"Preach the Gospel at all times, and when necessary, use words."

A special "Thank you!"
Goes out to
John Michael Talbot
for giving us permission
to use his song on our
"Come to the Quiet"
You Tube Video
_______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The White Cord of Saint Francis of Assisi

"Walfred, who lived in Citta della Pieve, a devout and God-fearing man, as was all his household, had a cord with which the blessed Francis had been girded at one time. It happened that in this place many men and not a few women were afflicted with various illnesses and fevers. This man, after dipping the cord in water and mixing some strands of the cord with the water, would give the water to the sick to drink; and thus all of them were healed in Christ's name. These things took place in the absence of Blessed Francis"...
Saint Francis of Assisi
Celano, First Life

Saturday, January 28, 2012

"How can I become good?"

Yesterday I was asked by a High School student, "How can I become good?" I knew he was already a good kid, so I assumed he meant, "How can I become a better person?" For me, becoming good means becoming holy, and this is one of the best articles I have ever read concerning holiness:

 Everyone Can Become Holy!

"Our interactions with the Father and our acceptance of his love and forgiveness help us to grow in holiness. The more we turn to the Father and receive his love for us, the more we become like Jesus. We must have a true desire to grow in holiness, to receive the virtues, to surrender our lives as Jesus surrendered his life to the Father. We must have a true desire to grow in charity.

"Like the prodigal son, we too must come to our senses. Too often today we justify sin, deny sin, or think of an evil as a good. We see this in the abuse of drugs and alcohol, in the lack of respect for others, in the gossip and talking behind another person’s back, in cheating to get ahead, in the holding of grudges, in the refusal to forgive, in the objectification of women, in the misuse of our sexuality, and in the taking of innocent human life.

"The sacrament of reconciliation is essential for growth in holiness. One of the reasons today for a lack of holiness is that we do not celebrate regularly the sacrament. If we are truly serious about coming to our senses and receiving the Father’s love for us then we will go to Confession not just during Lent and Advent, but at least every month. The sacrament of reconciliation helps us to see our sins, to seek God’s mercy, and to experience his tender love for us.

"Lent and Advent is a time for us to examine our lives in the light of the Father’s love for us. The prodigal son comes to his senses as he remembers all that he had at his home, most especially the love of his father. Our true home is in the heart of the Father, and only in remembering that truth will we be able to recognize our sin, seek God’s forgiveness, and grow in holiness.

As we grow in holiness we grow in charity. In receiving the Father’s love for us we will learn to love our neighbor as God loves our neighbor. We will desire to exercise charity in our homes, workplaces, society and world. We will grow in the fruits, virtues, of the Holy Spirit, “charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control, and chastity” (Gal. 5:22-23). We will be willing to forgive as our Father forgives us (Mt. 6:14-15), and we will be merciful as the Father is merciful with us (Lk. 6:36). We will keep the commandments, live the beatitudes, and 'feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit those who are sick and in prison, welcome the stranger' (Mt. 25:31-46).

"Conversion and growth in holiness do not happen overnight. We can become overwhelmed and discouraged if we think we must have all of these signs of holiness. We must remember that every saint, save the Blessed Mother, was a sinner. Some were great sinners and others less. For most saints it took many years to become holy, it was not achieved overnight nor without trials and failures. Perseverance was a must. And what every saint realized was that they were loved unconditionally by the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit – that God was truly for them and desired only the good for them. Today we too must recognize the same if we are to become saints. My prayer for every Catholic is that each one of us will respond to the call of Jesus and grow in holiness during the Lenten and Advent seasons."

Rev. Samual J. Aquila

Monday, January 23, 2012

Take Care Lest You Be Found Sterile

Tomb of the Unborn Child
Franciscan University of Steubenville
Next to the Portiuncula Chapel

"Take care lest, when the dung of worthlessness has been placed at your roots, you be found sterile, for then there will remain nothing but that the axe be put to you. Do not trust entirely the spirit that is in now in you, for man's senses are more prone to evil than to good, even though it may have been considerably separated from it."

Saint Francis of Assisi
Sacrum Commercium


Thursday, January 19, 2012

An Awsome Gift Of Human Life

"This past week someone shared with me the story of Dana Lu Blessing. I share it with you as we reflect on the awesome gift of human life.

