November 20, 2013 ⎪ PDF
Deepest Gratitude! As Thanksgiving approaches, at the top of my “Thank you, God” list are the forty-three Associates and the Brothers who are forming wonderful communities dedicated to living the charism that our Founder has given all of us. Saint Ignatius wisely counsels us to find God in all things. Since coming to Baltimore, I have been graced to find God in the two groups of Associates and Brothers whose meetings I went to. I found God in the joy of sharing the Eucharist with Associates and Brothers at the Carmelite Monastery. I found God in the brunch we shared afterward, in the stories we told and laughs we enjoyed. I found God in the Saturday morning meeting—in sharing how life is going, in the deeply personal reflections, in Alice’s chili and carrot cake! Prayer, communion among the lay Associates and Brothers, joining hands in ministry are the keys to an associate program. “I thank you, God, for these experiences. And I thank the Associates and Brothers for welcoming me.” Brother Edward
A group of MD Associates gathered for Mass at the Carmelite Monastery in Towson, MD on Sunday, September 8th. After the Mass the group of Associates and Brothers had Brunch at a local restaurant. Brother Edward Driscoll was in town and attended the gathering. He shared a few reflections from the General Chapter and Brother Cornie also discussed his impressions from his experience in Rome.
Virginia/ Southern MD
Our group met on Sunday, October 6th at the home of Barbara Ives in California, MD, which has a beautiful view of Kingston Creek. It was a warm October day and a gorgeous setting, so we spent the morning outside as we prayed together and prayerfully read and then discussed sections of the Pope’s America magazine interview. We focused on the Pope’s statements about the role of religious today and how “prophecy” is so important to “announce the spirit of the Gospel.” The Pope said that religious—and Associates through our communion with the Brothers—are called to demonstrate “how Jesus lived on this earth.” We also discussed the section on “Certitude and Mistakes” and in particular the Pope’s statement that “we must enter into the adventure of a quest for God” and we must also let God “search and encounter” us.
Brother Dan Doherty led this gathering, which included time to pray together for the healing of Brother Cos Rubencamp who has prostate cancer and for Brother Dan’s nephew and his wife who just gave birth to a Down Syndrome baby.
Barbara was a wonderful hostess and even prepared a down-home dinner of baked ham, salad, homemade macaroni and cheese, and pumpkin cake. Everything was delicious!
Attendees were Brothers Cos and Dan, Gwen and Richard Costello, and Barbara and Glen Ives. Our new Associate Brooke Schaab was unfortunately unable to be with us.
Special thanks to Brother Dan for organizing a great gathering. – Gwen Costello
Our NY Associate gathering went very well and I left Brooklyn spiritually energized and feeling that as a group of actively engaged Christians we have been blessed and are a great support for one another. – Brother Tom Murphy
The Brooklyn Associates will be meeting again on Saturday, November 23rd at Our Lady Help of Christians Church from 10am – 2pm. The group will be lead in a meditative dialogue on “The Lord’s Prayer” and perform the recommitment ritual for those Associates who were unable to attend the (re)Commitment Ceremony in July.
The New England group met on October 19th. They discussed the possibility of meeting more frequently, even if that meant gathering in unconventional ways (for a lecture, a movie, Taize Prayer, or dinner). Subsequently, six Associates participated in a Taize prayer program at Boston College November 11th, and then shared dinner afterward. The group is also planning a Christmas gathering on December 8th, to share a meal and prayer. They continue to remember one another in prayer each Thursday at 4pm. Finally, the group was joined at the October meeting by a new Associate’s applicant, and Campus Minister at Malden Catholic, Mary Driscoll, and at Taize prayer by applicant Steve Ultrino.
The MD/VA group coordinated by Brother Paul Murray met on November 2nd at the Generalate in Baltimore. They watched the video on the Brother’s Charism, “Don’t Let the Flame Go Out” and shared prayerful reflection.
The Google+ group will meet online this Saturday, November 23rd from 9 – 11am, led by Chris Roberson who recently returned from a trip to Kenya.
Associates Retreat 2014
Another reminder to mark your calendars for June 20 – 22, 2014 for the inaugural Xaverian Brothers Associate Retreat in Marriotsville, MD.
