Back to school – and prayer

prayerThe summer is quickly coming to a close- almost as quickly as it began. For some of us, including the parents and teachers among us, the end of summer means one thing: back to school.

This is a bittersweet moment: it marks the end of carefree family time, enjoying fewer stresses and pressures than during the rest of the year; but it also marks the return to routine! After a two-month break, many parents know “It’s time” to return to school- to channel all that creativity more into learning rather than antics. Continue reading

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The Gaze of Mercy

“When you give me your sins, you give me the joy of being your savior.”

from a prayer by the Missionaries of Charity inspired by the words of Christ to St Teresa of Calcutta

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(Artwork by Fr. Celso Pôrto Nogueira based on traditional portraits of Jesus overlaid with the Shroud of Turin)

In a quiet church on a Saturday afternoon, I pray and prepare myself for confession.  In my soul, Christ lifts my gaze to meet his. I look into the eyes of Mercy.  I know myself best in these moments because His love shows me who I am.

I offer my whole self to him, including my misery and my weakness, as a sacrifice to his merciful love. A holocaust he can burn up completely in His heart which contains the flames of mercy that the world rejects and that he longs to give.  In this offering I thank him for all he has given me and give it back to him, and I look at the all ways I have not lived as who I truly am in him. I do my examination of conscience, one-by-one counting out the betrayals of his love I have made, the large and small pieces of silver I have sold my heart for… this heart that belongs to him, that has always belonged to him but that I stole back to sell for what seemed more attractive in the moment. Continue reading

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The Message of the Day

messageHave I got a deal for you!

You can get a daily video message from Pope Francis to inform and inspire you.  It comes in English, Spanish or Portuguese.  I promise it will be professionally produced, high quality and last little more than a minute.  (Yes, even those of you with attention deficit issues will enjoy it.)

Did I mention it is free?  It is…really.  And that probably makes you wonder who would (or could) do such a thing. Continue reading

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Beyond Charlie

charlieNaked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked I shall return there. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD. – Job 1:21

I have of late thought much of death.  It isn’t personal; no dread diseases beset me, no dangerous journeys lie in my immediate future.

It is to Charlie Gard’s credit that I consider who ultimately owns life and death.  Is it the doctors who treated him?  Is it the judge who denied his parents the freedom to travel overseas for further treatment?  Is it the well-intentioned bureaucracy of British health care? Is it his parents?  Continue reading

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Mary Magdalene: Icon of Hope

magdalene

Giacomao Galli, The Penitent Mary Magdalene

I’ve had the privilege of living in Magdala, the ancient first-century hometown of Mary Magdalene, for three years, where we have received more than 200,000 visitors.  And with that comes a multitude of opinions about Mary Magdalene.  I have read every theory under the sun about this woman, and marvel that every year, the social media continue to discuss this enigmatic figure.  I ask myself:  if she could come and do this interview or call the shots on the movie scenes, what would she say?  What essential message would she leave her viewers?  And from that, what would be our take away?  I believe she would tell the story of dignity restored.  And from her own story, we could paint her as an icon of hope.

Our starting point is the scriptural record that she was possessed by seven demons.  Interpretations of this abound, from a real possession to a psychological illness.  Considering the human person as an entity of body and soul, can we assume that the influence of evil spirits becomes manifest in the corporeal and psychological realm?  Scriptures testify to a real battle taking place between the Kingdom of Satan and the Kingdom of God.  Jesus preaches repentance for the Kingdom of God is at hand.  How were these words received by Mary Magdalene?  What was the soil of her soul upon which these words fell? Continue reading

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Wasting time

timeMy youngest child is a living pause button in my life.

At 6, he is too little to know the pressures and programming of homework and club sports, and too much of a little boy to be stressed out by a schedule.  As he’s ushered through his day’s activities he somehow he maintains a space in his brain that is free, where he considers the best design for a Lego airplane, or which tree’s leaves would fall to the ground first in a race. Continue reading

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Don’t miss the mission!

Takeaways for becoming a Missionary Disciple

The best way to get a taste of the takeaways from the Convocation of Catholic Leaders is simply to take them and savour them oneself.  We are blessed to be part of a great mission.

Here are some quotes and videos from the speakers that resonated with the members of our own Regnum Christi Delegation and paint the picture of what God is asking of the Church and the Regnum Christi Movement as we go forward from this historic occasion.

 Charting the Landscape and the Mission Field

 “The Jesus here now in our midst calls us to discipleship, summons us to unity, imparts to us joy, and sends us on mission.” – Cardinal Timothy Dolan

“We are not living in an era of change, but in a change of era.”  – Cardinal Timothy Dolan

“Don’t leave the discussion of religious freedom to the constitutional argument.  Talk about the beauty of the outreach to the family that the Church will do with that freedom!”- Dr. Helen Alvare

“Hispanic youth don’t need the Church to give them a program, they need the Church to give them a HOME.” –Father Agustino Torres

Continue reading

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Jamaican Man Weeps with Christ

wayneI recently returned from Kingston, Jamaica where a small group of young adults and I went to serve alongside the Missionaries of the Poor (M.O.P.).  It was my second time traveling there to serve the poorest of the poor in Jamaica.  The first time was life-changing.  Could this second trip really compare?  In the midst of tragic poverty, Christ revealed to me a treasure that “neither moth nor rust destroys” and that “thieves do not break in or steal” (Mt 6:20).

“My name is Wayne. No, Wayne!” Spelling it out for me: W – A – Y – N – E, he sighed with relief that I had finally understood.” “Wayne? Ok, got it,” I replied, feeling I had accomplished something. He sat in a wheelchair and with very few teeth, smiled brightly at me.  Wayne had a slight mental disability, but that didn’t stop him from leading the rosary with his thick Jamaican accent for the other 80 residents living at Good Shepard, one of the many homes founded and run by the M.O.P. brothers in Kingston. Continue reading

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The Benedict Option and Regnum Christi?

benedictThe Benedict Option, by Rod Dreher, is generating a good deal of discussion among serious Catholics, including Regnum Christi members.  It is highly thought provoking and worth reading.

Reviews range from those finding much to agree with and others who think he has badly missed the mark.  I’m not going to analyze the specific factual accuracies (or inaccuracies), but mention what seems to me to be the general thrust of the book and how it relates to Regnum Christi.

In extremely simplistic terms, most reviewers have the impression that author Rod Dreher is saying we are in a post-Christian world, it will be rough and Christians had better head for the hills and huddle together in a cave. Continue reading

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Beauty Ever Ancient, Ever New: Not an Age of Changes, but a Change of Ages

Convocation of Catholic Leaders Day 2

new

Dr. Hosffman Ospino —
CNS photo/Bob Roller

St. Augustine’s praise of God himself can be sung of his bride, the Church as well.  The unchanging beauty, truth and goodness that she is is always becoming new through the incessant creative force of the Holy Spirit.  The bride of the Wounded Savior and host of the Sweet Guest of our souls is both strong and wounded, both unchanging and new.

The second day of the convocation began with Archbishop Wenski of Miami reminding us of the history of Catholicism in the United States, tracing the ways that missionary discipleship has shaped the country and the Church over the last 400 years. He told us that we are a part of this Catholic tradition of bringing the gospel to new American peripheries with joy and in innovative ways that respond to the needs of today. Continue reading

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