Wednesday, November 4, 2009

November 2009 C.F.R. Vocations eLetter

May the Lord give you His peace!
This month we write about, The Great Equalizer.

I love to reflect on that passage of scripture where Our Lord speaks about our judgment on the Last Day. He tells us that whatever we do to one of His least brothers, we do to Him. Just think if we feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, cloth the naked, welcome the stranger, visit the sick or imprisoned…we do it to Him. Jesus puts an equals sign between Himself and the poor. What radical love! He hides himself in what Bl. Mother Teresa called the “distressing disguise of the poor” and gives us yet another place to meet Him.

This title of “the distressing disguise” is, I think, very accurate. The poor whom we encounter in our everyday lives bring us in close contact with terrible suffering often times. The challenges present in the lives of those we are called to serve such as homelessness, hunger, addiction, and terminal illness to name a few bring us face to face with Jesus Crucified. I often think of the work done by St. Francis or someone like the recently canonized St. Damien of Molokai who poured themselves out in service to lepers. The terrible suffering of physical deformity and the other things that go along with the disease of leprosy, which made lepers outcasts, make us deeply aware of the great love, courage and penetrating vision of St. Damien to see Christ in them and ultimately give his life for them. Ultimately, it is in this concrete love of neighbor that we find the measure of our love for God (See 1 John 3-4).

In our life as friars we are most blessed to have the privilege to live among and serve Jesus in His “least brethren.” It can be difficult at times, however, to find Jesus in His disguise. Our neighbor can be inconvenient, annoying, gruff or even out rightly unkind even when we are trying to help. We must constantly remind ourselves that Jesus Himself drew the equal sign between Himself and the “least brethren” and seek Him with the eyes of faith. Let us all beg the Lord in this month to give us a heart of love for Jesus in our neighbor, particularly the poor.

Check it out ...
+ US Vocations Choosing Traditional Orders (Aug. 20, 2009)
+ Modern society has become 'allergic' to sacrifice, warns Vatican official (July 6, 2009)
+ Planned Parenthood Director has a change of heart
+ Epic by John Eldredge (very good small book)
+ The Crucified Rabbi: Judaism and the Origins of Catholic Christianity by Taylor Marshall (great)

May the Lord bless you,
Br. Pius Marie Gagne, CFR
Assistant Vocation Director
Saint Joseph Friary
523 W. 142nd Street
New York, NY 10031

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