St. Augustine once said, “A single tear shed at the remembrance of the Passion of Jesus is worth more than a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, or a year of fasting on bread and water.” A good way to connect with Christ’s Passion during this time of year is to begin by focusing on the empathy we have for the people we know best. Christ was torn away from family and friends in the prime of life to be unjustly executed. It’s the kind of tragic circumstance that would leave us reeling were it to happen to someone close to us. Read more
As we prepared for the March for Life Jan. 27, I was led to ponder some of the subtler psychological roots of abortion. Beyond the legal problems and the moral issues such as unrestrained lust, greed, and selfishness, there are several other trends in our culture that should be recognized. They all tend to feed upon one another.
Addiction to comfort
In the modern Western world, we have attained very “comfortable” lives. Our homes are heated and air-conditioned. We have clean running water; access to advanced medical care; an abundant, diverse, and inexpensive food supply; and access to technological inventions that have removed much of the tedious work from our lives. Read more
Each year it seems that Christmas lights, decorations, and trees adorn shopping centers, stores, and homes earlier and earlier in the fall. We are reminded that Christmas will be here soon and it’s never too early to begin preparing. The Catholic Church reminds us, though not for the same consumerism goals, that Christ’s birth is approaching by celebrating the season of Advent. We spend time reading Advent reflections and scripture passages about watchfulness, preparation, and waiting for the arrival of the Son of Man. Isaiah’s prophetic messages foretell the joyfulness of the days to come when the virgin shall conceive and bear a son and shall name him Emmanuel. The anticipation rises and we can get caught up in the excitement of the season which builds up to the day when we are filled with the exhilaration of the Christmas narratives. Read more
The first weeks of Advent focus more on the Lord’s second coming in glory than on His first coming at Bethlehem. The Gospel clearly states that we must always be prepared, for at an hour we do not expect, the Son of Man will come. “Ready” is the key word. But how should we be ready?
The second reading from today’s Mass (Romans 13:11-14) gives us a basic recipe for readiness. We can distinguish five fundamental instructions in Paul’s recipe. Read more
Mother Teresa, the most recent Catholic saint, is, indeed, a saint for all. Catholic, or not, people around the world know Mother Teresa of Kolkata as a woman who gave her life to tending to the abandoned and desperate. The Missionaries of Charity, an order founded in 1950 by the humble yet strong-willed Albanian nun to give “wholehearted free service to the poorest of the poor,” is seen throughout the world as practicing the gift of self in service of the poor. Today, there are more than 4,500 Missionaries throughout the world. They run orphanages and hospices as well as centers to care for refugees, the blind, disabled, aged, alcoholics, the poor and homeless, and victims of floods, epidemics, and famine in more than 100 countries around the world. Read more
Search the Internet, and you’ll find literature in abundance regarding the hackneyed phrase, dark night of the soul. The phrase surfaced again with the canonization Sept. 4 of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, founder of the Missionaries of Charity.
The Dark Night of the Soul and ‘The Dark Night:’ Some distinctions
In the lexicon of popular phrases, the dark night of the soul should be distinguished from the dark night as developed by St. John of the Cross in his treatise, “The Dark Night.”
Hispanic Catholics have an inconvenient truth for the Church in the US: We are no longer the minority.
And this emerging majority is organizing the largest evangelization effort the US Church has yet to see, as Latinos prepare for the “V Encuentro”—a four-year conversation beginning at the parish level and ending on a national stage in 2018.
With guidelines distributed to 5,000 parishes throughout 175 dioceses, the process is meant to gauge pastoral realities within Hispanic communities while inspiring new leaders among youth. Read more
America’s two major parties recently adopted platforms designed to further their particular goals, it’s clear that neither party’s goals reflect a genuine total commitment to God, all of God’s people and all of God’s creation.
What is needed is a platform for all the people—that protects the life and promotes the dignity of every single human being from the first moment of conception to natural death.
And those most in need must come first. It’s what Catholic social teaching calls a preferential option for the poor and vulnerable.
Lew Wallace’s 19th century novel, Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ, inspired two silent movies in the early decades of the 20th century and the magnificent 1959 film starring Charlton Heston in the lead role. Almost everyone agrees that Heston was born to play the part, and who can forget the drama and excitement of the chariot race with which the movie comes to its climax?
Roma Downey and Mark Burnett have produced a new instantiation of the story, a streamlined version of the 1959 film. Like its predecessor, this one features a charismatic actor (Jack Huston) as Ben-Hur, plenty of visual grandeur, and yes, a stunning chariot race, depicted this time with the most up to date camera technology and CGI virtuosity. But what principally differentiates it from the Heston “Ben-Hur” is its greater stress on the strange power of Christ to bring about forgiveness—an emphasis, I must say, much needed in the cultural context of the present moment. Read more
This Sunday, May 15, the Church brings to completion the Paschal Season by bestowing the Holy Spirit on us in the Liturgy, rich and beautiful.
The Birth of the Church
On that first Pentecost morning 2,000 years ago, the frightened apostolic community had already been huddled together for 10 days awaiting the Holy Spirit. Jesus had promised to send them his Paraclete-Counselor and Advocate. The Eleven were present, as were the women, Mary the mother of Jesus, and the women who had attended to his needs, and the various followers of the Lord.
At nine o’clock, a sound like that of a mighty wind filled the house. Then what seemed to be tongues of fire came down and rested on the heads of each of those present. As the Church came to birth, the Holy Spirit opened to all the knowledge of God and brought together the many languages of the earth in the profession of one faith. “They were all filled with the Holy Spirit who enabled them to speak in foreign tongues, as the Spirit gave utterance to each” (Acts 2:3, 4).