Archived Posts from this Category
Archived Posts from this Category
It has been said that “the single greatest cause of atheism in the world today are Christians who acknowledge Christ with their lips, then walk out the door and deny Him by their lifestyle.” While such a claim is not statistically verifiable, it might make us pause and reflect on our own lives.
The Letter of St. James tells us that faith without works is dead. A recent online post, with the title “Why the world doesn’t take Catholicism seriously?” gets to the heart of the matter. Click here to check it out.
It is often much, much easier to engage in gossip, rather than to try and change the subject or remove ourselves from the conversation. Of course, gossip injures all parties. The reputation of the “gossipee” is damaged, and the “gossiper” becomes consumed with a critical and often judgmental spirit.
In a recent homily, Pope Francis reflected on the evil of gossip. Pope Francis is not shy about naming how the evil one is real and actively at work against the spread of the Gospel.
Pope Francis further developed this reflection. “When we prefer to gossip, gossip about others, criticize others- these are everyday things that happen to everyone, including me – these are the temptations of the evil one who does not want the Spirit to come to us and bring about peace and meekness in the Christian community”. “These struggles always exist” in the parish, in the family, in the neighborhood, among friends”. Instead through the Spirit we are born into a new life, he makes us “meek, charitable.”
To read the more extended post from the Vatican News Agency, click here.
Spring is here. Baseball is back. Many young men grow up dreaming of becoming a professional baseball player. One was on the cusp of realizing his dream and breaking into the big leagues, when it became clear that God had other plans. Click here to read a refreshing article about how one young man gave up his dream in order to pursue a vocation to the priesthood and religious life.
The simple, but loving call of Christ – “Follow me” – is extended to every Christian. Every day, Christ calls us to follow Him, to draw closer to Him, to trust more fully in His plan.
On seven consecutive Tuesday evenings from April 9 – May 21, Fr. John Chrysostom will guide a lecture and discussion on the role of liturgy in our life of faith. The sessions will begin at 6:30 pm and end at roughly 7:30 pm. To register, please call the parish office at (212) 744-2080. All of the presentations will be held in the lower church of St. Vincent Ferrer. Flyer.
We hope you can join us!
Pope Francis offered these beautiful words in the homily he preached at the Easter Vigil:
“Accept the Risen Jesus into your life, then. Welcome him as a friend, with confidence. He is life! If up to now you have been distant from him, take a small step: He will welcome you with open arms. If you are indifferent, take the risk: You will not be disappointed. If following him seems difficult to you, don’t be afraid: entrust yourself to him and rest assured that He is close to you. He is with you and will give you the peace you are seeking and the strength to live as He wants you to.”
To read the entire homily, click here.
Just a few weeks ago Benedict XVI flew by helicopter to the papal summer residence, Castel Gandolfo. On Saturday, March 23 Pope Francis flew by helicopter to the same residence to meet the Pope Emeritus.
Follow this link to see some great pictures of the encounter between “Their Holinesses.” Also, be sure to scroll down and watch the video.
Much has been made about the humility of Pope Francis. Well, it was on display again. Pope Francis and Benedict XVI went into the chapel at Castel Gandolfo to pray. Pope Francis led the way, making his way to the chair in the front of the chapel. After he realized that Benedict XVI was heading to a pew behind him, Pope Francis went with him and knelt down beside his brother in prayer. It is actually a touching moment, but not without some humor (as you will see in the video).
I was sitting in my office, waiting for the name to be announced, and then it came: Jorge Mario Bergoglio. The first pope of the Americas had been elected. Although, the busy-ness of the past few days has made it impossible for me to post anything earlier this week, I am sure that many of us are in the same position – we have to get to know our new pope, His Holiness, Pope Francis. The USCCB website offers a helpful timeline of his life (click here).
And his name! Holy Father Francis! That form of address – Holy Father Francis – that is the way Franciscans, and even Dominicans, refer to St. Francis of Assisi, the great witness to evangelical poverty. All the same, it is the name the first Jesuit pope has chosen. In his first media session, Pope Francis himself explains why he chose the name Francis (click here). Continue Reading »
In reflecting on the beatitude, “Blessed are the merciful,” St. Gregory Nazianzen (329-389), Archbishop of Constantinople, made a very poetic connection between the mercy that various Scriptural figures offer directly to Christ and our works of mercy:
If you think that I have something to say, servants of Christ, his brethren and coheirs, let us visit Christ whenever we may; let us care for him, feed him, clothe him, welcome him, honor him, not only at a meal, as some have done, or by anointing him, as Mary did, or only by lending him a tomb, like Joseph of Arimathea, or by arranging for his burial, like Nicodemus, who loved Christ half-heartedly, or by giving him gold, frankincense, and myrrh, like the Magi before all these others. Continue Reading »
I have linked here to Monsignor Charles Pope’s latest blog entry in which he asks the question: ”Is your Spiritual Life like a Sailboat or a Motorboat?”
