GC45: Day One

Posted by: admin in: ● April 22, 2014

And away we go….

Banner at the main entrance of the Generalate

Banner at the main entrance of the Generalate

I arrived in Rome Monday about 11:00am (3:00am Central Time). Although nothing was officially scheduled, there were two meals plus a special meeting of the RELAN delegates with the requisite social after in “The Den”. It really has been a joy to see once again the many RELAL Brothers I met in Brazil in January. It’s a bit like a family reunion; no, wait, it’s actually a lot like a family reunion. We are brothers, after all!

Brother Marty Spellman at breakfast

Brother Marty Spellman at breakfast

We were all asked to “dress up” for the opening ceremony this morning; here’s Marty in his “formal attire”. It’s great to have him here, along with the other Midwest Brothers. Bro. Gus Sinco did an admirable job explaining Google Drive earlier today. Remember, this is to be a “paperless” chapter; all around the Generalate are monitors screens which keep us informed.

Some RELAN Brothers; Bro Michael French clearly embodies the joy of the day!

Waiting for the opening ceremony; Bro Michael French clearly embodies the joy of the day!

The opening ceremony really was beautiful; there are lots of photos available of it and the whole day on the Regional website. After the prayer service which began outdoors on this lovely Rome morning, we processed into the Chapel, each with a small stone in hand. The entrance to the chapel was designed to resemble the Chapel at Parmenie. Recall that the 2014 Letter of the Brothers to the Founder is the theme for this Chapter.

The scrim that covered the back of the chapel entrance.

The scrim that covered the back of the chapel entrance.

I’m writing this late afternoon. At 6:30pm we have mass and then dinner at 7:30, which is the normal dinner time here. Here is a photo taken at my “place”; we are seated alphabetically, so I’m in the back row with Bros. Bob Schieler and Bob Schaefer on either side. Needless to say, there is no lack of “asides” during the proceedings, which of course is a bit less obvious when you’re in the back row. It’s all good, in other words.

My place marker with the "obedience" we each received this morning as part of the launch of GC45.

My place marker with the “obedience” we each received this morning as part of the launch of GC45.

So, that’s it so far. To stay awake yesterday afternoon, I took a walk around the ‘hood, scouting out gelato shops. (there are four within the immediate area; you’ll be getting gelato taste test reports soon…). You may have heard that the big traffic circle near the Generalate is actually named for the Founder (in Italian), but as you can see below, it is affixed to the local McDonalds, which is actually quite the juxtaposition….

photo-2Ciao for now.

-BL

 

He is Risen

Posted by: admin in: ● April 19, 2014

The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying. Go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead; and behold, He is going ahead of you into Galilee, there you will see Him; behold, I have told you. Matthew 28:5

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APRIL 19 ~ HOLY SATURDAY (EASTER VIGIL)

Posted by: admin in: ● April 19, 2014

GENESIS 1:1-2:2~1:1, 26-31A ~ GENESIS 22:1-18~22:1-2, 9A, 10-13, 15-18 ~ EXODUS 14:15-15:1 ~ ISAIAH 54:5-14 ~ ISAIAH 55:1-11 ~ BARUCH 3:9-15, 32-4:4 ~ EZEKIEL 36:16-17A, 18-28 ~ ROMANS 6:3-11 ~ MATTHEW 28:1-10
LivingFullest

We don’t have forever

He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. MATTHEW 28:6

Life is what we make of it, regardless of what we’re given. Unlike a movie, life’s script has no preview. We have to be active in the writing without ever knowing the exact ending. This is the exciting part of living: the rewriting of our scenario. Unexpected encounters occur, and the full plot is yet to unfold.

It’s never too late to create the life you want. You can do it. It’s not about a goal; it’s about a process. You get there step-by-step. Embrace, enjoy, adapt, and adjust to what’s along the way. Don’t reach the point of death and realize you never actually lived. Squeeze every ounce of living out of life while you can!

