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Have you considered a one year Volunteer Adventure?

Have you considered a one year Volunteer Adventure?

I recall a former work colleague who was from Israel, and shared that it was mandatory that everyone serve two years in the military. He would often share of the many good memories of working with others, and how that has a way of uniting the whole country.  (He was…

Prayer: To Ask God for What He Needs! (St. Teresa of Avila on Prayer)

Prayer: To Ask God for What He Needs! (St. Teresa of Avila on Prayer)

Most of us think of prayer, as asking God for what we need. In this post, I’d like to explore prayer as asking God for what He needs! To ask God for what we need, and want, is indeed authentic prayer, and Jesus even tells us to do this in…

Will God Give Me a Sign?

Will God Give Me a Sign?

I’ve asked God for a sign, to tell me if He wants me to be a priest, or a brother, or to get married. I am still waiting…. I do hear this from many discerning a vocation to priesthood or religious life. In this post, I’d like to explore the…

Why Give Up the Joy of Begetting a Child?

Why Give Up the Joy of Begetting a Child?

“I am discerning between getting married or being a religious” is a phrase I often hear from men I talk to. In the end, these are not as different as they seem! Theologically, we speak of marriage as both unitive and creative. Let’s look at each of these: Unitive In…

Are You an Arrow in the Quiver of the Lord?

Are You an Arrow in the Quiver of the Lord?

By our Baptism, we are anointed as Prophets! Are you a prophet like Isaiah where in Is 49:11-2, we read; “The Lord called me from birth, from my mother’s womb He gave me my name. He made of me a sharp-edged sword and concealed me in the shadow of His…

What is the Right Use of Freedom?

What is the Right Use of Freedom?

“In those days, in their thirst for water, the people grumbled against Moses, saying, “Why did you ever make us leave Egypt? Was it just to have us die here of thirst with our children and our livestock?” (Ex 17:3) The third Sunday of Lent recounts the Exodus, where just…

Are You Wrestling with God?

Are You Wrestling with God?

On a recent discernment retreat, our Novice Master, Fr. Giles Zakowicz OFM Conv., related a story he heard from author Nikos Kazantzakis, that goes roughly as follows. While researching monastic life, Nikos as a young man visited a monastery on Mount Athos in Greece, to interview the much older Abba…

Our Lives Matter!!

Our Lives Matter!!

Is there any greater force in the world than a good example?  We fail to fully appreciate, how much our lives, and our good works, matter! We have tremendous power to make the world a better place, and a decision to use that power or not!  I am reminded of…

St. Francis Teaches us that Every Day is Christmas!

St. Francis Teaches us that Every Day is Christmas!

The early Church recognized that even sinners celebrate birthdays, but only for Saints could we truly celebrate their death, because this was their “birth” to eternal life. Christmas, the birth of Christ, was therefore NOT a major feast of the early Church. However, over the years, the Church did begin…

Are You Prepared for The Second Coming of Christ?

Are You Prepared for The Second Coming of Christ?

The message of the first weeks of Advent is “So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come!”  (Mt 24:44) Scripture and science tell us, the end will come.  Scripture tells us that no one knows when, but…

A Millionaire who became a Friar

A Millionaire who became a Friar

Sunday’s Gospel of Zacchaeus reminded me of the Story of Br. George.  Zacchaeus was a rich man, who gave away much of his money to change his life and follow Christ. He was not only rich but the scriptures tell us he was the “Chief Tax Collector”.  He was a…

As Thanksgiving Day Approaches, Are We Truly Grateful?

As Thanksgiving Day Approaches, Are We Truly Grateful?

Lord, thank you for what you’ve given me, help me this day to use it in your service!  That is a beautiful prayer!  In the Gospel of Luke 17:11-19, ten Lepers were healed, only one came back to thank God!  How much of our lives is lived without fully being…

Prayer: How to Find the HIDDEN TREASURE!

Prayer: How to Find the HIDDEN TREASURE!

Is prayer important? I say it is ESSENTIAL, especially to find one’s call in life. Allow me to share a rather common outline of a vocation story. (Not particular to any one person, but a collection of very common themes in both my life and in the lives of men…

Why not Choose a FRANCISCAN University?

Why not Choose a FRANCISCAN University?

Today’s world offers so many choices, how can one possibly know what major to study in college? Life is a journey. Each step on that journey is a choice; what do I want to do? Where do I want to Go?  Also for many, we begin on that path with…

Faith: The Courage to be Uncomfortable!

