Inside 1016

An Earth Month Challenge?

By Br. Steve Herro, O. Praem.

The ‘transportation prison’ is trapping more and more people in the United States, unable to keep up with the renewed sprawl of jobs and homes. In ‘Laudato Si,’ Pope Francis described the ‘suffering’ associated with a worldwide dependence on cars, ‘causing traffic congestion, raising the level of pollution, and consuming enormous quantities of non-renewable energy’ (No. 153).

“The Right to Ride,” America magazine, January 2, 2017 (page 5)
Earth Day | April 22

Earth Day | April 22

Earth Day is April 22, 2017; the more ambitious supporters extend it to Earth Week, April 22-29, 2017; the most ambitious supporters extend it to Earth Month, April 2017. How about considering the connection between transportation and Catholic Social Teaching this month?

Pope Francis’ work to connect transportation to care for our common home is quite pertinent  in my small corner of the world:

RoadsOur communities pay dearly to meet the American love affair with single-person transit and car ownership. Convenience and independence have great indirect costs, including dirtier air, less fit citizens, expensive roads and highways, and sacrifice of green space and farmland for road construction. Mass transit is indeed a common good; its support falls clearly within the purview of Catholic Social Teaching.

How about this Earth Day 2017 resolution?

Commit to reduce the times you drive alone to work AND commit to reduce trips to the store for a single item or purpose.

DISCLAIMER: This blog represents Br. Herro’s own opinions and experiences. It does not represent an official position or opinion of St. Norbert Abbey or of any other Norbertine.

Restless Hearts Returning to God: Lessons for Living in Lent—Easter Sunday

St. Norbert Abbey presents “Restless Hearts Returning to God”—a series of Lenten video reflections by Fr. Matthew Dougherty, O. Praem.

from St. Norbert Abbey on Vimeo

More opportunities to celebrate the sacred season of Lent at St. Norbert Abbey »

Religious Life is a Full Life / La Vida Religiosa – Una Vida Plena

As seen in the Spring/Summer 2017 issue of Abbey Magazine (pages 2-3)

Br. Jacob Sircy, O. Praem., and Frater Patrick LaPacz, O. Praem., walking in a Chicago South Side neighborhood.

Br. Jacob Sircy, O. Praem., and Frater Patrick LaPacz, O. Praem., walking in a Chicago South Side neighborhood.

By Fr. John Bostwick, O. Praem.

Translated by Sr. Guadalupe Muñoz, RGS

Crash! Crash! Crash! The young Norbertines peeked out from behind the curtains in the rectory office to discover six or seven young men using an old railway tie to try to batter down the door. What to do? The fraters were alone in the rectory. It was nighttime in 1968. Finally, one of them—probably naïvely—decided to engage the gang members and went outside to confront them.

After a little yelling and ranting, the situation calmed down but the conversation continued. The gang members were curious about these white boys, who they were, and how they lived. As they heard that the religious lifestyle embraces vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, the boys’ response was a mixture of awe and skepticism. The most memorable comment was, “You don’t have money; you don’t do drugs; you don’t have sex. What the ____ do you live for?”

Many people view religious life as a life of sacrifice; they see it in terms of what the vowed woman or man gives up. But this is a distortion, however innocent. While it is true that the vowed life involves asceticism, a distinct discipline, this way of living is ordered to maximum freedom—freedom for love, service, and community.

Commitment can be the path to freedom for any person. We all make choices that exclude other options. In marriage a person commits self to one person “forsaking all others” until “death do us part.” The vows of religious, or equally, of marriage, are not focused on deprivation, but on freedom. They are a purposeful choice for something that is perceived as a good, positive, and fulfilling way of living and loving.

Jesus said, “I have come that you might have life and have it to the full” (John 10:10). The vows of religious are one time-tested and honorable way of living in that fullness.

Plena por Padre John Bostwick, O. Praem.

Traducido por Hermana Guadalupe Muñoz, RGS

(Ruido … Ruido … ) Los jóvenes Norbertinos se asomaron desde atrás de las cortinas en la oficina de la rectoría para descubrir a seis o siete jóvenes utilizando un palo viejo de ferrocarril, intentando destruir la puerta. ¿Qué hacemos? Los frailes estaban solitos en la rectoría. Era de noche en 1968. En fin, uno de ellos, a lo mejor ingenuamente, decidió confrontarlos y salió a ver que querían.

Después de un rato de gritar y argumentar, la situación se calmó pero la conversación siguió. Los miembros de la pandilla … curiosos acerca de estos muchachos vestidos de blanco … ¿Quiénes eran? y ¿Cómo vivían? … Mientras escuchaban que el estilo de vida religiosa implica los votos de pobreza, castidad y obediencia, la respuesta de los jóvenes era una mezcla de pavor y escepticismo. El comentario más memorable fue: “Ustedes no tienen dinero; no usan drogas; no tienen relaciones sexuales. ¿Para qué, viven … pues?”

Mucha gente considera la vida religiosa como vida de sacrificio; la ven en términos de lo que la mujer o el hombre con votos sacrifica. Pero esto es una distorsión, aunque sea inocente. Aunque es cierto que la vida con votos implica ascetismo, una disciplina distinta … esta manera de vivir produce la máxima libertad para amar y para el servicio en comunidad.

El compromiso puede ser camino hacia la libertad para cualquier persona. Todos hacemos elecciones que excluyen otras opciones. En el matrimonio una persona se compromete con otra persona “renunciando a todos los demás” hasta que “la muerte nos separe.” Los votos de religiosos, al igual que los del matrimonio, no se enfocan en la privación, sino en la libertad. Son una opción a propósito para algo que se percibe como manera buena, positiva y satisfactoria para vivir y amar.

Jesús dijo, “He venido, para que tengan vida y la tengan en plenitud” (Juan 10:10). Los votos de la vida religiosa son una manera probada por los tiempos y una manera honorable de vivir en esa plenitud.

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