Feel the Zeal: Lasallian Days 2015

Can you believe it is nearing the end of January? Where did the time go?

One of the biggest intentions for the Midwest District Office was to be present to our family, friends, alumni, and Brothers around the country. We kicked off our season in Stevens Point, WI and zipped around the Midwest to Chicago, the Twin Cities, and Memphis.

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We are geared up to visit the Southwest, the West Coast, and the Sunshine State.

Brother Larry Schatz, FSC, Visitor/Provincial of the Midwest District, will be in San Diego, Sarasota, and Naples. Brother Thomas Johnson, FSC Former Vicar General for the Brothers worldwide and current Novitiate Director for our region will be in Tucson and Phoenix.

Both of these men walk with our Brothers through the many stages of their life and serve as a witness to their faith.

This invitation is extended to anyone who is a fan of the Christian Brothers and the work that Lasallians carry out across the country. We sincerely hope to see you at one of our upcoming events! For a complete list of our 2015 events, please click here.

2015 Lasallian Days: 
Wednesday, February 18, 2015: Lasallian Day Tucson
Thunder Canyon Brewery and Restaurant-Downtown
220 E Broadway Boulevard
Tucson, AZ 85701
5:00 PM-7:00 PM
Click here to RSVP

Thursday, February 19, 2015: Lasallian Day Phoenix
The Westin-Kierland Resort and Spa
The Brittlebush Room
6902 E. Greenway Parkway
Scottsdale, AZ 85254
5:30 PM-7:00 PM
Click here to RSVP

Friday, February 20, 2015: Lasallian Day San Diego
The Ritual Kitchen & Beer Garden
4095 30th Street
San Diego, CA 92104
4:30 PM-6:30 PM
Click here to RSVP

Wednesday, March 4, 2015: Lasallian Day Naples
The Naples Beach Hotel and Golf Club
The Chokoloskee Room
851 Gulf Shore Boulevard
Naples, FL 34102
10:00 AM-12:00 PM
Click here to RSVP 

Thursday, March 5, 2015: Lasallian Day Sarasota
Libby’s Cafe + Bar
1917 S. Osprey Avenue
Sarasota, FL 34239
Click here to RSVP

For more information  or questions about the events, please email mdavison@cbmidwest.org. 

We can’t wait to be with you-“together & by association.”

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Spirituality of Dreams

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On Tuesday, January 13, Bro. Bernard LoCoco, FSC, presented a special workshop entitled “Spirituality of Dreams”, open to all Brothers and Lasallians. Held in the Terrace Room of Resurrection Retirement Center in Chicago, the presentation lasted almost four hours and included lunch. The 20 participants learned about the significance and purpose of our dreams, ways to remember them , and perhaps most helpful, a method of analyzing them. After lunch, participants gathered in three small groups to work together to analyze some actual dreams.

IMG_9316 The presentation was very well-received and appreciated. A special thanks to Bro. Bernie for leading us through “dreamland”!

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December 25 The Nativity of the Lord

ISAIH 62:11-12; TITUS 3:4-7; LUKE 2:15-20
Christams Last

Christmas lasts
The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God … LUKE 2:20

When I was seven years old, our Christmas tree became so dry that my parents were cautious about turning on the lights. On New Year’s Day, while most of our neighbors were taking trees down, my dad and brothers bought a new one.

One of the things this taught me was that Christmas wasn’t a day, or even a season. It continues all year. Today, Christmas again reveals the unbelievable truth that God, living among us, has changed the world- changed each of us. 

Jesus, Light of the World, has illuminated darkened paths and lifted broken spirits. And the shepherds, experiencing this Light, hasten to make him known to all they meet.

We are the shepherds today. Experiencing this Christmas day, we live Christmas all year, hastening to make Jesus known by the way we live: giving beyond reason, caring beyond hope, loving without limit.

DAILY PRACTICE: When you put away your decorations, keep out one religious ornament, card, or candle. Leave it in a prominent place all year as a reminder that the meaning of Christmas lasts, challenging the way we live.

CHRISTMAS DAY PRAYER: Light of God, lead us. Strength of God, support us. Peace of God, surround us. Love of God, challenge us.

From: ADVENT 2014. Daily reflections, practices and prayers.
The Marvels and Mysteries of Advent. Janet Schaeffler, OP.
Twenty-Third Publications. www.23rdpublications.com


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DECEMBER 24 Wednesday of the Fourth Week

2 SAMUEL 7:1-5, 8B-12, 14A, 16; LUKE 1:67-79
Real needs

Real needs
“The dawn from on high shall break upon us to guide our feet
into the path of peace.” 
LUKE 1:78-79

In The Joy of the Gospel, Pope Francis’ first apostolic exhortation, the pope asks: “How could it be that it’s not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points?”

