Feast Day of Saint Andre Bessette 2016

"With the smallest brush" Painting: Ronald Raab, CSC

“With the smallest brush”
Painting: Ronald Raab, CSC

“It is with the smallest brushes that the artist paints the best painting” Brother Andre

I painted this piece with a small brush and my fingers. Saint Andre told us that the smallest gesture done in love really matters. He had no power or authority in the Church, yet he worked so many miracles and healed so many people. He was the smallest of brushes and God used him to paint a wonderfully beautiful life. Saint Andre was the first religious in the Congregation of Holy Cross to be canonized in 2010. READ “MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE” FROM 2011)

 Loving Father,

 Help us become your instruments of mercy.

Help us model our lives after the care and humility of Saint Andre Bessette.

 

He was illiterate and yet showed people how to live the Holy Word of God.

He was orphaned and yet welcomed people as brothers and sisters.

He was at first turned down for religious life and yet became our first saint.

He was frail in body and yet strong in his faith and courageous in his belief.

His local community marginalized him and yet he met nearly six hundred people a day.

 

He believed in Saint Joseph and his faith healed hundreds of people.

He rubbed the sick with oil and prayed for them during his sleepless nights.

He lived so simply and yet hundreds gathered to be with him in prayer.

He encouraged people to pray and confess their sins and realize God’s love.

 

He lived a full life until ninety-one even though his doctors thought he would die young.

He was patient for the building of Saint Joseph Oratory and he gave everything to God.

 Saint Andre still baffles many in our religious community who are known for education because in simplicity he found God. 

He educates us still by living a simple, prayerful life in service for others.

 Saint Andre was not understood in his earthly life and may never be fully understood in his miracles and sainthood.

 Gracious Father,

 In this Year of Mercy, help us all claim our place on this earth to receive the love you have for us. Help us live for others and to die for our others who most need us.

 We ask this in the name of Jesus, the Source of Mercy, who live forever and ever.

 Amen

 

Saint Andre Bessette, pray for us. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mary, Mother of God: A Yearlong Resolve Toward Mercy

"Silent Night" Conte sketch: Ronald Raab, CSC

“Silent Night”
Conte sketch: Ronald Raab, CSC

Mary, Mother of God

January 1, 2016

Pope Francis asks us to live out the seven corporal works of mercy and the seven spiritual works of mercy in this year of 2016. I invite you to make resolutions in this New Year around the themes of mercy.

What if we all resolved every day to make our lives more merciful? What if we offered our neighbor a second chance? What about visiting our overcrowded prisons? What about feeding hungry people? What if we stopped blaming people for the poverty in which people are steeped? What if we helped educate people about our faith? What if we welcomed people next to us in the pews of our churches rather than being angry that they took our spot in the parking lot? What if we reached out to a mother struggling to console her crying child? What if we forgave our fathers who psychologically and emotionally abused us? What if we stopped the grinding noise of shame in our own hearts?

Mercy is not about getting our act together so that God will forgive us. Mercy is not cleaning up our routines before we pray so that God will give us another chance. Mercy is not about getting our lives free from sin so that God will love us again. Mercy is not about not sinning so that we can be restored into the teaching of the Church. Mercy is none of these things. We do not save ourselves. Only God saves God’s people.

Mercy is coming to God absolutely vulnerable, broken and open, so that God may make a home within our sin. Mercy is about God reaching down to us in order to heal us so that we can walk beside people who are hurting, hungry, and thirsty or who are in prison. Mercy is God’s love made real within our hearts and in our actions toward people. We need God’s mercy so that we can look into the eyes of people without flinching, until we see the beauty of God’s love within others, until we recognize our selves in the eyes of the poor.

How about we all make an effort to begin our prayer each day asking for mercy in our world? Perhaps it will change our postures toward earthly peace, war, violence, guns, robberies, rapes and our ignorance about what people really face each day. How about if you started each day asking God for his merciful love?

So many people do not think that they are worthy of God’s love. So many people carry regrets, sin and shame with them for their entire lives. Perhaps this is the year to stop believing that you are unlovable in God’s eyes. Perhaps this is the year that you redefine or expand your image of God. Perhaps this is the year of love. Mary, Mother of God, pray for us.

