Tuesday, November 30, 2010

advent is waiting

Words from Pope Benedict

"Our whole personal, familial and social existence passes through this dimension of waiting. Waiting is something that is present in a 1,000 situations, from the smallest and most banal to the most important, which draw us in completely and in the deepest way. Among these, we think of a husband and wife waiting for a child; of waiting for a relative or friend who is coming from far away to visit us; we think of a young person waiting to know his grade on a major exam or the outcome of a job interview; in romantic relationships, of waiting to meet the beloved person, of waiting for a letter, or of receiving forgiveness... One could say that man is alive so long as he waits, so long as hope is alive in his heart. And man is able to recognize that what he waits for and what he hopes for discloses something about his moral and spiritual "stature."

Everyone of us, therefore, especially in this season in which we prepare for Christmas, can ask himself: What am I waiting for? For what, in this moment of my life, does my heart long? And this same question can be posed at the level of the family, of the community, of the nation. What are we waiting for, together?..."

Then Pope Benedict goes on to suggest that we look to Mary, for it is in her that we discover how to wait and how to live...especially as we anticipate the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception.

"There is a mysterious correspondence between the waiting for God and the waiting for Mary, the creature "full of grace," totally transparent to the plan of love of the Most High. Let us learn from her, the woman of Advent, to live with a new spirit in our daily gestures, with the sentiment of a profound expectation that only the coming of God can fulfill.

st andrew

Today is the feast of the apostle St. Andrew, brother of Peter, and the first apostle to follow after Jesus according to the gospel of john.

It is believed that Andrew died crucified on an x shaped cross on the gulf of Patras.

Ancient tradition tells the following about St. Andrew's proclamation before the cross which was to take his earthly life:

"Hail, O Cross, inaugurated by the Body of Christ and adorned with his limbs as though they were precious pearls. Before the Lord mounted you, you inspired an earthly fear. Now, instead, endowed with heavenly love, you are accepted as a gift.

Believers know of the great joy you possess, and of the multitude of gifts you have prepared. I come to you, therefore, confident and joyful, so that you too may recieve me exultant as a disciple of the One who wa shung upon you...

O blessed cross, clothed in the majesty and beauty of the Lord's limbs! Take me, carry me far from men, and restore me to my Teacher, so that, through you, the one who redeemed me by you, may recieve me. Hail! O Cross; yes, hail, indeed!"

In the words of Pope Benedict, here we encounter true Christian spirituality that does not view the Cross as an instrument of torture but rather as the incomparable means for perfect configuration to the Redeemer, to the grain of wheat that fell to the earth. thus we learn our own crosses acquire value if we consider them and accept them as a part of the Cross of Christ, if a reflection of his light illuminates them. It is by the cross our sufferings are enobled and acquire their true meaning.

In deed we all must learn to walk where the apsotles walked, filling up what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ, as St. Paul relates in the epistles.

Monday, November 29, 2010

C.S. Lewis

todayis the birthday of C.S. Lewis, the author of The Chronicles of Narnia and many other books on Christianity, such as MereChristinaity, The Great Divorce, Miracles, The Screwtape Letters and the list goes on.

Any of these would be great reads for Advent.

I certainly recommend The Screwtape Letters or The Great Divorce.

Here is a quote from C. S Lewis I find appropriate for Advent: "Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again."

Someday we will be old enough to read fairy tales again. Someday we will have the wisdom to recognize the truth that is right before us.

Advent is time for us to become like children, to recapture the wonder of it all, the beauty the majesty the simplicity of Christmas, the beauty, the majesty, the simplicity of life.

We have become too grown up. It is time to shake free from our grown upness and become little children once again, redisocvering the twinkle in our eye for life.

Perhaps this is the cure Jesus comes to bring. He tells the centurion in today;s gospel, "I will come to cure him," in response to a request to heal his servant who is paralyzed.

Are we all not a little paralyzed, a little stiff, unable to move freely in life. Have we not bound our selves up by being all grown up and lost sight of the adventure of love.

YEs JEsus please, come and cure us all and reawaken in us the wonder of it all. Help us to be surprised by the little things that are often over looked.

Advent is a time to get nimble and limber learning to bend low and stretch forth.

A few words from G.K. Chesterton

"The power of hoping through everything, the knowledge that the souls survives its adventures, tht great inspiration comes to the middle-aged; God has kept that good wine until now. It is from the backs of the elderly gentlemen and women that the wings of the butterfly should burst."

Fairy tales are about hope. Fairy tales are a place where the word never is replaced by forever after. Fairy tales help us believe that indeed there is someone out there who comes for us.

Jesus will come as we read yesterday. This is no fairy tale but a promise that moves us forth into life.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Day after the day of thanks

How quickly Thanksgiving had passed. In a blink of an eye all that remains is leftovers. We watched football, ate turkey and ham, we demolished the dressing, and were stuffed with pie.

And here we are, and here we remain.

