Monday, March 31, 2008

I love you Lord my Strength

A prayer from my past....

I love you Lord my strength

I need you Lord my strength

I seek you Lord my strength

Feed me Lord my strength

Protect me Lord my strength

Challenge me Lord my strength

I love you Lord my strength

I trust you Lord my strength

Help me Lord my strength

Guide me Lord my strength

Feed me Lord my strength

Heal me Lord my strength

I trust you Lord my strength

I trust you Lord my strength

For I love you Lord my strength

Yes I love you Lord my strength

For I need you Lord my strength

Help me love you Lord my strenght


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

From Adoration Tonight

One the Third Day... Matt Maher


How does one stay calm in a tempest, when things are happening all over and you have no control to stop them or even influence them. How does one keep focused in times of difficulty?
I don't profess to be an expert or even good example in either of these situations.

What I do know is that I am loved by God all of us are and if I can hold on to that profound truth there is not a lot that can touch me.

From Romans....
What will separate us from the love of Christ? Will anguish, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or the sword? 37 No, in all these things we conquer overwhelmingly through him who loved us. 38For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, 9 nor future things, nor powers, 39
nor height, nor depth, 10 nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Thank you Lord for the challenges of life... may they draw even pull me, may they draw and even pull all of us, into the profound mystery of your never ending love. May the challenges and the trials we experience make us ever more dependent on you, seeking to do your will, in the manner you will , it for as long as it pleases you...

I give you my life.


Sunday, March 23, 2008

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Easter Vigil 2008

St. Vincent’s Chapel

Listen to Homily

Many years ago I was running a retreat in Litchfield Connecticut
We were about to start with a Holy Hour on Friday Night
when one of the other friars told me that the kitchen was closed
and that the cook had left.
We were supposed to have supper that night.

People had traveled for hours and had not eaten
and they were hungry, I panicked

I took off my vestments almost threw them at one of the other friars and asked him to take over.

I grabbed someone to go with me and we drove 1/2 hour to the Stop and Shop in New Milford.

The student and I ran through store...

We got platters of meat and bread
and chips and fruit and drinks and cookies
things seemed to be flying off the shelves
I always over buy and then we ran to the check out counter...

We quickly piled it on the belt
The guy behind me looked a little puzzled at me
as we threw all this food on the belt.
I was still in my habit, a strange sight for Friday Nights at Stop and Shop

I explained that I had 50 hungry college kids to feed
He didn't seem that interested but was polite

I told the kid with me that we had it we had to be back in 40 minutes
The lady at the cash started scanning everything.
When she had finished she said 178.51 please

I reached for my wallet and it wasn't there
I started slapping all of my pockets and there was no wallet.

The lady at the registered repeated 178.51.
I looked at the kid who was with me
he had nothing and looked away embarrassed
it was so awkward

I felt as if there was huge spotlight of shame shining down on me
screaming, shady, scammer or looser whatever..

Finally I stammered
I forgot my wallet
am so sorry I forgot my wallet

What do I do now? I asked
This has never happened to me.
I don't know what to do
I have no license ID nothing...

It seemed like I was frozen in time

Then i heard
How much was that?
178.51 the lady said a third time
the guy behind us gave her his credit card
and said to me

Don’t worry
You are paid in full…

Thank you I stammered
Thank you so much
I can't believe I did this

Thank you, what is your name
What is your address?
I have the money I can send it to you

Get going he said.... you've go 35 minutes

I was in awe of this stranger
who was under no obligation at all to help me
but paid my debt in full none the less

I remember it like yesterday

You know
All of us have debt....

Many of us would feel alone and ashamed
if where we've been,
or what we've done were ever known

It would be like that giant spot light of shame that I felt in Stop and Shop
We have just heard 9 readings from salvation history...

Be it in the slave camps of the Egyptians
Or as they wandered in the Sinai desert
Or as they failed to heed the prophets
Or as they were being led away into Babylon

God has always been faithful to his people
He has intervened over and over and over again
In the life of the Church and in our personal histories

He did not and does not just leave us standing
in the cash register line of life
ashamed and alone because of our sins and our debts

Our God does not turn away from us
even though we've turned away from him.

On Holy Thursday God taught us how to live
He begged us to love each other humbly
to be of service to each other
and to wash each others' feet.

