31 January 2013

Taipei Chamber Singers: “Every Time I Feel the Spirit”

As we continue to live this week, I offer this version of “Every Time I Feel the Spirit,” as sung by the Taipei Chamber Singers:

Dives in Misericordia: “The Mercy of God in the Mission of the Church” (15, continued)

Chapter 8 of “Dives in Misericordia” (“Rich in Mercy”) is entitled “The Prayer of the Church in Our Times.” It continues as follows:

“15. . . . Everything that I have said in the present document on mercy should therefore be continually transformed into an ardent prayer: into a cry that implores mercy according to the needs of man in the modern world. May this cry be full of that truth about mercy which has found such rich expression in Sacred Scripture and in Tradition, as also in the authentic life of faith of countless generations of the People of God. With this cry let us, like the sacred writers, call upon the God who cannot despise anything that He has made,136 the God who is faithful to Himself, to His fatherhood and His love. And, like the prophets, let us appeal to that love which has maternal characteristics and which, like a mother, follows each of her children, each lost sheep, even if they should number millions, even if in the world evil should prevail over goodness, even if contemporary humanity should deserve a new ‘flood’ on account of its sins, as once the generation of Noah did. Let us have recourse to that fatherly love revealed to us by Christ in His messianic mission, a love which reached its culmination in His cross, in His death and resurrection. Let us have recourse to God through Christ, mindful of the words of Mary’s Magnificat, which proclaim mercy ‘from generation to generation.’ Let us implore God’s mercy for the present generation. May the Church which, following the example of Mary, also seeks to be the spiritual mother of mankind, express in this prayer her maternal solicitude and at the same time her confident love, that love from which is born the most burning need for prayer.”

136. Cf. Wisdom 11:24; Psalm 145(144):9; Genesis 1:31.

 

To access the complete document, please visit:

Pope John Paul II: “Dives in Misericordia”

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for opportunities You present to us to learn about this history of our community, our nation, the world.

“on Church Problems”

“It’s so very kind of you to come around with a bag of oranges my dear! Good heavens, what will you think with me still in my housecoat and slippers at this time of the morning? I suppose Jeanette told you I was under the weather, and there’s nothing like fresh oranges to make a nice hot toddy. I always add a spoonful of honey. It makes the whiskey taste better.

“Will you come it? I don’t think it’s the flu. You needn’t worry about that–just a bit of a sniffle really. Yes, that would be nice. You put the kettle on while I get these cookies out. I think I’ll make myself a hot toddy right now! You won’t? That’s fine. Make some tea dear, and do you know I heard some of the men at the church supper the other evening grumbling about how things are run. My goodness, they didn’t stop. I felt so sorry for poor Father Gibbons who, Lord knows, does his best. When they were finished with him they went on to the bishop and the dean. My how they grumbled! It made my head spin!”

In a recent commentary, Father Dwight Longenecker (parish priest at Our Lady of the Rosary Parish, Greenville, SC), in the persona of Mrs Brady, Catholic Old Lady, reflected on the importance of changing ourselves as we look at the problems facing the Church and the world.

To access Fr. Longenecker’s complete post, please visit:

Standing on My Head: Mrs Brady on Church Problems (29 JAN 13)

Background information:

Dwight Longenecker - Catholic priest and author

Reflection Starter from Charles F. Kettering

“Keep on going, and the chances are that you will stumble on something, perhaps when you are least expecting it.  I never heard of anyone ever stumbling on something sitting down.” – Charles F. Kettering

30 January 2013

Vivaldi: “Four Seasons”

It’s time for some classical music. This is a presentation of (Father) Antonio Lucio Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons”, as played by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra:

Dives in Misericordia: “The Prayer of the Church in Our Times” (15)

Chapter 8 of “Dives in Misericordia” (“Rich in Mercy”) is entitled “The Prayer of the Church in Our Times.” It begins as follows:

“15. The Church proclaims the truth of God’s mercy revealed in the crucified and risen Christ, and she professes it in various ways. Furthermore, she seeks to practice mercy towards people through people, and she sees in this an indispensable condition for solicitude for a better and ‘more human’ world, today and tomorrow. However, at no time and in no historical period – especially at a moment as critical as our own – can the Church forget the prayer that is a cry for the mercy of God amid the many forms of evil which weigh upon humanity and threaten it. Precisely this is the fundamental right and duty of the Church in Christ Jesus, her right and duty towards God and towards humanity. The more the human conscience succumbs to secularization, loses its sense of the very meaning of the word ‘mercy,’ moves away from God and distances itself from the mystery of mercy, the more the Church has the right and the duty to appeal to the God of mercy ‘with loud cries.’135 These ‘loud cries’ should be the mark of the Church of our times, cries uttered to God to implore His mercy, the certain manifestation of which she professes and proclaims as having already come in Jesus crucified and risen, that is, in the Paschal Mystery. It is this mystery which bears within itself the most complete revelation of mercy, that is, of that love which is more powerful than death, more powerful than sin and every evil, the love which lifts man up when he falls into the abyss and frees him from the greatest threats.

“Modern man feels these threats. What has been said above in this regard is only a rough outline. Modern man often anxiously wonders about the solution to the terrible tensions which have built up in the world and which entangle humanity. And if at times he lacks the courage to utter the word ‘mercy,’ or if in his conscience empty of religious content he does not find the equivalent, so much greater is the need for the Church to utter his word, not only in her own name but also in the name of all the men and women of our time.”

135. Cf. Hebrews 5:7.

 

To access the complete document, please visit:

Pope John Paul II: “Dives in Misericordia”

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the seeds You are spreading in the gardens of our hearts and for the potential contained within these seeds.

Msgr. Pope on the Fruits of the Holy Spirit

“There was a wonderful excursus on the Church as the Body of Christ in the Sunday readings. Would that we might better appreciate the diversity of gifts in the Church today instead of being fearful or dismissive of gifts that we appreciate less. As a pastor, I have come to appreciate that people find their way to God in many and diverse ways and that when the Church permits diversity we ought respectfully rejoice in even in the ways we do not personally prefer.”

In a recent commentary, Monsignor Charles Pope (pastor of Holy Comforter-Saint Cyprian Parish, Washington, DC) reflected on the fruits of the Holy Spirit and their place in our lives.

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

Msgr. Charles Pope: A Brief Treatise on the Fruits of the Holy Spirit (27 JAN 13)

Reflection Starter from St. Thomas Aquinas

“Leaves without flowers: these are they which have words without works.” – Saint Thomas Aquinas

29 January 2013

Dives in Misericordia: “The Mercy of God in the Mission of the Church” (14, continued)

Chapter 7 of “Dives in Misericordia” (“Rich in Mercy”) is entitled “The Mercy of God in the Mission of the Church.” It concludes as follows:

“14. . . . The Church rightly considers it her duty and the purpose of her mission to guard the authenticity of forgiveness, both in life and behavior and in educational and pastoral work. She protects it simply by guarding its source, which is the mystery of the mercy of God Himself as revealed in Jesus Christ.

