Friday, November 2, 2012

Hurricane Sandy

This has been a week of constant prayer and thought. I miss my students and can't wait for Monday so I can see the and make sure they are all doing well, some of whom live on the Long Island Sound in the Throggs Neck section of the Bronx. I'm sure our service society at Cardinal Spellman High School will be very busy next week collecting everthing that is needed to help the people who have lost so much in Sandy's wake.

When I was 15 my girlfriend (now my beautiful wife of 26 years) asked me to go down to the Jersey Shore with her family. It has become a place that holds my heart. I have spent many summers and weekends at Ocean Beach Unit III and we have passed down our love for the shore to our two daughters. We are all shaken by what we have seen, and we pray that those wonderful people can pick up and carry on.

The governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, has talked about the increase in natural disasters that have taken place in recent years. He has correctly stated that when we rebuild we must take into consideration this increase in weather related disasters. He sights global warming as the reason for the increase in natural disasters and has called for alternate energy sources, and a reduction in our carbon footprint. No one can argue with being good stewards of the planet in which we live on. The one piece of the puzzle missing in the governer's attempt to beat natural disaster is the most important piece that we ignore even more than we ignor recycling laws, and that is God.

Our secular society has turned so far from God that we are out of balance to our true calling of being in union with God. Saint Augustine recognized this so long ago. To bring balance back to this world we must come back to God. Our Lord Jesus Christ is our hope and our salvation! I know this because I have heard so many people who pray and turn to God in times of disaster. We call on God in our time of need but we seem to go about our lives as if He doesn't exist when things are good. It is our lack of love for God and love of neighbor that causes natural disasters. Yes we can reduce our carbon footprint, but more importantly we should walk in the footprints of Christ.

I pray that the Blessed Virgin Mother of Jesus under the title Stella Maris intercede for us in this stormy time:

Hail bright star of ocean,God's own Mother blest,Ever sinless Virgin,
Gate of heavenly rest, Taking that sweet Ave, Which from Gabriel came,
Peace confirm within us,Changing Eva's name.Break the captives' fetters,
Light on blindness pour,All our ills expelling,Every bliss implore.
Show thyself a Mother;May the Word Divine,Born for us thy Infant,
Hear our prayers through thine, Virgin all excelling,
Mildest of the mild,Freed from guilt, preserve us,
Pure and undefiled.Keep our life all spotless,
Make our way secure,Till we find in Jesus
Joy for evermore
Through the highest heaven
To the Almighty Three, Father, Son, and Sprit
One same glory be,


Sunday, July 1, 2012

Why Is There Evil in the World

The Garden of Eden with the Fall of Man (about 1615) by Rubens and Jan Brueghel the Elder.
If God is all powerful, loving, and in total control, the natural question would be why is there suffering and evil in the world? Unde Malum, where does evil come from? We can go back to the enlightenment and talk about Descartes, Hume, and an anthropocentric view of humanity but the long and short of it can be explained by the first reading from today's Eucharistic celebration:

Wisdom 1:13–15; 2:23–24
God did not make death, nor does he rejoice in the destruction of the living. For he fashioned all things that they might have being; and the creatures of the world are wholesome, and there is not a destructive drug among them nor any domain of the netherworld on earth, for justice is undying. For God formed man to be imperishable; the image of his own nature he made him. But by the envy of the devil, death entered the world, and they who belong to his company experience it.

There is no dualism in God, he didn't create both good and evil, in fact he created man "very good"(Gen 1:31). His love for us is evident in our gift of free will. Either we enter into life through Christ; or death through the devil. It's our choice; choose wisely!!

