Friday, May 24, 2019

Thoughts on friends

John 15:12-17

Friends, in today’s Gospel Jesus says to his disciples, “I do not call you servants any longer . . . but I have called you friends.”

Psychologists tell us that a true friend is someone who has seen us at our worst and still loves us. If you have encountered me only on my best days, when all is going well and I am in top form, and you like me, I have no guarantee that you are my friend. But when you have dealt with me when I am most obnoxious, most self-absorbed, most afraid and unpleasant, and you still love me, then I am sure that you are my friend.

The old Gospel song says, “What a friend we have in Jesus!” This is not pious sentimentalism; it is the heart of the matter. What the first Christians saw in the dying and rising of Jesus is that we killed God, and God returned in forgiving love. We murdered the Lord of Life, and he answered us not with hatred but with compassion. He saw us at our very worst, and loved us anyway.


Bishop Robert Barron

 

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Thoughts on Saint Gregory VII

Saint of the Day for May 23

(c. 1025 – May 25, 1085)


Saint Gregory VII’s Story

The 10th century and the first half of the 11th were dark days for the Church, partly because the papacy was the pawn of various Roman families. In 1049, things began to change when Pope Leo IX, a reformer, was elected. He brought a young monk named Hildebrand to Rome as his counselor and special representative on important missions. Hildebrand was to become Gregory VII.
Three evils plagued the Church then: simony–the buying and selling of sacred offices and things; the unlawful marriage of the clergy; and lay investiture—kings and nobles controlling the appointment of Church officials. To all of these Hildebrand directed his reformer’s attention, first as counselor to the popes and later as pope himself.
Gregory’s papal letters stress the role of the bishop of Rome as the vicar of Christ and the visible center of unity in the Church. He is well known for his long dispute with Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV over who should control the selection of bishops and abbots.
Gregory fiercely resisted any attack on the liberty of the Church. For this he suffered and finally died in exile. He said, “I have loved justice and hated iniquity; therefore, I die in exile.” Thirty years later the Church finally won its struggle against lay investiture. The Liturgical Feast of Saint Gregory VII is May 25.

Reflection

The Gregorian Reform, a milestone in the history of Christ’s Church, was named after this man who tried to extricate the papacy and the whole Church from undue control by civil rulers. Against an unhealthy Church nationalism in some areas, Gregory reasserted the unity of the whole Church based on Christ, and expressed in the bishop of Rome, the successor of Saint Peter.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Thoughts on discernment

But no matter what we do or don’t do, no matter if we get it “right” or “wrong,” no matter if we figure out what we’re “going to do with our lives” or take every moment in stride, God will be there at our side guiding our path. Our goal in discernment is not to answer all of the big questions once and for all, to check boxes off a list and cast them—and God— aside until we have another question; our goal is to journey with God, to be constantly listening for the call that he has for us, the call to be a disciple of his Son in today’s world. Our goal, above all else, is to live in the moment with God.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Thoughts on prayers

Forgive Your Enemies
Christians mention one another in their prayers (Romans 1:9; 2 Corinthians 1:11; Ephesians 6:8; Colossians 4:3), and in so doing they bring help and even salvation to those for whom they pray (Romans 15:30; Philippians 1:19). But the final test of compassionate prayer goes beyond prayers for fellow Christians, members of the community, friends, and relatives. Jesus says it most unambiguously, “I say this to you: love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44); and in the depth of his agony on the cross, he prays for those who are killing him, “Father, forgive them; they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). Here the full significance of the discipline of prayer becomes visible. Prayer allows us to lead into the center of our hearts not only those who love us but also those who hate us. This is possible only when we are willing to make our enemies part of ourselves and thus convert them first of all in our own hearts.
Henri Nouwen

Friday, May 17, 2019

Thoughts on life after death

A New Creation
 
If you believe, as I do, that there will be life after our death then the question has or will more than likely come up, "what will it be like or what is it like?" The four Gospels in their resurrection appearances of Jesus provide a most encouraging and heartening description of how Jesus is now and will be for all times.
 
But what will it be like for us? What will that "world" be like for those who will be enjoying it. St. Paul is cannot be more positive when he exclaims "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither has it entered into the heart of human kind, the things God has prepared for them that love him." As wonderful as these words are, I believe many of us still long for so much more.
 
I find some satisfaction in the brief selection from the book of the Apocalypse in this weekend's second Sunday reading: ...a new heaven, a knew earth... God dwelling with the people... Always being with them... Wiping every tear from their eyes.... Death or mourning, whaling or pain no more, for the old order has passed away
 
The one who sat on the throne said "behold, I make all things new.".
For me this is a wonderfully remade creation. Very simply, everything is all right. But most importantly a loving God is with us and together with all of the beloved people of my life.
 
Jim Blumeyer, S.J.