Sunday, September 30, 2007
Talked to Mom at 9:00
Had the 11:00 AM Mass (Wonderful)
Prayed the Rosary with some kids at the Franciscan Monastery 1:00
Worked out 50 minutes on the elliptical
Met with Esto Vir Officers
Spoke before the 7:00 PM Mass (Because of Movies on the Mall)
I'll also speak at the 9:00 PM Mass
I will stop over at the Movies to see the kids and
Off to Bed
What a excellent day... Incredible how blessed I am
Here are some of my thoughts on the Gospel this week.
I didn't type out my Homily
Dives (The Rich Man) was not an evil person he was...
Noticeably Rich you could tell from the way that he dressed
Comfortable... he had so much to eat that the crumbs fell off the table
Wasn't mean... it never says he was mean or unkind to Lazarus...
Cared about his family... even in hell
He wanted his brothers to be saved....
Didn't ask for much just a drop of water to cool his mouth
Yet he was in eternal torment... Why
What was his sin?
Pure and simple he didn't notice his brother in need.
He didn't notice and he didn't do anything to help him.
Being Rich and comfortable is scary
How many people have we failed to notice in our lives
Lots to think about.
Saturday, September 29, 2007
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Room blessings are finished..... Every year we offer to bless our students rooms and say a prayer for them as they begin the year. It takes three priests and our Professional and Student a week and a half to visit all of the buildings. This year we also had almost 30 requests to bless off-campus apartments and houses. It is such a privilege to be invited in. Some times the students don't really know how to act or what to say other times they are so fervent in their prayer. The beautiful thing is they want us to come.. in and pray with them even if they don't understand or aren't sure what a blessing is or what it means.
Thoughtful humanity longs for more.....
When I was blessing the "Baseball House" next to the firestation.... I saw a young man who looked familiar but who I hadn't seen in a while... He looked uncomfortable for some reason I couldn't place him... Three houses later I remember that he missed the team bus a couple of years ago on the way to Washington and Lee and he caught a ride with me to the game. On the way he got sick and threw up in the back seat but he and his friends were too frightened (Strange) to ask me to pull over. When we stopped for gas I couldn't figure out why he was buying air-freshner... Only later did I fill in the whole picture. The kids last night told me he no-longer goes here but went to the military. I'm sorry I didn't recognize him and I wish I would have been able to remember his name and ask him how he was doing.... an opportunity missed. Keep the van kid in your prayers.. He looked fine yesterday he was eating a HUGE SUB
PS.. I'm sitting out on the porch and three helicopters just flew over.. I wonder if that was GWB.. If it was, prayers promised for him too..
God Bless you whoever reads this.
Sunday, September 23, 2007
The Basilica of the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
4:00 Campus Ministry Mass
September 23, 2007
May the Peace of Christ Reign in our Hearts
No servant can serve two masters.
He will either hate one and love the other,
or be devoted to one and despise the other.
Some people never really get to the place where they understand that
God should be their master
They live life on the surface
Their whole life is sadly wrapped up in their own interest many times without really knowing it.
They are not necessarily bad people many times they do good things
They take good care of their kids because it reflects well on them
They go to Church because it makes them feel good
They do good at work because they want the bonus
They are not necessarily mean or angry or bitter people
But everything they do is turned inward…
Their motivation is focused on themselves
And if there is not something in it for them then they see no reason to do it.
They are their own master and they don’t really know that it should be any other way
All of us are like that sometimes…
Some people have heard the word of God
Or somehow experienced the love of God
And there is a desire in their heart to follow it
But they also frequently find it hard to put this desire into action
While their eye is set on God
their deep motivation continues to be their own interest
once in a while they can move beyond themselves
They know what their motivation should be
They know that God is their destiny and their only hope
And they think they are doing God’s will for God
When they are asked to love
to act in the interest of others
They are not strong enough in their resolve or self-understanding
they are still trapped in themselves
We often bounce in and out of this group
We think we are doing the right thing for the right reason but in reality
there is still a lot of self-seeking in our hearts.
