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I am a Third Order Franciscan of the Province of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Heading to Steubenville

I will be off to Steubenville on Thursday to meet with my deaconate supervisor. It will be good to get some details worked out and to see some of the connections I made during my apostolic year, especially the faculty. I hope that I remember the names of any students I see and can say something besides "Hey, its you!".

I will try to keep the postings coming as I am up at at Franciscan, but I don't know fi I will have web access. Still, it's worth a try.

Tomorrow is wednesday, my least favorate day of school but at least I get to escape DC for the weekend and its only five more weeks!

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Easter Monday

Had Russian class today and got drenched walking back and forth from class and the metro. Fortunately, my instructor offered me some nice hot tea. I was also on cooking day which meant leftover ham from yesterday with rice instead of potatoes.

Work on the website is coming along slowly as I struggle both to get the basic structure finished and get it to work with a bunch of different web browsers that don't seem to want to cooperate. Agh is all I can say. Oh well, it does feel good to see at least some progress appear on the screen.

Spring is coming, the flowers are blooming, school is ending - what more could you ask for ?

Monday, March 28, 2005

Happy Easter

I hope that everyone had a very happy Easter. We had a big meal here at the house with lots of ham and sweet potatoes. Lots of deserts still to finish, so I think we will all be a little fatter come Pentecost.

The preaching went well and I hope that you found something helpful in the homily postings I have been doing. It did take up a lot of work, but I think it will be good experience for after ordination and I have to do this sort of thing more regularly. I think I will go ahead and keep a hold of these homilies to save myself some time later. Though, I have to make sure not to repeat myself to the same crowd.

A blessed holiday season.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Transform Your Entire Being Into The Image Of The Godhead Itself

Christ is Risen!

We come now to Easter Sunday, to the great day of Christ’s victory. As Gregory of Nazianzen says, this feast surpasses all others as the Sun is brighter than all other stars in the sky. We who have been born into Christ and served with Christ on Holy Thursday and suffered and died with Christ on Good Friday must now rise with Christ on Easter Sunday. I say must rise with him not because of anything we will do but because of what the Father must do for us. He has promised this and he will do it.

Just as the Easter Triduum is not three separate liturgies, but one great liturgy, remember there are no dismissal prayers!, so is our journey in Christ not a series of separate events but rather one continuous journey in Christ from birth to life to suffering to death and to Resurrection. So let there be no more sorrow among us. Christ is risen, let the world rejoice!

Our Gospel for today is a very interesting one. Mary of Magdala announces that the tomb is empty and wonders where they have taken the Lord’s body. Peter and John enter the tomb and see the burial cloths but do not yet understand. They return home but do not yet realize the momentous event that has taken place. Do we? Do we see that as Franciscans we are called to bear witness to resurrection in our lives today, particularly in a world that still does not believe?

How important the Resurrection is for our lives as Franciscans in Christ! Francis’ call and our own began with the call of the San Damiano Christ, the crucified and resurrected Lord, to rebuild his Church. The Resurrection is at the root of our Franciscan call to poverty, for on the Cross Christ was stripped of all that he had. On Easter Sunday Christ left even his funeral bandages in the tomb. He died and rose possessing nothing but the Father.

Indeed, Francis and Clare saw the signs of the Resurrection everywhere. When Francis and Clare saw the flowers blooming as they are in our chapel today, they would be immediately reminded of that flower which sprung from the root of Jesse and which raised up countless thousands of the dead by its sweet fragrance.

Francis would often speak of how the light of the risen Christ shone most brightly in the poor.

The marks on Francis’ hands, his feet, and his side were marks not only of Christ’s crucifixion but also the proofs of Christ’s resurrection. These are the marks that Francis himself bore so that he might bear witness to Christ’s glorious resurrection in his very flesh.

Even at his death, Francis bore witness to the reality of the resurrection as Bonaventure wrote,
“For after this blessed man left the world, that sacred spirit, entering a home of eternity, and made glorious by a full drought from the fountain of life, left certain signs of future glory imprinted on his body; so that, his most holy flesh, which crucified along with its vices had already passed into a new creature, bore the likeness of Christ’s passion by a singular privilege and would offer by the newness of a miracle a glimpse of the resurrection.”

