Thursday, July 31, 2014

July 31 Feast of St Ignatius Loyola

Saint Ignatius founded the order of Jesuits  of which Pope Francis is a member.
Ignatius had a love for St. Francis of Assisi and in every Church of the Jesuits St. Francis' image can be found.

Ignatius' motto was "All for the Glory of God , in Latin 
"Ad Majorem  Dei Gloriam" 
Growing up Catholic the Sisters at school would have us put on the top of every paper we did  AMDG  .
It is a beautiful motto.
Happy Feast Day  to all the Jesuits especially the Holy Father  and to the Church 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Wednesday July 30 The Whole Truth

New post on Breaking In The Habit

The Whole Truth and Nothing But the Truth

by friarcasey
Do you find this picture provocative or offensive? Why?
God is, was, and will be a part of every step of creation.
Given the amount of quality material out there and the fact that this is a somewhat tired and irrelevant topic for most Catholics, I'm a bit
apprehensive about devoting a post to "the religion and science debate." What more can I say that hasn't been said better by others? On the other hand, the fact that it continues to surface unintelligently in pop culture and even in our churches tells me that it can't hurt to try a new medium.
So here we go. Science and religion. The great debate of our time. Some say that science is the only real truth, that religion is mere superstition that propagates fairy tales and manipulates people into violence. Others say that the only real truth is religion, that science is unreliable and that it denies the existence of God. Clearly, I would say, both of these opinions lack an understanding of the other and should be dismissed: even if one is the perfect option, neither lacks truth in some sense. So where does that leave us?
In between the two poles you will find many saying that science confirms religion and that religion guides science. Among Christians, I would say that this opinion is the most common. What they are trying to do, it would seem, is to reconcile the differences in the two in order to create one cohesive worldview from two different disciplines. This, as nice as it may sound, is yet another misunderstanding of the nature of religion and science.
The key to understanding the "debate" is that it is not a debate at all: religion and science are concerned with two completely different, mutually exclusive forms of knowledge. In the same way that art and engineering are two completely different, yet important, ways to understand a new bathroom project, science and religion have completely different goals. Science, using only empirical data (data that can be measured objectively with the senses), is concerned with the facts, that is, statements that can be proven without a doubt. Religion on the other hand, using divine revelation and human reason, is concerned with truths about our existence, that is, statements thatgive our life meaning. Which is better?
Scientists like Richard Dawkins or Neil Tyson Degrasse want to argue that this makes science better (although I would like to note that I do like much of what Degrasse has to say.) They say, and rightly so, that the great thing about science is that if something is a fact, it is so no matter what we believe. One can not simply "believe" that gravity does not exist because one doesn't want to. Because of this, though, they look down on religion because of its lack of proof: "How can you believe in a God that you can't prove exists?" they ask. What they want is a scientific answer to a religious question, facts where people are searching for meaning. To me, this is like asking an artist why they paint even though it cannot provide electricity for the house. It's ridiculous because that is not the concern of art. As far as religion is concerned, there is no proof for what we believe because proof of God would actually collapse our free will. Proof does not allow for choice; it does not allow for faith. Surely this is not what God wants. Instead, the purpose of religion is to use the evidence we have, both from revelation and reason, to find meaning in our life about God to help us assent to him.
Because of this, it is a grave mistake for us as Christians to view science as anything other than an incredible resource. When we look to the world, we want to be as informed as possible as to how it works, don't we?! It is a tragic reality that many Christians view science with skepticism, or worse yet, that they see it as a threat to their religious beliefs. Quoting Leo XIII's encyclical Providentissimus Deushis, John Paul II addressed the Pontifical Academy of Sciences with this remark in 1996: "Truth cannot contradict truth." If something is scientifically true then it cannot be against the truth of God.
This statement must be the basis of any interaction between science and religion; it must be the lens through which we understand any new information, no matter the medium. To dismiss new truths from science (or any hermeneutical device for that matter, e.g. art) is to limit our ability to properly interpret the evidence of our existence. To dismiss them on the basis of a particular interpretation of scripture is utterly foolish. As far back as the 4th century, St. Augustine recognized that an ignorant faith only repelled people from the church:
Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of this world. . . and this knowledge he holds to as being certain from reason and experience. Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics. . . The shame is not so much that an ignorant individual is derided, but that people outside the household of faith think our sacred writers held such opinions, and, to the great loss of those for whose salvation we toil, the writers of our Scripture are criticized and rejected as unlearned men. If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about our books, how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think their pages are full of falsehoods and on facts which they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of reason? (citation here)
It doesn't matter what the topic is. Creation. Evolution. Reproduction. Homosexuality. Genetics. Astronomy. Thermodynamics. Fracking. Stem cells. If we begin from a religious statement that contradicts or disregards truth from other disciplines, namely scientific fact, afraid to incorporate new information into a broader interpretation or attempting to pass off a statement of faith as a statement of scientific proof, we will look foolish and unattractive to non-believers. This is what we unfortunately see from Christians wishing to use the Bible as a science textbook, emphatically declaring that the earth is only 6,000 years old. It is a response that exhibits fear and a lack of faith. Why couldn't God have created the world out of nothing AND continue to create it anew each day through the process of evolution? (For a truly fantastic article that deals with this specifically, I strongly encourage that you read "Creationism is Materialism's Creation".)
Using every possible form of knowledge does not make us atheists, it makes us grateful that God gave us the ability to reason!
Using every possible form of knowledge does not make us atheists, it makes us grateful that God gave us the ability to reason!
While his theology may need a little work, I find Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, S.J. to be a fascinating example of someone able to incorporate the latest in scientific research into a Christocentric Universe. Essentially (and briefly because this post is already too long and going down a rabbit hole we might get stuck in!) Chardin took Charles Darwin's principles of evolution that all organisms have a natural, material propensity to grow more complex and to reproduce, and added a theological element to it: all of creation has a "driving force" within it so that evolutionary steps are not random, they are a specie's yearning to converge on one point, Christ, the connection between the creator and created. God is in creation as it happens every second.
Ultimately, I will close by quoting a man most brilliant in his field, Albert Einstein: "Science without religion is lame. Religion without science is blind." As Christians, we want the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, wherever God is willing to reveal it to us. Let us do as the Apostle Paul tells us: "Test everything; keep what is good."

