It is finally summertime 2021 and our reflection series returns! Beginning July 7th and running through August 25th, members of the Society of Saint Edmund and Diocesan Priests will present the Summer Reflection Series every Wednesday (except July 21). The programs begin with 11:15 a.m. Mass followed by a presentation. Lunch is available for purchase in the café, or you may bring your own picnic lunch to eat outside. All are welcome! Reservations are appreciated though not necessary and can be made by calling (802) 928-3362. 2021 Topics:
July 7: Brother Frank Hagerty will present, “Emerging from the Pandemic: Restoring our Spirituality.”
July 14: Father Michael Carter will present, “Mohawk Maiden: The Life and Faith of Kateri Tekakwitha.”
August 4: Father Richard Berube will present, “Not Just Heartbreaks and Honk-tonk: Country Music in Sacred Space.”
August 11: Father David Cray will present, “Praying with Saint Clare of Assisi.”
August 18: Father Michael Carter will present, “A Puzzle to Common Sense: The Conversion of Fanny Allen.”
August 25: Msgr. Peter Routhier will present, "The Mercy of God as Reflected in the Vision of Pope Francis."
Here is a peek at what was covered in 2019:
Edmundite Father Michael Carter on Praying with Saint Mary Magdalene
Father Michael Carter, S.S.E. reflected on Praying with Saint Mary Magdalene with a group of about 30 people after Mass at Saint Anne’s Shrine on July 17. This was part of a summertime series that takes place in the Boucher Building each Wednesday.
Artwork of Mary Magdalene throughout the ages served as an anchor for Father Michael as he walked us through the ups and downs of what this important figure might have meant to the early Church. She is mentioned in each Gospel and is often painted with a book, surrounded with items that indicate she was a woman of means. “Afterward [Jesus] journeyed from one town and village to another, preaching and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. Accompanying him were the Twelve and some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, Joanna, the wife of Herod's steward Chuza, Susanna, and many others who provided for them out of their resources.” (Luke 8:1-3) This is just one of many verses where Mary Magdalene is named specifically. Father Michael said it is important to note here that she is first on the list and that this gives her a place of great prominence among the others mentioned. “Mary Magdalene is on par with the disciple Peter in terms of the respect she held with the community,” Father Michael said. “She made her choice to give up all she had to follow Jesus and his teachings. Mary Magdalene, and all of the Saints, set a good example for us—to use our time to go out of our way to help other people.” As for those seven demons cast out of her, we cannot know what they were, but she made the choice to follow Jesus and was cleansed. She turned her life around and was able to live without shame or guilt. Jesus made things new for her, just like he can for all of us. One particularly moving moment in Father Michael’s talk was when he read John 20:11-18 while we gazed upon Noli me tangere, 1514, an oil painting by Titian of this scene in the Gospel. It is in the collection of the National Gallery in London. “At this point the whole Church on earth was Mary Magdalene,” Father Michael said. “This is a painting of the Christian Church after the Resurrection.”
“Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?” “They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?” Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.” Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.
"Anyone Can Be a Disciple" with Edmudite Father and Superior General David Cray
Superior General Father David Cray, S.S.E. reflected on what it means to be a disciple with a group of about 25 seekers after Mass at Saint Anne’s Shrine on July 10. This was part of a summertime series that takes place in the Boucher Building each Wednesday. Father Cray ran through the joys, costs and ways of living the discipleship in about an hour. The whirlwind of information settled on that we can all find true comfort and joy by taking up the task of being humble pupils of the philosopher Jesus Christ—to be lifelong learners and teachers of The Word.
“He wept because though there were many hearers of The Word, there were few doers thereof, although they had the passion of Christ before their eyes.” -From The Servant Heart, Exploring the Life and Legacy of St. Edmund of Abington
The Joys In The Joy of Discipleship, a collection of homilies and speeches from Pope Francis, compiled and edited by James P. Campbell, Father Cray read excerpts to remind us that joy should be one of the defining characteristics of anyone who has truly encountered Jesus. Father Cray said, “I know people who are more fun than a barrel of monkeys at a barbecue but on Sunday they put on their church face—they look like chief mourners at a funeral.” Jesus tells us, “Do not be glum.” We all need to realize the Church is God’s family and it should be a joy to attend and to serve there. It has been said that you will know disciples by their love. Even though love can be challenging at times, we all need to keep working on it, Father Cray said. We can all meditate on The Word daily for the inspiration to move out of our own human limitations to joyfully proclaim God’s transforming love through our own words and deeds in His name. “Call on the Saints for help with this for they are loud witnesses rooting us on and cheering for us,” Father Cray said. The Costs Father Cray read from The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. It’s clear when Jesus calls a person in The New Testament he was asking his followers to leave everything behind and die to their old life. In our own lives as His disciples, we are asked to set our face toward Jesus and away from any desires that are not in line with love. “If what you are doing doesn’t have Jesus at the center of it, it won’t truly succeed,” Father Cray said. “Go with Jesus because there is no higher place above or safer place below.” It is important to reevaluate our relationships with everything and go with Jesus whether it is comfortable or not, Father Cray said. He reminded us that disciples are always on the move and often are in strange and unfamiliar situations. He spoke of the way our Edmundite ministry is on the move and how he grew most when he was working in situations that were foreign to him. “Do it even if it’s scary,” he said.
