Br Nathan Wayne, LC
Six years ago I sauntered into a whitewashed seminary conference room in my flip-flops, American Eagle cargo shorts, and Ralph Lauren polo thinking, ”How weird will this week will be! I can’t believe I’m here.” Read more
Br Robert Wills, LC
The relationship between memory and identity was popularized by the Scottish philosopher David Hume, but the discussion has resurfaced with a more Christian understanding thanks to the reflections of “The Philosopher Pope,” Blessed John Paul II. In Memory and Identity, he notes the necessity of memory for the development of identity, not only of individuals, but of nations.
Rudyard Kipling also dealt with this topic in the Jungle Book, a children’s classic worth remembering. We all recall the scene in the Disney cartoon (1967) in which the Orangutan King Louie sings the famous “I wanna be like you!” He does this in order to obtain the secret to making fire from Mowgli, in hopes that it will make him a man. Quite simply, he’s “tired of monkeying around.” Kipling sheds even deeper insight by attributing the immature Orangutan’s lack of progress to their lack of “remembrance… They were always just going to have a leader, and laws and customs of their own, but they never did, because their memories would not hold over from day to day.” Easily succumbing to superficiality, a “falling of a nut turn[ed] their minds to laughter and all [was] forgotten.” (pp. 29-30)
Br László Erffa, LC
In the United States, this discussion is already over. The new missal translation is in use for over half a year now. Parishioners have grown accustomed to it and only a few slips of unconscious forgetfulness disturb (or enliven, take it as you want) the Sunday masses.
In Germany, on the other hand, the discussion is still raging. Although “raging” might well be an overstatement. Perhaps it was more the lack of discussion that draws attention? But after all, this debate was limited to only one word. The rest of the translation seems to be pretty much in line with the Roman standards.
One word. The lack of discussion (and consequently decision) on this word finally prompted the Holy Father to write a letter to the German bishops. In his usual pastoral manner, he very clearly and convincingly explains on many levels why the words of consecration are so much more appropriately translated “for many” than “for all”.
Br Robert Antonio, LC
“Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery. The blossom is blighted, the leaf is withered, the God of day goes down upon the dreary scene, and—and, in short you are for ever floored. As I am!” This sagacious advice from Mr. Micawber to the young David Copperfield tells volumes about how debts determine life. Spain has recently breathed a sigh of relief on gaining a loan of up to 100 million euros from the European Union to prop up her banks. But why not the same with Greece? The problem is that bankers don’t wield magic wands that transform debts into thin air. Even in bailouts, someone always bears the burden.
Original artwork by Br Luis Alberto de Avila, LC
Br Jared Loehr, LC
In the midst of a booming Roman Empire, the situation seemed “Okay.” Sure, there were wars on the outskirts. Sure, they gave up hope on having true love because their hearts had deep scars. Sure, they were living though they had nothing really worth living for. The majority felt “okay” about life. Suddenly but subtly, new families and new communities sprung up with a newfound light. These Christians, as they identified themselves, lived among the rest, but they lived with a sparkle in their eyes and hearts. Christians walked tall, had a new sense of life, and discovered something glorious. Sure, they carried out the same work, but they did so with serenity. Sure, they had problems but they bounced back up. Sure, some gave an example of hypocrisy but the core message was unaffected.
Br Robert Antonio, LC
Ave, Ave, Ave Maria… The singing grows louder as more than seven hundred people exit the Church of the Holy Innocents in a procession with images of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Once everyone is off the church steps and into the bustling city streets, the rosary begins. It’s about five in the afternoon, and New Yorkers dart down through the streets, staring over at the procession line. Now we’re on Broadway, and it’s my first time deep in Manhattan. Brother Ryan and I are at the vanguard of the procession and together we loudly sing out the Marian hymns at the end of each decade. I fight to keep my eyes focused straight ahead or on the song booklet. New York City is impressive, and we were going straight to the heart of it, Times Square.
Br Jesus Salinas, LC
It’s becoming more frequent nowadays that people don’t know the highway that will bring them to become what they are meant to become. In today’s world, how is it possible to be happy? Is this not just a mere relative word that could mean anything?
A few months ago, I was outside Old St Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City and a young man with a green jacket was walking towards me; he saw my Roman collar and kept walking, but I couldn’t resist inviting him to one of the activities that the Cathedral was organizing. We were inviting people for confession. The young man told me in a sincere tone: “Thank you, but I’m agnostic”.
Br Robert Wills, LC
Our times are sadly marked by a crisis of identity, both on a personal and societal level. A proper understanding of identity is crucial as who we think we are significantly determines our self-esteem and guides our action. Taking The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling as our backdrop, we may explore an essential component in shaping our identity: relationships.
The story begins with the infant Mowgli who is reared by a pack of wolves. As he begins to develop, his differences as a human are more pronounced. The animals hate him because they cannot look in his eyes and because he is wise, able to take the thorns from their feet, but also able to cry. It is no longer safe for him to remain in the jungle, but must seek civilization in haste. He is accompanied by two Christ-like figures, a bear named Baloo and a panther named Bagheera. In route, they teach him what it means to be a man. We find a parallel with Christianity as the Christian also senses the dangers of this present life and realizes that he must choose between the animal kingdom and the Kingdom of Christ. Nevertheless, he does not need to make this journey alone.
Br Andres Colmenares, LC
We have all gone through one stage of our life or another when living our Christian faith was more difficult than normal. Something happens that makes us put into question the very beliefs that were inscribed in our hearts. But Christ’s constant yearning is for us to “Believe and doubt no longer” (John 21:27).
Caravaggio was a painter who lived towards the end of the 16th century. There is something in his paintings depicting religious subjects that easily catches the attention of the viewer. Caravaggio’s “The Incredulity of Saint Thomas” tells the story of himself, but above all, of each of us in our journey through life.