Monday, July 6, 2020


         Follow me

It’s by far the hardest thing I’ve ever done
To be so in love with you and so alone

 Follow me where I go
 what I do and who I know
 Make it part of you
 to be a part of me
 Follow me up and down
 all the way and all around
 Take my hand
 and say you’ll follow me

 It’s long been on my mind
 You know it’s been a long, long time
 I’ve tried to find the way that I can make
 you understand
 The way I feel about you and just how
 much I need you
 To be there where I can talk to you
 When there’s no one else around

 Follow me where I go what I do and
 who I know
 Make it part of you to be a part of me
 Follow me up and down all the way and
 all around
 Take my hand and say you’ll follow me

 You see I’d like to share my life with you
 And show you things I’ve seen
 Places that I’m going to places where
 I’ve been
 To have you there beside me and never
 be alone
 And all the time that you’re with me
 We will be at home

 Follow me where I go what I do and
 who I know
 Make it part of you to be a part of me
 Follow me up and down all the way
 Take my hand and I will follow you

John Denver

The Third Sunday of July is the Feast of the Most Holy Redeemer: the official title of the Order of the Redemptoristines and the Congregation of the Redemptorists.  It is always a day of celebration.  And music is always part of the celebration. Recently I heard the John Denver song, ‘Follow Me’ on the radio. I love that song. It took me back to my younger days.  I found myself humming it the next few days.  When I reflected on why it touched me so, I realized the refrain of the song: ‘Follow me, where I go, what I do, and who I know, make it part of you to be a part of me. Follow me up and down all the way and all around.  Take my hand and say you’ll follow me,’ was an invitation to follow Jesus. 

Also touching is the introduction to that song.  He sings, ‘It is by far the hardest thing I’ve ever done, to be so in love with you and so alone.’  I always thought he was saying, ‘for so long.’     But either way it gave me pause because it speaks to me of the call to fidelity in life.   When I reflected on the song as a whole it seemed it could be a dialogue between two lovers. Which one is ‘so alone’? 

To me, it sounds like both; it is hard for each one to be in love and longing for the other, wanting to ‘make it part of you to be a part of me’ and trying to figure out how, despite difficulties, to find a way to be together. The last line of the song resolves the situation by one surrendering to the other.  Before, one was saying to the other ‘take my hand and say you’ll follow me’ but now the one says, ‘Take my hand and I will follow you. 

The invitation to follow in any relationship, including our relationship with God, always comes with a call to surrender.  Even Jesus, the Man-God, surrendered his life to the Father – think of Jesus in the Garden saying, ‘Not as I will but as you will.’ Lk 22: 42   Jesus gave his all for love – love for God and love for you and me. 

Being visual person, an image came to my mind to illustrate this invitation to follow Jesus.   The statue in front of our monastery in Foggia, Italy is entitled, ‘The Wayfarer;’ one of Blessed Celeste’s favorite titles for our Holy Redeemer.  The statue of the Wayfarer portrays Jesus standing there with arms outstretched.  What does his stance say to me, to you?

To me it looks like he is about to place his hands around my shoulder, and on the shoulder of who ever is on the other side: you, you, you…each one of you. That made me think of a yoke; as in Jesus saying, ‘Come to me all who labor and are heavy burdened, and I will give you rest, take up my yoke and learn for me, for I am gentle and humble of heart.’  Mt. 11:28   Earlier in July we heard this Gospel read on Sunday.  From it I heard an invitation.

I reflected on the image of the yoke. I’ve only seen pictures of a yoke of oxen. The yoke is a curved piece of wood that fits over the shoulders of two draft animals so they can work together.  That is what Jesus is like: He is the yoke that holds us together and guides our lives in a gentle manner; not by force but by love and an invitation to go with him, follow him.

