October 04, 2007

St. Francis and the Franciscans: NOT monks, but FRIARS!

Monks (Benedictines, for example) take a vow, called stability, that makes them members of one particular monastery for life.

Franciscans (like Dominicans) are all friars ; they do not make a vow of stability, and so they belong to a whole geographical province, not to one house in the province. Throughout their lives, friars can be transferred from house to house within the province.

From St. Francis of Assisi: A Letter to Clerics

[I am re-posting this to mark his memorial in the Church's calendar today.]

Requiring extreme reverence for the Blessed Eucharist

Let us attend, all clerics, to the great sin and ignorance, which certain men have over the Most Holy Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ and the Most Holy Names and His written words, which sanctify the Body.

We know that there cannot be a Body, unless first it is sanctified by the word.

For we have and see nothing corporally of the Most High Himself, in this age, except the Body and Blood, Names and words, through which we have been made and redeemed from death to life.

However let all those who minister such most holy ministries, consider within themselves— most of all those who minister indiscreetly— how vile are the chalices, corporals, and altar linens, where the Body and Blood of the Lord is sacrificed.

And by many in vile places He is abandoned, borne about in a wretched manner and received unworthily and ministered to others indiscreetly.

Even the Names and His written words are sometimes by feet trampled upon;
because the bestial man does not perceive the things that are of God.

Are we not moved in piety concerning all these things, when the pious Lord Himself offers Himself into our hands and we handle Him and receive Him each day by means of our mouth?

Or are we ignorant that we must one day come into His Hands?

Therefore let us quickly and firmly amend ourselves regarding all these things and the others;
and wherever the Most Holy Body of Our Lord Jesus Christ has been illicitly placed and abandoned, let Him be removed from that place and let Him be placed and sealed in a precious place.

Similarly let the Names and written words of the Lord, wherever they are found in unclean places, be gathered together and they ought to be placed together in an honorable place.

And we know, that we are bound above all to observe all these things according to the precepts of the Lord and the constitutions of Holy Mother Church.

And those who have not done this, let them know, that they shall render an account before the Lord on the Day of Judgment.

This having been written, so that it ought to be better observed, let them know themselves to be blest by the Lord God, who have had it copied.

[From Readings in Church History]

October 03, 2007


The Benedictine order has the option of observing the memorial of Blessed Columba Marmion on October 3.

One more miracle through his intercession is necessary for his canonization (listing as “saint”).

Those responsible for his cause for canonization are hoping he will also receive the designation “Doctor of Divine Adoption.”

“God has sent his Son to confer divine adoption on us.” Blessed Columba Marmion wrote at length on that particular facet of our salvation.

Click HERE to read the story of his life on the Vatican’s website.

Click HERE for an IgnatiusInsight.com article about him and the great value of his writings for Catholics today.

Blessed Columba Marmion’s Christ the Life of the Soul deserves to be on every Catholic’s reading list. Click HERE to look into it at Amazon.com’s site.

God, our Father,
you called your servant, Columba,
to the monastic life.
You bestowed on him the grace
to understand the mysteries of your Son
and to make him known as the ideal
for all who have been baptized.
Grant that we may learn from his example
to live in Christ by opening our hearts in joy
to the Spirit of your Son, our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
One God, for ever and ever. Amen.

To report spiritual favors received through Blessed Columba Marmion's intercession or to order a full color booklet entitled Praying with Abbot Marmion ($1.00 per copy), please contact:

Marmion Abbey
850 Butterfield Rd.
Aurora, Illinois 60504

Phone: (630) 897-7215, ext. 341
FAX: (630) 897-0393

October 02, 2007

I've now posted the latest edition of my monastery's newsletter.

Click HERE for it.

October 01, 2007

Saint Therese of Lisieux

In the Church, our appreciation for St. Therese seems a bit paradoxical.
On the one hand, we see her as an example of what it is to be a confident, trustful, loving child of God.
Also, from her mid-teens until she died young at age 24, St. Therese was a cloistered Carmelite nun who never went outside the walls of her monastery in the small town of Lisieux in France.
The paradox is that the Church relies on St. Therese as patroness of the missions.
However, this irony passes if we look closely at St. Therese’s own sense of vocation.
She had a firm sense of having received a mission from God.
In her self-awareness as one sent on mission, she was very much a twin sister to the apostle St. Paul, the first world missionary of the Christian faith.
In fact, St. Paul’s first letter to the Church in Corinth provided St. Therese with the insight into her own vocation.
Her vocation, which she explains in her autobiography, was simply love.
After reading St. Paul’s letter, she wrote:
I knew that one love drove the members of the Church to action,
that if this love were extinguished,
the apostles would have proclaimed the Gospel no longer,
the martyrs would have shed their blood no more.
I saw and realized that love sets off the bounds of all vocations,
that love is everything,
that this same love embraces every time and every place.
With that insight, St. Therese lived out her life in the enclosure of a Carmelite monastery.
There she would be a faithful little powerhouse of love that drives to action the members of the Church— including missionaries— love that sets off the bounds of all vocations, love that embraces every time and every place, every mission.
St. Therese’s sense of mission involved the confident perception that she was to teach others this little way of love.
She says in her autobiography:
The little way…
is the way of spiritual childhood….
We must do everything that is within us:
give without counting the cost,
practice the virtues at every opportunity,
conquer ourselves all the time
and prove our love by every sort of tenderness and loving attention.
In a word,
we must carry out all the good works that lie within our
out of love for God….
That is the way of childhood.
St. Therese calls it the “little way” because it always undertakes to prescribe just the next little step that needs to be taken in the present moment.
No high-reaching plans for the next day, but only the little bit that is required today, in this hour and minute— all for the love of God.
In her “little way” there is no opposition or separation between love for neighbor and love for God.
So, St. Therese lived her love for God by loving her fellow nuns in the enclosure of Carmel, putting up with them and doing every small and great kindness for the love of God.
She was a missionary inside that convent.
Inside her monastery, her own simple, loving goodness was a proclamation of the nearness of the kingdom of God in Christ.
In the Eucharist, we have not only the proclamation, but also the nearness and the REALITY of the kingdom of God.
This sacrament is Christ’s great “little way”.
Under the appearance of a little bit of bread and wine are his body and blood.
In these, he gives us all that is necessary, because he, the God who is love, gives us his real, whole self.
Through this sacrament, he makes us into his body, and he makes us into his life-giving blood for the world.
In this way, he sends us, as he sent St. Therese, as little grains of salt, humbly seasoning the smallest corners of the earth with the majesty of God’s love.

September 30, 2007

The Twenty-Sixth Ordinary Sunday of the Church Year

I have posted a homily for today.
Click HERE for it.