Articles of Interest
You are invited to our next Oblate meeting on Sunday, November 25, 2018 beginning at 10:30 am. We continue the study of S. Joan Chittister’s book, Radical Spirit, that focuses on the 12 steps of Humility outlined in the Rule of St. Benedict.
This Sunday we will going over Step 9 – Listen with an additional presentation by S. Dianne on praying with Icons.
Please RSVP by the Wednesday before the scheduled meeting.
The day’s schedule:
10:30 a.m. Morning Praise and Mass in Monastery Chapel
Noon Dinner in Monastic Dining Room
1:00 p.m. Meeting
3:00 p.m. Departure
Guests are always welcome at our meetings!
|Dear colleagues, friends, and community members,
I write at this time to express our collective solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Pittsburgh at the Tree of Life synagogue, as well as with their families, friends, and the larger community.
We are all members of this society, and when one of us is hurt, we all hurt. As a university committed to practicing Benedictine Catholic values, we have the distinct privilege to embrace others when they are hurting, troubled, or in need. We are also part of a learning community, and as such have resources that can help us learn, as individuals or groups, ways to make this troubled world better.
To offer one example, we are home to the Saint Leo University Center for Catholic-Jewish Studies (CCJS), which actively teaches people about interreligious dialogue. That means listening deeply to those of different faiths and honoring their experiences, as we hope others will honor ours. This is the kind of work that helps individuals and communities engender respect and compassion—an antidote to bigotry and violence. CCJS connections extend into our classrooms from time to time, including, by chance, this week.
I was so grateful to learn that in spite of what happened Saturday, Rabbi Emeritus Richard Birnholz of Congregation Schaarai Zedek, a community friend of CCJS, came to campus to continue a previously scheduled team-teaching engagement in two sections our World Religions course. These particular sections are being taught by Dr. Matthew Tapie, an assistant professor of theology and director of CCJS. Rabbi Birnholz, I am told, on Monday recounted to our students numerous attacks on his own synagogue in the 1970s in Jackson, MS. Rabbi Birnholz emphasized that in this time of division, we need to recognize that we are all one human family.
We thank him for responding to our students’ questions, and moreover, for his leadership and example in time of distress. If the rabbi can extend himself to us during this time of enormous grief, surely we can do that for others. So, I implore each of us to continue to reach out to our Jewish brothers and sisters, to hold them in esteem, our warm embrace, and to offer the victims and families our prayers, as we work with them and others to build a more peaceful society.
Like Anne Frank, I hold that, “Despite everything, I believe that people are really good at heart.” Further, she directs us from her time to ours, and this incident, in her instruction that it is wonderful “that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”
Jeff Senese, Ph.D.
This lesson we just heard from Mark is interesting in that it differs from how Matthew related it. Maybe it tells us something about the two evangelists. In Matthew’s version of the story, it was the mother of James and John, who asks Jesus to give her sons positions of importance in the coming Kingdom. Matthew must have thought that it was unbecoming for an apostle to make such a bold request. Mark, however, appears to be more honest. He wants us to understand that the disciples were very ordinary people.
Mark also gives us some insight into the character of James and John. They may have been lowly fishermen but they certainly were not shy about taking this opportunity to look out for their future. Like the other disciples, they believed in Jesus. They were confident of his leadership – they just wanted be sure they were included. They wanted to ride on his coat tails. We all have seen that … people who are impressed with titles – who want to be buddy-buddy with the boss just because she has the title and they think she has the power. Jesus did have the power but He wanted to impress upon the two brothers the price they’d have to pay for the privilege they wanted … the service they’d have be prepared to render.
Jesus’ response to James and John reveals what He means when he speaks of greatness. His definition is inevitably linked to service. That which makes a person great is not their ability to rule over others. Rather, it is the ability to invest one’s self for the welfare of others. In a world where most people want to put as little as is possible into life and to get out as much as possible, our Lord speaks of a better way.
Jesus calls us to that “better way” today. Only when we are willing to put more into life than we take out – to put service to others in a place of honor-only then, Jesus tells us, are we worthy to be called his followers.
The author Sue Monk Kidd says in her memoirs: we humans need stories almost as much as we need the air to breath. Jesus often began: Sit down, let me tell you a story. So, listen now to a new story with the same meaning as the gospel we just heard.
Once upon a time (that tells you it’s going to be a pretend story or a fable)… Well, once upon a time, in a far-off country, a king had twin sons. One was strong and handsome. The other was intelligent and wise. As the ruler aged, everyone speculated about which son would be the king’s successor – the strong son or the wise son.
In this land, the sign of kingship was a royal ring. Just before the king died, he had a copy of the royal ring made and presented one ring to each of his twin sons. The chief advisors to the king asked him, “How shall we know which son wears the authentic royal ring?”
“You shall know,” answered the king, “because the chosen one will reveal his right to rule by his self-giving service to our people.”
[Richard Carl Hoefler, Insights, October 1988]
Sitting down, Jesus called the twelve and said to them, “If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.”