Jesus, the Wayfarer was the love of Celeste’s life! She followed him in her own time and place. Our call, as Redemptoristine Nuns, and yours, is the same.  Our constitutions say, ‘The more we strive to live the love of Christ, the more the thoughts and feelings of Christ will fill our spirit and our heart, the more we will become His faithful images and the more also we will be able to be true witnesses of the love of Him who is our Beginning and our End, our Way and our Life.’  (Associate Constitutions #5)

Like Celeste, let us each be a ‘Viva Memoria,’ the living memory of Jesus the Wayfarer/ the Redeemer to be a participant in God’s loving plan of redemption.
Do you hear the invitation?
Follow me where I go
What I do and who I know;
Make it part of you to be a part of me.
Follow me up and down all the way
Take my hand and I will follow you.

Monday, March 9, 2020


Every year, a version of the Transfiguration Gospel is read on the Second Sunday of Lent.  This year it is from St. Matthew.

Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them; his face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light.  And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, conversing with him.  Then Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”  While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud cast a shadow over them, then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased. Listen to him.”  When the disciples heard this, they fell prostrate and were very much afraid.  But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Rise, and do not be afraid.”  And when the disciples raised their eyes, they saw no one else but Jesus alone.  Matt 17:1-9

This Gospel happens just six days after Jesus told his disciples to ‘Take up your cross, and follow me.’ and ‘You will see the Son of Man come in the glory of His Father.’   I always want to know what the disciples were thinking during those six days.  I wonder if the disciples ever really understood what Jesus told them was going to happen to him as they were bumbling toward Jerusalem.   Because they were thick headed, God had to pull out all the stops and show the disciples who Jesus really is.  
Jesus appears all resplendent, glorious in appearance.   It dawns on the disciples that this Jesus whom they have been following, is not just any ordinary man, despite all the healings and the multiplication of loaves and fishes.  

And Jesus conversing with Moses and Elijah!  How can they explain that? 
Is Jesus from all eternity?

Then a Voice spoke from the cloud. Seeing Jesus bright and shiny wasn’t enough.  Imagine the disciples awe at first seeing a glorified Jesus and the prophets, and then the terror of a voice thundering from the bright cloud enveloping them.  It must have seemed that God, enthroned on his cloud of glory, came down to tell them, ‘You guys just aren’t getting it.’   “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”

This is the second time Matthew writes this saying, the first time being at the Baptism of the Lord, but this second time God adds, “Listen to him.”     

The glory of the transfigured Jesus: face like the sun, clothes white as light; and a Voice in the bright enveloping cloud would sure make me believe that Jesus is One with the Father from all eternity.  
Then there is the little bit at the end where it says, ‘…they saw no one, but Jesus alone.’  This reminds me of Bl. Celeste who says, ‘…fix your gaze on this God-made-Man...’

Then the Gospel ends with, ‘Rise, and do not be afraid.’  Thank goodness that’s over.  Everything is back to normal.   But is it?

What is Transfiguration?  Transfiguration is a complete change of form or appearance into a more resplendent state.  In Jesus’ case, his transfiguration shows his glorious, resurrected state and Oneness with the Father.

What, then, is transformation?  Transformation is a process of change of appearance or character. 

Where do we come in all of this?

Jesus’ transfiguration happened in an instant. The veil between heaven and earth parted for a moment revealing the Son of God.
Our transformation takes a little longer.  We are all a work in progress.   My sister, Theresa, and I were joking that we were both late bloomers.  I said, “I still have a lot of blooming to do.”  I think we all feel that way at times simply because life is a process. 

But what do we want to become?  Be transformed into what?  And why do we want to be transformed?

I dug around Blessed Maria Celeste’s writing and found some advice. 
Warning: For our purpose, I changed pronouns and edited Bl. Celeste writings, arranging her thoughts for us to better understand her meaning.  As I’ve said before at other times, Celeste can be quite verbose.

Simply put Celeste says, “So that you might enable Jesus to be reborn to the world in the souls of all his dear ones.”    Clearly, this means that our transformation is not for our sake only, but for the salvation of our sisters and brothers.

How can this happen?  We sound like Mary questioning Gabrielle at the Annunciation.

God tells Celeste, “I have given you, out of immense love, my Only Begotten Son, and by Him I have given you my divine Spirit to make you divine in life…  The Spirit transforms us and changes us into a new creature in God by stamping on your spirit the features, the virtues of Christ’s life.”

