FROM ST. AUGUSTINE SPIRITUALITY CENTER

May 21-27, 2017

1 Peter 3: 15-18 is so heartening, it bears repeating here:

Beloved: Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts.

Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you

a reason for your hope, but do it with gentleness and reverence, keeping your conscience clear,

so that, when you are maligned, those who defame your good conduct in Christ

may themselves be put to shame.

For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that be the will of God, than for doing evil.

For Christ also suffered for sins once,

the righteous for the sake of the unrighteous, that he might lead you to God.

Put to death in the flesh, he was brought to life in the Spirit.

It is hard to believe our rash and quick to anger Peter, could write such calm and gentle words.  However, his own experience of the denial of Jesus, certainly had a profound effect on him.  He was brought to his kneels so that he could stand humbly in his leadership of Christ’s Church.  We, too, can find this “gentleness and reverence” in our daily lives, because we can bow our heads with Peter and ask for mercy and forgiveness for our various sins.

Sometimes you may hear a priest say, “Jesus, the Christ,” in his preaching and wonder, if he made a mistake.  In the Jewish belief “the Christ,” was the savior, the Messiah, so, as we see in Acts 8: 5-8; 14-17, Philip used the expression, “…proclaimed the Christ to them.”  As time went on the name of Jesus was shortened to “Jesus Christ,” like saying “Jesus Savior” or “Jesus Messiah.”

The great Feast of the Ascension is celebrated this week Thursday or Sunday to come.  I often wonder what it was like to spend some forty days of instruction given by the Risen Savior.  The disciples probably had awe written on their faces, as they soaked in the words of this Jesus alive. What a letdown it must have been to see him leave.  However, Jesus made a promise, as we see in John 14: 15-21, when we hear him say, I will ask the Father and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of Truth. We also have the gift, Whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him.  It may seem a little scary to believe that Jesus will reveal himself to us.  Isn’t that for saints?  Well, what are we anyhow, if we live in the grace of God and are forgiven?

St. Rita of Cascia is the Patron of impossible causes and hopeless circumstances.  She was forced to marry at twelve years of age and suffered a violent and abusive marriage. After the death of her husband and two sons, she entered the Augustinian nuns.  She received the stigmata by way of a thorn in her forehead.  Her body is incorruptible.  CatholicCompany.com

St. Philip Neri was called the Third Apostle of Rome in the 16th century after Peter and Paul.  He was a priest who was full of joy and brought that spirit to all whom he served.  Many said that they only needed to stand near his room after his death to feel peace and joy. Catholicsaints.com

St. Augustine of Canterbury was a Benedictine monk of Italian heritage in the 6th century.  He was appointed the first archbishop of Canterbury.  He is the Patron of the English and considered the founder of the English Church.  CatholicEncyclopedia.com

Live in the blessings of the Ascended Lord Jesus,

Sister Rosemarie Goins, CSSF, Director

 

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

      

          

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