See how Francis conformed himself to the image of the Godhead? So are we to do the same. And not just ourselves, but the whole world.

Yes, our lives as Christians, our lives as Franciscans take place within the light of the Resurrection a light that we are called to bear witness to in the world around us and in our own lives.

We have a tradition on Easter of hunting for eggs that have been hidden, often in the shadows and dark places. Indeed Mary of Magdala is said to be the source of this tradition. For, after Christ’s resurrection she brought Pilate a basket of eggs with the news that Christ had risen. Pilate responded that he would not believe even if her eggs turned red – which they did at that very moment. These eggs became signs of the resurrection.

I challenge us to hunt for these eggs, these many signs of the resurrection present but hidden in our world today particularly in the lives of the poor and those places where Christ may seem to have been taken away. Let us find us find them and show them to the world that all may come to see and believe and join us on our journey in Christ.

Friday, March 25, 2005

The Harrowing of Hell

Put to death in the flesh, he was brought to life in the spirit. In it he also went to preach to the spirits in prison, who had once been disobedient while God patiently waited in the days of Noah during the building of the ark, in which a few persons, eight in all were saved through water. [1 Peter 3:18-21]

Holy Saturday is spent in remembrance of our Lord’s descent among the dead. He descended there to save the souls of the faithful who had died before his Passion and Resurrection, to open for them the gates of heaven. Hades had attempted to contain the uncontainable, but the power of Christ has overturned the power of Death forever. Indeed it was necessary that Christ descend among the dead so that every knee would bow at his name on the earth, above the earth and under the earth.
As Mary and the disciples remained hidden in the upper room in sorrow and confusion, Jesus warred against the Prince of this world and the power of death. While the world of Mary and the disciples may have seemed to have entered into a deep silence after the death of Jesus, below the earth the angels were shouting before the gates of Hades – “Lift up your heads, O gates, rise up, you ancient portals, that the king of glory may enter!” Who is this king of glory? “The Lord, a mighty warrior, the Lord, mighty in battle! The Lord of Hosts is the king of glory!” Though the world of Mary and the disciples may have seemed bleak, the light of Christ even then was dispelling the black power of death and binding the power of the forces of darkness. Oh, if amidst that silence Jesus’ followers could only have heard the glorious sounds that were heard among the rejoicing holy men and women who had finally seen the savior about whom they had prophesied and for whom they had waited.

As Saint Francis wrote,

For the Most Holy Father of heaven, our King before all ages
sent His Beloved Son from on high
and has brought salvation in the midst of the earth. (OfP 7:3).

Yet, what does Holy Saturday mean to we who are striving to conform ourselves to the very image of the Godhead, to imitate Christ perfectly? Is it simply a remembrance of things of long ago? Not at all, my brothers. Though the world may have seemed silent to Jesus’ disciples, the power of God was still at work accomplishing mighty and wondrous deeds. The entrance of Jesus into the realm of the dead overturned the power of death, just as the reality of Christ’s incarnation into this world has changed everything here forever. The light of Christ in Sheol began as a flicker which became a light which eventually became a blinding sun from which darkness could not hide or prevail.

Just as the light of Christ overturned the powers of death and darkness, so too can the light of Christ conquer the shadows present in our world. Often the workings of God may seem hidden to us, God may seem silent. But just as Christ was working mighty deeds on that Saturday of long ago, he continues to work mighty deeds today through we who must be Christ today. Just as Christ awoke those who had fallen asleep, so are we called to go out into the world and cry out “Awake O Sleeper!” We must let them know of the coming of Christ and of his victory.

I spoke to you yesterday of the many signs of darkness in the world, but there are also many signs that the light of Christ is already breaking through. In North Carolina, eleven year old Suzie Tipton, who suffers from cerebral palsey, started a “loan closet” for families with special needs children so that they could donate their used equipment to others. About 155,000 people are expected to become Catholic at this evening’s Easter Vigil. As Iraqi priest Ragheed Ganni proclaims, “We have gone through 2004, our Cavalry, with its pain and destruction, but we have not lost our vitality, we have not fled, we are still here, because we are certain of Resurrection.”

