Complete Abandonment to God  

Posted by Rob Boileau in , , , ,

There once was a man who had a dream. In this dream, the man saw himself walking along a beach with the Lord. While they were walking, the Lord showed him various scenes of his life. Some were happy times, which brought back fond memories of great joy for the man. However, the man also saw many sad, depressing moments of his life. After all of this, the man looked back on the sand and noticed that the Lord walked with him during the happy moments of his life, for there were two sets of footprints; but during the sad times he only saw one set of footprints. Becoming very distressed, and not knowing why the Lord would do such a thing as to leave him to walk by himself throughout those difficult times, he asked the Lord why he had left him alone at the toughest moments of his life, when he needed Him the most. The Lord smiled at him and said, “My son, I love you and will never leave you, never, ever, during your trials and testings. When you saw only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.” My friends, how important it is for us to always be aware of God’s infinite love and care for us! The Lord challenges us to abandon ourselves totally to Him, placing all of our trust in Him. Moses led the Israelites out of the land of Egypt, after setting them free from their slavery. Just when all appeared to be going well, Pharaoh changed his mind and attempted to re-capture the Israelites, and began to chase after them with his soldiers. The Israelites complained to Moses and cried out to the Lord in “great fright”, fearing that their escape from Egypt would all be in vain. How many times have we found ourselves in a situation where all our efforts seemed to be in vain? When absolutely nothing is going the way we had planned, and we think that there is no conceivable way that our plan will work out the way we intended it to? The Israelites feared so much that they would be captured, they had forgotten the promise that God made to them. They had placed themselves in the man’s position, thinking their footprints were only their own, and doubting the Lord’s protection. Their trust was fading, and so their doubts became heavier and heavier. Moses reassured them, however, to, “Fear not! Stand your ground, and you will see the victory the Lord will win for you today. These Egyptians whom you see today you will never see again. The Lord himself will fight for you; you have only to keep still.” It is only by abandoning ourselves totally to the Lord that we will receive the abundance of grace He so eagerly desires to give us. After abandoning themselves to the Lord, the Israelites then became aware once more of the promise God has made for them, when He tells Moses to raise up his staff and split the Red Sea in two, so that they may be able to pass through unharmed.

C. S. Lewis once said, “I believe in Christianity as I believe the sun has risen; not because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” Looking at the Israelites’ situation with the eyes of the world, it is natural to assume that all hope would be lost for them. The Egyptians are pursuing them, closing in on them little by little as they trod through the desert in the blistering sun, without any food or drink. They then approached a sea which they have no way across, and have no other choice but to wait for the entire army of Egyptians to capture them and return them to Egypt once more as slaves. However, Christ does not call us to look upon our lives with the eyes of the world! No, we are to be children of the light, and not of darkness. In the Gospel, we can see the scribes and Pharisees asking Christ many times to give them a sign, so that they may believe in Him. They are viewing Christ with the eyes of the world, not realizing that Christ Himself is the sign they seek! Just as the Israelites doubted the Lord’s presence with them because they did not see a sign from Him as they were fleeing from Pharaoh and his army, the scribes and Pharisees are missing the big picture here. Christ Himself is the salvation for the world; He is the Kingdom of God, while at the same time being also the way, the truth, and the life for each and every one of us to get there! Looking upon Him as the scribes and Pharisees did, we would never see anything more of Him than flesh and blood. How blessed we are to be given the gift of faith! To be given so much grace, although we are unworthy of it, that we would be able to look upon our blessed Lord on the very altar at Mass, but not as the scribes and Pharisees did; for they only saw His flesh, and nothing more. We too see His very flesh, but because of the grace God has given to us, we see so much more. This flesh is the bread of life for us, the Word made flesh, sent by the Father to redeem us from all our sins! How happy we should be!

