Saturday, January 29, 2011

Transformation in God

St. Joseph Freinademetz was the first Divine Word Missionary sent to China.  He was canonized along with our founder in 2003 and today is his feast day.

For me, Saint Joseph Freinademetz gives me hope that I can change and grow in holiness.  He greatly desired to be a missionary to China but once there he found the Chinese culture and people were not to his liking. He found little in the Chinese character that appealed to him as a European.  But he truly believed it was God's will for him and so he strove to love those whom he served and to adapt to the culture.  By the time of his death he even looked Chinese!  He prayed that in heaven he would be Chinese.  The people loved him greatly and on the 100th anniversary of his death the government even allowed the people to celebrate! 

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Strength in Weakness

Today is the feast day of our Founder, St. Arnold Janssen.

Fr. Arnold was ordinary. Incredibly so. Although he was lighthearted, he wasn't known for his humor or charm but rather for his dry, mathematical personality. He was not a charismatic leader but instead had a knack for boring people with his long theological homilies. His talent and potential were not obvious. Fr. Arnold had no ecstasies, revelations, or great dark nights. People thought he was a fool because of his plan to found a missionary society even while the Church at home was being persecuted.
So why is Fr. Arnold a saint of Mother Church? Once he was convinced of God's will, he never wavered. He was an ordinary guy who let God do whatever he wanted with him. He allowed himself to be viewed as a fool for Christ. He was himself 100%
That is something we can imitate.
Confused? I can clarify.

Most of us are not going to be called by God to have visions, mystical experiences, be charismatic leaders, or even found three missionary congregations. But we are all called to holiness and intimate union with God. We are called to do great things and touch lives around us. People looked at Arnold Janssen and said, "Him? Why would God use him? He is so ordinary and unattractive!"
But God did use him. St. Arnold let him have free reign over his life. God filled his weaknesses with strength.  God opened doors; God disposed hearts, God provided opportunities, God sent candidates, God prospered the congregations.
There's the secret: God did these things! God lead; Fr. Arnold followed. In the darkness of faith, he didn't understand how it could possibly work out, but he trusted God anyway. God wants to do great things in our lives too. He wants to make us into saints. Will we let him?

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Trust in God

The other day we had the pleasure of having Mass assisted by a Jesuit deacon (he is looking forward to being ordained to the priesthood this summer). Our community has known him for several years but I was struck by his joy. Being young in religious life myself, I am familiar with the twists and turns that come with the first years of religious life. But what was his conclusion? "Praised be God who has brought me though it to this point." We ask God "Why?" in our suffering and find it hard to believe that a good God would allow this pain. God, when he became man, knew suffering himself but his Father brought him through it. Maybe instead of asking why and doubting God's goodness and love, we should rather rejoice in his fidelity and trust that he will again bring us through our sufferings and trials.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

Our God, heaven cannot hold him, nor earth sustain
Heaven and earth shall flee away when he comes to reign
In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.

Angels and Archangels may have gathered there
Cherubim and seraphim thronged the air
But only his mother in her maiden bliss
Worshiped the Beloved with a kiss.
(Christina Rossetti)

January 1 is the solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God. On the octave of Christmas and the beginning of a new civil year, we remember that the Child she gave birth to is the King of heaven and earth forever. Mary is our Blessed Mother as the years diminish and eternity comes closer.

Let us pray:
Father, source of light in every age, the virgin conceived and bore your Son who is called Wonderful God, Prince of Peace.
May her prayer, the gift of a mother's love, be your people's joy through all ages.
May her response, born of a humble heart, draw your Spirit to rest on your people.
Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Holy Spirit Adoration Sisters wish you a blessed New Year, full of the peace and joy that only God can give!