People in this group want God to be their Master
But because of fear… frequently they are still trapped in their own self interest.
All of us have moments like this.
There are those who long to live their lives for God or others
however are caught in a net of addiction or habit.
They want to do good
they want to follow God
they want to make Him their master
But over time they have developed patterns or habits of behaving
And these habits have a hold on them.
When things are going well
it is so clear to them how they should live
But with stress or in moments of temptation
their habit or their patterns kick in
and they are often caught in a wave which is nearly impossible to swim out of.
They try over and over to break these unhealthy habits and
After a lot of prayer and self-understanding and spiritual direction
many eventually do
People in this group want to have God as their master but their habits hold them back.
All of us have bad habits which bring us down
I believe there is a special place in God’s heart for these people
who over time and because of poor choices have simply lost their freedom.
They see God as their destiny
They understand where they should be going in their lives
They just can’t seem to get there
Often they are like ships ready to sail
Their sails are full and their desire is great
They just can’t pull up the anchor that is holding them back
When they are finally able to be free… with God’s grace
These often turn into the most compassionate loving people
Because they know what it is like to live without freedom
They know what it is like to desire to accept God as their master and fail to do so.
There are those who over time and lots of grace and have
Somehow been able to free themselves of their self-interest
God is indeed their master and they are often able to follow him without fear they are versed at being able to let go of their own wants and desires
They are able and willing to love
They have developed the virtue
of emptying themselves for love of God
and love of their neighbors.
People in this group do not live their lives on the surface
They are able to understand the deepest motivations of their heart
They know that you cannot have two masters
God is indeed their Master and they are not afraid
Some of us have moments like this.
Which one of these people are we
Which group do we fall in.
Quite often we move in and out of all of these groups everyday
Have we given our hearts to God and our neighbor
Or are we lost in our own interests and wants.
No servant can serve two masters.
He will either hate one and love the other,
or be devoted to one and despise the other.
Who is our Master
I'm sorry I have not been able to keep up with this blog this week. We have been blessing rooms and that means Ive been busy pretty much every night. Sometimes we don't finish until 11:30. I'm amazed at how many kids ask to have their room blessed. In Conaty Hall a Freshman Residence Hall if there were 5 or 6 out of 80 who did not get their room blessed that would be a lot.
I think people really are open to giving God a place in their hearts. The other day I prayed the rosary with a boy who didn't know the Glory Be.... but he asked to do it again when we finished. So often when we are faced with a difficult situation we seem to instinctively to turn our attention to God to seek His help and His guidance.
Sometimes when I see something of beauty my mind and my heart are moved to prayer or to praise or to both.
Well that's all for tonight... thanks for taking the time to read these most humble words.
Please pray for me and our students...
I promise to do the same for you..
PS Today I thought I gave one of the worst homilies in a long time... I just couldn't get it to flow the way I wanted and it was not for lack of trying or preparation.. I rewrote the thing over and over again. Then after Mass some people came up to me and thanked me for my "good homily" Who knows.. Thanks for you for your compliments and kindness..
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
For many kids, faith is the key to happiness Religious youth tend to be more joyous than non-spiritual peers, study finds
The Associated Press
Updated: 8:47 a.m. ET Aug 24, 2007
An extensive survey by The Associated Press and MTV found that people aged 13 to 24 who describe themselves as very spiritual or religious tend to be happier than those who don’t.
When it comes to spirituality, American young people also are remarkably tolerant — nearly 7 in 10 say that while they follow their own religious or spiritual beliefs, others might be true as well.
On the whole, the poll found religion is a vital part of the lives of many American young people, although with significant pockets that attach little or no importance to faith.
Forty-four percent say religion and spirituality is at least very important to them, 21 percent responded it is somewhat important, 20 percent say it plays a small part in their lives and 14 percent say it doesn’t play any role.
Among races, African-Americans are most likely to describe religion as being the single most important thing in their lives. Females are slightly more religious than males, and the South is the most religious region, the survey said.
