FROM ST. AUGUSTINE SPIRITUALITY CENTER

April 23-29, 2017

“Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”  John 20:29  In the amazing story of Jesus’ appearance to his disciples behind locked doors after his Resurrection, we eventually meet the doubting Thomas, one of the apostles. He was an impetuous person and encouraged the apostles to go with Jesus to Jerusalem. He was outspoken and seemed fearless.  We can be indebted to him for wanting material proof of Jesus’ rising from the dead.  It is because of him that we have received that most welcome blessing. It is believed that he preached as far as India and perhaps beyond.  Catholic.org

Like Thomas, we would like to place our fingers in the hands, side and feet of Jesus for re-assurance. However, have we not done that when we console the sorrowing, have mercy on the lost, visit the suffering and hold the dying?  All the good we do, no matter how small, we do with and in Christ. Jesus said in the story of the vine and the branches, “Live on in me, as I do in you…I am the vine; you are the branches. He who lives in me and I in him, will produce abundantly.” John 15: 4-5 What further support for our faith do we need, but his WORD?

Another gift of Thomas was his beautiful words, “My Lord and my God!” John 20: 28 In many places it is still traditional to hear a few voices at the elevation of the body and blood of Christ during the Consecration in the Mass say these words.  As a child, I can remember the congregation saying it loudly and clearly.  It was a breathe-taking moment. I always wondered at this strong response and knew something marvelous had just happened.  Why have we lost this beautiful practice? Maybe our students would be a little more attentive, if they participated in this sacred moment with these words on their lips.

This Sunday is also known as Divine Mercy.  Jesus gave us the great example of mercy – to give one’s life to save others.  Pope Francis has called for the spirit of mercy and forgiveness.  During this season of Easter, let us constantly remind ourselves to be merciful and compassionate.

May this most pivotal event of our Christian life – the Resurrection of Jesus – fill us with joy.  In the words of Jesus, “Peace be with you.” John 20: 19

Sister Rosemarie Goins, Felician Franciscan

Director of the Spirituality Center   

FROM ST. AUGUSTINE SPIRITUALITY CENTER

April 9-15, 2017

The most solemn time of the Church year is Holy Week.  It is commenced with the joyful words, “Hosanna to the Son of David; blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord; hosanna in the highest” Matthew 21: 9  Unfortunately, this praise is very short lived.  People are swayed by the most popular position and soon they will be saying, “Crucify him.” Matthew 27: 22-23 We cannot stand in judgment of these people, because at times we may find ourselves silent in the face of issues that are not popular.  We tend to want to be part of the in group; it is not fun or advantageous to career or position to be on the outside. 

When a look is taken at the history of Catholics in the United States, many concessions have been made to popular opinion and even morality.  The Catholic Church was bitterly persecuted in the beginning years of this country.  Maryland was the only Catholic colony; Catholics were not welcome anywhere else. In the state of Oklahoma, in which I grew up, Catholicism was about 2%.  Even the Ku Klux Klan was after Catholics.  So, wanting to fit in and prove that Catholics were part of the status quo, we slowly slipped into the American way of life.  During this Holy Week we can ask ourselves what we have sacrificed in our faith to fit in.  Are we willing to be like the thief on the Cross who defended Jesus and asked to be “remembered when Jesus entered his kingdom,” Luke 23: 39-43 or the Roman soldiers who witnessed Jesus’ death and said, “Truly, this was the Son of God!” Matthew 27: 54

In the story of creation it is seen how Adam and Eve wanted to be gods and such a desire has been repeated down through the ages.  In Philippians 2: 6-11 it says, “Christ Jesus, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; …humbled himself, becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”  This aspect of Christianity is not very desirable, but it is central to being a true follower of the Christ. A humble leader brings healing and peace; a grasping, full-of-self leader brings destruction and suffering. 

As an aside, I read an interesting article in the May/June 2017 SIERRA magazine called, “Code of Silence.” The announcement of a new documentary, “In Pursuit of Silence,” is coming in June on the damage done by constant noise to our physical, mental and emotional health. “In a cacophonous world, we’re losing our capacity for deep listening, and with it, our sensory connection to the natural world.”  I immediately added spiritual.  Is it possible that we have lost the ability to listen to God, because we fill our day with the noise of the cell phone, let alone all the other artificial noise around us?  Are we so numbed that we cannot participate in the services of this Holy Week, in which we quieten our minds, so as to engage with the momentous salvific actions of Jesus? It is rather frightening to think that we have lost the “listening” gift of our souls to the technological gift of the media.  It will take much strength to balance these two gifts, so as to grow more fully as complete human beings.

Wishing you a faith-filled Holy Week,

Sister Rosemarie Goins, CSSF

Director

      

          

FROM ST. AUGUSTINE SPIRITUALITY CENTER

March 5-11, 2017

This Sunday’s readings speak of the entrance of sin and death into the world.  We only need to look at ourselves to see how easy it is to want to be like gods and know all things. Genesis 2: 7-9; 3:1-7 The desire to be able to control everything and everybody around us is that sin of pride – the basis of all sin.  We don’t like to be told what to do or when to do it. Humility is a very difficult virtue to practice.  Obedience to God’s will is another hard practice. Lent offers us an opportunity to practice these virtues.  Jesus is the epitome of humility and obedience to the Father. He is the one who brought us “the gift of justification....acquittal and life….and righteous.” Romans 5: 12-19 We can also practice gratitude for the gift of salvation.

Matthew 4:4 relates the story of the devil tempting Jesus to sin.  The devil offered him power, position and possessions.  All those things to which we are tempted, too.  Jesus defeated the devil with Scripture and faithfulness to his Father.  “One does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” “You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.” “Get away, Satan. The Lord, your God, shall you worship and him alone shall you serve.”  After these trials the “angels came and ministered to him.” We can use these passages during our times of temptation. Angels also accompany us in life’s trials.

 Saints Perpetua and Felicity, were both mothers, one a noblewoman and the other a slave girl.  They were martyred in the Roman games around 203. We honor them on March 7 for their faithfulness to Christ.

St. John of God, born in 1495, lived a greedy and brutal life as an adult, but occasionally remembered the piety of his childhood, before he was kidnapped and reduced to poverty and hard living.  In his early forties he confessed his sins and embraced a life of penance. He opened his home to the sick, poor and homeless, establishing a hospital, homeless shelter and halfway house.  The Bishop of Granada gave him the name, John of God, and approved his work. 

In the fourteenth century St. Frances of Rome felt called to religious life, but was forced to marry.  She bore three children, losing two to the plague.  Besides caring for her family she served the poor and opened a wing of her home as a hospital.  She received the Pope’s permission to establish a society of women for charitable works.  After her husband’s death she lived with this society.

                                                                                                            Catholic News Agency

We have these wonderful Christian examples to give us encouragement in our journey to God.  Thanks be to God.

Just a reminder that all Fridays of Lent are days of abstinence from meat.

Sister Rosemarie Goins, CSSF

Director

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