunda naturaleza, la naturaleza humana. Se convierte en el Hijo del Catholic, Christ, Christian, ChurchHombre, sin perder su naturaleza divina como la segunda persona de la Santísima Trinidad. Cuando miramos al bebé en el pesebre, como San Francisco, debemos dejar que nuestros ojos, corazones y mentes se concentren en lo que vemos, no en la belleza de las figuras y la exhibición, sino en la belleza más sublime. Desde la caída de Adán, Dios planeó enviar a uno que aplastaría la cabeza del Mal. Debido a que el hombre existe en el tiempo y el espacio, la primera alianza debía cumplirse en el tiempo y el espacio.

Cuando San Francisco creó el primer pesebre en vivo, su intención era tan simple como profunda. Debemos mirar hacia Belén y contemplar la bella imagen del Niño Jesús. Contemplemos el misterio de nuestra redención. Dios se convierte en un peón humano para mostrarnos el verdadero significado de la humildad ante Dios. A menos que no nazcamos nuevamente como siervos, en lugar de jefes, no encontraremos a Cristo entre nosotros.

Image may contain: 1 personJesús fue concebido en una oscura aldea en Judea, nació lejos de su tierra madre, en Belén, no en Nazaret, o Jerusalén, donde los reyes hebreos nacieron y se criaron. Él entra en Jerusalén como un rey, para ser ejecutado como un delincuente común entre dos ladrones.

¿Estamos dispuestos y listos para servir y guiar al hombre común como lo hace Cristo?

Que todos nuestros familiares, amigos y hermanos tengan una Navidad que trascienda el mundo que conocemos y alcanze a la Estrella que se acerca desde el Este.

Hno. Jay y los Franciscanos por la Vida

Published in: on December 20, 2017 at 10:55 AM  Leave a Comment  

A FRANCISCAN CONTEMPLATES ON THE CHRISTMAS CRECHE


[Versión en Español]

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Dear Family:

As the Christmas season quickly approaches, I felt that I should publish an uplifting blog post on the meaning of Christmas and so forth.  The more that I thought about it, the fewer words came to mind.  I guess that much of what I can say about Christmas has been said much more eloquently. It’s difficult to come up with something different.   So, I thought I’d share a theology through history; which I learned from St. Augustine and Joseph Ratzinger.

For those who don’t No automatic alt text available.know, the first recorded Christmas crèche was created by St. Francis of Assisi, after his pilgrimage to the Holy Land.  Some historians place this around the year 1223.  For 794 years the Franciscan family has represented the nativity scene, as St. Francis understood it.

This is important.  His point of reference was what he saw in the Holy Land, what he read in Sacred Scripture and the description that was handed down by oral tradition.  This does not mean that that st josephFrancis’ representation of the Nativity is wrong.  On the contrary, it is the most reliable representation of the birth of Christ, because St. Francis pulled from several sources, including what he saw with his own eyes in the Holy Land.  The more input one has into an event, the more points of consistency and the more differences between the narratives.  Let’s be careful!  We’re talking about differences in the narratives, not contradictions.  None of the narratives of Christ’s birth contradicts the other.  Each contains a piece of information that is not mentioned in another source:  biblical, oral tradition or art.  They fit together like pieces of a puzzle. This makes St. Francis’ representation of the Nativity one of the most reliable in history.  He combined all of the sources that he knew, filling in the blanks in one source, with information from another source.  One may ask himself, “Why is Brother telling us this?”

WP_20151220_001Every year, churches and homes display the nativity using different artistic mediums.  Unfortunately, some displays, even though they are beautiful, include elements that are not historical, such as Santa venerating the newborn Messiah or little towns, complete with trains.  Even more common, is the addition of snow or the figures of the Magi venerating the newborn King.

When St. Francis recreated the first crèche he did it for some very solid spiritual and devotional reasons.

Joseph fatherhoodFirst:  It was virtually impossible for Christians to enter the Holy Land on pilgrimage to the important sites in our salvation history.  Many Christians had forgotten parts of the Christmas story and some people had added or deleted from the original story.