The poll’s mission was to figure out what makes young people happy. And it appears religion helps.
“If you believe God is helping you, then everything else isn’t as important and you can trust that there’s somebody there for you no matter what,” said Molly Luksik, a 21-year-old ballet dancer in Chicago and a Roman Catholic who attends Mass weekly. “Just going to church and everything ... it’s very calming, and everyone is nice.”
Sociologists have long drawn a connection between happiness and the sense of community inherent to most religious practice. Lisa Pearce, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of North Carolina, said religion can indeed contribute to happiness, but she cautioned that the converse also can hold true.
“It’s easier for kids who are happy and have things going well in their life to find the time and energy to participate in religion,” said Pearce, co-principal investigator for the National Study of Youth and Religion. “It could be kids who have bad experiences in church end up leaving and being unhappy with religion.”
Views of other faiths
The poll also asked young people to choose between two statements about their views of other faiths.
Sixty-eight percent agree with the statement, “I follow my own religious and spiritual beliefs, but I think that other religious beliefs could be true as well.” Thirty-one percent choose, “I strongly believe that my religious beliefs are true and universal, and that other religious beliefs are not right.”
The latter statement is more likely to be the position of young teens — 13 to 17 — and those who attend religious services weekly.
However, tolerance is the rule overall. That doesn’t surprise the Rev. Paul Raushenbush, associate dean for religious life at Princeton University and author of “Teen Spirit: One World, Many Faiths.”
Young people eat lunch and play soccer with peers from other belief backgrounds, while adults tend to self-segregate with others of like mind, he said. Sweeping immigration reform in 1965 transformed America into the world’s most religiously diverse nation, and young people grew up with the second generation of the immigrant wave, he noted.
“This shows that it doesn’t require a lack of conviction in your own faith tradition to think someone else might have a similar type of conviction in their own,” Raushenbush said. “There is no sense of, ’This diminishes my faith.”’
Traci Laichter, 14, went to Jewish preschool. Her grandparents are Holocaust survivors. Her family keeps kosher and displays a mezuzah — a little box holding verses from the Torah — on the door of their suburban Las Vegas home.
Her faith is strong and she believes it will last, but that doesn’t mean she thinks other faiths are devoid of truth.
“I believe whatever you believe is true to you and it really shouldn’t matter what other people think,” she said.
About 75 percent of those surveyed say God or a higher power has some impact on their happiness. At the same time, 90 percent believe happiness is at least partly under their own control.
Sunday, September 16, 2007
24th Sunday of Ordinary Time - Year C
St. Vincent’s Chapel 9:00 PM Mass - The Catholic University of America
May the peace of Christ Reign in our hearts…
Quite frequently my office is the last stop for someone in trouble.
No one makes them come they just find us.
Many times students find their way into my office because they’ve made some mistakes and they just don’t know what their next step will be.
Nothing scandalizes me… I am never shocked be it a pregnancy, or an arrest or the accusation of a sexual assault, drinking, pot you know the drill.
But for the grace of God there go any of us
Most of the time I just feel bad for them and the people that they may have hurt.
Sometimes part of what happens in my Office is the phone call home
If it hasn’t already happened.
And I admit it can take several meetings and lots of encouragement from me for someone to finally agree to call home. I never make anyonecall.
Sometimes the parents yell, sometimes there is just silence,
or they cry on the phone and we all start crying.
Usually after they calm down things work out
Sometimes all the parent will say is I love you I love you I love you…
Once a person was arrested for a very embarrassing humiliating thing which would follow them the rest of their lives
and that’s what the Dad said
I love you I love you I love you that moment was a radical turning point in both of their lives.
Only once in 18 years did that phone call end the relationship between the student and his parents. After a lot of yelling and crying and everything… the father said I’m done with you.
We called back… we gave it a few days we called back again
The kid sent a letter he used intermediaries and nothing.
No more contact.
Finally he moved into his aunt’s house and she kind of adopted him.