Then Celeste shares mystical experiences that helped her transform into her Beloved.  She says, “The phrase recited at the Creed of the Mass, ‘consubstantial with the Father,’ was pronounced in the center of my soul, and I understood that God-Man’s virtues should regulate all the actions of my life.

“Of all the times of my life, the most precious were the sacramental communions... At Holy Communion the Lord caused me to feel transformed into Jesus: in a divine light, I felt with utmost joy, all the virtues of the holy Life of Our Lord Jesus Christ stamped upon my soul.   All my feelings and passions became sanctified by Jesus and were transformed into his feelings.”

Celeste goes on to advise us, “Unite yourself with Him and be transformed into God.   By the irrevocable gift of the Eucharist, Christ made himself the real food in the Sacrament of the Altar.   
It gives us such a risen life in God that it transforms us into the eternal life of God, as we await the dawning of that new day.” 

What is this new day?   How do we arrive at it?

Again God instructs Celeste, “You must desire to see yourself on Calvary with my
Son, your God, transformed in a true union and a true likeness in a purity of love where all your passions are purged. There you will find true liberty, true peace and true glory, where like a queen you shall be in possession of the Kingdom of your King.”
This is the very thing Jesus had been telling his disciples six days before the Transfiguration, ‘Take up your cross and follow me,” and, “You will see My Father’s glory.”

So, that was what Bl. Celeste said helped her: her faith and understanding in living out the virtues of the God-Man by purging her passions; the enlightenment and nourishment she received from the real food of the Sacrament of the Altar; and union with her Beloved on the cross.   This is the meaning of the Viva Memoria charism: with eyes fixed on Christ in all we think, feel and do, Jesus lives and works his salvation for the world in and through us. 

But how do we follow Christ and become transformed in our own day?  Let us turn to your Constitutions for some insight.

The love of Christ the Redeemer which constitutes the spirit of our Association implies that we will gradually be transformed in Him and therefore that we will gradually die to ourselves to the extent that we may be able to say with the apostle Paul..."I live now not with my own life but with the life of Christ who lives in me."     Gal 2:20   #9

Baptism is the beginning of our transformation in Jesus Christ.  It marks our first and fundamental consecration as children of God.  We are called to continue this transformation in order to become both personally and together, a Living Memory of the Paschal Mystery of the Redeemer.  #12

The more we progress in this transformation of ourselves in Him, the more we will be able to be a living witness of His charity.  It is through the revelation of this charity that our brothers and sisters will discover in Jesus Christ the one Truth and the one Hope.    #14

It is fitting for us who must be transformed in Him throughout our lives to act as He did in His most holy life.  #15

"God has sent into our hearts the Spirit of His Son crying: Abba, Father."  The more we allow this Spirit to invade us with His transforming presence, the better will we exercise the priesthood of our baptism, by offering ourselves to the Father as a living eucharist for the world.  We find light and strength in the Word of God and in the sacraments so that we can, following the example of Christ, make of our whole life a sacrifice of praise to the glory of the Father. #21

Love of the cross is essentially love and imitation of Jesus Christ.  Jesus has freed the world by embracing our painful death so as to transform it into His redemptive death.  He passed from death to life, from the fragility of the flesh to the supreme glory of the resurrection.  "Was it not ordained that the Christ should suffer and so enter into His glory?" Lk 24:26   Such is the Paschal Mystery in which we are given a share.   #2

As we bumble about our daily lives this Lent, we keep our eyes fixed on Christ, recalling Christ’s Transfiguration as our transformation slowly takes shape.   Just like in prayer, we get off course by distractions: your family is driving you up a wall, those pesky people at work bother you, your friends don’t call, all the rain is making you blue…  Where’s the glory?  Like it or not, each person, each situation is a gift; an opportunity to see and listen to God.  Somewhere in that pesky person is a spark of Jesus.  With patience and in turning again to see Jesus alone, there is the invitation to see and hear Jesus in that person.  By seeing and hearing and loving that person as Jesus does, we are transformed.  By nourishing ourselves and uniting ourselves with Christ in the Sacrament of the Altar, the transformation of our mind and heart, and hopefully theirs, will steadily grow and bloom.