Today we hear Zechariahs Benedictus, the third of five songs that Luke records regarding the births of John and Jesus (Elizabeth’s blessing, Mary’s Magnificat, Zechariah’s Benedictus, the angels’Gloria, and Simeons Nunc Dimittis).

After nine months of silence, Zechariah’s praise is the song of an old man who held a miracle child in his arms and contemplated the seismic shift that was taking place in his lifetime. Nothing like this had ever happened, and Zechariah had to sing.

At the end of the Benedictus, Zechariah helps us to feel the impact of Gods coming. God’s coming among us is the sun breaking the horizon on a dark world. Because of this coming, our feet walk the path of peace with God.

As we more deeply understand the Advent-Christmas message, God’s coming impels us to take seriously Pope Francis’ question. Because of God’s presence guiding our feet (and hands and spirits), our priorities are not the worlds.

DAILY PRACTICE: As you watch the news, be alert to the needs, aware of generous responses to needs. Decide on one thing you will do.

ADVENT PRAYER: Daybreak from on High, channel my actions to build a world of peace, of response to the needs.

From: ADVENT 2014. Daily reflections, practices and prayers.
The Marvels and Mysteries of Advent. Janet Schaeffler, OP.
Twenty-Third Publications. www.23rdpublications.com

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DECEMBER 23 Tuesday of the Fourth Week

MALACHI 3:1-4, 23-24; LUKE 1:57-66

Sounds of Silence

Sounds of Silence
Immediately his mouth was opened, his tongue freed, and he spoke blessing God. LUKE 1:64

Recently as I was walking through a store with my great-niece and great-nephew, Abby said, “Why do stores-and everywhere-always play music in the background?”

The absence of silence in our culture! In today’s gospel, Zechariah expressed his desire about his son’s name after nine months of silence (albeit imposed). A time of quiet enabled Zechariah to retreat from the noise and be attuned to God’s message.

Many of our Christmas carols speak of the quiet of that first Christmas. God came in silence. We encounter God in silence. We encounter one another in the silence that enables us to listen intensely.

This year, 2014, is the 50th anniversary of Simon and Garfunkel’s song, “The Sound of Silence.” As with all art, there are various meanings. Perhaps one of the messages in this song is contained in the words “people hearing without listening.” “Silent” and “listen” have the same letters. Does that remind us that only in quiet and silence can we really listen-to God, to each other?

DAILY PRACTICE: In these remaining days of Advent (and the Christmas season), what kinds and times of silence will help you to listen? Turning off the continuous TV? Taking a break from social media? Taking time for quiet prayer?

ADVENT PRAYER: God Who Comes in Silence, thank you for always listening. Silence my whirring mind, my racing thoughts, so that I may hear you and those around me.

From: ADVENT 2014. Daily reflections, practices and prayers.
The Marvels and Mysteries of Advent. Janet Schaeffler, OP.
Twenty-Third Publications. www.23rdpublications.com


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DECEMBER 22 Monday of the Fourth Week

1 SAMUEL 1:24-28; LUKE 1:46-56
Being at Home

Being at home
Mary remained with Elizabeth about three months and then returned to her home. LUKE 1:56

Several years ago when I was on Mackinac Island (between the upper and lower peninsulas of Michigan), a guide said that no deer had ever resided there. One summer, the state, thinking that the presence of deer might enhance this charming island, brought several over. The following winter, when Lake Huron froze, the deer traveled back home across the ice to the lower peninsula.

During Advent-Christmas, many people talk about going home. What is home? Where is home? Even though today’s reading tells us that Mary returned home, was she at home at Elizabeth’s?

Many people say that home is not only a physical place, but a feeling, an experience. It is where we’re safe, where we’re loved unconditionally, where we laugh and cry. Home can be the simple act of listening or caring or helping.

Home is life-giving; home is what gives us roots. Any and every experience of home reminds me that I am rooted in God, at home in God. Home reminds me that God’s amazing love always calls forth and enriches life.

DAILY PRACTICE: What, when, and where are the “times/experiences of home” that help you to be at home with yourself, with God?

ADVENT PRAYER: God Who Dwells with Us, awaken in me all the ways you are home to me. Be with me as I strive to “be homefor the people in my life and for the people I may not know, but who are homeless.”

From: ADVENT 2014. Daily reflections, practices and prayers.
The Marvels and Mysteries of Advent. Janet Schaeffler, OP.
Twenty-Third Publications. www.23rdpublications.com


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DECEMBER 21 Fourth Sunday of Advent

2 SAMUEL 7:1-5, 88-12, 14A, 16; ROMANS 16:25-27; LUKE 1:26-38
Knowing God

Knowing God
“Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done
to me according to your word.LUKE 1:38

During a singing contest, one of the best-trained operatic singers sang a flawless rendition of the Our Father. No one else wanted to compete; finally a nervous old man was persuaded to try.

