Wednesday, September 11, 2002

September 11, 2001 – Reflections

In the "New Covenant" made by our Creator God with humanity, as reported in Jeremiah 31:31-34, every human being can know God from within - because the Holy Spirit is revealing our Creator to all who are willing to know the Lord and trust in Him. We can still help each other along the way; so may you be pleased to find here a variety of helps to the life of faith in God through Jesus Christ. G.S.

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September 11, 2001 – Reflections 


Peace Card for Wednesday 

Today is September 11th.  It is an important day not to remember because of some petty terrorists who were filled with hatred – but a day to remember that the world stopped for a moment and embraced one another.  A day of tears – but also a day of love.  Where sin abounds grace abounds all the more. 

The year I entered the monastery we had a big volcano eruption in our state.  The whole mountain (St. Helen's) blew up and our world was one gray expanse of nothingness. Every flower, twig and blade of grass was coated in gray.  The sky was gray; even the water was covered with a film of gray.  When I opened the door in the morning to let in my black cat, he was gray.  It felt like the end of the world had come and left. 

Yet now, 21 years later – though we still find ash when the wind blows – that eruption produced bigger and better crops than we had ever had.  Washington State never had much of a grape crop, but now we produce some of the best wines in the world, because with the ash the grapes sprung into wonderful growth.  I think this will also happen to our nation in the years to come.  It won't be overnight – but in a few years we will see the gifts that God has released through these days of darkness.  That is the power of our God – and with faith we can look to the future with hope and confidence.  Satan does his worst – but it is never a final victory.  He didn't win on Calvary, and he hasn't won on September 11th! 

Blessings of Peace, 

Sister Patricia and all the Sisters 

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Reflection September 11 – A reflection on today's Sacred Scripture from the Liturgy of the Word: 1 Corinthians 7:25-31; Psalm 45:11-17; Luke 6:20-26 
 
How significant on this first anniversary of the infamous terrorist attack on America that the first reading from 1st Thessalonians should remind us that the world as we know it is passing away!  What a traumatic object lesson God has allowed to wake us all up to the fact that our lives hang from a frail thread.  We know not the day or the hour! 

On a sundial in an old English garden are engraved the words: "It is later than you think!"  But, thank God, there is still time – time to return to the basics of the Ten Commandments, the Beatitudes, the Great Commandment of love of God and love of neighbor.  Jesus has told us that fear is useless – what is needed is Hope.  May we all observe this anniversary day in the spirit of Hope, a new humility, a new commitment, throwing ourselves in faith on a merciful God who still gives us time! 

Msgr. Paul Whitmore (smartins@twcny.rr.com) 

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          I truly believe this is how we should live each day that we are blessed with.  Just wanted to share this with the many people who have brought happiness to my life.  Have a wonderful day.  This hasn't been broken since September 11; please keep it going.... this poem has been kept alive and moving since that time.  In memory of all those who perished this morning; the passengers and the pilot on the United Air and AA flights, the workers in the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon, and all the innocent bystanders. Our prayers go out to the friends and families of the deceased...

IF I KNEW
 
If I knew it would be the last time
    That I'd see you fall asleep
    I would tuck you in more tightly
    And pray the Lord, your soul to keep.
If I knew it would be the last time
    That I see you walk out the door,
    I would give you a hug and kiss
    And call you back for one more.
If I knew it would be the last time
    I'd hear your voice lifted up in praise,
I would video tape each action and word
    So I could play them back day after day.
If I knew it would be the last time
    I could spare an extra minute,
    To stop and say "I LOVE YOU"
    Instead of assuming 
You would know I do.
If I knew it would be the last time
    I would be there to share your day,
Well I'm sure you'll have so many more,
    So I can let just this one slip away.
      For surely there's always tomorrow
          To make up for an oversight,
    And we always get a second chance
         To make everything just right.
There will always be another day
    To say "I love you",
And certainly there's another chance
    To say our "anything I can do?"
But just in case I might be wrong
        And today is all I get,
    I'd like to say how much I love you
       And I hope we never forget.
Tomorrow is not promised to anyone,
    Young or old alike,
And today may be the last chance
    You get to hold your loved one tight.
So if you're waiting for tomorrow,
    Why not do it today?
For if tomorrow never comes,
    You’ll surely regret the day.
That you didn't take extra time
    For a smile, a hug, or a kiss
    And you were too busy to grant someone,
   What turned out to be their one last wish.
So hold your loved ones close today
    And whisper in their ear,
Tell them how much you love them
    And that you'll always hold them dear.
Take time to say "I'm sorry,"
    "Please forgive me," "Thank you," 
Or "It's OK"
And if tomorrow never comes,
    You’ll have no regrets about today.