And on our journey he promised to be forever present to us
in his Body and in his Blood

On Good Friday God taught us how to love
Showing us by his example that loving will not be easy
and that each time we love a little part of us has to die

Tonight the entire church
all of creation in fact,
rejoices in God's victory over death

Because by his cross and resurrection he has paid our debt in full
conquering even death itself

When the women who had gone to the tomb saw the risen Jesus
they ran to him and they rejoiced with him.

I can only imagine the joy on his face to see them and to be with them
It would have been understandable for them to stop for a while and talk and enjoy each other’s company.

They had been through so much

Jesus did not let them rest with him for long
"Go and tell the brothers" he told them..

In other words...
Go and share your joy with the brothers
Go and share your hope with your brothers

Like the women at the tomb we too must share our hope
which comes from our faith in the Risen Lord Jesus

We must share
The message of the Gospel
The message that God loves us
The message that God has freed us from our sins has paid our debt in full
We must proclaim with our lives that death no longer has power over us.

If we truly believe that Jesus has risen how can we keep quiet

Permit me one a couple of words to those of us here who seek to be full members of our church

Holy ones, Kayla, Michael, Michael, Victoria and Vivian

Almost from the time of Jesus the Church has welcomed new members at this Easter Vigil
in ceremonies pretty much like the one we celebrate tonight.

We are so happy that you are here
We are grateful that you heard and listened to God’s call
Your willingness to follow God's call is a beautiful example to us
and a wonderful witness

We are excited
that some of you are seeking full communion in the Church
and we look forward to you to being completely involved in the life of faith on this campus. WE NEED YOU !!!

Who knows how God will bless us with and through your holy lives.

We can’t wait for the baptisms we will celebrate tonight…
Through the power of this sacrament
you will be born again of water and the spirit

I promise we heated up the water as best we could.

Your Baptism and reception into full communion is not an end but the beginning of an incredible journey

Those of you who will be confirmed..

Never forget
that the gifts of the Holy Spirit can change your life
and the lives of everyone you come in contact with.

And those of you who are going to receive Holy Communion for the first time…
Your excitement makes us all stronger in our conviction
that God is always present to us in the Bread of Life

Tonight Jesus tells challenges us like he challenged the women at the tomb.

Don't be afraid
Go and tell the brothers.

These are two simple Easter challenges

May we live them each and every day of our lives

May our lives proclaim our faith in Jesus Christ the Risen Lord


Dying he destroyed our Death
Rising he restored our life

We are Paid in full indeed

He is Risen
He is Risen

Alleluia Alleluia

Friday, March 21, 2008

Thoughts on Holy Thursday and Good Friday 2008


On Holy Thursday the Church calls us to mediate on the Eucharist,
the Eucharist which is the summit and sacrament of God's presence in our lives.

At the Last Supper Jesus said....
This is my body which will be given up for you.
this is the cup of my blood...
Do this in memory of me...

As very little boy one of my earliest memories is of being afraid of the shadow which the ceiling light threw on my wall over the window. Some how I convinced myself that it was a monster or a space ship with a monster and I knew it was a shadow but I could not shake my fear. I also new that I could get rid of the shadow but when it came to weighing my fear of the dark and my fear of the "monster" the monster won. With the light on at least I could see him coming.... with the lights out who knew.

When I would eventually fall asleep sometimes I would wake up with a nightmare of the "shadow monster" on several occasions I must have made noise because I would wake up with my Mom or Dad sitting on my bed... All they would say was "I'm here," "I'm here Robbie" and my fears would fade away and I would go right back to sleep. BTW I eventually killed the monster by removing the lampshade of the ceiling light. No lampshade no shadow, no monster.

When things are going crazy
When we are absorbed in the all the worries that life can bring
loneliness or lack of relationship or misunderstandings isolate us
When we face a challenge like our own illness or the illness of a loved one
Whenever fear is part of our lives

God is present to us
Yes present to us in many ways but...
Present to us in the most perfect real way in the Eucharist

With the Eucharist ...
God sits on our bed and simply says...
"It's OK I am here"

The Eucharist also transforms us
The Eucharist gives us an example of the profoundly humble love of God
and challenges us to imitate it in our daily lives

The celebration of the Eucharist is wonderfully connected to God's ultimate sacrifice on the Cross of

Thank you Lord for the Gift of the Eucharist which frees us from fear and calls us to a greater union with you and our brothers and sisters.

There is so much more you could say about the Eucharist.... but for today all I'll say is

The Eucharist is .... God's "I'm here "

Lord Jesus Christ, we thank you for your presence in this Eucharist:
in the Word proclaimed in the Church, in the priest,
and most of all in the sacrament of your Body and Blood.
May we always recognize you in our midst;

may we come one day to see you face to face,
to be with you for ever.



