My soul is thirsting for you

Today one of the scripture readings at Mass was the 63rd Psalm. Today’s Mass at Mt. Irenaeus was offered for the repose of the soul of Rachel Kotula. Rachel was the mother of Br. Joseph Kotula, OFM who rose to read this psalm today. As Brother Joe read the responsorial psalm his voice cracked at times. I’m sure it was because he loved his Mom and I know that he loves God too! Br. Joe is very human person and it was he who helped me to feel at home when I first came to Mt. Irenaeus thirteen years ago. It was Joe who helped me to discern my Secular Franciscan vocation. He is one of my dearest friends. Psalm 63 is one of my favorites. It is a Psalm of David when he was in the wilderness of Judah.

R. My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.
O God, you are my God whom I seek;
for you my flesh pines and my soul thirsts
like the earth, parched, lifeless and without water.
R. My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.
Thus have I gazed toward you in the sanctuary
to see your power and your glory,
For your kindness is a greater good than life;
my lips shall glorify you.
R. My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.
Thus will I bless you while I live;
lifting up my hands, I will call upon your name.
As with the riches of a banquet shall my soul be satisfied,
and with exultant lips my mouth shall praise you.
R. My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.
You are my help,
and in the shadow of your wings I shout for joy.
My soul clings fast to you;
your right hand upholds me.
R. My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God

My soul is always thirsting for you, O Lord.

Corpus Christi

Today at Mt. Irenaeus our liturgy began in the friar garden next to the House of Peace. Fr. Dan opened up the Eucharist with an invitation to silence. In the silence we listened for the voice of God. Fr. John invited us to remember that the Eucharist comes from the earth and that we are one with all creation. We processed up the hill to Holy Peace Chapel and as we walked we sang “Laudate Dominum, Laudate Dominum, omnes gentes, alleluia.

It was all very moving. As I walked behind Fr. Bob and Br. Joe I was blessed by a benediction of tears. Tears of gratitude and an overwhelming sense of presence of the Body of Christ.

Throughout the Eucharist there was a sense of presence and connectedness to the Body of Christ. We are all one in Christ and through Christ. I am grateful today because it has been Christ who transformed my broken spirit and gave me a new life. I believe no one can be transformed without that brokenness. Each of us and all of us must pass through our agony and metaphoric crucifixion to join with Christ in our redemption. There is after all a purpose for our suffering. We cannot be complete until we recognize and accept our imperfection.

Laudate Dominum

Today was the gathering of our Secular Franciscan fraternity of St. Irenaeus. Our meeting began with nearly thirty minutes of Eucharistic adoration. I love adoration and it’s very simple at the Mountain. Just three small candles, some incense in small vessel and silence. We had skipped this activity for a couple of months and I was glad to see that we had it today. Laudate Dominum, Laudate Dominum, omnes gentes, Alleluia!

Indian Summer

Today I drove to Mt. Irenaeus for Mass as I usually do on Sunday mornings. The day was especially bright and really invited me to think about other possibilities after Mass and Brunch. Attendance at today’s Eucharist was less than I expected. There were again three students from Houghton College and a couple of St. Bonaventure University young men who were part of a vocations retreat held at the Mountain on Saturday. There were four Secular Franciscans at Mass today and one of them is an old friend who was influential in my decision to join the Secular Franciscan Order when I first came to Mt. Irenaeus nearly ten years ago. It was great to see Rich again. He owns a local hostelry and frequently bring his guests to Mass. Fr. Lou McCormick, OFM was the celebrant.

Following Mass and Brunch I drove north and east to Letchworth Park. I entered at the Parade Ground entrance and found a place to park for a short nap and then I left my car, brought a book I was reading and sat under a tree in the bright afternoon sun and soaked up its rays as I read my book. What a great opportunity to enjoy the October weather this afternoon. After finishing my required reading, I drove to the Portageville entrance to the park and made my way to the Upper Falls of the Genesee River. The park was full of like minded folks out to enjoy what we could of this fine day. I took some pictures and wandered the river trail all the way to the Glen Iris Inn. It was a beautiful day and made me glad to be alive. Letchworth Park is one of my favorite haunts and I’ve been there a lot this year.


Yesterday, I spent part of the day driving to Abbey of the Geneseee. It’s one of my favorite haunts and I hadn’t been there in at least a month. Since today was a holiday there were a few more people than are normally there on a Monday. The store was busy and now the monks have a cashier who is there to take the money or in my case credit card. I picked up four Monks Brownies for friends. That all came after I spent perhaps 45 minutes in the chapel sitting quietly in the presence of the Holy Spirit. I love to come to that chapel and just sit and sometimes to nap a bit as I did today. I don’t go there to nap, but when I’m rested as I am in the presence of God it just comes naturally. I love the quiet and the mystical presence of the Eucharist in that spot. I know that God is everywhere but he seems more present there for some reason and I enjoy visiting him there. I usually sit as I did today just quietly listening for the still small voice. I think it was Herman Melville who said, “silence is the only voice of God.” I wholeheartedly agree.


Holy Thursday is one of my favorite days and nights in the church year. It always has been. It’s kind of celebration at the end of Lent. In the last eight years it’s become tradition for me to be at Mt. Irenaeus for supper with friends and then the Liturgy of the Lord’s Supper in the chapel. Because of my schedule this week I didn’t think I was going to make it but it all worked out. I had to drive 150 miles round trip to meet with representatives of Dell Computer and then climb into my own car to drive the thirty or so miles to the Mountain. Continue reading “Presence”