“The basis of the Church’s mission, in all the spheres spoken of in the numerous pronouncements of the most recent Council and in the centuries-old experience of the apostolate, is none other than ‘drawing from the wells of the Savior’133 this is what provides many guidelines for the mission of the Church in the lives of individual Christians, of individual communities, and also of the whole People of God. This ‘drawing from the wells of the Savior’ can be done only in the spirit of that poverty to which we are called by the words and example of the Lord: ‘You received without pay, give without pay.’134 Thus, in all the ways of the Church’s life and ministry – through the evangelical poverty of her ministers and stewards and of the whole people which bears witness to ‘the mighty works’ of its Lord – the God who is ‘rich in mercy’ has been made still more clearly manifest.”

133. Cf. Isaiah 12:3.
134. Matthew 10:8.

 

To access the complete document, please visit:

Pope John Paul II: “Dives in Misericordia”

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the lessons You teach us as we observe the activities of the various animals You have created.

Cardinal Dolan on the Church’s Ministry to the ‘Uns’

“‘The uns . . .’

“George Higgins – the legendary ‘labor priest’ from Chicago was, if I recall correctly, the first person I ever heard use that expression, yet he attributed it to the future – God willing – saint, Dorothy Day.

“I borrowed it in my brief concluding remarks and prayer at last October’s Al Smith Dinner, as I praised God for the Church’s lookout for the uns – the un-documented, un-employed, un-housed, un-fed, un-healthy, un-born, un-wanted, misunderstood, un-justly treated – and prayed that our beloved country might work for a culture where that dreaded prefix – un – might be no longer.

“It was, of course, Jesus who embraced the uns, namely, us, the unsaved!”

In a recent entry in his blog (The Gospel in the Digital Age),Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, reflected on the importance the Church’s ministry to the “uns.”

To access Cardinal Dolan’s post, please visit:

The Gospel in the Digital Age: Jesus, His Church and “the uns” (22 JAN 13)

Reflection Starter from Golda Meir

“Trust yourself.  Create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with all your life.  Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement.” – Golda Meir

28 January 2013

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for our Catholic schools and the many ways in which You work through them to spread Your Good News.

Catholic Schools Week

This week, the week of 27 January-2 February, is Catholic Schools Week. The theme for Catholic Schools Week 2013 is “Catholic Schools Raise the Standards.”

The theme is designed to support the recent launch of the National Standards and Benchmarks for Effective Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools, which have been developed to describe how the most mission-driven, program effective, well managed, and responsibly governed Catholic schools operate. These standards are school effectiveness standards rather than curriculum content standards, although their implementation supports curriculum development consistent with national standards and the Common Core State Standards.

12 Raise Standards_logo v1

The logo for Catholic Schools Week 2013 was designed to illustrate a chart of steady growth culminating in the highest achievement of all, a cross representing the faith that underscores all Catholic education.

Reflection Starter from Fr. John Kavanaugh, S. J.

“Perhaps the most constant failure of Christians is our reluctance to take our own Gospels seriously and entirely. We have an uncanny ability to block out those portions of scripture that challenge our prejudices and to magnify those that confirm our own advantage.” – Father John Kavanaugh, S. J. (in a meditation on the Scriptures for the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C)

27 January 2013

“I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say”

As our Sunday celebration continues, I offer this version of “I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say,” as sung by the Antrim Mennonite Choir (Antrim Mennonite Church, Freeport, Ohio):

Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today the Church celebrates the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time. The assigned readings are Nehemiah 8:2-4, 5-6, 8-10; 1 Corinthians 12:12-30; and Luke 1:1-4, 4:14-21. The Responsorial Psalm is Psalm 19 (Psalm 19:8-10, 15).

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

YouTube: Responsorial Psalm - Psalm 19 Your Words O Lord are Spirit and Life

The Gospel reading is as follows:

Since many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the events that have been fulfilled among us, just as those who were eyewitnesses from the beginning and ministers of the word have handed them down to us, I too have decided, after investigating everything accurately anew, to write it down in an orderly sequence for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may realize the certainty of the teachings you have received.

Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news of him spread throughout the whole region. He taught in their synagogues and was praised by all. He came to Nazareth, where he had grown up, and went according to his custom into the synagogue on the sabbath day. He stood up to read and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.”

Rolling up the scroll, he handed it back to the attendant and sat down, and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him. He said to them, “Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.”

Reflections on these readings:

Oblates of St. Francis de Sales: Sundays Salesian: 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (January 27, 2013)

Msgr. Charles Pope: On The Wonder of The Word of God – A Homily for the Third Sunday of the Year (26 JAN 13)

The Deacon’s Bench: Homily for January 27, 2013: 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (26 JAN 13)

Marcellino D’Ambrosio, PhD: Catholics and Bible Study: Ignorance of Scripture is NOT Catholic!

The Quiet Corner: The primacy of the divine in the Christian life (24 JAN 13)

The Sacred Page: The Word of God Fulfilled in Your Hearing: Third Sunday in Ordinary Time (24 JAN 13)

Word on Fire: Sermon 629: Walls and Bridges: 3rd Ordinary Time

Dr. Scott Hahn: New Day Dawns (January 27th 2013 - 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time)

The Word Engaged: Justice Done in Faith (Third Sunday in Ordinary Time C)

Dives in Misericordia: “The Mercy of God in the Mission of the Church” (14, continued)

Chapter 7 of “Dives in Misericordia” (“Rich in Mercy”) is entitled “The Mercy of God in the Mission of the Church.” It continues as follows:

“14. . . . Thus the fundamental structure of justice always enters into the sphere of mercy. Mercy, however, has the power to confer on justice a new content, which is expressed most simply and fully in forgiveness. Forgiveness, in fact, shows that, over and above the process of ‘compensation’ and ‘truce’ which is specific to justice, love is necessary, so that man may affirm himself as man. Fulfillment of the conditions of justice is especially indispensable in order that love may reveal its own nature. In analyzing the parable of the prodigal son, we have already called attention to the fact that he who forgives and he who is forgiven encounter one another at an essential point, namely the dignity or essential value of the person, a point which cannot be lost and the affirmation of which, or its rediscovery, is a source of the greatest joy.132

132. Cf. Luke 15:32.

 

To access the complete document, please visit:

Pope John Paul II: “Dives in Misericordia”

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for those whose serve in public safety fields on the community, state, and national levels.

Cardinal Donald Wuerl on the Church’s Faithfulness to Its Teachings Being for the Good of All

“The Catholic Church is no stranger to criticism from those who disagree with its teachings, but the petition posted recently on the White House Web site to label the church a ‘hate group’ is beyond the pale, even in an age when an aggressive secularism seeks to marginalize the influence of religious belief.

“The church has long been criticized as ‘too dogmatic.’ Demands are constantly made that it change its 2,000-year-old teachings on marriage, family, sexuality, morality and other matters related to the truth about human beings. But even if others do not agree, the church understands that what it proclaims is revealed truth – the Word of God. The church’s teachings are timeless. They cannot be changed, even though adherence may be upsetting to some. That the church is built on a rock with fixed beliefs is a positive feature, both because it can withstand the shifting winds of public opinion and because of the cherished content of our faith itself, which fosters love among Catholics and non-Catholics alike.”