As far as I know and I talked to him at the end of last year when he told me he was engaged… there was no reconciliation.
I’m done with you…
I would venture to say that there are no words farther from the Gospel
than I’m done with you or
I give up on you
I’m done with you means
I just don’t care anymore
I’m done with you seems to whoever says them will not love anyomre
I’m done with you means you are no longer a son a daughter a friend a spouse or even for that matter a human being.
Today’s three parables The Lost coin, the lost sheep, and the prodigal son (don’t worry I only read the first two) Illustrate clearly without a shadow of a doubt that the phrase I’m done with you should never come from our mouths or find a place in our heart.
It should never be uttered by us individually or collectively by our society
It must never be said by us
because it will never be uttered by God.
I would say that even at the last judgment it is not God who says those words but us..
because God longs for all of us to be save, he wants all of us to come home.
God is sad when we say I'm done with you I don't want you or I something else more than you
Sadly though… Most of us in moments of pain or hurt or frustration have uttered those words
We’ve given up on people
Our society utters them all the time.
Frequently, drug addicts or any addict for that matter, or sex offenders, or embezzlers, politicians, heroes who make tragic mistakes, people who are pregnant, people who call themselves gay, the mentally ill, murderers, rapists, the list goes on and on.. all of these people are pushed aside or dismissed.. We right them off.
Collectively we say I’m done with you
Frequently we put a person in prison with no intention of trying to find a way to rehabilitate them.
It is like saying I am done with you… You messed up
Now you pay as if anyone could really pay for the crimes they committed
But we will not help you keep from messing up again in the future
Our goal is to punish not rehabilitate
And then there is the death penalty the ultimate rejection of a person.
When we execute someone it is like saying there is no hope for you…
We give up on you… We are done with you it is better if you were dead.
There are other ways that society can protect itself rather than completely giving up hope on someone. If we are going to be pro-life our defense of life has to be unequivocal.
It must be as Cardinal Bernadine said a seamless garment
And I know some of you disagree and I say don’t just stew in your seat..
Come find me and let’s talk about it.
So if a Catholic a Christian can never say I’m done with you
What do you say? What should a Catholic do.
The Gospel is pretty clear…
all of us are called to expend a lot of effort to bring people back.
To find the lost, To heal the broken
When the coin is lost the woman rips her whole house apart to find it.. she works at it all day and all night. Even lights a lamp
When the shepherd becomes aware that his sheep is lost he hunts for it at risk to himself
You know we have this kind of weird image of the shepherd and the lost sheep in our mind it is probably from all of those pictures of a shepherd with a docile sheep on his shoulders.
We think he just kinds of looks around and then he finds the sheep the sheep says here I am save me.
Wrong how often does that happen.
Sometimes the shepherd has to coax the sheep out with the promise of food or a better life
And if the sheep won’t come out or can’t come out
Sometimes the shepherd has to crawl down to where the sheep is trapped and lead it out.
And sometimes the shepherd has to put a fighting lamb on his shoulders and carry it out and he may even get crapped on or scratched up
because the sheep is afraid to leave fights the shepherd's help
The same is true for us.
When a friend a brother, sister, family member, whoever.. is lost
Sometimes we can coax them from their sin,
We can reason with them talk them out
Sometimes we have to put ourselves at risk to go find them
And lead them out..
Sometimes we have to fight for them over and over and over again at great personal cost
We have to literally carry them out on our shoulders as they kick and scream
And sometimes when we put them down they run right back.
And we have to continuously look for ways to get them back to bring them home
Sometimes we just have to watch and pray and fast and plead for them to come home.
We have to love them just like God loves us
With hope and patience and perseverance
Make no mistakes about it
The Church is not for saints
The church is for sinners and we are all sinners… all of us
And all of us have reason to be ashamed…. That’s why we are here
I can remember over and over again in my life how friends and brother priests have talked me down or pulled me out
Or on a couple of occasions even threw me on their shoulders kicking and screaming when I was lost in my brokenness or anger..