Please share this and pass it around.



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In the "New Covenant" made by our Creator God with humanity, as reported in Jeremiah 31:31-34, every human being can know God from within - because the Holy Spirit is revealing our Creator to all who are willing to know the Lord and trust in Him. We can still help each other along the way; so may you be pleased to find here a variety of helps to the life of faith in God through Jesus Christ. G.S.

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© 2006-2021 All rights reserved Fr. Gilles Surprenant, Associate Priest of Madonna House Apostolate & Poustinik, Montreal  QC
© 2006-2021 Tous droits réservés Abbé Gilles Surprenant, Prêtre Associé de Madonna House Apostolate & Poustinik, Montréal QC
 

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Tuesday, April 23, 2002

Letter to a newly ordained priest.

In the "New Covenant" made by our Creator God with humanity, as reported in Jeremiah 31:31-34, every human being can know God from within - because the Holy Spirit is revealing our Creator to all who are willing to know the Lord and trust in Him. We can still help each other along the way; so may you be pleased to find here a variety of helps to the life of faith in God through Jesus Christ. G.S.

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Who can weigh adequately the importance of a seemingly casual encounter with a priest in God’s plan for a soul?


Letter to a newly ordained priest.

By Donald Haggerty

Dear Father C.,

        Congratulations on your ordination!  I have one memory from the morning of my ordination that comes back most often in my thoughts of that day, and indeed haunts my prayer at times.  It was a brief encounter with an older priest on the sidewalk outside St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York after the Mass.  I was only mildly acquainted with this priest, which perhaps made his words that much more effective.  I was on the sidewalk looking for my ride back to the seminary when he saw me and came right over with a big Irish smile.  We shook hands and before anything was said, he pulled me closer to him with a thick handshake and in an almost gruff manner whispered loudly: “You’ve just given yourself entirely away to God.  Now don’t spend the rest of your life taking it back.”
I find myself remembering that old priest and his words once again as I sit down to send you a few reflections for your own beginning days as a priest.  No doubt I could as well simply pass on his words, and leave it at that.  But I will accompany them with some other thoughts as well.  “Know what you are doing.  Imitate the mystery you celebrate. Model your life on the mystery of the Lord’s cross.”
Do you remember these words at the ordination Mass as you knelt before your bishop and together with him held a chalice and a paten?  At that point in the Mass you were already a newly ordained priest.  Those words are worth some meditation at times. Three commands are pronounced that identify concisely the spiritual challenge facing every priest.  The first command—”know what you are doing.”  The stress of this first imperative statement is on knowing, before any doing, and it will always be necessary to recall for a priest who wants to live more fully the mystery of his vocation.  There is an important command here, the first, by the way, which you received from your bishop, and it is simply this: pay attention and be aware.
And of what, you ask?  I wonder, in these days since you were ordained, do you comprehend what you have become?  What priest does, even after many years?  Yet even now, after you have once offered a single Mass, you know well enough there are actions in your new priestly life that do not belong to you—they are God’s.  It would be good to realize soon that in fact nothing of your life belongs now exclusively to you.  No choice you make, especially regarding people, can be simply your own, for your life no longer belongs to you.  You have given it away in order that it may bear fruit—in response to a privileged invitation. “You have not chosen me; I have chosen you—to go and bear fruit.” If you are attentive you will discover in many mysterious ways how true these words are.
I speak here first, then, of what you will do with souls.  Know that by your ordination you are entering hidden chambers, as it were, where you will be given an occasional glimpse of the mystery of divine predilection for souls.  If you are receptive in your inner spirit, your soul will brush up at times against the incomprehensible nature of divine love and mercy.  Please be aware that the grace of God is bigger than you are, and that God has more intelligence than you do.  You must make yourself very open and accessible to being used in ways you cannot foresee.  Your choices with people, whom to see, whom to give more or less time, whom to pursue without letting go, whom to wait on patiently, all these choices cannot be managed as though they were under your exclusive control, as your possession, to do with as you please by your own lights.  
        The true priest is at the disposal of a divine purpose that is often concealed in the immediate moment and sometimes for a good while.  It is not good in fact to presume a clear awareness of God’s workings.  The only sure knowledge you have is that Our Lord gave himself for every soul you will encounter as a priest for the rest of your life.  Be alert, then, and open to the unexpected possibilities in contact with people wherever you are.  Who can weigh adequately the importance of a seemingly casual encounter with a priest in God’s plan for a soul?  