Monsignor Pope is a priest of the Archdiocese of Washington. His reflection comes on the heels of our readings from the Third Sunday of Lent in which we reflected on the need for God’s grace through the lens of Moses’ encounter with the burning bush.
Much of this can be captured by that great saying that comes to us from St. Thomas Aquinas and is a mainstay in the Church’s theological tradition: “grace builds on nature.” The bush Moses encounters is on fire, but the fire does not destroy the bush. Similarly, the fire of God’s grace does not destroy who we are, but builds us up and transforms us so that we may live up to our Christian calling.
A few posts ago I wrote about how all Catholics, once they have received their first Holy Communion, are required to receive the Eucharist at least once a year.
If that is the minimum, let’s go to the other extreme – the maximum. How many times a day may I receive Holy Communion? Continue Reading »
As we draw near to the end of Pope Benedict XVI’s papacy (2 pm Eastern time on February 28), I would recommend the following links from various pages within the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ website. The various items provide a fitting tribute and a means of reflecting on the life and papacy of Pope Benedict XVI.
Also, you can find a short summary of how a new pope is elected here.
*The photo chosen for this post is from Pope Benedict XVI’s final Mass at the “pope’s altar” in St. Peter’s Basilica – Ash Wednesday, February 20, 2013.
In his letter to the Philippians, St. Paul reminds us that our citizenship is in Heaven. This heavenly citizenship, which we acquire through our spiritual re-birth in the waters of Baptism, does not mean that we are no longer citizens of our city, our state, and our country. While St. Paul reminds us that we have a heavenly citizenship, he does not deny the fact that we have an earthly citizenship as well.
In reality, then, we have a dual citizenship. Our Lord Himself explained as much: “repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.” In this case we have no need of passports. Continue Reading »
It might be helpful to think of Lent as our annual retreat; a time for assessing our relationship with Christ; a time for drawing back from our regular routine. To do so, Lent brings to the forefront those ancient disciplines of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. Although all three of these observances are intertwined, for the purposes of this reflection, I would like to focus on the connection between prayer and almsgiving with the help of St. John Chrysostom:
“Prayer and converse with God is a supreme good: it is a partnership and union with God. As the eyes of the body are enlightened when they see the light, so our spirit, when it is intent on God, is illumined by his infinite light. I do not mean the prayer of outward observance but prayer from the heart, not confined to fixed times or periods but continuous throughout the day and night.” Continue Reading »
On Monday, February 11, the memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes, Pope Benedict XVI announced that he was renouncing the ministry of the Bishop of Rome. When this resignation goes into effect on February 28, 2013 at 8 pm Roman time, Pope Benedict XVI will no longer serve the Catholic Church as the Successor of St. Peter. Since the traditional nine-day period of mourning does not need to be observed, it looks like a new pope Continue Reading »
As we begin our journey through Lent, the Sacrament of Reconciliation comes to the forefront. It is preached about more frequently and parishes offer extended hours so that more persons can take advantage of this great sacrament of mercy.
“The Sacrament of Penance is one of the Church’s precious treasures, since authentic world renewal is accomplished only through forgiveness. Nothing can improve the world if evil is not overcome. Evil can be overcome only by forgiveness. Certainly, it must be an effective forgiveness; but only the Lord can give us this forgiveness, a forgiveness that drives away evil not only with words but truly destroys it.” — Pope Benedict XVI Continue Reading »
At times, non-Catholics and even Catholics will criticize the Church for spending too much time thinking about and clarifying her dogmas, doctrines, and teachings. That somehow the study of sacred truths detracts from the time and effort that should be spent performing works of charity, such as assisting the poor. Such a perspective, however, misses the fundamental connection between faith and faith-in-action, between who we are as baptized Catholics and what we do.
In fact, the Church’s teachings provide us with deeper insights into the mysteries of God, of who Christ is, what it means to be a disciple of Christ. After all, we cannot imitate what we do not know. In this regard, Donald Cardinal Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, had an op-ed piece in The Washington Post last Friday, January 25. I recommend checking out Cardinal Wuerl’s reflection on the topic.