On Good Friday we have the chance to reflect on the nature of love....
The cross teaches us that dying is an inescapable part of love
To love one has to be willing to die to him/herself
Die to our preference
Die to our pride
Die to even our legitimate desires
Love and sacrifice go hand in hand

When I say I love you it is like saying I will die for you...
In big ways and small over and over and over again
I love you

Yes on the cross Jesus paid the price of our sin
but from the cross Jesus also taught us how to live and to love

When we look at the Cross, all of us have to ask ourselves...
How much have I really loved ?

We adore you O Christ and we praise you
Because by your holy Cross
You have redeemed the world.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Hold your fire.....

Communication is so essential to our human experience. If we are to live in communion we need to communicate, we need to share ideas, to compare and contrast them. We need to enter into dialog, listen attentively and be able to thoughtfully react to what the other person is saying really saying. Good, honest, open conversation is and should always be the preferred way of communicating. When you speak with someone in person, you can hear their words, you can see their expressions and gestures, in a way good conversation can be an incredible window into another persons heart. What a privileged place to be. In conversation we realize that there is a person, convictions and feelings behind the words shared. There is so much more than just words or concepts.

Yes, there is a person, a person loved by God, a person who deserves our respect our sister or our brother.

So here is my question...

Is email a valid way of communicating? Is it possible to converse to communicate with email? I wonder. With email it is so easy to see just a bunch of words on a page and to forget that there is a person behind those words. It is so easy to fail to ask very very important questions like... Why is she/he saying what they are saying ? How close are their words to their heart? Sometimes because email is almost instantaneous it doesn't allow us to ponder, to think, to question our own feelings or put them into perspective. It is so easy to hit the send button and fire away forgetting there is a person at the other end. Sometimes we just blast away and ask questions later.

I confess while I've gotten better sometimes my email trigger is still too quick, not calculated or thought out enough. I usually fire away when I am hit unsuspectingly, when I didn't see something coming when I feel under fire if you will. Maybe we should have a heart monitor installed on our computers which refuses to send an email if our palms are sweaty or our heart is racing too fast. That would be too easy.... maybe we (I) should just learn how to pause even when we/I feel that we/I am being ambushed not respected or even under attack. It is so difficult to "hold your fire" but I think that is was God calls us to do...

Can we communicate with email... sure... about things like "were is the meeting? where is my next class, what are we doing this weekend what movie do you want to see".... etc. Email is great for unimportant stuff..

Hold your fire indeed.... if you don't it will keep you humble. Tell me about it.

I started this blog so that I could find another way to share my life with the people of God. To let the readers see who we are and how we think, or at least who I am and what I how I think as a friar priest. Quite often I wonder if anyone really reads it or if it matters... Just when I was growing a little lax in my sharing a young man from Conaty 303 stepped up and said Fr. Bob could you write a little more in your blog? That meant so much to me... Thanks.... wild one

If anyone has any ideas for an Easter Vigil Homily I'm open for suggestions.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The next step...

Wednesday Night Adoration Homily
Jn 8:31-42

May the peace of Christ reign in our hearts

The Gospel today is rather interesting.. When you read the first sentence it says that Jesus is talking to the Jews who believed in him.... so you expect that it will be a pleasant conversation however it quickly goes in the opposite direction.

Yes the people Jesus was speaking to believed in him.
Belief is the first step in discipleship
However Jesus seemed to be asking them to take the next step and they balked.
They balked because they felt that as children of Abraham they were guaranteed a special place in God's kingdom

It may seem strange at first that a person would feel justified by their nationality or affiliation to a great religious leader in the past.... but when you think about it people still do that all the time

How often have we heard
"I'm Catholic"
even if I don't go to Church....
"I'm baptized..."...

Dr. Laura on the Radio once decimated a man who claimed to be Catholic but didn't go to church.
She said something like..." if you got a black belt in Karate when you were 19 and didn't practice it and then tried to use it when you were 39 it won't have the power to save you. If you don't use it you loose it"

All of us here go to church...
In fact you are even here on a Wednesday night at adoration...
(above and beyond the call of duty)

Yet holy ones it is also possible for us to just go through the motions.
It is also possible for us to claim I believe,
I go to Church regularly.... I'm a good person I'm set
Sound familiar

We have to be so careful that we don't fall into the sin of the Jews who "believed" in Jesus but didn't feel the need to go any further.

