27 May 2015

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the witness provided by Your saints.

God Wants People Who Admit Their Own Frailty

"Over the past few years, five-time Grammy nominee Matt Maher has been reflecting on his own future as well as the future of the Church he loves. Looking at the social issues prevalent in modern culture, he noted that 'politics has poisoned, in some ways, people's day-to-day life, especially on the Internet.' He wondered how to navigate these troubled waters, and finally found the answers in the saints.

"During an interview on Christopher Closeup, Maher explained, 'The saints…somehow found a way to stand for God, to stand for the Church, but also to love tremendously and love fiercely. In doing that, they elevated the conversation. That's what I feel needs to happen. We need a lot of young men and women to respond to the call of God - to not get bogged down in a lot of the arguments that are happening, [but instead] focus our eyes back on Jesus and be amazing examples that can help re-elevate the conversation.'

"Maher's latest album, Saints and Sinners, helps listeners do just that by providing music that connects with your spirit and lyrics that engage your mind and heart. He realizes that the saints have an image problem because the reality of their lives has often been whitewashed. When people believe that the saints never did anything wrong or never struggled with darkness, their expectations of religious leaders and others who call themselves 'Christian' become skewed.

"For instance, one of the album's songs, 'Firelight,' was inspired by Mother Teresa's struggle with darkness that was revealed from her personal letters in the book Come Be My Light. Maher was surprised that this was treated as a scandal by many news outlets. He said, 'Any human being who takes on vows of poverty, chastity and obedience - that's a tremendous witness and sacrifice. Then [she] decides to start her own order, another huge act of sacrifice. Then, this brave woman goes to the poorest place on the planet and literally helps people die with dignity. I don't know anybody who wouldn't struggle with finding the presence of God.'

"Instead of turning people away from the faith, Maher believes Mother Teresa's witness could draw them to the Church: 'I feel like we could do a whole ad campaign for vocations around [her struggles] and say, 'This is who God's looking for. God's looking for people who don't have all the answers. God's looking for people who are willing to admit their own frailty.''

"Maher also found wisdom in the life of St. Therese of Lisieux who, by worldly standards, didn't accomplish much in her short life. Yet on her deathbed, she spoke the words 'Everything is a grace,' signifying that even the most humble life is accomplishing something good in God's eyes.

"Maher wrote a song inspired by that idea. He concluded, 'The enemy has taken most of the Church and turned them from prophets into a bunch of complainers - myself included. We spend more time complaining about life than prophesying the love and grace of God over it. So Therese, to me, was such a profound example for young people who feel tempted to complain of an insignificant life because she found great significance. In fact, a lot of those valleys that we walk through can become profound places of transformation where we're actually brought closer to God and we reach a point of surrender, of saying, 'Everything is grace.' There is an opportunity in everything to receive grace for the journey - and to receive grace to love people no matter how difficult things may seem.'"

(This essay is this week's "Light One Candle" column, written by Tony Rossi, of The Christophers; it is one of a series of weekly columns that deal with a variety of topics and current events.)

Background information:

The Christophers

Reflection Starter from St. Gregory the Great

"He who would climb to a lofty height must go by steps, not leaps." - Pope Saint Gregory the Great

24 May 2015

Pentecost Sunday

Today the Church celebrates Pentecost Sunday. The assigned readings are Acts 2:1-11; 1 Corinthians 12:3, 12-13 (or Galatians 5:16-25); and John 20:19-23 (or John 15: 26-27; 16:12-15). The Responsorial Psalm is Psalm 104 (Psalm 104:1, 24, 29-31, 34).

For one version of the Responsorial Psalm set to music, please visit:

YouTube: Responsorial Psalm - Psalm 104 "Praise of God the Creator"

The Gospel reading is as follows:

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, "Peace be with you." When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.

Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you." And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained."

Reflections on these readings:

Oblates of St. Francis de Sales: Sundays Salesian: Pentecost (May 24, 2015)

Oblates of St. Francis de Sales: Salesian Sunday Reflection: Pentecost (May 24, 2015)

Msgr. Charles Pope: The Fire Next Time - A Homily for Pentecost (23 MAY 15)

Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio: The Charisms Of The Holy Spirit For Service

The Deacon's Bench: Homily for Pentecost: "Strike a match. Set the world ablaze." (23 MAY 15)

Word on Fire: Pentecost and the Gift of Language (Cycle B * Easter * Week Pentecost)

Dr. Scott Hahn: A New Wind (Pentecost)

CWR Blog: Pentecost: Detonation and Fulfillment, Humility and Unity (23 MAY 15)

Spirituality of the Readings: A Burning Question (Pentecost Sunday B)

The Word Embodied: Solidarity and Courage (Pentecost Sunday B)

Historical Cultural Context: Fear and Peace (Pentecost Sunday B)

Thoughts from the Early Church: Commentary by Aelred of Rievaulx (Pentecost Sunday B)

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on Your Church and for the many ways in which the Spirit works within the Church.

Msgr. Pope on the Deepest Root of Sin

"In polling friends as to what they think is the deepest root of all sin, I got three main answers. One was a shrug indicating no answer at all (i.e., 'I dunno”). Another was to refer to Scripture: For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils (1 Tim 6:10). I'll discuss below why this is an inadequate answer. The third main response was that original sin (and the concupiscence that followed) is the source of all of our other sins. The only problem with that answer is that it doesn't explain Adam and Eve's (original) sin, nor does it explain the fall of the angels, who seem to have fallen in great numbers without original sin or concupiscence and are now demons. Therefore an even deeper root must be sought.

"Referencing St. Thomas Aquinas and Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange, permit me to answer that the deepest root of all sin is inordinate self-love. From this root springs all sin, including the original sin of Adam and that of the angels. It is true that our fallen condition has intensified the problem of inordinate self-love, but the possible temptation to it was there before."

In a recent commentary, Monsignor Charles Pope (pastor of Holy Comforter-Saint Cyprian Parish, Washington, DC) reflected on inordinate love of self  and its role as the "most fundamental root of all sin."

To access Msgr. Pope's complete post, please visit:

Msgr. Charles Pope: What Is the Deepest Root of Sin? It's Not in Your Wallet and It's Much Closer Than You Might Think (20 MAY 15)

Reflection Starter from Pope Francis

"Let us invoke the Holy Spirit each day: He guides us along the path of discipleship in Christ." - Pope Francis

19 May 2015

National EMS Week 2015

This week, the week of 17-23 May, is being observed as the 41st annual National Emergency Medical Services Week. This year’s theme is “EMS STRONG.”

National Emergency Medical Services Week is designed as an opportunity to publicize safety and honor the dedication of those who provide the day-to-day lifesaving services of medicine’s “front line.”

For more information about National EMS Week, please visit:

American College of Emergency Physicians: EMS Week

Facebook: National EMS Week

National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians: Celebrate EMS Week

Presidential Proclamation – Emergency Medical Services Week, 2015