St. Joseph, Obedient Sentinal

February 10, 2013

st. joseph and infant jesus

This second devotion of St. Joseph is encapsulated in the events of the infant’s birth in abject poverty and the angels heralding the child born on the glorious night: the sorrow of the birth in poverty and the joy of angelic exultation at the birth. St. Joseph, the guardian of the infant ‘foretold of the ages’ stands as the privileged witness of the birth of the Son of God. This will be one of many events where St. Joseph will be the quiet, obedient sentinel. From the devotion:

Journeying to Bethlehem for the census in obedience to the orders of legitimate authority, Joseph fulfilled for the child the significant task of officially inserting the name ‘Jesus, son of Joseph of Nazareth‘ (see Jn 1:45) in the registry of the Roman Empire. This registration clearly shows that Jesus belongs to the human race as a man among men, a citizen of this world, subject to laws and civil institutions, but also Savior of the World.

Joseph’s obedience gives Jesus his human birthright. But St. Joseph must have been very aware that his obedience to civil authorities in complying with the census led to the Savior being born in poverty. What loving father would not be in anguish in similar circumstances! But his faithful obedience was soon rewarded as he witnessed the angels’ hymn of glory to God, heard the shepherds’ story and saw the magi kneeling at the child’s feet. What loving father would not be in grateful awe at the wonder of God!

O Obedient Sentinel of the son of Mary, you show us that the way of obedience is an avenue of grace and joy. By our baptism, we are called to loving and faithful obedience, with Christ as our model. The obedience of Christ is an embrace of the Father’s will to serve unto death. Within the Pascal Mystery, obedience leads to hope. May all of us follow your example and respond to the Father’s will as disciples ‘chosen and destined by God the Father and sanctified by the Sprit for obedience to Jesus Christ’. (1Pt 1:2)

Pray for us, blessed St. Joseph,
That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray.
Almighty God,
In your infinite wisdom and love
you chose Joseph to be the husband of Mary,
the mother of your Son.
As we enjoy his protection on earth,
may we have the help of his prayers in heaven,
particularly as we discern our chosen-ness.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

st joseph and jesus
Dear Friends in Christ,

Today I began a Seven Sunday’s Devotion to St. Joseph for those who are discerning their vocation in life. This devotion is prayed on the seven Sundays before his feast day, March 19. Here is a brief excerpt from today’s devotion:

In the course of that pilgrimage of faith which was his life, Joseph, like Mary, remained faithful to God’s call until the end. While Mary’s life was the bringing of fullness of that fiat first spoken at the Annunciation, at the beginning of his own ‘annunciation’ he said nothing; instead he simply did as the angel of the Lord commanded him. (Mt 1:24). And this first ‘doing’ became the beginning of ‘Joseph’s way’.

I pray that we listen to God’s call in our life and then act in faith, placing our trust in Him who made us and loves us. May St. Joseph guide and guard us on this journey. As he did not know where the Lord would lead him, we also step out into the unknown, full of hope in Jesus Christ who promised ‘I am with you always, until the end of the age’. (Mt 28:20b)

O Chaste spouse of Mary, great was the trouble and anguish of your heart when you were considering quietly sending away your inviolate spouse; yet your joy was unspeakable when the surpassing mystery of the Incarnation was make known to you by an angel. By your complete self-sacrifice, you expressed your generous love for the Mother of God and your humble obedience to God. Through your example, may we be generous in our response to the Lord‘s promptings in our hearts.

Pray for us, blessed St. Joseph,
That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray.
Almighty God,
In your infinite wisdom and love
you chose Joseph to be the husband of Mary,
the mother of your Son.
As we enjoy his protection on earth,
may we have the help of his prayers in heaven,
particularly as we discern our chosen-ness.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Hope in Action

September 19, 2011

Sister Susan Catherine recently completed a three week Apostolate period. She spent the time sharing Hope as an aid to the Chaplain department of St. Michael’s Hospital in Texarkana. The opportunity to interact with the Chaplains, Staff, Patients and Families was a tremendous grace.

Sister is looking forward to the end of her Novitiate, November 20. Since the Bishop of Tyler has been transferred to Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, she will be renewing her Private Vows upon completion of the Novitiate.

Sr. Susan Catherine continues her novitiate.  She is doing well with her deepening sense of peace and hope.   She offers this reflection on religious liberty.  Let us pray for all those who helped to make us free, helped us to stay free, and are currently working to preserve our liberty into the future.

To obtain religious as well as civil liberty, I entered zealously into the Revolution…. God grant that this religious liberty may be preserved in these States, to the end of time, and that all who believe in the religion of Christ may practice the leading principle of charity, the basis of every virtue.”° This is a quote by Charles Carroll of Carrollton, Maryland, the only Catholic delegate to the Continental Congress.  He was also the only Catholic signer of the Declaration of Independence, primarily because in most of the original states Catholics were not allowed to vote or hold public office.  He went on to be one of the first U.S. Senators from Maryland. While there is much about this founding father worthy of note, it is his quote that is the cause for reflection on this Independence Day weekend.

In celebrating Independence Day, we hear a lot about religious liberty and freedom of religion – strong words that can serve to unite us as a people when we recall our national heritage.  But more essential is the recognition that the desire for religious liberty flows from God’s love, our need to respond to that love and God’s gift of free will.