Monday, June 25, 2012

March for Life

I am always honored to chaperon the students from Cardinal Spellman HS on the day trip to the March for Life in Washington. This past trip I was blessed to chaperon the overnight bus. Following celebration of the Eucharist we were treated to a concert by Josh Blakesley and a music filled Eucharistic Adoration. The videos on this post are from the night before the March. They were originally recorded side ways and I just figured out how to rotate them(I'm slow, I know). We were at the overflow venues, both here and the next day at mass before the March, we were at the Armory. To see so many high school students from across America at the March is always a blessing and truly amazing! Being from the Bronx our students commented on how other students prayed with their hands held high and how they wish they could pray like that. You never know where seeds are sowed. It's was great that Josh Blakesly called everyone Church, that was so important for all the students to know they are part of the Mystical Body of Christ, the Church. Sorry for the shaky videos I was rocking out!!!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Fortnight for Freedom

To say, "God gives us what we need" is probably the greatest understatement EVER!!!! On Monday night I was in prayer and trying to make sense of why we need a Fortnight for Freedom, you know a little fasting, some extra prayers, and I have to say I was overwhelmed by all that is happening these days. Later on while listening to iHeart Radio; the Zac Brown station (yes a city boy who listens to country music), this song from Big & Rich came on. Totally sent from God, no questions asked. Favorite part, "Don't you dare pledge allegiance, don't you dare speak of God, speak of God whoa whoa whoa; I am begging for forgiveness I want to make a difference even in the smallest way..." Oh the power of prayer!!!!! One more suggestion this week pray the Beatitudes, take comfort in our God who has already won the battle through His Resurrection, we only have to remain faithful and believe that the living God is found in the Catholic Church.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Solemnity of the Holy Trinity

On the Solemnity of the Holy Trinity we celebrate the very heart of our faith. At the time of God's definitive intervention in the world for the salvation of all; the angel Gabriel proclaims the Most Holy Trinity to the Blessed Mother, "And the angel said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God (Luke 1:35)."

 As baptized Catholic we are children of God and  this brings us into communion with the Triune God as family. Dr. Scott Hahn explains, "Last Sunday, we celebrated the sending of the Spirit, which sealed God’s new covenant and made a new creation. 

In this new creation, we live in the family of God, who has revealed himself as a Trinity of love. We share in His divine nature through His body and blood (see 2 Peter 1:4). This is the meaning of the three feasts that cap the Easter season - Pentecost, Trinity Sunday, and Corpus Christi.(read more)"

God Bless and enjoy your day!


Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Visitation of the Blessed Virgin to Elizabeth

"And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and she exclaimed with a loud cry, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! (Luke 1:41,42) These words from Sacred Scripture have formed the beautiful prayer the Hail Mary. From these words we honor not worship Mary. There is something else that happens at the Visitation. It is fitting to call Mary blessed because she bore Christ, however it is her faith that is at the center of why we can call Mary blessed.

Our Protestant brothers, who proclaim salvation by faith alone, should also honor Mary because at the heart of Mary is her faith in her son Jesus Christ. As Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio at The Crossroads Initiative explains:
If I were to ask you to name the first beatitude, you’d probably say “blessed be the poor in Spirit.”  According to Matthew you’d be right, but not according to Luke.  At the very beginning of his gospel, Luke reveals that the very first beatitude is uttered by a woman filled with the Spirit, speaking of another woman overshadowed by the Spirit.  Elizabeth says, “Blessed is she who has believed.” (Luke 1: 45).  (read more)

Mary's entire life is based on faith. This is why she is considered the first disciple and in many ways, the way we come to Jesus. The evidence is drawn from Sacred Scripture and we should, with the help of the Holy Spirit, call Mary blessed as Elizabeth did so many years ago.

Sunday, May 6, 2012



The Jesus Prayer

I am writing a research paper for my Christology course. My professor wanted to present Christ in His person and the economy of salvation, the way in which Christ saves humanity. Ultimately he wanted us to draw near to Christ and increase our faith and spirituality. Pope Benedict XVI wrote Behold The Pieced One, it is an Approach to a Spirituality Christology. His first thesis states, "According to the testimony of Holy Scripture, the center of the life and person of Jesus in his constant communication with the Father." Using this as a jump off point I am writing my paper on the Jesus Prayer, "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner." In this statement we can pray like Jesus by calling on Jesus the mediator  constantly. In The Way of a Pilgrim, the unknown author talks about the Jesus Prayer as a summation of the Gospel in the first part and an acknowledgement of our sinful nature that must call for God's mercy in the second part. The shortness of the prayer lends itself to being constantly prayed throughout the day. It is a prayer of the heart so it requires setting aside some quiet time, locating the heart and saying the prayer 33, 50, or 100 times. To say that I am a novice at this prayer would be an understatement but a certain joy has begun in my life. It is not a prayer that has replaced my daily Rosary but has increased the contemplative aspect of my Rosary. We must always remember that the Rosary is also a Christological prayer and has its own fruits but is admittedly a difficult prayer to pray constantly throughout the day. When I polish up my paper I'll post parts of it here.

