Franciscan Family Day

Polka Mass, Picnic and Tricky Tray Sunday August 28th 1pm

 

The Celebration will begin at 1:00 pm with a Polka Mass in our Chapel, featuring the “Changing Times Quartet” musical group. Following Mass, the group will provide musical entertainment outside during the picnic from approximately 2:30 pm to 5:00 pm.

Come and enjoy meeting with the Friars and our Franciscan family. Share our fun day and enjoy the music, food and perhaps be a winner of our raffle or Tricky Tray.

$5 wristband charge to enjoy food and festivities. All proceeds benefit St. Francis Retreat House, 3918 Chipman Road, Easton, Pa 18045-3014. Phone: 610-258-3053.

Win a Treasure in our Tricky Tray Raffle!

In addition, for your enjoyment, there will be a Tricky Tray with sixty or more baskets and items for you to take a chance on winning. Great gifts!

Contact: Anne Houston Marketing 610-258-3053 ext. 24 or anne@stfrancisretreathouse.org

The Cosmic Christ

cosmic Christ

“For in Christ the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily,
and you have come to fullness in him ….”  Colossians 2, 9-10

 I am writing to you on the Memorial of Blessed John Duns Scotus, November 8th.  This seems a very fitting day to encourage us all to reflect on Jesus as the “Cosmic Christ” during this month of November.

We are moving toward the end of this liturgical year with the celebration of the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, on the last Sunday of this month.

John Duns Scotus wrote beautifully of the “primacy of Christ” in the loving plan of God’s creation of the cosmos.  Just as we often speak of a newborn child looking like their mother or their father, our Loving God looks at us and sees the reflection of the Beloved Son.  We each carry the image of Christ, and we are invited to grow ever more into the likeness of him.

As we do this we help “enliven” and “awaken” the human family to our deepest vocation: union with God and the encouragement of all to come into this divine communion.  Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955), a Jesuit priest and paleontologist who was influenced by Scotus, built on this “love-centered” spirituality and saw in his times this deeper dimension of Christ the King as the “Cosmic Christ.”  Christ is both the image of who we are from the beginning of creation and the One who is calling us into ever greater union as a human family and cosmos from the “end point” of creation.

Christ is the “animating One” at the heart of all of life.  As we draw close to Christ in prayer, we grow stronger in knowing both our deepest identity as “beloveds of God” and our common mission to help “the human family move toward the next step of human evolution in love.”  (Rohr, “Evolving in Love, November 8, 2018)

I have found this image of the “Cosmic Christ” within an evolutionary cosmology where Christ and the Holy Spirit are deeply at work in helping creation come to its fullness to deepen within me the meaning of Christ our King.   Peace!         Fr. Henry

Becoming Pure in Heart

by Fr. Richard Rohr, OFM
Tuesday, October 30, 2018

 

We can’t risk walking around with a negative, resentful, gossipy, critical mind, because then we won’t be in our true force field. We won’t be usable instruments for God. That’s why Jesus commanded us to love. It’s that urgent. It’s that crucial.

True religion is radical; it cuts to the root (radix is Latin for root). It moves us beyond our “private I” and into the full reality of we. Jesus seems to be saying in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) that our inner attitudes and states are the real sources of our problems. We need to root out the problems at that deepest interior level. Jesus says not only that we must not kill, but that we must not even harbor hateful anger. He clearly begins with the necessity of a “pure heart” (Matthew 5:8) and knows that the outer behavior will follow. Too often we force the outward response, while the inward intent remains like a cancer.

If we walk around with hatred all day, morally we’re just as much killers as the one who pulls the trigger. We can’t live that way and not be destroyed from within. Yet, for some reason, many Christians have thought it acceptable to think and feel hatred, negativity, and fear. The evil and genocide of both World War I and World War II were the result of decades of negative, resentful, and paranoid thinking and feeling among even good Christian people.

Jesus tells us not to harbor hateful anger or call people names in our hearts like “fool” or “worthless person” (Matthew 5:22). If we’re walking around all day thinking, “What idiots!” we’re living out of death, not life. If that’s what we think and feel, that’s what we will be—death energy instead of life force. We cannot afford even inner disconnection from love. How we live in our hearts is our real and deepest truth.

In Matthew 5:44, Jesus insists that we love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. Once we recognize that whatever we do in conscious, loving union with Reality is prayer, we can better understand what Paul means when he says, “Pray unceasingly” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). If prayer is merely words or recitations, such constant prayer is impossible in any practical sense.
Gateway to Presence:
If you want to go deeper with today’s meditation, take note of what word or phrase stands out to you. Come back to that word or phrase throughout the day, being present to its impact and invitation.

Adapted from Richard Rohr: Essential Teachings on Love, ed. Joelle Chase and Judy Traeger (Orbis Books: 2018), 157.

 

A Powerful Night on Forgiveness

Thanks to all who made our March 21st  Monday Evening Mini-Retreat a success. It

was on the Spiritual Work of Mercy “Forgiving Injuries” . It was a powerful message. Here are the lyrics to a song used as part of the presentation.

I’m like one of those Japanese bowls

That were made long ago

I have some cracks in me

They have been filled with gold.  (continues underneath)

That’s what they used back then

When they had a bowl to mend

It did not hide the cracks

It made them shine instead

So now every old scar shows

from every time I broke

And anyone’s eyes can see

I’m not what I used to be

But in a collector’s mind

All of these jagged lines

Make me more beautiful

And worth a higher price

I’m like one of those Japanese bowls

I was made long ago

I have some cracks you can see

See how they shine of gold.