 

 

 

Christmas 2015

"Nativity and Cross" Painting: Ronald Raab, CSC 2015

“Nativity and Cross”
Painting: Ronald Raab, CSC 2015

On this Christmas evening, my heart goes out to all people who ache for peace and for the basics of life. In this Year of Mercy, may our lives be flooded with God’s love. I pray that we may live out that love in the world by offering people the essentials of food, clothing, water and a compassionate presence. On this tender day of remembrance and joy, may God find a home in you. (Litany: Ronald Raab, CSC)

A Litany of Prayer for Christmas Mercy

Response: In your compassionate mercy, O God

 

Receive me when I am bent down with burden…

Receive me when my face is frozen from past regrets…

Receive me when I fear reaching out beyond my worry…

Receive me when I am reluctant to be known or heard…

 

Guide me when I prefer the shadows of my loneliness…

Guide me toward the light of your care for me…

Guide me with your hand of forgiveness even when I resist…

Guide me to my own heart where love is still being born…

 

Give joy when I am searching to make sense out of life…

Give joy in my family life this holy season…

Give joy in prayer for our fragile world…

Give joy in my forgiving thoughts about my enemies…

 

Open new thoughts for us when we are trapped in negative thinking…

Open new paths for us even along roads of cynicism…

Open new directions for us because our own paths lead nowhere…

Open new doors of love in this Year of Mercy…

 

Be peace in our collective voices of loathing and lashing out…

Be peace in our hatred of one another…

Be peace in our resistance of change…

Be peace in every city and nation…

 

Jesus, be born among our broken hearts and fragile lives…

Jesus, be born among the marginalized…

Jesus, be born in our desire for a better world…

Jesus, be born in our children for their future…

 

Jesus, send your mercy from the manger where you were born…

Jesus, send your mercy with the light of a star…

Jesus, send your mercy with Joseph’s care and fidelity…

Jesus, send your mercy in the integrity of Mary, your mother…

 

Jesus, help us become the mercy we seek…

 

 

Merry Christmas,

Fr. Ron

 

 

 

 

“Getting Ready”

"Getting Ready" Painting: Ronald Raab, CSC

“Getting Ready”
Painting: Ronald Raab, CSC

“Lift up your heads and see; your redemption is near at hand” Psalm 25

As we come to the end of the Advent season, let us lift up our heads, our hearts and see the beauty of life and the coming of our Savior. Blessings to you all as you travel, prepare, cook, wrap and wait for your family, your guests and the unexpected moment of grace.

Last issue of Ministry and Liturgy Magazine, December 2015

After 42 years of publication, Ministry and Liturgy Magazine has come to an end. I am deeply honored to have been part of this pastoral publication for eleven years. The cover of the last issue is an image of the crucifixion that I painted a few months ago. So in this last issue, I have two articles and the cover image. I will post the articles in a few days. I want to thank Ada Simpson and Donna Cole for publishing my articles and affirming my years of ministry.

Last cover of Ministry and Liturgy magazine, Dec 2015

Last cover of Ministry and Liturgy magazine, Dec 2015

Here is the photo of my painting that I submitted:

"Crucifixion" by Ronald Raab, CSC 2015

“Crucifixion” by Ronald Raab, CSC 2015

Thanksgiving Day: A litany of gratitude

 

"Harvest" Painting: Ronald Raab, CSC

“Harvest”
Painting: Ronald Raab, CSC

Gospel Acclamation: In all circumstances, give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.

Response: In gratitude and praise, O God

For every breath that I take for granted…

For every moment of insight and inspiration…

For every conversation that leads to reconciliation…

For every kind word that offers healing…

For every unexpected encounter of friendship…

For every morning of prayer that leads to gratitude…

For every child that is surrounded with emotional safety and love…

For every person who works in a field or factory to bring us food…

For every grandparent that tells the tales of the past…

For every leader that knows new possibilities…

For every teacher who reveals creativity and wonder…

For every worker who betters the landscape of our lives…

For every moment we realize that we cannot control life and outcomes…

For every sentence that is whispered against violence…

For every meal that is served among people who do not have the basics of life…

For every glass of milk that is offered to a child who goes thirsty…

For every family table that brings forgiveness…

For every shelter that houses people from the cold and violent streets…

For every word that harvests peace within us…

For every act of faith that reveals hope to the marginalized…

For every encounter with a stranger that harvests thanksgiving…

For every morning where peace is real and not taken for granted…

For every possession and a life of simplicity…

For every moment of prayer…

For every act of hope…

For every breath today…

Amen

 

Happy Thanksgiving,

Fr. Ron

Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

"Christ the King" Painting by: Ronald Raab, CSC 2015

“Christ the King” Painting by: Ronald Raab, CSC 2015

Dear Followers of Christ the King,

Today we celebrate Christ, the King of the Universe. This is the last Sunday of our liturgical year. We believe that all of life will culminate in Christ Jesus. We belong to Christ, no matter who we are or in what circumstances we find our lives.

Christ the King is not about our earthly notions of a king, who yields grand authority over other people or who is distant and removed from daily life. In fact, Jesus is the complete opposite of our fairytale notion of a king, or our images of royalty from a distant land.

Jesus is our Savior. Jesus is our King because he suffered with us, not worked against us. He entered into human life with great humility and purpose. He bore the weight of our sin and our stubbornness. Jesus embraced lepers, kissed the feet of the weary, touched the eyes of the blind, and healed the deaf ear. Jesus is the source and reason for our lives. In his passion, death, and resurrection we find our home.