So I leave you with this first challenge—stay awake and be aware interiorly—because it will lead in time to a great spiritual happiness only a priest can really know.  If a young priest sustains his attention, if he is not forgetful, I think it is true he will experience over time, strangely at first, and then more expectedly, that his attractions toward souls sometimes are not simply his own, that the coincidences accompanying his choices, the chance encounters, are not so random and unplanned as they at first appear.  A priest should begin soon enough to see he lives his small life within the active presence of an unfathomable Love that will remain always outside his comprehension.  Even what seems at first to pass aimlessly through your mind may not be so haphazard.  What is the reason, for example, behind the unexplainable, urgent thought to seek out or pray for a particular soul but an influence beyond the priest himself?  
        Be alert, then, with your eyes open, and listen for the concealed poverty in souls.  Every soul in need of grace suffers a poverty only God can assuage, and he may want you to be the lifeline back to grace for the soul in front of you at any particular moment.  So be energetic in getting out in the midst of these souls in need, and gain a quick love for the confessional, which can be anywhere there is a priest willing to take the time.  Know what you are, an intercessor and an instrument, and you will more often do what you are meant to do as a priest for the souls God sends you in your lifetime.  
        A book review I read last year treated an autobiography of a Jewish man who converted from agnosticism to an orthodox practice of his faith.  The reviewer commented that the author “did not come to his Jewish identity easily."  Nor does any man come to the mystery of a priestly identity easily.  Every priest is well aware that his ordination does not displace a former self with its weakness and its natural gifts.  And these weaknesses and gifts of nature cling to a man in a way that might make him forget the awareness he must foster if he is to realize the new identity that has been struck in his soul. 
        You remember, of course, at your ordination, prostrating yourself on the cathedral floor in acknowledgement of your unworthiness. It is a dramatic moment. But we prostrate there also in the knowledge that our former identity as a man is soon to be buried in a past that can never be returned intact.  From that day onward, the mystery of a personal identity will converge with a divine purpose that overwhelms the limitations of the man in himself. Over a long time, with grace, and with steady faithfulness, the gradual recognition may arrive that your identity as a man cannot be separated from the Christ who acts within you. A limited personal biography will be very secondary to this wonderful reality of having become, by actions you are never worthy of, an alter Christus in the lives of souls.
We should make no mistake what kind of demand on our natural pride this cooperation with Christ’s action requires concretely.  It is remarkable that Our Lord could say of himself that “I can do nothing on my own.”  Even after hearing these words we turn about and possess such confidence in ideas and plans that have been forged independently of a profound need for divine intervention.  To his priests, indeed to every Christian soul, Our Lord said: “Apart from me, you can do nothing.”  It will seem sometimes, in fact, that with him as well we can do nothing, and indeed this is very much the truth.  
        From the beginning of your priesthood, make no mistake: this is an identity rooted in powerlessness and self-emptying, in self-renouncing death, and in an ultimate self-offering without promise of visible reward.  Like every priest you are bound to know the dry taste of impotent frustration, and at times the darkness of defeat.  Isaiah prophesied of Our Lord: “He was despised and rejected, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, one from whom men hide their faces; he was despised, and we held him of no account.”  Jesus of Nazareth was crucified.  Should we look for a career of pleasant successes?
Yes, know what you are doing, and what road you have embarked upon, and you will know more and more what you are likely to become over time.  Everything, in one sense, is tied to a certain striving for awareness.  Our Lord went often to deserted places to pray.  A priest must be a man of prayer, he must have a profound commitment here, or else he lives with an emptiness that cannot be compared to the inner restlessness of the layperson who does not pray.  
        The priest with little prayer life risks becoming a sad caricature of the sacred actions he still performs, one who can instrumentally cause divine action upon a piece of bread, or upon a soul lost from grace, and yet be distracted himself, unaffected, without wonder at divine interventions in personal lives, untransformed himself because the mystery of his identity is covered over with busy activity and its contrary the excessive need for diversion.  And this is if there are no greater moral collapses.  A divine companionship marks his life whether he wants to have it or not.  When he has no silence, no reflective hours, he forgets his true identity and becomes false to himself, leaving his soul exiled from its true identity.  St. John of the Cross wrote the following words over four hundred years ago, and they are apt now as much as ever.  
