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Showing posts from March, 2017

Love your enemy

The prayer God always answers.

In today's Gospel Jesus says, "...what man of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone?  Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent?" What man indeed? We know, or at least we think we know, how to give good gifts to our children. When it comes to the basic needs, we know what good gifts to give. However, our children do not always want those good things we have to offer. They often want the stone instead of bread or the serpent instead of a fish. You and I are no different when it comes to our Heavenly Father.

I cannot count the number of times I have prayed for something that really wasn't what was good for me. I can't count the number of times that I was handed something good by the hand of God but called it evil since it wasn't what I prayed for. Only through grace and spiritual growth am I able to look back and see that God's response was a loving one.

So, what then should I be asking God to give me?  What is a safe prayer?  Ho…

What I Have Failed To Do

I believe today's Gospel passage completely destroys my "but I'm a good person" argument.

I often like to compare myself with others and say, "well, at least I'm not like this person. At least I'm not - murdering, stealing, committing adultery (insert potential mortal sin here)." However, this passage mentions none of those sinful things and yet I still see folks cast into "the eternal fire prepared for the Devil and his angels."

Most of us grow up learning about the sins we shouldn't commit. We are taught to follow the Ten Commandments and avoid doing evil things. Unfortunately, we are not catechized on the very troubling "sins of omission" which are apparently just as deadly to the soul.

In today's Gospel Jesus separates the sheep from the goats, the good from the bad. His criteria is not based on the sinful things that were or were not done. Instead, the deciding factor is whether one did or did not do the good things…

The Birth Scar

The Scar
Whenever I ask my 18-month-old about his belly he proudly lifts his shirt and inserts a finger into his belly button. Recently, when he did this, I was taken back to the time of his delivery. In my mind's eye I could plainly see my newborn son squirming and filling his lungs with air for the first time. I also remember having the opportunity to cut the cord that had connected him and his mother for so long. That separation of mother and child has left a scar to remind my son of the sufferings his mother endured.

When meditating on the crucifix I am inclined to focus on the more obvious wounds of our Lord’s body. For instance, I only focus on the wounds in the hands and feet or the pierced side of the Savior. There is a wound, or a scar, rather, that has caught my attention recently but is often overlooked in meditations.

The navel or bellybutton of our Lord can speak volumes to us. Christ’s bellybutton first of all signifies His humanity. Many paintings of the Child Jesus a…

Fasting

Friday after Ash Wednesday

In a letter to his brothers in the Society of the Servants of the Poor Saint Jerome writes the following: "In his kindness, our Lord wished to strengthen your faith, for without it, as the evangelist points out, Christ could not have performed many of his miracles. He also wished to listen to your prayer, and so he ordained that you experience poverty, distress, abandonment, weariness and universal scorn....he desires to include you among his beloved sons...for this is the way he treats his friends and makes them holy. ...he is asking you to grow continually in your confidence in him alone and not in others."

God often deprives us of the things that we love in order to pull us closer to Himself. As a gentle Father, He is removing that which is separating us from Him. When faced with these losses, with these crosses, we are given two choices that Saint Jerome goes on to mention, "either you will forsake your faith and return to the ways of the …

Take Up Your Cross

Thursday after Ash Wednesday

In the First Reading, Moses challenges the people, and us, to "choose life". He says, "choose life, that you and your descendants may live." This seems pretty practical. If we choose life, we and our descendants will go on. If not, well...

However, I think we need to look deeper. In fact, I would encourage you to insert a word here in the scriptures, if only mentally - "choose eternal life." For most of us, choosing life is not much of a choice in the arena of our daily lives. Most of us do not rise in the morning with the thought of I'm going to choose to live this day racing through our brains. Yet choosing eternal life must be an everyday, and in fact every moment, choice. It is an effort to make those choices day after day and minute after minute. In some degree, every choice we make throughout our day is a choice for either eternal life or eternal death - therefore choose life!

So how then do we "choo…

How to never sin, well, almost never.

"In all you do, remember the end of your life, and then you will never sin." - Sirach 7:36

Lately I have been meditating a great deal on the end of my life. Since the death of my grandmother and the death of my wife's grandfather, I have taken many an opportunity to think about life, death, judgement, and what is really important.

As I think back with fondness on the lives of these dear people I have a persistent thought that they are gone from this world. In due time, even their happy memory living in my heart and the hearts of others will fade away. All that they had, all they accomplished, all that they meant to friends, enemies, neighbors, and family will be forgotten save for a stone with their name. Yet their names are written in the book of life and that, in the end, is all that matters.

This of course may sound depressing to some but to me it is a call to holiness. It is a realization that this world is not the end but rather a means to the end, a perfect end - G…