On Saturday September 14th, Mary Mother of Mercy Parish will host the Brothers in Christ Catholic Men’s Conference from 8:00 am to 2:30 pm at Our Lady of Lourdes Church, 500 Greentree Road, Glassboro NJ. The event will include celebration of Mass and speakers on spiritual issues facing men today. The featured speaker is Joe Klecko, former NY Jets defensive lineman and frequent speaker at Catholic events. Lunch and refreshments will be provided. The registration fee is $20. This event is open to all men ages 14 and up and is co-sponsored by St John Neumann and Our Lady Queen of Peace Knights of Columbus Councils. Register here.
Archive for August 2013
Today’s date always brings with it a slight element of sadness for me. The note on my calendar reminds me that, three years ago today, Fr Gabriel Bunge OSB converted to the Russian Orthodox Church. It seems to have been an extremely fulfilling move for him, but I was disappointed that he was not able to find his fulfillment in the Catholic Church.
When I read Fr Bunge’s Earthen Vessels about ten years ago, it changed my personal prayer life radically. For one thing, it helped me to understand better my affinity for the expressiveness of ‘charismatic prayer.’ The bodily actions and gestures in prayer about which Fr Bunge taught in Earthen Vessels enable me to be more deeply self-giving to the Lord in my personal prayer time. As Fr Bunge said in Chapter Four:
Like sacramental actions, the methods and gestures in prayer must also be meaningful, that is to say, the body must reproduce visibly what is taking part in the soul.
I first learned to be open to what Eastern Christianity has to offer from my first visit to Mount Saviour Monastery in 1984. The monks of Mt Saviour have incorporated some Eastern Christian practices and images into their monastic life. Reading JP2’s Orientale Lumen increased my openness. Matthew the Poor’s Orthodox Prayer Life was also very helpful (and is among my rotation of nightstand books). Even now, I’ll periodically stop by the Orthodox Way of Life blog, or occasionally listen to a talk by Fr Thomas Hopko or Metropolitan Jonah, which can be found at the Ancient Faith Radio site. Orthodoxy has many obscure but admirable practices worthy of emulation, not only in Church life, but also in home and family life. Here’s one example which Fr Bunge relates in an interview (he was still Catholic priest-monk at this time):
I stayed two months in Greece on Lesbos. There weren’t many tourists then and, therefore, we were lodged among local families. I lived in a family of a priest. And of course, I was going to church every Sunday. The family knew I was a Catholic, but because there wasn’t any Catholic church around, I was going to an Orthodox one. Everyone in the family was kind to me and treated me with much love. On the small entrance, they even brought me the Gospel to kiss as if I was an honorable guest.
Imagine the surprise of my pastor (or any priest) if, upon arriving at our house, we offered him a book of the Gospels to kiss!
If you’re interested, you can read more about Fr Bunge and his conversion here and here. You can get an indication of what he teaches in Earthen Vessels by reviewing the excerpts available at its Google Books site.
That’s right. Only three months remaining in the Year of Faith. This Year of Faith will end on November 24th, the Solemnity of Christ the King. Remember: It’s purpose is to help us prepare to be active participants in the New Evangelization.
Has your faith grown during this Holy Year in any way which you could share with us (in the Comments Box)?
I’ve had two primary faith-increase goals for this Holy Year: a) to deepen my love for the person of Jesus and my personal communion with Him, and b) to implement a twice-a-day Ignatian Examen into my life to foster my ongoing conversion.
Here are some of the efforts I’ve made to attain my first goal:
- Prepare better to receive Holy Communion at Mass on Sunday (via pre-Communion prayers, Confession if necessary, etc), and to see the moment of receiving Holy Communion as a deeply personal encounter with my Lord (among all the other things that the Mass is)
- Spend an hour with Jesus in Eucharistic Adoration at least once during the week
- Do a deeper lectio divina on the Sunday Gospel readings (I’ve started taking the time to post these on my personal blog — mainly for my children)
- Pray and reflect on the primary litanies of Jesus (Sacred Heart, Precious Blood, Holy Name, Holy Face) and on the Titles of Jesus found in Sacred Scripture
- Engage in colloquies to Jesus several times each day (colloquies (according to St Ignatius of Loyola) are short periods of talking with Jesus as one friend would talk to another)
I’m experiencing about a forty per cent rate of success with my second goal. Trying to develop a new habit like a two-a-day examen is proving to be a challenge for a geezer like me.
The moderate success that I’ve had with both of my goals is evidenced in my life by a more merciful attitude, and an ability to maintain my joy and trust in the Lord during difficult times.
How about you?
A group of Catholic men will be gathering on Thursday, August 22nd for an evening of prayer, formation, food and fellowship. The evening will begin at 6:30 at St Monica’s Church in West Wyoming where the men will pray the Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary in honor of the Queenship of Mary. The Rosary will be followed immediately by Mass. The men will then travel to Dino’s Italian Bistro in Shavertown. Pizza and beverages will be served. A video presentation entitled “The Man Talk” by Matt Fradd of Catholic Answers will be shown. In the talk, Matt Fradd lays out a vision of authentic Catholic masculinity and how to achieve it. This will be a great opportunity for fathers and sons to hear the truth together on some sensitive topics like sexual integrity and respect for women. The evening will end at 10:00. A free-will offering will be accepted to defray the cost of the refreshments. Expect an awesome night!
Please email your registration (with the number of men attending) so we can plan how much pizza to order (email to Glenn at gmyanik [at] epix [dot] net).
If you’re not sure you should make the effort to attend, perhaps this video will motivate you.