We have to be so careful that we go beyond just believing.

Jesus was trying to help the Jews understand that the next step is to remain in his word.

To listen to him
To enter into a relationship with him
To lives our lives constantly trying to live as he would have us live
and love as he would have us love.

When we meet someone important to us we listen to every word that falls from their mouths and we ponder them.

This begs the question.... How often are we that attentive to the Word of God and the living tradition of our faith.

If somehow we are able to transcend the rat race of everyday live... and remain in the presence of God, in other words remain in His Word.....
Then Jesus promises us that the truth will be revealed to us and we will be free

Free from loneliness... for we can never be alone
Free from what others think because we realize that it doesn't really matter
Free from our sins because the Gospel, the good news, promises us that we can be freed even from our weaknesses.

Just as Jesus was asking the Jews to take the next step...
So he asks us...
Have we incarnated our belief into our lives
Do we live it beyond the confines of weekly mass

Do we remain in His Word...

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Mom's Snowblower?

When it snows we have a man come and plow our driveway but frequently it takes him a while to get here. Mark who lives in the apartment above ours likes to get a jump on the plowing and frequently pulls out the snowblower. When he does Mom is as likely to start baking. And when he finishes at the top of the steps sometimes he finds
Mom's Sour Cream Coffee Cake... AKA Mom's snowblower

Mom's Sour Cream Coffee Cake


1 stick of Margarine
1 cup of sugar or Splenda
2 eggs
1 coup of sour cream
2 cups of flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt

1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp cinnamon

Set out first 4 ingredients to get them to room temperature
Blend and beat them together after the mixture becomes smooth

dd the two cups of flour the baking soda vanilla and salt

Pour 1/2 of the batter into the pan and and then add 1/2 the walnuts, sugar, and cinnamon
add the rest of the batter and put the rest of the walnuts, sugar and cinnamon on top.

Bake at 350 for 30 Minutes or until the tooth pick is dry.

Can you tell I am really bored ?

Buffalo You Gotta Love it. ...

Mom passed her test and the we found a car and the money to purchase it.... I was all set to go home when..... I can see a snowblower and a snow shovel in my future....

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

What does love ask ?

This post isn't that unique so many people go through challenges like this. I choose to share it because I hope that my experience can help someone else.

My Mom is the most important person in my life. She is 83 years old lively, as sharp as a tack, except when it comes to balancing her check book, but she can go on line and find out if the government is late with her Social Security check. And she is waiting for the money that "The President is going to give to us Seniors"

The problem is recently she had an accident. She ran into another car, the young man and his wife were very kind to her and I am grateful so grateful for that. Unfortunately the insurance totaled her car because it was old and not worth much. We can find a way to get a new used car.

What's the problem you ask ? I've never doubted my Mom's ability to drive. Over the past few years she has slowly but surely reduced her driving according to her limitations. She doesn't drive at night, she doesn't drive when the roads are wet, she doesn't drive on the Thruway (interstate). She basically goes to Church (a lot) to the supermarket, to the beauty parlor and to Kmart. After the accident I just didn't know how well she was able to drive and I didn't feel that I was qualified to judge if she is a good driver or not. I know without a doubt that she would be heart broken if she ever injured anyone, and I know that if she had another serious accident and injured herself or someone else I would never forgive myself.

What does love ask of me in this situation... What does love call me to do ?

A car is so important for senior citizens. They face so many challenges in the "golden years" of their life. Some carry the cross of sickness, many the lose of a loved one. Some have to move out of their home or miss their extended families who live far away. A car in small way gives them control over a world which in so many other ways seems to be slipping away. When the car goes it is really changes their life styles... Yet... sometimes the car has to go.

I didn't know what to do so I spent sometime on the web researching. I found that two hospitals in Western New York offer driver assessment programs for seniors. The costs vary significantly but these programs are offered through the physical therapy departments and are pretty intensive. We chose the driver assessment program at The Erie County Medical Center. THEY DO NOT TAKE YOUR LICENCE AWAY IF YOU FAIL (at least here in Buffalo) but they do send a complete report to your doctor who I believe has the option of asking you to stop driving.