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Prayers for the Situation in the Holy Land

New post on CNS Blog

From Gaza, pain and weariness in the voice of a pastor

by Administrator
By Judith Sudilovsky
JERUSALEM -- I have not been able to reach Father Jorge Hernandez, the Argentine priest of Gaza’s Holy Family Parish, for some days now. In the morning yesterday I spoke with one of the Sisters of Mercy who have moved in with the priest together with the severally disabled children they look after. She told me they were fine, caring for the children and since it is the sisters’ policy not to give interviews to the press, she suggested I try to call Father Hernandez in the afternoon for more details about their situation.
Father Jorge Hernandez, a member of the Institute of the Incarnate Word, celebrates Mass at the Gaza parish in 2011.  (CNS/Paul Jeffrey)
Father Jorge Hernandez, a member of the Institute of the Incarnate Word, celebrates Mass at the Gaza parish in 2011. (CNS/Paul Jeffrey)
But when my call went through to his cell phone today -- a phone call into the heart of war -- I could hear the deep pain and weariness in his voice, something I had not heard in our previous conversations at the start of the fighting.
This afternoon, following the worst of the fighting in Gaza, Father Hernandez was apologetic to me. He could not answer my call, he said. There had been bombings near the parish church, he said, and he needed to attend to the people.
Hopes for a calm Eid al-Fitr holiday July 28 were shattered in the afternoon by heavy Israeli shelling that left 30 people dead, including 10 people -- eight of whom were children from the Abu Shafaka and al-Mukdad families -- in a park in the Al-Shati refugee camp and others at the Shifa Hospital.
The Israel Defense Forces denied responsibility for the attacks on the park and hospital, blaming them on misfired missiles from the Islamic Jihad, a claim Palestinians deny.
That same evening a number of armed Palestinians infiltrated into Israel through one of the tunnels the IDF says has been the target of their mission to destroy and a firefight ensued, killing one of the gunmen and wounding several of the soldiers. Israeli residents of the nearby communities were told to remain home and roads closed as soldiers searched the area to make sure no armed gunman remained in Israeli territory. A barrage of rocket attacks from Hamas into Israel reached all the way up the coast to the northern city of Haifa.
Administrator | July 29, 2014 at 4:43 pm | Categories: CNSHoly Land | URL:

July 28 Monday Visitors to the Monastery

Monday, Two Vietnam Sisters joined us for the Eucharist with Father Vincent Burke SVD. Sister Theresa of the Community of the Lovers of the Holy Cross and Sister Anna of the Community of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Saturday July 26 The Divine Word Missionaries from Bordentown, NJ celebrated Mass with us.


