A recent advertisement from an insurance company had a recurring theme in recent months: THERE.
All human beings are unique, in their essence, in the events of their lives, and in how they react to them. They are there, they are at that point in their lives. There, at a place, at a moment, but never in immobility.
Some people are naturally optimistic, while others are habitually pessimistic, and this gives a particular color to the entirety of their lives. Yes, there are characteristics that are unique to us and that paint a picture of who we are.
We had the grace and privilege of participating in the World Youth Days from July 23rd to August 9th in Portugal. We had a beautiful experience that was both spiritual, human, and fraternal!
After spending a week in the diocese of Faro, we experienced the world days with 1.5 million young people in Lisbon, including 5000 Canadians and 400 Montrealers. We also had the opportunity to visit our heavenly mother in Fatima.
In 1904, Brother André Bessette, a Holy Cross religious, created a shrine to Saint Joseph in Montreal. Every March, the patron saint of the universal Church is celebrated there. Did you know that Blessed Basile-Antoine Moreau, who was born in the Sarthe department in France in 1799 and was the founder of the Congregation of Holy Cross, is considered one of the forerunners of devotion to Saint Joseph in the 19th century?
Christian Lent always begins with Ash Wednesday and ends with Palm Sunday, which opens the door to Holy Week.
It is a 40-day journey of fasting, prayer, meditation and sharing, in memory of the 40 days Christ spent in the desert, under the influence of the Holy Spirit (Mk 1:12-13, Mt 4:1-1, Lk 4:1-13).
This retreat of Jesus into the desert echoes the 40 days and 40 nights of Moses on Mount Sinai where he received the two tablets of the Law (Ex 24:18), his fasting of 40 days and 40 nights to intercede for Israel who had sinned gravely in making and worshipping the golden calf (Deut 9:18. 25), to the 40 years of wandering of the Hebrews in the desert (between Egypt and the Promised Land; Ex 24:18) and finally to the 40 days of the prophet Elijah’s walk to meet God on Mount Horeb (1Ki 19:8).
December 18 is a special day as we recognize International Migrants Day. It is an opportunity to better understand the needs of today’s immigrants, and to rid ourselves of our prejudices.
It is a day to become aware of the contribution of immigrants in the economic, cultural, social and ecclesial fields.
That morning I was to preach on the Gospel of the Multiplication of the loaves. Now I didn’t feel like talking about the parallel between the multiplication of the loaves and the Eucharist yet. As I reread the Gospel, another clue emerged with the seven loaves.
We are in a desert place, far from any settlement. For three days a huge crowd has been following Jesus without eating. Jesus is moved by compassion. But how to feed all these people? The apostles have only seven loaves of bread. So Jesus asks them to bring them to him. The disciples comply. Jesus blesses the seven loaves and asks the apostles to distribute them. Not only do they feed the crowd, but they collect seven baskets of leftovers! Because they put their poverty at the service of Jesus, he was able to do wonders.
Human beings like to intercede for others and also, especially, to be interceded for.
As children, we often asked another sibling to intercede for us with our parents, to obtain a favor or permission.
There are many kinds of prayers. The prayer of adoration, praise, thanksgiving, request, thanksgiving and of course the prayer of intercession.
This prayer of intercession is a very important form of prayer.
The other night I had an amazing dream. I was juggling balls: one was called Father, one was called Pilgrim and one was called Joseph.
The one that first caught my attention was Pilgrim. This word evokes in me all those visitors to the Mount Royal Shrine, where I have been devoting myself for several years now. I have seen them of all colors, of many nationalities, of many cultures, beliefs and religions.
Mary welcomed the message of the Archangel Gabriel in faith and hope. She participated with the Jewish people in waiting for the Messiah.
For centuries, the prophets had been announcing the coming of the Savior. Mary opens her heart to the Lord, saying that everything happens according to your Word. She surrenders herself to the will of God so that the plan of salvation may be realized. She accepts to be the mother of the beloved Son of the Father.
With the Risen Jesus-Christ, hope is reborn when we accept that he walks with us, on the road of life. This is what we learn from the experience of the two disciples of Emmaus (Gospel according to Luke, chapter 24, verses 13 to 35).
The encounter of the Risen Christ with the two disciples, pilgrims of Emmaus, is “a therapy of Hope,” Pope Francis said during the General Audience on May 24, 2017.
Ash Wednesday is that period of the liturgical year when we undertake, with the meaningful rite of the imposition of Ashes, a renewed experience of Christ’s merciful love. Saint Brother André used to say: “The love that our Lord had in his passion brings to light the love of the good Lord for us. “Let us learn from him, to become bearers of hope and to learn how to “give back” his love to our neighbor, especially to those who suffer and are in difficulty. This is the mission of every disciple of Christ. But in order to fulfill this mission it is necessary to convert, as the evangelist Mark’s exhortation, addressed to us upon receiving the ashes, invites us to do: Convert and Believe in the Gospel.
Feast of Father Basil Moreau, CSC, Founder of the Congregation of Holy Cross
One thing I learned many years ago, was that to be a person who lives HOPE in life, it is likely that one has had to live through difficult times. Also, it is likely that one who sees possibilities of HOPE in the challenges faced in life, has been shaped by many challenges, setbacks or failures – yet, has come through it to be a witness of hope to others. Even with such difficulties that one must face, it is possible to face them not with just a naïve optimism, but real HOPE!
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