Imagine being at Cana. The wedding reception runs out of wine, and then Blessed Mary springs into action. She tells the servers to do whatever Jesus says. What follows is Jesus’ first miracle in the Gospel of John, the miracle of turning water into wine. In fact, this miracle will result in quite a bit of wine – 6 stone jars, each holding about 30 gallons.
If you and I were at Cana where the water was turned into wine, I think it is safe to say that you and I don’t really participate in the miracle – other than maybe imbibing at bit. However, at the Last Supper and at Mass the change that takes place in the chalice, the Continue Reading »
Pope Benedict XVI recently released the third volume of his series, “Jesus of Nazareth.” In this final offering, Pope Benedict XVI considers the infancy narratives as they are conveyed to us by the evangelists Matthew and Luke. While the book’s timely release during the Season of Advent makes for suitable reading in the days leading up to the celebration of Christmas, I would like to draw your attention to, of all things, the foreword of this text. In a few short paragraphs the Holy Father gets to the heart of biblical interpretation (exegesis), and thus, the approach we should take when reading or listening to the divinely-inspired sacred texts. In the pope’s own words:
Please be advised:
The Holy Hour regularly scheduled for Thursdays at 11 am will be canceled until further notice. The beginning of the East Window Renovation Project necessitates this schedule change. Thank you for understanding.
Our Archbishop, Timothy Cardinal Dolan, recently addressed all of the bishops of the United States in his capacity as president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Of all the things he could have spoken about, he chose the themes of conversion, repentance, and reconciliation. He told the bishops how important it is that they themselves go to confession regularly. What a great message from our local shepherd!
To get a taste of what he said, consider this, keeping in mind that we are all called to engage in the act of evangelization: “the Sacrament of Reconciliation evangelizes the evangelizers, as it brings us sacramentally into contact with Jesus, who calls us to conversion of heart, and allows us to answer his invitation to repentance — a repentance from within that can then transform the world without.”
Cardinal Dolan’s presidential address, although addressed to bishops, is a fantastic read and has some wonderful food for thought for all of us. Click here to read the entire address at the bishops’ conference website.
The always thoughtful and accessible Fr. Barron on the Vatican’s assessment of the state of the US’s Leadership Conference of Women Religious.
Reflections from the pastor and selected parishioners on the seven last words of Our Savior.
From “Apocalypse When…?” Lee Siegel (Daily Beast, 28 August 2011)
Is it 9/11 that has made us feel so perennially vulnerable? Not likely, since the end-of-millennium Y2K scare was just as hysterical as the response to Irene. Is it the desperate media, the desperate politicians, the rising punitiveness toward our elected representatives if they appear to falter even slightly in their obligations to us (e.g., Bloomberg’s inept response to last December’s blizzard and his public excoriation)? Are we simply bored, in the manner of late, decadent civilizations, absolutely jaded by ever more sophisticated, graphic, instantly gratifying, adrenaline-pumping forms of entertainment and distraction? Do we need the ever-escalating high of impending disaster to keep us awake?
All those reasons probably have something to do with the instant hysteria with which we respond to the slightest hint of calamity. But perhaps the most plausible reason for our wild response is that weather is authentic, while our public life is more and more fabricated. We long for the clarifying crisis because the response to it is clear and direct. We will know, as a nation, what to do in response to a disaster. In every other area of politics and social issues, we have no idea, as a nation, what to do.
We even have a tendency to portray politicians whom we hope will be redemptive in meteorological terms. Remember when Obama was presented as an elemental form of hope, like a jubilant earthquake that would topple and smash our rotten politics? Now, however, he approaches public life the way he approaches hurricanes and swine flu: cautious, fearful, and appeasing, with a kind of repressed hysteria. If Bush was too quick to pull the trigger, Obama is reluctant ever to pull the gun out of its holster.
If Irene teaches us anything—how we love our “lessons”—it’s that we need politicians who have the character to wait calmly and courageously until, as it were, the storm’s shape is clear, and then calmly and courageously spring into action. Neither trigger-happy nor hesitant, but steely, self-possessed, and clear-eyed. Alas, my son’s instructions notwithstanding, I won’t hold my breath.
From Pope Benedict XVI, “The Seer of Patmos” (Wednesday Audience of 23 August 2006)
… Today we are again concerned with the figure of John, this time to consider the seer of Revelation…. From the title of his book, “Apocalypse” [Revelation], were introduced in our language the words “apocalypse, apocalyptic,” which evoke, though inappropriately, the idea of an impending catastrophe….