St Paul says we are, “co-heirs with Christ: sharing in Christ’s sufferings and sharing in Christ’s glory.” Rm 8:17     Ultimately, in this sharing we find Christ’s Transfiguration is our transformation.

All these bits and pieces glued together look a bit of a mess, but when you turn it around and hold it up to the light it is transformed into something beautiful.

Monday, December 9, 2019


If you follow the Mass readings throughout Advent you can plainly see the two great figures of the Gospels, besides Jesus, are John the Baptist and the Blessed Virgin Mary.  John and Mary seem to be complete opposites.   The Baptist is an ascetic living in the wilderness calling people to repent, while our image of Mary is often one of docile maiden.  But I believe Mary had the same boldness and courage as John the Baptist.   How else would she have had the nerve to say “Yes” to God’s messenger if she had not been “Full of Grace?”  (Luke 1:28)  
In Sunday’s Gospel (Luke 3:1-12), John the Baptist doesn’t mince words.  He spoke truth to power.  Convert, or else!  How many of us would be so bold or have the courage as to challenge the authorities to, “Repent. The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” 

Commercial! If you want to know my take on the John, read my novel, HERE I AM, The Life of John the Baptist.  Order online: BOOK PATCH HERE I AM 

Because Sundays’ in Advent displaces any feast days, today’s Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception has been moved to Monday.  This feast proclaims that Mary was conceived without sin.  It’s not to be confused with the Annunciation of the Lord, who was conceived of the Holy Spirit, and therefore without sin.  To add to the confusion, the Annunciation reading is the Gospel used for the Immaculate Conception.   

The foundress of the Redemptoristine Nuns, Bl. M. Celeste Crostarosa (1696-1755) gave daily reflections to her community in Foggia, Italy during the Advent of 1751.   Today, I am going to share what I gleaned from Celeste’s prayer style and how she praised the Blessed Virgin Mary throughout Advent.

Celeste muses on the Annunciation for the first eleven days of Advent.  She continues for another six days on the Visitation, and then Celeste devotes twenty days to the Canticle of Mary.  After 31 days of Advent, she finally gets to the Birth of the Lord!  Mind you, the longest Advent can be is 28 days.  That is how effusive and lavish Celeste is in her prayer and in sharing her meditations.  In this talk I will concentrate on the meditations on the Annunciation, which I will later apply to the Immaculate Conception.

Bl. Celeste’s style of prayer:
Celeste had a pattern to her meditations.  She always began with Lectio Divina: Selecting a short verse to ponder over from the Gospel.  For instance:  … the Angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man… (Lk 1:26-27) 

Then Celeste would always invite herself, and her community, to prayer.  She uses a refrain like this as an invitation:  “Enter, my soul, in meditation into this sea of grace and listen to this happy annunciation.”    As each day passes she continues with the next verse of the Gospel passage and repeats the invitation to prayer with slight variations according to the passage:  “Enter my soul, to celebrate the marriage…of Mary and Joseph.”  “Enter, my soul, with the light of faith.” Later she switches to, “Consider, my soul, how this most Prudent Mother listens…”  I can imagine Celeste being an eye-witness to these exchanges of the Archangel with the BVM and watches Mary closely that she in turn might emulate our Lady in all her responses.

Celeste was very descriptive in recounting the scene from Lectio Divina and draws her sisters in to share for themselves what their Holy Mother foundress was experiencing.  Celeste is often full of wonder and amazement, and exclaims:  “Oh admirable mystery!”  “Oh incomprehensible gifts!”  “Oh sweetness of love! Oh love of Sweetness!”

Bl. Celeste tends to speak with exclamation marks. 