My friends, let us not be doubtful like the Israelites of God’s love for us at every moment of our lives; nor let us be like the Pharisees and see Christ just as “another holy man who lived 2000 years ago”. The sign that each of them sought for is given to us every single time we celebrate Mass. Christ Himself reveals the splendor of the Father to us, and offers Himself as the Lamb of God, a sacrifice once more so that we may first and foremost glorify our Heavenly Father, and also receive the abundance of graces we need to achieve perfect union with him in the Heavenly Jerusalem. Let us take the words of our great saint, Saint Jean-Marie Vianney, to heart - as he tells us, "What a good thing it is to abandon oneself solely, unreservedly, and forever to the guidance of Providence." Amen.

The Cross is our Gift  

Posted by Rob Boileau in , , , , ,

I wanted to post this yesterday, as it has to do with the readings for Mass from the Fourth Sunday of Lent. Unfortunately though, I wasn't able to find the time yesterday to post it, so please forgive the day-late post.

Rejoice! …For the work of our redemption is at hand! My friends, that glorious cross upon which our Beloved Lord was raised is soon to be raised once more, as we are quickly approaching the Easter Triduum. Traditionally, this Sunday is given the title of Laetare Sunday, meaning we must rejoice! We have much cause for rejoicing here as we prepare to enter into the most solemn time in the Liturgical Year. By opening our hearts to God’s love and the many blessings He has prepared for us, we will be able to experience countless graces over these next few weeks. As Lent comes to a close, the Church asks you and me to examine our lives in light of the cross, and to remember the infinite love our God has for each and every one of us.

Just how great is this love? The Gospel of Saint John tells us that “God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him might not perish, but might have eternal life”. How good is our God! The God of the entire universe, all powerful, all-knowing, and supreme among the nations, came to earth as a fragile little baby, completely dependent on Mary and Joseph to survive — for the purpose of suffering a cruel, torturing, gruesome death at the hands of pagan soldiers thirty-three years later. What love He has for us! We would do well to echo the words of the Psalmist and repeat that beautiful prayer, “Let my tongue be silenced if I ever forget you!”

Saint Paul tells us in the second reading that God has raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavens in Christ Jesus. Christ bore our infirmities and suffered the pains of death in our place, so that – even though we are unworthy – the gates of heaven would be opened for us, and we would receive the most blessed grace to enter into union with God who loves us more than we could ever imagine. By raising us up with Christ, God has given every one of us a gift: the gift of our cross. For it is by carrying our crosses, just as Christ did as He walked the path to Calvary, that we might glorify our Heavenly Father with His Son, in union with the Holy Spirit. It is so important that we beg the Holy Spirit for the strength we need to carry our crosses, for it is impossible for us to carry them alone. However, all things are possible for God, and if we do all things through and for Him, it becomes easy to live our lives in Christ. Just as the Spirit strengthened Christ in His darkest hour, we too will be given the grace we need to imitate Christ when we feel like the weight of the world is upon us. Even if life seems to reach that point sometimes where everything seems impossible to handle, we have to remember that if it wasn’t for our crosses, we could never be able to be raised up in Christ Jesus! How privileged we are that God would love us so much to give us that very same instrument He prepared for His Son, that like Him, we too can be crucified and raised up again to love Him in return for all eternity!

Saint John Vianney pleads for those who do not know the love of God, as he has said, “Oh, if I could only lead you to Mount Calvary, where our Lord died, for the sake of our salvation. But even if I could do that, it would be necessary that God should give you the grace of inflaming in your heart the burning love of St. Bernard, who broke out in tears at the mere sight of the cross!” My friends, during this time of Lent it is important for us to continue to pray for each other, recognizing that by loving one another we can reflect the love of God. His Holiness Pope Paul VI in his Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes reminds us that Jesus taught His disciples, telling them that charity is not something to be reserved for important matters, but must be pursued chiefly in the ordinary circumstances of life. Undergoing death itself for all of us sinners, He taught us by example that we too must shoulder that cross which the world and the flesh inflict upon those who search after peace and justice. How pleased God must be when we live in the good works that He has prepared for us, as Saint Paul tells us we should strive to do! May all of us who truly desire to take up our crosses and follow Christ to Calvary pray for the courage and conviction we need to be living witnesses to the gospel. In a world that needs us desperately to be living icons of Christ for one another, let us always love our neighbor as God loves us, and imitate our Heavenly Redeemer for the greater glory of God and His bride the Church.

