Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Thoughts on the poor

Like every human organization the Church is constantly in danger of corruption. As soon as power and wealth come to the Church, manipulation, exploitation, misuse of influence, and outright corruption are not far away.

How do we prevent corruption in the Church? The answer is clear: by focusing on the poor. The poor make the Church faithful to its vocation. When the Church is no longer a church for the poor, it loses its spiritual identity. It gets caught up in disagreements, jealousy, power games, and pettiness. Paul says, "God has composed the body so that greater dignity is given to the parts which were without it, and so that there may not be disagreements inside the body but each part may be equally concerned for all the others" (1 Corinthians 12:24-25). This is the true vision. The poor are given to the Church so that the Church as the body of Christ can be and remain a place of mutual concern, love, and peace.
Henri Nouwen 

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Thoughts on wisdom

In the Middle Ages, prudence was called “the queen of the virtues,” because it was the virtue that enabled one to do the right thing in a particular situation.

Prudence is a feel for the moral situation, something like the feel that a quarterback has for the playing field. Justice is a wonderful virtue, but without prudence, it is blind and finally useless. One can be as just as possible, but without a feel for the present situation, his justice will do him no good.

Wisdom, unlike prudence, is a sense of the big picture. It is the view from the hilltop. Most of us look at our lives from the standpoint of our own self-interest. But wisdom is the capacity to survey reality from the vantage point of God. Without wisdom, even the most prudent judgment will be erroneous, short-sighted, inadequate.

The combination, therefore, of prudence and wisdom is especially powerful. Someone who is both wise and prudent will have both a sense of the bigger picture and a feel for the particular situation. 

Bishop Robert Barron

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Even more thoughts on the Church

Often we hear the remark that we have to live in the world without being of the world. But it may be more difficult to be in the Church without being of the Church. Being of the Church means being so preoccupied by and involved in the many ecclesial affairs and clerical "ins and outs" that we are no longer focused on Jesus. The Church then blinds us from what we came to see and deafens us to what we came to hear. Still, it is in the Church that Christ dwells, invites us to his table, and speaks to us words of eternal love.

Being in the Church without being of it is a great spiritual challenge.
Henri Nouwen

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Even more thoughts on the Eucharist

 Watch this video from The Word on Fire Institute:

Grounded on the Eucharist
The Word on Fire Movement is centered upon one pivot point: the eternal person of Jesus Christ.

But how can we ensure we stay faithful to this first principle in our daily lives?
e Word on Fire Movement is centered upon one pivot point: the eternal person of Jesus Christ.

But how can we ensure we stay faithful to this first principle in our daily lives?

Thursday, October 18, 2018

More thoughts on the Church

The Church is an object of faith. In the Apostles' Creed we pray: "I believe in God, the Father ... in Jesus Christ, his only Son - in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting." We must believe in the Church! The Apostles' Creed does not say that the Church is an organization that helps us to believe in God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. No, we are called to believe in the Church with the same faith we believe in God.
Often it seems harder to believe in the Church than to believe in God. But whenever we separate our belief in God from our belief in the Church, we become unbelievers. God has given us the Church as the place where God becomes God-with-us.
Henri Nouwen

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Thoughts on the Church

The Church is holy and sinful, spotless and tainted. The Church is the bride of Christ, who washed her in cleansing water and took her to himself "with no speck or wrinkle or anything like that, but holy and faultless" (Ephesians 5:26-27). The Church too is a group of sinful, confused, anguished people constantly tempted by the powers of lust and greed and always entangled in rivalry and competition.
When we say that the Church is a body, we refer not only to the holy and faultless body made Christ-like through baptism and Eucharist but also to the broken bodies of all the people who are its members. Only when we keep both these ways of thinking and speaking together can we live in the Church as true followers of Jesus.
Henri Nouwen 

Friday, October 12, 2018

Thoughts on Spritual Exercises

Jesuit Poet Gerard Manley Hopkins summed up the Spiritual Exercises in one of his simplest verses: "Thee, God, I come from, to thee go." 

Like that man asking Jesus in Sunday's gospel, "What must we do to inherit eternal life?" this simple verse from Hopkins resonates with our own experiences of the Spiritual Exercises from the First Principle and Foundation to the Contemplation on the Love of God. To inherit eternal life we are called to acknowledge our roots and destiny in God, relativizing everything else. Will we too go away sad, like that man burdened by possessions, possessions we can't take with us? Or will we get our priorities straight?This takes exercise, spiritual exercises such as what we experience at White House, exercises in preferring Wisdom, choosing Wisdom and letting all good things come together in her company, finding God in all things. In the Spiritual Exercises we encounter the living word of God, providing the basis for discerning our own answer to the gospel's opening question. Through the Exercises, preferring Wisdom, choosing Wisdom, all good things can come together in our company, leading us not to go away sad like that rich young man, but entering the mission field to do the works of consolation, finding God in all things. 