Faith: The Courage to be Uncomfortable!

Stepping Outside Your Comfort Zone… This last weekend, we had our parish festival. One of our musical groups invited me to play the opening song with them. I have played guitar for years now, but mostly in church or by myself. A few times I have had the opportunity to…

Pope Francis, St. Francis, Jean Vanier show us how to Heal Violence.

Pope Francis, St. Francis, Jean Vanier show us how to Heal Violence.

Each time we pray the Our Father, we say “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven”.  With all the recent news of violence in our world, it is easy to lose Hope, that this prayer will ever be answered!  Someone recently shared with…

Initial Formation Series: Postulancy

Initial Formation Series: Postulancy

Most discerners want to know what the first few years in the order look like. In this post and following posts, I will try to describe the first years in the order. These first years are often referred to as “Initial Formation” Principle and Purpose of Initial Formation: Since our…

Initial Formation Series: Novitiate

Initial Formation Series: Novitiate

The second year of Initial formation is the Novitiate year. It begins with the Investiture ceremony, when a young man first receives his habit, and becomes a member of the order. If we look at the experience of Francis, in particular at the years of his conversion, we notice that…

Initial Formation Series: Post Novitiate

Initial Formation Series: Post Novitiate

The post novitiate years begin with the profession of Vows, for the first time, for a period of three years. This time of temporary profession, is to continue to deepen your life as a Franciscan, but also to be trained for ministry.  A friar planning to be a brother may…

Is Life just a Game of Monopoly?

Is Life just a Game of Monopoly?

“Vanity of Vanities says Qoheleth”; Is life just a game of Monopoly? As Vocation Director, I talk to many about how to find your mission in life. Last Sunday’s readings, warn about the danger of the opposite; spending your life on things that do not really matter. They urge us…

A Message for Graduates – A Prayer for Students

A Message for Graduates – A Prayer for Students

We had our 8th Grade Graduation the other day at our Catholic School, Our Lady of Grace in Castro Valley, where we Conventual Franciscans have been newly ministering for one year now. How proud we were of our graduates, as they got up and spoke of the value of their…

The Deeper Meaning of the Eucharist

The Deeper Meaning of the Eucharist

Padre Pio tells us; “It is easier for the earth to exist without the sun than without the holy Sacrifice of the Mass.” The Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ is to help us appreciate the deeper meaning of the Mass, and of all our life! I met…

The Deeper Meaning of Our Lives – Franciscan Poverty

The Deeper Meaning of Our Lives – Franciscan Poverty

In my more recent post (read post), I spoke of how the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ reminds us of the deeper reality of the Mass. The Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ is STILL so much more!  Today’s Feast is not only about the deeper…

Our Light Makes Christ Visible (Our last Come & See)

Our Light Makes Christ Visible (Our last Come & See)

Once in a while, we see a “footprint” of God, and we know we are on the right path!  This happened just last weekend, while friar Bao and I were hurriedly preparing for a Friday night prayer service at the end of our first day of our “Come and See”…

Life after the Resurrection: A Meditation on John Chapter 21

Life after the Resurrection: A Meditation on John Chapter 21

In the Easter Season, we are hearing about the appearances of the Risen Jesus to the disciples in the Sunday readings.  The third Sunday of Easter, we hear from the Gospel of John, Chapter 21, about the 3rd appearance of Jesus to the disciples. (It is interesting to note, that…

Why Do Franciscans Live Celibacy?

Why Do Franciscans Live Celibacy?

Franciscans do not take a vow of Celibacy! We take a vow of Chastity, which is really no different than any other Christian.  Chastity is the virtue of right ordering of your sexuality within the context of your whole person, and your lifestyle. Chastity is the virtue of expressing your…

Are You Bearing Fruit?  Write your Autobiography, Read IT and See!

Are You Bearing Fruit? Write your Autobiography, Read IT and See!

This Sunday’s Gospel, Luke 13:1-9 from the 3rd Sunday of Lent, is the parable of the vineyard owner who wishes to cut down a tree on his property that is not being fruitful.  The vine dresser however pleads, let me fertilize it and wait one more year. Perhaps then it…

Are You a Fish? Or a Fisherman?

Are You a Fish? Or a Fisherman?