Christ has not fled, he is still here, the darkness is ending, the light is dawning and it is time for us to rouse the world.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Our God Reigns

Since all things have their end, there are two choices put before us – death and life. Everyone will go to the place they deserve. There are two kinds of coins, one accepted by God and the other accepted by the world. Like our own coins, each of these has its own special image imprinted upon it. Those who do not believe bear the image of this world, but the faithful bear the image of God the Father in love through Jesus Christ. Yet, if we are not prepared to die into his Passion, his life is not in us. – Ignatius [Epistle to the Magnesians, V]

The sheer magnitude of the crucifixion is almost impossible to put into words. We remember how the Author of Life, our Savior, and our Redeemer gave up his life for the sake of the world. Salvation comes through Christ alone and we can only go to the Father through Jesus, yet the One who is “the way the truth and the life”, the One who reveals to us the Father lay dead in a tomb. [John 14:5] What words could express our loss?
Yet, as was heard on Tuesday, it is at this very moment that God is glorified. Though he is crushed we are healed. By his chastisement we are made whole. His portion will be among the great and he will divide the spoils of the powerful.
Jesus lays down his life of his own free will that he may lift it up again. Freely he chooses to drink of the cup his Father gives him. He made loud cries and tears to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard. He became our source of eternal salvation.
Even amidst this darkness, there is hope. As we venerate the Cross we will remember and praise Christ for his resurrection. In our prayer of dismissal we will proclaim that “we have devoutly recalled the death of Christ in the sure hope of the Resurrection”.
We who have been born into Christ and now live in Christ must also be willing to suffer and die with him. Like Christ we must learn obedience from what we suffer and through our suffering be made perfect. He is our example, and how can we be conformed to him if we do not follow his path to the very end?
Our life is indeed a life of suffering. Today in Florida a woman is starving to death because the rulers of this world have chosen to wash their hands of her, in Minnesota mothers are weeping over the death of their children, in Iraq Christians pray in bombed churches. Ah the sound of the groans that rise to the heavens...
Yet, we believe that even amid the darkness of these struggles God will be glorified. Does this mean that we do not feel pain? Not at all, but it does mean that our sufferings are not without meaning but are part and parcel of our entire process of conversion into the one who has freed us from all suffering, the one who suffers with us. Just as Mary and John could not see the glory on that dark Friday long ago, we may not see the glory in the sufferings we undergo today. But now we can proclaim as Francis proclaimed,

Let the whole earth tremble before His face
tell among the nations that the Lord has ruled from a tree (OfP 7:9).

Our God reigns, our God reigns, our God reigns.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005


We have committed ourselves to seeking union with God, we know what this commitment will entail and we have prepared ourselves. Today we enter into the first part of that commitment.
If we are to transform our entire being into the image of the Godhead itself, we must transform ourselves into the one who is the perfect image of the Godhead – Jesus Christ. Indeed, we are to imitate Jesus as Francis imitated Jesus, as Saint Paul imitated Jesus, as he has been imitated by all the saints.
Imitating Jesus means striving to be like him completely from the very beginning. Thus, today’s Gospel has at its heart images of baptism and service. The washing of feet is some of the earliest baptismal imagery in the Church. Only if we have our feet washed can we have an inheritance with Jesus, only by having our feet washed can we become clean. Those of us who have already been baptized are therefore called to renew our baptismal commitments to Christ for “we who have bathed” have no need except to have our feet washed. In the washing of feet we are born into Christ.
This washing of feet, this baptism of Christ is not separate from the life of Christ that we must follow as well. We must wash one another’s feet. On Monday I spoke of the importance of examining the underlying motivations of our life in Christ. Today we see this importance made known in the motivations of Christ. Christ serves because he loves and he loves to the end. Therefore our service must too come out of our love for Christ and for one another, we too must love to the end.
Yesterday I also spoke of the imagery of the Passover, of dressing ourselves for flight. Do we wish to go with Christ? Are we prepared to make haste with him? Then we must gird ourselves with the towel, we must remove our sandals, we must wash and be washed. In the washing of feet, we confirm our life in Christ.
To live in Christ means to share his Passover meal. For only by eating his flesh and drinking his blood do we have life in him.
Be attentive to what is taking place here! Be attentive to what John is doing! Baptism leads to confirmation in service, which leads to the sharing in the Eucharist. What is this but not the Sacraments of Initiation? What is the extended theological discussion Jesus gives after the Last Supper but the Mystagogia?
Yes our initiation into this journey in Christ may have taken place long ago but it is intimately connected with what we do here tonight as we remember who we are and to what we are called. We have been born into Christ and are now participating in the Mystagogia – that time in which we grow in understanding the mystery of Christ and living that mystery. We do not do this alone but only within the entire community of the believers who have also been baptized, confirmed and share in the Eucharist as we do right now. So come now let us wash, let us serve, let us eat, let us be Christ!

