We had a beautiful Thanksgiving dinner with our superior, Fr. William Felix, our oblate, Fr. James Thomas Benzmiller, and Vi McMahan, our consecrated lay member with her daughter and son-in-law, Patty and Fred Nowak. Here is a picture of our Thanksgiving table. Now, I'm not one for crazy pictures that show all kinds of "supernatural things"...but this is unusual, the lighting that is. I should have turned down the light over the table, but think what you will!
The Gospel reading at today's Mass was of Jesus healing the ten lepers(Luke 17, 11-19). Their cry to Him, "Jesus, Lord, have mercy!" brought the Divine Compassion to them and they were restored to health.
But only one of them returned to give thanks.
Leprosy is a horrible disease. It is called "a living death" because the flesh of the one afflicted decomposes while the person still lives causing terrible disfigurement and alienation from the family and community.
Leprosy is a metaphor for sin; the disfigurement of a soul in mortal sin is even more horrible than the physical destruction of leprosy. Only Jesus, the Divine Healer, can restore the soul to life with His Precious Blood, and give the life-source of His grace to keep one from a living death.
We should reflect upon whether we are like the one leper who returned to Jesus to give Him thanks for all that He does for us, all that He provides, or if we neglect to thank Him, especially when he answers our prayers. Today, the day our nation observes Thanksgiving Day, it is especially important that we give thanks, even if we are suffering or in need. The gift of life and love that God so generously gives to us is the reason we give thanks. To be grateful even when things are difficult is a sign of the health of the soul. May we be given this grace and persevere in the darkness descending around us on all fronts.
May the Lord bless our families, our communities, our nation; may the men and women in the armed services who are so valiantly doing their mission in very difficult and dangerous situations receive every grace and blessing. May we know the grateful attitude of the one leper who returned to give thanks. (Icon source:http://www.atheavensgate.com/The%20Miracles%20of%20Christ/10-The%20Healing%20Of%20The%20Ten%20Lepers.html)
Today our Holy Father met with artists in the Sistine Chapel.
Here is recap of his talk.
We, as iconographers, look to the wisdom and guidance of the Church, especially from our Holy Father, in our apostolate of sharing the fruit of our contemplation in Christian sacred art.
We sing Gregorian chant every day in honor of the Lord and His Church. But on our way home from a presentation on icons and our religious life we were singing parts from this very entertaining video...Enjoy! And hallelujah! Jesus is Lord and King of All!
Friday morning as we were about to set out for the Sung Requiem Mass for a friend of our community, we saw this critter sitting on our porch.
He was nonplussed at the presence of humans, sat on our porch in a chair looking very comfortable and ready for a meal.
Br. Joseph said he tried to crawl up the sceen of the window on our porch, looking like he owned the place.
We went to the funeral.
When we arrived home several hours later we thought he was gone.
No such luck.
He was rolling around in the yard on his back, having a good old time.
This racoon looked like he was well fed and was maybe a pet of someone. But we were hesitant to approach him or to let our dogs out for fear he was rabid or maybe would be rather aggressive towards them (or they towards him).
He eventually left; we're not sure where he went or why he stopped by.
Archbishop-elect Jerome Listecki, formerly our bishop of La Crosse, WI, will become the Archbishop of Milwaukee, WI sometime in January 2010. May the Lord bless him, give him every grace, and help him in his new assignment. He has been a good shepherd of our diocese. He has blessed us with his support of our Public Association of the Faithful and asked us to offer the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite (the Traditional Latin Mass) on Sundays in our new home, Cor Jesu Oratory. Please pray that God will give us a holy and dedicated Bishop for our Diocese of La Crosse.
During the month of November it is a tradition to pray each day for the Holy Souls in Purgatory.
This belief, held from the beginning of the Church, is sometimes forgotten or ridiculed by even Catholics, who should know better.
Our monastic community visits the cemetery each day from November 2nd to the 10th with prayers, psalms, and Scripture to pray for the Faithful Departed and to gain a plenary indulgence for the Holy Souls. It is our privilege to pray for all of the deceased in this way. But all the faithful should make a point to do the same, even if only for one or two days.