"Let those who are singularly active, who think they can win the world with their preaching and exterior works, observe that they would profit the Church and please God much more, not to mention the good example they would give, were they to spend at least half of this time with God in prayer . . .. They would certainly accomplish more, and with less labor, by one work than they otherwise would by a thousand . . .. Without prayer, they will do a great deal of hammering, but accomplish little, and sometimes nothing, and even at times cause harm . . .. However much they may appear to achieve externally, they will in substance be accomplishing nothing; it is beyond doubt that good works can be performed only by the power of God."  
You heard, of course, in the seminary (at least I hope so) that the need for prayer is the essential preparation for a man aspiring to the priesthood.  The admonition is even more important now that you are a priest.  Nonetheless I venture to say it is an uncommon blessing whenever we find a priest to be really a man of prayer.  Make up your mind and heart to be one, no matter what kind of circumstances in which you find yourself.  
        Surely you will hear it said there are struggles enough sufficient for the day outside the proximity of the tabernacle.  Must we add one more?  And yet without an intent of striving for greater interior life well beyond simply fulfilling a perfunctory duty of praying the breviary, all is likely to become hollow at the core.  Make no mistake that a priestly life without extended times of silent prayer and meditation leads to a predictable conclusion at best.  You have only to look at some priests in their later years, anxious to retire after their
busy years running parishes.  What priest who seriously prays would relinquish the chance to keep serving Our Lord in some capacity?  The fact is the ones who pray do not stop until they are knocked off their feet.  It is good to decide this right now before you get any older as a priest.  
“Know what you are doing.  Imitate the mystery you celebrate.  Model your life on the mystery of the Lord’s cross.”  The mystery you celebrate is of course the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the renewal of Calvary in our midst.  The sacrifice is hidden, the victim invisible to our eyes, participated in under the appearance of food and drink.  But for the priest the Mass and all time spent in the presence of the Eucharist ought each day to forge a renewed self-offering of his life in union with the offering of Jesus Christ, our Lord and God, on the cross at Calvary.  If you pray before the Eucharist an hour a day in silence and in a way that empties you of your self, you will offer the Mass as Our Lord desires.  
        Remember, please, that the Church properly speaks of the priest offering Mass, not simply of praying it, or of saying it as one might say other good prayers.  Even as it becomes a daily reality of your life, the Mass is too extraordinary an event for routine.  At every Mass the priest is at Calvary once again; this is not a pious trapping for the imagination to consider occasionally.  You are offering again and again Jesus Christ at the cross in Jerusalem.  Remember it well, because at the same time you yourself are being offered by Our Lord to an unbloody sacrifice that, if you become holy, will be the most apt
description of your own life.
Try to allow your daily Mass to carve a deep, very sacred orientation in the hidden recesses of your soul.  And in what way?  Primarily by animating in you a desire for sacrifice, a readiness for costly, exacting, repeated rhythms of self-giving, a willingness to die to your own needs whenever you can be an instrument of grace for another.  This is a
sublime ideal; yes, and only the Sacrifice of the Mass united to your priestly soul each day and a search for a deeper interior life can sustain it.  Since my first days offering Mass I have always thought the words of St. John the Baptist describe what the Mass will do for a priest’s soul if we are docile enough, and desirous enough: “He must increase, I must decrease.”  St. John the Baptist, the forerunner announcing the coming of Christ, prophesies in these words the Catholic priesthood nailed to the cross of every generation for the salvation and sanctification of souls.  He prophesies your own life in these words—“He will become more, you will become less”—if you are willing to become holy.
There has been much said about the crisis of faith that the Church has suffered in the last decades of the past century.  I know you enough as a man to trust your fidelity to the Pope and the Church.  The alternative, I might add, is to become emasculated.  With no particular individual in mind, I offer you a pattern to observe.  The men who cannot stand with the Church in the public arena of a pulpit and rectory office are invariably complaining, peevish spirits in the privacy of their bottled-up resentments against the Church.  Be careful with your clerical associations, and don’t lose your manhood as a priest.
But there is another crisis far less regretted in our time, but one which has had its own corrosive effect on the Church.  You have to know it so that you reverse the pressure of its ill effects in your own life.  I speak of the crisis of sacrifice in the Church.  Somewhere along the way in these last forty years, the central importance of sacrifice began to crack and splinter off from personal lives—in priestly and religious and family life.  It became a more peripheral notion because its reality began to fade until its value was submerged by other slogans of our time.  You remember what the old priest said to me on my ordination day—”you have given yourself entirely away to God; don’t spend the rest of your life taking it back.”  Let’s be serious, an indulgent life is readily possible despite all the talk of heroism in a priesthood with less newcomers each year to fill the ranks.  Comfort is enticing, and very hard to refuse when available.  Try to resist it if you would retain a manly spirit in your priesthood.
