Memorial of St. Bonaventure

July 15, 2017 – Memorial of St. Bonaventure, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

On this feast day of St. Bonaventure, I offer some history of this little-known saint.

Born in Bagnorea in 1221, Saint Bonaventure was baptized John, but received the name Bonaventure when he became a Franciscan at the age of 22. Little is known about his childhood, but we do know that his parents were Giovanni di Fidanza and Maria Ritell. It seems that his father was a physician and a man of means. While Saint Francis died about five years after the saint’s birth, he is credited with healing Bonaventure as a boy of a serious illness.

Saint Bonaventure’s teaching career came to a halt when the Friars elected him to serve as their General Minister. His 17 years of service were not easy as the Order was embroiled in conflicts over the interpretation of poverty. Some friars even ended up in heresy saying that Saint Francis and his community were inaugurating the era of the Holy Spirit which was to replace Jesus, the Church, and Scripture. But because he was a man of prayer and a good administrator, Saint Bonaventure managed to structure the Order through effective legislation. But more importantly, he offered the Friars an organized spirituality based on the vision and insights of Saint Francis. Always a Franciscan at heart and a mystical writer, Bonaventure managed to unite the pastoral, practical aspects of life with the doctrines of the Church. Thus, there is a noticeable warmth to his teachings and writings that make him very appealing.

Shortly before he ended his service as General Minister, Pope Gregory X created him a Cardinal and appointed him bishop of Albano. But a little over a year later, while participating in the Second Council of Lyon, Saint Bonaventure suddenly died on July 15, 1274. There is a theory that he was poisoned.

Saint Bonaventure left behind a structured and renewed Franciscan Order and a body of work all of which glorifies his major love—Jesus.

Source: https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-bonaventure/

 

One Song of Praise

July 14, 2017 – Memorial of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha

On the feast day of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, we will pray the following collect at Mass:

Lord God, You called the virgin Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, to shine among the American Indian people as an example of innocence of life. Through her intercession, may all peoples of every tribe, tongue and nation, having been gathered into Your Church, proclaim your greatness in one song of praise. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen

Powerful unifying words for a troubled nation and world…”proclaim your greatness in one song of praise.”

Source: Roman Missal, from the collect of the Mass in honor of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha.

Pay It Forward Blood Drive

Reminder to my followers in Indianapolis:

In the first 24 hours following last year’s horrific automobile accident, the BCHS boys received nearly 150 units of blood.

In an effort to “pay it forward,” Bishop Chatard will be hosting the Indiana Blood Center Bloodmobile on Wednesday, July 12 from 4:00-8:00 p.m.

If you can contribute to the cause by donating blood, you may RSVP for a time slot by clicking on the following link: https://www.donorpoint.org/donor/schedules/drive_schedule/114722

Memorial of St. Benedict

July 11, 2017

Today is the Memorial of St. Benedict. The following is a prayer attributed to him:

Gracious and holy Father,
please give me:

intellect to understand you;
reason to discern you;
diligence to seek you;
wisdom to find you;
a spirit to know you;
a heart to meditate upon you;
ears to hear you;
eyes to see you;
a tongue to proclaim you;
a way of life pleasing to you;
patience to wait for you;
and perseverance to look for you.

Grant me:
a perfect end,
your holy presence.
A blessed resurrection,
And life everlasting.

Amen

Source: http://www.spck.org.uk/classic-prayers/st-benedict/

Share the Beauty of the Faith

July 5, 2017

Bishop Robert Barron spoke to a group of Catholic leaders yesterday about how to evangelize to the “nones” (those who respond ‘none’ to the question of religion). He gave several suggestions, one of which was quite simple – share the beauty of the faith.

Perhaps the best opportunity from which to start evangelization is with the authentic, objective beauty of the faith, Bishop Barron said.
 
And he’s not just talking about something subjectively satisfying like, say, deep-dish Chicago pizza, he said.  
 
“The objectively valuable and beautiful is not like that, it’s something so intrinsically good and beautiful that it seizes us, it stops us in our tracks – something called aesthetic arrest,” he said.
 
It’s an easy place to start evangelizing because it’s as simple as “show, don’t tell.”
 
“Just show people the beauty of Catholicism – show them Cathedrals, show them the Sistine Chapel, show them Mother Teresa’s sisters at work. Don’t tell them what to think and how to behave, show the beauty of Catholicism, and that has an evangelical power,” he said.
 
“There’s nothing more beautiful than the dying and rising of Jesus Christ,” he said, and the apostles in the New Testament communicate this with a “grab-you-by-the-shoulders” urgency.
 
“These are people who have been seized by something so powerful and so overwhelming that they want to grab the world by the shoulders and tell them about it,” he said. “We need to be filled with the same ‘grab-you-by-the-shoulders’ enthusiasm” about the beauty of our faith, he added.
 
“Yes we face obstacles, but the saints always loved a good fight, and we should love a good fight too, because we go forth with this great truth, goodness, and beauty of Jesus Christ.”

To read a summary of his entire presentation, go to:

http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/bishop-barron-evangelizing-the-nones-98159/

 

True Freedom

On this Independence Day, a brief reminder from the USCCB on what true freedom really is:

Human freedom is more than a capacity to choose between this and that. It is the God-given power to become who he created us to be and so to share eternal union with him. This happens when we consistently choose ways that are in harmony with God’s plan. Christian morality and God’s law are not arbitrary, but specifically given to us for our happiness. God gave us intelligence and the capacity to act freely. Ultimately, human freedom lies in our free decision to say “yes” to God. In contrast, many people today understand human freedom merely as the ability to make a choice, with no objective norm or good as the goal.

Source: http://www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/what-we-believe/morality/index.cfm

St. Thomas the Apostle

July 3, 2017 – Feast of St. Thomas the Apostle

Saint Thomas the Apostle’s Story

Poor Thomas! He made one remark and has been branded as “Doubting Thomas” ever since. But if he doubted, he also believed. He made what is certainly the most explicit statement of faith in the New Testament: “My Lord and My God!” and, in so expressing his faith, gave Christians a prayer that will be said till the end of time. He also occasioned a compliment from Jesus to all later Christians: “Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed” (John 20:29).

Thomas should be equally well-known for his courage. Perhaps what he said was impetuous—since he ran, like the rest, at the showdown—but he can scarcely have been insincere when he expressed his willingness to die with Jesus. The occasion was when Jesus proposed to go to Bethany after Lazarus had died. Since Bethany was near Jerusalem, this meant walking into the very midst of his enemies and to almost certain death. Realizing this, Thomas said to the other apostles, “Let us also go to die with him” (John 11:16b).


Reflection

Thomas shares the lot of Peter the impetuous, James and John, the “sons of thunder,” Philip and his foolish request to see the Father—indeed all the apostles in their weakness and lack of understanding. We must not exaggerate these facts, however, for Christ did not pick worthless men. But their human weakness again points up the fact that holiness is a gift of God, not a human creation; it is given to ordinary men and women with weaknesses; it is God who gradually transforms the weaknesses into the image of Christ, the courageous, trusting, and loving one.

Information from Franciscan Media: https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-thomas-the-apostle/