That happens every single time I go to confession the priest talks me down or carries me out.
The Church is so important because as broken as we all are
we are tasked by God to never give up on each other
And the Eucharist and the Word of God continually remind us of that.
When we are tired someone else will carry us.
And when they are tired or confused or broken or weak we will carry them
Humbly without pride remembering that we have been carried so many times ourselves.
Today’s gospel is so important because in our throw away society
Which is so quick to dismiss or give up even on people
We are called to be models of forgiveness, and healing and hope
We are called to look for the lost coins in our society
and bring the lost sheep home even when they fight us
We can never give up
There is no sin which would ever allow us to give up on a person
None Never Ever..
And we must continually remind our culture and even our Church of this profound Gospel truth
Forgiveness and reconciliation are not easy especially when you are right and the other person is wrong.
If you think that it is easy to forgive someone
to reconcile with them or to bring someone home
You many have never done either.
Lots to think
Lots to pray about
Friday, September 14, 2007
Why be good if you don't constantly feel the threat of heaven or hell ?
Be good because in the long run you will make a more
positive difference in the world in which we live
Be good because evil and sin are not all they are cracked up to be
Be good because if you live a thoughtful life you know it is the better path to take
Be good because the byproduct of sin is fear and isolation
Be good because it is the loving thing to do.
Be good because God made us and we belong to him
Be good because God Loves us and and wants the best for us
Being good is living as he would have us live.
Fr. Martin was brave to go on that show. I wish he would have had a sound bite to answer that question.
PS. I don't usually watch comedy central.. I stole this clip from Whispers in the Loggia. Google it if your want
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Just wanted to share the moment…. Don’t we have incredible students sometimes they make me so proud
The Freshman Retreat was last weekend, 221 students and 10 adults attended. Check Out the Pictures Even former staff members generously gave up their weekend to wash dishes and sweep the floor. Thanks, Jake and Lauren.Betsey and Craig, Sue and Pete also joined us and helped out. As usual the retreat was at "Kamp A komplish" (Yeah that's how they spell it)in Nanjemoy MD and we squeezed 221 people into a place that holds 78. "How did you do that?", you ask. We did it with Red Cross cots and two huge tents and a lot of prayer for good weather.
Over the last six years this retreat has grown and grown and grown and kind of developed into a tradition. Each year the retreat teams add something new. It is beautiful to see the retreat team "preach to their peers." The gender separated "sex talks" as the kids call them, are beautiful holy moments. Several students commented that this was the first time they really understood the teaching of the Church and why it is important. Almost to a person the students who participated enjoyed the retreat. To see their faces as they make new friends, and to wipe away their tears as many make their first adult confessions, is an incredible experience and worth every sacrifice.
The only glich in the weekend happened on the way home when the transmission on one of our vans sprung a leak and lost all of its fluid.... Yikes... I drove (priviledge of age)as the students and staff pushed it down the highway to a garage. Even Jessica (newly engaged to Levar) was pushing. She said it reminded her of some movie where a little girl pushes a van.. It must be a chick movie... The last movie I was was the Borne Ultimatum. There was no van pushing in that movie just cars blowing up.
Well today is a new day.. We'll have a staff meeting this morning and I just finished praying over the appointments in my calendar. What will I do with today? How will I use it to grow in holiness and purpose?
I have one intention for you at least one I can say. Tonight I am going to meet with 4 nursing students to discuss a pastoral plan for the Nursing School... This will be a new program, the first of it's kind for us and I really hope that we can figure it out. You know me, dreaming as usual, if we can develop a pastoral plan for the nursing school, why not the Music School or the School of Philosophy....
Your will your way Lord. Have a great day
Monday, September 03, 2007
Tells Youth Christ Will Fulfill Their Aspirations
LORETO, Italy, SEPT. 2, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI told young people not to be afraid to dream, since the Spirit of God is the one who places great aspirations in their hearts.
This is the message the Pope left Saturday evening to the half-million young people gathered in Loreto. The encounter was part of the Italian bishops' pastoral program to focus on youth ministry.
