Monday, October 21, 2013

"...You are anxious and troubled about many things."

As they continued their journey he entered a village where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him.

She had a sister named Mary [who] sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak.

Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me.”

The Lord said to her in reply, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things.

There is need of only one thing.  Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her"

Luke 10:38-42


Well, at least Martha let Jesus into her house.  Most of us don't even get that far.  Our hearts are too scattered; like a messy home.  So we refuse to let the Lord in.  Yet, even if we are divided and distracted and pulled and anxious and worried about many things we at least need to let the Lord in.  He doesn't mind the mess we've made and we shouldn't mind letting Him clean up!  In fact He wants to bring some order to the mess, some unity.  Yes, he wants a unified, undivided heart but He's the One Who has to give it to us in the first place.  We need to let Him have all the fragemented parts of our heart. He will recreate and order our hearts.  But we at least need to let Him in the door.
Where's your heart? Is it scattered in many places, divided between this and that? Are you talking to the Lord about it? I mean, Martha does the right thing.  She relates her frustration to the Lord.  She prays.  She prays. Mary prays, too, and while Mary's prayer is better, purer, more attentive, at least Martha prays.  She doesn't hold it all in, she releases the frustration she has to the Lord.  She's honest.

"Lord, do you not care??"

Yes, He cares.  You know He cares even if sometimes it doean't feel that way.  Then listen to Him.  Even if we can be distracted and anxious, we can still choose to let the Lord into our hearts, into our honest reality, the real situation we're in, and slowly put down each care and worry before the Lord. Lay your cares before the Lord. Put down the pots and pans, Martha.  Let the soup simmer.  The table can be set later.  Stop.  Sit down. And pray.

I would submit to you that prayer becomes more real when it's honest.  Where are you at? I mean, really? What's really on your mind? What are you feeling lately? What do you want?

"What do you want Me to do for you?"

As if He only came for Mary? As if the Lord only wants to have an intimate relationship with "holy people;" monks and nuns? No.  He wants to talk to you.  He is your friend just as much as He is Mary's.  Mary just happens to have figured it out sooner than Martha. Ok.  You can do that, too.  So tell Him what's going on.  Bring Him the real you. What else could He possiblly want but you?

(Above: Painting in Sacristy of the
Basililca of St. Mary Magdalene)
Unless you have better things to do... but, Mary knew better from the start and that's why she more quickly chose the better part.  That doesn't mean Martha can't lay herself at Christ's feet at any moment.

Whatever it is, whatever's going on, just bring it to Him.  He knows you're anxious and worried about many things.  He knows.  That's why He came to your house.  He wants to talk to you. Honestly.

Give Him everything you've got - which is you.
Then receive everything He's got - which is Himself.

That's prayer.
Real, honest prayer.


Thursday, October 17, 2013

American Humor and Broken Windows: Huh-larious

Yesterday, whilst sitting in the kitchen (which is essentially the social hub of the house,) a group of us sat chatting.  Fr. Florian walks in and asks me and Gary,

"How about at 3:30 I show you how to fix a window?"

I thought to myself, "O boy I was hoping you'd ask me that today!"

I laughed and laughed.

He didn't understand why it was so funny! I later told him that I thought it was a particular characteristic of American humor which appreciates the random and unexpected things in life. 


(Above) Pere Florian (right) and Gary (not on the right) fixing a window.

(Above) A view from a non-broken window at the parish center, second floor

(Above) Ye olde parish center - used to be a convent but's a parish center

To me, a comment like that out of the blue is hysterical! Like, I'm sitting around shootin' the breeze and someone asks "Hey, how about I show you how to fix a window!"


But I'm from 'merica.  

I also thought it was funny when Fr. Florian put his foot through the window sill while showing us how to fix the window.

(Above) Huh-larious
(He agreed with me on that one)

-Matt Malicki

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

I live next to Jesus and Mary Magdalene (and you thought YOU had nice neighbors!)

One of the things I love about being here is going to Mass and adoration every day at the Basilica of St. Mary Magdalene (aka Basilica of St. Maximin..long story for another post!)

The top picture is the Basilica.  I got sprayed with water from some construction work being done nearby whilst taking that photo for you...  You're welcome.  The bottom picture is a rotund pigeon which was walking outside.  He was a little suspcious of me following him trying to get a close up.  I like pigeons.  


Today when I was leaving the side chapel where they have Eucharistic Adoration during the day I walked near the crypt where Mary Magdalene's remains are and I decided...

"I'm going to pray for a little bit down there."

