Saturday, May 19, 2012


“We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you, because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world”
Spending time with my God daughter the other day I was reminded of what true adoration is. She ran up to me and put her two hand around my face holding it. Together we made that connection like that of a child to a parent. Not having a child of my own this was very special. What I related it to was the experience of euckirestic adoration, that prelude to the summit to come in the beatific vision. I might be making this simple moment sound too dramatic but I think God works very big in little things. My favorite painting at the Museum of fine Arts Boston is a painting by Rosso Fiorentino, Dead Christ with Angels. When I worked at the museum as a gallery guard I would sit in front of the painting analyzing the details. Then I’d stop and in my mind I would proclaim with sublime joy “ecce homo” behold the man. Right there in the art museum I adored Christ. Over five hundred years later, after Fiorentino was move by the Holy spirit I reach across time to pray.
In the painting Christ is shown in the center almost braking the boarders. The angels props His dead body up as to percent Christ to the world. Jesus sits on His tomb as a thrown of glory. A corpse is limp, it’s head would fall with the direction of the body but if you look at Christ’s head in the painting it act as if he maybe sleeping suggesting the resurrection that is soon to come. The tools of Christ’s passion and death are shown beneath his feet because of Jesus’ concord over death. At this the alter of the slain lamb the angles flanked him on either side holding two candles. There are two angels in the shadows behind Christ. One of those angels on the right side of Jesus, moves its hand to the side wound of our Lord. The first thought we may have is the story of Doubting Thomas which is a common narrative displaying the straggle man has with faith in God’s Word and true presence in the Holy Eucharist. To go even deeper contemplatively, I believe this invokes the longing intimacy we have for Jesus, because the angel has an almost determined yet gentle looking in his eyes to be one with the divine. There is a term in art “figura serpentinata” which describes the twisting undulations of the forms that gives the figure a dynamic feel. This drama hides as well as reveals the body intensifying our longing for Jesus. As adorers of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament we should keep in mind Matthew 9:14 "Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven." We must first go to Jesus as little children and then as Church and as individuals, enter into an intimacy with the Bridegroom. Holy Father Saint Francis once said “I beg you to show the greatest possible reverence for the Eucharist through whom all things have been brought to peace and reconciled with Almighty God”
Written in January 2012

Sunday, October 30, 2011

"Who Am I?"

Remembering My Profession on the Feast of Saint Francis 2009
I wrote this short meditation in my Secular Franciscan Fraternity's news letter before my profession into the order on October 4th 2009. It just so happens that I was writing this for Franciscans but you can replace the words Franciscans or SFO with Christens, Catholics or the name of any living person.
We often wonder who we are or what our purpose is in this world. Maybe we think everything will change once our name has Dr. or Judge or even Fr. In the prefix. You may even like SFO in the suffix of your name. Perhaps a better question is, dose this really make any difference to God or more earthbound to me? Saint Francis striped off his clothes and disowned his earthly father. He used words like poor and fool to describe himself. Not too flashy or faltering is it? This world can tease us with riches, power and status but its nothing compared to the love of Our Father, who is everything for us. Become quiet now, Listen...Ask Him...Who am I? “YOU ARE MINE” says the Lord. See, it is the love of the Lord that we are to be. We who believe this truth will grow in Him. We have only the power that He gives us. His Word is our road map and our compass. He has written it in the stars and has timed it in the tides of the sea. He calls us by name, sees us naked before him, and he has a place for us with him in his Kingdom. He can only evaluate us in love because he is love. He is our lover in the quietness of us and he is teacher in the noisiness of the world. As a Secular Franciscans we gain nothing from this world because it is in giving that we receive. If we have pride we should quickly correct our hearts because it prevent us from becoming Our Fathers little ones. And when we grow we do this with him and in him, he becomes our new skin a uniform tailored just for us. I am reminded of the story of how Saint Francis after getting rashes from his habit the brothers sowed patches of less chafing material on the in side of his habit. Francis had the brothers sow those same patches on the outside of the habit so that it wouldn't be deceiving. I find in this story the message that we must live confidently in the truth of who we are whatever that may be, but knowing that we are loved and called by our Creator to love one another as He loves us. Remember what Francis said to one of his friars, "preach the Gospel at all times using words only when necessary." In other words they will know we are Franciscans by our love, the love that comes to us and through us in Christ. As I am about to make my profession in to the Secular Franciscan Order I can be confident in knowing that I am His. His words echo between the walls of my soul “ You are mine.” These simple yet profound words have carried me for the last year and a half. Each time the evil one would try to confuse me, when I have lack of success, when things go wrong, or in times of sickness I beery my head in the bosom of my redeemer and hear those words in His breath “YOU ARE MINE”