Along the way, don’t look over people’s shoulders; look into their eyes. Enjoy simple pleasures and beauty. Hold and hug others. Do it now; these moments don’t last forever. They’re disappearing quickly and will never come again. There are many more waiting for you. Seize them. Now! Happy Easter!

WORK WITH YOUR HANDS Encourage those around you who are simply existing and not enjoying life. Give them a packet of flower seeds to remind them of the endless possibilities of new growth and fresh starts. Let them know it’s never too late to start living.

WORDS FROM YOUR HEART Jesus, I’ve never seen this day before; I want to live every moment of it without regret. Amen.

TWENTY-THIRD PUBLICATIONS
New London, CT 06320; (860) 437· 3012; www.23rdpublications.com

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APRIL 18 ~ GOOD FRIDAY

Posted by: admin in: ● April 18, 2014

ISAIAH 52:13 – 53:12 ~ HEBREWS 4:14-16; 5:7-9~ JOHN 18:1 – 19:42
Priest

Whatever, Lord!

You have no power over me. JOHN 19:11

Whether I am praying with parents at a cemetery as they say goodbye to their child, supporting a parishioner as the doctor says there is nothing else they can do, or listening to a spouse mourn the loss of a marriage, I find it humbling to consider the magnitude of trouble in people’s lives. But I’m encouraged as I watch them emerge changed, but better.

It’s easy to hit the panic button and remain helpless, trapped in our troubles. Unfortunately, I can’t offer a magic formula for making troubles vanish. After all the feeling, thinking, and talking, two words help: Whatever, Lord! He will get you through it somehow, no matter how ridiculous it may seem. Hand it over to Jesus; he’s still in control.

Success in life doesn’t reveal our true character; life’s trouble does. While troubles are inevitable, misery is optional. When the storms of life threaten to bury you, remember: Jesus calms storms. Anchor yourself to him. Once the storm subsides and you realize you made it, help someone else who is suffering and stressed-out.

WORK WITH YOUR HANDS Pray and push. Spend time today in prayer. Reflect on the trouble spots in your life and turn them over to Jesus. Take a nail and squeeze all your troubles into it. Go outside, push the nail into the ground, and forget where you buried it.

WORDS FROM YOUR HEART Jesus, it’s a comfort to know you have your hands on the steering wheel of my troubles.  Amen.

TWENTY-THIRD PUBLICATIONS
New London, CT 06320; (860) 437· 3012; www.23rdpublications.com

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APRIL 17 ~ HOLY THURSDAY

Posted by: admin in: ● April 17, 2014

Exodus 12:1-8, 11-14 – Corinthians 11:23-26 – John 13:1-15
Grandpa&Grandson

What will they say when you are gone?

For I give you an example, that you also should do as I did to you.
JOHN 13:15

I watched two elderly gentlemen exchanging greetings at McDonalds.
“I enjoy watching my grandson;’ one told the other.
“I hope he remembers me.”

It’s a huge question: How do you want to be remembered? At the end of your life, when everything falls away, what remains for people to remember? What words will people use when remembering you? If the litany of adjectives includes “kind” then I believe you have lived a life worthy of remembrance. Kindness is the core to a good, meaningful life – goodwill in a school, parish, and community. It isn’t complicated; it’s natural and only requires we pay attention to those around us who are crying out for help. Kindness motivates others to overcome their obstacles and pursue their passions with enthusiasm. What lives beyond us after we pass on will be the lives we touched and changed through thoughtful and compassionate gentleness.

WORK WITH YOUR HANDS As you go about your day, ask yourself, “How do I want to be remembered?” Then live accordingly.

WORDS FROM YOUR HEART Jesus, I want to be remembered for three things: kindness, kindness, and kindness. Amen.

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APRIL16 ~ WEDNESDAY OF HOLY WEEK

Posted by: admin in: ● April 16, 2014

ISAIAH 50:4-9A ~ MATTHEW 26:14-25
Abigail West with husband Tony and dinner guests

A bygone ideal?