Our retreat leader will be Sister Donna Markham, OP, Ph.D. Thank you to Brother Cornie, who made contact with Donna for us. She and Cornie were colleagues at The Southdown Institute in Canada. Brother Cornie and Chris Irr, along with suggestions from the Associate Committee and Associate Coordinators, have worked with Donna to develop a theme for the retreat, which will be: “The Call to Uniqueness in a Common Mission.”
Formal invitations and more information will be coming soon!
Sister Donna Markham’s specialty is the integration of spirituality and psychology. She is the Former Prioress of the Adrian Dominican Sisters in Michigan. Former CEO of the aforementioned Southdown Institute in Canada, a treatment center for priests, brothers, and sisters. She is a former President of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) and was special assistant to the President of Georgetown University for some time. Presently, Donna is Vice President of Catholic Health Partners in Cincinnati. And several Brothers know her well from an introductory retreat she gave at the General Chapter in 2007.
As outlined in a recent Congregational Letter from Brother Ed Driscoll (hopefully you’re receiving those!), the Brothers will be sending out daily reflections during Founder’s Week (November 26 – December 3). The reflections will focus on a passage from the Brothers’ Fundamental Principles that expresses the Congregation’s mission to “work to help others discover their own uniqueness so they, too, may ‘share the love of God with the world through their own giftedness.’” The reflections will unfold as a kind of communal lectio divina.
We hope you’ll participate in the prayer, reading, and reflection. They’ll be sent right to your email inbox! And, as always, you will be able to access them on Living the Charism.
Founder’s Week overlaps with the First Week of Advent, so our Sunday, December 1 reflection will combine the Founder’s Week reflection series with the beginning of a weekly Advent reflection series. Brother Ed Driscoll, Associate Gail Dennig, Collaborator Cathy Reynolds, and Brother Raphael Wanjala will write the Advent reflections.
On Sunday, December 15 at 5pm EST there will be a live webcast of a Congregational Vespers. The Vespers will be broadcast from the Generalate in Baltimore and streamed on the web, so that all can participate. We’re very excited about this. More details will be relayed very soon, including the link to broadcast, which will be posted to Living the Charism. We’re also looking to set up a couple of regional gatherings that will have the webcast live, in case you’re interested in joining with others in the Vespers. If you’re in the Baltimore area, we’ll be glad to have you join us at the Generalate. Details to come…
Directives of the 27th General Chapter
As mentioned in the last Associate Notes the Delegates of the 27th General Chapter in Rome issued Directives for the Congregation to reflect upon. There was a Committee on Associates that affirmed the Associates Program, urged for its expansion into Kenya and Congo, and praised the Associate’s charism description. A PDF of the Directives booklet with commentary from Committee Members can be downloaded and read by clicking here.
By Brother John Hamilton, Xaverian Brothers Vicar
I tell you, to everyone who has more will be given, but from the one who has not, even what (s)he has will be taken away. [Luke 19:26]
This statement of Jesus is one of the more difficult teachings of the gospel. Something in it seems inherently unfair to us. Its apparent contradiction with so much of the gospel way is yet another reminder that “God’s thoughts are not our thoughts, nor are God’s ways our ways.” Yet, it is the character development in the parable that affords us insight. The first two servants, those who had earned ten and five coins respectively, have taken what they have received as gift and “spent” it wisely in such a way, as in the multiplying of the loaves and fishes, that it has shared in the abundance of creation for the many. The third servant, living the “meanness” born of fear and insecurity, refuses to trustingly enter into the plenitude and generosity of God. (S)he sees only limit and so, fearfully, deprives others and (her)himself of her/his own gifts and of the abundance of creation.
When we truly experience being “put in our place,” we come to know our own smallness. But living from the knowledge of our smallness and the freedom that such humility brings opens us to the greatness and abundance of God’s world of which we are a small but unique and significant part. It frees us to release who we are and what we have in such a way that we and others experience that there is more than enough for all of us. The great paradox is that when we spend ourselves, as small as we are, we enter into the experience beyond our individual finitude – into eternal life.
From the collection of meditative passages of Eknath Easwaran comes these “last words” of Sri Sarada Devi, which speak to a difficult but essential practice for opening to the life of the whole world.
The Whole World Is Your Own
I tell you one thing –
If you want peace of mind,
do not find fault with others.
Rather learn to see your own faults.
Learn to make the whole world your own.
No one is a stranger, my child;
this whole world is your own.