Thursday, April 28, 2011

"As earth thrown over it extinguishes a fire burning in a stove, so worldly cares and every kind of attachment to something, however small and insignificant, destroy the warmth of the heart which was there at first."
~ Simeon the New Theologian

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Prayer To The Risen Christ

Heavenly Father and God of mercy,
we no longer look
for Jesus among the dead,
for He is alive
and has become the Lord of life.
From the waters of death
you raise us with Him
and renew your gift of life within us.
Increase in our minds and hearts
the risen life
we share with Christ
and help us to grow as your people
toward the fullness of eternal life with you.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.

~ From Christian Prayer: The Liturgy of the Hours,
Catholic Book Publishing, New York, 1976.

Sunday, April 24, 2011


Easter and the paschal experience of Christians, however, now require us to take a further step. The Sabbath is the seventh day of the week. After six days in which man in some sense participates in God’s work of creation, the Sabbath is the day of rest. But something quite unprecedented happened in the nascent Church: the place of the Sabbath, the seventh day, was taken by the first day. As the day of the liturgical assembly, it is the day for encounter with God through Jesus Christ who as the Risen Lord encountered his followers on the first day, Sunday, after they had found the tomb empty. The structure of the week is overturned. No longer does it point towards the seventh day, as the time to participate in God’s rest. It sets out from the first day as the day of encounter with the Risen Lord. This encounter happens afresh at every celebration of the Eucharist, when the Lord enters anew into the midst of his disciples and gives himself to them, allows himself, so to speak, to be touched by them, sits down at table with them. This change is utterly extraordinary, considering that the Sabbath, the seventh day seen as the day of encounter with God, is so profoundly rooted in the Old Testament. If we also bear in mind how much the movement from work towards the rest-day corresponds to a natural rhythm, the dramatic nature of this change is even more striking. This revolutionary development that occurred at the very the beginning of the Church’s history can be explained only by the fact that something utterly new happened that day. The first day of the week was the third day after Jesus’ death. It was the day when he showed himself to his disciples as the Risen Lord. In truth, this encounter had something unsettling about it. The world had changed. This man who had died was now living with a life that was no longer threatened by any death. A new form of life had been inaugurated, a new dimension of creation. The first day, according to the Genesis account, is the day on which creation begins. Now it was the day of creation in a new way, it had become the day of the new creation. We celebrate the first day. And in so doing we celebrate God the Creator and his creation. Yes, we believe in God, the Creator of heaven and earth. And we celebrate the God who was made man, who suffered, died, was buried and rose again. We celebrate the definitive victory of the Creator and of his creation. We celebrate this day as the origin and the goal of our existence. We celebrate it because now, thanks to the risen Lord, it is definitively established that reason is stronger than unreason, truth stronger than lies, love stronger than death. We celebrate the first day because we know that the black line drawn across creation does not last for ever. We celebrate it because we know that those words from the end of the creation account have now been definitively fulfilled: “God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good” (Gen 1:31). Amen. ~ excerpted from Pope Benedict's Easter Vigil homily, April 23, 2011

Blessed Easter!

~Friar Rex

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Holy Saturday

O God, Creator of heaven and earth: Grant that, as the crucified body of your dear Son was laid in the tomb and rested on this holy Sabbath, so we may await with him the coming of the third day, and rise with him to newness of life; who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Maundy Thursday

When the Lord of the world comes and undertakes the slave's task of foot-washing -- which is an illustration of the way he washes our feet all through our lives -- we have a totally different picture [of God]. God doesn't want to trample on us, but kneels down before us so as to exult us. The mystery of the greatness of God is seen precisely in th fact that he can be small... Only when power is changed from the inside, and we accept Jesus and his way of life, whose whole self is there in the action of foot-washing, only then can the world be healed and the people be able to live at peace with one another. ~Pope Benedict XVI

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Tuesday in Holy Week

O God, by the passion of your blessed Son you made an instrument of shameful death to be for us the means of life: Grant us so to glory in the cross of Christ, that we may gladly suffer shame and loss for the sake of your Son our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen ~The Book of Divine Worship

Monday, April 18, 2011

Remind the Devil

When the devil reminds you of your past, remind him of his future! ~St. Teresa of Avila

Blessed Holy Week

I had a most wonderful weekend celebrating God's gift of recovery with a large group of recovering addicts and affected others from all over the U.K. As Christians understand the process of recovery, sobriety is a day-at-a-time journey made possible only by the grace of Christ offered to the recipient and contingent upon the recipient's willingness to receive so great a gift as sobriety. Praised be God for His grace and goodness!

Dear Reader, as you go through this Holy Week please remember in your prayers the many women, men and children around the world who are suffering upon the cross of addiction. Pray that they might experience the fruits of Christ's death and resurrection in their lives. Pray, too, for the many people who are in the process of transformation brought about by Christ working in them through their working of the 12-Steps.