(A biblical reflection on the 17th Ordinary Sunday, 27 July 2014)
Gospel Reading: Mathew 13:44-52 (short version: Matthew 13:44-46)
First Reading: 1Kings 3:5,7-12; Psalms: Psalm 119:57,72,76-77,127-130; Second Reading: Romans 8:28-30
The Scripture Text
“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net which was thrown into the sea and gathered fish of every kind; when it was full, men drew it ashore and sat down and sorted the good into vessels but threw away the bad. So it will be at the close of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous, and throw them into the furnace of fire; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.
“Have you understood all this?” They said to Him, “Yes.” And He said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.” (Matthew 13:44-52 RSV)
What is your “treasure”? What do you consider the most valuable thing you could possess? Throughout scripture, we see that God our Father wants to give us a treasure beyond all price if we but ask Him. King Salomon was called the wisest man on the earth because he asked God for wisdom and good judgment (1 Kings 3:5,7-12). Jesus’ parables frequently highlighted the “treasure” that God offers those who seek Him. The Psalms also direct us to seek treasure in God’s word, which is finer than gold (Psalm 119:127).
images (3)The man in the parable of the treasure hidden in the field eagerly set out to sell everything. Why? Because he found something worth possessing above all his other possessions. Fortunately, he only needed enough money to buy the field – not the whole treasure. In a similar fashion, God offers us the treasure of His Kingdom at a price we can afford!
We can’t pay the full price for the life God wants to give us. That treasure is the Lord Himself and life in His Kingdom, a Kingdom of “righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17). In baptism we are united with Jesus in His death and resurrection. We become adopted children of God and temples of the Holy Spirit. This is something far beyond our ability to produce, let alone maintain. Only God can make us into a new creation.
Today at Mass, let’s ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the value of the treasure that God offers each and every one of us. Let’s set aside our earthly interests for a while – concerns about our friends, our jobs, our families, and what we will do with our free times – to spend time with the Lord. Let’s ask the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with heaven’s treasure: life and communication with Jesus forever!
Prayer: Lord Jesus, You are my treasure and joy, my hope and consolation. Free me from all that would keep me from You. May I always find strength in Your word and delight in Your presence. Amen.
Jakarta, 25 July 2014 [Feast of St. James, Apostle]

A Christian Pilgrim

Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Divine Word Missionaries International Visit

The Divine Word Missionaries who have a residence in Bordentown had visitors from different countries and Father Flor brought them over to celebrant Mass for us.
From left to right
Brother Emmanuel from Haiti who is taking a group of young adults to the UN, Father Flor , who is a resident at Bordentown and is original from the Philippines, Father Paul, originally  from China and will be stationed in Antigua and Father Johann who is from Indonesia. Father Johann is secretary to the Provincial and came to the United States to learn English at Epworth.