In a recent commentary in the Washington Post, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, reflected on what the Church is and does and on how the teachings and works of the Church advance the common good of all.

To access Cardinal Wuerl’s complete essay, please visit:

Washington Post: Opinions: Acting on faith (25 JAN 13)

Reflection Starter from St. Alphonsus Liguori

“The more a person loves God, the more reason he has to hope in Him. This hope produces in the Saints an unutterable peace, which they preserve even in adversity, because as they love God, and know how beautiful He is to those who love Him, they place all their confidence and find all their repose in Him alone.” – Saint Alphonsus Liguori

26 January 2013

Chet Atkins: “Stephen Foster Medley”

As this week comes to an end, I offer this version of Chet Atkins playing a “Stephen Foster Medley”:

Media Follow-up to National March for Life

Here are a number of news reports and commentaries (inspirational and/or reflective) related to the recent National March for Life and other related events:

Washington Times: 40 years later: Abortion opponents take their message to Supreme Court steps (26 JAN 13)

Washington Post: March for Life in front of Supreme Court decries landmark 1973 ruling (26 JAN 13)

Washington Times: Commentary: March for Life marks 40 years of abortion law (25 JAN 13)

Msgr. Charles Pope: Joy and Sorrow. A Few reflections after the March For Life (25 JAN 13)

Washington Times: Commentary: Planned Parenthood tries to freshen up a label (25 JAN 13)

Rhode Island Catholic: Without a Doubt: Destroying the Image of God (24 JAN 13)

National Catholic Register: Jennifer Fulwiler: Why My Support for Abortion Was Based on Love…and Lies (23 JAN 13)

Msgr. Charles Pope: On the 40th Anniversary of Roe, I have a big dream taking shape. Dream with me. (23 JAN 13)

Washington Post: Guest Voices: Respecting women is respecting life (23 JAN 13)

The Anchoress: Think you’ve heard it all about abortion? Then think again! (22 JAN 13)

Seek First the Kingdom: The Next Generation of Pro-Life Disciples (22 JAN 13)

Accepting Abundance: Who’s Laughing About Abortion Now? (21 JAN 13)

Time: What Choice? (14 JAN 13)

Dives in Misericordia: “The Mercy of God in the Mission of the Church” (14, continued)

Chapter 7 of “Dives in Misericordia” (“Rich in Mercy”) is entitled “The Mercy of God in the Mission of the Church.” It continues as follows:

“14. . . . For this reason, the Church must consider it one of her principal duties – at every stage of history and especially in our modern age – to proclaim and to introduce into life the mystery of mercy, supremely revealed in Jesus Christ. Not only for the Church herself as the community of believers but also in a certain sense for all humanity, this mystery is the source of a life different from the life which can be built by man, who is exposed to the oppressive forces of the threefold concupiscence active within him.128 It is precisely in the name of this mystery that Christ teaches us to forgive always. How often we repeat the words of the prayer which He Himself taught us, asking ‘forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us,’ which means those who are guilty of something in our regard.129 It is indeed difficult to express the profound value of the attitude which these words describe and inculcate. How many things these words say to every individual about others and also about himself. The consciousness of being trespassers against each other goes hand in hand with the call to fraternal solidarity, which St. Paul expressed in his concise exhortation to ‘forbear one another in love.’130 What a lesson of humility is to be found here with regard to man, with regard both to one’s neighbor and to oneself[;] What a school of good will for daily living, in the various conditions of our existence[.] If we were to ignore this lesson, what would remain of any ‘humanist’ program of life and education?”

128. Cf. 1 John 2:16.
129. Matthew 6:12.
130. Ephesians 4:2; cf. Galatians 6:2.

 

To access the complete document, please visit:

Pope John Paul II: “Dives in Misericordia”

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the gift of dance and the many ways in which You use this gift to develop us into the persons You want us to be.

Msgr. Pope on the Similarities Between Square Dancing and the Church

“Years ago, in High School, I dated Paula, who liked square dancing. So, most Saturday nights we were down at the community center, she in her petticoats and dress, I in my jeans, button down western shirt with a scarf tie and hand towel.

“Square dancing has some basic moves that beginners learn. And so it was that Paula and I started with the basics. But in square dancing there are different levels, and so eventually we cleared the floor and watched those who knew the more advanced moves. Sometimes there were several levels of dancers. I remember being amazed at the complicated moves the move senior members had learned and wondered how I would ever master it. But, little by little the moves were learned, and we got to stay on the floor just a little longer as the months and years ticked by.

“Image of the Church? I was over at YouTube and came upon the video below of a square dance group that’s pretty advanced. I remember many of the moves they do, but some of it was above what I ever learned. And suddenly it occurred to me that I saw an image of the Church.”

In a recent commentary, Monsignor Charles Pope (pastor of Holy Comforter-Saint Cyprian Parish, Washington, DC) reflected on the similarities between the Church and square dancing (including the need for a caller [e.g., the Pope or the local bishop], each participant having a role [but not the same role], and the intricacy [with many aspects interacting at the same time]).

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

Msgr. Charles Pope: What Can Square Dancing Teach Us About the Church? (22 JAN 13)

Reflection Starter

“Many of the great achievements of the world were accomplished by tired and discouraged men who kept on working.” – Source Unknown

25 January 2013

Dives in Misericordia: “The Mercy of God in the Mission of the Church” (14, continued)

Chapter 7 of “Dives in Misericordia” (“Rich in Mercy”) is entitled “The Mercy of God in the Mission of the Church.” It continues as follows:

“14. . . . Society can become ‘ever more human’ only when we introduce into all the mutual relationships which form its moral aspect the moment of forgiveness, which is so much of the essence of the Gospel. Forgiveness demonstrates the presence in the world of the love which is more powerful than sin. Forgiveness is also the fundamental condition for reconciliation, not only in the relationship of God with man, but also in relationships between people. A world from which forgiveness was eliminated would be nothing but a world of cold and unfeeling justice, in the name of which each person would claim his or her own rights vis-a- vis others; the various kinds of selfishness latent in man would transform life and human society into a system of oppression of the weak by the strong, or into an arena of permanent strife between one group and another.”

 

To access the complete document, please visit:

Pope John Paul II: “Dives in Misericordia”

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for heated homes, workplaces, and automobiles and for those who design, manufacture, install, and maintain these heating systems.

Marge Fenelon on the Homeless – Perception vis-à-vis Reality

“As I write, the weather station says that it’s 1° F, but it feels like -17°F. With the wind chill, it’s expected to drop as low as -30°F tonight. Tomorrow will more of the same. Even with the furnace chugging away, the perimeters of the house are cold. Upon passing by the windows and doors, one would swear they were wide open; sometimes as I go by, I check just to make sure. They’re closed. This is a pretty sturdy house, but in cold temps like this, nothing stops the drafts. . . . I’m grateful for my lined hoodie and double-layered sweatpants, even though I still shiver a bit here and there, because I know there are folks out in this night wind without warm clothing. Although I dread the cold weather and complain about it every year, I know it could be so much worse, and for some folks, it is.”

In a recent commentary, columnist Marge Fenelon reflected on the homeless in our midst and how a long-ago visit to a homeless shelter changed her perception of this population.

