Our Minister General

My dear daughters and sons,

 Peace and all-Goodness.

 

We have begun the month of May, which is especially dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, with joy and gratitude to God almighty.

We recall very clearly how Saint Francis of Assisi encouraged us to "always to be giving thanks to God" and that "man has only so much knowledge as he puts to work".

Both of these blessed bits of wisdom are simple and a valuable way to conceptualize our relationship with Catholic wisdom and the work of our hands.

 Let us always give thanks to God for all the good things He places in our life and for so many gifts that often we aren’t even aware of. Also in the midst of difficulties, suffering, or the experience of our own weakness, God offers us the opportunity to raise our eyes above immediate concerns and trust in his love. “Our actions are our own; their consequences belong to Heaven,” Francis once told us.

As we always do, and especially in this month of May, let us have recourse in our prayer to the motherly mediation of Holy Mary. Please join me in praying the Franciscan Crown each day.

 

Your Father blesses you with all his affection,

 

Your Father,

+Seraphim Mary, osf
Minister General

Franciscan Order of the Divine Compassion

Ottawa, 1 May 2022


Passion Sunday

A Reflection for Passion Sunday
Br. Seraphim Mary, OSF

The Gospel for Passion Sunday gives us the smoking gun in the criminal case against Jesus of Nazareth. He is going to be executed for his crime in about twelve days. It is extremely important that we understand that Jesus was not the victim of a miscarriage of human justice. He was beyond a reasonable doubt guilty of the crime with which he was first charged. Getting that point is the key to understanding what the spiritual and cosmic ramifications of his crucifixion are. 

The sin of blasphemy is insulting God or invoking God's name in a less than serious way. God revealed his personal name to Moses at the burning bush. His name is, "I AM." To say the divine name, no matter how reverently, was to commit blasphemy. Jesus not only said the name, but also applied it to himself when he answered the crowd, "Before Abraham was I am." He had committed blasphemy. The penalty for blasphemy was death. 

Under the arrangement with the occupying Roman government, the Jews were not allowed to execute anyone. To have Jesus done away with would require finding him guilty of a capital crime under Roman law. How they did that is a story for another day--another day soon. 

The fact that God himself could be convicted of a capital crime under his own law, showed the obvious limitations of that law. Jesus committed blasphemy, but he was telling the truth at the same time. As a man he was barely, thirty years old. As God he had existed long before Abraham.

The Lord Jesus Christ was executed because he could not deny the reality of his Incarnation--that God himself had become a human being so he could save the world. Jesus would not deny it even to save his own life, So St. Paul. calls his execution, "Unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness; but unto them which are called... Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men."