Spy Wednesday

Now is the time to prepare, to make ourselves ready.
On Monday our readings talked about the end point of our Lenten journey – conversion into the image of the Trinity. Yesterday, our readings spoke to us of the trials that this journey would entail but also of the glory of God that would be manifested. Since you are still here, it is clear that you wish to see this journey through to its completion.
As with any journey, once we have set upon a destination and a travel route, it is important to prepare ourselves for the trip. You make sure that you dress appropriately, that you pack whatever you may need in order to see your trip through successfully.
Indeed now is the time to prepare, to make ourselves ready.
The scripture today is our guide for preparation, for as we join the disciples in preparing for the Passover, we will prepare ourselves to join more fully with Christ in his life, passion, death and resurrection. We too will pass over, we will be transformed from who we are now into the very image of the Trinity.
In the preparation for our trip, what should we do? In their preparation for the Passover, the first requirement of the Jews was to procure a lamb without blemish, whose blood they would apply to the doorposts and lintel of their homes. And as they say, “home is where the heart is”, therefore we too must cover the doors to our hearts with the blood of Christ. This not only will protect us from the dangers of the land of Egypt, but by doing so the blood of Christ will be united with the blood in our hearts we will be more fully united with him.
The second requirement for the Jews was to gird their loins, to wear sandals on their feet, to carry their staff so as to be prepared like those in flight. As Franciscans, we have girt our loins with the habit of the poor, our feet walk in the footsteps of Christ, our staff is the good news of the Gospel. We too are in flight from what we are now toward the glory of what we shall one day be. We must remember that we are always on a journey, always seeking to move forward and not seeking to build here a permanent home.
Thirdly, the Jews were to set the Passover table with unleavened bread and wine. The body and blood of the Lamb, present on the altar must be set upon the tables of our hearts. It is indeed food for the journey, our viaticum.
Yes, now is the time to prepare, to make ourselves ready.
The Czechs call this day Ugly Wednesday or Chimneysweep Wednesday because it was customary that on this day the entire house be cleaned out, even the chimneys. Everything was to be made spotless inside and out to prepare the home for Easter. This too is a metaphor for our Passover preparation.
For now is the time to prepare, to make ourselves ready.

Monday, March 21, 2005

First day of the mission

Well, the first day of my preaching at the friary went well. I spoke much of the same as I did yesterday as the reading was practically the same and my crowd today didn't hear it before. So, it was new to them.

Tomorrow is day two and I want to move from self-reflection upon our relationship with God to an examination of what is expected should we wish to truly follow the path of Christ. Tomorrow's readings are very stark in the darkness that is present as the Gospel forshadows the failure of everyone but Jesus. Still, even in this darkness, Jesus is glorified and that is the message of hope. That, simply by trying God is made manifest. So, we should not fear failure as if it might cause problems in our relationship with God, rather we should fear not even making the attempt. In fact, we might say that the eventual success of those who failed at the time of the Crucifixion is due to the fact that after failure, they kept trying. We may fall, but we can always fall forward - and then get back up again.