It is an incredible blessing to be able to ask such a great Saint who loved Christ so much to pray for me that I would also love Him.  Mary Magdalene had such a profound, radical conversion - like night and day.  I want that.  I find myself praying lately for perfect contrition; for the grace to see reality as it is and how ungrateful and lukewarm I am.  Daily I receive the King of Kings into my heart through Holy Communion, I live in a house where He rests in the tabernacle underneath my bedroom, I'm able to visit Christ Himself whenever I want just like Mary Magdalene did (the only difference being now,in the Eucharist, He just appears to be bread) - and how does this change me?

Not nearly enough.

God give me your eyes.

Half that number (it counts when you enter and when you leave) and that's the number of visitors that have come to the crypt since they installed the counter.  When was that you might ask?...I don't know. But that's a lot of people coming to honor and ask prayers from a woman who saw reality and was changed forever.

Mary Magdalene saw Jesus - as He truly is.

"Who are you, Lord?" (Acts 9:5, Paul's words to Jesus)

Who are You, Lord?...

God heal our blindness and show us Who You are.

- MM

Monday, October 14, 2013

Russian Fun. With a Little Christmas to Boot.

So as I said previously, those kind Russian Orthodox folk came by with some gifts for us.  One was the icon which I showed you of St. Seraphim.  Another was a delicious box of chocolates (the box wasn't delicious, I meant the chocolates.) Now the final gift was really unique.


The Christmas Stocking Filled with Crouton-Like Things!

Now, I don't quite understand Russian culture.  But I think this gift was awesome. When you ate the little pieces of bread it made the loudest sound imagineable.


BEHOLD! Loud Crouton Sounds While Studying French with an Australian!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Anybody Read Russian?? More Providential "Coincidences"

"Acquire a peaceful spirit, and thousands around you will be saved." - St. Seraphim of Sarov

I'm not Orthodox, I'm Catholic. I mean, I'm an Orthodox Catholic; don't get me wrong... but I'm not Orthodox.  Confused yet?

Well, ya should be!

The worldwide Church was probably pretty confused, too, around 1054.  That's when "the Great Schism" took place between Eastern and Western Christianity.  Largely political while throwing in some doctrinal points this rupture has some confusing history.  But first... Some cool, gigantic pictures! (for effect AND clarity)

This is St. Seraphim of Sarov.  He was a miracle worker of the Russian Orthodox Church in the late 1700's/early 1800's.  And how do I know that? I looked it up on Wikipedia of course.  (

Because, as you can clearly see, this thing is not in English.  

"Matt, why are you, a Catholic seminarian, posting about an Orthodox Saint?"

I'm glad you asked, reader.  Do you remember my previous post about the crazy, providential run in I had with that Priest in Ars this previous weekend?

"I sure do, Matt! I read all of your posts!"

Wow, thanks, reader! I wish I had more dedicated followers like you.  Well anyway, a long long time ago, on an airplane far far away (my flight over to Poland from America which was going to connect me to a flight into France on Sep 26th a few weeks ago... I hope that confusion is bubbling over now) I met a lady name Tamara, from Poland.  She was born Russian Orthodox.

"What's that mean, Matt?"

Well, I'm not entirely sure, but I'll share what I know soon.  Stop interrupting!

"Sorry, Matt."

It's ok... Now where was I? O yes, Tamara.  We sat next to each other on the plane over the pond and she shared how she was searching for the Truth in her life.  She had a Russian Orthodox background and clearly had faith in God.  She was going back to Poland to be with her dying mother.

We had a wonderful conversation about life and faith and, at the end of the trip, she handed me a prayer card which had a Russian Orthodox Saint on it named St. Tamara! This, too, was all in Russian.  In exchange I have her a copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church and a "miraculous medal" of Mary and we parted ways.  I think it's what any faithful, Catholic seminarian would do.  (Her son apparently wants to become an Orthodox Priest so that's pretty cool, too.)

I arrived in France that night and met a Catholic religious sister (think "nun") who is associated with our community (Missionaries of the Most Holy Eucharist) in some way.  They (Fr. Sean actually) told me that she goes over to Russia frequently to work with the Russian Orthodox people.

"Crazy coincidence, Matt!"

I know! So I handed her the prayer card and asked her to translate.  She doesn't speak much English so I don't think she understood me but she was very surprised that it was St. Tamara who was depicted.

"Why, Matt?"

Because Sister's name is "Sister Tamara!"


So I gave her the prayer card and asked her to also pray for the Tamara I met on the plane. Those were the first two Tamaras I've ever met in my life within a span of 10-12 hours or so.


