Saturday, April 4, 2015

Waking to New Life

(Repost from April 9, 2012)

Alleluia! Christ is Risen! He is risen indeed!

One of the (many) things I love about being Catholic is that Easter is not just one day.  It's a whole week, followed by another six weeks of joy of the risen Christ, culminating in another celebration, the "birthday" of the Church on Pentecost.  When celebrating the single greatest event in human history, the conquering of mankind's greatest, common foes--sin and death--by the God Man who came among us, celebrating for one day, or even a few days, simply will not do.  But that is not why I wanted to write today, so I'll save a few more thoughts on that for later.

What was the experience of rising from the dead like?  What was Christ's personal experience of having the surge of supernatural energy regenerate his lifeless body into a glorified, immortal state, and how unimaginable must the joy have been when he first greeted his mother, whose fiat had allowed him to take on human flesh.  One day we hope to know the answers to those and many other questions, but for now, let us be satisfied to live in the joy of their certainty by pondering, reflecting, and adoring.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Why We Call Friday "Good"

Yet it was our infirmities that he bore,
our sufferings that he endured,
while we thought of him as stricken,
as one smitten by God and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our offenses,
crushed for our sins;
upon him was the chastisement that makes us whole,
by his stripes we were healed.
We had all gone astray like sheep,
each following his own way;
but the LORD laid upon him
the guilt of us all.
(Is 53:4-6)

It is accomplished.
(Jn 16:30)

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Walking by Faith: The Courageous Example of St. Joseph

Not much is said about St. Joseph in the Gospel.  His biographical information is extremely limited: He was a carpenter, the devoted and most chaste husband of Mary, and lawful foster father of Jesus. And, unlike most of the other figures in the Gospels, Joseph is never quoted as having spoken a single word.  What is recorded about him is his actions, and they are actions that speak volumes about the faith that he lived, and the example he can be for us as we walk our journey of faith.

For we walk by faith, not by sight ~2 Corinthians 5:7
St Joseph is the perfect model for living these words of St. Paul.  He our example par excellence of one of the most important virtues that's needed as we lead our families through the perils of the sinful world in which we live: courage.  Joseph made two very difficult choices that many men would balk at, because he trusted in what the Lord was asking him to do as it was revealed to him in a dream, for the sake of his Holy Family:

1.  He took a woman as his spouse who, during their betrothal, had conceived a child that was not naturally his.

2. He led his family out of the land that was their home, to a far-away and foriegn land, with little more than the clothes on their back and sandles on their feet, to avoid the wrath of Herod.

Think about that.  If you were asked to make decisions like these, to take such decisive and counter-intuitive actions based on what had come to you in a dream, would you have the courage to do it?  I'd like to hope that I would have the courage to do so, but often times it is difficult enough just to get the family to sit down to prayer, or to decline a request to work extra hours when it would be to the detriment of my family.  St. Joseph did exhibit this courage, and in doing so provided us all a very simple and powerful example of how we should live our lives:

1. Trust God with everything.  And I mean everything, not just the big decisions or help needed in moments of desperation.  He is certainly needed there, but he also wants to enter into the small, sometimes seemingly insignificant moments and daily issues of our lives.  Call on his help and he will provided the help that is needed (which is not always the same as what we want).

2. Love and trust Mary.  Trust her implicity, for she is the spouse of the Holy Spirit and a powerful intercessor.  St. Joseph had to trust in her and in what was revealed to about her pregnancy through the angel, though by all external appearances the situation was scandalous enough that, by Jewish law, she could have been stoned.  But Joseph, no doubt knowing her purity of heart, made the decision to remain with her.  We should do the same.

3. Remain close to Jesus. St. Joseph did this because it was entrusted to him by God.  Now that Christ has been revealed to us in the flesh, by taking on and suffering in a human body and leaving us the gift of the most Holy Eucharist, we are also entrusted with making a home for him in our hearts and in our families.  Invite him in, consecrate yourselves and your families to him, and the blessings and peace that follow will be beyond compare, both in this life and in the next.

St. Joseph, Terror of Demons, pray for us!


Sunday, January 11, 2015


Do you know who Kathy Taylor is?  I didn't either until this Lifenews story profiling her courageous (and short) battle to give her unborn son, Luke, a chance at life, despite the aggressive melanoma that had spread throughout her body during her pregnancy.  She passed on New Year's Day, at the too-young age of 33, preceded by Luke, who was delivered prematurely and died at two weeks of age.  It is a tremendously sad story, and my heart breaks for her husband, Nathan, and their five older children.

Nathan has been blogging at Kathy's Miracle, both during her struggle with the terrible disease,and in the week or so since her passing.  You will have to read the blog to grasp the emotions.  Of course there is pain beyond what those of us who have not experienced the untimely loss of a spouse cannot imagine, though as he keenly points out in the January 6 post, "Perfected in Christ," all who truly share the depth of the bond of married love, as it was intended by, will one day feel.

But that is not all...

What pervades his writing is a sense of (1) hope beyond the pain, of rejoicing in the perfection of character that the pain brings about and hope in Resurrection and the future life to come, where the very real but temporary pain and struggle of this world will be a distant memory; and (2) of real courage, the kind of courage that, along with hope, pulls through the pain and fear.

Kathy's story--and Nathan's after their passing--beyond all else is one of courage.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

O Emmanuel - God With Us

On the 23rd of December, the Church prays together the last of the seven traditional O Antiphons composed in the Seventh and Eighth centuries as short, simple reflections on the Old Testament prophetic writings foretelling the coming of Christ.  They are traditionally prayed during final seven days of Advent. In more recent times, the O Antiphons have been sung in a different form in the hymn, Veni, Veni Emmanuel (O Come, O Come, Emmanuel)

The O Antiphons are perfect for a family or community to incorporate into night prayers during those final seven days, December 17-23, and hopefully can be a resource for you and your family in future Advents.

Here is the text of the O Emmanuel antiphon:

LATIN: O Emmanuel, Rex et legifer noster, exspectatio gentium, et Salvator earum: veni ad salvandum nos Domine Deus noster.

ENGLISH: O Emmanuel, God with us, our King and lawgiver, the expected of the nations and their Savior: come to save us, O Lord our God.

Although the calendar date is passed for this year, Christmas Eve still presents wonderful opportunity to pull away from the commercialized "magic" to reflect on the profoundness of the real meaning of Christmas, as the first phrase of O Emmanuel expresses, God with us.

On this eve, the power of the incarnation comes to its full fruition, as Mary bears God himself to the world.  Stop and take a few minutes today (and tomorrow too) to think about that...


Yep, the God of creation, of all things visible and invisible, is here.  Not in some symbolic, ethereal way, but real, 100% in the flesh, pouring all of his divinity into all of our humanity.  Since we were (and still are) powerless to fix our own broken, pitiful state, he has come as one of us (not like one of one of us) to fix it himself for eternity and to offer us our share in the work in time.

I'll leave it at that for now.  Just take a few minutes today, wherever and however you can find a quiet moment, to think about the significance of what happened in that stable in Bethlehem so many years ago.