During the autumn season, as I cross the threshold of the front door and embark upon my daily walk to school, I look forward to seeing the leaves begin to fall from the canopy of branches arched over our quiet neighborhood street. The humidity, oh so smothering during the summer, is finally replaced by the refreshment of a cool breeze.
When a brilliant rainbow fills the sky after a thunderstorm, its vibrant colors have the mystical effect of bringing smiles to the faces of everyone watching. Why? Well, rainbows signal, with the splash across the sky, that the danger is over, in a brilliant array of glorious and varied colors and that--“All is well again!”
“Come to me, all you who are weary and find life burdensome, and I will refresh you. Take my yoke upon your shoulders and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble of heart. Your hearts will find rest, for my yoke is easy and my burden light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
These three brief Gospel verses capture the essence of our Oblate vocation which is to live Jesus and to bring him to our world today through the learned doctrine and inviting spirit of St. Francis de Sales. These verses are in the DNA of all who embrace Salesian spirituality. I would like to say a little something about the key elements of these verses.
We celebrated Homecoming 2019 on our campus last Saturday, a celebration which really began on Wednesday night with a King of Wings eating contest. It was fun to watch, the teams got very creative. Alumnae/i returned for Tailgating and the Homecoming Game, televised on ESPN3 (which we won, thanks be to God). Others joined us for Mass and a Reunion Dinner later in the day.
St. Francis de Sales is noted for the importance of love in his writings, but humility may have been his favorite virtue. Humility is rooted in gratitude to God for all that we have and are. It is also grounded in a healthy honesty about our goodness, value and worth as a beloved son or daughter of God but also of our limits, weaknesses and failings.
Just over a week from now, on September the 14th, the Church will celebrate a most peculiar feast: The Exaltation of the Holy Cross. If the title of this feast doesn’t take each of us aback, it should. Imagine a feast day called “The Exaltation of the Holy Gallows” or “The Exaltation of the Holy Electric Chair.”
“O Jesus, teach us how to make our soul be silent so that You may speak to us.”
~ Blessed Louis Brisson, OSFS
I love this simple but profound prayer of our Oblate Founder in which he asks Jesus to teach us how to silent our souls in order that he might speak to us. To “silent our souls” –what does that mean anyway?
Earlier this week, on Sunday evening, I was going for an evening run through Wilmington, Delaware, just as it was beginning to get dark. As I turned right at an intersection to enter Brandywine Park, two boys standing at the opposite street corner called out to me, “Hello, Jogger!” Wondering what kind of greeting this could be, I stopped, and they came over to me holding a plastic bag.
A tired looking Ted was having lunch with his brother Luke, who remarked. “Geez Ted you look beat. What’s happening?” In a weary tone Ted answered, “It seems all I do is work, work, work, providing food and stuff for Dot plus saving a little for the kids’ futures, but I never seem to make ends meet.” Ted added “Don’t get me wrong Luke, I love my family, but it just isn’t fun anymore.”
A few weeks ago I read an editorial that suggested that the world today, fractured and combative, needs to rediscover comity. What is comity anyway? An early 1948 edition of Webster’s Dictionary defines comity as “mildness and suavity of manners; courtesy.” A later dictionary speaks of comity in terms of “international courtesy,” which is closer to its meaning in the recent editorial.
James Spader plays Raymond “Red” Reddington in NBC’s hit series The Blacklist. As task force director Harold Cooper once quipped to his team, Reddington is the man “we love to hate, and hate to love”.................
This summer, I have been interning in the pastoral care department of a local hospital, and among the first tasks in my daily routine is to print a list of patients in my unit. Beside the name of each patient is listed information such as their room number, birth date, diagnosis, etc. When I looked at the chart for the first time a few weeks ago, I was somewhat overwhelmed by the number of names on the list: all the information seemed to blur together into a mass of impersonal data.
Anna is now 86 years old. For years she volunteered as a Bible Study teacher at her small country parish. And she loved it. Now, at 86, her eyes have begun to diminish.
This hasn’t deterred Anna from serving the Lord. As she put it, “After all He has done for me.” She added. “I’ll just look around until I find something else that fits!” And Anna did just that. She found her “What’s next!”