Are we changed? Are we different? Did this day of thanks and praise fill us with renewed strength, a renewed sense of direction, a deeper sense of purpose ?

Did we really give thanks?

What now!

Well, for starters it is time to give thanks again. Thanksgiving isn't for a day, rather it must be a life long action in our life. This is how we change.

This is how we, as St Cyprian tells us, we turn "our earthly patrimony into heavenly treasure."

Thanksgiving is meant to lead us to obedience otherwise who are we really thanking.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

thanks, praise, penitence

Today around the US families gather together as they wish and as they can to share a meal, to share some time, to just be with one another. The business of life gives way to a softer, slower pace of relaxation of just being with one another.

This is the true gift of thanksgivng, we learn once again to be with and be for one another rather than constantly doing this or doing that.

The art of just being has slipped through our calloused hands and scarred hearts and worped minds.

Today we rediscovery what makes life so grand, learning again to say "thank you" but not just with words but with our very presence, with our very life. For isn't the attempt to gather togther an action of thanksgiving!

As we enter into this moment on this time space continuum we call life, another look at the proclamation from President Abraham Lincoln is in order:

"It has seemed to me fit and proper that they (blessings bestowed) should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledge as with one heart and one voice, by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and those who are in foreing lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens..."

but He continues and this is also an important part

"And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings thay do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners, or sufferers in lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the imposition of the ALmighty hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it, as soon as may be consistent with the divine purpose, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility, and union."

Today we offer thanksgiving and praise while offering humble pentinece for our perverseness...Quite a mixture this day makes...Thanks and praise and penitence...

Such is life, such is necessary in this fallen world where sin and grace vie for our human heart: grace demands thanks and praise and sinfulness beckons for penitence and only togther do we move forward and seek to make changes in our life so that God may truly be all in all.

One eye on grace and the other on our sinfilness and thus we shall truly behold the Hand of God that holds us firm and give us reason to "stand erect and rais eour heads, for our redemption is at hand."

If we lose sight of grace then we despair for our sins; if we lose sight of our sins than we live a life no longer in need of God's healing touch, only with both can we truly make progress on the journey of life: thanks, praise, and penitence.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

getting ready to give thanks

In order to get ready for tomorrow, I have today just a few quotes I have found beneficial in penetrating the depth of thanksgiving day....

"Thanksgiving Day comes, by statute, once a year; to the honest man it comes as frequently as the heart of gratitude will allow."

"Thanksgiving Day is a jewel, to set in the hearts of honest men; but be careful that you do not take the day, and leave out the gratitude."

"Hem your blessings with thankfulness so they don't unravel."

"To speak gratitude is courteous and pleasant, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live gratitude is to touch Heaven." 

Here is a quote from St. Paul to round it off
"Rejoice always, never cease praying, in all circumstances give thanks, such is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 thess 5:16-18

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Viva Cristo Rey

Rev 14:14-19; Psalm 96 The Lord comes to judge the earth; Luke 21:5-11

Today in the Church we celebrate several feast.

Today is the feast of Pope Clement 1, the 3rd successor of Peter and also the feast of Blessed Miguel Pro, a priest during time of persecution in Mexico in the 1920's and the years that follow, as well as, the feast of St. Columban, abbot during the 6th and 7th century.

So here are few words from each of these beloved men of the church.

Pope Clement I

"What then brothers ought we do? Should we grow slack in doing good and give up love? May the Lord never permit this to happen at any rate! rather should we be energetic in doing "every good deed" with earnestness and eagerness."

St. Columban

"Loving God renews his image in us...So we must turn back our image undefiled and holy to our God and Father, for he is holy; in the words of scripture:be holy, for I am holy. We must restore his image with love, for he is love...We must restore it with loyalty and truth, for he is loyal and truthful. The image we depict must not be that of one who is unlike God; for one who is harsh and irascible and proud would display the image of a despot."

What image do we display?

Blessed Miguel Pro

"Viva Cristo Rey!" these are the last words spoken by Fr. Miguel Pro as he stared down the firing squad. He was arrested for being a catholic priest. What a way to die, totally self-possessed and faithful until the end. What beautifully fitting last words pressed upon his lips that have never ceased to give glory to God, "Viva Cristo Rey...long live Christ the King." "Viva Cristo Rey...enough said!

What a more beautiful way to live!

the above pictures are the last taken of Blessed Miguel Pro's execution. One while he kneels and prays, his final request before the firing squad, one while with outstretched arms, as he awaits the bullets, the last is the final shot that took his earthly life.

Monday, November 22, 2010

trim your wick

Hosea 2:16-22; Ps 45 Listen to me daughter, see and bend your ear; Mt 25:1-13

Quote from a graphic novelist Satrapi, "Image is an international language. The first writing of the human being was drawing, not writing. That appeared much before the alphabet. And when you draw a situation — someone is scared or angry or happy — it means the same thing in all cultures. You cannot draw someone crying, and in one culture they think that he is happy. He would have the same expression. There's something direct about the image. Also, it is more accessible. People don't take it so seriously. And when you want to use a little bit of humor, it's much easier to use pictures."

