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Homily for Sunday, June 25, 2017 by Fr Michael


God is very near to each one of our lives and Jesus tells us not to be afraid even when we run into conflict as is bound to happen. Each one of us here is asked to give witness daily to our faith, something we will naturally do if our faith is living and active. All that is going on in our hearts is manifest to God. What we hear whispered within through the grace of the Holy Spirit we are to proclaim on the housetops so that God’s love may be known to all around us whether they  are willing to accept it or not.

We live in a world where there are a lot of different voices for good or bad and we can be sure that we will run into suffering and conflict if we stand up for what is right, just and loving. The power of sin is very real around us, the power of those who want to go to war, build larger weapons, exploit our natural resources, mistreat migrants, ignore the rights of the unborn, build up their wealth and power in ways that harm the poor and underprivileged. Those who speak out against these ways of acting, are the Jeremiahs of our own time and may hear from so called friends: “Perhaps he will be trapped; then we can prevail, and take our vengeance on him.” The suffering Christ who identifies with the least of our sisters or brothers is as present today as two thousand years ago.

At the same time our world is a place of wonderful hope for as St Paul reminds us this morning: “If by the transgression of the one the many died, how much more did the grace of God and the gracious gift of the one man Jesus Christ overflow for the many.” Amid the signs of evil in our time are many signs of transformation, of hope and encouragement.

The wisdom of Pope Francis is clearly a call to a greater awareness of just what Christ has accomplished and is bringing about in our world today. He tells us all:

“Practice the commandment of love, not on the basis of ideas or concepts, but rather on the basis of genuine interpersonal encounter. We need to build up this culture of encounter. We do not love concepts or ideas; no one loves a concept or an idea. We love people… Commitment, true commitment, is born of the love of men and women, of children and the elderly, of peoples and communities…of names and faces which fill our hearts. From those seeds of hope patiently sown in the forgotten fringes of our planet, from those seedlings of a tenderness which struggles to grow amid the shadows of exclusion, great trees will spring up, great groves of hope to give oxygen to our world.”

It does not take much to see the destructive forces in our society but right in the middle of it all is the living and active presence of the Holy Spirit as we move out of mere concepts and ideas into living encounter.

And it seems to me this is exactly what our Eucharist is inviting us into as we share in this bread and wine having become the Body and Blood of Christ Jesus. It is his love that brings us together, sustains us in our daily lives and empowers us to become groves of hope that give oxygen to our world.

Homily by Fr Alan for Feast of the Sacred Heart


Dear Brothers  and Sisters, St Alphonus Ligouri was right, when he said
years ago – “That God is crazy about us”, meaning that he has given us His divine Heart, and
given us all of his fulness.

Sixty years ago today, the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus , our
Fr Raymond (of happy memory) gave a beautiful, powerful Homily on the Sacred Heart – here in our Chapter Room. It was based on the Encyclical Haurieatis Aquas (“You Will Draw Waters”)that had recently been published by Pope Pius XII, to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the Feast of the Sacred Heart established by Pope Pius IX. The Encyclical spelled out in length the abundance of supernatural graces which flow from the heart of Christ . This Feast (now a Solemnity) made the whole Church, and not merely the Jesuits recognize the Sacred Heart as an important dimension, to say the least, of Christian spirituality.

Fr Raymond had been a Jesuit (and remained one!). That homily here, sixty
years ago,  reflected

thefact that both he and Pius XII were excellent theologians.  So the
Homily that morning, though

very moving, was a bit ‘heady’ for me at the time, ‘spelling out in length
all the super-  natural

graces’.Within a few days of that homily I came across a translation of the
poems of St John of the

Cross, who was also quite a theologian and Doctor of the Church..and, of
course, a poet.  John,

likened the heart of Jesus to a rich, deep  wine cellar! He said, more than
once , that all his

theology, and he wrote extensively, was contained in his poetry. Among his
poems  I read the

following lines, memorized them and they have been with me ever since:

“Deep-cellared are the caverns of my Loves’ Heart. I drank of him alive.
And now, stumbling

from the tavern, not a thought of mine survives…of the flock I used to
drive (or was driven by)”.

That ’stumbling’ from the tavern’ line, some of us can identify with
initially. “ Drunk” is the

word that comes spontaneously to mind. “Inebriated’, however, is a much
more fitting term and is

John’s real meaning. This same word means : Exhilerating, enlivened,
refreshed, stimulated,

gladdened, made cheerful. What more could one ask!  If one wants to be
inebriated , that is the

most rewarding and God-intended way to go.