We celebrate with joy, because he became poor for our sake. He taught us how to befriend the sinner, the outcast and the lost. We follow in his steps; not a path to a glorious throne, but through the nitty gritty of life, in the trenches of human foibles, in the darkness of sin, in our excruciating pain, in our family quarrels.

In my painting above, we see that Christ the King received the crown of heaven because he wore the thorns of death on earth. He gave himself for us so that we may empty our pride and start living for other people. Christ the King takes us by the hand and leads us into eternal glory, even when we think we are not worth the effort.

Pray this litany with a heart for the King, Jesus the Christ.

Response: Jesus, Christ our King, lead us into your Light.

When I am tired because nothing ever works out for me…

When I am lost from searching and never finding…

When I am confused about what tomorrow may bring…

When I am fearful of being truly known by others…

When I am worried that I cannot live up to what the Church teaches…

When I feel lost because of my sinful past…

When I feel I cannot measure up to those sitting next to me in the pew…

When I feel terrified that I am known by only my past…

When I feel I am never really forgiven by the Church…

When I feel I am alone in my doubt…

When I sense the world cannot accept me…

When I sense the Church can never accept or love me…

When I sense that I simply do not fit in with others…

When I sense that I cannot change in the ways others wish I could…

When I sense that my decisions are not what God had in store for me…

When questions haunt me about how my children will care for me…

When questions about my spouse’s infidelity haunt me…

When questions about my sexuality confuse me…

When questions about my marriage overwhelm me…

When questions about my affairs torment my ability to stay with my family…

When my image of God is so narrow and judgmental…

When my image of God oppresses me…

When my image of God becomes so confined and condemning of others…

When my image of God has not changed since the second grade…

When my image of God curtails my understanding of the world around me…

When prayer becomes only rote and sarcastic…

When prayer becomes about rules, regulations and routine…

When prayer becomes more about myself than about God and other people…

When prayer becomes self-righteous and judgmental about people’s lives…

When prayer becomes a form of hiding my true self…

When I forget that our King sought out sinners and prostitutes…

When I forget that our King dined with people on the margins of society…

When I forget that our King ran after the lost sheep…

When I forget that our King was born in a cave and his life threatened…

When I forget that our King was whipped, scourged and put to death…

When I finally give myself, my complete self, to Jesus…

When I finally realize that I cannot live by my own power and control…

When I finally become aware I cannot change my past…

When I finally understand within my heart of hearts that Jesus loves me…

When I finally love as Jesus loves…

Blessings to you,

Fr. Ron

Luke 19:1-10 Zacchaeus

"The searching Zacchaeus" Sketch: Ronald Raab, CSC

“The searching Zacchaeus” Sketch: Ronald Raab, CSC

LK 19:1-10
Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through it. A man was there named Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was rich.

He was trying to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was short in stature. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to see him, because he was going to pass that way.

When Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down; for I must stay at your house today.” So he hurried down and was happy to welcome him.

All who saw it began to grumble and said, “He has gone to be the guest of one who is a sinner.”

Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, “Look, half of my possessions, Lord, I will give to the poor; and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will pay back four times as much.”

Then Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he too is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost.”

Response: Seek and save the lost, my Savior

When I am short on patience…

When I am short on seeing the truth…

When I am short on inner peace…

When I am short on options for hope…

When I am short on kindness…

When I am short on respect for other people…

When I am short on where to find you…

 

When I finally give my life to you…

When I finally gain a perspective of your face…

When I finally offer even my belongings to you…

When I finally stand on the ground of faith…

When I finally affirm the needs of other people…

When I finally show that I am tired of my selfishness…

When I finally stand before your healing presence…

Today, salvation has come.

 

Luke 18:35-43 “Lord, please, let me see”

"Lord, please, let me see" Finger painting: Ronald Raab, CSC

“Lord, please, let me see”
Finger painting: Ronald Raab, CSC

As Jesus approached Jericho a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging, and hearing a crowd going by, he inquired what was happening. They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by,” He shouted, “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me.” …Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” He replied, “Lord, please, let me see.” 

Response: Lord, please, let me see…

Your peace in the center of violence…

Your love in the midst of my fear…

Your presence in the center of chaos…

Your consolation among the people of Paris…

Your path on the streets of Colorado Springs and every city…

Your hope in the center of grief…

Your call for peace…

Your presence of healing…

Your challenge to respect all people…

Your fidelity in my inability to respect life…

Your promise that death to self brings new life…

Your goodness overriding destruction…

Your life in my anger…

Your truth bringing me real freedom…

Your protection satisfying my loneliness…

Your acceptance calming my revenge…

Your voice inviting me to praise…

Your face forever and ever…

Amen