One Legionary’s Experience of Francis’s Election

francisToday is the fourth anniversary of Pope Francis’s election so I thought it appropriate moment to share how I experienced it as a religious brother studying my last year of theology before ordination in Rome.

I believed the Canadian media: Cardinal Marc Ouellet wasn’t quite as shoo-in but, here the best odds of becoming Pope. Card. Angelo Scola was the other choice people were going for. A fellow Canadian Legionary had even entered “Isaac” into a contest for choosing the papal name based off our assumption Ouellet would be the next Pope.

I remember a plethora of articles in those days claiming that this Cardinal or that would become the next Pope and all the reasons for their choice. The only name other than Ouellet and Scola that seemed a serious contender to me was Cardinal Peter Turkson but he seemed like an outside chance. I don’t really remember one article promoting Card. Begoglio. Continue reading

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The umbrella

umbrella“An egg given during life for love of God is more profitable for eternity than a cathedral full of gold given after death.”  (St. Albert the Great)

I had the privilege of marrying my mom to her 2nd husband (who also died 2 years ago, My dad died in 1995…).   On the day of the wedding, I walked to St. Hugo of the Hills Church, to prepare my homily and pray in front of the Blessed Sacrament.   Thirty minutes before the Mass, I heard a loud crackling of thunder and lightning and it soon began pouring rain.  I forgot my umbrella back at the house and I still had to walk another 1/4 mile down the hill to the chapel…not a good situation.  Within minutes my mom came into the chapel with a large umbrella and a warm smile, quietly saying;  “Michael, I have to finish getting ready, but I thought you might need this umbrella…it is raining awfully hard out there.”   How could she think of this on the day of her wedding?  This is love!!

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Touch of Christ

touchAfter the Transfiguration, Matthew tells us that “Christ came and touched them.” Through his touch, He reassures them taking away their fears, “Do not be afraid.” Christ’s touch heals, purifies and consecrates. The experience the disciples had at the transfiguration healed and purified their vision of Christ. He revealed to them who He truly is – God’s Beloved Son. He consecrated them, making them holy as God’s children. There is no reason to be afraid anymore. Christ has done and continues to do the same with us, healing and purifying us through confession and consecrating us through communion. His touch continues to heal our fears, opening our hearts to Him consecrating us as His sons and daughters.

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What is truth?

truthPilate asked the question.  Christ was the answer.  He still is.  And as it has been for more than 2000 years, some find the answer and many do not.

In daily life, I have always believed that truth was a beautiful combination of faith, hope, love and doing the next right thing.  The next right thing is what is honest and in many cases – simply what must be done.

I guess I’m pretty much a black-and-white kind of guy.  If everyone followed the Golden Rule and the 10 Commandments, the world would be a caring, safe place. Continue reading

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The sculptor

sculptor“Do not, my child, approach Jesus Christ with the hope of bending his will to yours: what I desire is that you yield yourself to him and that he receive you, so that he, your Savior, may do with you and in you whatever he pleases.” — St. Cajetan

The Holy Spirit is like a master sculptor.  At times he strikes hard and with aggression, other times, it is more refined and slower, but the goal is to bring out the image of Christ buried within.  The key is to be true to who you are.  If you are married, be faithful to your spouse, focus on your kids and don’t dream about other options.  If you have a career, be ethical, fair and hard working.   He will always push you to be, like Christ, selfless and magnanimous.  Don’t look for easy and immoral escape routes from your duties and obligations…let the master sculptor strike when and where he prefers: he knows what is best for us!!

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Role Models

womenAmong the many emails I receive each day is a news digest from  I don’t read all the articles, but skim the headlines and click on the ones that pique my interest.

A couple days ago, each of the first two articles involved an attractive young women commenting on issues of life.  The headlines suggested their views were miles apart, and the proximity of the two stories enhanced what, to me, was considerable irony.

Woman number one, Barbara Pierce Bush, is the daughter of former President George W. Bush and granddaughter of former President George H. W. Bush.  While I’m sure being a first daughter has its downsides, anyone who spends many of her formative years living in the White House has to have lived a rather charmed life.  Having Secret Service protection, servants, a limousine and a seat on Air Force One would be a real kick.  She attended Yale and has been involved in various charitable efforts. Continue reading

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temptationLent can be similar to going to war. As Christ shows us, He goes to the desert to fight temptation. We have three enemies: The devil, the world and our flesh. These enemies usually attack in three ways, as they did for Christ: Sensuality (the temptation of the bread), vanity (the temptation of throwing himself down from the temple), and pride (the temptation of having power over all the lands). The weapons we have to fight are prayer, sacrifice and charity. We need to polish up our weapons during Lent so that we can grow and destroy the enemy. It is most important during this time of Lent to learn to turn to Christ as the one who fights for us and defends us from the enemies. He has fought, we have to hold on to Him more firmly to be sure of victory.

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Air Force

atom“For surely the confidence of a notorious sinner honors God most of all, for he is so convinced of God’s infinite mercy that all his sins seem no more than an atom in its presence.”  (St. Claude de la Colombiere)

Wright Patterson Air Force Base.   Having served in the Army Air Corps in WWII, my dad was so excited to accompany me on this weekend trip with the Cub Scouts.  As our school bus passed the sign above, our Scout Master pointed to a fallen B-52 bomber off to the right and said, “Gentlemen, if any of you tries to check out that plane, there will be severe consequences.  Don’t even think about it.”  My friends and I smiled at each other, and within 6 hours we were climbing through the greasy cock-pit and checking out the controls and empty bomb shells…cool stuff!  Our Scout Master wondered why it had taken so long for us to collect “firewood” and within a few minutes he had us marching single file line, hands in the air, back to camp.  I marched past my dad, and although I sensed a little disappointment, I also sensed a lot of love and understanding.  My sin seemed “no more than an atom in his presence.”

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Entrepreneurial ashes

glitterToday is Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent, a time of penance leading up to Easter.

Catholics go to Mass, then have ashes placed on their foreheads.  The Priest applying the ashes says, “Remember, Man is dust, and unto dust you shall return.” This tends to diminish pride and increase humility, which is appropriate at the start of Lent.

However, some churches are innovating with their ashes this year.  Some are adding glitter to their ashes as a sign of solidarity with the LGBTQ community. Continue reading

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Basic needs and self-fulfillment

bathroomCommon sense means living in the world as it is today; but creative people are people who don’t want the world as it is today but want to make another world. – Abraham Maslow

 I’ve been thinking about Abraham Maslow and bathrooms of late.

Maslow didn’t have much to do with bathrooms, but I think his psychological theories might help explain huge plumbing gaps that exists in the world today.

Maslow developed the “hierarchy of needs.”  Of course, he based it on years of research and a zillion pages of analysis, but you can sum it up with a five-tiered pyramid. Continue reading

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