To access Ms. Fenelon’s complete essay, please visit:

Catholic Lane: The Homeless Reality (23 JAN 13)

Reflection Starter from St. Francis de Sales

“During the course of the day, recall as often as possible that you are in God’s presence.” – Saint Francis de Sales

24 January 2013

CBS Evening News on New Hampshire’s All-women Delegation

“You may remember the photo from a while back of New Hampshire’s Congressional delegation and the governor.

“What’s unusual is . . . all of them are women.

“In New Hampshire, girl power is not just a phrase – it’s a fact.”

A recent CBS Evening News report sketched New Hampshire’s women political leaders and how they are serving as an inspiration for the state’s next generation of leaders.

To access the complete CBS Evening News report, please visit:

CBS Evening News: No boys' club here: New Hampshire’s all-women delegation (22 JAN 13)

Saint Francis De Sales

As a number of people are aware, one of my favorite saints in Saint Francis de Sales (1567-1622), whose feast day is celebrated today.

Bishop of Geneva,  he was the author of a number of books and pamphlets (including An Introduction to the Devout Life and Treatise on the Love of God). He also wrote a number of letters (mainly to give spiritual direction to one or more individuals).

He was noted for his goodness, patience, and mildness. He also tried to live with the greatest economy (including eating plain food and keeping his household simple), in order to be able to provide more abundantly for the wants of the needy.

Besides his being patron saint of journalists and writers, one of the things that drew me to him and his spirituality was that he believed holiness was something for every one, no matter what his/her status in life.

“Go courageously to do whatever you are called to do. If you have any fears, say to your soul: ‘The Lord will provide for us.’ If your weakness troubles you, cast yourselves on God, and trust in him. The apostles were mostly unlearned fishermen, but God gave them learning enough for the work they had to do. Trust in him, depend on his providence; fear nothing.” - Saint Francis de Sales

For additional information, please visit:

Doctors of the Church: Saint Francis de Sales

Saint Francis de Sales: An Introduction to the Devout Life

The Vatian: Pope Benedict XVI on St. Francis de Sales (2 MAR 11)

“I wish to recall the figure of St Francis de Sales, whom the Liturgy commemorates on 24 January. Born in Savoy in 1567, he studied law in Padua and Paris and then, called by the Lord, became a priest. He dedicated himself to preaching and to the spiritual formation of the faithful with great success. He taught that the call to holiness was for everyone and that each one as St Paul says in his comparison of the Church to the body has a place in the Church. St Francis de Sales is the patron Saint of journalists and of the Catholic press.” – Pope Benedict XVI (during the Angelus, Saint Peter’s Square, Sunday, 24 January 2010)

(Note: For the past several years, the Pope has signed the annual papal message for World Communications Day on the feast day of Saint Francis de Sales. and entrusted the message to his prayers.)

Celtic Thunder: “A Place in the Choir”

As we continue to live this week, I offer this version of Celtic Thunder singing “A Place in the Choir”:

Dives in Misericordia: “The Mercy of God in the Mission of the Church” (14, continued)

Chapter 7 of “Dives in Misericordia” (“Rich in Mercy”) is entitled “The Mercy of God in the Mission of the Church.” It continues as follows:

“14. . . . Its sphere of action, however, is not limited to this. If Paul VI more than once indicated the ‘civilization of love’125 as the goal towards which all efforts in the cultural and social fields as well as in the economic and political fields should tend. it must be added that this good will never be reached if in our thinking and acting concerning the vast and complex spheres of human society we stop at the criterion of ‘an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth’126 and do not try to transform it in its essence, by complementing it with another spirit. Certainly, the Second Vatican Council also leads us in this direction, when it speaks repeatedly of the need to make the world more human,127 and says that the realization of this task is precisely the mission of the Church in the modern world. Society can become ever more human only if we introduce into the many-sided setting of interpersonal and social relationships, not merely justice, but also that "’merciful love’ which constitutes the messianic message of the Gospel.”

125. Cf. Insegnamenti di Paolo VI, XIII (1975), p. 1568 (close of the Holy Year, December 25, 1975).
126. Matthew 5:38.
127. Cf. Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World Gaudium et spes, no. 40 AAS 58 (1966), pp.1057-1059; Pope Paul VI: Apostolic Exhortation Paterna cum benevolentia, in particular nos. 1-6: AAS 67 (1975), pp. 7-9, 17-23.

 

To access the complete document, please visit:

Pope John Paul II: “Dives in Misericordia”

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the gift of patience and the many ways You work in us and through us via this blessing.

Dr. Jeffrey Mirus on the Precepts of the Church

“We all know the Ten Commandments, or I think we do. . . . Hopefully we are also familiar with the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, which are an enumeration of specific mercies we are called to show to others as noted in Sacred Scripture. . . . they are a wonderful guide to what it means to live in true solidarity with our neighbors . . . .”

“Finally, I suspect we almost never hear much about the Precepts of the Church. These are seldom mentioned from the pulpit and do not come up in Scripture readings. They are often treated as a sort of addendum or final check in an examination of conscience. But they can be explored more deeply with great profit. The five precepts can actually be used to orient our spiritual lives and fuel the New Evangelization.”

In a recent commentary, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus, President of CatholicCulture.org, reflected on each of the five Precepts of the Church how each one serves as a reminder and an inspiration for our deeper entry into the life of Christ.

To access his complete post, please visit:

Catholic Culture: The Precepts of the Church: An Invitation to Life (18 JAN 13)

Reflection Starter from St. Francis de Sales

“We must never undervalue any person. The workman loves not that his work should be despised in his presence. Now God is present everywhere, and every person is His work.” – Saint Francis de Sales

23 January 2013

Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin: Brahms’ Symphony No.4 in E minor

It’s time for some classical music. This is a presentation of Johannes Brahms’ “Symphony No.4 in E minor, op.98”, as played by the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin:

March for Life Reminds Us of True Values on 40th Roe v. Wade Anniversary

Throughout this week the nation remembers the 40th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion at any stage of the preborn baby’s life in his/her mother’s womb. To sadly commemorate this decision and its tragic consequences, there are a number of observances taking place in this region and throughout the nation.

The March for Life will be on Friday, 25 January in Washington, DC. The pre-march March for Life Rally will be on the National Mall (west of 8th Street near the Smithsonian Castle) beginning at 12:00 PM and continuing until approximately 1:30 PM. It will be followed immediately by the March for Life itself.

As in previous years, the Solemn Vigil Mass for Life/National Prayer Vigil for Life will be held in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Cardinal Seán Patrick O’Malley, O.F.M. Cap., Archbishop of Boston (and Chairman-elect, USCCB Committee on Pro-Life Activities) will be the Principal Celebrant and Homilist at the Vigil Mass. Catholic TV and EWTN will broadcast coverage for this event beginning at 6:30 PM.

The Archdiocese of Washington will host its 17th annual Youth Rally and Mass for Life on Friday.

