A View of Life

lemonysnickettLemony Snicket’s “A Series of Unfortunate Events” is a series of 13 children’s novels noted for their modern gothic tone, dark humor, and quirky story telling. Probably an acquired taste for lots of folks, but then the books have sold more than 65 million copies. Somebody’s reading them. Partly drawn from the series, Lemony Snicket (real name Daniel Handler) has compiled a post-modern book of wisdom and wit – a post-modern Benjamin Franklin of a sort. Continue reading

Thanksgiving

thanksgiving-pastor-colThere have been lots of reports in the news about the choices people are making this Thanksgiving – and I am not referring to the turkey or the ham. Sadly, emotions are running so high regarding the recent elections, some families are choosing not to come together, not to invite certain family members. Others are a little more proactive, announcing there will be no political discussions allowed – and I hope that works, but I think it will still be there hanging in the air. Such is life. It is always about the choices we make. Continue reading

What we choose

tenlepersIn the first reading, we hear the end of the story of Naaman, a Syrian general, who has just been cured of his leprosy. But we don’t get to hear the start of the story. It turns out that when Naaman comes to Israel he encounters the prophet Elisha. Naaman has come bearing all manner of riches and gifts, but Elisha wants none of it. He simply instructs Naaman to wash seven times in the Jordan. Pretty simple and ordinary, yes? Continue reading

A determined commitment

GratitudeI am often given to repeating St. Bonaventure’s wise council: humility is the guardian and gateway to all the other virtues…and the first evidence of it is gratitude. We can all have moments in which we are profoundly grateful, but are we grateful people? The first is a description of a moment in time, deeply remembered; the second is an intrinsic condition of who you are as a person. It is at the root of your being, it is the lens through which you see the world, and it is the mode by which you engage the world. Even as I write that last sentence, I am thinking, “Gosh, I want to be that person!” Continue reading

Veterans Day

Thank-You-Veterans“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” – John F. Kennedy

Yesterday I received an email from one of my brother friars. I thought would post its content. The email raised the question – in the light of all the commercial sales and advertisements: Is Veterans Day really a holiday or is it a holy day?

It’s a holy day when we reflect on the many women and men who serve in the military and put their own lives in danger for the freedom we enjoy.

It’s a holy day when we stop our daily life routines to celebrate at a parade, pause our businesses and close our schools to show joy and respect for what our veterans have done for us and our nation, for the rights and freedoms that they have won and protected through all these years.

It’s a holy day when we remember and give thanks to God for our veterans who have returned safely from areas of conflict and war.

It’s a holy day when we stop everything we are doing and consider what government and military benefits, or lack thereof, our veterans who are returning from service find here at home.

It’s a holy day when we feel the pain of guilt and experience the sadness for those veterans who are homeless, disabled from combat wounds, affected by mental, emotional and spiritual agonies and are left alone in their suffering.

It’s a holy day when we mourn our own selfishness for forgetting to thank and be ever grateful to those veterans who have served our country yet feel unappreciated, lonely and forgotten.

To all veterans, today and every day, we say thank you for protecting us and keeping us safe. We bless you, pray for you and pledge to never forget the sacrifices you have made for our country and for us.

Fr. David Convertino, OFM
Executive Director
Holy Name Province – Franciscan Friars
Office of Development

Contagious Gratitude

GratitudeI don’t remember – it has been so long now – but somewhere, sometime ago, I began to start emails, letters, cards and the like with the same phrase: “May the grace and peace of Christ be with you.” It is an expression that begins many of St. Paul’s letters, in one form or another, e.g., Galatians 1:3. It is not a scripted beginning; there is a great deal of intention about it. There are times when I am in a hurry, responding to emails, that I am reminded at the end to return to the beginning and insert the greeting. It often leads to editing of the email if there is some part that does not have grace or peace about it. Continue reading

Practice, practice, practice

GratitudeI am often given to repeating St. Bonaventure’s wise counsel: humility is the guardian and gateway to all the other virtues…and the first evidence of it is gratitude. We can all have moments in which we are profoundly grateful, but are we grateful people? The first is a description of a moment in time, deeply remembered; the second is an intrinsic condition of who you are as a person. It is at the root of your being, it is the lens through which you see the world, and it is the mode by which you engage the world. Even as I write that last sentence, I am thinking, “Gosh, I want to be that person!” Continue reading

Becoming Grateful

francisbrnOn his way to Jerusalem, Jesus meets 10 lepers. They ask for mercy, they are cured, and told to show themselves to the priest who will verify their healing and ritually cleanse them so that they can re-enter society. Only one returns to thank Jesus.  There are lots of commentaries and folks who conclude that the other nine, in some way, lack gratitude.

Could be, but I don’t think so… who wouldn’t be grateful to be cured of this dread disease? Who wouldn’t be grateful for being restored to their family and community?  Grateful, that they are no longer banished from the towns, the market, and the usual ebb and flow of life; no longer consigned to beg day upon day without end. I suspect they were grateful. Continue reading

Boundaries, Faith, and Gratitude – Gratitude

Gratitude

The Samaritan fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him.  Some might argue that it reads too much into the posture to say that it is an act of worship (although I think that is a fair reading of Luke) – but in any event, is it an act of humility.  St. Bonaventure, sometimes referred to as the second founder of the Franciscan friars, wrote in his work The Tree of Life that humility is the guardian and gateway of all the other virtues and that gratitude is its first evidence. Continue reading