I am convinced that Purgatory is God's Mercy made manifest; how can we even think that most of us (including religious, even monastics!) can enter Heaven with all of our "baggage"...the resentments, the attachments to creatures and creaturely things, the lack of charity and our own sinful tendencies? God wants us to be completely FREE...completely HIS! And our lack of devotion and attentiveness to His Will is a constant obstacle to being free.
Purgatory is a great Mercy.
We should not forget our loved ones, our friends, our enemies, and the most forgotten...those who have no one to pray for them after death. It is a great act of charity to remember the souls of the faithful departed. Not just in November, but always.
Not to bring attention to myself, but I always try to remember those most forgotten at the Memento of the Dead at Holy Mass. Hopefully, when I die, they will be there to escort me to my place of purification, and ultimately, to the Kingdom of God.
Pray for the dead.
They will be eternally grateful. And you will make friends for everlasting life.
Our eldest member of the Institute of Saint Joseph died last week. Her Mass of Christian Burial was on Saturday, October 31. We recommend to the charity of your prayers the soul of Mary Ann Bucheger.
Mary Ann was a consecrated Lay Member of the Institute of Saint Joseph, belonging to the Annunciation Fraternity. She was in effect, a consecrated widow. She was a wife and mother of 13 children. In her later years, after her husband's death, she joined our Public Association of the Faithful and lived as a consecrated member for many years.
She was a quiet, joyful, dedicated and happy soul. We feel the loss of her earthly presence but know that she, as a faithful servant, has seen the Lord Jesus and will know the joy of His Kingdom. But we still ask for your prayers. None of us knows if we are fully ready to enter into His Kingdom. And so it is a great act of charity to pray for all of the dead, no matter how we may think of their lives on earth. God Alone knows all. And so we pray, "Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon her. May she and the all the souls of the faithful departed, rest in peace. Amen."
This is her obituary:
Mary Ann Bucheger, 87, of 10520 Cty Hwy S, Chippewa Falls, town of Anson, died Tuesday, October 27, 2009 at St. Joseph’s Hospital, Chippewa Falls.
She was born December 2, 1921 in Butternut, WI the daughter of Joseph and Anna (Pichler) Wagner.
Mary Ann married Raymond Bucheger on January 3, 1946 at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Butternut.
She was a very devoted member of Sacred Heart Church in Jim Falls where she was an active member of the choir, St. Marie Circle and St. Joseph’s Institute. She enjoyed gardening, making jams and jellies, and hearing about the activities of her family, to which she was very dedicated. We will miss you Mom.
She is survived by: four sons, Francis R. (Vicky), Charles J. (Pauline), Patrick F. (Donna) all of Chippewa Falls and Terence A. (Cheryl) of Pewaukee; seven daughters, Jane (Glenn) Jurek of Glenview, IL, Anne (Ed) Schultz of Andover, MN, Barbara Hedrington of Chippewa Falls, Lorraine M. (John) DeGrood of Lakeville, MN, Catherine T. (Kevin) Aubart of Chippewa Falls, Rose Mary (Joe) Cibulka of Hudson and Stacey Bucheger of Chippewa Falls; 21 grandchildren and sixteen great grandchildren; and four brothers, Frank (Betty), John, Edward (Sheila) and Louis (Kathy) Wagner all of the Park Falls area.
Mary Ann was preceded in death by: her husband, Raymond on January 9, 1993; two sons, James P. and Vincent J. Bucheger; her parents; two sisters, Theresa and Rosalia; and three brothers, Leonard, William and Joseph Wagner.
Funeral services will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, October 31, 2009 at Sacred Heart Church, Jim Falls. Rev. Brian J. Jazdzewski will be celebrant of the funeral Mass. Interment will be in Hope Cemetery, Chippewa Falls.
Friends may call from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday, October 30 at the Horan Funeral Home, Chippewa Falls and from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Saturday at the funeral home. There will be a Christian Vigil Service at 7 p.m. Friday at the funeral home.
Family prefers memorials to the St. Joseph’s Institute.