"A cold March wind danced around the dead of night in Dallas as a doctor walked into the small hospital room of Diana Blessing. She was still groggy from surgery. Her husband, David, held her hand as they braced themselves for the latest news. That afternoon, March 10, 1991, complications had forced Diana, only 24 weeks pregnant, to undergo an emergency Cesarean to deliver the couple's new daughter, Dana Lu Blessing.

"At 12 inches long and weighing only one pound nine ounces, they already knew she was perilously premature. Still the doctor's soft words dropped like bombs. 'I don't think she's going to make it,' he said as kindly as he could. Numb with disbelief, David and Diana listened as the doctor described the devastating problems Dana would likely face if she survived.

"Because Dana's nervous system was essentially "raw" the lightest kiss or caress only intensified her discomfort, so for the first two months of her life her parents couldn't touch or cradle their tiny baby girl. Little by little this miracle child gained weight and strength. Five years later she was a petite and feisty little girl with no signs of physical or mental impairment.

"While her survival was a miracle, another miracle was revealed when Dana was just five years old. One afternoon in the summer of 1996 near her home in Irving, Texas, Dana was sitting in her mother's lap in the bleachers of a local ballpark watching her brother play baseball. She suddenly asked her mother, "Do you smell that?" "Yes," Diana responded, "it smells like rain." Dana closed her eyes and asked again, "Do you smell that?" Once again, her mother replied, "Yes, I think we're going to get wet. It smells like rain." Dana shook her head and announced, "No, it smells like Him. It smells like God when you lay your head on His chest." And off she ran to play with the other children.

"And Dana knew that during those long days and nights of her daughter's first two months of life when her nerves were too sensitive for anyone to touch her, God was holding Dana on His chest and it was His loving scent that she remembered.

"May Dana Lu Blessing never forget that scent and may we never forget God's love for His little ones both born and soon-to-be-born."

In God's love,

Fr. Todd Riebe
Richmond Catholic Community

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

F.L.A. (Franciscan Lay Apostolates)

"Carried away by the force of his preaching, great numbers of people adopted the new rule of penance according to the form instituted by St. Francis which he called the "Order of the Brothers of Penance." The way of penance is common to all those who are on the road to heaven and so this way of life includes members of both sexes, clerics and lay folks, married and single. How meritorious it is in the eyes of God is clear from the numerous miracles worked by some of those who followed it."

Saint Francis of Assisi
Bonaventure, Major Life
Chapter IV


Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Power To Heal Comes From Humility

Saint Padre Pio

In his love for true humility, St. Francis devoted himself to the lepers and lived with them, waiting on them all, for the love of God. He washed their feet and bound up their sores, drawing off the puss and wiping them clean. He was extraordinarily devoted to them and kissed their wounds, he who was soon to play a part of the worthy Good Samaritan in the Gospel. As a reward, God endowed him with such power to heal that his influence over ills of soul and body were miraculous.

Saint Francis of Assisi

Bonaventure, Major Life


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Endure With Joy Every Pain and Every Adversity

"St. Francis was once praying in an abandoned church when he was attacked by devils. Francis cried out and said, 'My Lord Jesus Christ, I thank You for the great love and charity which You are showing me, because it is a sign of great love when the Lord punishes His servant well for all his faults in this world, so that he may not be punished for them in the next world. And I am prepared to endure with joy every pain and every adversity which You, my God, wish to send me for my sins.' Then the devils, having been humiliated and defeated by his endurance and patience, went away."

Saint Francis of Assisi
Little Flowers of St. Francis


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Alan Colmes: Shame on you!

Holy Obedience

Monte Casale Friary
A legend from the friary at Monte Casale: Here every year the brethren plant a cabbage in the garden and let it flower to remind them of the time the saint bade two young brothers plant some cabbage plants upside down. One did, but the othe...r knew better and planted his right side up. St. Francis dismissed the second brother, for, he said, it had been a test of obedience, not of planting cabbages.
 Saint Francis of Assisi

Monday, January 09, 2012

Mother Teresa: Abortion Destroys Peace

Thirty-eitht years after the U.S. Supreme Court decision which legalized abortion on demand, people from across America plan to gather in the nation's capital in January to show their opposition to the ruling. The annual March for Life is expected to draw tens of thousands of people of all ages, faiths, and nationalities.

Given the enormity of the situation, I couldn't help but imagine waking up in the morning to the newspapers headlines:

"Nine American cities completely wiped out! No one left alive in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Philadelphia, Detroit, St. Louis or Atlanta."