“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:29)
Way of Living
Obey the commandments—love of God and neighbor. Obey the precepts of the Church which are to assist at Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation, confess our sins at least once a year, receive Holy Communion during the Easter time, fast and abstain on the days appointed, support of the Church and observe the laws of the Church concerning marriage.
We are to practice Spiritual works of mercy which are to instruct the ignorant, counsel the doubtful, admonish sinners, bear wrongs patiently, forgive offenses willingly, comfort the afflicted, pray for the living and the dead.
And to exercise the Corporal works of mercy which are to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, visit the sick, ransom the captive and to bury the dead.
In The Servant Heart, Exploring the Life and Legacy of St. Edmund of Abington, Father Cray read about St. Edmund, “He wept because though there were many hearers of The Word, there were few doers thereof, although they had the passion of Christ before their eyes.”
In closing, Father Cray urged us all to be gentle and meek. He read Matthew 11:29, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
Saint Paul and His Letter to The Galatians with Father David Théroux, S.S.E.
Father David Théroux, S.S.E. reflected on The Apostle Paul and His Letter to the Galatians on Aug. 21 at Saint Anne’s Shrine in Isle La Motte. This was part of a special summertime reflection series offered to the public by the Edmundites. The Apostle Paul was a prominent Jewish Roman citizen prior to his conversion to Christianity. We find out in his letter to the Galatians where he stands with Judaizers who were teaching that it was necessary to become Jewish before becoming Christian. Saint Paul made it blatantly clear this was never the teaching. Father Théroux explained Saint Paul’s argument to a group of about 25 people in the Boucher Building after a rainy Mass in the outside Chapel. A brief summary of Saint Paul’s life was given along with details about the Jerusalem Conference where the Apostles decided Christians did not have to follow the Mosaic Law. Early Christians followed just a few simple core elements that included the belief that there is only one God and that Jesus is the Messiah. All early Christians were also reading the same literature that would eventually become what we know today as the New Testament, Father Théroux said.
Saint Paul was somewhat heated in his letter to the Galatians. He drove home his main point that Christians are justified by faith alone. He wrote that they were liberated by faith in Jesus, and explained they were free from original sin and all of the dictates of the law. “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians: 5-1)
Father Théroux said we are Christians because of faith in Jesus, not works of the law. “Guilt and shame were removed with the death of Jesus,” Father Théroux said. “He put us right with God through faith. We do right because we love Jesus, not because we are afraid of not being loved. We are loved. When we fail at laws, we run back to Jesus.”
A Woman Clothed with the Sun and a Crown of Twelve Stars with Father Richard Berube, SSE
Father Richard Berube, S.S.E. reflected on A Woman Clothed with the Sun and a Crown of Twelve Stars on Aug. 14 at Saint Anne’s Shrine in Isle La Motte. This was part of a summertime series that takes place in the Boucher Building each Wednesday. He spoke on the topic a day before The Assumption of Mary Feast Day. He said in popular devotion the Assumption is often thought to be the coronation of the Blessed Virgin. Revelation 12:1 is the entrance antiphon for the Mass and Revelation chapter 12 the first reading of the Mass on the Solemnity. “It is a bedazzling kaleidoscope of images,” Father Berube said quoting author Stephen Harris. “The Book of Revelation describes itself as a prophetic message and a record of visions,” he said. It begins, “A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head.” (Rev. 12:1) What’s revealed in these visions written around the year 100 by John of Patmos is a cosmic battle on a universal stage which scholars have debated over for 15 centuries. The multi-layered symbol at the center of Revelation 12 could be Mary, Father Berube said. “You can’t rule it out, or establish either, that John of Patmos himself was talking about Mary the Mother of Jesus.” The Book of Revelation is a sweep of past, present and future. “It is an unveiling, a revelation, an opening of a curtain on a very visual end-time drama—God’s future for us,” Father Berube said. “This future is an object of hope, but we cannot draw a literal calendar of events from this writing. They do not point to specific events. The images blend and morph with one another.” In reading more from Revelation 12 to the group, Father Berube said Jesus the Messiah is identified clearly. So is the dragon as Satan, and Saint Michael as God's champion. But the woman at the center of this drama is unnamed and is successively identified, and morphs into several identities. “She is Eve, the mother of all of the living and the first one to be pursued by the ancient serpent,” Father Berube said. The dragon is not finished yet, the images continue. She is the bearer of Israel’s promise of a messiah. "She is a corporate image here—a people. She is Israel. As Mother Israel, she fled into the desert to be cared for. She is Israel of the exodus,” he said. "She becomes the mother of the Messiah, and then the mother of those who bear witness to Jesus—the new people of God. She is Mother Church, another corporate image. Virtually all commentators have agreed that these three identities in the text, as intended by the author, are Eve, Mother Israel, and Mother Church in sequence.” Over the centuries, the Church has come to realize that Mary herself can be seen in these visions also. “It’s like seeing something in a painting that you hadn’t noticed before, but once you notice it, you can’t miss it,” Father said. “The Book of Revelation is just like this. The images are moldable and have the potential of revealing things later that you didn’t see at first.”