So I pray for Tamara and have a new Saint to pray to: St. Tamara. Though I don't have her prayer card anymore.  I'm sure she understands.
Today, some Russian Orthodox people came and gave our community some crunchy crouton-like bread in what looked like a Christmas stocking, some out of this world chocolate, and the icon pictured above.  The community decided to give it to me.

"But it's not St. Tamara..."

That's not the point! These encounters have reminded me of the great need to pray for unity in the Church and has opened my heart more (hopefully) to the Orthodox who are so close in faith to the Catholic Church.  After the schism in 1054 between east and west, various segments of these Orthodox groups came back into full communion with the Catholic Church.  In fact, there isn't just one way to be Catholic (Roman Catholic) - there's 22! (like the Byzantine Catholics, the Syro-Malabar Catholics etc. all in doctrinal communion with the Bishop of Rome (da Pope!) who is the visible head of the universal, Catholic Church. (The Orthodox, Protestants, etc disagree but that's beside the point, too)

We need to pray for unity!  St. Seraphim (not only honored by the Orthodox but also by Catholics as Pope John Paul II mentions him in his book Crossing the Threshold of Hope - thanks Wikipedia!) is a great Saint and now a new friend of mine (along with St. Tamara, the Polish lady Tamara, and Sister Tamara.)  St. Seraphim has a great quote:

"Acquire a peaceful spirit and thousands will be saved."

"Why is that, Matt?"

I think because, ultimately, real peace is a sense of unity with those around us.  When we have true peace within - I mean God's peace in Christ - it makes others around us say "Why are you that way?" And those thousands of people around us will be able to catch fire with the same peace which radiates from our hearts because when they experience it in us they'll say

"I want that."  

Then we'll introduce them to Jesus, the Prince of Peace...

And thousands will be saved.


Now can anybody read Russian??

Thursday, October 10, 2013

I live with heroes

Last night, around 10:30pm in the chapel downstairs I overheard one of the Priests say to another Priest something to the effect of "Now are you sure you're ok taking the 2-4am slot?" (the one he had spoken to had just returned from a week and a half long mission in Ireland)

"Yes, I need a bit of prayer time."

"You're absolutely sure?"

And so it was... a bit of prayer time.


My trip this previous weekend didn't end in Ars but moved forward towards Paray le Monial; the apparition site where Our Lord revealed His Sacred Heart to the world through St. Margaret Mary.  We weren't there long; only 3 or 4 hours.  But it was worth it especially to Fr. Sean who said it is probably his favorite place on earth to pray.  There are such tremendous graces there that he and other members of the community love to go on week long pilgrimages there and literally spend almost the whole day in the adoration chapel.  The chapel is there because our community's founder, Fr. Florian Racine, preached a mission there a few years ago establishing perpetual Eucharistic adoration.  These reasons and the fact that Paray le Monial was the "birthplace" of the Missionaries of the Most Holy Eucharist on July 17th 2007 it is a special place for us.

Here are some pictures I took.

The remains of St. Claude de la Columbierre, spiritual director for St. Margaret Mary 

Chapel with stained glass depicting St. Aloyisius Gonzaga (who died as a Jesuit seminarian) appearing in apparition to St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi, a great Carmelite mystic from Spain. 

St. Margaret Mary Alacocque entombed in the chapel where Jesus appeared to her

Closer shot of the detail of the stained glass of St. Alyoicius (a patron Saint for seminarians.)

So I get to live with Priests who pray incessantly, preach profoudnly, love intentionally. I get to visit Saints and ask for their intercession that I might imitate their imitation of Christ. I get to live in a house where Jesus Christ Himself, the Savior of the world, lives in the Eucharist within our chapel.

I live with heroes.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Absolutely Insane: A Proof that God Exists and He's Probably Catholic!

This weekend was packed with Providence.

Late September, 2010 I found myself in Krackow, Poland with my friend, Adam Laski at the Divine Mercy Shrine where St. Maria Faustina (of the Blessed Sacrament) lived and received the message of Divine Mercy from Jesus; a devotion totally united to the revelation of the Sacred Heart of Jesus to St. Margaret Mary and of course to Christ's real presence in the Eucharist.

At that shrine we met a Priest from Portland, Oregon who promised to send us a couple of second class relics (something that belonged to the Saint) of St. John Vianney (patron Saint Of Priests) since we were seminarians.  The relic-medals eventually arrived and I've worn mine ever since.