Media reports on the March and related issues:

Public Discourse: Forty Years Later: It's Time for a New Feminism (22 JAN 13)

Public Discourse: On the 40th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade: A Public Discourse Symposium (21 JAN 13)

National Catholic Register: Forty Years After 'Roe' and 'Doe,' Pro-Lifers Are Hopeful (22 JAN 13)

Life News: Woman Behind Roe v. Wade: “I’m Dedicating My Life to Overturning It” (22 JAN 13)

National Catholic Register: Why 'Roe v. Wade' (Bad As It Is) Isn’t the Real Problem (22 JAN 13)

National Catholic Register: Take Part in March for Life 2013 Around the Country (19 JAN 13)

Beginning to Pray: Prayer on the Eve of an Infamous Decision (21 JAN 13)

National Catholic Register: Alabama Supreme Court Recognizes Unborn as ‘Children’ (16 JAN 13)

Archdiocese of Denver: 40 Years of the Culture of Death: A Pastoral Letter on the Occasion of the Anniversary of Roe vs. Wade (22 JAN 13)

OSV Daily Take: Messages from bishops mark 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade (21 JAN 13)

Background information:

March for Life

National Prayer Vigil for Life

Archdiocese of Washington: Youth Rally and Mass for Life

Walk for Life West Coast

Dives in Misericordia: “The Mercy of God in the Mission of the Church” (14, continued)

Chapter 7 of “Dives in Misericordia” (“Rich in Mercy”) is entitled “The Mercy of God in the Mission of the Church.” It continues as follows:

“14. . . . Thus, mercy becomes an indispensable element for shaping mutual relationships between people, in a spirit of deepest respect for what is human, and in a spirit of mutual brotherhood. It is impossible to establish this bond between people, if they wish to regulate their mutual relationships solely according to the measure of justice. In every sphere of interpersonal relationships justice must, so to speak, be ‘corrected’ to a considerable extent by that love which, as St. Paul proclaims, ‘is patient and kind’ or, in other words, possesses the characteristics of that merciful love which is so much of the essence of the Gospel and Christianity. Let us remember, furthermore, that merciful love also means the cordial tenderness and sensitivity so eloquently spoken of in the parable of the prodigal son,123 and also in the parables of the lost sheep and the lost coin.124 Consequently, merciful love is supremely indispensable between those who are closest to one another: between husbands and wives, between parents and children, between friends; and it is indispensable in education and in pastoral work.”

123. Cf. Luke 15:11-32.
124. Cf. Luke 15:1-10.

 

To access the complete document, please visit:

Pope John Paul II: “Dives in Misericordia”

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for people who offer their time and talent to participate in community dramatic arts programs.

On the (Re-)Definition of Marriage

“Would you ever have suspected that France would be the Western country where popular opposition to the redefinition of marriage finally coalesced?

“The momentum toward legal recognition of same-sex unions continues in France, despite the demonstration that drew nearly 1 million people onto the streets of Paris last Sunday. The government is committed to the change, and the defenders of traditional marriage, although they are numerous and vocal, remain in the minority in opinion polls. Still that massive demonstration was unlike anything we have seen in the US, in Britain, or in any of the European countries that have been swept up in the trend to approve homosexual partnerships. Perhaps more important, the strong opposition has forced the French public to take a more serious look at the question, and recognize the complications that arise from legal acceptance of same-sex unions.

“Why has the same sort of popular opposition never formed in other societies? Why in France?”

In a recent commentary, Phil Lawler is the editor of Catholic World News, reflected on the reasons for the campaign to redefine marriage and why this campaign is meeting opposition.

To access his complete post, please visit:

Catholic Culture: Why the French--of all people--resist the redefinition of marriage (17 JAN 13)

Reflection Starter from Anne Bradstreet

“Authority without wisdom is like a heavy axe without an edge, fitter to bruise than polish.” – Anne Bradstreet

22 January 2013

On Cow Power as an Energy Resource

“Every day in rural Penobscot County, a large dairy farm harnesses clean-burning gas from cow manure and food waste, and it generates enough electricity to power 800 homes continuously. The process, commonly known as cow power, has the potential to earn the facility $800,000 a year. It also creates byproducts -- animal bedding and a less-odorous fertilizer -- that save the farm about $100,000 a year.”

A recent article in the Morning Sentinel (Waterville, ME) examined the production and use of cow power in Maine and beyond.

To access the complete Morning Sentinel article, please visit:

Morning Sentinel: ‘Cow power’ turns manure, food waste into mighty electricity source (19 JAN 13)

Background information:

Exeter Agri-Energy

Efficiency Maine

Dives in Misericordia: “The Mercy of God in the Mission of the Church” (14, continued)

Chapter 7 of “Dives in Misericordia” (“Rich in Mercy”) is entitled “The Mercy of God in the Mission of the Church.” It continues as follows:

“14. . . . Mercy that is truly Christian is also, in a certain sense, the most perfect incarnation of ‘equality’ between people, and therefore also the most perfect incarnation of justice as well, insofar as justice aims at the same result in its own sphere. However, the equality brought by justice is limited to the realm of objective and extrinsic goods, while love and mercy bring it about that people meet one another in that value which is man himself, with the dignity that is proper to him. At the same time, ‘equality’ of people through ‘patient and kind’ love122 does not take away differences: the person who gives becomes more generous when he feels at the same time benefitted by the person accepting his gift; and vice versa, the person who accepts the gift with the awareness that, in accepting it, he too is doing good is in his own way serving the great cause of the dignity of the person; and this contributes to uniting people in a more profound manner.”

122. Cf. 1 Corinthians 13:4.

 

To access the complete document, please visit:

Pope John Paul II: “Dives in Misericordia”

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the many ways in which You reach out to us with considerations You want us to ponder.

On the Depiction of Religious Truth in Chesterton’s Father Brown Detective Stories

“When Evelyn Waugh went to Hollywood in 1947 to discuss a film version of his novel Brideshead Revisited, he was horrified to find that the writer who would be adapting it for the screen did not appear to understand what the novel was about. ‘He sees Brideshead purely as a love story,’ Waugh wrote in his diary. ‘None of them see the theological implication.’

“This was a problem that faced many 20th-century Roman Catholic writers. Attempting to avoid the obvious and simplistic treatment of religion typical of their predecessors, they tried to introduce their religious message far more subtly into novels and stories which in every other way conformed to the literary norms of their day. The trouble was that some people then completely failed to see the message – and Brideshead has no meaning if you ignore the religious element. Happily, the 1981 television version of it went some way towards producing a balanced picture.

“These things came to my mind when I heard the news that a new television series based on G K Chesterton’s Father Brown stories will be starting tomorrow, starring Mark Williams. In these stories, Chesterton tackled one of the most popular genres of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, that of the detective story. His hero, Father Brown, is an eccentric in the mould of Sherlock Holmes or Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple. As with them, his superior insights are the result of an unusual way of looking at the world – but in this case the view is that of a Catholic priest, and an apparently very simple one at that.”

In a recent commentary, Richard Griffiths (author of The Pen and the Cross) reflected on how religious images, including depictions of God’s grace as well as other Christian beliefs and attitudes, are hidden in Chesterton’s Father Brown stories and how these stories offer “profound insights into ultimate truths.”