Kathy the receptionist was great to my Mom. She had already calmed me down when I had called in for information. When we arrived everyone did their best to put Mom at ease. She was very nervous. Lisa the physical therapist talked to her got her medical history and listened to my concerns in a very calm friendly and professional way. She tested her strength, her dexterity, her coordination, she performed some cognitive tests that were confusing even to me but Mom passed them. They tested her sight, her peripheral vision, and her depth perspective. With a machine that had a gas and a brake pedal they tested her response time. She did very well on that test. Then after all of that they took her out on the road for a 20 minute driving test. As they walked out the door I hear Lisa tell my 83 year old Mom. "Don't be nervous just pretend we are old friends and you are taking me for a ride" Mom passed. Thanks be to God

When they came back Lisa offered us some excellent suggestions. None of us ever drive with Mom because when she goes with us we drive. From now on every two months or so the person that usually picks her up will ask her to drive and see how she is doing. Mom won't drive at night or on the highway anymore (she hasn't done so in years. ) Lisa also recommended that Mom start using alternate transportation so that when the time comes for her to give up her car it will not be such a traumatic transition. I'm not sure how far we are going to go in that direction. We shall see. Mom is very confident now and tells everyone she passed her test. This afternoon we shopped for a new used car.

I think love demanded that I ask Mom to take the assessment. I am grateful that she did so willingly even though it made her very nervous. I know our mood would have been different tonight had she not passed but she assured me that she was willing to make the necessary changes in her life if that had been the out come.

I am more comfortable. Mom is more confident.

Here is a great resource for people in similar situations who are trying to figure out what to do.

If you are in Western New York I highly recommend the Driver Evaluation Program at ECMC. They are GREAT PEOPLE with a GREAT PROGRAM. Thanks Lisa and Kathy and thanks ECMC.

Fr. Bob Schlageter

Monday, March 03, 2008

A whole bunch of things....

As most of you know I am a gadget man. The more buttons to push the better. Last Saturday Catholic participated in a world wide prayer vigil with the Pope and universities from Spain, Hungry, Cuba, Belarus, France, Italy, Brazil and USA (Catholic) The technology was incredible everyone was hooked up by satellite. I didn't have much to do with it except recruit the students (remember we are on Spring Break) and translate the program. I didn't want to get in the way but the producer from EWTN asked me several times to sit in the production truck and work help the director follow the script. (A gadget man's dream come true)

It was incredible to watch a television program from 7 countries and threee continents be put together on the fly. It is definately a high pressure kind of job. If EWTN ever re-airs it look for the 6th Annual Day of Prayer for European University Students... The title is long but the program was GREAT.

I went to continued my Sunday pilgrimages and went to 10:00 Mass at Holy Redeemer Church in College Park Maryland. The priest greeted me at the door and he greeted everyone. The Church is warm and welcoming and there were lots of people with families there. There was definately a penitential tone in the liturgy it started at the back of the church and the congregation knelt as the penitential rite was begun. Warm Warm Warm Warm. Warm and welcoming. The music was very good and appropriate with a cantor and choir. The teenage kid was having a problem following along and staying engaged but he was there. The bulletin was chock full of stuff and I was happy to see the list of staff that Father had. I can't imagine how he could have planned everything out by himself. As I've noted before I have been in Campus Ministry almost 19 years and they have been incredible years to be sure but I feel moved to visit local churches to get a sense of the Church art large again. I realize someday when I leave Catholic I will never have the opportunity to Church hop again. Watch and learn Robert... Watch and learn.

It was around 45 degrees so I took my first ride of the year. I left campus at 1:35 and got to the Wheaton Metro Station at 3:06 it was around a 13 mile ride. I left Catholic and took residential streets until I got to the North Branch Bike trail near Queens Chapel Plaza then I followed the Sligo creek trail up to Wheaton. There were lots of places I could have bailed (West Hyattsville, Takoma Park, and Silver Spring all have Metro Stations). The trail kind of runs parallel to Georgia Ave but I made it all the way with just a few aches and pains.

SUNDAY NIGHT Brought Mass for some pagan s who didn't plan their day well and supper at a local Restaurant. A beautiful day to be sure.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Nunc Dimittis

Protect us Lord as we stay awake
Watch over us as we sleep
That awake we may keep watch with Christ
And asleep rest in his peace

Now you let your servant go in peace
you word has been fulfilled

my own eyes have seen the salvation
which you have prepared in the sight of every people

A light to reveal you to the gentiles
and the glory of your people Israel

Protect us Lord as we stay awake
Watch over us as we sleep
that awake we can keep watch with Christ
and asleep rest in his peace

Spring Break Baby....

Enough Said...