So much will reduce itself in your life to a question of faith and will. The will is indeed a very hard thing to give up once you discover it is up to you now to decide how you want to live.  But you don’t in fact give up your will at all when you are responding to God generously.  You rather give it away to choices pleasing to God, refusing to take it back for yourself.  You forget yourself and actively choose with grace and increasing strength in order to become the man God would have you become.  I will give you one small test that will determine a measure of your character as a priest in the coming years.  An alarm clock set early every morning can be a painful experience.  But what is the alternative—living without a serious pursuit of prayer?
One of the great contrived misperceptions among the diocesan clergy is the caveat “we are not religious.”  Does this mean we are called to an easier life, as is so often assumed?  On the contrary, I remind you of your bishop’s commands at your ordination to “imitate the mystery you celebrate and model your life on the mystery of the Lord’s cross.”  You have a higher demand upon your life than the three vows the religious take.  The mystery you are to imitate is a profound sacrificial dying, and it is meant to affect everything in your life.  The religious have their vow of chastity, true, but purity of mind and body and respect for your dignity as a man of God must pervade your whole public and private life. Even the once very zealous have sometimes brought disgrace upon themselves and the Church by presumptuous lack of prudence in this regard. It seems to me a very safe assumption that no man who has left the priesthood to marry has ever had a truly happy life.  How could they, realizing after a time what they gave away so cheaply?
The religious have their vow of poverty, but a true poverty ought to mark your life in a visible manner if you have any love for the real suffering and deprivation of the poor in this world, especially outside our own borders. I offer this caution: You will be affecting people’s spiritual lives by your material lifestyle; despise the vanities of clerical
worldliness so scandalous to people.  Do you know of the now deceased New York auxiliary Bishop Austin Vaughn, who became more well known in his later activist pro-life years?  It was said after his death that all during his priesthood he had the practice of emptying his bank account periodically and giving the money to the poor.  This was a man of prayer, of course, and that is a connection one cannot help noticing—between the amount of money that priests spend on themselves and the amount of time they spend in prayer.  And yes, finally, the religious have their vow of obedience, but remember you are exercising an obedience to your bishop and the Church in courageous public teaching and in the confessional, in your faithful responsibility to schedules of ordinary duty within a parish, by the kind demeanor of your availability and by every cheerful acceptance of unexpected constraints on your time and energy. 
The daily demand of self-giving involves much hidden sacrifice and a great spirit of detachment from self.  Your priesthood must not be experienced as an accumulation of burdensome obligation, but rather joyfully embraced as the overflow of the mystery you celebrate each day at the altar.  Intensive self-giving ought to become an almost natural expression of a priest’s interior desire for union with Christ over a lifetime.  Priests can easily tire of giving; so do husbands and wives, fathers and mothers.  And yet without the sacrificial tests that form your will you cannot be happy as a priest.  Perhaps the greatest tests will always involve your becoming poorer in self, so be ready for them, because they are already on the way.  It is a safe prediction to state you will be as generous to the gift you have received in the priesthood, as you are self-effacing and dismissive of your own importance when any such trials come.
One of the very disturbing experiences you, too, may unfortunately have is to see men you knew in the seminary walk away from the priesthood.  Again, make no mistake: every betrayal of a priestly vocation has a source in the refusal of sacrifice, an unwillingness after a point in time to embrace further demands to become less, to become poorer in the service of Our Lord.  In this sense the priesthood confronts the same dilemma as married spouses of protecting their first love, adjusting spiritually to the new requirements of divine demands upon the soul, and understanding the emptying of self out of love for another as the primary requirement for growth at all stages of a life’s commitment.  Let it be repeated: every priestly life that has ever been abandoned amounts to a failure of a capacity for sacrifice.  The devil is most certainly very active here in his whispering seductions.  The beginnings of eventual betrayals happen in small ways initially, a simple forgetfulness at first, but the tear widens sometimes irremediably when a man at some fateful juncture refuses to surrender himself to a higher purpose than himself.
