Several years ago, Msgr Charles Pope made the effort to compile a list of the post-Resurrection appearances of Jesus in chronological order. I find it very helpful as I read through the Gospel accounts which include these appearances.
This is a photo of a crucifix which adorns one of the small altars in the Crypt of the Chapel at Mount Saviour, a Benedictine monastery near Elmira, New York. If I was a priest, this is the type of crucifix which would precede me down the aisle and reside at the altar for Mass. It’s a graphic reminder to me of the monumental, pain-riddled self-giving sacrifice freely offered by Jesus so that I might have the opportunity to escape eternal death and the separation from God forever which is warranted by my selfish sinfulness (read what the Church teaches in CCC nn. 606-618). How can I not strive as diligently as possible to make an appropriate response?!
Here are the meditations for the Stations of the Cross to be led by Pope Francis this evening in the Roman Colosseum.
Thank you, Jesus! Thank you, Source of my hope!!
As the number of active priests in our diocese continues to decrease, I was convicted as I read these words of soon-to-be-Saint John Paul II from his last Holy Thursday homily (2004):
Only a Church in love with the Eucharist brings forth, in turn, many holy priestly vocations. And she does so through prayer and the witness of holiness, offered especially for the new generations.
Is my love for Jesus in the Eucharist growing deeper?
Am I striving to be a more effective “witness of holiness”?
Do I pray with appropriate urgency for new vocations to the priesthood?
Lord, send us many holy priests!!
The Jesuit training of Pope Francis was very evident in his Palm Sunday homily. The type of reflection on the Gospels proposed by our Holy Father is exactly that which St Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuit order, taught to his followers, and recorded in his Spiritual Exercises. Both St Ignatius and Pope Francis realize how the Holy Spirit can work powerfully in this type of scriptural reflection to lead us to know, desire and follow Jesus in a more heartfelt way.
…if the person who is making the Contemplation, takes the true groundwork of the narrative, and, discussing and considering for himself, finds something which makes the events a little clearer or brings them a little more home to him—whether this comes through his own reasoning, or because his intellect is enlightened by the Divine power—he will get more spiritual relish and fruit, than if he who is giving the Exercises had much explained and amplified the meaning of the events. For it is not knowing much, but realizing and relishing things interiorly, that contents and satisfies the soul. (Second Annotation)
If you’re unfamiliar with the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius, this talk presents a nice overview in the first 45-minutes.
Why should I desire Jesus more and more? How am I a participant in the building of His Church? I certainly found some answers in this talk given by Cardinal Piacenza a few weeks ago, posted by Dom Mark yesterday. I was really WOW’ed by it. So simple, yet so profound. Here are a few lines that stopped me in my tracks for reflection:
…the meaning of the world is a Person, a Person who is the presence of the Eternal in the world. Hence, he is also the meaning of my life.
To live solely from Christ is to live everything else because of Christ—this is what it means to be Christians.
The martyrs were willing to part company with their limbs rather than parting company with Christ.
Christ, who down here on earth no longer has a visible face, nor hands, nor feet, takes me and makes use of me and through my hands succors the poor, with my feet goes out to meet my brothers and, through my heart, loves.
In the measure in which each one of us opens himself up in this way to the action of Christ, we give him the possibility of living in certain existential ways that he was unable to live in his individual human nature, on account of the earthly conditions to which he was subject, through the reality of the Incarnation.
Each one of us is an original brushstroke in the great portrait painted by God throughout sacred history….. I am called to reveal, in some sense, a new feature of the face of Christ. Each one of us is a brushstroke in the fresco, a tile in the mosaic of the perfect Man.
Prior to this, I had never heard of Cdl Piacenza. Now I want to hear any talk or homily he gives, and read anything he’s ever written!