Tag Archives: revelation

Friday Thoughts: Joy of Minds Made Pure


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The one who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” Then he said, “Write these words down, for they are trustworthy and true.”

—Revelation 21:5


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There’s a place

Where walls are made of flowers

And petals are made of uncut stones.

Where virtue grows untold

And innocence can simply be itself.

Where earth and water mix

But never make mud.

The rain continually falls,

The sun always shines,

The dew remains sight unseen.

Laughter, joyful laughter

Tills the soil.

Weeds are welcome,

No plant chokes another.

The seasons,

They come and go,

The temperature remains the same.

Innocence. Innocence. Innocence.

The constant refrain.

Such a place exists.

It lowers from the sky

While within a playground

Filled with screaming kids.


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Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth. The former heaven and the former earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.

I also saw the holy city, a new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, God’s dwelling is with the human race. He will dwell with them and they will be his people and God himself will always be with them as their God.

He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain, for the old order has passed away.”

—Revelation 21:1-4


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—Howard Hain

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Revelation

    In this Wednesday’s Gospel ( MT 16: 13-18 ) Jesus asks His disciples:

            ” ‘ Who do people say that the Son of Man is?’ They replied, ‘ Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Then Simon Peter said in reply,’ You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God. ‘  Jesus said to him in reply,’Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.'”

    Over the last week I have allowed myself to be angered and distressed by the news on TV. Out of so many things, what I found most disturbing was the underreported story that the Congress is quietly crafting nearly 100 “riders” that take away or degrade all types of environmental laws, from energy conservation, to the Endangered Species Act, to the protection of the oceans, rivers , lakes, groundwater, and air. There seems to be no way to stop these new laws from being enacted.

    I feel helpless. I even feel embarrassed to ask my Lord Jesus, in prayer, “Why?” . In the darkness I feel Him asking me, ” Who do you say that I am? Am I just a nice priest or prophet to be remembered and venerated? Do you believe that I am the Son of the Living God? Don’t you trust that I am the Savior of the world? Do you have faith that I AM in charge? Don’t you know how much I love my creation?”

    His soothing presence reminds me that only by loving can I begin to do anything about these problems. So I surrender myself, in hope and confidence, to His Will. Like Peter, I confess His kingship. I will be His instrument. He will show me the way.

    And I am not alone. I am part of a great community of love, His Church, where I meet so many good people who want to do good for this world. We also have Peter’s successor, Pope Francis. He is a compassionate man, a rock of righteousness, a strong voice in our world, strong enough to reach the ears of the powerful. His message advocates for the poor, the oppressed, the dispossessed, and also reminds us of our urgent need to protect God’s Creation.

    So, Beloved Heavenly Father, never mind my thoughts and the thoughts of men. You have given me confidence in You, and I thank You for Your Revelation: Christ lives, and loves, and cares for us . We are not floundering alone in a wild, threatening sea. We are standing on firm rock.

Orlando Hernández

The Dawn from on High

Today we buried Brother Jim Fitzgerald, who served our community in Union CIty for many years. I took this picture from our residence in Union City one December morning last year when we were reading from Luke’s gospel and Zechariah’s canticle which says “the dawn from on high shall break upon us.”

Jim loved this place. I preached this homily at his funeral Mass today:

Brother James Fitzgerald, CP            +December 15, 2012

A year or so ago, Bro. Jim Fitzgerald and I were taken by Father Jerome Vereb on a “mystery ride” in Pittsburgh. We went to Knoxville, not far from our monastery in the Southside, where Jerome pointed out streets and homes that some of our priests and brothers came from. At one street he announced dramatically the purpose of our mystery ride. Pointing to an old decrepit building, he said “That’s where young Jim Fitzgerald got his start in the world of media at the King’s School of Oratory.

I remember Jim qualifying that claim. He didn’t graduate from the King’s School for Oratory where many of early radio’s future stars trained, but– yes it was true– his mother brought him there, as a young boy of 6 or 7, to get some elocution lessons for a career in radio. It was the 1930s and radio was going nationwide; Pittsburgh was the center for the new media.