Sunday, September 11, 2011


We are placed in this body in a world and civilization built on laws. We have Gods law, which is written, in stone and in the Word. Then there is man's law, which is written on paper and in air, one is infallible, the other is dispensable. Christ is the Word and the law, which is eternal love and eternal mercy. Our Freedom is bought for us through His dyeing at the hands of men and their law. By believing in His promise of mercy we are set free from all thing on earth. On my trip to the cities of our country independence, I learned that "laying down our your life" or dyeing to self in a spirit of love is a price for freedom. The Eucharist is a constant reminder of the humility of God, the great witness of love, and the grace of receiving that love by the mercy of God, surrendering and gaining the gift of freedom from our sins. In our last century we have see that love conquers all evil and oppression. The Gospel came alive with the witnesses of love that marches under the banner of freedom. Gandhi, King, and Bl. John Paul II, and countless men and women in death camps, just to name a few, it was their perseverance motivated by love of God and neighbor that we can be reminded of the truth that love is the ransom of freedom. No oppressor can defeat Gospel Love. The Debt has been paid by the Blood of Christ Jesus. From His thrown of Glory He calls us to lift up our crosses in faith the we have already won against the forces of darkness because "His love endures forever."

Sunday, August 29, 2010


God told Adam: “From this tree of the garden you may eat; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you must not eat “(Gen. 2: 16-17) As we know man indulges in the knowledge of good and evil, taking upon himself the liberties of his own will in disobedience to the Father. Then the Wisdom of God comes in the flesh, the new Adam, Jesus the Christ. Jesus tells us in the Gospel of St. Luke, “Everyone of you who does not renounce all that he possesses cannot be my disciple”(Lk. 14: 33) Our possessions are more then just material things, it can also be our ideas, our wants and our “needs.” In truth what we need is to abandon our own will for His. Detaching our selves from the world’s distractions. Detachment is a complete surrender in utter trust. True Obedience is abandonment to knowing, and entry into the abyss of Gods Love. Scripture tells us after Jesus left his Father House and returned to Nazareth with his family “He was subject to them.” This witness that our Lord leaves us show us the truth in its full mystery, that who ever humbles himself will be exulted, the Son of God must also live in true obedience. Jesus lives this obedience to the cross. St. Maximillian Kolbe writing to his fellow brother says this about obedience “see the greatness of man’s dignity conferred by God’s mercy. By obedience we surmount, so to speak, the limits imposed upon us by our weakness, we are made conformable to God’s will which in his infinite wisdom and prudence guides us to act correctly.” He goes on by saying that by wisdom and prudence we can render the greatest glory to God. Like Jesus we hang on our crosses crucifying our human weaknesses persevering to death. We should persevere like a mother giving birth to new life. Where nothing is compromised in birth, saving us in our pursuit is obedience from that which we came.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Walking With Jesus