Our Triune God, who is love (charity), creates us and endows us with free will; total freedom to return His love or to reject it.  In response to His love, we freely choose to create and sustain a nation where all people can live the love of God and give Him praise.  It is love that creates the zeal to fight for religious liberty.  Religious liberty exists when a people determine that they will honor and uphold God’s gift of free will, given out of His love for us, and the right to exercise that free will to love God and neighbor.

Charles Carroll prays that we practice the leading principle of charity.  His prayer is echoed in the Preface of the Mass for Independence Day:

He (Jesus Christ) spoke to men a message of peace and taught us to live as brothers.  His message took form in the vision of our fathers as they fashioned a nation where men might live as one.  This message lives on in our midst as a task for men today and a promise of tomorrow. We thank you, Father, for your blessings in the past and for all that, with your help, we must yet achieve.  And so, with hearts full of love, we join the angels today and every day of our lives, to sing your glory in a hymn of endless praise..

 

As this beautiful prayer at the beginning of the Liturgy of the Eucharist reminds us, we have more to achieve with the Father’s help.  We are called to live the love of Christ as a task for today and a promise for tomorrow; to practice charity as Charles Carroll prayed.  We look to the Holy Spirit to fill us with the zeal to sustain our religious liberty, born out of love and for love.

Interestingly, this year, the Fourth of July weekend is ushered in by the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, celebrated on July 1.  This great feast recalls for us that ‘Jesus knew and loved us each and all during his life, his agony and his Passion, and gave himself up for each one of us.’ (CCC 478) This is the depth of the love that gives us the freedom to love Him in return and to love our neighbor.  One of the opening prayers for the Mass of the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart reminds us of the deeper meaning behind the upcoming Independence Day:

Father, we honor the heart of your Son broken by man’s cruelty, yet symbol of love’s triumph, pledge of all that man is called to be.  Teach us to see Christ in the lives we touch, to offer him living worship by love-filled service to our brothers and sisters.  We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.”

° “Lives of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence, Charles Goodrich (H.E. Robins, 1849)

May God bless us and may God bless America.

Today His Excellency, Most Rev. Alvaro Corrada, SJ, Bishop of the Diocese of Tyler issued a decree establishing the Daughters of Divine Hope as a public association of the faithful in the Church. As such the Daughters of Divine Hope is subject to Church law and the oversight of the bishop. This is the first step toward one day being formally established as a Religious Order. Before being established as a religious order, an association of the faithful has to have the people and resources to insure its ongoing stability.

At the beginning of Evening Prayer, the Honorable Sue Kennedy, retired County Judge of Nacogdoches County, made simple private vows of the evangelical counsels (poverty, chastity and obedience). The evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity, and obedience, help guide our life as followers of Jesus Christ. For those who undertake the living of these counsels as vows, they undertake a more radical observance of these counsels. By embracing these vows, Sue seeks to free herself to grow in love and service of the Most Holy Trinity. In the face of the ideology of secularism, such embracing of the evangelical counsels is a witness to our sacred dignity and to the true meaning of a life of abundance as a son or daughter of God.

These private vows will bind Sue for the coming year, at which point she hopes to take vows for a longer time. They are private because as part of a public association of the faithful, the vows are not being accepted in the name of the Church. Once the Daughters of Divine Hope are established as a formal religious community, the members will profess public vows instead of private vows, and those vows will be received in the name of the Church by the Bishop.

Near the close of Evening Prayer, Bishop Corrada blessed the first habit for the Daughters of Divine Hope and presented it to Sue Kennedy. The green scapular was placed on top of the green tunic which Sue was wearing. She then put on the head covering which consists of an ivory lace with a green veil. In receiving the habit, Sue chose to take a religious name of Sister Susan Catherine. Sr. Susan Catherine then presented herself to Bishop Corrada, who formally introduced her to the people.

At the close of the ceremony Bishop Corrada appointed Sr. Susan Catherine (Sue Kennedy) as the Director of the Daughters of Divine Hope and admitted her into the yearlong novitiate. Bishop Corrada will be directing her novitiate. The Novitiate is a year of intense study and retreat. During that time, she will be withdrawn as much as possible from the social and secular demands of the world.

Since Sr. Susan Catherine is going to be very limited in her communication with people during her novitiate, this blog is being done by Fr. Gavin Vaverek, Chaplain for the Daughters of Divine Hope. The plan is for there to be periodic updates sharing some glimpses into the experiences of Sr. Susan Catherine during the coming year.

Bishop plans novitiate

November 7, 2010

Bishop Corrada in the Diocese of Tyler is scheduled to receive the private vows of Judge Sue Kennedy on the Feast of Christ the King, November 21, 2010.  He is also planning to officially establish the Daughters of Divine Hope as an institution in the Church.  As such it will subject to Church law and the oversight of the Bishop.

Judge Sue Kennedy is busy with finalizing the statutes and the Rule for the Daughters of Divine Hope.  The Judge has the prototype habit in hand and a couple more being completed before the 21st.  The Judge is also busy meeting and discussing the DDH with women that have potential interest in joining the budding community.