My God, My God, Why Have You Forsaken Me?  

Posted by Rob Boileau in , , , , , ,

Greetings to all and prayers for a holy, grace-filled season of Lent thus far!

For my Gospel of Mark course, each of us in my class were given a choice to exegete a passage from the gospel. I figured since we were in the middle of Lent, and the opportunity presented itself, what better passage to write about but the death of Our Lord? I have just completed the paper, and thought I would share it online for anyone who was interested. Below is a small sample from the paper. Please click the link below the sample to continue reading the full text.

My God, My God, Why Have You Forsaken Me?
by: Robert A. Boileau


C. S. Lewis once said, “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” The conclusion of the Gospel of Mark renders to the reader a captivating end to a beautiful narrative on the life of Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God. It is through His passion and death that the Christian will come to see his or her purpose in life, and in reading the Death of Jesus in the Gospel of Mark, one can easily see how important this must be. The author launches the reader into a vivid exploration of the events which unfolded some two-thousand years ago in Jerusalem, and conveys the most important message of all, and all of the implications and consequences that follow — Jesus Christ truly is the Son of God.


In what can surely be presented as the climax of the Gospel of Mark, the author demonstrates to the reader a vibrant narrative describing the death of the Son of God. The placement of this pericope, “sandwiched” between the crucifixion and burial of Jesus, is a continuation of the “tolling of the hours” found in the Passion narrative of Mark’s gospel. The author compartmentalizes the Passion of Christ into three hours: the third hour (midmorning), when Jesus was crucified, the sixth hour (noon), as He hung upon the altar of the cross, and the ninth hour (midafternoon), when He cried out in a loud voice and breathed His last. This event culminates with the fulfillment of all the prophets in the Old Testament, most especially in the book of the prophet Isaiah. For Isaiah states, “Therefore I will give him his portion among the great, and he shall divide the spoils with the mighty, because he surrendered himself to death and was counted among the wicked; and he shall take away the sins of many, and win pardon for their offenses” (Is. 53:12). In addition to the prophets, Jesus also quotes from the Psalms. His “cry in a loud voice” is an Aramaic rendering of Psalm 22, which will be treated in more detail shortly. The significance of the words “at noon” also indicate a change in time, which is the author’s way of setting the tone for the reader for what is about to follow. Many new characters appear on the scene as well, such as Salome — an unknown woman, most probably Jewish — of whom very little is known in this context, a centurion — who will play a very important role in the narrative — and other miscellaneous women who had “followed Him when He was in Galilee and ministered to Him” (Mk. 15:41).


In typical Markan narrative, the author sets the scene by beginning the pericope with the words “at noon” (Mk. 15:33), which signifies a new Sitz im Leben (a situation or setting in life). This methodology employed by the author is common throughout the entire Gospel narrative, as this Gospel is the shortest of all the synoptics, and quickly moves from one event to the next. It can be determined from the text that the author had a familiarity with the Roman world, its language, and its mode of government . This gospel was written primarily for an audience of persecuted Christians in Rome under the reign of the emperor Nero, and probably reached its final form around the year 70 A.D., just after the fall of the Temple of Jerusalem. In the year 1901 a scholar by the name of Wilhelm Wrede demonstrated that Mark wrote his story for theological rather than historical reasons ; this is most probably due to the persecutions that the Christians in the early Church were undergoing — they were probably being discouraged by the “failure of some [of the other Christians in their communities] to commit themselves, unto death, for the gospel of Jesus Christ”.

To continue reading the entire paper, click here.

Saint Charles Seminary House Show  

Posted by Rob Boileau in , ,

The 2009 Saint Charles Seminary House Show!

