It is amazing to drive out east on the North Fork of Long Island this time of year and see the barren winter fields transformed into delicious strawberries, grapevines green and rich with grapes, and fields of potato plants green and prosperous. How good it is to see how we can use the blessings of the earth God has created and entrusted to us.READ MORE
On the last Friday of June we celebrated the Feast of the Sacred Heart. The reflection for that day in the publication “Magnificat” had this thought from St. Gertude: “O Lord! If people but knew how you love them: if you would but help them to discover the infinite riches of your heart, they would all fall at your feet, and would love only you. O mystery of infinite charity and abyss of love.” When we love another person we open our hearts to love those they love. As much as we seek to love Jesus, we cannot love only Him; we cannot but seek to love all people as He loves them. At times this is a very challenging task. Only with Jesus and His love for us penetrating the very core of our being will it ever come to mind as a thought, let alone a desire to be acted upon. Without Jesus who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life we would never have the courage, persistence and strength to do it. Everyday I conclude my morning prayer time with the Beatitudes.READ MORE
While it is true that no one can do things the way we do in our uniqueness, we should never be so arrogant and foolish to think that no one can do it better or take our place. At the same time we should never be so fearful and feel so insecure that we think we can’t do what needs to be done. In John 14:12, part of the Last Supper Discourse, Jesus says to those at table with Him the night before He will die on the cross, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father.” Jesus prepared for His death and human departure from this world not only by praying to the Father, but also by ordaining and trusting His apostles to do what He did, to speak and act in His name.
How awesome to think He believes and trusts that we can do even greater works. Was St. Peter the best choice to take over leadership in the Church? There was no vote, simply the trust of Jesus in a human being who had the heart and love and also the weakness and fear. It was the love of Jesus for St. Peter and St. Peter’s love for Jesus that raised Him to the pinnacle of leadership in the Church, the pinnacle of servant leadership. St. Peter denied Jesus three times in a state of fear, but answered three times when Jesus asked, “Do you love me?” . . . “Yes Lord, you know that I love you.” To that response Jesus communicated His unwavering faith and trust in St. Peter and said, “Feed my sheep.” St. Peter was entrusted with the joy and responsibility of acting and speaking in Jesus’ name. The Church is what it is today because of the foundation St. Peter left, the foundation of love for God and confidence in God’s love and trust in him.READ MORE
This coming Friday is July 4th and will be the 238th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. Our forefathers who authored this bold document used their freedom to lay the foundation on which our nation has been built. This Declaration accomplished its purpose with the courage, blood, and determination of those who began our nation and set the tone for the spirit of America. We are known and admired for the freedoms we have as Americans. But the gift of freedom carries with it responsibility. True freedom is not the license to do whatever we want whenever we want to do it. When Pope Saint John Paul II came to America in 1995, he helped us reflect on the gift of freedom by saying, “freedom consists not in doing what we like, but in having the right to do what we ought.” Patriots who have gone before us have shed their blood and given their service in crucial periods of our history freely and willingly. They defended what we can so often take for granted or even abuse - the gift of freedom.READ MORE