Ever since infancy, I have been seen as a child close to Jesus. I always loved going to Mass, jumping at every chance I had to be with Him. My love for Jesus in the Eucharist was so strong that I struggled not to show any emotions during the transubstantiation. It’s no wonder that my favorite liturgy has always been the Holy Thursday Mass. It wasn’t only a sentiment of being with Jesus in church, my love for Jesus extended to the highway. Whether it was driving past the big lit cross in Orient Heights or waiting to see Our Lady of the Highway coming home from trips to the Cape. I found myself alone praying and spending time listening to the silence where God waits to meet all of us. A story was told of how my great grandmother Caruso touched my head when I was just a baby and told my mother that someday I would become a priest. My parents weren’t the best of Catholics but God used them in mysterious ways. The summers were filled with weekend visits to the North End and other locations for religious feasts. My father played the drums in the Roma Band and my mother and I, later with my baby sister, would follow the saint though the streets. This unassuming act brought about an interest in the lives of the saints but I didn’t like to bring attention to this most personal devotion. Thinking back to when my family lived with my grandparents I can remember lying in my bed at their house, my Grandmother would come tuck me in and we would say our prayers. After we were finished and my grandmother left the room, I would look up and see the image of the Holy family hanging on the wall. I spoke to them: Mary, Joseph, and little Jesus. I thought of them as another family. There was always an awareness of someone looking over me, a family that I could go inward and talk to.
One year in elementary school I was picked to help with the children in the special needs room because of my sensitivity and caring. There were all kinds of kids with all sorts of physical and mental disabilities. As much as this job was intimidating, I liked it. There was this one boy from Korea that needed to exercise his stiff joints so they had a special gym class for him with a student picked from the regular classes. At that time I liked drawing dragons, and my teacher asked me to show the drawing to the Korean boy. When I did, he came to life. A boy who was stiff and stubborn smiled and was walking full of joy. It scared me, why did all of those kids react to me just by being there? I know God was telling me something. He was using me then and I remember Him now.
A teacher once told my class that you should always make eye contact with the speaker. These words I have taken to habit. Since the eyes are the portal to the soul, this act goes far beyond the physical. The Lord has been teaching me along the path to Him, my senses fixed on His Word. Sitting with my Sunday school class at Mass, the pastor was giving a homily on a reading from Mark. I can’t remember the reading but at the end of the homily the priest asked the children “who would like this little book of the Gospel of Mark?” I think it was something I heard in the Gospel but I didn’t raise my hand; I was the only one. All the other kids were jumping out of their seats hands raised high. My hand was not raised, not because I didn’t want the book. On the contrary, I wanted it very badly. Instead of raising my head I raised my self in prayer. Jesus heard me, the priest came over to me, the one quietly seated, head lowered in prayer. His hand extended and I accepted the book. I looked up at him in awe of what had taken place. The Lord had been speaking to me in the Gospel, and I to Him in prayer. Like Mother Mary kept the significant events of her son’s childhood in her heart, I stored these things from my youth in mine. Still today I think of how I have grown more and more in Jesus.
I looked for Him everywhere. When I wasn’t looking He looked for me. It was a few days before Christmas I was twelve or thirteen when the Lord overshadowed me. I no-longer was shy about my love for Jesus and the Church. Jesus was my true friend and I spent lots of time learning and getting to know him better. I enjoyed watching movies to the extent that I wanted to be a film maker. Up the point of my Confirmation I had this pursuit. I wanted to make movies about the saints. The Lord wanted my name in lights but in a different way. A couple of weeks before Confirmation there was this candle lighting ceremony. My father filled in for my godfather, who was my sponsor, because he wasn’t able to make it that night. When it was time to light the candles, my father went over and picked up a candle from the basket, lit it and handed it to me. As everyone’s flame was lit, my flame grew taller and brighter than the others. Everyone looked and laughed at me. I focused on the words that were being read. It went something like this: “Let your light shine bright before people” and I took it to heart. I’ve come to realize now that as people laughed at Jesus, that’s what happens when your light is trying to shine the love of God. Like Saint Francis and Saint Anthony, for whom I took the Confirmation name Anthony, I became a fool for Christ. I abandoned the film making goal and was feeling called to become a sculptor. I wanted to work for the church as an artist. A dream I know, but one that I followed with conviction. I felt that this is what God wanted me to do. In 1999 I entered The Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University were I received a Bachelors of Fine Arts in 2003.
I know I was different, and I know God was calling me to serve him in some way. In the spring of 2004, for the first time, I admitted that I thought I was being called to the priesthood. After about a month I pushed it away because I didn’t feel ready but the Lord didn’t give up on me. The New Year came and my life was soon changed. In the first or second day of the new year I had a dream. Divine Wisdom was calling me to the right path. It stayed with me for almost a week and on the Epiphany I received incites and knowledge that helped me gain the courage I must have to do the will of God. Like Saint Joseph, it was a heavenly visitation in a dream that woke me up to follow Gods word.
On April 2nd 2005, Pope John Paul II was in his last hours of life. I sat in front of the television the entire weekend, watching his life and ministry in news programs. I saw him touch people around the world, giving them hope, spreading the Good News. At that moment, I saw myself as an ambassador for Christ’s message. I felt angry with myself for being a coward all of these years, but I know now that the time spent up to this point had prepared me for the mission that I would take on. It was right before they announced his passing that I decided to seriously discern my vocation to the priesthood.
The process of finding where God wanted me had begun. I went to The Little Brothers of St. Francis who lived near me at that time. We talked and they gave me some pointers on how to begin my search. It was a rough summer of searching with the good and bad experiences. Then I stopped to think of an order that would allow me to spread the Word of God to all kinds of people. This is what brought me to the Franciscans. It must have been in me all along. Thinking back to the first time I went to Assisi, I couldn’t move myself closer to where St. Francis was buried. The holiness of that man who truly took on the physical image of the crucified Jesus and ministered to the outcasts of society was too overwhelming for me. I only said a prayer from a distance. I think I felt the future weigh on me at that moment, all of the fear of what worldliness I was to give up in life. I have always been drawn to St. Francis and other saints of the Franciscan Order, but it took some time to realize that I had a Franciscan spirit.
Once I decided that I was going to pursue the Franciscans, I prayed this little prayer, “Lord, reduce me to nothing so that I rise in you which are all things.” After I prayed this, my life began to get turbulent. The Lord heard me. I was robbed in my apartment, and I lost my job as a candle maker within three days. This was a trying time. It would only be the beginning of my walk in the desert. My student loan debt was preventing me from entering the Order. So the vocations director suggested that I look at the Secular Franciscan Order at St. Leonard’s. And so I did. After ten months of being unemployed and finding jobs that didn’t satisfy my hunger to serve, someone suggested that I would be good at working in home care for the elderly. It is a job that I have held for over three years. This work has exposed me to the frail Christ, the dying Christ, and the Christ that cries out to the Father in Heaven. I have experienced the worst of conditions, people lying in their own waste, cleaning bed sores, and becoming a servant to the needy. It has taught me that first to become a leader you must serve the poorest among us.
I was accepted as a Candidate in St. Leonard’s fraternity on November the 21st 2006, on the Feast of the Presentation of Mary. When it came time to make my profession, my fraternity was being disbanded. So I had to find a new fraternity, and I went to visit my old friends, The Little Brothers of St. Francis and their Fraternity of St. Paschal Baylon. The minister there wanted me to wait a year to be professed, and on October the 4th 2009 on the Feast of St. Francis, I made my Profession in the 800th year of the founding of the Order.
There have been ups and downs in my journey but I have not wavered in my love for Christ and His church. This love has been tested in the fires of suffering. It’s a transforming love that has taken me to the foot of the cross. I can remember as my profession grew nearer something was changing. An image came to mind of a speeding train with its windows open and all of my belongings being hurled out the windows, taken by the wind. I was changing, yet it was what I wanted. Now I was hearing these words “In persona Christi.”
I haven’t changed a bit it is Christ that has changed me. It is when He calls and in my voice saying “Hear I am!”, and then there may be silence. No, the silence isn’t empty it’s the time of surrendering the will, my will for His. I have never been much good at that but through His divine grace I’ve ripened over time. I pray that God make me an instrument of His peace that in my vocation as a Franciscan I may repair the broken faith of our church one soul at a time. I want to create a dialogue with other faiths since we all share this planet and should live in love which is God Himself. Also, I would like to use the arts to repair our secular culture that has made an idol of the “me” with a culture that serves the one true God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Saturday, July 31, 2010


