“Do not let your hearts be troubled. (Jn 14:1)” Our Lord doesn’t leave a margin here. Worries are a red flag; something is wrong. We are never supposed to worry. He doesn’t say “do not let your hearts be troubled too much.” No. It is never his will that we be weighed down.
“Cast all your worries upon him, because he cares for you. (1 Pet 5:7)” Peace is God’s gift and a sign of his presence: “The Lord blesses his people with peace. (PS 29:11)” It’s the melody that resounds throughout Christ’s entire life: “Peace on earth! (Lk 2:14)” “Peace I leave you. My peace I give you. (Jn 14:27)” “I have told you this so that you might have peace in me. (Jn 16:33)” Where Christ is, there is peace. So if we are drowned in worries? But our lives are so filled with the often deafening din of worries that we can’t hardly grasp the concept of a life without them. Is such a life even possible? Continue reading
My response to restlessness is to fix things, or to do something that makes me feel like I’m fixing things. I remember being overwhelmed as the 23-year-old mother of a 6-week-old child and deciding that I HAD to rearrange the furniture in the living room at 3:00 in the morning. Dragging couches and chairs, and moving everything somewhere else gave me a satisfying sense of control in the whirlwind of motherhood that had taken over my life. It changed nothing, but it made me feel better.
This pattern has repeated itself over and over in almost every are of my life. Something is uncomfortable, so I ‘do something’ to fix it, or at least to feel like I’m in control. Resting in restlessness has never been an option I’ve embraced. Continue reading
When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees,
they gathered together, and one of them,
a scholar of the law tested him by asking,
“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?”
He said to him,
“You shall love the Lord, your God,
with all your heart,
with all your soul,
and with all your mind.
This is the greatest and the first commandment.
The second is like it:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.”
Matthew 22: 34-40
The Gospel from the 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time has been rambling around in my brain for the past couple days. It started Sunday when I read the Holy Father’s address at the Angelus in St. Peter’s Square on the “Great Commandment.” Continue reading
All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.
Today’s world has a lot that glitters, and not a lot of obvious love for true gold in terms of what it values and lives by. To form our own values and principles for action in a way that reflect the Gospel means talking a personal responsibility for shaping ourselves and our consciences through an integral formation. An integral formation is a reflection of the classical idea of a liberal education, something the Church has always valued. Not ‘liberal’ in the modern, political sense of the word- but in the true sense that this formation or education liberates you- makes you ‘free’ to act from your own well-formed and rooted principles, instead of from the effects of the events around you. You are free to see the ‘unglittering gold’ and have roots deeper than the current frost can reach, as Tolkien speaks of. Continue reading
“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. 26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” Mt 7:24-27
This year’s hurricanes make us look at the power of the storm and the grave impact it can have on our lives. It also reminds us of the reality of the storms in our culture, our world, and in our own hearts.
How do we build our lives on the rock instead of the shifting sands of the culture around us? How do we keep our compass straight in a world where “north” is declared “south” and even truths and teachings of the Church are skewed to fit peoples’ pet projects?
Msgr. Romano Guardini, the great twentieth century theologian, mentor to Pope Benedict XVI and prolific writer, prophetically summarized the danger of being lost in the modern world while he wrote about the importance of forming and living by a Catholic world view. If we don’t, he says, Continue reading
I have had the experience a few times. It happens during Mass and it makes me squirm. I might even sneak a look around to find out if people are looking at me. And I’m willing to bet I’m now the only one who has had this particular experience: The Catholic Creeps.
There I sit in Mass, well-behaved, quiet. The priest is giving a perfectly fine homily. Then he warns the congregation of a particular shortcoming or temptation that plagues people and I have the sense he is talking directly to me. Continue reading
Trust is greater than certainty. Let me explain. Trust is certain, yes, and I would say the greatest certainty, because it is based on God and not us. What I mean is intellectual certainty.
Certainty about what will happen in the future doesn’t exist. Not even the Blessed Mother had it. We can do our best to control all the factors, but there is still so much we can’t control: health, accidents, the free will of others, our own weakness.
This uncertainty makes us feel so insecure. If only we could take it away! But would that make us happy? I would argue no. Continue reading
We often hear of St Ignatius of Loyola, valiant founder of the Jesuits. Another Ignatius impacted the world with his faith many centuries before him, Ignatius of Antioch.
The persecution of the disciples in Jerusalem, Cyrene and Cyprus pushed the threatened evangelizers to go farther and farther abroad, extending the boundaries of the Kingdom. It was Peter himself who went to Antioch and led the church there. He found a man who would build a foundation of faith during uncertainty, clarity amidst confusion and fidelity surrounded by heresy. Several years later, St. Peter left Antioch for Rome. After being ordained by the first pope himself, and then mentored by St. Paul and St. John, Ignatius became bishop of Antioch, where the bible tells us, that the believers were called for the first time, Christians. Continue reading
They say that you don’t choose the saints you are close to, instead, they choose you. Sometimes we feel we are chosen by saints who answer our prayers for their intercession, or help us practically (in case you’re wondering, St. Anthony lives at MY house, and although he is very busy we are happy to let you borrow him occasionally….).
To me, this idea of being chosen is shown most deeply through a resonance, like the saint is holding a mirror up to your heart, soul and life, inspiring you to get closer to God by a route that is in some way similar to their own path. Continue reading
Devastating hurricanes hit the Caribbean and Southern United States. Terrifying earthquakes strike Mexico. For reasons unknown, a man rains terror on a concert crowd in Las Vegas, killing dozens and wounding hundreds.
What an awful summer, filled with despair and destruction.
We pray for those suffering. We send money and supplies. People who are able, volunteer their labor.
And we look for someone or something to blame. Continue reading