'Satan' Appears on Turtle's Shell - Foxlife - 'Satan' Appears on Turtle's Shell

If you don't feel like "forking" [pun intended] over the money for the Dorito Pope's hat, perhaps you might be interested in the Turtle from Hell. I don't know if this is in any way blasphemous, but it seem to me that the Devil has better [worse?] things to do than appear on a Turtle's shell. What a world, when we ignore the presence of the spiritual in the very place it is found and look for it in places where it doesn't exist.

Dorito Chip that looks like The Pope's Hat!

eBay item 5565234667 (Ends Mar-22-05 18:23:47 PST) - Dorito Chip that looks like The Pope's Hat!

They say a fool and his money is soon parted and this just goes to prove the point. Or perhaps the phrase I'm looking for is "There's one born every minute." In any case, perhaps I should start looking oround the friary for strange food items to auction off to people who apparently have too much money and too much time.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Palm Sunday

Today I preached at the local Eastern Church about the importance of Palm Sunday. I spoke of the need to take this time to reflect not only upon our Lent so far, but upon our entire relationship to God. I spoke of how the readings presented the real complexity of our relationship to God how we were capable of good and evil, often at the same time. But that it is in the messiness of our reality - in our hopes and fears, sins and virtues that Christ comes to us - this mixture of attitudes and emotions are our "palms" which we lay before Jesus who stayed with Judas despite his future betrayal, with Mary despite her sins, and the people of Jerusalem despite knowing that they would soon seek to have him crucified.

In other news, its still working on the web site but its coming along pretty well.

Tomorrow I begin preaching to the house - several of the themes I have already mentioned will play an important part. More later...

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Working at home

I spent most of the day working on Isidore's Corner and got quite a bit done as far as transfering links from the old site to the new one. I am hoping to get it all up and running in a couple of weeks, so keep your fingers crossed.

In other news, Wake Forest fell in the NCAA basketball tournament and my pool is totally shot. Oh well, I guess I'll have to make up that dollar somewhere else.

Tomorrow I preach for Palm Sunday at the local Eastern church, pray for me! If it goes well, I'll post some of my homiletic thoughts.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Costco shopping

Costco day again and that means a lot of bulk shopping. We got a good deal of stuff, including almost two thousand packets of Equal so we should be set. It's always interesting to see what people buy at these places. One customer bought at least ten boxes of microwave popcorn - I figure he is getting ready to watch a very long movie.

One of our computers burned out today. I would like to have been able to do something with it. But I know practically nothing on the hardware side of computers and very little on the software side. Perhaps one day. I know enough that smoke is not supposed to be coming from your hard drive.

Fortunately, the laptop is still working properly.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Cabbage rolls and coffee mmm, mmm good!

St. Patrick's Day and this friar who has not one drop of Irish blood fixed Corned Beef and Cabbage for dinner. I guess it went okay, but it wouldn't be my choice of a regular meal. The Guinness helped it all go down better.

I am continuing to get ready for the preaching storm approaching Sunday, I have some good ideas down and now just have to get them organized in some coherent fashion. I think it will all work out somehow. At least I hope so, there are a whole lot of themes in these readings over the next week.

I am also continuing to work on the web page. I would really like to get it up and running by the 4th of April, but I don't know how successful I will be. Well, when it gets done it gets done.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Eric's funeral

The funeral for my classmate Eric was very well attended and you could see just how much of an impact he made in his thirty four years. I learned much about him that I wish I would have known before hand, I can't help but think that if I had more time with him we would have been good friends but such was not the case. Now I pray that he is praying for me, that I too might strive to be a good minister and priest.

Eternal memory!

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Taking on more than I can chew?

Well, I have volunteered to preach the entire Holy Week. Sunday I will be preaching on Palm Sunday at the Eastern Catholic Church I attend and the rest of Holy Week I'll be preaching at the Friary. I hope that I haven't bitten off more than I can chew but I don't really want to complain about it either because I really like the Lent and Easter season. It's my favorite time of the year - Spring is coming, Christ is risen and I get Peeps! What more could you want. Certainly there aren't any presents under the tree, but I also don't have to run ragged trying to find gifts for other people either. So what's not to love about this whole season. So while there may be some difficulties, it is all made worthwhile with the singing of the hymns at the Easter vigil.