Through this reading of Revelation 12, we see that Mary, the Queen of Heaven, holds an elevated status that is second only to her son, Jesus. We are led to envision how she embodies God’s people through the Old and New Testaments through the visions of John of Patmos, Father Berube said. “The Book of Revelation is about Mary’s exemplary position in the Church. It is about the hope of the resurrection itself. Mary’s Assumption confirms the promise of our own.”
"Revelation brings together our common humanity from Mother Eve, Mother Israel, Mother Church, and Mother Mary. It is all there. It is all one story, one vision, and we are in it,” Father concluded.
Father Berube urged the crowd to read The Book of Revelation all the way through and then to go back and read it a second time with help from the notes in the New American Bible.
Day By Day with Edmundite Brother Frank Hagerty
St. Ignatius of Loyola was canonized in March of 1622. He lived his life in the 1500s first as a carousing gambler and then eventually as a seeker of the Lord. He, day by day, chose “what better leads to the deepening of God’s life” in his own daily round. And he left us with many beloved prayers and reflections to savor. The way he chose to live his life gives many of us great comfort as we stumble through our own ups and downs. Brother Frank Hagerty, S.S.E. reflected on St. Ignatius of Loyola and the Ascension of Jesus: Bringing About the Kingdom of God at Saint Anne’s Shrine on July 31. This was part of a summertime series that takes place in the Boucher Building each Wednesday. “He’s been a buddy of mine,” Brother Frank said of St. Ignatius. With a little guitar playing and singing in-between a synopsis of the Saint’s life, Brother Frank educated a group of about 25 on not only the history, but the trail of uplifting glory that still bubbles within so many who strive to walk with this Patron Saint of Spiritual Retreats. How appropriate to be speaking of him at Saint Anne’s Shrine! Without going into too much detail, it was when St. Ignatius was injured badly and bedridden that he was given three books to read. They were the Bible, The Imitation of Christ, and Lives of the Saints. Brother Frank said repetitive reading became a tool to let God lead him. “He became a genius at knowing what was going on inside himself,” Brother Frank said. Through consolation and desolation, St. Ignatius was able to discern God’s will, step by step, within each day. “He found God didn’t want him to hurt himself,” Brother Frank said. “He wanted him to be whole and be himself. This is a good lesson for us as well.” If utilized correctly, our emotions, imagination, humility, and prayers can also be valuable tools for living a blessed life. “If we get wrapped up in the pride of our own gifts, talents, and abilities, we lose God,” Brother Frank said. “St. Ignatius became so good at holding himself in balance. He sets a good example to follow—to let God be in control.” The test is to ask ourselves at any given moment, “Whose flag am I holding right now? Christ the King’s flag or Satan’s?” And then to remember we are being called to humility. Jesus has an ongoing invitation for us to be his partner and to carry on his saving action. We are invited to care for each other, care for the environment, and care for the world around us, Brother Frank said. This is a prayer that St. Ignatius recited every day, “Thanks be to thee, my Lord Jesus Christ, for all the benefits thou hast given me, for all the pains and insults thou hast borne for me. O most merciful redeemer, friend and brother, may I know thee more clearly, love thee more dearly, and follow thee more nearly, day by day.” This was written by Saint Richard of Chichester who was a student at Oxford, taught by our one and only Saint Edmund of Canterbury.
Ultimately we understand through our own contemplation, and with help from Mother Mary and all of the Saints, that it’s all God’s Grace in action. “We are chosen for the Kingdom of Heaven,” Brother Frank said, “It is an invitation and our journey is to see this as a gift and to work at being a part of that every day.”