To access his complete essay, please visit:

The Telegraph: The strange case of the simple little priest (12 JAN 13)

Reflection Starter from Malcolm Muggeridge

“Every happening, great and small, is a parable whereby God speaks to us, and the art of life is to get the message.” – Malcolm Muggeridge

21 January 2013

Dives in Misericordia: “The Mercy of God in the Mission of the Church” (14, continued)

Chapter 7 of “Dives in Misericordia” (“Rich in Mercy”) is entitled “The Mercy of God in the Mission of the Church.” It continues as follows:

“14. . . . Thus, the way which Christ showed to us in the Sermon on the Mount with the beatitude regarding those who are merciful is much richer than what we sometimes find in ordinary human opinions about mercy. These opinions see mercy as a unilateral act or process, presupposing and maintaining a certain distance between the one practicing mercy and the one benefitting from it, between the one who does good and the one who receives it. Hence the attempt to free interpersonal and social relationships from mercy and to base them solely on justice. However, such opinions about mercy fail to see the fundamental link between mercy and justice spoken of by the whole biblical tradition, and above all by the messianic mission of Jesus Christ. True mercy is, so to speak, the most profound source of justice. If justice is in itself suitable for ‘arbitration’ between people concerning the reciprocal distribution of objective goods in an equitable manner, love and only love (including that kindly love that we call ‘mercy’) is capable of restoring man to Himself.”

 

To access the complete document, please visit:

Pope John Paul II: “Dives in Misericordia”

Msgr. Pope on President Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address and This Year’s Presidential Inauguration

“Many thoughts move through my mind on this third Monday in January. Just up the street from where I live, the Second Inauguration of President Barack Obama is taking place. Today is also the official celebration of the birthday of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. And also, later this week, my rectory will be filled to overflowing with priests and seminarians here for the March for life, which takes place on Friday. Yes, so many thoughts: thoughts of civil rights and racial justice, thoughts of the unborn, and their right to life, thoughts of a president, and this nation. So many thoughts.

“Somehow, my mind drifts back to 1865, to the 2nd Inaugural Address of President. Abraham Lincoln. Many things also came together on that day: the nation was reeling in the aftermath of the terrible war that killed almost 600,000 soldiers and others. (If that number were projected forward percentage-wise to today’s population, it would mean that over 6 million people in this country would have lost their lives).”

In a recent commentary, Monsignor Charles Pope (pastor of Holy Comforter-Saint Cyprian Parish, Washington, DC) reflected on President Lincoln’s words and how they apply to challenges the American society is facing in these times.

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

Msgr. Charles Pope: Light and Darkness: Some thoughts on this Presidential Inauguration Rooted in another Inauguration in 1865 (20 JAN 13)

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for homilies that encourage reflection that helps us to be ever more aware of the interconnectedness of our Faith and the everyday aspects of our lives.

On the Faith Life of New York Giants Coach Tom Coughlin

In a recent post, Tony Rossi, of The Christophers, offered a look an interview with New York Giants Coach Tom Coughlin about the influence of his Catholic faith on his life and career.

To access the complete post, please visit:

Christopher Closeup: NY Giants Coach Tom Coughlin Grounded in Faith (9 JAN 13)

Reflection Starter from Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Rarely do we find men who willingly engage in hard, solid thinking. There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people more than having to think.” – Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

20 January 2013

Marty Haugen: “Eye Has Not Seen”

As our Sunday celebration continues, I offer this version of Marty Haugen singing “Eye Has Not Seen”:

Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today the Church celebrates the Second Sunday in Ordinary Time. The assigned readings are Isaiah 62:1-5, 1 Corinthians 12:4-11, and John 2:1-11. The Responsorial Psalm is Psalm 96 (Psalm 96:1-3, 7-10).

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

YouTube: Psalm 96 Proclaim His Marvelous Deeds To All the Nations

The Gospel reading is as follows:

There was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the wedding. When the wine ran short, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.”

And Jesus said to her, “Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come.”

His mother said to the servers, “Do whatever he tells you.”

Now there were six stone water jars there for Jewish ceremonial washings, each holding twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus told the them, “Fill the jars with water.” So they filled them to the brim.

Then he told them, “Draw some out now and take it to the headwaiter.” So they took it. And when the headwaiter tasted the water that had become wine, without knowing where it came from – although the servers who had drawn the water knew – , the headwaiter called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves good wine first, and then when people have drunk freely, an inferior one; but you have kept the good wine until now.”

Jesus did this as the beginning of his signs at Cana in Galilee and so revealed his glory, and his disciples began to believe in him.

Reflections on these readings:

Oblates of St. Francis de Sales: Sundays Salesian: 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (January 20, 2013)

Msgr. Charles Pope: Biblical Basics About Mother Mary – A Homily for the Second Sunday of the Year (19 JAN 13)

The Deacon’s Bench: Homily for January 20, 2013: 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (19 JAN 13)

Marcellino D’Ambrosio, PhD: The Wedding Feast at Cana

The Quiet Corner: Mary continues her vital role in church life (17 JAN 13)

Dr. Scott Hahn: In the Wedding (January 20th 2013 - 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time)

The New Theological Movement: Why were the heavens opened to Jesus at his baptism? (11 JAN 13)

Spirituality of the Readings: “My Delight” (Second Sunday in Ordinary Time C)

Dives in Misericordia: “The Mercy of God in the Mission of the Church” (14, continued)

Chapter 7 of “Dives in Misericordia” (“Rich in Mercy”) is entitled “The Mercy of God in the Mission of the Church.” It continues as follows:

“14. . . . Thus, the way which Christ showed to us in the Sermon on the Mount with the beatitude regarding those who are merciful is much richer than what we sometimes find in ordinary human opinions about mercy. These opinions see mercy as a unilateral act or process, presupposing and maintaining a certain distance between the one practicing mercy and the one benefitting from it, between the one who does good and the one who receives it. Hence the attempt to free interpersonal and social relationships from mercy and to base them solely on justice. However, such opinions about mercy fail to see the fundamental link between mercy and justice spoken of by the whole biblical tradition, and above all by the messianic mission of Jesus Christ. True mercy is, so to speak, the most profound source of justice. If justice is in itself suitable for ‘arbitration’ between people concerning the reciprocal distribution of objective goods in an equitable manner, love and only love (including that kindly love that we call ‘mercy’) is capable of restoring man to Himself.”

To access the complete document, please visit:

Pope John Paul II: “Dives in Misericordia”

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the example, inspiration, and prayers You offer us through Your saints.

The “Treasures of the Church” Ministry of Father Carlos Martins, CC

“‘Crisis makes people return to their faith,’ says Father Carlos Martins. ‘To hold a relic of a beloved saint makes the faith real for people, because the touch of a saint is always a touch of tenderness.’

“Father Martins’ ministry is to carry that ‘touch of tenderness’ to parishes across North America through his ‘Treasures of the Church’ exposition. Incorporating both a multimedia presentation and exposition of actual relics, the exhibit gives the scriptural, catechetical and devotional basis for the Church’s use of relics and offers attendees the opportunity to venerate the relics of more than 150 saints.”

A recent article in National Catholic Register reported on Father Martins, CC, and his “Treasures of the Church” ministry and offers some considerations about why devotion to the saints is important.

