Mary Magdalene: Icon of Hope

magdalene

Giacomao Galli, The Penitent Mary Magdalene

I’ve had the privilege of living in Magdala, the ancient first-century hometown of Mary Magdalene, for three years, where we have received more than 200,000 visitors.  And with that comes a multitude of opinions about Mary Magdalene.  I have read every theory under the sun about this woman, and marvel that every year, the social media continue to discuss this enigmatic figure.  I ask myself:  if she could come and do this interview or call the shots on the movie scenes, what would she say?  What essential message would she leave her viewers?  And from that, what would be our take away?  I believe she would tell the story of dignity restored.  And from her own story, we could paint her as an icon of hope.

Our starting point is the scriptural record that she was possessed by seven demons.  Interpretations of this abound, from a real possession to a psychological illness.  Considering the human person as an entity of body and soul, can we assume that the influence of evil spirits becomes manifest in the corporeal and psychological realm?  Scriptures testify to a real battle taking place between the Kingdom of Satan and the Kingdom of God.  Jesus preaches repentance for the Kingdom of God is at hand.  How were these words received by Mary Magdalene?  What was the soil of her soul upon which these words fell? Continue reading

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Wasting time

timeMy youngest child is a living pause button in my life.

At 6, he is too little to know the pressures and programming of homework and club sports, and too much of a little boy to be stressed out by a schedule.  As he’s ushered through his day’s activities he somehow he maintains a space in his brain that is free, where he considers the best design for a Lego airplane, or which tree’s leaves would fall to the ground first in a race. Continue reading

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Don’t miss the mission!

Takeaways for becoming a Missionary Disciple

The best way to get a taste of the takeaways from the Convocation of Catholic Leaders is simply to take them and savour them oneself.  We are blessed to be part of a great mission.

Here are some quotes and videos from the speakers that resonated with the members of our own Regnum Christi Delegation and paint the picture of what God is asking of the Church and the Regnum Christi Movement as we go forward from this historic occasion.

 Charting the Landscape and the Mission Field

 “The Jesus here now in our midst calls us to discipleship, summons us to unity, imparts to us joy, and sends us on mission.” – Cardinal Timothy Dolan

“We are not living in an era of change, but in a change of era.”  – Cardinal Timothy Dolan

“Don’t leave the discussion of religious freedom to the constitutional argument.  Talk about the beauty of the outreach to the family that the Church will do with that freedom!”- Dr. Helen Alvare

“Hispanic youth don’t need the Church to give them a program, they need the Church to give them a HOME.” –Father Agustino Torres

Continue reading

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Jamaican Man Weeps with Christ

wayneI recently returned from Kingston, Jamaica where a small group of young adults and I went to serve alongside the Missionaries of the Poor (M.O.P.).  It was my second time traveling there to serve the poorest of the poor in Jamaica.  The first time was life-changing.  Could this second trip really compare?  In the midst of tragic poverty, Christ revealed to me a treasure that “neither moth nor rust destroys” and that “thieves do not break in or steal” (Mt 6:20).

“My name is Wayne. No, Wayne!” Spelling it out for me: W – A – Y – N – E, he sighed with relief that I had finally understood.” “Wayne? Ok, got it,” I replied, feeling I had accomplished something. He sat in a wheelchair and with very few teeth, smiled brightly at me.  Wayne had a slight mental disability, but that didn’t stop him from leading the rosary with his thick Jamaican accent for the other 80 residents living at Good Shepard, one of the many homes founded and run by the M.O.P. brothers in Kingston. Continue reading

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The Benedict Option and Regnum Christi?

benedictThe Benedict Option, by Rod Dreher, is generating a good deal of discussion among serious Catholics, including Regnum Christi members.  It is highly thought provoking and worth reading.

Reviews range from those finding much to agree with and others who think he has badly missed the mark.  I’m not going to analyze the specific factual accuracies (or inaccuracies), but mention what seems to me to be the general thrust of the book and how it relates to Regnum Christi.

In extremely simplistic terms, most reviewers have the impression that author Rod Dreher is saying we are in a post-Christian world, it will be rough and Christians had better head for the hills and huddle together in a cave. Continue reading

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Beauty Ever Ancient, Ever New: Not an Age of Changes, but a Change of Ages

Convocation of Catholic Leaders Day 2

new

Dr. Hosffman Ospino —
CNS photo/Bob Roller

St. Augustine’s praise of God himself can be sung of his bride, the Church as well.  The unchanging beauty, truth and goodness that she is is always becoming new through the incessant creative force of the Holy Spirit.  The bride of the Wounded Savior and host of the Sweet Guest of our souls is both strong and wounded, both unchanging and new.

The second day of the convocation began with Archbishop Wenski of Miami reminding us of the history of Catholicism in the United States, tracing the ways that missionary discipleship has shaped the country and the Church over the last 400 years. He told us that we are a part of this Catholic tradition of bringing the gospel to new American peripheries with joy and in innovative ways that respond to the needs of today. Continue reading

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Encountering Joy with the Church: USCCB Convocation of Catholic Leaders

convocationDay 1: The Shepherds with their Sheep

During the early morning drive down to the Atlanta airport on Saturday I reflected on my destination.  The USCCB had invited dioceses and Movements from around the country to come together to encounter each other and align around the Mission of Sharing the Joy of the Gospel and living as Missionary disciples. I was going to join 3500 others in this convocation that centered around Evangelii Gaudium, and I collected my hopes for the unprecedented event while making my way through the city.  Continue reading

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Free Religion yields Free Society

religionCongress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. – First Amendment

Our bishops are clear: If religious liberty is not respected, all people suffer and are deprived of the essential contribution to the common good, be it in education, health care, feeding the hungry, civil rights, and social services that the Church and other people of faith make every day, both here at home and overseas. (USCCB) Continue reading

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Learning the butterfly

butterflyI’ve been trying to learn how to swim the butterfly stroke for years now. I’m still pathetic. I churn that water so much that the chlorine almost becomes butter. And what’s the effect? I might as well be on a treadmill. I barely move. A lot of violence, no progress.

Sometimes the way we view asceticism is like how I swim the butterfly—or some butterfly-like stroke that resembles a drowning man flapping in a last attempt to catch a breath. Asceticism is a means to reach God. Its purpose is not to do violence to ourselves, though that in some aspect or another is always a result, but not a goal. Continue reading

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The Humility of a Foreigner

humilityIt is Thursday afternoon as you hurry to renew your registration at the Department of Motor Vehicles (D.M.V.). You chose to handle this task at lunch to avoid extending work into happy hour. Nevertheless, you are rushing in hopes that divine intervention will gift you a shorter line today. It is not, of course, as the machine gives you ticket number 27.

After 15 minutes, you realize one person has been at the counter for too long. As you lean in for a closer look, you realize he is not a U.S. native, but a foreigner. And given the government counter attendant’s desperate eyes and posture, the language barrier is proving difficult. Meanwhile, the customer continues pointing at the same document and laboring to repeat a couple key English phrases. Continue reading

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