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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Seasonal Reflection: Middle East Conflict | HNP Today newsletter: September 26, 2012, Vol. 46, No. 20 | Communications | Holy Name Province

Michael Calabria, OFM, a member of my province and a  student of Islamic and Arabic studies offers a thoughtful reflection on the situation in the Middle East.  I urge you to read it and reflect.  It is much different than the knee-jerk thoughts we see coming from the media. Just click on the title above to read it.

Seasonal Reflection: Middle East Conflict | HNP Today newsletter: September 26, 2012, Vol. 46, No. 20 | Communications | Holy Name Province

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Book--When? What? Why?--Coming Soon

   As many of my blog readers know I have written a book which will become available in early 2013.  Many have asked,  "Why so Long to publish?" or "What's it all about?" or "What's the name of the book?

   As of now the book title is the same as the title of this blog, The Wandering Friar, the my publisher has let me know that titles can change in the editing process.  I finished the book in the spring and Tate Publishing of Oklahoma accepted it in late May.  They then explained to me the process of moving it to production.  They actually began that process earlier this month and are reviewing it for grammatical errors and adjusting the format a bit.  In October I will be assigned a copy editor who will suggest changes.  Fortunately after returning from two weeks in Missouri preaching missions I will be free the cooperate with that process and do some re-writing and new writing.  In November they will design the cover and the layout of the book with my collaboration.  After that comes pre-release publicity.  The book will have its own web page as well as a Facebook page. Finally in January or February the book will be released. It will be in paperback and also eventually available on Amazon.com and on the various e-readers such as Kindle.  That should answer the first question as well as the third.

   More important is the "What's it all about?" question.  The answer to that is twofold.  It tells the story of how I got my Franciscan vocation as well as how from an early age I have been a wanderer or traveler. My friends from Savin Hill, St. William's Parish and from Columbus High school will enjoy that part of the book.  The bulk of the book is a collection of true stories from my life and the lives of people I have met in my ministry travels who are the Church.  So often the Church is presented only from the perspective of its institutional life and often not favorably.  My book shows the Church to be the People of God and the Body of Christ alive in its many-varied members from many different cultures and backgrounds.  Without denying the problems that confront the Church it accentuates the positive in presenting the stories of its members.

 I think that it will be an easy and enjoyable read.  It would be a great  asset for  RCIA programs, for vocation directors as well as providing for Catholics and non-Catholics alike a positive picture of Church as Church is lived. 

  I hope that I have peaked your interest and that you will purchase a copy when the time comes. The book will be available in parishes where I preach missions as well as in my northwoods Wisconsin summer parishes.  Likewise there will be various book signings.




Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Ephphatha--Be Opened

 Now that we are back into the Gospel of Mark for the second week in a row after five weeks of John this coming  Sunday presents us with an interesting miracle story, one from which we can all learn.  People bring to Jesus a man who is deaf and cannot speak.  The Lord touches the man's ear and spitting touches his tongue (See Mk 7:31-37) and says "Ephphata (that is "Be opened.") and the man's ears are opened and he is able to speak.

  Like the people in the Gospel account we might be amazed at what Jesus does, but as is often the case with Jesus' miracles amazement is not enough.  There is a lesson to be learned that is often missed.  What is the lesson for us.

   In the rite of Infant Baptism there is an optional ritual where the child's lips and ears are touched with a recollection of this story.  The following prayer is then said"
                  The Lord Jesus made the deaf to hear and
                       the dumb speak. 
                  May he soon touch your ears to receive
                       his word,
                  and your mouth to proclaim his faith.
                  to the praise and glory of God the Father. Amen.

    The first challenge for us then is to realize that our gifts of hearing and speech are given to us not only to hear the many sounds that come to us in God's creation and in the the human voices around us, and not as well to speak the words that we have to say, but to hear and proclaim God's word.  To do that we need silence. We need to get behind the myriad sounds and noises around us not to mention the anger filled and fear mongering words that come to us in order to truly hear what God is saying.  We can then be proclaimers of that Word as well.

   As we become more tuned to hearing God's Word we became more able also to listen to one another.  it seems to me that in this era of blogs and social communication networks that we can all get out some sort of message, but we don't know how to really listen.  That is why our political ads and debates so often degenerate into negative ads and name calling.  We have so-called talk shows which are only meant to reinforce ideas already held.  Try to call one of them with the opposing point of view.

   Lest we heap blame on politicians and media leaders we need to look into our own personal lives.  Do we really try and listen to our spouses, family members, friends?  Do we try and listen to and understand people who disagree with us about politics and religion or do we simply tune them out and shout them down?

   We all need Jesus to touch our lips and our ears and say "Ephphata, be opened."