Praise the Lord

Pope Francis has spoken a number of times (including here and here) about our need to praise God:

“Those, who are closed in the formality of a prayer that is cold, stingy [It. misurata], might end up as Michal, in the sterility of her formality.” The Pope asked, then, [that we] imagine David dancing, “with all his might before the Lord,” and that, “we think how beautiful it is to make the prayer of praise.”

While it’s somewhat unfortunate that the Hillsong Church (recently featured in this brief CBS report on the New York City branch) refuses to accept the fullness of truth which subsists in the Catholic Church and the grace which flows to us through the sacraments, they certainly model for us the type of fully-engaged self-giving praise to which our Holy Father may be referring (which would NOT be appropriate for Sunday Mass, but would be ideal for a mid-week prayer meeting).  Check out the first 20 minutes of their praise at today’s service in Australia:

Death comes unexpectedly

“Death comes unexpectedly!!”  So proclaimed the preacher in the “Pollyanna” movie.

That’s what I thought of when I read about this recent tragedy:

The mob broke down the door and began beating the couple. “They broke their legs so they couldn’t run and then threw them in the fire (in a kiln at the brick factory),” Gill said. “Only some bones and hair were found at the site.”

This incident reminded me of something I once heard from a holy man.  Holy people often have a way of developing little maxims by which they live which help them to simplify their life and decisions.  Blessed Charles de Foucauld, beatified in November 2005, had one such maxim that enabled him to put things in their proper perspective and priority:

Think that you are going to die a martyr, stripped of everything, stretched out on the ground, naked, hardly recognizable, covered with blood and wounds, violently and painfully killed…and wish it to be today…Think of this death often, prepare yourself for it and judge things at their true value.  (from p. 24 in this book)

Book recommendations for Advent

advent wreathOnly a little more than two weeks until Advent, which is enough time to order some good reading material to help you prepare your heart to celebrate the coming of Jesus our Savior.  Here are a few suggestions:

This book was penned by the recently-deceased Fr Benedict Groeschel CFR.

This series has books that include excerpts from the writings of St Padre Pio, St John Paul II,  St BenedictBp Fulton Sheen, and St Francis of Assisi.

Here’s one with selections from a Doctor of the Church — the lovable St Thérèse of Lisieux.

This one, written by a priest of Opus Dei, is very, very good.

Stephen Binz helps you to do some lectio divina with this book, though only for the Sundays of Advent/Christmas (and Christmas Day).

Matthew Kelly, a best-selling Catholic speaker and author, released this one a couple years ago.

Scott Hahn’s latest, just released three weeks ago.

A timeless classic, which contains excellent meditations for each day of the Advent/Christmas seasons.

I met Regis Flaherty when he was with Catholics United for the Faith;  this recently-released book should be very worthwhile.

This year, I’m going to use this one by a 17th-century French Bishop, and this one by a professor at the Augustine Institute (who is married and has 7 children).

Please add other recommendations in the Comments Box.

Evaluating the recent Extraordinary Synod

synod_on_family

If you were left a tad confused by the variety of reports on the recent Extraordinary Synod on the family and related issues, this interview with Bp Athanasius Schneider, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Saint Mary in Astana, Kazakhstan, really sets the record straight….and I mean really!!  Praise God for this staunch and stalwart defender of the gospel of Jesus Christ!