On the other hand, your life of sacrifice, as painful as it may sometimes be, will determine your happiness as a priest.  It is a mystery of divine love that small acts of self-renunciation are used by God to filter grace to souls, and you should be alert to these patterns.  I was once told by a cloistered Carmelite nun: “Father, we do not think our lives are fruitful because of our prayer, but rather because of our prayer combined with sacrifice.”  For a priest, the disposition to sacrificial living will be the safeguard of his priestly resilience and of his inner joy, for then his life is never directed to himself as much as to his fruitfulness with souls.  Remember as well when you think about penance or sacrifice that there are hidden souls of sacrifice and prayer in this world who shed their
blood drop by drop in concealed lives of self-immolation.  You are witnessing their fruits on any given day in your contact with souls in need of grace.  Why not strive to realize over a lifetime an increasing affinity with these hidden saints?
I have found the following words of the 19th century Italian priest/philosopher Antonio Rosmini a good meditation for what should occur mysteriously within our inner life during a lifetime of priesthood.  As Rosmini conveys so well, we must never stop in allowing the link between sacrifice and fruitfulness to deepen dynamically over the remaining years of our lives.  There is nothing static about a vocation to the priesthood, not even on God’s part, because, adapting Himself to our nature, He calls us in a progressive way.   If we are faithful to His first invitation, others, increasingly pressing and definite, will follow, which will bind us more and more to our divine Master.  Basically, there is but one call to the priesthood . . . but God, through the various circumstances of life, and especially, through new occasions for sacrifice, repeats this invitation more precisely, more definitely, each time letting the soul see how far the gift of self must be extended in order to reach the plenitude of its consecration.  If the soul is faithful, and answers these progressive calls generously, God will continue to send new invitations, which will open up wider and more luminous horizons, until the soul lives its consecration in a perpetual renewal of fervour and love.
“Know what you are doing. Imitate the mystery you celebrate.  Model your life on the mystery of the Lord’s cross."   Our Lord died in great pain, in a profound silence while taunts and mockery rifled the air, with his concentration intent that no one should be lost, and perhaps suffering most interiorly in the awareness that souls would refuse his mercy. His last testimony, his last preaching, are not spoken words but the blood poured out in death from a pierced heart.  The priest can model himself on the mystery of the Lord’s cross by allowing himself to be overcome by the interior thirst for souls that consumed Our Lord on the cross.  “Can you drink the chalice I drink?  Indeed you shall.”  
        Our Lord says the same to you right now.  It is no exaggeration to say that the holy priest will suffer the mystery of this thirst for souls residing in his own soul.  As time goes on, there will be a crucifying familiarity in his own experience with the infinite desire of divine love for souls.  He must bear witness to this largely concealed truth by the entirety of his life.  The thirst for souls of Jesus Christ dying on the cross becomes the ultimate reason for the sacrificial dimension of the priest’s life.  It demands that he pour himself out for others.  The very nature of such a life will always imply an ongoing immolation of the natural self, a progressive mortification of self-interest in the service of a supernatural reason for living.
The priest’s identity with Jesus Christ crucified requires lastly that he be a son to the Mother present at the cross. His acceptance of this Mother, the need to take her and her desires into his home, as John did at the cross, assures his special place in the Heart of the Son at the cross. The priest who is a son of Mary, who finds his rest in prayer and the Eucharist, and in the protection of the humble Mother of priests, who fears not to embrace the sacrificial call at the heart of his life, will indeed fulfill the gospel promise—you will bear much fruit.
And so, asking your prayer as a new priest, I will take leave of you with this prayer composed by Pope St. Pius X, that great parish priest: 
        "Lord, grant that I may realize what my Christian and priestly vocation demands of me, somewhat in the way in which I shall see it immediately after death. . . . In your mercy, grant me the grace to fulfill with love whatever You expect of me for the salvation of those souls whom I ought to help, and to suffer with generosity whatever sorrow You have permitted from eternity for my Sanctification before I eventually reach You in heaven. I ask, in particular, that I may work with zeal for the salvation of all those souls whom, in accordance with Your will, I ought to help.  For that purpose I join the personal sacrifice of my life with the unbloody sacrifice of Your Son, superabundant and of infinite value, and with the immense merits of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Amen."
My own prayer is that Our Lord may bless you in great hidden ways.  I have every hope you will be a man of God as a priest because you have been humbled and awed by Our Lord’s personal choice of you for His priesthood.  God was good to you in your own time of need; you must return that love in a generous manner for a lifetime. Be a man for others, for their salvation and sanctification. And pray often the words Mother Teresa taught her Sisters for times of difficulty and struggle: 
        “Mary, Mother of Jesus, be a mother to me now and always.”