Second:  Many Europeans were illiterate.  The few that could read often lacked enough proficiency in Greek and Latin need to understand Sacred Scripture.  These contributed to the birth of myths about the Nativity.  When one replaces fact with imagination, one runs the risk of misunderstanding what God is revealing about himself.  Francis’ live representation of the Nativity as he learned from personal experience and the various sources helped him, his brothers and the world to see the wonder of Christmas, in all its purity, simplicity, humility and clarity.

Third:  St. Francis lets us see that the Son of God came into the world as a real human being from a human womb and “took the form of a slave, being born in the likeness of men”, except sin, [those men being the peasant shepherd who spent nights caring for the master’s sheep in caveCatholic, Christ, Christian, Churchs and huts unfit for a king].  From the moment that the Second Person of the Trinity broke into human history, he entered the world as a peasant who shared the lot of shepherds.  It’s important to remember that the shepherds worked for someone else. They did not own the sheep.  Jesus clearly reminded us that he had come to do the will of the One who sent him, not his will and that he is the Good Shepherd, meaning that he doesn’t own the sheep.  The Father owns the sheep.  We belong to the Father.

Fourth: The Son of the Father takes on a second nature, human nature.  He becomes the Son of Man, without forfeiting his divine nature as the second person of the most Holy Trinity.  When we look at the infant in the crèche, like St. Francis, we must let our eyes, hearts and minds focus on what we see, not on the beauty of the figures and the display, but on the more sublime beauty. From the fall of Adam, God planned to send one who would crush the head of Evil.  Because man exists in time and space, the first covenant was to be fulfilled in time and space.

When St. Francis created the first live Nativity scene outside of Palestine his intention was as simple as it was deep.  We must look at the nativity scene and go past the beautiful image of the Baby Jesus.  Let us contemplate on the mystery of our redemption.  God becomes a human peasant to show us the true meaning of humility before God Image may contain: 1 personand man.  Unless we are born again as servants, instead of masters, we shall not find Christ among us.

Jesus was conceived in an obscure village in Judea, was born away from his parental home, in Bethlehem instead of Nazareth, or Jerusalem where the Hebrew kings were traditionally born and raised.   He enters Jerusalem as a king to be executed as a common criminal between thieves.

Are we willing and ready to serve and guide the common man of today, as Jesus was, when he broke into human history?

May all of our family, friends, and brothers have a Christmas that transcends beyond the world that we know and reaches for the Star that approaches from the East.

Br. Jay and the Franciscans of Life

Published in: on December 20, 2017 at 10:54 AM  Leave a Comment  

This Advent, Let Us #ShareJourney


The Franciscans of Life #sharejourney with other Christian brothers and sisters praying for migrant and refugee families throughout the world.

This is part of a global campaign in support of immigrants and refugees launched by the Holy Father in September 2017 and embraced by the Archdiocese of Miami. In the words of H.E. Archbishop Thomas Wenski:

“The ‘Share the Journey’ campaign — which began with Pope Francis showing support and solidarity to the migrant with a simple gesture — will last till September 2019 and aims to shape conversations and actions to answer the Gospel call to love one’s neighbor: ‘I was a stranger and you welcomed me.'”

On the afternoon of “gaudete Sunday”, December 17, the Franciscans of Life attended a beautiful prayer service, in English and Spanish, organized by the Teresian Association of Miami, PaxChristi Miami, and the Archdiocese of Miami Office of the Mission. Rooted on the Taize’ spirituality, the service included chants, readings from Sacred Scripture, moments of silence and meditation, and prayers of intercession.

The hosts were very gracious to the attendees, offering them a peaceful prayer environment as well as snacks and beverages (the event lasted from 2 PM to 5 PM and was followed by light refreshment) and the good Lord gave us a wonderful afternoon, neither too warm nor too cold, for those who wished to step into the garden for their prayers and meditations.