The Holy Father continued the message today at Mass, saying: "Unfortunately, today it is not unusual that many young people see a full and happy life as a difficult dream, and sometimes almost as an impossibility.
"Many people of your age look to the future with anxiety and pose many questions."
The Pontiff said they ask themselves, "'How do we be a part of a society marked by many and grave injustices and sufferings? How do we react to egoism and to the violence that at times seems to dominate? How do we give full meaning to life?'
"Do not be afraid, Christ can fulfill the deepest aspirations of your heart! Could there be unrealizable dreams when it is the Spirit of God who awakens and cultivates them in the heart?"
Benedict XVI said: "Allow me to repeat this to you tonight: Each one of you, if you remain united with Christ, can accomplish great things.
"This is why, dear friends, you must not be afraid to dream -- with open eyes -- of great projects of good, and you must not let yourselves be discouraged by difficulties."
During the meeting, some young people gave testimonies and engaged the Holy Father in dialogue, posing questions to which the Pope responded.
After the Saturday prayer vigil, the Pontiff went into the shrine of Loreto for a moment of private prayer in the Holy House. According to tradition, it is Mary's house from Nazareth that was carried stone by stone to Italy.
Later, the night was illuminated by fireworks that concluded a day marked by the vigil with the Pope and music performed by Italian artists.
Sunday, September 02, 2007
Saturday, September 01, 2007
Yesterday I exercised, did a little office work, and had Mass for our Football team. I have to admit I was a little resistant to the idea... they are not always an easy audience and you have to wonder do they really want to be there. Sometimes the "evil one" puts the "why bother thought" into my head.. You know how those thoughts go..."It's my one day off... you never get to relax etc.." all that self pity stuff that he throws at us. It is sometimes very effective. Yet, yesterday as we knelt together and they prayed for their family members, and as they came forward to receive communion, in my heart of hearts I felt ashamed of myself for wondering if it was worth it. Of course it was... To drive home the point God sent me some holy confessions and one of the players even began a dialog with me about becoming Catholic.
I hope that people who read this aren't scandalized and realize that priests are just normal people whom God has called to do incredible things. We bring into our lives as priests all of our baggage and weaknesses, human struggles... we are all broken in someway some of us have huge problems. Yet God does incredible things through these most human and broken vessels.
I hope you also realize that I am no English major. (One of the kids told me last year... "you really don't write well Fr. Bob" and here I am trying to type a blog, go figure.)
BTW if God can use priests with all of our challenges and weaknesses.
God can use you... Don't get discouraged.. and old friar priest once told me...
Robert discouragement is never from God..... It has become like a mantra for me and I repeat it continually.
Please pray for Priests... please place us continually before our Lord. Please pray God to fix our messes and heal the wounds we cause sometimes accidentally, and sadly sometimes purposely.
Last night after listening to some music on the porch I went over to see the kids (students) come back from METRO MADNESS... it is a citywide scavenger hunt. To be young again, usually they do stupid fun things like propose to Brides or stand in a fountain to get points and they run literally all over the city taking pictures of their antics.. The House and outside of the House and the Happel Room were packed (I hope we asked for permission to use The Happel Room) The RMs House Members and Freshman Retreat team were all group leaders... That's close to 25 groups with around 8 in a group.... WOW good event and cheap too. Even Madam President Katie Picou was there. It was really nice of her to come.
Football today... BEAT Shenandoah !!! Let's see what you've got this year Cards.
FR. ANDREW SANTAMORO HIS COMING TODAY... The last member of our team to be in place.. I'm excited and hopeful. He is a kind good man and I hear he preaches well... Don't forget to lift him up and if anyone on campus reads this blog welcome him and make him feel at home. It is always a little scary and exciting when you come to a new assignment.
I just wanted to drop you all (whoever you are) a few lines and this is what came out.
Have a good weekend. Keep holy the Lord's day with some sabbath rest...thanks Robert Poppleton.