Sincerely in Christ,
Father Donald Haggerty


Rev. Donald Haggerty, S.T.D., is a priest of the Archdiocese of New York, ordained in 1989.  After completing a doctorate in moral theology from the Accademia Alphonsiana at Rome in 1995, he taught for three years at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland. He is currently a Professor of Moral Theology and Assistant Spiritual Director at St. Joseph’s Seminary in Yonkers, N.Y. - his 2nd article in Homiletic & Pastoral Review - April 2002  



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In the "New Covenant" made by our Creator God with humanity, as reported in Jeremiah 31:31-34, every human being can know God from within - because the Holy Spirit is revealing our Creator to all who are willing to know the Lord and trust in Him. We can still help each other along the way; so may you be pleased to find here a variety of helps to the life of faith in God through Jesus Christ. G.S.

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© 2006-2021 All rights reserved Fr. Gilles Surprenant, Associate Priest of Madonna House Apostolate & Poustinik, Montreal  QC
© 2006-2021 Tous droits réservés Abbé Gilles Surprenant, Prêtre Associé de Madonna House Apostolate & Poustinik, Montréal QC
 

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Sunday, April 21, 2002

From the Heart of a Muslim

In the "New Covenant" made by our Creator God with humanity, as reported in Jeremiah 31:31-34, every human being can know God from within - because the Holy Spirit is revealing our Creator to all who are willing to know the Lord and trust in Him. We can still help each other along the way; so may you be pleased to find here a variety of helps to the life of faith in God through Jesus Christ. G.S.

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From the Heart of a Muslim

"I am a Muslim by faith ..., a Christian by spirit ..., a Jew by heart ..., and above all I am a human being."   ~ Dr. Tawfik Hamid.

I was born a Muslim and lived all my life as a follower of Islam

After the barbaric terrorist attacks done by the hands of my fellow Muslims everywhere on this globe, and after the too many violent acts by Islamists in many parts of the world, I feel responsible as a Muslim and as a human being, to speak out and tell the truth to protect the world and Muslims 
as well from a coming catastrophe and war of civilizations. 

I  have to admit that our current Islamic teaching creates violence and hatred toward Non-Muslims. We Muslims are the ones who need to change. Until now we have accepted polygamy, the beating of women by men, and killing those who convert from Islam to other religions. 

We have never had a clear and strong stand against the concept of slavery or wars, to spread our religion and to subjugate others to Islam and force them to pay a humiliating tax called Jizia. We ask others to respect our religion while all the time we curse non-Muslims loudly (in Arabic) in our Friday prayers in the Mosques.  

What message do we convey to our children when we call the Jews "Descendants of the pigs and monkeys".. Is this a message of love and peace, or a message of hate? 

I have been into churches and synagogues where they were praying for Muslims. While all the time we curse them, and teach our generations to call them infidels, and to hate them.  

We immediately jump in a 'knee jerk reflex' to defend Prophet Mohammad when someone accuses him of being a pedophile while, at the same time, we are proud with the story in our Islamic books, that he married a young girl seven years old (Aisha) when he was above 50 years old.  

I am sad to say that many,  if not most of us, rejoiced in happiness after September 11th and after many other terror attacks.  

Muslims denounce these attacks to look good in front of the media, but we condone the Islamic terrorists and sympathise with their cause.  Till now our 'reputable' top religious authorities have never issued a Fatwa or religious statement to proclaim Bin Laden as an apostate, while an author, like Rushdie, was declared an apostate who should be killed according to Islamic Shariia law just for writing a book criticizing Islam. 

Muslims demonstrated to get more religious rights as we did in France to stop the ban on the Hejab (Head Scarf), while we did not demonstrate with such passion and in such numbers against the terrorist murders. 

It is our absolute silence against the terrorists that gives the energy to these terrorists to continue doing their evil acts.  We Muslims need to stop blaming our problems on others or on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. As a matter of honesty, Israel is the only light of democracy, civilization, and human rights in the whole Middle East. 

We kicked out the Jews with no compensation or mercy from most of the Arab countries to make  them "Jews-Free countries" while Israel accepted more than a million Arabs to live there, have its nationality, and enjoy their rights as human beings. In Israel, women can not be beaten legally by men, and any person can change his/her belief system with no fear of being killed by the Islamic law of 'Apostasy,' while in our Islamic world people do not enjoy any of these rights.  I agree that the 'Palestinians' suffer, but they suffer because of their corrupt leaders and not because of Israel. 

It is not common to see Arabs who live in Israel leaving to live in the Arab world. On the other hand, we used to see thousands of Palestinians going to work with happiness in Israel, its 'enemy.'  If Israel treats Arabs badly as some people claim, surely we would have seen the opposite  happening. 

We Muslims need to admit our problems and face them. Only then we can treat them and start a new era to live in harmony with human mankind.  Our religious leaders have to show a clear and very strong stand against polygamy, pedophilia, slavery, killing those who convert from Islam to other religions, beating of women by men, and declaring wars on  non-Muslims to spread Islam.

Then, and only then, do we have the right to ask others to respect our religion. The time has come to stop our hypocrisy and say it openly: 

'We Muslims have to Change'. 