After witnessing America's reaction to 9/11 and its aftermath., it's hard to imagine how angry American's would be if these headlines were true. Men, women and children would be lining up to join the armed forces to strike back at the enemy. But the sad fact is that these headlines are true. As of 1996, 32 million innocent American citizens had been slaughtered, the equivalent of nine major U.S. cities! Who is this enemy, China, Afghanistan, or Iraq? It's inconceivable to imagine the massive firepower it must have taken to inflict such destruction. Was it from atomic bombs, biological warfare or perhaps nerve agents? It was none of these. It was abortion.

Mother Teresa said, "If we can accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people that killing is wrong? After all, any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people love, but to use whatever violence necessary to get what they want."

Sure, everyone's concerned for the children of India and Africa, where thousands of children are dying of hunger and disease every day. Many people are concerned with the violence in our streets and classrooms as well. These are valid concerns, but all too often these same people aren't the least bit concerned by those being killed by the deliberate decisions of their own mothers. This is the greatest destroyer of peace today - abortion - which brings people to such blindness.

Does abortion destroy peace and cause blindness toward the sick, the hungry and the naked? Of course it does! When life is regarded so lightly and its disposal becomes so trivial, so clinical, so easy. After all, why should people or nations regard human life as noble or dignified if abortion flourishes? Why agonize over indiscriminate deaths in Bosnia, the Sudan, Iraq, or Afghanistan, when babies are being killed far more efficiently and out of sight of TV cameras?

Just imagine, the populations of all those major cities combined - all dead....who is left to cry?


Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Portiuncula Franciscan Hermitage Talk On Spirituality



A Dog Always Returns To Its Own Vomit

"There are many religious who, under the pretext of seeing better things than those which their prelates command, look back (Luke 9:62) and return to the vomit of self-will (Proverb 26:11; 2 Peter 2:22). Such as these are murderers because by their bad example they cause many souls to be lost." 

Saint Francis of Assisi
The Admonitions
Admonition 3


Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Cum Grande Humilitate: A Retreat Experience With Father Murray Bodo, O.F.M.

Fr. Murray Bodo, O.F.M.

Cum grande humilitate! This last verse of St. Francis’ “Canticle of the Creatures” clearly expresses our weekend retreat at Oldenburg with Fr. Murray Bodo, OFM. Cum grande humilitate, translated from the original Umbrian dialect, means “humbly but grandly!”

My first encounter with Fr. Bodo began in 1987 with a copy of his book, “Through the Year With Francis of Assisi: Daily Meditations from His Words and Life.” I had no idea then who Fr. Murray Bodo was or of the importance his writings would one day play in my life. That book has now become a “loose-leaf” edition due to so many years of daily abuse I have inflicted upon it. (I still had no problems with having Father sign that torn, raggedy old book during the retreat.)

Knowing the special place I hold in my heart for Father’s gift of words, every birthday, anniversary and Christmas my wife Karen always surprises me with Fr. Bodo’s latest publication. Needless to say, when we heard Fr. Murray was coming to Oldenburg to give a weekend retreat, we immediately decided it was a perfect gift to give to one another for Christmas. And what a Christmas present it was!

As I sat there at the Oldenburg Franciscan Center, I was mesmerized by the man – the priest – the monk, who, through his writings for the past twenty-four years, had shared with me his most intimate thoughts and visions of Saints Francis and Clare through his magnificent gift of prose. That weekend in Oldenburg, right before my eyes, Father Bodo transformed from being a humble Franciscan Friar to becoming Francesco Bernardone, the son of Pietro Bernardone, a cloth merchant from Assisi. By the end of the weekend, I could see in Father Murray Bodo the man Francesco might have become had he lived another thirty or forty years; kind, considerate, articulate, unassuming, and still burning brightly with that insatiable desire to share a life of intimacy with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Deep in the footsteps of Francis and Clare, Father Murray transhumanced our group from high atop the mountains all the way down to our brother lepers deep in the valley. I found his words of encouragement to be warm, gregarious, comforting, and full of charm and wit.

Please have him return to us soon. In the meantime, may we all follow Fr. Bodo’s example and go together as brothers and sisters of Francis and Clare cum grande humilitate, “humbly but grandly” to rebuild His Church
Pace e Bene my brothers and sisters!

Chris Dickson, F.L.A.
Oldenburg Associate