To access the complete National Catholic Register report, please visit:

National Catholic Register: Tender Saints for Troubled Times (19 JAN 13)

Background information:

Treasures of the Church

 

 

Reflection Starter from Fulton Sheen

“The Lord hears us more readily than we suspect; it is our listening to God that needs to be improved. When people complain that their prayers are not heard by God, what often has happened is that they did not wait to hear God’s answer,” – Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

19 January 2013

The Ventures: “Wipe Out”

It’s time for a little something from The Ventures. In this video, they are playing “Wipe Out”:

Religion and Ethics NewsWeekly: “Lynching and Forgiveness”

“In one of America’s most shameful chapters, thousands of African Americans – no one will ever know how many – were lynched. For two sisters who witnessed a lynching, memories still haunt. Ninety-four-year-old Katherine Fletcher will never forget how her one-time classmate was murdered in St. Joseph, Missouri eight decades ago.”

This weekend’s edition of PBS's Religion and Ethics NewsWeekly includes a report on these tragic events and their effects on participants and witnesses. The report also offers a look at how lives can transcend evil.

To view the segment and read the related transcript, please visit:

Religion and Ethics NewsWeekly: Lynching and Forgiveness (18 JAN 13)

The report includes a number of related links that provide additional information on these lynchings and their legacy.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service

Monday, 21 January, is being celebrated as Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service, an observance designed to honor the legacy of Dr. King and to provide an opportunity for Americans from all walks of life to work together to serve their neighbors and communities.

As part of this observance, organizations and individuals around New England and across the rest of the nation are participating in a number of initiatives throughout the weekend. These initiatives include delivering meals, refurbishing schools and community centers, collecting food and clothing, signing up mentors, promoting nonviolence, supporting veterans and military families, and much more.

For more information about Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service, please visit:

Corporation for National and Community Service: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘What are you doing for others?’” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Background information:

Corporation for National and Community Service: United We Serve

Corporation for National and Community Service

Dives in Misericordia: “The Mercy of God in the Mission of the Church” (14, continued)

Chapter 7 of “Dives in Misericordia” (“Rich in Mercy”) is entitled “The Mercy of God in the Mission of the Church.” It continues as follows:

“14. . . . This authentically evangelical process is not just a spiritual transformation realized once and for all: it is a whole lifestyle, an essential and continuous characteristic of the Christian vocation. It consists in the constant discovery and persevering practice of love as a unifying and also elevating power despite all difficulties of a psychological or social nature: it is a question, in fact, of a merciful love which, by its essence, is a creative love. In reciprocal relationships between persons merciful love is never a unilateral act or process. Even in the cases in which everything would seem to indicate that only one party is giving and offering, and the other only receiving and taking (for example, in the case of a physician giving treatment, a teacher teaching, parents supporting and bringing up their children, a benefactor helping the needy), in reality the one who gives is always also a beneficiary. In any case, he too can easily find himself in the position of the one who receives, who obtains a benefit, who experiences merciful love; he too can find himself the object of mercy.”

 

To access the complete document, please visit:

Pope John Paul II: “Dives in Misericordia”

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the many encouraging words You send our way about living the Gospel message.

U.S. Bishops Call For ‘Nine Days Of Prayer, Penance, And Pilgrimage Surrounding 40th Anniversary Of Roe V. Wade

The U.S. bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities is urging Catholics throughout the nation to participate in Nine Days of Prayer, Penance and Pilgrimage from 19 to 27 January to mark the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. The intentions for these nine days will be for healing and conversion, for elected officials who support abortionand for all people whose lives have been forever changed by an abortion.

“The bishops recognize that prayer is the foundation of all our efforts on behalf of human life,” said Tom Grenchik, executive director of the Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in a prepared statement. “These nine days of focused prayer and sacrifice are a great opportunity for people across the nation to unite their voices in prayer to God. Through this prayer campaign, I hope that many will be blessed with a new spirit of faith and encouragement in their pro-life efforts.”

Events during the Nine Days include the National Prayer Vigil for Life (24-25 January) and the Rally and March for Life, (25 January), all being held in Washington.

Each day’s recommended novena content includes an intercession; brief prayers and a reflection; suggestions for concrete acts of prayer, penance and charity; and a abortion-related myth/reality fact. People may sign up to receive the novena daily by email by visiting the webpage Nine Days of Prayer, Penance and Pilgrimage, or by text message by texting “9days” to 99000. The novena will also be posted daily on “People of Life,” the USCCB Pro-Life Secretariat’s Facebook page, and tweeted from “USCCB” on Twitter.

During the week of 22 January, USCCB is also planning to feature guest bloggers providing their personal pro-life testimonials on its blog, USCCBlog.

Reflection Starter from Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” – Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

18 January 2013

Dives in Misericordia: “The Mercy of God in the Mission of the Church” (14)

Chapter 7 of “Dives in Misericordia” (“Rich in Mercy”) is entitled “The Mercy of God in the Mission of the Church.” It continues as follows:

“14. Jesus Christ taught that man not only receives and experiences the mercy of God, but that he is also called ‘to practice mercy’ towards others: ‘Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.’120 The Church sees in these words a call to action, and she tries to practice mercy. All the beatitudes of the Sermon on the Mount indicate the way of conversion and of reform of life, but the one referring to those who are merciful is particularly eloquent in this regard. Man attains to the merciful love of God, His mercy, to the extent that he himself is interiorly transformed in the spirit of that love towards his neighbor.”

120. Matthew 5:7.

 

To access the complete document, please visit:

Pope John Paul II: “Dives in Misericordia”

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the many ways You work through those who design, build, and maintain our highways, streets, and other travel routes.

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2013

Today, 18 January, begins the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2013. The week (actually an octave) runs through 25 January (the Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul, Apostle). This year’s theme is “What Does God Require of Us?” (based on Micah 6: 6-8).

Background information:

Graymoor Ecumenical & Interreligious Institute

Graymoor: History of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

Media report:

Rome Reports: Pope calls for prayer to bring Christian unity during general audience (16 JAN 13)

Examiner: Week of Prayer for Christian Unity: January 18-25 (14 JAN 13)

Additional information:

Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity

World Council of Churches: Commission on Faith and Order

Reflection Starter from Charles Swindoll

“The difference between something good and something great is attention to detail.” – Charles Swindoll

17 January 2013

Bishop Hendricken Student Donates Books to Philippine School Libraries

The Warwick Beacon recently reported on Joey Alisch, a sophomore at Bishop Hendricken High School (Warwick, RI), who has been collecting books to benefit school libraries in some of the poverty-stricken areas of the Philippines. Over the years, he has collected and distributed over 10,000 books as part of this ministry.  Well done, Joey!!!

