A Message for Lent

The following message is from Fr. Pat Brennan. It has been edited for length and clarity.

Jesus pushes beyond the externals of the law and asks us, His followers, to reach into the level of attitudes and motivation. Not only are we to, behaviorly keep the law; we are to constantly work at the purification of attitudes and motives. This is what He is referring to when He calls us away from judgment, anger, impatience, lust. He is calling us always to take inventory, stock, of the inner self, the hidden self, that only God in each of us knows about. Jesus wants us to cleanse, not just our external physical selves, He wants us to reach deeply into our hearts and souls and minds and cleanse our inner self. Continue reading “A Message for Lent”

What to Do?

The following article is by Pat Cetera, OFS. How might you grow during Lent?

Lent: The major penitential season of the Catholic Church in preparation for the celebration of the Sacred Triduum.

Lent: Six weeks of patrons circling an overly filled parking lot at the local Red Lobster, eager to spend more than $50.00 on a meatless meal in “sacrificial abstinence” each Friday evening.

Lent: “Oh, no! … It can’t be! …Not already! But, I just put all the holiday decorations in storage!”

Sound familiar? Those were my own words many times as Lent approached. Why? Maybe because I feared the change I knew was needed in my life. Maybe because it was a time of prayer and sacrifice. Maybe because it demanded extra time each day—something I didn’t have enough of in my self-imposed “busyness” of life. Maybe because my priorities needed adjustment. Maybe for a reason I can’t put my finger on, and never will. Continue reading “What to Do?”

Vitality in Fraternity

The following message is from our former national minister, Tom Bello, OFS.

When my Mom’s health really began to plummet after the death of her younger son, I needed to take her to her wonderful and wise General Practitioner, Doctor Leibowitz. I remember his asking her to the effect: “Jackie, do you know the number one positive thing you can do to maintain a high quality of life? I mean you know the negative things: Don’t smoke. Don’t drink or eat too much. Avoid stress. But I’m talking number one positive. Do you know?

Neither Mom nor I had a quick answer. Continue reading “Vitality in Fraternity”

Ten New Ways to Pray

The following post is by Amy Ekeh. Amy is a freelance writer from Milford, Connecticut, where she writes her blog amyekeh.com. She is a retreat director and instructor in the Archdiocese of Hartford’s Biblical School.

Do that which best stirs you to love. (St. Teresa of Avila)

“Prayer is the raising of one’s mind and heart to God,” wrote St. John Damascene. Whether we are speaking with words or sitting in silence, prayer is time spent mindfully in God’s presence. Prayer is, quite simply, being with God. It sounds so straightforward, even effortless. What could be more natural than spending time with the God who created us, who loves us, and who holds us in existence? And yet, we know from experience that prayer does not always feel natural. In fact, it can be hard work. Prayer requires discipline, motivation, and even creativity. Continue reading “Ten New Ways to Pray”

A Message from the National Minister

The following message is from Jan Parker, OFS, Minister of the Secular Franciscan Order, USA. It has been edited for clarity and length.

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

May the Lord give us peace!

Recently I have received some emails of concern regarding the changes that are happening in our country. One OFS member asked, “Does anyone know of any initiatives being taken by any local, regional, or national fraternities (or by the order as a whole) to respond specifically to the massive, rapidly developing changes that seem to be overtaking the world?” There certainly are many concerns and issues to address—and many courageous actions need to be taken.

I do want to lend my two cents to the above conversation, and I will do that soon. Today, however, my email to you is more focused on an overarching concern and a prayer in the hearts of many . . . the dignity of life; the respect of all life and all creation; and the right to life itself.

As you know, January 22 was the Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children. It grieves us to see babies killed before they have a chance to draw a breath. It grieves us to see the suffering borne by those who go through an abortion or who are involved in any way. My heart goes out to all, but especially to those who may realize, only later, what they have done. We all fall short. How we need to help each other! Our help, compassion and prayers are so needed.

I know each of us will pray and take action as the Spirit directs. . . . [We can] certainly give encouragement to those who work throughout the year, day in and day out, to promote respect for life. We all need to do what we can. Our simplest acts can have great effect.

May our prayers be full of hope that someday soon our country’s laws will reflect what is written in our hearts – that all life is precious. May all our actions be peaceful and respectful as we reflect to all the love and mercy of God.

May we be passionate, not just this week, but every day, in our commitment and determination to make things better for all people and all creation.

May we celebrate and be thankful for the gift of life that God has given us… and above all, let us today and right now, care for those whose lives do not feel like celebrations.

O Breath of God, unite us in action! Bo ruach Elohim!

Love and prayers,
Jan

Care for Our Common Home

Save the date! On February 21, Dr. Sylvia Hood Washington, OFS will be presenting Laudato Si: Human Rights Guidelines for Environmental and Climate Justice at Dominican University:

 

Laudato Si, the Pope’s encyclical on the environment not only addresses humanity’s impact on sentient and non-sentient beings it specifically deals with our use of technology and science on the existence of other humans and the human ecosystem. This presentation will elucidate how Care for Our Common Home leads us away from naive and harmful philosophies of better living through technology and science. It will discuss how the encyclical poignantly instructs us with a deeper, broader and ethical model of protecting human rights and the integrity of the human body from conception to death with a responsible use of postmodern technology and science.

The lecture will begin at 7:00 p.m. in the Priory Auditorium at Dominican University; tickets are $10. You can download a flyer for this event by clicking here. In addition, Sylvia will offer a Green Healing Touch clinic from 1:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m:

Participants will experience Healing Touch, a Green/ Judeo-Christian spiritual healing technique, and learn how to use it to remediate environmental and climate health problems. Complimentary sessions are being provided by the newly formed 501 (c) 3 Franciscan charity Healing Touch of Tau.

A Call to Unity

The following is a message from our minister, Jerry Stecker.

This week is the week of Christian Unity. At our parish we invited the the local Lutheran minister read the gospel and give the homily.  Our pastor will do the same at her church this weekend. This is also the 500th year anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. I believe both churches are moving slowly to some sort of reunification. The goal I believe is to look to the things we have in common and not our differences. The hope is our aim toward Christian unity. This is a timely message these days. Continue reading “A Call to Unity”