The Path of Life

The Path of Life

Saturday, January 24, 2015

From the heart

“Engrave and inscribe on your heart this holy and sacred motto, ‘Live Jesus!’ I am certain that your life, which comes from the heart just as the almond tree comes from its seed, will thereafter produce all its actions—which are its fruits—inscribed and engraved with this sacred word of salvation. As our beloved Jesus lives in your heart, so too he will live in all your conduct… With St. Paul you can say, ‘It is no longer I that live, but Christ lives in me’ [Galations 2:20].”
-- St. Francis de Sales
Introduction to the Devout Life, III:23

NOTE: In honor of St. Francis de Sales, whose memorial we observe today, Crisis magazine recently published a nice article on the value of returning to the saint's writings for holy but practical wisdom in this day and age. Read it by clicking here.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Onward and upward

Congratulations to our five new novices who received their scapulars (with hoods) and coronas (or tonsures) today. Officially invested as members of the Saint Meinrad Archabbey monastic community were Novice Timothy Herrmann, O.S.B., Novice Jinu Thomas, O.S.B., Novice Peter Szidik, O.S.B., Novice Jonathan Blaize, O.S.B., and Novice Thomas Fish, O.S.B. They joined us as candidates in October. Learn more about them by clicking here.

This is the biggest incoming class of novices we've had here in almost 20 years. In the novitiate/juniorate, they join four juniors in temporary vows and two other novices who were invested in August.

In all cases, may God bless and guide their discernment with peace. Pray for the Lord to send more laborers for the harvest!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Focus on Faith

NOTE: Following is the introduction to my new book, Why Do I Worry?, recently published by Abbey Press Publications. The book is part of a new series called "Focus on Faith," and other titles released include Letting Go of Envy, Moving Beyond Doubt, and Growing in PatienceEach 84-page, full-color book in the series focuses on a different aspect of our Christian faith, providing an insightful, inspiring, and attractive presentation of the topic at hand. Each book is designed to be a prayerful guide to empowering one’s faith—putting it to work in day-to-day circumstances, and is filled with short meditations, colorful photographs and illustrations, inspirational quotes, and reflection questions.To get a closer look, visit one of the links above, or visit Abbey Press' Path of Life Publications.

As real as our worries seem, we know, deep down, that worrying is pointless.  It solves nothing, and often leads to potentially more serious problems—like sleeplessness, irritability, lack of concentration, arguments, substance abuse, etc. A recent British study found that the average Briton spends one hour and 46 minutes each day worrying about such things as being out of shape, aging, and finances—amounting to five years and two months of solid worrying over the course of the average lifetime! What’s more, high percentages of those studied said their worrying (not what they were worried about) directly affected their health, job performance, and relationships.
Gerontologist Karl A. Pillemer, Ph.D, a professor of human development at Cornell University who has researched and written extensively on aging issues, asked hundreds of senior citizens what they most regretted about their lives. He was surprised by the recurrent answer: “I wish I hadn’t spent so much of my life worrying.” He concludes: “Their advice on this issue is devastatingly simple and direct: Worry is an enormous waste of your precious and limited lifetime. They suggested training yourself to reduce or eliminate worrying as the single most positive step you can make toward greater happiness.”
Hopefully, this book will help you do that from the perspective of our Christian faith. Let us follow Jesus, the Light of the world (cf. John 8:12; 9:5), who says to us all: “Do not worry about your life” (Matthew 6:25; Luke 12:22). “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me” (John 14:1).
Br. Francis Wagner, O.S.B.
Why Do I Worry?
©2014 Abbey Press Publications

Sunday, January 4, 2015

An interesting question

Here is something to ponder on this Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord, and as we prepare during these first days of 2015 to enter (next week) into Ordinary Time.

In the Old Testament, the very first question God asks fallen humanity is this: “Where are you?” (Genesis 3:9).

In the New Testament, the very first question is asked by humanity in search of salvation, as we heard in today’s Gospel reading: “Where is the newborn king?” (Matthew 2:2).

Isn’t that interesting? In essence, those two questions highlight the message of the whole of Scripture. God seeks out fallen humanity, desiring us to return to him—the theme of the entire Old Testament. Meanwhile, fallen humanity, in genuine search of salvation, seeks out our Creator. God and humanity (whether we all know it or not), both desire reconciliation and communion with one another, as it was in the beginning.

The solution to this question, this common desire, is provided by God himself, and is revealed in the object of the Magi’s search: “Where is the newborn king?” Christ is the answer, the fulfillment of our desire—the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). In Christ we find reconciliation and the promise of communion, as it was in the beginning. In Christ, we find our origin, our identity, and our purpose. Like the Magi following the light of the star, we find direction and meaning amid darkness and difficulty when we fix our gaze on the newborn king, Emmanuel, who comes not to rule but to give light and life. He is our peace. This is the message of the entire New Testament.

When we sincerely look for Christ, we discover our true selves made in God’s image, and allow our Creator to see us naked and unashamed, as the light of Christ is magnified in us. “What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:3-5).

These same questions echo throughout time, calling out to each one of us. Where are you? Why do you hide? Come out, and follow the Light to eternal life. Seek and you will find. Where is the newborn king?

Think about it.