Spiritual Life: December 2010 Archives

Fr John Harvey.jpg

The Reverend Father John F. Harvey, OSFS, 92, died yesterday. He was the founder of Courage

Father Harvey's obit can be read here.

A year ago, Father Harvey gave a retreat to us at St Joseph's Seminary.

May his memory be eternal.

St John the Baptist & St Dominic.jpgLast week the novices of the Order of Friars Preachers --the Dominicans of the Province of Saint Joseph-- heard the following talk by Dominican Father André-Joseph LaCasse. Father LaCasse is the pastor of the Church of Saint Gertrude, Cincinnati, OH. I am not a Dominican but I have great affection for the Dominican vocation and many friends are of that persuasion, however many readers of this blog are not Dominicans. So, I thought after reading LaCasse's talk there is something we can all be helped by what was said about the fraternal life the Dominican Order. In my estimation Father LaCasse's thoughts are applicable to all states of the Christian life: the single person, the married couple, the Capuchin, the secular priest, bishop, etc. In the School of Community (of CL) we've been working on Father Luigi Giussani's notion of charity and sacrifice and are about to start the section on virginity. And I ask myself: How is it that as a Christian I live in a state of perpetual discernment of faith, hope and charity through a life of sacrifice? In what concrete ways do I live honestly? Well, I'm off to confession to find that out. You?

You are privileged here because you live with friars who have lived this life for quite some time. In our community we have two jubiliarians, one who is close to being a jubiliarian, and the rest of us who have lived this life for over twenty years. Our lives as religious is a steady progress towards perfection, but a perfection that experiences many imperfections along the way. Our lives are not extraordinary. None of us has won prestige. None of us is in the limelight. We live ordinary lives of consecration, hoping that we can do our best to advance the cause of Jesus Christ and his Church.

The Dominican life is a life of prayer, study, and the apostolate. Most days are ordinary days where you are called to be simple servants of the Church. Do you desire to be a servant? Are you willing to die to your own desires in order to do the desire of God manifested through the will of our superiors? In a real sense you will not be able to answer this question until something is asked of you that takes real sacrifice and humility. But still the question needs to be asked now: Am I willing to die to myself and become a servant of the Church? The question needs to be answered now because from the very beginning of your discernment you must be brutally honest with yourself.

St Joseph & Jesus.jpgIn the Season of Advent there are so many people to emulate: Jesus, Mary, the martyrs, various other saints, and Joseph in particular. Saint Joseph factors into Catholicism so much that one can reasonably ask, Can any good Catholic not pay attention to Saint Joseph? Obviously not. I took as my oblation name with the Benedictine oblates "Meinrad-Joseph" primarily because of the virtues of Saint Meinrad and for the devotion shown by Joseph for Jesus; in taking the name Meinrad-Joseph I honor my father, Edward Joseph.

The Pope spoke on Sunday at the Angelus on the great foster father of Jesus and the patron saint
against doubt, cabinetmakers, Canada, carpenters, China, confectioners, craftsmen, dying people, engineers, families, fathers, happy death, holy death, house hunters, Korea, laborers, Mexico, New France, people in doubt, Peru, pioneers, protector of the Church, social justice, travelers, Universal Church, Vatican II, Viet Nam, workers, working people. AND now the Pope adds pastors to this list under Saint Joseph's care.

At Sunday's Angelus Pope Benedict XVI had this to say about Saint Joseph:

St John the Baptist Pellegrino da San Daniele.jpg

Advent is time of hope and expectation, it is also a time of repentance and conversion. Today's readings in the Liturgy orient our attention to changing our life's to reflect more and more the Lord's. And the Baptist is the amazing and stirring Advent proponents to follow Jesus more closely. What is more identifiable than the Baptist's exhortation: Prepare the way of the Lord?

St. Augustine on the gift of conversion: "What, then? It is perhaps dependant on you, O man, if converted to God once you have earned his mercy, while on the contrary those who have not converted have not obtained mercy but have encountered the wrath of God? But you what resources available to convert, if you had not been called? Was it not He who called you when you were the enemy, to grant you the grace of repentance? So do not ascribe to yourself the merit of your conversion: why, if God had not intervened to call you when you fled from him, you would not have been able to look back." St. Augustine Expositionson the Psalmi, 84, 8-9.
I've been conscious of how busy everyone is, or pretends to be. Excuses run rampant as to why one can't do thus-and-such, or ... or .... One person asked the perennial question: How do I maintain my relationship with God? Father Giussani asked a similar of question of members of Communion & Liberation. He answered by telling his questioner that to keep the Lord's name on our lips and to recognize the way the Lord has looked at us He looked at Zacchaeus in the sycamore tree. Giussani also reminded us to be attentive to reality as God has given it to us and not as we want it to be. Maintaining one's relationship with God alive is easy if you move in small but deliberate steps by following a long held custom of praying short prayers that re-focus our attention: Jesus, Mary and Joseph, pray for us; Come Holy Spirit, come through Mary; Lord, Jesus Christ, have mercy on me, a sinner; O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee; Saint Catherine of Siena, pray for us; and so on. Short prayers such as these examples are remarkable keeping my mind and heart on target and away from sin. I have the practice of praying my own version of the Litany of Saints as I walk up and down the aisle when attending Mass or when I am making the Morning Offering.

Saint Josemaría Escrivá offers some guidance in this regard: "You should maintain throughout the day a constant conversation with Our Lord, a conversation fed even by the things that happen in your professional work. Go in spirit to the Tabernacle... and offer to God the work that is in your hands."

Make a spiritual communion.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.



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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Spiritual Life category from December 2010.

Spiritual Life: November 2010 is the previous archive.

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