We learned of the event through the social media, specifically a post on the Facebook page of the Archdiocese. In this, we are grateful to St. Maximilian Kolbe, our patron saint, who inspires our brothers to be somewhat “non-traditional” in making use of Facebook and every possible means of technology to spread the Gospel and bring all closer to Christ and the Church – of course, under the discipline of our Constitutions and the direction of our Superior.

What can otherwise be a means of dissipation becomes instead a powerful instrument in the hands of the Immaculate. And Our Lady was central in today’s prayer service: a beautiful icon of the “Theotokos” was prominently displayed, and we had occasion to reflect on her very own journey in the Holy Family, first to Bethlehem and then as far as the land of Egypt, as foreigners.

One of the less visible apostolates of our emerging community is our service to the immigrant who is poor and hopeless. This is part of our foundational charism. Most of the work in this area is carried out – again – through technology:

– we have a webpage (http://www.franciscansoflife.org/inmigracion.html) listing resources in Miami-Dade and Broward, which receives hundreds of visits every month.

– we are also contacted via email or contact form by migrants who seek assistance, even in other areas of the U.S. We are always glad to walk with them and point them in what we hope is the right direction.

We also support the immigrant and refugee in other ways:

– first and foremost by prayer and penance;

– second, by attempting to make life easier for them in their country of origin, for instance by supporting relief efforts after natural disasters, offering to collect goods and relay them to Churches or shipping centers from which they will be sent directly to the needy in the affected foreign country;

– third, by fostering tolerance and mutual understanding;

– fourth, by setting aside resources and raising awareness in order to open a “New Skills for Adults Room” for the immigrant poor; find out more about this project and how to help us bring it to life by contacting us via email, form, or on social media – and by reading here and here.

– Fifth, but not last, by supporting many immigrant and refugee fathers with parenting education and material assistance through Project Joseph, our joint venture with Respect Life Ministry Archdiocese of Miami – for in the end, the most vulnerable member of every population is always the preborn child.

– used with permission –

Here is an excerpt from our Constitutions that summarizes our call to serve the immigrant poor:

“The brothers shall take an active part in any activity sanctioned by the Church for the protection of life.

We offer to serve the immigrant poor, regardless of his or her status.

While we encourage men and women of conscience to find a moral answers to the urgent questions surrounding immigration, our mission goes beyond the temporal and political.

When the crowd realized that they could not get the paralytic to Jesus using ordinary means, they cut an opening into the roof and lowered him into the presence of Christ, an unconventional way of entering a house. However, Jesus did not ask him how he got there or why they had violated the roof. Instead, Jesus ministered to his spiritual and physical needs. He forgave his sins and healed his disability. Like Jesus, we must render unto Caesar what is his and unto God what is God’s.

Like St. Francis, we want to be disciples by imitating the Master. The Master never turned people away. Instead, he turned their lives around.

We pray and hope to bring life into the existence of the immigrant poor who feels that he is a stranger, welcoming and serving him as we would any other member of our family. Jesus comes to us disguised as an immigrant in search of a new life. “I was a stranger and you invited me in,” (Mt. 25:35).

In keeping with the simplicity and universal spirit of fraternity of our Holy Father St. Francis, the brothers are to avoid all forms of partisan politics. They are bound to observe the rules of responsible citizenship as ordained by the Church and the Conference of Bishops, giving witness to the fact that faith enlightens citizenship.

Especially in situations of political conflict, national and international, the brothers shall bear witness to the fact that all life is sacred. They shall engage in works that promote peace among peoples of all nations and shall promote respect and love for every man. Let them take example from St. Maximilian Kolbe, who at the appointed hour gave his life for a man whom he did not know and of a different faith.”