-Peter Mayer

Lehigh Valley Marketplace Magazine article

A Place of Peace: St. Francis Retreat House

By Cathy Kiley

We live in a demanding world of busy people. There is barely enough time to work and care for our families and we simply do not take enough time to care for ourselves. To enjoy a rejuvenating walk on a beautiful day feels as if it is a privilege instead of a necessity and to think about taking even an hour out of our day to rekindle our spirits seems to be an impossibility.

St. Francis Retreat House is a peaceful haven nestled at the north end of Chipman Road between Easton and Bethlehem (bordering Routes 22 and 33.) The Franciscan Friars have welcomed over 200,000 men, women and youth across their threshold since The Friary’s inception over 50 years ago, yet it continues to be one of the best kept secrets in the Lehigh Valley. Their history is rich, beginning in 1929 when Slovakian Franciscan Friars arrived in America to minister to Slovak speaking people in Ohio and Pennsylvania. However, following World War II, the church in Eastern Europe was forced underground by the Iron Curtain and countries were in ruins. As the diverse immigrant population grew in the United States, this handful of Friars answered the call of St. Francis to reach out in faith to bring hope to those in despair no matter what their ancestral or spiritual background. It is in this spirit of St. Francis that the Friars, volunteers, staff and benefactors continue his legacy today. St. Francis Retreat House opened its doors in Easton in 1961. Situated on 22 secluded wooded acres, it is easy to get lost in your thoughts here. A sense of calm greets you as soon as you enter the grounds. The chapel is, of course, the center of the property where Mass is held daily at 8:00 AM and 10:00 AM on Sundays. The garden quadrangle across from the chapel is beautiful, showcasing a statue of St. Francis of Assisi surrounded by animal statuettes and bronze, mosaic and brick Stations of the Cross interspersed in beds of wildflowers and groves of white pines and forsythias. A prayerful walk through this courtyard is relaxing on a warm sunny day and a perfect place to sit, reflect or perhaps read a book. The nearby meditation garden and the pavilion on the east side of the property showcasing the Pieta are outdoor gathering places, not only for retreatants, but for individual visitors as well. There are 72 rooms at St. Francis Retreat House with accommodations to suit everyone. Dining facilities featuring delicious homemade cuisine are available to serve a group. The warm, welcoming retreat house is air conditioned and handicap accessible. The definition of “retreat” is a place of retirement, quiet or security; a refuge; or a change of direction. It implies an invitation to give over the rigors of daily life to meet, share and deepen the understanding of one’s life and the awareness of the presence of God in it. The Friars have a superb schedule of organized retreats on their calendar featuring not only spiritual and religious subjects but personal interest topics such as: “Aging with Grace”—The challenges of and the emotional dealing with all aspects of the aging process; and “A Time of Hope: Reflections of Cancer Survivors.” The Friars are inviting cancer survivors to gather for a weekend of sharing later this summer under the direction of cancer specialist Dr. Sukamal Saha (affiliated with Michigan State University.) Also invited to participate in the weekend are those currently undergoing cancer treatment, along with their caregivers.

In addition to planned retreats, the St. Francis Retreat House is available for outside retreats, as well as private and corporate meetings. It hosts many youth Kairos gatherings as well as the “Every 15 Minutes” programs held by local high schools reinforcing the results of underage drinking and driving to young adults; Marriage Encounter; Life Teen programs; Overeaters Anonymous meetings and other groups too numerous to list. On any given weekend you will find groups of mothers, teachers or friends who have come together for sharing and relaxation; and every year, The Evening Star Quilters fill the meeting rooms with sewing machines, materials and artistic ideas necessary to create their masterpieces. It is important to note that St. Francis Retreat House is a perfect place where any group with something in common can come together for peaceful exchange. One  popular program is the on-going Job Transition Workshop held the second and fourth Thursdays of the month from 9:00 to 11:30 AM.  Workshop Facilitator Tom Emmerth said that this workshop serves the needs of those who have lost their jobs in current recessionary times. He explained that the job search is a solitary process and this program presents a forum for the meeting of minds to share ideas and experiences, hone job searching and networking skills, tweak resumes and quite simply, be a support group for each other and share the stress of  job-hunting in today’s economy. St. Francis Retreat House provides an environment of Franciscan hospitality and compassionate care. It offers an affordable oasis for those seeking spiritual nourishment and renewal through a wide range of retreats for both large and small groups. The retreat house is administered by helpful staff and friendly Friars who will be happy to assist. Visit stfrancisretreathouse.org for more detailed information regarding retreats, Franciscan history and their Mission, photographs, directions and volunteer opportunities. All are invited to visit St. Francis Retreat House to find out what it is all about. While there, check out their small but mighty gift shop featuring religious articles, books, cards and foodstuffs with wonderful names like “Burnt Sacrifice” BBQ Sauces, Prayerfully Popped Corn, Holy Chocolates, Monastery Maple Syrup and Carmelite Coffees. You’ll be delighted with what you find at St. Francis Retreat House. It is truly a little bit of heaven right here in the middle of the Lehigh Valley.

SOURCE:
St. Francis Retreat House

Chipman Road
Easton, PA 18045
610.258.3053
stfrancisretreathouse.org

http://www.lehighvalleymarketplace.com/features/a-place-of-peace-st-francis-retreat-house/

From the Franciscans

God will find a place to inspire us even if we are not reading Scriptures or theology books. The other day I read a quotation stfrancisfrom the once famous comedienne Tallulah Bankhead. She said “I’m miserable if I’m not in love, and of course, I’m miserable if I am!” Loneliness demands that we open up ourselves to others; love demands that we surrender ourselves to others. Both demands are painful. There is no love without pain.

The Franciscans.

franciscans w names