Directed by: Joseph L. Grabowski

Showtimes: March 26th, 27th, and 28th at 7:30 PM

This year, the Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary community will be performing Reginald Rose's 12 Angry Men. The show tells the story of a jury member who tries to persuade the other eleven members to acquit the suspect on trial on the basis of reasonable doubt. The show is notable for its exclusive use of one set - the entire show takes place in the jury room.

Apart from two of the jurors swapping names while leaving the courthouse, no names are used in the film: the defendant is referred to as "the boy" and the witnesses as the "old man" and "the lady across the street".

In 2007, 12 Angry Men was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".

If you have Facebook, check out the Facebook Event for the show.

I hope to see you there!

Chronicles of Narnia and Allegory  

Posted by Rob Boileau in , , ,

For my home parish's youth group, I volunteered to write up a short essay on C. S. Lewis's The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe - more specifically - the allegory of Aslan to Christ found within the movie. I really enjoyed writing this, and also managed to stumble upon the wonderful video I embedded at the top of this post. I did not make the video, I just found it while taking a break from writing the essay and searching through YouTube. The author of the video is Aseldaar... if you liked the video, please leave him a comment and/or a good rating.

Anyway, here's my essay:

My friends, what a treasure we have just seen! C. S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia is truly a remarkable work, especially for us Christians. Lewis demonstrates in a wonderful way the infinite outpouring of love which God has for us, specifically in the character of Aslan. I invite you to join me now in exploring this beautiful allegory, and I pray that each and every one of you may come to the fullest realization of God’s love for you – and never, ever take it for granted.

“If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things?
No one has ascended into heaven but He who descended from heaven, the Son of man.
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up,
that whoever believes in Him may have eternal life.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.
For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” (John 3:12-17)

Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, willingly laid down His life for the world to save it from sin and death. This sacrifice which the Son offered to His Father in heaven, as we all know, was certainly not in vain. By Christ’s death on the cross, the prince of this world – Satan – was defeated, and Christ made it possible for all of us to be saved by His blood. This was God’s plan for all of us ever since the beginning of time, and was set into motion after the fall of man – the first sin of Adam and Eve against their Creator. Satan, as a cunning serpent, tempted Adam and Eve to eat of the fruit of the Tree of Life. However, Jesus as the New Adam did not fall into the same trap. He too was tempted, while He was fasting in the desert, which is the first time we see Satan directly tempting Christ to abandon His mission.

Then the devil took him to the holy city, and set him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written, `He will give his angels charge of you,' and `On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.'"
Jesus said to him, "Again it is written, `You shall not tempt the Lord your God.” (Matthew 4:5-7)

The first time we see the White Witch confront Aslan, she tries to show him that what he is doing by helping Edmund is wrong, because Edmund is a traitor. Just as Satan tried to convince Christ to abandon what He was doing by citing the Old Testament, which was the Jewish Law, the White Witch tries to do the same with Aslan. She says, “Have you forgotten the laws upon which Narnia was built?” And, just as Christ refutes Satan’s attempts to outsmart Him, Aslan replies to her, “Do not cite the deep magic to me, Witch.” Christ is the fulfillment of the Old Law, the expected Messiah who was spoken about by all of the prophets. In Satan’s foolishness, he failed to realize that Christ Himself is the very Word of God, and Satan would not be able to use God’s word against Him. The White Witch’s attempts to re-claim Edmund were overthrown by Aslan’s willingness to sacrifice himself in Edmund’s place. How vividly we see this in the ultimate sacrifice of Christ! For He has taken all of our sins upon Himself, and has suffered the pains of death in our place!

