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!
Each year, several thousand schoolchildren come to visit the Oratory. They are always impressed by the character of Saint Brother André and by the immense house of prayer that he erected with his friends in honor of Saint Joseph.
Several years ago a diocesan priest from the South Shore gave this touching testimony on his website: “If I am free on a Sunday, I like to participate in one of the Sunday Masses at Saint Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal. The liturgy is simple. The singing is beautiful. And above all, the gathering of the faithful speaks volumes. The testimony of people’s faith, modest but real, stimulates my faith and my hope… People of all nations, of all colors, of all ages, of all states of health and probably of diverse religions, come to pray to God during the Eucharist, and to Saint Joseph in the huge hall with votive lamps and to Brother André at his tomb. It is truly the universal Church that is present here and it is, visibly, the salvation wrought by Jesus for all that is manifested here.”
When Brother André entered the Congregation of Holy Cross in 1870, the community had already been established in Montréal for 23 years. Its founder, Father Basil Moreau, CSC, had a great devotion to Saint Joseph. Frequently, he urged his spiritual sons and daughters to turn to Saint Joseph to honor him and to love him. He also suggested to them to spread the devotion to the people with whom they were working.
Whew! The crisis caused by the new Corona virus has not yet completely disappeared, but we can certainly breathe a sigh of relief. A sigh of relief, we must admit, after months of restrictions and misery. A period that seemed to last forever.
One day in 1998, I received a letter from Alicia, a Friend of Brother Andre. Alicia lived in Aguascalientes, a village in Mexico. “From this village so far from Montréal, I give thanks from the bottom of my heart to our Lord for having heard my prayer through the intercession of Brother André and Saint Joseph.” “I bless the day that I was given to read the biography of Brother André. I found so much faith and trust in this ‘SAINT’ (Tuve mucha fe y confianza en este ‘SANTO’) and also in Saint Joseph. With them, a favor is quickly obtained.”
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