Perhaps [the] weeping of John [Rev. 5.4] before the very dark mystery of history expresses the disconcertment of the Asian Churches because of God’s silence in the face of the persecutions to which they were exposed at that time. It is a disconcertment which might well reflect our surprise in the face of the grave difficulties, misunderstandings and hostilities that the Church also suffers today in several parts of the world.
They are sufferings which the Church certainly does not deserve, as Jesus did not deserve punishment either. However, they reveal both man’s maliciousness, when he allows himself to be led by the snares of evil, as well as the higher governance of events by God. So, only the immolated Lamb is capable of opening the sealed book and of revealing its content, to give meaning to this history which, apparently, often seems so absurd.
He alone can draw pointers and teachings for the life of Christians, to whom his victory over death brings the announcement and guarantee of the victory that they also, without a doubt, will attain. All the language John uses, charged with strong images, tends to offer this consolation.
At the center of the vision that Revelation presents is the extremely significant image of the Woman, who gives birth to a male Child, and the complementary vision of the Dragon, which has fallen from the heavens, but is still very powerful. This Woman represents Mary, the Mother of the Redeemer, but she represents at the same time the whole Church, the People of God of all times, the Church that at all times, with great pain, again gives birth to Christ. And she is always threatened by the power of the Dragon. She seems defenseless, weak.
But, while she is threatened, pursued by the Dragon, she is also protected by God’s consolation. And this Woman, at the end, is victorious. The Dragon does not conquer. This is the great prophecy of this book, which gives us confidence! The Woman who suffers in history, the Church which is persecuted, at the end is presented as the splendid Bride, image of the new Jerusalem, in which there is no more tears or weeping, image of the world transformed, of the new world whose light is God himself, whose lamp is the Lamb.
For this reason, John’s Revelation, though full of constant references to sufferings, tribulations and weeping — the dark face of history — at the same time presents frequent songs of praise, which represent, so to speak, the luminous face of history.
For example, it speaks of an immense crowd that sings almost shouting: “Alleluia! The Lord has established his reign, (our) God, the almighty. Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory. For the wedding day of the Lamb has come, his bride has made herself ready” (Revelation 19:6-7). We are before the typical Christian paradox, according to which, suffering is never perceived as the last word; rather it is seen as a passing moment to happiness and, what is more, the latter is already mysteriously permeated with the joy that springs from hope.
Therefore, John, the seer of Patmos, can end his book with a final aspiration, in which an ardent hope palpitates. He invokes the Lord’s final coming: “Come, Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 22:20). It is one of the central prayers of nascent Christianity, translated also by St. Paul in Aramaic: “Marana tha.” And this prayer, “Come, Lord Jesus!” (1 Corinthians 16:22) has several dimensions.
Above all it implies, of course, the awaiting of the Lord’s definitive victory, of the new Jerusalem, of the Lord who comes and transforms the world. But, at the same time, it is also a Eucharistic prayer: “Come, Jesus, now!” And Jesus comes, he anticipates his definitive coming. In this way, with joy, let us say at the same time: “Come now and come definitively!” This prayer also has a third meaning: “You have already come, Lord! We are certain of your presence among us. For us it is a joyful experience. But, come definitively!” Thus, with St. Paul, with the seer of Patmos, with nascent Christianity, we also pray: “Come, Jesus! Come and transform the world! Come now, today, and may peace conquer!” Amen.
From Friday Evening’s Liturgy of the Hours (Week I), Psalm 46
God is for us a refuge and strength,
a helper close at hand, in time of distress:
so we shall not fear though the earth should rock,
though the mountains fall into the depths of the sea,
even though its waters rage and foam,
even though the mountains be shaken by its waves.
The Lord of hosts is with us:
the God of Jacob is our stronghold.
The waters of a river give joy to God’s city,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within, it cannot be shaken;
God will help it at the dawning of the day.
Nations are in tumult, kingdoms are shaken:
he lifts his voice, the earth shrinks away.
The Lord of hosts is with us:
the God of Jacob is our stronghold.
Come, consider the works of the Lord,
the redoubtable deeds he has done on the earth.
He puts an end to wars over all the earth;
the bow he breaks, the spear he snaps.
He burns the shields with fire.
“Be still and know that I am God,
supreme among the nations, supreme on the earth!”
The Lord of hosts is with us:
The God of Jacob is our stronghold.
“The Argentinean daily La Nacion featured a story this week on the Dutch soccer player Wesley Sneijder, who scored the winning goal against Brazil in the World Cup quarter finals last week. The article revealed his conversion and baptism, which took place shortly before he traveled to South Africa for the tournament.”
[For the rest of this article, visit Catholic News Agency.]