The teacher says: “My appointed time is near. I am going to celebrate the Passover with my disciples.” MATTHEW 26:18

”Since my son is a single dad with two teenagers, we’ve been having Sunday dinner together for years,” a wise woman told me. “During that time, I’ve seen changes in my grandsons. They say, ‘please’ and ‘thank you; and clear the table without being asked. Sometimes they even help me fix dinner.”

We’ve all heard the saying Families that pray together stay together. It’s also true that families who dine together are emotionally and spiritually fine together. Basketball practices, dance rehearsals, meetings, etc. make family mealtimes seem outdated. However, many parents believe it is the glue that holds them together. The family table is the place we come to engage each other, share wisdom, solve problems, confess, conspire, laugh, forgive, and repair.

So turn off the television. Put away the cell phone. Slow down, gather the family together tonight, and bow your heads to thank God for the meal before you – and for the people beside you.

WORK WITH YOUR HANDS Create family placemats. Have the children draw a picture to color. Add puzzles or trivia facts. The adults may want to add birthday wishes, inspirational quotes, or prayers. During dinner, allow each person to share his or her unique creation.

WORDS FROM YOUR HEART Jesus, dinnertime allows us to shut out the rest of the world and pay attention to those who matter the most to us-our family. Amen.

TWENTY-THIRD PUBLICATIONS
New London, CT 06320; (860) 437· 3012; www.23rdpublications.com

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APRIL15 ~ TUESDAY OF HOLY WEEK

Posted by: admin in: ● April 15, 2014

ISAIAH 49:1-6 ~ JOHN 13:21-33, 36-38
ManCrying

Drain the pain

Jesus was deeply troubled. JOHN 13:21

“God, will I ever stop hurting?” Barry asked months after returning home to discover that his wife left with the children. When hopes are shattered, don’t throw in the towel. Drain the pain. These three suggestions may help:

Cry it out. Let the tears flow. As you feel the pain drain from your body, healing will begin.

Talk it out. Initially, hurting people often say, “I can’t talk about it.” Eventually, however, you need to have a heart-to-heart with someone you can trust. Find a good listener who can accept your feelings without trying to explain them away or “fix” the problem.

Write it out. It’s okay to be angry at God, but get those deep hurts out. Resentment, hatred, bitterness, and vengeance are emotions that cause radioactive fallout that will undermine your health. Release those negative feelings and write them out in a journal.

When the bottom falls out and nothing seems secure, stop pretending everything is fine; admit it hurts. Jesus did! Jesus will walk alongside you and give you the reassurance you need to continue. After all, he’s not a stranger to feeling “troubled.”

WORK WITH YOUR HANDS When life troubles you and turns your world upside down, cry, talk, write, and remember: This, too, will pass.

WORDS FROM YOUR HEART Jesus, nothing will happen today that you and I together can’t handle. Amen.

TWENTY-THIRD PUBLICATIONS
New London, CT 06320; (860) 437· 3012; www.23rdpublications.com

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APRIL14 ~ MONDAY OF HOLY WEEK

Posted by: admin in: ● April 14, 2014

ISAIAH 42:1-7 ~ JOHN 12:1-11

Forget about yourself

Mary then took a pound of very costly perfume of pure nard and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. JOHN 12:3

Obsessing over their own perceived “worth,” some people spend a good deal of time thinking about how their job doesn’t pay them enough. They are constantly looking out for number one, trying to get what they think they deserve. We live with a “what’s in it for me?” attitude. Judas had this same insatiable mind-set, and he drowned in his own selfish waters of betrayal, washing up on the shores of remorse and regret.

We need to be relentless against selfishness, refusing to live self-centered lives. When we care about only ourselves, we live in absolute misery. On the other hand, when we take our mind off ourselves and actively reach out to other people, we begin to experience true joy and peace.