Through Christ’s sacrifice, he has enabled us to live with Him in eternal life in heaven, and we achieve this by living a holy life, the best way we possibly can. Naturally, because of our fallen human nature, we are weak, and can do nothing without Christ. Because of this, we are still sinners, and need the Sacrament of Confession to wipe away our sins, and ask God for forgiveness. There is a story about St. Margaret Mary Aloquoqe, where she told her confessor that she had been seeing visions of Jesus, and that she wanted to be sure that these visions were true. Her confessor told her that when she sees this vision again, ask Him what her sins were that she had just confessed, and if it truly was Jesus, He would know this. The next time she saw the vision of Jesus, she asked Him what her sins were, and He said, “I forgot.” C. S. Lewis offers an incredible demonstration of the nature of forgiveness, as we have just seen in the movie. After Edmund is rescued and brought back to Aslan’s camp, we see both Aslan and Edmund alone on the mountain. After coming back down, Aslan tells Peter and the others, “What’s done is done; there is no need to speak to Edmund about what has passed…”

After Edmund was forgiven, we know that Peter sort of makes up with him, but it is easy to see that there is not perfect reconciliation between the two of them until the end of the movie. Edmund has not yet done his “penance” by battling the White Witch. It is only until after the battle is won when they are finally reconciled. This represents the effects of sin, and how they can be damaging not only to the person committing the sin – by breaking the relationship with God – but also to God’s family, which is the Church. It is so important my friends, that we battle the darkness of sin by doing penance, and helping others whenever we can. By truly living out the virtue of humility, we can achieve this perfect reconciliation with God and share in unending joy with Him for all of eternity.

The best model of humility that we have to look to as an example for all of us is Jesus. The God of the entire universe, Creator of all things, all-powerful, came to us as a fragile little baby, completely dependent on Mary and Joseph to survive. He then, fully knowing He was to die a humiliating, painful death on the altar of the cross, humbly accepted this as the Father’s will for Him, so that he would be able to save us from sin.

And Jesus cried again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit.
And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom; and the earth shook, and the rocks were split.
(Matthew 27:50-51)

After Jesus died, the temple was split in two, symbolizing the fulfillment of God’s covenant with His people. This shows us that Christ is the fulfillment of the Old Covenant made with the Israelites in the Old Testament, and that now He will make all things new. Aslan, being led to his altar, is followed in the distance by Susan and Lucy. Again, we see C. S. Lewis’s incredible work shine through once more. Susan and Lucy represent Mary Magdalene and the Blessed Mother, following Christ as He was led to Calvary. Just as Susan and Lucy witness the horrible death of Aslan at the hands of the White Witch’s minions, the two Mary’s look on as Christ is crucified by the hands of the Roman soldiers. As our Blessed Mother holds her Son after He was taken down from the cross, we see Lucy holding the lifeless body of Aslan, thinking all hope is lost.

Just as Christ rose again from the dead after sacrificing Himself, Aslan resurrects in front of Susan and Lucy. He then takes them to the White Witch’s castle, where he breathes on the stone statues to bring them back to life. We are reminded here of two events found in Scripture, one in the Old Testament, and one in the New. On the one hand, this can be seen as God breathing life into man, after creating Adam from the earth. This can also be seen as Christ breathing the Holy Spirit onto His disciples, which is, once again, another scripture being fulfilled in Christ.

Jesus said to [His disciples], "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you."
And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. (John 20:21-22)

We can also see this today, at the Chrism Mass celebrated here at our Cathedral on Holy Thursday. Almost all of the priests of the Archdiocese go to the Cathedral for this Mass, where they will receive from the bishop the chrism for their parishes. The bishop breathes on this Chrism, the same way that Christ breathed on His disciples. One Sacrament this Chrism is used for is the Sacrament of Confirmation, where – just as Christ gave the Holy Spirit to his disciples – the same Holy Spirit descends upon us.

Finally my friends, we arrive at the battle. As Peter and the others charge on to defeat the White Witch and her army, the resurrected Aslan arrives on the scene at the end. Ultimately, the White Witch is defeated by Aslan, and peace is restored to Narnia. This parallels our very life here on earth. Although our redemption has taken place through the death and resurrection of Christ, we still are in a constant battle with Satan and his army, trying our very best to avoid temptation and sin. We still need to fight, but just as Aslan returns at the end of the battle to finally defeat the White Witch once and for all, Jesus will return to conquer Satan in His glory and bring peace to all as we spend eternity with Him in the heavenly Jerusalem.

God bless you.