Celeste, as she is known to do, turns to the theme of humility.  She often calls it ‘annihilation.’  But what she means is a total emptying of self that she may be pure.   She longs to be like the Virgin Mary, and Jesus, who emptied himself to become Mary’s child.  In Celeste’s humility she asks pardon for her pride and “disordered concerns” and asks for “true knowledge of herself so that she may be worthy to possess God.”  “I beg you,” Celeste prays, “not to refuse the company of this most miserable creature.” 

It seems to me, that those who are truly close to God see themselves as empty and in darkness in comparison to the Glory of the Eternal Father.  In her darkness she prays to be enlightened: “Oh Mother of Humility!  Admit me into your school to learn…holy fear.”  Celeste continues, “Teach me how I am to fulfil the will of God…”

Sometimes Celeste can be quite demanding.  She boldly says: “Make me love God alone.”  “I shall not depart from your most loving feet until you grant me what you yourself have obtained.”  “Do it for me.” 

Ultimately, Bl. Celeste works herself up to a fever-pitch thanking the Lord. With exalts of joy she is driven to say many times, “What a work to make every loving soul crazy with love!”  “Oh unheard of excesses that makes every faithful soul crazy with love and joy!” 

In her childhood, Celeste was known for her exuberant ways.  In Scala, when Celeste was a young religious, she was inspired by the Lord to form a new religious Order.  At that time, people called her crazy.  Thankfully, years later, she was able to form the Redemptoristine Nuns in Foggia in peace, despite of what was being said of her, because Celeste’s pure faith and trust led her to follow the Redeemer unreservedly.

What can we glean from Celeste about the Immaculate Conception from her meditations on the Annunciation?

She says, “Who can describe the greatness of Mary?  The Eternal Father looked with love on Mary as His daughter; the most holy among the children of Eve.”  She was predestined before the foundation of the earth to be “immune from the fault of Adam.”  

God knitted Mary in the womb of her mother Ann with all the graces and virtues of Jesus the Christ, and adorned her with faith and hope; a true knowledge of her lowliness combined with trust, boldness of heart, courage and pure love. 

Celeste exclaims, “God who has no beginning and is Creator of all, why so many excesses?” She answers herself, “I can hear God replying, ‘Only for love, only for love, only for love.’  Oh fortunate Maiden, you are the only one who has had such favors! What a splendid work to make every loving soul crazy in love with God!” 
Let me read some of the Third Day of Advent Meditation to give you an idea of her exuberance in prayer and sharing.  It’s as if in her Lectio Divina she is eavesdropping on the conversation between the Blessed Virgin and the Archangel Gabriel, and then wishes to share the lights of her own contemplation.

She begins with the Lectio Divina of the Gospel passage from Lk 1:28, 42    And the angel Gabriel came to her and said, “Hail, full of grace!  The Lord is with you!  Blessed are you among women… and blessed is the fruit of your womb.”  

“Enter, my soul, with this divine and heavenly ambassador, into the little house of Nazareth and look at your Lady Mary there.  See how this fortunate and humble virgin, hidden away from the world and all its creatures…for she is great only before the most pure eyes of her God.   And while she is absorbed in her most profound contemplation, behold, the Archangel Gabriel!  After bowing profoundly before her, his greeting follows, ‘Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you.  Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb.’

“Hear the Angel of the Lord call her fortunate and blessed among women.  O my Lady and Queen!  You are full of grace because the Lord is with you.  You are full of God, because you are the Temple and the Ark of the divine Wisdom.  ….Oh blessed fruit of Mary’s womb!...Not only did Jesus repair the ruin that the sin of our first father Adam had caused in our human nature,  but still more,  Jesus raised our human nature to indescribable dignity!

“O divine Lady!  Obtain the possession of God for me. Obtain that humble hiddenness, that feeling of lowliness in myself; a true knowledge of my own nothingness, so that I may be worthy to possess God and be filled with God.  Make me love God alone, so that God may live in the Life of my heart.”

So we see that Bl. M. Celeste’s style of prayer was full of fervor, humble yet bold.  She addresses Mary with such familiarity.  We hear in her ponderings of the Gospel what she mined of the spiritual truths and enthusiastically shared them with her community. 