Please pray for me, a sinner.

~Friar Rex

Friday, April 15, 2011

An Imperfectly Run Church

From Elizabeth Scalia, who blogs as The Anchoress:
And if you’re a Catholic and you believe in the One, Holy, Apostolic church — the Eucharistic church and that whole bit about Jesus and Peter and the Keys to the Kingdom, and the gates of hell not prevailing, then just look at history — understand with clarity that the church has never been perfect, not from day one, when its Keymaster lied three times and all its priests but one ran away. Remember that in 2000 years, unrest and reform, scandal and more unrest have been the norm, and that those cozy nostalgic glory days of the mid-20th century were quite the aberration.
And then have a little charity for your imperfectly-administered church; she is hobbled by that humanity in which we all have a share — broken, faulty and sinful — but she is divinely ordained, and chugs along by the grace of the Holy Spirit. And we know that with certainty, thanks to how imperfectly-run she is. Without the Holy Spirit, we’d never have lasted this long.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

St. John Wall, pray for us.

Earlier today my British host took me to the execution site of St. John Wall, Franciscan martyr for Christ and His Church during a time in England when to be a Catholic Christian, especially a priest, was illegal and punishable by death.

St. John Wall was born into a wealthy Catholic family in Lancashire in 1620 and, at a young age, was sent to the English College at Douai. Interestingly, he was baptised by the future Jesuit Martyr, Edmund Arrowsmith. He enrolled at the English College in Rome on 5th November 1641 under the alias John Marsh. Later, on the English Mission, he used the names of Francis Johnson, Francis Webb and Francis Dromore. Already studying at the English College was a young Welshman, David Lewis, alias Charles Baker. The two became friends and it is thought that John Wall was present in the Lateran Basilica when, on St Stephen’s Day 1642, the recently ordained Fr Lewis preached a short Latin discourse in the presence of Pope Urban VIII.

On 3rd December 1645 John Wall was ordained to the sacred priesthood. On 1st January 1651, he received the Franciscan habit at St Bonaventure's Friary, Douai. A year later he was professed and took the name Fr Joachim of St Anne. He soon became vicar of the monastery and then novice master before being sent upon the English Mission in 1656. For twenty-two years he laboured zealously, chiefly in Worcestershire, and won many converts through his preaching and example. For twelve of the twenty-two years, he used Harvington Hall as his base and went under the alias of Webb. It was during the Titus Oates Plot that Fr John Wall was apprehended quite by accident. In December 1678, the Sheriff’s Deputy was searching for a debtor at Rushock Court when he came upon the unfortunate priest, who was immediately taken before the Justice of the Peace. Refusing to take the Oath of Supremacy, the priest was committed to Worcester Gaol. On 25th April 1679, The Franciscan was finally brought to trial before Judge Atkins at Worcester. He was indicted for high treason for being a priest and remaining in the country. He was found guilty and sentenced to death. John bowed low and said “Thanks be to God; God save the King; and I beseech God to bless your lordship, and all this honourable bench.” The prisoner was returned to his cell.

Later that month, Fr Wall was summoned to London for questioning about the alleged Popish Plot. He was lodged in the notorious Newgate Prison where his friend, Fr David Lewis S J, the aged Fr John Kemble, and Fr Roger Handslip, were also incarcerated. In an attempt to implicate them in the fabricated Plot, the four priests had been brought from their respective prisons to be questioned by Titus Oates, William Bedloe, Stephen Dugdale and Myles Prance. Fr Wall spent a month in London and was strictly examined several times by all four. No evidence could be found against him and he was declared innocent of involvement in any plot. Bedloe was the last to examine Fr Wall and he offered the priest his life if he would embrace the Protestant religion. The saintly priest wrote, “But I told them I would not buy my life at so dear a rate as to wrong my conscience”.

In June, Fr Wall was returned to prison in Worcester and there he remained until his execution in August. Two days before his execution, Fr William Levison visited Fr Wall and found him “a cheerful sufferer of his present imprisonment, and ravished, as it were, with joy, with the future hopes of dying for so good a cause”. Fr Levison heard the condemned man’s confession and gave him communion. On the day of execution, 22nd August 1679, Fr Levison stood near the gallows and, as the priest was turned off the ladder, gave him the last absolution. The Sheriff had offered John Wall the opportunity of dying the following day so as to spare him the further humiliation of dying with two common criminals. John thanked the Sheriff for his consideration but told him that if it was good enough for Jesus, then it was good enough for him. Although, as the sentence demanded, Fr John Wall was quartered and his head cut off, his body was permitted to be buried. The Catholics of the town accompanied his body to St Oswald’s Churchyard where it was buried.