Who do you know who needs encouragement? Is someone feeling abandoned or alone? Did they lose their job? Are they on the brink of
bankruptcy? Smile at them. Give them a hug. Offer to babysit for them. Pay their utility bill anonymously. Find someone you can help, and forsake living a self-centered existence. There is no greater feeling than going to bed at night knowing you did something to improve another’s life.

WORK WITH YOUR HANDS Think of someone in need. Show them you care. Write to them, call them, visit them. Your act of kindness will change their day.

WORDS FROM YOUR HEART Jesus, I know I’m going to meet someone today in need. Don’t let me miss the opportunity to help. Amen.

TWENTY-THIRD PUBLICATIONS
New London, CT 06320; (860) 437· 3012; www.23rdpublications.com

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APRIL 13 ~ PALM SUNDAY

Posted by: admin in: ● April 13, 2014

MATTHEW 21:1-11 ~ ISAIAH 50:4-7 ~ PHILIPPIANS 2:6-11 ~
MATTHEW 26:14-27:66
Betrayal

Bitten by the betrayal bug

What are you willing to give me to betray him to you? MATTHEW 26:15

Betrayal happens to all of us eventually. Sometimes it catches us by surprise; other times we sense it coming. Intimacy breaks down, compromising trust and security. It stings especially when we have invested in a relationship only to end up being hurt.

Many people move through the same emotional process:
Surprise: “I can’t believe this happened!”
Seclusion: “Who needs people anyway? They just let you down.”
Sorry: “I should have listened to so-and-so.”
Sore: “I’m so angry, I could … .”
Seething: ”I’ll get even someday. They’ll pay for what they did.”
Soothe: “I want to be free from the pain.”

This week, we encounter Judas’ notorious betrayal and Peter’s equally notorious denial of Jesus. Yet Jesus forgave.

For safety and sanity in our lives, forgiveness is the cure. This doesn’t mean we condone what happened or necessarily let the betrayer back into our lives. It means releasing all the hurtful feelings trapped inside. If we choose to continue the relationship, it takes talking, time, and tenderness to regain the lost trust.

WORK WITH YOUR HANDS Take some time off and surround yourself with people who love you. Allow them to help restore you.

WORDS FROM YOUR HEART Jesus, you’re no stranger to having people let you down. I want to grow in trust again. Amen.

TWENTY-THIRD PUBLICATIONS
New London, CT 06320; (860) 437· 3012; www.23rdpublications.com

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APRIL 12 ~ SATURDAY OF THE FIFTH WEEK

Posted by: admin in: ● April 12, 2014

EZEKIEL 37:21-28 ~ JOHN 11:45-56
CountYourBlessings

Count your blessings

What are you going to do? This man is performing many signs and people are believing in him. JOHN 11:47-48

Diane wistfully talked about her friend’s new house. “We have a wonderful house,” her husband reminded her. “Many people would give anything to have what we have. What else could you possibly want?” “More,”she grumbled.

Envy is often concealed. Hidden under a smile, feelings of emptiness erupt from deep inside. Often confused with jealousy, which is the fear of losing our love to another, envy is in a class all by itself. It is a strong craving and desire for the possessions and qualities of another’s wisdom, kindness, success, or looks.

We can choose to spend our time envying some rich and powerful person, the wealthy husband’s wife who doesn’t have to work, or the relative who just inherited a large estate from her mother – or we can get up every single day and count our blessings by focusing on the gifts we have. We can curb envy by cherishing the people in our lives and the talents we have been given. If you are trying to rein in envy, remember the wisdom of Claudian, the fourth-century Latin poet: “Those who envy are always poor.”

WORK WITH YOUR HANDS Start a gratitude journal. Every day for one week, write down the blessings for which you are grateful. Before going to sleep, offer thanks to God for them.

WORDS FROM YOUR HEART Jesus, a funny thing happens when I count my blessings. The more I count, the more they show up. Amen.

TWENTY-THIRD PUBLICATIONS
New London, CT 06320; (860) 437· 3012; www.23rdpublications.com

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