Theologians had been pondering the Immaculate Conception since the twelfth century. Celeste was contemplating the Immaculate Conception one hundred years before this important article of faith was officially proclaimed by Pope Pius IX as ineffable in 1854.   The tenet of faith is that Mary was free from original sin by virtue of the merits of her son Jesus. The Church teaches that God acted upon Mary in the first moment of her conception, keeping her "immaculate."   This is referred to as Mary's pre-redemption by Christ.

It is amazing how Bl. Celeste encapsulates the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception especially in the Fifth Mediation as she explicitly says, “Oh most fortunate Maiden, you are the only one who has had such favors. What grace, my beloved Lady!  The divine Father, from God’s holy Eternity, looked upon you as His highly favored daughter, immune from the fault of Adam…  From eternity you were predestined, before the foundations of the earth were made, when the depths were not as yet formed, before the mountains and valleys existed, and before the sources of the water were created, in you God delighted.”

Throughout her life, Celeste’s main desire was to be united with Jesus.  Her spirituality was of being a ‘viva memoria: a living memory of Christ.’  This is evident at the end of the Third Meditation where she says:

“Who can bless You, Jesus, as they ought and give You thanks according to Your merits!  And, just as You awaited the precious hour of Your Incarnation with infinite love, so unite Yourself to my flesh in the womb of Mary.  I long so for that precious hour when I shall be united with You and transform myself into You, the true Life of my heart.”

In today's Gospel, John the Baptist calls us to repent.
Tomorrow’s Gospel points to Mary Immaculate as ‘Full of Grace.’
 Celeste tells us we are united by our sharing in our common humanity with the Blessed Virgin and her Son, Jesus.  In her meditations Celeste says, “God imprints on our own nature the divine perfections God has put in Mary, our Mother.”   

What is our response to such a “stupendous and divine work?”  This work began with our baptism and continues with our repentance, our self-emptying, and our contemplation guides us into the transformation of our soul into God.   How can we respond?   How about being bold, be crazy in love with God and say, “Yes!”

The Associates made these tissue paper roses at the feet of our lady.

This poem is an invitation to use your imagination in pondering the Annunciation and answer the angel’s call in our lives.


Were others asked?
A lassie from an isle in a distant sea?
A maiden in North Africa
or a slave girl from the Congo?
How many times were angels sent
and returned, unheard, unheeded?
Was Mary tenth on salvation’s list.
Or the hundredth?
And you, my soul.
was fiat spoken
when the angel came?
                   Bishop Robert Morneau

This week we are treated to three feasts of our Lady: Immaculate  Conception, Our Lady of Loreto, the newest one promulgated just this year by Pope Francis,  and the much beloved, our Lady of  Guadalupe. 

The Immaculate Conception became doctrine in 1854.  Three years later, the 14 year old Bernadette Soubirous, an ignorant peasant from the foothills of the Pyrenees,  described her vision at Lourdes: “…out of the dark niche came a dazzling light,  and a white figure of a small young lady appeared wearing a white veil, a blue girdle and with a yellow rose on each foot.”  After asking her name many times, on the Lady’s 16th appearance, she answered, “I am the Immaculate Conception.”   If you haven’t seen it in a while, I recommend you see the beautiful 1943 movie, Song of Bernadette.

According to tradition, on Dec 10th , the Holy House of Loreto was carried by angels from Nazareth to the Italian hillside town of Loreto that night in 1294, after making a three-year stop in Croatia.   Custodians of the shrine have said the stones of the house were removed from the Holy Land and carried by ship by a member of the Angeli family.    In either case, tradition holds that the small house, made of three stone walls, is the place where Mary was born, where she was visited by an Archangel Gabriel and conceived Jesus through the Holy Spirit, and where the Holy Family later lived.   The decree said the shrine in Loreto "recalls the mystery of the Incarnation."   
Despite the possibility that the house came by way of ship, Our Lady of Loreto is still the patron saint of air travel.
The Blessed Virgin appeared four times to Saint Juan Diego at Tepeyac in 1531, On the fourth visit on 12th of December, after failing to get the local bishop to agree to build a church in our Lady’s honor, the Virgin Mary reappeared to Juan Diego and told him to bring her flowers from the top of the Hill of Tepeyac, whose cold, stony summit was normally barren at this time of year.  To reassure Juan, Guadalupe identified herself as the Virgin Mary, "Mother of the very true God" and said, “Am I not here, I who am your mother?” 