As he began, few could even hear him. In time the sound swelled up in him and filled the auditorium. His performance was far from technically perfect, but every heart was touched.

When the judges awarded the elderly man the prize, the operatic singer contested, “Why him? Wasn’t I brilliant?”

They answered: “You knew the song. He knew the Father.”

One of the awe-inspiring realities of the annunciation is that, amid her questions-and probably shocked surprise and bewildering confusion-Mary responds with a committed yes. Why is she able to do that? We know nothing of Mary’s life until now, but we can conjecture. This moment did not begin her relationship with God; she knew God from the very beginning of her days.

Often we think of faith as believing in truths and doctrines, believing in God. Even though that is a part of it, it’s much more about knowing God intimately.

DAILY PRACTICE: As these Advent days wind down, take time to reflect: do I believe in God; do I also know God? What enables me to know God, to be in relationship with God?

ADVENT PRAYER: God, Intimate Friend, thank you for initiating and desiring a personal cherished relationship with each of us. Give me a desire to know you more deeply.

From: ADVENT 2014. Daily reflections, practices and prayers.
The Marvels and Mysteries of Advent. Janet Schaeffler, OP.
Twenty-Third Publications. www.23rdpublications.com


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DECEMBER 20 Saturday of the Third Week

ISAIAH 7:10-14; LUKE 1:26- 38
In the darkness

In the darkness
Do not be afraid, Mary … “ LUKE 1:30

Tomorrow is the winter solstice, the longest night of the year in the northern hemisphere. The darkness of this night can remind us that many people might be experiencing darkness, loss, worry, and fear at this time of year, just as Marys first response in today’s reading must have been one of fright and anxiety.

Many parishes offer a “Longest Nightor “Blue Christmas” service to accompany people who are living in darkness at the moment rather than being able to enter into the season’s joy.

Their fear and sadness may be from some confusing news (as Mary experienced), from seeing unemployment, from unresolved problems with a family member, from the recent death of a loved one, from worries about an uncertain future, or from hurtful memories.

How does Mary move from fear to peace? God’s messenger affirms and comforts, answers questions, and assures her of God’s care. This is told in thirteen short verses; perhaps Gabriel stayed for even a longer time.

If you are experiencing a Blue Christmas, who are the messengers from God who are with you? As you think about others, is there someone who is experiencing a dark night?

DAILY PRACTICE: Call, e-mail, or spend time with someone who is experiencing loss, worry, or sadness. Listen; affirm their goodness; be God’s messenger of concern to them.

ADVENT PRAYER: Comforting God Amid the Darkness, thank you for your constant, consoling presence. Keep me mindful of those who are now experiencing grief, anger, or sorrow

From: ADVENT 2014. Daily reflections, practices and prayers.
The Marvels and Mysteries of Advent. Janet Schaeffler, OP.
Twenty-Third Publications. www.23rdpublications.com


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DECEMBER 19 Friday of the Third Week

JUDGES 13:2-7, 24-25A; LUKE 1:5-25 SeeingTheGood

Seeing the good
“You will have joy and gladness.LUKE 1:14

A ninety-two-year-old gentleman who is blind moved to a nursing home after the death of his wife of seventy years. After hours of waiting patiently in the lobby, he smiled sweetly when told his room was ready. The nurse began describing the room. I love it; he said with great enthusiasm.

“Mr. Jones, you havent seen the room.”

That doesnt have anything to do with it;he replied. “Happiness is something you decide ahead of time. Liking my room doesn’t depend on the furniture; its how I arrange my mind. I already decided to love it. It’s a decision I make every morning. I can spend the day recounting all the difficulties or rejoice in the gifts and blessings.”

In todays gospel, Zechariah has a hard time hearing the good news, because his mind immediately turns to the negative, the challenges: “I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.” Even in this Advent-Christmas season, we might get wrapped up in concentrating on the things we think aren’t perfect, the things others are doing that-in our eyes-are wrong.

DAILY PRACTICE: Decide on one thing that might help you focus on the positive: keep a gratitude journal; refrain from jumping to conclusions;look for the best rather than flaws; affirm others.

ADVENT PRAYER: God Who Sees Only Good, you have gifted us with so much good. Deepen in me the response of recognizing all the good: within me, surrounding me.

From: ADVENT 2014. Daily reflections, practices and prayers. The Marvels and Mysteries of Advent. Janet Schaeffler, OP. Twenty-Third Publications. www.23rdpublications.com

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