Blog Region

Portiuncula Celebration






2015-08-01 12.38.09

And that is what happens when you attend the Portiuncula celebration at Mayslake Village and Father Johnpaul Cafiero is the speaker. He offered the following reflections on the Peace prayer (these are my notes so bear with the somewhat choppy structure):

*Not written by Francis but holds its Spirit.


*Make me an instrument:

What does it mean to be an instrument? Practice Practice Practice! We gotta keep trying no matter how old we are. We need our body (physical and mental strength), we need a teacher, we cannot learn the spiritual life by ourselves, do we have a spiritual companion or director? To play our instrument we also need perseverance, patience, commitment to time, talent and treasure. What does it tae to make an instrument: finest wood, time, sanding, stringing the instrument. soak away some of those imperfections, sand down the rough edges of my life, stretch me, my lack of growth and inability to grow, mold it and polish it and He will make beautiful music.

2015-08-01 12.44.06

*Of Thy peace: Where do we capture peace? Peace be with you. Shalom. Fullness. Contentment. We all have the gift within us.

*Where there is hatred, let me sow love: open the newspaper and we see hatred everywhere. How do we sow love? We begin practicing random acts of kindness. Francis’s kindness kissing the leper and turning his life around. IS the world going to be different because we are here? The smallest acts can change the world.

*Where there is injury, pardon: sowing–right amount of sun and water (not too little not too much). We never know what will grow. Do not expect anything in return. An injury is a bruise, a wound. We need to tend to the wound because otherwise it becomes infected. Pardoning helps that wound. When we don’t let go it destroys us. When we don’t forgive we are stuck in the past.

*Where there is doubt, faith: Doubt is a normal part of life. In order to begin with faith, we have to begin with doubt.

2015-08-01 12.44.54

*Where there is despair; hope: we have to recognize when we need to reach out when we are depressed. The darkness of depression. Hope means seeing with possibilities, so how do we sow hope? Seeing the world with new eyes. Do we see a person and stick them in a cage? Or do we believe that people can change and grow? Hope is seeing what can be. Nothing is impossible for God

*Where there is darkness, light: How do we give light? Do not out the light under the bed, but out it where we cna shine it on everyone and everything.

*Where there is sadness, joy: We wake up happy, we are alive! Happiness is based on external things but joy is deep within.

As old as the 10th century perhaps written by French friars.

The second part was written as a response to war in the 20th century

*O Divine Master

2015-08-01 12.44.27

Master as maestro…as someone who is a teacher, coordinator, orchestrator but not necessarily a power differential as in a master/slave relationship. The church is pulled into the feudal system, where the power differential is great. Francis challenges the Church back to think of who is the Divine Master. Who are what is the divine master of our life? We live in a  culture that worships youth, and success and pleasure technology and medicine as the center and source of our lives….we must ask ourselves, is that what is teaching/leading our lives. What is our image of God?  God is love. We cannot love someone we are afraid of. Yaweh, breath.Pneuma. The very breath of God, God breaths life into our lives.

*Grant that I may not so much seek To be consoled as to console: Sometimes all we can do is be present for someone. There is no need for words.

*To be understood as to understand: How do messages get lost when they are being filtered through the mental loop of individuals. Two ears and one mouth. Sometimes we bombard heaven with words. Sometimes prayer is wasting time with God. Am I truly listening or am I thinking about what I am going to say next.

2015-08-01 12.45.33

*It is in giving that we receive:  We do not know how people are going to receive our gift but the gospel commands us to give. We give what we do from our heart, what they do with it is their responsibility.

*It is in pardoning that we are pardoned: We go to a priest who absolves us in the name of the community.

*It is in dying that we are born to eternal life: We live in a death denying culture. We do not want to think about it because we are fearful of the end and spend too much on mortuary cosmetics to look like we are sleeping. Death is the ultimate act of letting go.


2015-08-01 12.55.49


Book Review: Lectio Divina: The Medieval Experience of Reading


This is one feature of this blog that I hope to have at least once a month. I hope you enjoy it.

Lectio Divina: The Medieval Experience of Reading, by Duncan Robertson, gets four taus from me!

If you are interested in the history of reading, this book is for you.  What this book does is explore the development of lectio divina during the Middle Ages. It is carefully researched (obviously, it is a solid scholarly text so if lots of footnotes are not your thing, this book is not for you) taking you through the culture of reading in the monasteries, where monks “chewed” and “digested” the words of Scripture, savoring each word to the rich literature that it produced. It examines the act of interpretation (should it be literal? when is reading into the allegory too much?) and the act of writing (i.e. writing about Scripture will be conducive to devotion).

Several chapters are devoted to the development of meditation, contemplation, and prayer, as a product of reading carefully the word of God. A whole chapter is dedicated to how the Song of Songs was read, understood (or at least how Bernard, Gregory, and Origen wrestled with its meaning), and written about. The book concludes with how these practices were integrated in the twelfth century.

There is much I appreciate in this book concerning the act of reading. I often encounter a great resistance to read and when reading is done, I find that understanding and interpretation it is superficial and dull.  In his last chapter, Robertson asks: “What does this monastic pedagogy have to do with reading in the modern world?” (231).  Freedom to pause and think more deeply, to explore, to question, to draw closer to God.