He followed her wishes, and to his surprise found roses growing.  He brought them to the Lady, who arranged them inside his cloak, and she told him to go show them to the unbelieving bishop.  When Juan Diego saw the bishop, he opened his cloak, the flowers fell to floor, and lo and behold, on the fabric was the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe.  Her likeness on the tilma shows a young pregnant woman with a dark complexion, a mixture of indigenous and Spanish features, signifying Our Lady of Guadalupe represents the unity of all people.   She is the patron of the Americas, especially of the indigenous and the poor. 

Thursday, October 31, 2019


I woke up with this phrase in mind, ‘fumbling toward heaven.’  It didn’t seem to be connected with a dream or anything – it just was there.

But it got me thinking about football. A fumble is when someone on the opposite team makes you drop the football and recovers it for their side.  I am going to stretch this metaphor so run with me on this one. 

Jesus is the football we carry through life tucked under our arm close to our heart.  We are advancing through the game of life toward our goal: heaven.   When certain circumstances of everyday life dislodge Jesus from our heart and make us drop the ball, how do we get it back?  In the second letter to Timothy St. Paul writes, ‘God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but rather a spirit of power, and love and self-discipline.’

Relying on the Spirit of Jesus we gain the power of the practice of self-discipline to scoop up the ball of Love and continue to carry it to our final destination. If we are called to be Jesus to each other and the world, then it shouldn’t be so hard to stoop down to lift up Jesus, ourselves and one another.

Sometimes, we feel like we drop the ball constantly but thank goodness we have fans to cheer us on whether we are in possession of the ball or not.  Who are our fans?  Family and friends, co-workers, and all the angels and saints are cheering us on!  Not only are they fans but also our team!   They offer prayers and lend support, especially when the everyday cares and set backs get us down.  In our most desperate hours, we throw a ‘Hail Mary’ forward pass to our Lady and she is there to help us.

To all eyes, Jesus’ death on a cross seemed like the biggest fumble ever.  But those who gathered below his cross: his Mother, John and Magdalene, believed and hoped in Jesus who came to save and bring them to heaven. And we know their hope was not in vain. 

So, let us not be like Lucy who whips the football away just as Charlie Brown comes up to kick it.  Let us be like Charlie Brown who, even though he fumbles, he always believes and hopes.  Let us never ever give up hope.  Let us continue to fumble our way to heaven believing in Him who comes to save.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

HOLY REDEEMER SUNDAY, Third Sunday of July

On this third Sunday of July, we Redemptoristines, along with our Redemptorist priests, brothers and associates around the world, celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Redeemer.  The official name of the Redemptoristines is actually the Order of the Most Holy Redeemer.
This feast celebrates the mystery of our salvation:  God the Father gives the Son, born of the Virgin Mary, to become the living image of God’s own Love and by the Love of the Son who, in giving Himself for us, restores us to our original dignity.   This abundant outpouring of love is revealed today in our Redemptorist family by our witnessing, through prayer and mission, to Christ’s life of love for the salvation of the world. 
Twice this past weekend, I had the opportunity to witness reflections of God’s Love.  The first was my nephew’s wedding to his beautiful bride.  They looked at each other with such love as they were united together in a life of love: ‘…to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, all the days of my life.’ 
The second was when I visited my friend in the nursing home.  At one point her husband passed by the window where we were sitting and she looked with such love at the door then: expectant, waiting.  He appeared at the threshold with the same look of love. A redemptive love that said, ‘I am here for you, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish you all the days of my life.’     
By loving as God does, Jesus, the visible image of God, restores us to our original dignity.  These two couples reveal to each other, and us, the Life of Love that restores us, unites us, redeems us.