Our Lord tells us to pray like this: (The Lords prayer) …

“Yes (he says), if you forgive others their failings, your heavenly Father will forgive you yours; but if you do not forgive others, your Father will not forgive your fails either.”

Saint Francis meditation on the Our Father is a good way for us to enter into these words of “Being”. Making the words a living Word in our lives as Christians and as Franciscans.

7. Forgive us our trespasses: (St. Francis wrote)

Through Your ineffable mercy

Through the power of the passion of Your beloved Son

And through the merits and intercession

Of the ever blessed Virgin and Your elect.

Or as the priest says at mass “Don’t look on our sins but on the faith of your church”

Entering into The Passion and wounds of our Lord, we then must say to yourselves;

Here I am self,

Here I am brother/sister,

Here I am Lord,

8. As we forgive those who trespass against us: (St. Francis wrote)

And what we do not completely forgive,

Make us, Lord, forgive completely

That we may truly love our enemies because of You

And we may fervently intercede for them before You,

Returning no one evil for evil

And we may strive to help everyone in You.

So how do we put these words of St. Francis into action…

1. Ask for the grace to forgive

2. Be thankful for those who have hurt you

3. lovingly except them as they are, as Jesus would

4. pray for your enemies

5. be kind and charitable

Keep in mind the words “in You” I believe this gets to what it truly comes down to. Would you treat Jesus like this? If we know Jesus then we know the Father. When the Son of man died for our sins and hung on a tree He portioned the Father to forgive us with his “ineffable mercy” as St. Francis puts it. So why do we hold on to feelings of bitterness and resentment? When we are guilty of wrongdoing and fear separation from God and want to be forgiven for our sins don’t we look to the sacrament of reconciliation that is if our pride does get in the way. God waits there for us ready to pour out his mercy. Do we get excited about forgiving others?

St. Anthony whose feast day is today said this when preaching to his brothers:

O House of God! O Gate of Heaven! O confession of sins! Blessed is He who humiliates himself in you! My dearest brothers, humble yourselves and enter through the door of confession!

Both Francis and Anthony used the words “in you” because once we become like Jesus we do not act on our own. We move to being free of our selves and our own wants and we let “Thy will be done.” It’s like making an offering of self, freeing us from the illusion of power, which we attach ourselves too. True power is that of forgiveness the key to the House of God, the Gate of Heaven, and the door of confession.

May the Lord give us all pardon and peace, as we would give others that same love.

A talk on Forgiveness June 13 2010 given to The Saint Paschal Baylon Fraternity, Secular
Franciscans on Mission Hill- Boston

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Opening Words

If God takes away your lips to speak His Word
Speak of Him with your hands,
If God then takes away your hands
Speak of Him with your feet,
If God takes away your feet
Speak of Him with your heart,
And if then He should take away your heart
Bless Him, for He has transformed you into His Light