God Bless    

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Feast of St. Louis de Montfort

Replica Pieta at St. Joseph Seminary Yonkers, NY

The original Pieta was on display at The World Fair in 1964. It was at the request of Cardinal Spellman. In order to ensure Michelangelo's master piece could make the trip over seas two replicas were made and shipped ahead of time. One of the replicas adorn the halls of the Seminary in Yonkers. I have spent a lot of time in prayer in front of the Pieta. If you look closely you can tell that Mary's hands seem out of proportion to Jesus' body. The interpretation of this I like the most is She is looking down at her son and seeing his entire life from infancy to the present moment.

"...The Blessed Sacrament is a memorial of the passion and death of Jesus Christ, and (that) by means of it men share in its fruits and work out their salvation."
"...The Holy Rosary, recited with the meditation on the sacred mysteries, is a sacrifice of praise to God for the great gift of our redemption and a holy reminder of the sufferings, death and glory of Jesus Christ,"
- St. Louis de Montfort

Friday, April 27, 2012

7 quick things

7 quick takes sm1 7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 160)

1. 14 classes left for the seniors oh yeah!!!!!
2. I'll miss them :(
3. Sherry's surgery is Tuesday praying in my sleep for her.
4. Intro to Dogma exam next Thursday, it's a good time to start studying!!!!
5. The Mets swept the Marlins, soooooo happy.
6. Cori comes home for the summer in three weeks!!!!!
7. Go Rangers Go!!!! Off to round two of the Stanley Cup, the most beautiful trophy in all of sports!!!! 
 One of the cool things about being Catholic is our position on salvation.  Let me explain. This past February I ran a 50K(31 miles) race in Destin Florida. After the race my daughter and I went to New Orleans for Mardi Gras.Their were a lot of people with signs condemning all the people participating in the festivities to damnation. I spoke with one man who told me to leave the Catholic or I'd go to hell. I always thought that being a New Yorker was far worse than being a Catholic in the southerners eyes!

The Catholic belief is that we must respond to the grace that God gives us. Salvation is only through the Catholic Church but it may take people longer to receive this grace and many will receive this gift at the time of passing to the next life. This brings me to something that I learned from Father O'Reilly the dean at the Institute of Religious Studies in Yonkers, NY. Everyone outside the church has not received the grace needed to be part of the Church however those who received the grace and have left the church are in peril. So I decided that this week I'll start to forgo my Sunday morning mass and start going to the vigil mass on Saturday night. My plan is that in a couple of weeks I will ask my wife and daughter to join me. My wife always went to the vigil mass with her mother growing up so maybe this will get her back to church again. She's not a morning person.

If you are a Catholic who has left the Church and stumbled onto this blog please visit the Catholics Come Home website. Feel free to e-mail me for a rosary(I love giving them away). When I was away from the church and came back my second stop after a month of masses was confession. It warmed my heart when the priest welcomed me back to the church. I looked forward to welcoming many Catholics back home.
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Friday, April 20, 2012

 1. First post in a long time. Thanks LOTR and Jennifer!
2. Starting to miss my seniors, only 19 classes left with them!!!!
3. Studying for my Christology final, my head is spinning, first six councils, hope I can get them straight by Monday.
4. First week after Easter break went well but everyone is tired here at Spellman.
5. Giving quizzes all day is boring.
6. Praying for Sherry, surgery is scheduled for May 1st.
7. Weekend is almost here!!