Thee, God, we come from, to thee Go. Give us the wisdom to choose wisely however you call us to inherit eternal life. 
Fr. Ted Arroyo,S.J.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Thoughts on a sanctuary

On sanctuary
By Terry Hershey

Everyone has a sanctuary, if only in the mind. Even if we can't say what it is, we know of its power. It is a place where we feel grounded, unhurried, and renewed. We go there whenever we can, which never seems often enough. Or that's what we tell ourselves.

A sanctuary is a place that restores us, replenishes us, nourishes us. In this renewal, we are reminded, once again, of what really is important.

From Terry Hershey, Sanctuary: Creating a Space for Grace in Your Life (Loyola Press, 2015)

Sunday, October 7, 2018

More thoughts on the Rosary

The development of the rosary has a long history. First a practice developed of praying 150 Our Fathers in imitation of the 150 Psalms. Then there was a parallel practice of praying 150 Hail Marys. Soon a mystery of Jesus’ life was attached to each Hail Mary. Though Mary’s giving of the rosary to Saint Dominic is recognized as a legend, the development of this prayer form owes much to the followers of Saint Dominic. One of them, Alan de la Roche, was known as “the apostle of the rosary.” He founded the first Confraternity of the Rosary in the 15th century. In the 16th century, the rosary was developed to its present form—with the 15 mysteries: joyful, sorrowful and glorious. In 2002, Pope John Paul II added five Mysteries of Light to this devotion.

The purpose of the rosary is to help us meditate on the great mysteries of our salvation. Pius XII called it a compendium of the gospel. The main focus is on Jesus—his birth, life, death, and resurrection. The Our Fathers remind us that Jesus’ Father is the initiator of salvation. The Hail Marys remind us to join with Mary in contemplating these mysteries. They also make us aware that Mary was and is intimately joined with her Son in all the mysteries of his earthly and heavenly existence. The Glory Bes remind us that the purpose of all life is the glory of the Trinity.
The rosary appeals to many. It is simple. The constant repetition of words helps create an atmosphere in which to contemplate the mysteries of God. We sense that Jesus and Mary are with us in the joys and sorrows of life. We grow in hope that God will bring us to share in the glory of Jesus and Mary forever.

Franciscan Media

 Who We Are

Thursday, October 4, 2018

More thoughts on the Eucharist

Jesus is the Word of God, who came down from heaven, was born of the Virgin Mary through the power of the Holy Spirit, and became a human person. This happened in a specific place at a specific time. But each day when we celebrate the Eucharist, Jesus comes down from heaven, takes bread and wine, and by the power of the Holy Spirit becomes our food and drink. Indeed, through the Eucharist, God's incarnation continues to happen at any time and at any place.
Sometimes we might think: "I wish I had been there with Jesus and his apostles long ago!" But Jesus is closer to us now than he was to his own friends. Today he is our daily bread!
Henri Nouwen

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Thoughts on detachment

Luke 9:57-62

Friends, our Gospel for today is an especially good exemplification of the principle of detachment. When Jesus is the unambiguous center of your life, then everything else finds its place around him, in relation to him. And anything that would assert itself and take his position must be resisted wholeheartedly as an idol and a temptation.

We watch as Jesus clarifies for his disciples how a number of worldly goods fall away, once he is recognized as Lord. I want to look closely at one of these. As Jesus makes his way to Jerusalem, a man approaches him and says, "I will follow you wherever you go." And Jesus makes the laconic remark, "Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head." One of the things, quite naturally, that we savor is home, a place to stay, a nest, a man cave. There is just something uniquely awful about being displaced, about starting all over. We all want a place to lay our heads.

But if Jesus is first in our lives, then we cannot absolutize this good thing. We have to be willing to follow him wherever he wants us to go. 

Bishop Robert Barron

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Thoughts on guardian angels

The Story of the Feast of the Guardian Angels

Perhaps no aspect of Catholic piety is as comforting to parents as the belief that an angel protects their little ones from dangers real and imagined. Yet guardian angels are not only for children. Their role is to represent individuals before God, to watch over them always, to aid their prayer, and to present their souls to God at death.
The concept of an angel assigned to guide and nurture each human being is a development of Catholic doctrine and piety based on Scripture but not directly drawn from it. Jesus’ words in Matthew 18:10 best support the belief: “See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father.”
Devotion to the angels began to develop with the birth of the monastic tradition. Saint Benedict gave it impetus and Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, the great 12th-century reformer, was such an eloquent spokesman for the guardian angels that angelic devotion assumed its current form in his day.
A feast in honor of the guardian angels was first observed in the 16th century. In 1615, Pope Paul V added it to the Roman calendar.

Franciscan Media

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