Sunday, July 20, 2014


(A biblical reflection on the 16th Ordinary Sunday, 20 July 2014)
Gospel Reading: Matthew 13:24-30 (long version: Matthew 13:24-43)
First Reading: Wisdom 12:13,16-19; Psalms: Psalm 86:5-6,9-10,15-16; Second Reading: Romans 8:26-27
Another parable He put before them, saying, “The Kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field; but while men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also. And the servants of the householder came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then has it weeds? He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?” But he said, ‘No; lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. Let both grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.’” (Matthew 13:24-30 RSV)
How do you treat other people when they fall short of your expectations? Do you find yourself turning against them – maybe in your mind and heart, if not outwardly? It’s a tempting reaction but not one that Jesus recommended. In fact, His parable of the weeds among the wheat tells us not to write anyone off as hopeless. Just as the householder refrained from having the weeds pulled up for fear of uprooting the wheat (Matthew 13:29), we must refrain from dismissing others, in effect throwing out the “wheat” in their lives along with whatever we perceive the “weeds” to be.
Who are the “weedy” ones in your life – those you have given up on, those you don’t treat so well because they have pulled away from God? Look closely at your list and ask yourself whether perhaps your judgments might be contributing in some way to their bondage. Is it possible that you have a beam in your eye, something that prevents you from seeing the beauty and promise – the wheat among the weeds – within them? Even in their sin, God sees their potential and gives them opportunities to realize it through the power of His Son. He invites you to take on this attitude, too.
Today at Mass, take some time to reflect on God’ invitation to patience. Let the readings show you God’s heart and help you embrace that heart for yourself: “Although You are sovereign in strength, You judge with mildness, and with great forbearance You govern us. ... You have taught Your people that the righteous must be kind” (Wisdom 12:18-19). “The Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us” (Romans 8:26). Having experienced God’s mercy in your own life – and who hasn’t? – you can be patient with the imperfections of others, with the Spirit’s help. And amazingly, the more you learn to see people through the eyes of Jesus, the more you will draw them to Him. They will change. So will you.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, forgive me for having written some people off as beyond help. Knowing Your love and patience toward me, I am compelled to pray that every “hopeless case” will make it into Your Kingdom. I pray for an abundant harvest of the finest wheat. Amen.
Jakarta, 18 July 2014

A Christian Pilgrim

Friday, July 4, 2014

July 4th If You Want Peace Work for Justice

ew post on Breaking In The Habit

If You Want Peace… Community Organize

by friarcasey
Of all the many accomplishments of organizations like this, the biggest is that these students develop confidence in themselves and in each other.
Of all the many accomplishments of organizations like this, the biggest is that these students develop confidence in themselves and in each other.
A few years ago, I wrote a post entitled “If You Want Peace, Work For Justice” that made this distinction between social charity and social justice: charity identifies a need and fulfills it while justice asks why there was a need in the first place and then attempts to change the system that caused it.
While both charity and justice are integral aspects of Catholic Social Teaching, and understanding that neither can fully work without the other, I find myself stressing justice over charity. Don’t get me wrong. Charity is desperately needed and I wouldn’t want to downplay the life work of someone like Mother Theresa. There are times, though, when charity is nothing more than a bandaid on a fatal wound: it prolongs life but it never allows those in need the freedom of authentic human development. As the adage goes, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish you feed him for a lifetime.” Justice looks to the future, treating the problem not just the symptoms. In practical terms, it means being a voice for the voiceless by demanding quality education, safe environments, and equal treatment under the law so that all people may be able to feed themselves instead of relying on others to feed them.
In my time so far in Camden, however, I have learned that there is actually another layer to this distinction. While justice (as I have defined it) gives a voice to the voiceless, community organizing helps those without a voice find their own. While traditional means of justice may eliminate a systemic problem in order to make life better for many people, (something I obviously DO NOT want to downplay), there is still a sense that it is a form of charity because it is done for someone without enabling them to do it themselves. Not only that, there’s no denying the fact that movements are more vibrant and longer lasting if they come from the people and for the people directly affected by injustice. Thus, in the case of feeding a man from above, community organizers might say, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; show a man that he can fix his hunger by hiring a fishing teacher and he will know how to find solutions for a lifetime.” Through effective community organizing, people gain the confidence and skills to take control of their lives without relying on wealthy donors or educated activists to do everything for them.
A great example of this is the Student Leaders’ Von Nieda Park Task Force at St. Anthony’s school. Comprised of 6th-8th grade students, this group meets each week to identify problems in their neighborhood, research who has the power to make changes, and elicit the skills needed to professionally approach those in power. These students chair a monthly meeting at the park, attend city council meetings, organize cleanups, and travel to Washington, D.C. each year to give a presentation. In the past two years, they have transformed what was once called “the nation’s most depressing park,” into a comfortable neighborhood park for the whole family. How? They saw a need in their area, worked together, and convinced local officials to help make it happen. In two years, the city has installed new basketball nets, trashcans, fences, and now, brand new lights, a project that cost the city and county $365,000. I’d like to remind you that these are 6th-8th graders… When people come together around an issue, great things can happen.
That’s not to say that it’s easy to do or that it’s without setbacks. Community organizing requires tremendous patience and perseverance, thick skin and a short memory. The friar responsible for the Student Leaders here reminds us often of the women who once told him, “Father, ain’t nothing ever going to change in Camden.” This is a common response, and it’s understandable. If you had been rejected and lied to by powerful people your entire life, wouldn’t you be a little hesitant to get excited too? The key is building confidence with small victories, showing people that hope is not useless; change can happen.
More importantly, and much more difficultly, community organizers must not let impatience or frustration move them to act on behalf of the community. Sure, the community organizer may be able to do something successfully on her/his own, but how has this helped the community find its own voice? The sign of a great basketball player is not the amount of points s/he scores, it’s how much better the others players play around her/him. It’s about building the team, not just the tasks. It requires relying on others and giving people the chance to succeed. This might mean being a little less efficient, dealing with a few more frustrations, and even accepting more frequent setbacks than doing something on one’s own. It’s a type-A personality’s nightmare. But what good is it to go about it alone? More importantly, what good is it if we always treat those around us like children, never showing them how to lead themselves?
As brothers and sisters in Christ, it’s not about winning the race, it’s about making sure everyone is able to make it to the end. Community organizing does just that. By focusing on local issues with local people, it involves those closest to the issue and gives them ownership over their lives. While it may not effect the sort of large-scale systemic changes that other forms of justice can, what it does is build community and build confidence. It does not hand people a better life, it helps them work for it themselves. If you want peace in your neighborhood, community organize.
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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Wednesday July 2