Jim did commercials and acted on the radio as a child. Then as a young boy at Central Catholic High School he was an announcer. For almost 46 years he had a distinguished career on radio in Pittsburgh and later in Ocean City, Maryland. He was a familiar voice on WWSW, one of Pittsburgh’s premier stations.

His radio career became secondary after Jim made a retreat in high school at the Passionist Monastery of St. Paul of the Cross in Pittsburgh. He heard Jesus inviting him: “If you will be perfect, sell what you have and give to the poor, and come follow me.” In the Passionists he saw the way to follow Jesus and for the rest his life he found his friends and spiritual guidance in our community.

He took vows as a Passionist in 1947 but had to leave formal studies in 1949 for reasons of health. He resumed his career in radio, but the Passionists kept drawing him like a magnet. He helped out regularly at St. Paul’s Monastery and later St. Michael’s residence in Union City, NJ, and in 1984 became a member of that community, and eventually took vows again in December 2008.

Jim was a deeply spiritual man. In his room the other day I noticed near his chair books he was reading: a book on prayer, on the theology of history, on the spiritual life and some crossword puzzles. He was a lifelong learner who never lost his desire to know God more. His room is empty today; it’s as if he got his wish.

He was deeply committed to the Passionist life. Jim was the only one I know who read everything that came from our superiors in Rome or here in the States or from Passionists anywhere and kept records of what they said in his files. All you had to say was, “Jim, do you know where I can find something on those Spanish Passionists killed during the Spanish Civil War?” In 20 minutes something would be there. He was devoted to the Passionist life and to its ministries. For years, he dedicated himself to our publications and put his considerable talents into our various publishing efforts.

At the same time, as anyone who lived with him in Union City knows, Jim would do anything for you. If you needed anything from the store, he’d get it. He kept the kitchen stocked; he cleaned the guest rooms, so many ordinary things. He was a humble man, a friend, who served us all.

So we remember him.

Our gospel today recalls the Passion and Resurrection of Jesus, in which we remember another life and another death. “Those who knew Jesus,” Luke says, “stood at a distance, including the women who had followed him from Galilee and saw these events.” (Luke 23,49) Like us here, they looked on at a death and remembered things of his life.

But our reading does not stop at death and neither should we. It goes on to describe something more: the mystery of Jesus’ resurrection: “He’s has been raised,” the angels say to the women who come to anoint the body of Jesus and don’t find it. He is “the Living One.”

Jim is living. He’s sharing in the risen life of Jesus, so he’s not just a memory. His life is changed, not ended.

Often after funerals, Jim would quote from the marvelous hymn “For All the Saints.”  “We feebly struggle, they in glory shine.” “Let’s get back to the struggle,” he’d say.

Now, he goes towards the promise of glory. Is that life detached from this one; are those gone before us oblivious to our world? If the Risen Jesus is the model, those sharing his risen life carry this world with them into the next, and they bring from that world wisdom and  support for ours and for us. They bring what they loved into eternity, and with the clearer vision they have now, with a surer knowledge of God’s plan, with the power of the Risen Christ, they walk with us, as the Risen Jesus walked with his own. Unrecognized, they’re still here.

It’s the communion of saints that we celebrate here in this Eucharist where earth is joined to heaven. Now, a good man joins that communion.  We don’t lose him. You, his family, do not lose him. We, the Passionists, do not lose him. He’s with us in another grace-filled way, a strengthening way, a real way, as the ancient hymn says:

“And when the fight is fierce, the warfare long,
 Steals on the ear the distant triumph song,
 And hearts are brave again, and arms are strong.
Alleluia! Alleluia!

O blest communion, fellowship divine,
We feebly struggle, they in glory shine;
Yet all are one in Thee, for all are Thine.
 Alleluia! Alleluia!

Victor Hoagland, CP