Writing in pictures is an amazing way to grab the attention of the reader and also get the message across...

As it is often remarked pictures tell a thousand words, and pictures do not lie.

Perhaps this is why Jesus uses so many parables, stories that involve images.

They grab our attention and while holding us close the message comes through loud and clear.

so goes the gospel for the feast of st. cecilia

"The kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones, taking their lamps brought no extra oil, but the wise brought flasks of oil with their lamps..."

Picture the scene. Ten virgins all in a row with their lamps full aglow. They all seem ahppy and cheerful except five of them seem to be looking at the other five's flask with a bit of a "I new I forgot something" expression on their face.

What good is a lamp without oil, a flashlight without batteries?

Then the cry came out, "Behold the Bridegroom! come out to meet him!"

Then chaos ensues as the foolish discover their error.

"The ten virgins got up and trimmed their wick and the foolish said, "give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out."

Frantic and bewilldered the foolish five beg and plead, down on their knees.

Don't you just hate when that happens. When you come unprepared and find yourself left out in the dark.

"The bridegroom came and those who were ready went into the wedding feast with him. Then the door was locked."

Picture it in your mind. The wise vrigins, with their wicks all trimmed and the lamps full ablaze with big smiles on their faces prancing into the dining all, this chamber filled with musical notes floating in the air and a sense of cheerfulness that emanates from their faces. Even their gowns are full of color and sprite.

Then the door is locked, with a huge pad lock barring any ill prepared visitors or guest from passage.

The five foolish are frantically running trying to find some oil before it is too late. They trip and fall over each other; They are trying to outdo each other in getting to the first salesman available. They are bargaining and haggling all the while the clock is ticking and time is running out.

Then they arrive only a second too late and on the outside looking in, those foolish virgins are weeping with big crocodile tears falling to the ground extinguishing their lamps one by one that lie at their feet. the big pad lock bars their entrance and finalizes their fate. They missed it; they were too late.

Then the last strip of the graphic scene comes to a close with the pronouncement, "Stay Awake, for you know niether the hour nor the day."

Now don't you wish you had those extra batteries. Don't you want to go out be ready and alert.

Isn't that the point of it all!

trim your wick and fill your flask and let charity be the task at hand.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

christ the King

Here are bits and pieces of the encyclical letter by Pope Pius XI instituting the feast of Christ the King in 1925 as an anual celebratio for all the faithful...for those who are interested in reading the why behind the feast.

also here is a link for rededicating one's life ot the Sacred Heart which is norm for the feast of Christ the King: oath of fealty

Begin the encyclical:
Moreover, since this jubilee Year marks the sixteenth centenary of the Council of Nicaea, We commanded that event to be celebrated, and We have done so in the Vatican basilica. There is a special reason for this in that the Nicene Synod defined and proposed for Catholic belief the dogma of the Consubstantiality of the Onlybegotten with the Father, and added to the Creed the words "of whose kingdom there shall be no end," thereby affirming the kingly dignity of Christ.

If the kingdom of Christ, then, receives, as it should, all nations under its way, there seems no reason why we should despair of seeing that peace which the King of Peace came to bring on earth - he who came to reconcile all things, who came not to be ministered unto but to minister, who, though Lord of all, gave himself to us as a model of humility, and with his principal law united the precept of charity; who said also: "My yoke is sweet and my burden light." Oh, what happiness would be Ours if all men, individuals, families, and nations, would but let themselves be governed by Christ! "Then at length," to use the words addressed by our predecessor, Pope Leo XIII, twenty-five years ago to the bishops of the Universal Church, "then at length will many evils be cured; then will the law regain its former authority; peace with all its blessings be restored. Men will sheathe their swords and lay down their arms when all freely acknowledge and obey the authority of Christ, and every tongue confesses that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father."[33]

That these blessings may be abundant and lasting in Christian society, it is necessary that the kingship of our Savior should be as widely as possible recognized and understood, and to the end nothing would serve better than the institution of a special feast in honor of the Kingship of Christ. For people are instructed in the truths of faith, and brought to appreciate the inner joys of religion far more effectually by the annual celebration of our sacred mysteries than by any official pronouncement of the teaching of the Church. Such pronouncements usually reach only a few and the more learned among the faithful; feasts reach them all; the former speak but once, the latter speak every year - in fact, forever. The church's teaching affects the mind primarily; her feasts affect both mind and heart, and have a salutary effect upon the whole of man's nature. Man is composed of body and soul, and he needs these external festivities so that the sacred rites, in all their beauty and variety, may stimulate him to drink more deeply of the fountain of God's teaching, that he may make it a part of himself, and use it with profit for his spiritual life

We firmly hope, however, that the feast of the Kingship of Christ, which in future will be yearly observed, may hasten the return of society to our loving Savior. It would be the duty of Catholics to do all they can to bring about this happy result. Many of these, however, have neither the station in society nor the authority which should belong to those who bear the torch of truth. This state of things may perhaps be attributed to a certain slowness and timidity in good people, who are reluctant to engage in conflict or oppose but a weak resistance; thus the enemies of the Church become bolder in their attacks. But if the faithful were generally to understand that it behooves them ever to fight courageously under the banner of Christ their King, then, fired with apostolic zeal, they would strive to win over to their Lord those hearts that are bitter and estranged from him, and would valiantly defend his rights.

The faithful, moreover, by meditating upon these truths, will gain much strength and courage, enabling them to form their lives after the true Christian ideal. If to Christ our Lord is given all power in heaven and on earth; if all men, purchased by his precious blood, are by a new right subjected to his dominion; if this power embraces all men, it must be clear that not one of our faculties is exempt from his empire. He must reign in our minds, which should assent with perfect submission and firm belief to revealed truths and to the doctrines of Christ. He must reign in our wills, which should obey the laws and precepts of God. He must reign in our hearts, which should spurn natural desires and love God above all things, and cleave to him alone. He must reign in our bodies and in our members, which should serve as instruments for the interior sanctification of our souls, or to use the words of the Apostle Paul, as instruments of justice unto God.[35] If all these truths are presented to the faithful for their consideration, they will prove a powerful incentive to perfection. It is Our fervent desire, Venerable Brethren, that those who are without the fold may seek after and accept the sweet yoke of Christ, and that we, who by the mercy of God are of the household of the faith, may bear that yoke, not as a burden but with joy, with love, with devotion; that having lived our lives in accordance with the laws of God's kingdom, we may receive full measure of good fruit, and counted by Christ good and faithful servants, we may be rendered partakers of eternal bliss and glory with him in his heavenly kingdom.

rejoice in the goodness of the other

Here for this saturday are a few words form St. Thomas Auinas on eternal life:

"Again, eternal life consists of the joyous community of all the blessed, a community of supreme delight, since everyone will share all that is good with all the blessed. Everyone will love everyone else as himself, and therefore will rejoice in another' sgood as his own. So it follows that the happiness and joy of each grows in proportion to the joy of all."

As we draw close to the liturgiacal year and we celebrate the Feast of Chist the King, it isn't a bad idea to think about eternity. What will it be like? What will we be like? What does it means to profess faith in "live everlasting" or "communion of sainst" or the "resurrection of the body."

These things require and demand attention and thought. The more we can think about them togther with the saints and the mind of the church the more we will be better prepared for thecoming of the King.

In the words of St. Thomas, "we will rejoice in another's good as our own."

Imagine that attitude of living. Rather than take offense at another's fortune or blesseing we will be able to rejoice with them and draw strength from it and allow it to build bonds of unity.

I wonder what that would do for us here and now? What would it look like to rejoice in the goodness of the other? It might taste like eternity or at least a little piece of heaven's pie.

Thinkng on heaven should shape the way we thinnk and live today. The future affects today and today is how we move toward the future.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Christian unity

One of the last prayers of Jesus recorded in the gospel is that "they all be one as you and I are one." As he prayed to the Father on his way to the cross, peering down the road to calvary, Jesus thought of us, prayed for us, hoped for us, and acted in such a manner that makes our unity possible for he reconciled us to the Father by the blood of the cross.

Jesus not only prayed for unity but he acted in a manner to make unity not only a real possibility but a Divine Command brought about by the shedding of his blood & the giving of his life.

On this Friday, as we remember that act meant to unify, the cross on calvary and the life given, here are a few words from our Pope on Christian Unity

"The unity of Christians is and remains prayer, it resides in prayer. On the other hand, another operative movement, which arises from the firm awareness that we do not know the hour of the realization of the unity among all the disciples of Christ and we cannot know it, because unity is not "made by us," God "makes" it: it comes from above, from the unity of the Father with the Son in the dialogue of love which is the Holy Spirit; it is a taking part in the divine unity. And this should not make our commitment diminish, rather, it should make us ever more attentive to receive the signs of the times of the Lord, knowing how to recognize with gratitude that which already unites us and working to consolidate it and make it grow. In the end, also in the ecumenical path, it is about leaving to God what is only his and of exploring, with seriousness, constancy and dedication, what is our task, being aware that to our commitment belongs the binomial of acting and suffering, of activity and patience, of effort and joy."

That they may all be one. The mystical body of Christ longs to be one body, one Sprit in Christ.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

creation and the adventure of living

I have been teaching our 8th graders about creation has of lately. It has been an exciting adventure to say the least.

I thought today, since it is wednesday, I would share a few words from Pope Benedict on creation...

"The reasonableness of the universe provides us with access to God's Reason, and the Bible is and continues to be the true 'enlightment," which has given the world over to human reason and not to exploitation by human beings, because it opened reason to God's truth and love. Therefore we must not in our own day conceal our faith in creation. We may not conceal it, for only if it is true that the universe comes from freedom, love, and reason, and these are the real underlying powers, can we trust one naother, go forward into the future, and live as human beings.

God is the Lord of all things because he is their creator, and only therefore can we pray to him, For this means that freedom and love are not ineffectual ideas but rather that they are sustaining forces of reality.
and so we in thankfulness and joy recite the church's creed, "I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and earth." Amen....

The universe is not a product of darkness and unreason. It comes from intelligence, freedom, and from the beauty that is identical with love. Seeing this gives us courage to keep on living, and it empowers us, comforted thereby, to take upon ourselves the adventure of living."

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

scoot on over

Revelation 3:1-6, 14-22

If you read the first reading to today at mass you get the sense that Jesus really does go out of his way to prepare us.

He sends his spirit to check on the early churches and to advise them. You could say it is their yearly check up and examination. He lets them know where they are and where they need to be.

"I know your works, that you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Be watchful and strengthen what is left, for it will dies, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God. Remember how you accepted and heard; keep it, and repent."


"I know your works; I know that you are neither cold or hot, I wish you were either. So because you are lukewarm I will spit you out of my mouth...those whom I love I reprove and chastise. Be earnest, therefore, and repent."

IT is time to take our temperature!

Our spiritual temperature! Are we hot or cold or lukewarm. Have we lost the sense of urgency; have our flame of love slowly subsided; have we lost our focus. It is time to turn up the heat.

Then finally Jesus says these words, "I will give the victor the right to sit with me on my throne, as I myself first won the victory and sit with my Father on his throne."

Now if that isn't motivation for a renewal then nothing is. Not only will we have a place with him but He shall scoot over and make room for us on his throne, his seat with the Father. How humble is our King to allow us to sit where only he deserves.

We shall sit and reign with him.

Jesus scoots over for you and me.

Monday, November 15, 2010

good news has the last word

YEsterday we listen to two readings that described the "end times." There has been much said about this reality, especially in light of the Mayan Calendar.

Everybody wants the inside scoop. All want to be in the know. Yet Time and time again Jesus reminds us we do not know the day nor the hour.

But in reality it isn't the "when" that should be important to us but rather the what of the "end times" that matter most of all.

Apocalyptic literature is what we call the readings and passages that describe the end time, such as the words of Malachi and the words of Jesus in Luke chapter 21.

Apocalyptic simply means to unveil, to reveal, to make known what was hidden.

These readings are important for what they reveal to us and this is where our focus, our gaze, our attention should be. The "when" will be when it comes, but the what remains steadfast.

So what is revealed.

In a nut shell, if you look at the two readings form yesterday, malachi and Luke 21, you discover a mixture of good news and bad news.

Each reading starts off on a sour note.

"Lo the day is coming and it will be blazing like an oven...the wicked shall be burned up." This sounds pretty bad.

Again JEsus says, "not a stone will be left upon a stone...and there will be earthquakes, famines, plagues...there will be wars and violence...yo will be thrown in prison and betrayed by your family."

Again more Bad news. In fact, You could say that it is going to get ugly.

Yet, the Bad news gives way to good news. The words of malachi end on a positive note, "but the there will arise the sun of justice with his healing rays." Again JEsus says, "not a hair on your body will be destroyed and by your perseverance you will secure your lives."

The bad news fades and the good news rises to the front. In fact, what is revealed primarily is that the good news has the last word. This is important for us.

The Good NEws always has the last word. Here is something we can build a life around; here is something that can give us peace and stability.

If we cling to Christ, then we have nothing to fear no matter when the end arrives.

For in Christ, we have a future. The future is filled with real possibilities, with the fullness of life.

There is never a reason to push the panic button. Things will get worse before they get better, but in the end the better will remain, and this is where we stand. We have hope in tomorrow and this hope strengthens us for today.

So in the words of JEsus in the end of Luke 21, "stand erect, raise your head, your redemption is at hand."

The one who has hope lives differently, and this makes all the difference for today.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

refresh my heart in Christ

Philemon 1:7-20; Psalm 146 Blessed is he whose help is the god of Jacob; Luke 17:20-25

I love literature. I love writers. I am often fascinated with the way writers choose words to describe actions, thoughts, lives of others. A good wordsmith can open a passage to new worlds and new places and great adventures. With the slight of a pen, we are invited inside people's minds and hearts and we get to see anew as if for the first time through another's eyes.

Kurt Vonnegut, a writer, in describing the madness behind writing said this, "Every successful creative person creates with an audience of one in mind. That's the secret of artistic unity. ... If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia."

The key for him was to keep one person in mind as the story unfolded. If you reach one, you reach the world. If you try to reach the world, the book comes across as contrived nonsense. The key is to fall in love with one and then you are able to love the world, at least through literature.

The same can be said in the life of Faith. Christ inivtes us to love One and in loving one we are empowered to love generally and specifically the world.

To focus our love on the audience of one, the one right before us in each moment is the way we begin to love the many. If you love the one before you, then you learn to love the many that await you. Of course, primarily the audience of one is Christ. To love Him is to be open to love the many.

In the words of st. Paul in today's first reading, "Refresh my heart in Christ; confidant of your compliance, I write you knowing you will do more than I say." 1:20-21

St. Paul invites Philemon and the community that gathers in his home to welcome Onesimus, out the love they have for him, out of the love they have for Christ.

Love always goes back to the audience of one. For the sake of the one, love moves forth. As we see in verse 12, "It is he (onesimus)I am sending back to you-and that means I am sending my heart."

We may not be able to make love to the world, but we can make love to one and that will make all the difference in a world gone mad.

St. Martin of Tours pray for us.

We also pause today to remember and pray for our Veterans. At the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month we pause in silence begging the Lord to heal the afflicted, mend the broken, raise the fallen; we also beg for peace to reign and violence and terror to end for it has claimed too many of our young lives and hearts.

Soldiers fight because they love. May we fight to show the love they deserve and extend a hand in friendship and gratitude as we remember, lest we forget and in forgetting fight all over again.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

silence no longer

Once again we find ourselves looking back into time as we bring to mind the life of saint Leo the great, Pope and Doctor of the Church.

Here are several bits of wosdom from the Good Doctor and successor of Peter:

"Invisible in His own nature God became visible in ours. Beyond our grasp, He chose to come within our grasp."

"For it is a sign, not of a modest, but an ungrateful mind, to keep silence on the kindnesses of God."

Just a few comments on the second bit of wisdom from St. Leo the Great
There are many moments where silence is necessary, in fact the only proper response. Silence is golden as we are told from early on. Often we are also remined that if you can't say anything kind then don't say anything at all.

Silence should be cherished and encouraged.

But there are moments when dutiful speech is required. If we do not speak then we only bring dishonor to ourselves. One such moment is when as St. Leo the great so eloquently puts it, whe we come across the kindness of God. These occassions demand that our voice be raised and the trumpet be sounded and God's goodness be proclaimed.

A task for us today is to take this to heart and left our vocie be raised and the let the prais eof God be upon our lips. Psalm 30 sums up the sentiment quite sufficiently, "You changed my mourning into dancing, you took of my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness. that my soul might sing praise to you without ceasing; O Lord, my Godforever will I give you thanks."

We must suffer our muscles to exercise our voice so that the Goodness of God never falls on deaf ears, that being our own.

JEsus himself request this attitude in the gospel. Ten lepers met Jesus and from a distance they raised their voice in supplication, begging Jesus to come and act on their behalf. Jesus responds to their request, yet only one of the ten allowed his voice that was raised in supplication to be raised in thanksgiving.

Jesus' words ring true even today, "Ten were cleansed, were they not?" Were not ten vocies ringing out in supplication? Were not a multitude begging for my reach, my touch, my healing?

"Where are the other nine?"
Why is it we ringout out supplication, voice our need, yet seldom return a simple gesture or sigh of thanks.

Have we come to expect it? Are we so entitled that even gratitude falls mute in a heart of arrogance!

In the words of St. Leo the Great
"For it is a sign, not of a modest, but an ungrateful mind, to keep silence on the kindnesses of God!"

Stand up, speak out and let the heavens be filled with the echoes of gratitude.

a few words from our current Successor of Peter, Pope Benedict XVI

"Christ, our eternal high priest, daily unites our own sufferings, our own sacrifices, our own needs, hopes and aspirations, tot he infinite merits of his sacrifice. Through him, with him, and in him, we lift up our own bodies as a sacrifice holy and acceptable to God. In tis sense we are caught up in his eternal oblation, completing in our flesh what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of his body, the church."

Our sacrifices are always united to his Sacrifice and thus we encounter redemption. Perhaps this is enough to have a grateful attitude, a grateful heart that dares not to be silent any longer.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

st john lateran

Today is the feast of the dedication of St. John Lateran, the mother church, the chair of Peter.

here is alink to a virtual tour of the church, worth checking out: click here

Here is the full tour of the church online: click here

Link to a previous post, enjoy! Click here

Saturday, November 6, 2010

beatific vision

Beatific vision is the term used to describe what awaits those who die in God's friendship. It is the "contempltion of God in his heavenly glory."

There has been much ink spilled on the topic of heaven and what awaits us. There has been many movies trying to capture that eternal experience. Poems have been written, songs have been sung, words have poured forth from lips seeking to describe, to encourage, to fathom the deep mystery of the great beyond.

There have been humorous anecdotes, jokes, and the like.

One thing is sure, at least for me, of all the things that have been said about heaven and that will be said about the heavenly experience or reality of life everlasting, I think the psalmist of today really sums up all we need to know for certain, "But in your justice I shall behold your face and when I awake I shall be filled with the sight of your presence."

This is the goal of humanity. This is our destination, the reason for our endurance, the central gravity of what keeps us moving.

In the words of St. Thomas Moore, "Earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot heal."

The healing is accompanied through beholding. We shall see face to face. We shall know as we are known, fully and completely.

Heaven is as Jesus tells us, that which does not allow for death, for "they can no longer die" and "for to him all are alive."

Heaven means to be fully alive.

This the beatific vision, it is life itself, aliveness.

The question for us is the following.

How do we live so that we give witness to our desire to be be with God forever?
What chocies do we make that reveals our foundation as being built on the this reality of the beatific vision?

how do we live that lets others in on our hope we have in Christ?

For in the end as the Eagles sang, "Love will keep us alive."

May we bring that hope to each day anew and bring that freshness of life in all that we do.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Feast of the Holy Relics

Philippians 3:17-4:1; Psalm 122 Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord; Lk 16:1-8

Today, according to the missal of 1962, is the feast of the Holy relics, all relics of the saints guarded and entrusted to the churches of the dioceses.

By relics of the Saints we mean all that remains of them after their death — their bones, their ashes, their clothing and other objects used by them. Enemies of the Church have condemned the cult of the relics of the Saints as being borrowed from pagan customs and without apostolic origin. The decision of the Council of Trent suffices to show the falsehood and bad faith of their reasoning. That Council, in effect, decreed quite otherwise, that the bodies of the martyrs and other Saints, who were the living members of Jesus Christ and the temples of the Holy Spirit, must be honored by the faithful, and that through them God grants a great many benefits to the living. Its decision was based on the usage already established in the first century and which has remained constant in the Church, as well as on the teaching of the Fathers and Councils.

The cult of holy relics is therefore not only permitted, but commanded; it is not only a right, but a duty. Let us note well that the cult of holy relics diverges from pagan practices in that it is supernatural. We do not honor what remains of the Saints for any motive derived from nature, but from motives based on the Faith. If one honors the memory and remains of great men worthy of that appellation, it is regarded as justice; but when one honors the memory and remains of the Saints, it is more than justice, it is the virtue of religion. The final object of the cult of the holy relics is God who sanctifies the Saints; it is Jesus Christ, whose members the Saints are.

Even the words of St. Paul reflect on the cult of the relics as we are told to "observe those who conduct themselves according to the model you have in us."

These sainst are not "enemies of the cross of Christ" like many who are held in honro in our society bur rather they help us remember that our "citizenship is in heaven, and from it we also await a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. He will change our lowly bodies to conform with his glorified body by the power that enables him also to bring all things into subjection to himself."

If you think about the honor given to actors and sport athelets and their belongings, such as autograph paraphernalia, how much more should be given to those who follow Christ most perfectly and lead us on the right path back to God.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

supreme good of knowing Christ Jesus

Philippians 3:3-8; Psalm 105; Luke 15:1-10
Today is the feast of St.charles borromeo. He is a man I often look to for enouragement and genuine push in the back side when I need to get moving.

He was born in a castle and he lived like a rock star.

He was athletic, loved music and the arts and really loved fine dining. He definetely understood the lifestyle of the rich and famous.

His uncle was the Pope, which means he had the world at his finger tips, power in his pockets, all he had to do was say the word.

In fact, once when he was a young adult while playing billiards, he was asked what he would do if he new he had 45 minutes left to live. His response was, "I'll keep playing billiards."

He had no cares in thr world, and worldly cares were on his mind.

Then something happened. In the lives of the saints, something always happens.

He chose to beocme a priest. He gave up all. In fact he became archbishop of Milan and soon sold everything he had to care for the sick and dying. When the famine and plague struck he was ministering to the sick an dying. He would walk through the streets barefoot with a noose around his neck begging God to take him as a sacrifice for the people and for mercy.

There was an attempt on his life, while he was praying, though the bullet did not penetrate the vestments he was wearing. He burned himself out trying to serve the Lord.

In fact, the doctor, upon St. Charles' death bed, commented that Charles was a like a oil lamp that had extinguished because it just exhausted his oil supply.

His last words before he died were, "See, Lord, I am coming. I am coming soon."

Quite a difference from his early remarks about playing billiards.

St. Charles' life echoes the sentiments of St. Paul: "I consider everything as a loss because of the supreme good of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord."

A taste of Jesus far out weighs any material advancement in the world.

"...supreme good of knowing Christ Jesus my lord."

He lived out the words of Robert Frost, "I have a promise to keep, and miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep."

St.Charles Pray for us all.

In the words of the gospel, "Rejoice with me for I have found my lost sheep...and there will be rejoicing among the angels of God over one sinner who repents."

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Philippians 2:12-18; Psalm 27 The Lord is my light and my salvation; Luke 14:25-33
The gospel begins thus, "great crowds were traveling with Jesus, and he turned and addressed them..."

Crowds were often gathering at the feet of Jesus. Everywhere he went, people flocked, to get a closer look, to hear what he might say,to see what he might do. they all wanted to inch closer.

Even this past sunday, we encounter, Zacchaeus who climbed the tree in order to see.

Taking it all in, the crowds, the pushing, the pressing in, the great drawing power of christ, there is one thing that stands out.

Jesus did not want a crowd of people following him. Crowds were no good. The crowd mentality is sporadic and very emotional.

He wanted something more. He wanted people to rise above the crowd, to step out of the crowd, to choose to stand with him. Jesus came to found a community that would be apart from the crowd.

This is why he speaks the words of today's gospel, "In the same way, everyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciple."

In order to leave the crowd, we must first renounce, separate ourselves, create some distance. We have to leave something behind in order to move forward in the footsteps of Christ.

We cannot have our cake and eat it too, as the saying goes.

Somethings are no longer options, no longer viable. Jesus doesn't want us to adabt our lives to him, he wants us to change, radically and completely.

Otherwise, we remain just another face in the crowd.

Words from Pope Benedict
"The Church's experience shows that every form of holiness, even if it follows different paths, always passes through the Way of the Cross, the way of self-denial.

The example of the Saints encourages us to follow in their same footsteps and to experience the joy of those who trust in God, for the one true cause of sorrow and unhappiness for men and women is to live far from him.

Holiness demands a constant effort, but it is possible for everyone because, rather than a human effort, it is first and foremost a gift of God, thrice Holy (cf. Is 6: 3). In the second reading, the Apostle John remarks: "See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are" (I Jn 3: 1)."

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

all souls

What does the church teach about death

"In that departure whichis death the soul is separated from the body. It will be reunited with the body on the day of resurrection of the dead." CCC1005

"For those who dies in christ's grace it is a particpation in the death of the Lord, so that they can also share his resurrection." CCC1006

"Death is the end of our earthly life. Death lends urgency to our lives: remembering our mortality helps us realize we have only limited time in which to bring our lives to fulfillment." ccc1007

"Death is a consequence of sin. Death is contrary to the plans of God. Death is transformed by Christ. The obedience of Jesus has transformed the curse of death into a blessings." CCC1008-1009

"If we die in christ's grace, physical death completes this 'dyingwith Christ' and so completes our incorporation into him in his redeeming act. In death, God calls man to himself..." CCC 1010-1011

"all who die in god's grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation, but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve holiness necessary to enter th ejoy of heaven." CCC 1020

"From th ebeginning the Church has honored the memory of the dead and offered prayers and suffrage for them, above all the eucharistic sacrifice, so that thus purified, they may attain beatific vision of God...Let us help and commeorate them. If Job's sons were purifed by his sacrifce, why would we doubt that our offerings for the dead bring them some consolation. Let us not ehsitate to help those who have died and to offer our prayers for them." CCC1032

As we pray in the Liturgy of funerals:

"Lord, you have made the grave a sign of hope even as it claims our mortals bodies."

Psalm 23 Though I walk in the valley of death, I fear no evil for you are at my side with your rod and staff that give me courage.

No one who has accepted Christ ever dies alone, for in His death, Christ has filled that experience with his presence.

Remember, part of the joy of belonging to the church is the privelege of helping the Holy Souls enter into heaven. The one thing we can give them is our time. they have not time for they have passed into eternity, but time which is still the best commodity we have can be a great offering in prayer for them.

Monday, November 1, 2010

All Saints: come let us spur ourselves on

Words from St. Bernard

"Why should our praise and glorification, or even the celebration of this feastday mean naything to the saints? what do they care about earthly honors when their heavenly Father honors them by fulfilling the faithful promiseof the Son?... Clearly if we venerate their memory it serves us not them. Calling the saints to mind inspires, or rather arouses in us, above all else, a longing to enjoy their company, so desirable in itself. We long to share in the citzenship of heaven, to dwell with the spirits of the blessed, to join the assembly of the patriarchs, the ranks of the prophets, the councl of the apostles, the great host of martyrs, the noble company of professors and the choir of virgins. In short, we long ot be united in happiness with all the saints...

Come let us spur ourselves on. We must rise again with Christ, we must seek the world which is above and set our mind on the things of heaven. Let us long for those who are longing for us."On this day we sing the ancient him Te Deum: click here for the chant version
You are God we praise you
You are the Lord: we acclaim you
You are the eternal Father:
All creation worships you

To you all the angels, all the powers of heaven,
Cherubim and Seraphim, sing in endless praise:
holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.

The glorious company of apostles praise you.
The noble fellowship of prophets praise you.
The white-robe army of martyrs praise you.

Throughout the world the holy church acclaims you:
Father, of majesty unbounded,
your true and only Son, worthy of all worship,
and the Holy SPirit, advocate and guide....

come then, Lord, and help your people,
bought with the pric eof your own blood,
and bring us with your saints
to glory everlasting!