This Sunday and this whole week, when the liturgy of the Church calls us to rejoice for the coming of the Savior, let us remember that, in awaiting that awesome, ultimate Parousia in which Christ will come to us “in a cloud with power and great glory…as lightning that flashes and lights up the sky from one end to the other” (Lk 21, 17),  we must also strive to find him daily in our brothers and sisters, for truly He said:

“I am with you always, until the end of the age”

– Mt 28

Published in: on December 17, 2017 at 10:16 PM  Leave a Comment  

El Evangelio de Vida Trata de La Obra de Dios Entre Nosotros


 El Testimonio del un Hermano y la Respuesta de su Superior

Asignamos al hermano Bernardo D’Carmine al Colegio Universitario de Broward, porque la población estudiantil está compuesta por individuos cuyas vidas han sido complejas y con muchos retos. Necesitan más que educación académica. Necesitan ver a alguien viviendo las Buenas Nuevas (Evangelio) de que la vida vale cada esfuerzo que hacemos cada mañana cuando nos levantamos de la cama.

El hermano Bernardo es un hermano estudiante que posee títulos avanzados en ciencias e ingeniería. Es miembro de la Orden de Ingenieros, una hermandad de ingenieros comprometidos con el servicio a la comunidad (en lugar de trabajar por salarios de seis cifras) que supervisa las mejores prácticas y prácticas éticas en todos los campos de la ingeniería.

El Hno. Bernardo también está trabajando en dos licenciaturas, teología de la espiritualidad cristiana y educación para adultos. Le faltan algunos créditos para terminar la Licencia de Educación.

Para aquellos que no lo saben, el hermano solo tiene 28 años, nacido en La Habana, de madre cubana y padre italiano. Su familia emigró de Cuba cuando era un niño, y él creció en la Provincia de Roma con sus padres y otros parientes italianos.

El Hno. Bernardo habla cinco idiomas con fluidez. Publicó dos trabajos académicos antes de cumplir 18 años. En 2006, a la edad de 17 años, publicó un libro en español, “Desde Los Números a la Computadora”, un proyecto de investigación sobre la relación cognitiva entre la inteligencia matemática y la tecnología. En 2007, a la edad de 18 años, publicó un libro de antropología en italiano, “Arkeopolis Numero 0.” En 2008, a la edad de 19 años, publicó su tercer libro, “Notas de un estudiante sobre programación,” esta vez en inglés. Comparte sus notas en programación, con un enfoque en seguridad y protección.

Finalmente, en 2016, escribió el borrador de un nuevo libro del hermano Jay, “Un abordaje franciscano a Evangelium Vitae” (encíclica del Papa San Juan Pablo 2do, una colección de más de 1,000 artículos y ensayos escritos y publicados por el hermano Jay en los Estados Unidos, Europa y Suramérica. Está escrito en español e inglés. Los hermanos Jay y Bernardo esperan completar este importante trabajo a fines del 2018. Si el tiempo lo permite, puede seguir una traducción en Creole Haitiano.

Los Franciscanos por la Vida no son diáconos ni sacerdotes. Somos una comunidad emergente de hombres sencillos que prometemos vivir de acuerdo con la Regla de San Francisco de Asís. Nuestra meta más alta es seguir la guía que la Inmaculada les dio a los servidores en la boda de Caná, “Hagan lo que él les diga.” La obediencia es una forma de vida para nosotros. Hacemos voto de pobreza y no poseemos nada como individuos. Como comunidad, poseemos solo lo que se necesita para una vida saludable y el ministerio. Los hermanos regulares prometen vivir en castidad célibe hasta la muerte, y proclamar el Evangelio de Vida por medio de comunicación social, educación y servicio a quienes el mundo ignora con frecuencia.

Vivimos en pequeñas casas comunitarias en medio de la clase trabajadora, como lo hicieron los primeros franciscanos que vivieron y trabajaron en los campos junto a los campesinos de la época. No administramos escuelas secundarias o universidades. Tampoco administramos hospitales. Nuestra participación en el ministerio parroquial se limita a la educación religiosa de niños y adultos. No aceptamos puestos administrativos en parroquias y otras organizaciones eclesiásticas. Nuestra vocación es ser el más insignificante y hacer lo máximo que podamos por la salvación de las almas.

