Archive for December 2009
Bubba burgers, homemade fries and ice cream cake—that’s how Casa María celebrated Bro. Tim’s birthday on Tues., Dec. 22. Above, Bro. Tim stands next to his special birthday banner that was prepared by his brothers in honor of his special day. More photos.
Casa María welcomed its latest guest, Diego Jakob Hoenigman, son of Luke and María Hoenigman. Diego was born a week ago—Saturday, Dec. 12, the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. He measures 17 1/2 inches tall and weighs 5 pounds and 8 ounces. Diego visited his ‘Marianist Uncle Brothers’ at Casa María after attending the 5 p.m. Saturday evening Mass at Holy Rosary Parish with Papa, Mama and Abuelita.
A film, produced by students at Colegio San José in Puerto Rico, stars Hermano Armando Añeses, S.M., a former member of the Casa María community (2005), as El Añenator.
There are many slang words that seem to have opposite connotations. For example, “bad” (good), “sick” (amazing); “beast” (mastery). Although not necessarily part of slang jargon, the word “authority” also can be classified in a similar manner.
Authority can have opposite connotations: in a positive way—respect, bestowed on one by others by virtue of talent, gifts and leadership; in a negative way—a presence that changes behavior (slow down while driving).
Regardless of which definition comes to mind first, “authority” is something that compels us to action.
So, what were some thoughts that came to mind when answering the question posed this morning: “How does the authority of our vows compel us to act on our faith?”
The first idea to keep in mind is that whenever we act on our faith, it is the Holy Spirit that prompts our actions.
With that idea in mind, it is important to also look at each of the vows in terms of both its letter and spirit. As Chaminade, himself, warned in his letter to the retreat masters of 1839, “The letter kills but the spirit quickens.” In other words, if we only live by the bounds of the letter of the vows, we will miss out on the richness of what the spirit of the vows truly are meant to teach us.
The spirit of the vow of poverty: not just what we can’t have, but learning to share all of our possessions—money, time and talent—with others and that all of God’s creation must be respected and cared for.
The spirit of the vow of chastity: not about all of the hot dates that we’ll miss, but embracing the life-long lesson of giving and receiving unconditional love.
The spirit of the vow of obedience: not being forced to do something we don’t want, but promising to listen and dialog with each other, discerning God’s will as a community of faith, not an individual.
The spirit of the vow of stability: not that there is no way out if it goes bad, but participating wholeheartedly and giving one’s entire life to the mission.
Like Jesus was asked in today’s Gospel, “By what authority do you do these things?”, perhaps we can answer that is it the spirit of the vows that compel us to action. There are many practical ways to act on our faith—and it doesn’t always have to be something big; the little things also can have significant impact on others.
Here is a practical list, used at the end of the day, to examine our interaction with others. Keep in mind that this list isn’t meant to be checked off and forgotten, but to as a way to examine how we can, in many practical ways, use the authority of our vows to act on our faith:
At the end of your day, ask yourself, “Today, have I…”
- Greeted someone by his/her first name?
- Smiled at someone?
- Hugged someone?
- Complimented someone?
- Affirmed someone?
- Thanked someone?
- Laughed with someone?
- Offered a potentially-helpful suggestion to someone?
- Listened attentively and patiently to someone?
- Offered to help someone?
- Actually helped someon?
- Given someone some of my valuable time?
- Shown patience with someone who frustrates me or whom I dislike?
- Tried to cheer-up someone?
- Prayed for someone?
- (adapted from a list developed by Brother Jerome Matz, S.M., Ph.D.)
As we gather around the altar, let’s take the time to reflect on these because, after a long day in professional ministry building up God’s reign, we are reminded that when we come home, we are called to continue our ministry by building community with one another as brothers who share a common vocation as Marianists.
Presented at the “Under 59 Strategic Planning Weekend”
Saturday, December 12, 2009, 3:30 p.m.
Session IV: Witness & Collaborative Opportunities
It should come as no surprise that a cartoon character that I have followed since childhood is Dennis the Menace. One scene, in particular, shows Dennis and a friend walking out of his neighbor’s house, the Wilsons, with Mr. Wilson standing at the doorway. Dennis says to his friend, “Mr. Wilson said he was happy to see me, but the happy never made it to his face.”
I like this scene because it speaks about the connection between what is said and how it is expressed; in other words, what we do in relation to how we do it. Or, to be more specific in our lives, “the quality of our work and the quality of our presence.”
While it is important to celebrate and affirm the achievements in our professional ministries, we need to consider that how we live our lives may have more of an impact on others than what we actually accomplish in our work.
In thinking about what it means to be faithful and attractive witnesses to Jesus Christ and his Gospel, the term “witness” first comes to mind.
By definition, a witness is one who has seen, heard, experienced and, therefore, believes in something. As Marianists, we are called to be witnesses to our faith.
Some of the basic tenets of our faith include the “Good News”—that we are a people of the resurrection; that darkness always yields to light; that death leads to resurrection; that we are all loved by God; and that the crucifix, which is a symbol of execution, also is a powerful symbol of hope—that death does not have the final word.
With such “good news,” how can we not live our lives with joy, gratitude, passion and enthusiasm?
Being a witness to our faith also keeps us grounded in our realities: the limitations of our resources, the weaknesses of our humanity and the challenges of our daily lives.
Despite these realities, as faithful witnesses, we can hold our ideals before us as a guide to move forward together as a community and invite others to walk with us in hope, joy, passion and enthusiasm for our shared vocation.
And, when others see that joy expressed by how we live our lives, they will find us as faithful and attractive witnesses to Jesus Christ and his Gospel.
St. Mary’s University Christmas Party
Rev. Rudy Vela, vice president for mission and identity, led university faculty and staff with the singing of Jingle Bells. Community Highlight: Brother Mike won a raffle of two tickets to the San Antonio Spurs basketball game against the Indiana Pacers on Saturday, Dec. 19. Now the tough decision: who will be his guest? More photos.
Later that evening…
St. Mary’s University Alumni Association Christmas Party