A deeper appreciation of “Abba, Father”

This recent post on Justin Taylor’s blog gave me much to ponder.  The reference to Hebrews 5:7 in the last paragraph will undoubtedly surface in my upcoming rosary meditations on the First Sorrowful Mystery.

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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!

Seeing our sins as Jesus sees them

In today’s Gospel Reading (Matthew 21:28-32), Jesus tries to make the religious leaders aware of the lack of change in their lives in response to the action of God which is occurring in their midst.  How should they be changing?  It was well-stated in this article by (Orthodox) Fr Stephen:

This brings me to the harder word of this article: we generally do not “know the will of God” because we are sinful, broken, full of pride, anger and the other passions. We do not know the will of God because we do not know God Himself. And that knowledge, in whatever measure, comes as the fruit of repentance (meekness, humility, self-emptying).

In his exposition of today’s Gospel, Fr Francis Martin magnificently describes such repentance, and the compunction and joy which should accompany it:

Like a 2×4 to the head

Every now and then I read an example of holiness so extreme, so radical that it stops me in my tracks.  This quote did just that.  At first, I gave it a “WOW!!!”  After pondering it a minute, I was tempted to believe that the man’s behavior was too sensational to be true.  But then I remembered the power of the Holy Spirit.  Quickly I changed direction and began to question myself about my own love for the Lord.  I came to the realization that my love for God could be so much stronger.  My daily thoughts, words and deeds easily reveal how little of the heart and character of Jesus I have acquired.  I don’t yet even love my neighbor as I love myself, yet alone love others as Jesus loves me.  I surely don’t hate sin and selfishness (especially my own!) with the same intensity that Jesus does.  So I come away from reading that quote realizing how intensely I need to step up my response to the saving love of my Lord.  My Baptism into the death and resurrection of Jesus requires that I strive to become a saint, to live a life of heroic virtue.  I won’t be able to do it without a generous outpouring of grace from our Lord, to which I will need to add my cooperation, my own hard work.  Praise the Lord for His mercy!!

Lam 2-19

“…for us Christ is everything.”

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!

Smartphone philosophy

In my part-time job at the freshmen men’s dorm of a local Catholic college, I see many students walking around with their eyes glued to their smartphone.  At our parish, I sometimes see people working their smartphone just prior to Mass.

This brief but brilliantly insightful article describes for us the appropriate attitude that we should have regarding technology in general, and smartphones in particular.

Joe HoudeThe author, Joe Houde, is a grandson of Louise & Martin Hudak, who are members of our parish.  They own and operate the Holy Family Spiritual Renewal Center in Sheatown/Newport Twp.

The magazine in which the article appeared is one of the best Catholic magazines available targeting youth and young adults.  I encourage you to take advantage of their offer, and request a free sample copy.