Actualmente, hay siete hermanos. Dos están trabajando en en Proyecto José con Respeto a La Vida Miami, un programa de formación para futuros padres. El superior de la comunidad es también el Director Arquidiocesano del Proyecto José. Otro de nuestros hermanos es enfermero graduado que ha prestado servicios en centros de cuidados paliativos, atendiendo a pacientes y brindando apoyo espiritual a sus familiares y amigos. También pasó más de cinco años brindando servicios de apoyo a un joven con severas discapacidades neurológicas, incluso pasando la noche con él en el hospital para que su madre pudiera dormir unas horas.

¿Mi conclusión? No necesitamos ser una gran orden religiosa o dirigir grandes parroquias, escuelas, colegios u hospitales para predicar el Evangelio de Vida que se encarnó en el vientre de la Inmaculada.

Published in: on December 16, 2017 at 2:52 PM  Leave a Comment  

The Gospel of Life is About God’s Work Among Us


 

Jesus and young manSuperior’s Reflection on  A Brother’s Witness   

We assigned Brother to Broward, because the student population is composed of individuals whose lives have been very challenging.  They need more than academic education.  They need to see someone live the Good News (Gospel) that Life is worth every effort that we make each morning when we get out of bed.

Brother Bernardo is a student brother who holds advanced degrees in science and engineering.  He is a member of the Order of Engineers, a brotherhood of engineers committed to serving the community, instead of working for six-figure salaries, which monitors best practices and ethical practices in every field of engineering.  Brother is also working on two Licentiates, one Spiritual Theology and another Adult Education.  He is a few credits short of finishing the Education Licentiate.  For those who may not know, Brother is only 28 years old, born in Havana, to a Cuban mother and an Italian father.  He left Cuba when he was a preschooler and grew up in the Province of Rome with his parents and other Italian relatives.  Brother Bernardo speaks five languages fluently.  He published two scholarly works before his 18th birthday.

In 2006, at the age of 17, he published a book in Spanish, “Desde Numeros a La Computadora” (From numbers to computers) a research project in cognitive relationship between mathematical intelligence and technology.  In 2007, at the age of 18, he published an anthropology book in Italian, “Arkeopolis Numero 0.”  In 2008, at the age of 19, he published his third book, “A Student’s Notes About Programming, in English.”  He shares his notes in programming, with a focus on security and safety.  Finally, in 2016, he wrote the draft for a new book by Brother Jay, “A Franciscan Approach to the Gospel of Life”, a collection of 1,000+ articles and essays written and published by Brother Jay in the United States, Europe, and South America.  It is written in Spanish and English.  Brothers Jay and Bernardo hope to complete this important work by the end of 2018.  If time allows, a Creole translation may follow.

Franciscans of Life are neither deacons nor priests.  We are an emerging community of simple men who vow to live according to the Rule of St. Francis of Assisi.  Our highest goal is to follow the guidance that the Immaculate gave the waiters at the Wedding at Cana, to do whatever he tells us.  Obedience is a way of life for us.  We vow poverty and own nothing as individuals.  As a community, we own only what is needed for healthy living and ministry.  The Regular brothers vow to live in celibate chastity until death and to Proclaim the Gospel of Life by means of words, education and service to those whom the world often forgets.  We live our entire lives in small community houses among the working class, as did the early Franciscans who lived and worked in the fields alongside the peasants of the time.

We do not run high schools or colleges.  Nor do we run hospitals.  Our involvement in parish ministry is limited to religious education of children and adults.   We do not accept administrative posts in parishes and other ecclesiastical organizations.  Our vocation is to be one of the least always trying to do the most that we can for the salvation of souls.

Currently, there are seven brothers.  Two are working in Project Joseph with Respect Life Miami, a formation program for expectant fathers.  The superior of the community is also the Archdiocesan Director of Project Joseph.  Another of our brothers is a Registered Nurse who has served in hospice, caring for patients and providing spiritual support to their relatives and friends.  He has also spent more than five-years providing support services to a young man with severe neurological disabilities, including spending the night with him in the hospital so that his mother could get a few hours of sleep.

My conclusion?  We don’t need to be a big religious order or run large parishes, schools, colleges or hospitals to do preach the Gospel of Life that became incarnate in the womb of the Immaculate.