Fr. Levison had taken possession of the Franciscan martyr’s head and, at the first opportunity, conveyed it to Douai. It was kept in the cloisters of the English Franciscans of Douai until the dissolution of that house during the French Revolution. The Franciscan Nuns at Taunton possess a tooth and a bone of the martyr.

Fr. John Wall was beatified in 1929 by Pope Pius XI. On 25th October 1970, Pope Paul VI canonized the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales. Among the forty was St. John Wall.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

My Ancestral Home

Arrived safely in England. My paternal ancestors left Norfolk, England for America in 1652. It's nice to be back in the Mother Land for a visit. Mass in a couple of hours, then evening prayer, then a much deserved good night's rest.

Thank you all for your prayers.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Merrie Olde England

Headed to England to lead a retreat for the Calix Society in the United Kingdom, a group of Roman Catholic women and men in recovery from addiction. Please pray for all of us as we seek to improve our conscious contact with Jesus Christ, "the One who presides over us all."

Pax et Bonum!
~ Friar Rex

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Silence: The Language of God

Silence is truly a virtue when practiced for God. In developing a love for silence, you will learn a deeper wisdom, a broader outlook on everyday life, and a brighter vision of God's nearness and love. In human conversations, you will listen more and talk less, you will learn more and make fewer mistakes. People will respect your judgments more because you will think before speaking. Each time you open your mouth, you will do so for a definite purpose, a good purpose. God's wisdom will take the place of your human folly, and your words will help those who hear you.
Dear reader, may these last days of your Lenten journey teach you the profound importance of silence, the language of God. ~Friar Rex

Saturday, April 9, 2011

In Silence Christ Shall Speak

Many saints have avoided the company of other people whenever possible in order to enjoy a closer union with Christ. One of them once remarked: 'As often as I have gone among men, I returned less a man.' Isn't this true of you when you talk too long? It is easier to keep silence altogether than to stop talking when you should. 

In silence Christ shall speak to you with less interruptions. His words will come in the form of ideas, desires, intentions, and resolutions which arise in your soul. You will hear His voice with less distraction. Love silence and learn to use it well. Then will you draw closer to Christ, as He is close to you.
Dear Reader, may your Lenten journey take you into silence where you can hear Christ speaking within your heart. ~Friar Rex

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Pope Benedict's Lenten Message, Part 7

On the fifth Sunday, when the resurrection of Lazarus is proclaimed, we are faced with the ultimate mystery of our existence: “I am the resurrection and the life… Do you believe this?” (Jn 11: 25-26). For the Christian community, it is the moment to place with sincerity – together with Martha – all of our hopes in Jesus of Nazareth: “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who was to come into this world” (Jn 11: 27). Communion with Christ in this life prepares us to overcome the barrier of death, so that we may live eternally with him. Faith in the resurrection of the dead and hope in eternal life open our eyes to the ultimate meaning of our existence: God created men and women for resurrection and life, and this truth gives an authentic and definitive meaning to human history, to the personal and social lives of men and women, to culture, politics and the economy. Without the light of faith, the entire universe finishes shut within a tomb devoid of any future, any hope.
Dear Reader, May your Lenten journey be illuminated by the light of faith. ~Friar Rex

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Ya Can't Make This Kinda Stuff Up!

I am traveling overseas to lead a retreat at the start of Holy Week.

I am having some difficulty with travel documents. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is the agency with whom I must work to address these difficulties.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has a website where one can submit questions via the Q & A feature found on their website.

Yesterday morning I sent an email to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security via their website's online Q & A feature asking how I might address the difficulties I am having with my travel documents.

Yesterday morning I received a reply to my question that it would be approximately 10 days or more before I received a reply to my question.

Yesterday afternoon the U.S. Department of Homeland Security replied to my question.

The reply stated that I should contact the U.S. Department of Homeland Security via their website and submit  through the Q & A feature found on their website any questions I have regarding difficulties with travel documents.

Ya can't make this kinda stuff up. :-)


Dear Reader, I pray you pause today and thank God that your Lenten journey does not require travel documents or dealing with bureaucratic red tape. ~Friar Rex

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Ardent Love

Ardent love:

Is to put Me [Christ] always in the first place;
Is to seek to please Me at every moment;
Is to live before Me as friend, confidant, spouse and to be happy;

Is to be troubled if you think you are ar from Me;
Is to be full of happiness when I am with you;
Is to be willing to undergo great sacrifices so as not to lose Me;

Is to prefer to live poor and unknown with Me, rather than rich and famous without Me;
Is to speak to Me as your dearest friend in every possible moment;
Is to entrust yourself to Me in regard to your future;
Is to desire to lose yourself in Me as end of your existence.
~ Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, OFM Cap.; preacher to the papal household
Dear Reader, As we make our way through our inner desert toward the Easter Mystery may we be filled with ardent love for Christ. ~Friar Rex