18 February 2009


We're going to Honduras! Here is a link to the site: www.missionhonduras.com

Here is the blog for Matthew Hayes who is in Liberia at another Mission Honduras location: www.weare1body.blogspot.com

17 February 2009

"It's a small world" category

I received this email a while back:
"Greetings in the Hearts of Jesus and Mary! My name is Philip Johnson and I met you in 2005 when you were in Lourdes with your sister and father, and you invited me to your Mass in one of the side chapels of the Basilica. I attached the picture of us in front of the Basilica. I just spoke on the phone with my friend Patrick Bentley, and he mentioned that his wife works for you. I was very happy to "find" you again!

I am writing to ask your prayers. In November of 2008 I was diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer and have been given a few years to live. I am being discharged from the Navy in March, and will enter St Charles Borromeo Seminary next Fall for the Diocese of Raleigh. As I mentioned in Lourdes, I had planned to enter the seminary following my service in the Navy, but my discharge is allowing this earlier. The Bishop has been very good to me, and is still allowing me to pursue my vocation despite the cancer. I had planned to join the Fraternity of Saint Peter, but those doors closed when I became ill, and God opened the door to Raleigh."

I remember well the day that we met Philip in Lourdes. Go to his blog to keep up with his recent pilgrimage there and to Rome. And let's pray for a miracle. We can use priests like Philip! Here is his blog: PhilipGerardJohnson.blogspot.com

11 February 2009



In light of my post yesterday, Lourdes is one of the places where the Church gets it right. In Lourdes, the priority is given to the sick and to prayer. Many important people come there, including popes and bishops, but everyone who comes there comes as a pilgrim. And among the pilgrims, the sick are given first place.

Lourdes is a place that does not give a great first impression. (I am only now getting over being ashamed of my first reaction to Lourdes. I am happy to have changed, and I had to change from something!) It is sort of like a religious Gatlinburg. It is in the mountains in a beautiful natural setting and cluttered with lots of souvenir shops and hotels. That is the messy and human side of Lourdes. It accommodates a lot of people. But the reason the people come is to drink and to wash in the waters of the miraculous spring that Our Lady revealed through St. Bernadette. Everyone gives way to the sick in Lourdes. It is not a place made easily handicapped accessible, as we would say today. Handicapped access is often provided only by the strength of the fit, who offer their service willingly.

It seems to me that there is more than enough for the Church to do to pray and to take care of the spiritual and corporal needs of the people of the world. When we set ourselves to these tasks, we come up with places like Lourdes -- with a little help from the Blessed Virgin!

09 February 2009


I have had a thought that is one of those incredibly obvious things that I feel stupid even to mention, except for the fact that it has escaped me for so long and seems to escape our world for the most part. The answer is love. Real love. Love that always serves the other rather than self, the beloved rather than the lover. Sacrifice is the difference between sentiment and love. Sentiment is selfish; love is sacrificial.

We should love in everything. Love should be the criterion for every human encounter. Have I loved at this meeting? Have I loved as I waited in traffic? Have I loved in my vocation?

I was thinking of this in the context of the "choice" of abortion. Would abortion ever be chosen based on this kind of love? Wouldn't this kind of love always find room for a new life -- somehow?

This kind of love transforms life. Everything. How could I deliberately hurt another? Or if I did, how could I fail to seek pardon? How could I fail to forgive another for hurting me? What problem could not be faced with such love? To love like this certainly would not be easy -- but how liberating!

I am going to try to love like this.

02 February 2009

Leave the 99!

Go after the 1. Who is the 1 you are being called to seek and to find today in the name of the Lord? Jesus died and rose for the whole world, but we come to Him 1 by 1. Look and listen for the 1. Do not quit. Be patient. Persevere. Bring a friend to Jesus by being a friend.

All of this was brought home to me practically this weekend. On Saturday, I baptized two babies at two different ceremonies. I spoke at a seminar that had only a few people in attendance. I then drove five hours on Saturday night, including hours on unfamiliar mountain roads to be with the Vanderbilt FOCUS missionaries and disciples (14 in all), and then drove back yesterday arriving home about 25 hours after I left. After the 9 p.m. Mass last night, there was another 1 who needed my time. Poor time management or different priorities?

Leave the 99. Go to the 1.