God, who – as God – is absolutely inaccessible to us, has made himself,
in becoming one of us –

imitable. Imitable!

“Learn of Me for I am meek and humble of heart.”   Amen.

Chapter Talk by Fr Michael, Sunday, June 18th

+The Trinity and Our Life of Prayer Cont.    Chapter Talk  June 18, 2017          

As I suggested last week, I would like to continue to reflect with you about the mystery of the Trinity and our life of prayer. I feel this is related also to the Solemnity of Corpus Christi today and the coming Solemnity of the Sacred Heart this coming Friday.

In the writing of St Augustine the Holy Spirit is perceived primarily as love in the life of the Trinity more as a psychological illustration of the relationship of the persons. In the writing of William of St Thierry there is an emphasis on the Holy Spirit being the source of unity between Father and Son. It is a unity of love but clearly the emphasis is on the mutuality of this love to be experienced by those who share in this love of the Father and Son.

Here I would like to refer again to the treatise of Odo Brooke on William’s doctrine where he says:

“The Holy Spirit is ..conceived primarily as the mutual union between the Father and the Son, which is the foundation for the doctrine [in William’s writings] of the restoration of resemblance, a participation in the life of the Holy Spirit by sharing in the mutual union of the Father and the Son. This is described in terms of daring realism, portraying a unity of spirit, whereby the soul becomes as it were the life of the Holy Spirit himself. At the same time he guards carefully against the danger of pantheism.”

I’m seeing here also a connection with the feast of Corpus Christi that we are celebrating for as St Paul tells us in his 1st letter to the Corinthians “in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons, and we were all given to drink of one Spirit.” All of us gathered here are from very different backgrounds but by reason of sharing in the one Spirit we form one body, becoming in Christ members of one another.

We realize our oneness in Christ as we allow each of our lives to take on a divine resemblance, to become conformed more each day to the mind of Christ. In William’s Golden Epistle where he speaks of this resemblance to God that comes about as our hearts are purified of sin and evil habits, he writes:

“It is called unity of spirit not only because the Holy Spirit brings it about or inclines a man’s spirit to it, but because it is the Holy Spirit himself, the God who is Charity… The soul in its happiness finds itself standing midway in the Embrace and the Kiss of Father and Son. In a manner which exceeds description and thought, the man of God is found worth to become not God but what God is, that is to say, becomes through grace what God is by nature.”

This movement in the human person towards divine ‘resemblance’ is indeed the dominant theme of William’s spirituality and of his Trinitarian theology.” While this movement takes place over a life time, the goal is clear. The stages we go through are those of being at first governed by the senses, our personal wants and needs. Our senses are fundamentally good but the way in which we use them, makes an enormous difference. Dealing with our senses is closely related in William’s thought to the mystery of the Incarnation. The temporal economy in which we live forms so many stepping stones toward the eternal, our sharing in the dynamic life of the Trinity. All aspects of life around us become sacraments whereby what is eternal, spiritual and everlasting is manifest.

The Blessed Sacrament exposed for adoration on our altar and altars throughout the world today is God’s design to makes us aware of Christ’s presence among us. Christ is continually drawing us into his own love of the Father through the Living Flame of the Holy Spirit. Let me conclude with a quote for St John Vianney that speaks to me deeply of this mystery:

“Let us open the door of the Sacred Heart, and shut ourselves in for a moment amid its Divine flames; we shall then realize what God’s love means…

Homily by Fr Seamus last Sunday at the 10:30 Eucharist

Sixth Sunday – 2017- C
Rdngs:  Acts 8:5-8, 14-17; 1 Peter 3:15-18; John 14:15-21

We have not yet celebrated the feast of the Ascension, yet all three
readings this morning remind us of the work of the Holy Spirit in the
early church and in our lives today.

Jesus said to his disciples: “If you love me, you will keep my
commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another
Advocate to be with you always …. “(John 14:15) So it’s all about
obedience – and, coincidentally, this morning, our community was blessed
and delighted to witness Br Matthias making his first annual vows, the
first of which was Obedience …  the ability to hear the voice of God in
our elected abbot, in our holy Rule, in the members of the community, both
old and young; but obedience – listening to the voice of God, is also
necessary in the person we married, in underlings and children, in elderly
parents and boring in-laws, in our friends at AA and Al-Anon and even in
the voices of the people who get on our nerves at work. In all these
places we can, if we listen with the ear of our hearts, hear the voice of
God. You might wonder why these words about the coming of the Holy Spirit
focus so much on the human. The answer, of course, is that the human is
the only place we can really be sure that God is.