~ Tawfik Hamid  



Dr. Hamid is an Egyptian scholar and author of
"From the heart of a Muslim" - Tawfik Hamid

Dr. Tawfik Hamid, is an Islamic thinker and reformer, and one time Islamic extremist from Egypt. He was a member of a terrorist Islamic organization JI with Dr. Ayman Al-Zawaherri who became later on the second in command of Al-Qaeda. Some twenty-five years ago, he recognized the threat of Radical Islam and the need for a reformation based upon modern peaceful interpretations of classical Islamic core texts.

Dr. Hamid provided a fresh and theologically valid interpretation for the Quran to counterbalance the radical teaching. As the Daily Express (UK) mentioned “Dr. Hamid has predicted the attacks on the twin towers, Madrid and London”. After September 11, Dr. Hamid boldly decided to speak out through western broadcast and print media. He has appeared on shows spanning the spectrum from CNN to Fox News, and his articles and op-ed pieces have appeared in publications such as the Wall Street Journal, the New York Daily News, and the Jerusalem Post. Some of Dr. Hamid’s Op-Eds were also selected at Real Clear Politics. Dr. Hamid’s exceptional knowledge of the jihadi mindset has led him to be a guest speaker at many reputable private and governmental fora – both within the US and internationally such as the US Congress, Director of National Intelligence DNI, the Pentagon, National Prayer breakfast, and the European Parliament. He also received Speaker of the Truth award of the Endowment of Middle East truth .

Currently Dr. Hamid is a Senior Fellow and Chair for the Study of Islamic Radicalism at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies.

Dr. Hamid is also the author of Inside Jihad: Understanding and Confronting Radical Islam- Purchase from Amazon Here



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In the "New Covenant" made by our Creator God with humanity, as reported in Jeremiah 31:31-34, every human being can know God from within - because the Holy Spirit is revealing our Creator to all who are willing to know the Lord and trust in Him. We can still help each other along the way; so may you be pleased to find here a variety of helps to the life of faith in God through Jesus Christ. G.S.

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© 2006-2021 All rights reserved Fr. Gilles Surprenant, Associate Priest of Madonna House Apostolate & Poustinik, Montreal  QC
© 2006-2021 Tous droits réservés Abbé Gilles Surprenant, Prêtre Associé de Madonna House Apostolate & Poustinik, Montréal QC
 

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Sunday, March 24, 2002

WELCOME - BIENVENU - ABBÉ / Fr. GILLES BIO

 


Fr. Gilles A. Surprenant, Priest & Poustinik,
Associate of Madonna House Apostolate


Our Lady of Combermere

 

 

Abbé Gilles A. Surprenant, Prêtre et Poustinik,
Associé de Madonna House Apostolate

 

 Contact me by eMail - - - Contactez-moi par Courriel 

 Blog:  https://fathergilles.blogspot.com/    

Blogue:  https://lafractiondupain.blogspot.com/

 

 Return to Welcome Page        Retour à la page Bienvenue


First Web Site: http://fathergilles.net    

 

Welcome

Hello

I am very happy to welcome you to this website conceived for the glory of God and the good of the Church to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ by using such means of social communication.  Whether you are parishioners, patients in Hospital or their family and friends, engaged couples, Christians or other interested persons, or simply visiting; welcome!


Brief Autobiographical Sketch

I was recently reminded by a friend that it might be unwise to post on the Internet too much personal information; so I pulled my brief biography. If you would like to read it, send me a request by email, and once you have identified yourself; I will be happy to send it to you.
 

Bienvenue  

Allô – Je vous salue

Je suis heureux de vous accueillir en ce site web conçu pour la gloire de Dieu et le bien de l’Église pour proclamer la Bonne Nouvelle de Jésus Christ moyennant la communication sociale.  Que vous soyez paroissien(ne)s, patients en Hôpital ou leurs proches et amis, couples fiancés, chrétien(ne)s ou autres personnes intéressées, ou simplement visiteurs ; bienvenu !

 

Brève Autobiographie

Un ami me rappela récemment qu’il ne faut pas afficher sur l’Internet trop de détails personnels; alors j’ai enlevé ma brève biographie. Si vous aimeriez pouvoir la lire, écrivez-moi une demande par courriel et je serai heureux, une fois vous avoir identifié, de vous l’envoyer. 


© 2004-2020 All rights reserved Fr. Gilles Surprenant, Associate Priest of Madonna House Apostolate & Poustinik, Montreal  QC
 © 2004-2020 Tous droits réservés Abbé Gilles Surprenant, Prêtre Associé de Madonna House Apostolate & Poustinik, Montréal QC
  

Règles du discernement des esprits de la première semaine - Selon Saint Ignace de Loyola, fondateur de la Société de Jésus au 16e siècle

In the "New Covenant" made by our Creator God with humanity, as reported in Jeremiah 31:31-34, every human being can know God from...