That is the basic question of Life! Hopefully, you are at least a fish! Hopefully also, one day you will be a fisher of people! Our lives on earth can be descried in a very simple way: first we must be saved, then we must work to save others. It…

What is a Vocation? The Four Wise Men Show Us! (I bet you never knew there were four!)

What is a Vocation? The Four Wise Men Show Us! (I bet you never knew there were four!)

Recently in the Church we celebrated the feast of the Epiphany. The story of the Magi, on a journey, guided by a light from the heavens to give their gifts to Jesus, is an archetype of a Vocation. Simply put, our individual Vocation is to give our unique gifts that…

Peace on Earth: Can it Be?

Peace on Earth: Can it Be?

The day after Christmas, I woke to a duet of Bing Crosby and David Bowie singing “Little Drummer Boy”. While Bing sings the traditional “Come they told me….” David sings a harmony “Peace on earth, can it be?” It is a powerful song, but also it is a question we…

Honoring Our Two Latest Franciscan Martyrs: All Franciscans Strive to be Martyrs!

Honoring Our Two Latest Franciscan Martyrs: All Franciscans Strive to be Martyrs!

I saw a cartoon a few years back, that in a few frames described the following: Outdoors, under a tree, sat a holy man, praying. He was thin from fasting, and appeared weak. He had legs crossed, palms of his hands up, and eyes closed as he prayed. Along the…

Why do Franciscans Take a Vow of Poverty?

Why do Franciscans Take a Vow of Poverty?

St. Francis, and Franciscans, are known for working with the poor. The Gospel Passage of the 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Mk 12:38-44), helps us see why. Often we hear the gospel passage known as the “Widow’s Mite” (Mk: 12:41-44) preached as example of how we should give; “from our…

Why Proclaim Christ as King? This Feast is Very Difficult…. It is meant to be!

Why Proclaim Christ as King? This Feast is Very Difficult…. It is meant to be!

Just before we celebrated Christ the King, I heard a long time parishioner of the parish I was visiting, share with another parishioner, that she was not comfortable with the title of Christ the King. It seemed too political. I felt I could understand her objection. If you want to…

What is the “Secret of Life”?  St. Francis Knew It… “Perfect Joy”!

What is the “Secret of Life”? St. Francis Knew It… “Perfect Joy”!

The 8th grade class has been presenting their projects on the Saints the last few weeks. So far, the presentations I have heard, speak of the martyrs. The martyrs make a powerful impression on us. Their deaths witness to us, that there is a purpose for living that is greater…

Are You Waiting for God to Tell You what to Do? God Respects Free Will… After All, He Made It!

Are You Waiting for God to Tell You what to Do? God Respects Free Will… After All, He Made It!

When it comes to finding God’s will for how you live out your vocation, I like to say; “God Confirms, not commands!” Discerning God’s will requires looking back as much as it does looking forward! It is not listening for God telling us what He wants us to do, it…

We are all Blind, until we hear the Voice of Jesus, the One Who can Make us See (Mk 10:46-52)

We are all Blind, until we hear the Voice of Jesus, the One Who can Make us See (Mk 10:46-52)

I went to a diocesan youth rally with our Confirmation students this week. The presenter blindfolded several student volunteers, and brought them to the front of the more than 700 students in a filled gymnasium. He asked them to search for a hidden object in the audience. The crowd was…

Servant Leadership: New Business Principle, or Ancient Teaching of Jesus? (Mk 10:35-45)

Servant Leadership: New Business Principle, or Ancient Teaching of Jesus? (Mk 10:35-45)

  The Gospel is filled with “Oxymorons” (a combination of words that have opposite or very different meanings; e.g. jumbo shrimp). The Gospel says you must die to live, empty yourself to be filled, give to receive. This Sunday, the 29th in Ordinary Time, we will hear that a leader…

How to Pray with the Gospels

How to Pray with the Gospels

I cannot think of any better way to discern a Franciscan call, than to listen to Jesus through praying the Gospels. Francis of Assisi followed Christ, by knowing him through the Gospels. The Gospels were to be the “rule” of the new religious order he founded, often referred to as…

Is Jesus calling you to sell all you have and follow HIM? (Mk 10:17-30)

Is Jesus calling you to sell all you have and follow HIM? (Mk 10:17-30)

This Sunday’s Gospel (28th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Mk 10:17-30) was the passage through which I heard my call to enter the Conventual Franciscans. In this passage, Jesus looks on the man who ran up to him “Loved him and said to him, ‘You are lacking one thing, go and…