Friday, April 13, 2007

The Risen Christ

Last night was the farewell celebration - humbling to hear so many speak of the effects of my life on them and St. Thomas. In my remarks I recalled how St. Thomas has formed me and how the efforts I am often credited with are the results of the initiative and creativity of so many others. I need to write this down some time soon.

I also gave the reflection at Thursday Night Liturgy. The readings called me to ask what is the meaning of this risen Christ and how are we witnesses to him. I closed with a lengthy quote from Little Brother Carlo Carretto, the final lines of which read:

Every departing missionary is an act of faith in the resurrection.
Every newly-opened leper hospital is an act of faith in the resurrection.
Every peace treaty is an act of faith in the resurrection.
Every agreed commitment is an act of faith in the resurrection.
When you forgive your enemy
When you feed the hungry
When you defend the weak
you believe in the resurrection.
When you have the courage to marry
When you welcome the newly-born child
When you build your home
you believe in the resurrection.
When you wake at peace in the morning
When you sing to the rising sun
When you go to work with joy
you believe in the resurrection.
Carlo Carretto, Blessed Are You Who Believed

Thursday, April 12, 2007

God and Kurt Vonnegut

Kurt Vonnegut, novelist and curmudgeon, died yesterday. His Slaughterhouse Five was an indictment of war, set partially in the midst of the World War II firebombing of Dresden.

I awoke this morning to the news of his passing on National Public Radio. The report concluded with these words of Vonnegut:

"If I should ever die, God forbid, let this be my epitaph:
'The only proof he needed for the existence of God was music.'"

Requiescat in pace.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

HOLY SATURDAY - the great Sabbath rest

A day of rest - as it was for the followers of Jesus - after the great pain and sense of loss on Good Friday.

On Good Friday I again led the Stations of the Cross on the Iowa State University campus as a way to help people connect the sufferings of Christ with life at ISU. The stations follow Christ on the way to the cross and we recalled how Christ suffers even today in all the poor and suffering of this world.

The day was cold - with a bitter wind, but a brave group of about 15 of us walked through campus - stopping at the plaque that recalls the processing of uranium for atom bombs at ISU in the mid-1940s; remembering immigrants as we recalled Simon of Cyrene, an outsider,at the statue of the man carrying the woman across the Rio Grande on central campus; remembering all the women mourning the loss of their loved ones in war as we prayed the station of the women of Jerusalem weeping over Jesus outside the armory.

We ended at Lake Laverne, praying the 15th station of the resurrection. I nearly broke up as I recalled that on Monday the body of an ISU student, Abel Bolaños, was pulled from that lake. But we prayed these words:
"As people of faith we know that death is not the final word.
"Jesus has risen! He has given new life and new meaning to our lives."