by achristianpilgrim
Jakarta, 2 July 2014
A Christian Pilgrim

Tuesday July 1 Breaking the Habit



Breaking In The Habit

Do This in Memory of Me

by friarcasey
What Jesus shared with us was a meal and his life.
What Jesus shared with us was a meal and his life.
In each of the four eucharistic prayers in the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church, the words "Do this in memory of me" are spoken by the priest in what is called the Institution Narrative. Although some of the words change for each prayer, these are repeated in each one: "Do this in memory of me." They are significant words that help guide us in our understanding of this celebration.
In one sense, it is a clear reminder that the reason we meet each week in the Church is because Jesus gave his body and blood to the disciples through the celebration of the Last Supper just prior to his Passion. His words invoke the memory of this religious celebration, the great institution of the sacrament that gives us life and offers us salvation.
But our memory cannot stop there. In another, maybe more significant sense, the memory we must have when we celebrate the Eucharist is of Jesus himself. When we take his body and drink his blood, we are not only remembering the final meal he shared with his disciples before his Passion, we are remembering all that he was/is and all that he did. In one complex moment, we call to mind his triumphant Incarnation and his glorious Passion; the miracles he performed and the words he preached; the love and forgiveness he brought to the lost and the least, and the truth and justice he brought to the corrupt and powerful. Our memory of Jesus is not simply one of a religious feast or liturgical action, it is one of love, forgiveness, humility, simplicity, openness, mercy, unity in diversity, sacrifice, friendship, and most of all, justice.
Because of this, taking part in the mystery of the Eucharist does bring to the present a moment in history, the Last Supper, and allows us to share in the once-for-all sacrifice of our God; but it does much more than that. Taking part in the Eucharist brings to the present the whole life and teaching of Jesus. How can we possibly celebrate the feast without remembering the person celebrating it?
When we remember the person of Jesus, we radically open ourselves up to a new experience of and response to the Eucharist. If what we are remembering when we take the precious body and blood is how Jesus "emptied himself" to become human, we are forced to ask ourselves how well we act with humility and grace. If we remember how Jesus showed mercy and forgiveness to sinners, we are forced to ask ourselves how well we forgive those who wrong us. If we remember how Jesus loved the poor and cared for the outcasts of society, making them his primary focus because no one else would, we are forced to ask ourselves how well we love the poor and outcasts of society and whether or not we are missing an opportunity to love someone unloved by anyone else. In every way, if we remember the person of Jesus, we will be forced to compare our lives with the life he lived, challenging us to grow closer to the one who wants nothing more than to be in perfect union with us.
Jesus says, "Do this in memory of me." My prayer is that, the next time you receive the Eucharist, you will be flooded with the powerful memory of Jesus' life and teachings, that it may be such a powerful experience of remembering the person of Jesus that all you can do is let him pour out of you for the whole world. That is the memory Jesus wants us to have, and that is the true thanksgiving meal we share with one another. Only when Eucharist transforms us in this way can be it called the "source and summit" of our life.

Christmas Newsletter 2018