October 2, 2017

The Divine Mission of Brother Wicked Treasurer

Yesterday Pope Francis spoke to priests, religious, seminarians, and permanent deacons in the cathedral in Bologna. He took a couple of spontaneous questions. Here's part of one his answers to a religious who asked about, among other things, the 'psychology of survival' that the Holy Father has mentioned before. Here's part of the Pope's reply:

"You see those religious who are attached to money as a security. This is the heart of the psychology of survival; I am surviving, I have security, because I have money. The problem is not so much in chastity or obedience, no, it is in poverty. Fish rot from the head and religious life begins to become corrupt from the lack of poverty.*  This is truly how it is. St. Ignatius called poverty the ‘mother and wall’ of the religious life; ‘mother’ because she gives birth to the religious life, and ‘poverty’ because it is the defense against all worldliness. The psychology of survival makes you live in a worldly way, with worldly hopes, not to setting yourself on the path of divine hope, the hope that is of God. Money is very much the ruin of consecrated life. But God is so good, so good that, when an institute of consecrated life begins to make more and more money, the Lord is so good that he sends a wicked treasurer who makes everything collapse, and this is a grace! When the goods of a religious institute collapse, I say, ‘Thank you, Lord!’, because they will begin to walk the way of poverty and the true hope in the goods that the Lord gives: the true hope in that fecundity that journeying with the Lord gives. Please, I’m telling you, always, always make an examination of conscience on poverty: personal poverty, which is not just going to ask the permission of the superior to do something, but is deeper, it is an even deeper thing; and also the poverty of the institute, because this is the true survival of consecrated life, in the positive sense, that is to say that here is found the true hope that makes consecrated life grow."

*Il pesce incomincia a corrompersi dalla testa e la vita consacrata incomincia a corrompersi dalla mancanza di povertà.

Full text here.

The full reply of the part I quoted starts around :53.

September 19, 2017

Shrine of Renunciation

The other day, thanks to one of the friars, there arrived in my hands the English version of the pastoral letter of Archbishop Domenico Sorrentino of Assisi-Nocera Umbra-Gualdo Tadino for the recent opening of the Santuario della Spogliazione in Assisi, which recalls the moment when St. Francis, having been brought to trial by his father for the squandering of his goods, divested himself of his rights as an heir and what property he had, including the clothes he was wearing.

I'm glad it didn't fall to me to decide on the English for Santuario della Spogliazione, but this translator has made a fine choice with The Shrine of Renunciation.

The letter is really quite beautiful, and whoever made the translation did a very nice job.
The nakedness of Francis reminds us of Eden. It is not just penance and renunciation. It is a longing for original purity. It speaks something of the beauty planted by God in the body of man and woman before innocence was disordered by sin. It is nudity that is projected towards the splendor of the risen body, when the power of Christ will give new life to our mortal bodies. It is in nudity that we find the taste of truth and beauty, simplicity and sobriety, the serene awareness of our own creatureliness. Francis incarnates the wisdom of Job: “Naked I came forth from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I go back again” (Job 1:21). (4)
The Shrine includes the church of St. Mary Major, which is in Capuchin care. Coincidentally, or not, it is right across the little Piazza del Vescovado from where I stayed the first time I visited Assisi, way back in 1993, at the Casa del Terziario.

Read the whole letter here.

August 29, 2017

Silver Jubilee of Christian Initiation

(An ongoing post, updated)

Today is my anniversary of baptism; I am twenty-five years old. It's my Silver Jubilee! When I think of the adventure that began that day at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in little Quaker Hill, Connecticut, I cannot but confess that one of the most abiding graces has been the 'cloud of witnesses' that has guided and supported me along the way. So today in my gratefulness I pray in special way for everyone the Lord has given me to accompany me in this journey.

August 26, 2017

Padre Pio's Daughters

A conversation at lunch.

[Friar mentions a prayer group of friars' mothers in his home province called 'The Daughters of Padre Pio.']

Friar 1: That's very interesting. Being the mother of a friar makes you become a daughter of Padre Pio.

Friar 2: Well, the other day Cardinal O'Malley reiterated that a friar who has a child has to leave to be a father and fulfill his obligations to the child and mother. [So what of Padre Pio and his daughters?]

Friar 1: Well Padre Pio already left the Order.

Friar 2: ?

Friar 1: Well in the friar database [which is kept here in the General Curia] one of the fields is 'way of leaving.' [modo di uscita] And one of the choices [for filling the field] is death.

August 9, 2017

Blessed Maria Francesca Rubatto

Today in Rome it's the feast of St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein), a feast day because she is one of the many patron saints of Europe, except where I happen to be offering Mass this week, at the Capuchin Sisters of Mother Rubatto, where today is the feast of their foundress, Blessed Maria Francesca (Anna Maria) Rubatto (1844-1904).

Mother Rubatto

Their General Curia is on the other side of the Villa Borghese from where we are and the priests here who sign up take weekly turns offering the weekday Mass there. I've appreciated getting to know them; they seem like a great community. It's too bad we don't have them in the U.S.A.

So I could prepare for the Mass today, the sisters lent me a copy of the liturgy for the day. Since not much was going on in the office--August in Rome you know--I made a translation of the reading offered for the Office of Readings.

August 2, 2017

Always With Me

Today is a big Franciscan feast, that of Our Lady of the Angels of the Portiuncula, when, also for all the faithful, according to a certain tradition by the request of St. Francis himself, the Pardon of Assisi or Portiuncula indulgence is available at your local Franciscan church or oratory, or at your parish church, visited to honor Our Lady and the Angels, and according to the normal conditions for the gaining of indulgences, of course.

Today I'm thinking of the little holy card of Our Lady of the Angels, which I've had with me since, as best as I can reconstruct the timing, since the morning of Friday, April 23, 1993.

Saint Mary of the Angels/pray for us

August 1, 2017

Updated Comment Policy

Comments on this blog are moderated. When you leave a comment, I receive a notification and choose whether or not to publish it. I have never had much trouble with having to reject comments and I publish almost all that are submitted. Sometimes when I reject a comment I myself leave a comment in its place to explain my decision.