In other news, I thought that I had captured some of my practice Mass on the digital camera, but unfortunately I got nothing. So, it will likely have to wait until the real thing.

The namesake of the website. Posted by Hello

Here is a picture of my home page as it currently exists, of course some of it will change as more information is added to the site. Posted by Hello

More computer frustrations

Aside from working on the website, which is coming very slowly - especially due to growing frustrations over Internet Explorer which refuses to conform itself to the most recent standards and problems with a fellow friar's computer that seems to have some spyware problems, not much new is going on.

Russian class is going well, though I wish I could spend more time in conversation, I guess I'll just have to wait until I get over there again. Until then, I have to do what I can. I promised a sneak preview of the revised website, so to finally deliver on that one you will note the added screen shot which is hopefully a sign of things to come. You will note that I finally decided to name the site after my second weblog rather than a variation of my own name - not that I have any problem with egoism. I just think that calling it Isidore's Corner will better apply to the page as a research center than the Seraphicon/Seraphicum would.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Returning and passages

The visit up to Loretto went well in so far as I finished the video taping. I may try to put a video of my preaching on my site if I can get everything working. By this, I mean the old sitekreator site as the new site is still under development - but moving along. The snow did hit fairly hard, but we managed to get back out of town. Loretto has installed a new fire siren. The new horn is actually a warning horn from an old nuclear plant which means that you can hear it down here in DC whenever it goes off. Supposedly, the electric lighting in Loretto also dims whenever the siren blows.

In some sad news, one of my classmates who was only a few months away from ordination died in a car accident last thursday. I ask that you keep Eric, the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales, and Eric's parents in your prayers. Eric had just met with his bishop to discus his ordination before his accident. It is difficult to see an end to the priest shortage when God keeps taking the good ones.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Off the the great white north

I'm heading up to Loretto until Saturday. A couple of the brothers are getting instituted into the roles of acolyte [server] and lector [reader]. I will be filming my practice Mass for class. Apparently, they are predicting a lot of snow - I sure hope that it passes us by.

Still, it will be nice to see many of my fellow Franciscans that I haven't seen for awhile - especially the senior friars who always have some bit of wisdom or humor to share.

I have finished another week of classes, I believe that leaves only six or so more to go. Alleluia!

Still working on the website...

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Celebrating Mass

I spent much of the day getting ready for my practice Mass which will take place in Loretto this weekend. Let me just say that the liturgical texts are not the easiest to follow - those who have tried to say the Liturgy of the Hours [4 volume edition and not that wimpy one volume] know just what I'm talking about.

As a continuing sign of the times I am in, in preparation for doing my diaconal work out in Stuebenville, I have to visit the FBI for a fingerprint and background check. I am hoping that when I try to explain the difference between my legal and religious name that I won't be thrown into Gitmo. But if you see me on CNN, call Johnnie Cocheran for me - or even better call - Jackie Chiles. "If the habit doesn't fit, you must acquit!"

Lighthouse of Cape May. Posted by Hello

Monday, March 07, 2005

Flock of Seagulls [No, not the 1980s musical group] Posted by Hello

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Back from the Cape

I am back from retreat and ready to blog! The retreat went well and was pretty quite as the Cape was fairly empty of all human habitation. I wish I could have blogged more regularly, but the local public library was somewhat restrictive on internet access and I couldn't get a signal from the house. I hope that you all didn't miss me too much.

The retreat theme was on the deaconate and I spent much of the time reading and reflecting on the ritual of the deaconate ordination and other materials discussing the theology and spirituality of the order. The retreat itself lasted five days, so the rest of the time was spent in vacation and rest. Much of this rest time was spent reading a book on web programing - yes, my life is sad. I am still hard at work on the new website, though I honestly think it will take me about a month more to get it up an running. Hopefully, I will soon post a screen shot of what I am doing with it.

Over the next few days I will be posting pictures that I took at the Cape for your viewing pleasure.

A seagull off the coast of Cape May. Posted by Hello