It is so easy to love the God we do not see but it is so much more
sanctifying to serve the God we learn to see in others. It’s about
self-donation; it’s not about ourselves; it’s about our consideration of
the “other.” The self-giving of real obedience means putting down our own
selfish concerns and allowing ourselves to be led by the sights of
another, treating our own best interests with a relaxed grasp. (cf. The
Rule of Benedict -Joan Chittister, OSB,  p.57)

We empty ourselves so that the presence of God – another Advocate, the
Paraclete, the Spirit of truth can come in. Will we know when the Holy
Spirit comes to us? What does the Holy Spirit look like? Will there be
some kind of a sign of his/her presence?

An early Cistercian Abbot,  Doctor of the Church, St Bernard of Clairvaux,
speaking of the coming of the Holy Spirit in his life, put it this way:

“Because he is living and active, scarcely had he entered me than he
awakened my slumbering soul. My heart was as hard as a rock and stricken;
he shook it, softened it, and wounded it … You well understand that the
Bridegroom Word, who has entered me more than once, has never given me a
sign of his presence by voice, image or any other appeals to the senses.
No movement on his part warns me of his coming, no sensation has ever
hinted to me that he was entering my interior retreats … I understood
that he was there due to certain movements of my own heart. The fleeing
of the vices and the repression of my carnal appetites has made known to
me the strength of his virtue. The uncovering and accusation of my hidden
feelings has led me to admire the depth of his wisdom; even the slightest
amendment of my way of life has given me the experience of his sweet
bounty; seeing the renewal and reformation of my mind, that is, the
interior man in me, I have perceived something of his beauty; finally,
contemplating the wonder of his greatness in all this,  has left me
speechless.” (Sermon on the Canticle of Canticles, 74,6)

Homily at early Mass by Fr Michael

+I WILL COME TO YOU                                                    6th Sunday of Easter(A) 2017

As the Easter season draws to a close, we are invited to open our hearts more and more to the life of the Spirit. As Christians we are called upon to realize that Christ is in the Father and we are in him and he in us. These are daring words from Christ and typical of the gospel of John who was Christ’s beloved disciple. It is as though we too are being called into this closeness to Christ if we are to be true to our faith and open our hearts to the power of God’s word.

From the letter of Peter, he tells us that we are to “be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks us for a reason for our hope, but to do it with a gentleness and reverence.” We live in a world where this is more important than ever for there are many aspects of our society that run contrary to the witness of our faith. The consumerism, the politicalizing of so much of what is going on, it is often hard to assert our Christian values, the values of practicing virtue, of respect for human life, of faith, hope and love, the value of caring for the sick and elderly, of reaching out to the poor and neglected of our society. If one member suffers, there is a way in which we all suffer.

In that great production that appeared on Broadway in the mid 60’s called Fiddler on the Roof, the father of a Jewish family Tevye asks his wife Golde whether she loves him. She finds it a foolish question for she had been his wife for twenty-five years, washed his clothes, fed the family day after day. When Tevye persists with his question, Golde finally says “I suppose I do” to which he responds, “It’s nice to know.” As I reflected on this story I became aware that this is the very question Jesus asked Peter three times after his resurrection: “Do you love me, Peter.” This is a reference to Peter’s having denied him three times but show that Jesus too needed to know.

We all have need of hearing those words “I love you” even when they come from others we know to be weak human beings. And when we say them, how crucial it is, that we truly mean them from our hearts. And yet, it is only through the gift of the Holy Spirit that we can really love God, only through the working of grace that we can love our neighbor as she or he deserves. And so our need to pray always and to gather here to celebrate this Eucharist, to be fed by the Bread of Life.

LCG Compline – May 21st

Dear brothers and sisters of LCG,

Each month we have been gathering via Zoom and in time sync with the monks of Gethsemani for the Sunday evening Compline service.  This month’s gathering will be held this Sunday, May 21, at 6:30 pm CDT.   (7:30 EDT)  The contact numbers are shown below.  I hope you will be able to join us and share in this time of community prayer.

Allen Thyssen
Compline Coordinator

Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android:

Or iPhone one-tap (US Toll):  +14086380968,659403642# or +16465588656,659403642#

Or Telephone:

Dial: +1 408 638 0968 (US Toll) or +1 646 558 8656 (US Toll)

Meeting ID: 659 403 642

International numbers available: