It is first and foremost God who acts in the Sacred Liturgy of the Church. Pope Benedict XVI noted in his 2010 Chrism Mass homily, “Sacrament means that it is not primarily we who act, but God comes first to meet us through his action, he looks upon us and he leads us to himself. … God touches us through material things … that he takes up into his service, making them instruments of the encounter between us and himself.” Read more
Are you or someone you know getting married in the near future? If so, congratulations!
Marriage is meant to be a very special and sacred event in a person’s life. Sadly, many young Catholics are choosing to marry outside the Church. Perhaps they are unaware of the moral and spiritual obligations on their part to celebrate their marriage in the Church. As Catholics, we acknowledge marriage as one of the seven sacraments of our faith. Through this sacrament, God shares His grace with the couple and gives them the spiritual strength they need in order to live the gift of married love. If a person who is baptized and professes to be Catholic chooses to marry outside the Church, that marriage is not recognized as “valid” and, as a result, the Catholic party should refrain from receiving Holy Communion at Mass. In order to be united with Christ in the Holy Eucharist, we must first be united with Him in our daily lives and choices.
I’m sure that many of you have heard about the recent declaration in October from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith at the Vatican that the cremated remains of a loved one must be properly and reverently buried and not scattered in the woods or across a lake, or even kept in a person’s home. The declaration reiterated the church’s teaching that cremation, while strongly discouraged, can be permissible under certain restrictions.
If you haven’t heard about it from a Catholic news source, you have no doubt heard about it from a secular news source. It seems that the secular media always has something to say about the Catholic Church and her teachings, and usually presented in a negative and condemnatory way. Read more
What does it mean to be “Catholic”? This is a very timely and perhaps loaded question to ask in our modern society, especially as we see politicians, entertainers, athletes, and other influential people who publicly profess to be Catholic, yet their voting record and the policies they support, the content of their music and movies, and their lifestyle choices would seem to prove otherwise. This situation can be very confusing to many people. Read more
Over the last several decades, many people have incorporated walking into their daily routine. If you visit the shopping malls, you will see a fairly large group of folks who are not there to shop, but to walk! People choose to walk for a variety of reasons, usually relating to one’s health. In days gone by, the main reason for walking was transportation, to get from one place to another. Walking is a simple and inexpensive way to lose weight, to strengthen muscles, and to condition the heart. In our society, people have come to appreciate and understand the mental and physical benefits of something so simple as walking. On an emotional level, a person may choose to walk with others in order to bond with them and to get to know them better. Perhaps you walked on the beach, or on a mountain trail, or even on a beautiful country road (and we have lots of those in southern Missouri!). Taking a walk with someone can be a life-changing experience! Read more
As Catholics, we are indeed a sacramental people. The sacraments are at the heart of our Catholic Faith and play an essential role both in our spirituality and in our relationship with the Lord. The “sacramental system” is, to a certain degree, uniquely “Catholic” and contributes not only to our identity as Catholics, but also helps form and establish the nature and mission of the Church. Read more
Having concluded the Christmas Season on Jan. 11 with the feast of the Baptism of the Lord, we find ourselves celebrating a few short weeks of “Ordinary Time” before beginning the Season of Lent on Ash Wednesday (Feb. 18). These weeks of Ordinary Time seem to be a “lull in the action.” Many people are “recovering” and “rebounding” from the “hoopla” of Christmas before quickly shifting gears in order to enter into the most somber season of the Church Year. Read more
Over the last several decades, a variety of television shows, cartoons, and movies have been produced which relate in some way to the celebration of Christmas. Some are funny, some are serious, some are spiritual and inspirational. I’m sure each of us has a favorite Christmas show that we look forward to watching, which also helps get us into the “Christmas spirit” and the right mood. What is your favorite Christmas show? What does it reveal to you about the true meaning of Christmas? Read more
In the next few weeks, two historic events will take place in our diocese. On Dec. 7, the parish family in New Madrid will celebrate the 225th Anniversary of the founding of their parish in 1789. On Dec. 17, the parish family of St. Mary Parish in Joplin will celebrate the dedication of their new church. For many Catholics, their parish church and their parish family hold a special place in their hearts and in their spiritual life. If a person spends a large portion of his/her life in one particular community, there is certainly a degree of “attachment” which develops and is nurtured by sharing in the life of that community. Read more
I recently invited reflection upon the mystery of life and death and how our beliefs and teachings regarding each are revealed to us in the Sacred Liturgy, especially the Mass of Christian Burial. In many ways, our society has conditioned us to avoid the issue of death. However, the moment of our death is one of the most sacred and paramount moments in life. What is the spiritual state of our soul at that moment? The answer to that question should be of the utmost importance to us.
At each Mass, we celebrate the sacrificial death of Christ on the Cross. This death was not the end of the story, it was the beginning of the story. It was a death that leads to new life: the Resurrection! The Resurrection invites us to approach death counter-culturally. As Christians, the promise of the Resurrection is the lens through which we should view not only death, but also life. Read more