This weekend, Saturday Oct. 5th (the feast of St. Faustina, keep that in mind)I found myself this time in Ars, France where St. John Vianney lived.  Gary, who is from Australia, introduced himself to some Australian sisters (Sisters of the Immaculata and, while talking with them, a Priest who just met them came up to them and introduced himself to me; said he was from Portland, Oregon.


I stopped... reached back in my couldn't be...

"You know, Father, I was in Poland a few years ago at the Shrine of the Divine Mercy and met a Priest from Portland who gave us some relics of St. John Vianney... was"

It was!

Krackow, Poland 2010- Divine Mercy Shrine where St. Faustina lived I met a Priest from America who gave me a relic-medal of St. John Vianney.
Ars, France 2013 - Feast of St. Faustina, encountered the same Priest in the town where St. John Vianney was from!

The orphanage that the "Cure of Ars" (SJV) built has since been turned into a Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration Chapel (hence why Fr. Sean was asked to come and preach at the weekend Masses to boost the spirit of Adoration in Ars and why I was able to come along with him in the first place.) You know what the name of that orphanage/adoration chapel is?

"La Providence"

Yeah you ain't kiddin'!

God, how do you DO that?

I think I've learned a couple of things from this experience so far.  1.) Grow closer to Christ through His Divine Mercy. 2.) Grow in my relationships with and devotions to St. John Vianney and St. Faustina. 3.) Contact that Priest! (I made sure to get his email this time.)

I also think God just wanted to remind me that everything, literally EVERYTHING, in this world is under His Providential care.  He really is GOD, all powerful, all knowing, and all loving.  He pays attention to details.

After reciting this story to Fr. Sean later in the day he looked at me wide eyed, paused and said... "That's insane."

Yes, Father, that was insane.

Relicquary holding the heart of St. John Vianney, the heart of a Priest in love with Jesus Christ

Friday, October 4, 2013

We have confirmation!

It's official!  We're going to Ars this weekend for a preaching mission! 

Well it was official before that there was going to be a preaching mission there but it just wasn't official whether I could go or not.

But it's official!  I'm going to Ars!  

St. Jean Vianney's body is incorrupt (he died Aug. 4 1859)
His face has a wax mask over it but those hands are his actual hands.
He is the patron Saint of Priests.
Other incorrupt Saints include St. Bernadette of Lourdes, France (whom the
Virgin Mary appeared to in 1858) and Saint Catherine Laboure (died
Dec. 31st 1876.  Our Lady also appeared to her though in Paris, France.)

After Ars, we are hoping to go to Paray le Monial where Jesus revealed His Sacred Heart to St. Margaret Mary.  The remains of St. Margaret Mary and her spiritual director St. Claude de la Columbierre are there.  This is also the place where my community, the Missionaries of the Most Holy Eucharist ( was officially and canonically established a few years ago!

Most Sacred and Eucharistic Heart of Jesus, bestow your many blessings on us!

- MM

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Amazing grace(s)

Pere (French word for "Father"...even though he's Irish) Sean told me and the Aussie (Gary, the Australian seminarian here with France) that we'd be able to go with him this weekend to Ars!  You know that place where the Cure of Ars lived, St. John Vianney, one of the greatest Saints that ever lived, the patron Saint of Priests, the one who could read souls in the confessional - yeah that's where I am probably going this weekend! Father Sean will be preaching a brief "boost" mission to increase the spirit of Eucharistic adoration there in Ars (they have perpetual adoration there.)

Also possibly (briefly) to Paray le Monial where the revelations of the Sacred Heart of Jesus were given to St. Margaret Mary. (It also happens to be the place where our community was officially, canonically established a few years ago.)

Cool anecdote about the Cure Of Ars (SJV!) - Lacordaire, known as one of the best preachers of all time and a French Dominican Priest, was asked by someone if he had heard of Pere Jean Vianney as they were contemporaries.  Pere Lacordaire, in humility, responded to the effect of "I have heard of him and all I know is that when I preach people say "he's good!" but when the Cure of Ars preaches people say "God is good!"

That's what the Saints do.  God is so explosively visible in them that one cannot help but praise God for His beautiful work of art - the Saint! A man, having once encountered the holy Priest of Ars in France walked away and declared "I saw God in a man!"

In all the baptized the Trinity dwells by grace but in the Saint God is no longer hidden.  May our lives be hidden with Christ in God that God may no longer be hidden from the world!  May we become, like Our Lady (the greatest of Saints!) a "living monstrance" and a true "God-bearer" to the world.

O if Christians knew their dignity! Then the world would come to know its own dignity at having been bought at the price of God's blood, Jesus' blood!

How precious we must be to Him - He died for you! Will you live for Him?