To access the complete Warwick Beacon report, please visit:

Warwick Beacon: Teen has donated 10,000 books to libraries in Philippines (10 JAN 13)

Background information:

Bishop Hendricken High School

Wikipedia: Warwick, Rhode Island

The Philippines

Dives in Misericordia: “The Mercy of God in the Mission of the Church” (13, continued)

Chapter 7 of “Dives in Misericordia” (“Rich in Mercy”) is entitled “The Mercy of God in the Mission of the Church.” It continues as follows:

“13. . . . The contemporary Church is profoundly conscious that only on the basis of the mercy of God will she be able to carry out the tasks that derive from the teaching of the Second Vatican Council, and, in the first place, the ecumenical task which aims at uniting all those who confess Christ. As she makes many efforts in this direction, the Church confesses with humility that only that love which is more powerful than the weakness of human divisions can definitively bring about that unity which Christ implored from the Father and which the Spirit never ceases to beseech for us ‘with sighs too deep for words.’119

119. Romans 8:26.

 

To access the complete document, please visit:

Pope John Paul II: “Dives in Misericordia”

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the quiet beauty of gently falling snow.

Sister Helena Burns and Using Media to Proclaim the Good News

Sister Helena Burns is not your typical nun: She tweets and texts and blogs. She’s on Facebook, YouTube and iTunes. And she’s currently writing and producing a movie.

“The self-proclaimed ‘media nun’ lives in Chicago with the Daughters of St. Paul, a Roman Catholic congregation dedicated to evangelization through media.”

A recent article in the Chicago Catholic News profiled Sister Helena (who was originally from Boston), her vocation to the Daughters of St. Paul, and her perspective on the use of various forms of media in proclaiming the Gospel message.

To access the complete Chicago Catholic News article, please visit:

Chicago Catholic News: Faces of Faith: “Media nun” on communication and vocation (31 DEC 12)

Thank you, Tony Rossi (and Christopher Closeup) for the tip.

Reflection Starter from Anson Dorrance

“The vision of a champion is someone who is bent over, drenched in sweat, at the point of exhaustion when no one else is watching.” – Anson Dorrance (Head Coach, Women’s Soccer, University of North Carolina)

16 January 2013

New York Philharmonic: Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5

It’s time for some classical music. This is a presentation of Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 5”, as played by the New York Philharmonic:

Dives in Misericordia: “The Mercy of God in the Mission of the Church” (13, continued)

Chapter 7 of “Dives in Misericordia” (“Rich in Mercy”) is entitled “The Mercy of God in the Mission of the Church.” It continues as follows:

“13. . . . Authentic knowledge of the God of mercy, the God of tender love, is a constant and inexhaustible source of conversion, not only as a momentary interior act but also as a permanent attitude, as a state of mind. Those who come to know God in this way, who ‘see’ Him in this way, can live only in a state of being continually converted to Him. They live, therefore, in statu conversionis; and it is this state of conversion which marks out the most profound element of the pilgrimage of every man and woman on earth in statu viatoris. It is obvious that the Church professes the mercy of God, revealed in the crucified and risen Christ, not only by the word of her teaching but above all through the deepest pulsation of the life of the whole People of God. By means of this testimony of life, the Church fulfills the mission proper to the People of God, the mission which is a sharing in and, in a sense, a continuation of the messianic mission of Christ Himself.”

To access the complete document, please visit:

Pope John Paul II: “Dives in Misericordia”

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the little treats You present to us in the natural world You have created.

On the Oompa Loompas, Willy Wonka, and Our Relationship with God

“Do you ever get silly tunes stuck in your head? I know my Dominican brothers are going to tease me about this, but I recently re-watched the 1971 film, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, and I have the “Oompa Loompa song” stuck in my head.

“I have to admit that the Oompa Loompas are my favorite characters in the movie. They are happy little people with a simple creed: If you behave and have a good moral character, you will live in happiness, too, like the Oompa Loompa (do-ba-dee-doo).”

In a recent commentary, Brother John Baptist Hoang, O.P., reflected on how the relationship between the Oompa Loompas and Willy Wonka is in a way analogous to our relationship with God.

To access Br. John’s complete post, please visit:

Dominicana: Happy Like an Oompa Loompa (10 JAN 13)

Reflection Starter

“Better do a kindness near home than go far away to burn incense.” – Chinese Proverb

15 January 2013

“Faith of Our Fathers”

As we continue to live this week, I offer this version of Bing Crosby singing “Faith of Our Fathers”:

Msgr. Pope on the Process of Reasoning

“A lot of breakdown in modern communication comes down to logical fallacies and cognitive distortions that have us talking past each other. Perhaps . . . we might spend a little time reflecting and ‘thinking about our thinking.’

“All of us fall into these traps. I have spoken before . . . of the problem of ‘all or nothing thinking’ and also our tendency today to take everything personally, to be thin-skinned. Perhaps some of the following reflections on the nature of our knowledge and how we both argue and reason, may also be instructive, since, as a group, we tend today to be very polemical, ideological and not always well reasoned in our thinking. Indeed, careful reasoning is NOT an obvious gift that most in these times exhibit.”

In a recent commentary, Monsignor Charles Pope (pastor of Holy Comforter-Saint Cyprian Parish, Washington, DC) reflected on some of the challenges, including a number of common fallacies, facing people as they make their way through the process of reasoning.

To access both of Msgr. Pope’s posts, please visit:

Msgr. Charles Pope: Thinking About Thinking – A Reflection on some of the Modern Pitfalls and Logical Fallacies that Hinder Us (30 DEC 12)

Msgr. Charles Pope: A Review of Common Fallacies that Weaken Arguments. (2 JAN 13)

Dives in Misericordia: “The Mercy of God in the Mission of the Church” (13, continued)

Chapter 7 of “Dives in Misericordia” (“Rich in Mercy”) is entitled “The Mercy of God in the Mission of the Church.” It continues as follows:

“13. . . . Therefore, the Church professes and proclaims conversion. Conversion to God always consists in discovering His mercy, that is, in discovering that love which is patient and kind117 as only the Creator and Father can be; the love to which the ‘God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ’118 is faithful to the uttermost consequences in the history of His covenant with man; even to the cross and to the death and resurrection of the Son. Conversion to God is always the fruit of the rediscovery of this Father, who is rich in mercy.”

117. Cf. 1 Corinthians 13:4.
118. 2 Corinthians 1:3.

 

To access the complete document, please visit:

Pope John Paul II: “Dives in Misericordia”

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for constantly reaching out to us – whether or not we want You to, whether or not we acknowledge You.

Father Michael Najim on the Gift of Pain

“I’ve learned many lessons in my short life, but one thing is for sure: we all know what it’s like to experience pain.  Life can be difficult at times, and pain can come to us in different ways: physical, emotional, spiritual, or psychological.”

In a recent commentary, Father Michael Najim (Director of Spiritual Formation at the Seminary of Our Lady of Providence and chaplain at La Salle Academy, both in Providence, RI) reflected on the pain in our lives and the gift that it can be.

To access Fr. Najim's complete post, please visit:

Live Holiness: The Gift of Pain (14 JAN 13)

Reflection Starter from Robert Merton Solow

“It is a good idea to be ambitious, to have goals, to want to be good at what you do, but it is a terrible mistake to let drive and ambition get in the way of treating people with kindness and decency.” – Robert Merton Solow

14 January 2013

“One Solitary Life”

As we conclude our celebration of Christmas, I offer this reminder, from Simple Truths, of Who this season was about:

Simple Truths: “One Solitary Life”

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the outpouring of sacramental graces You bestow on us when we receive the sacrament of Baptism.

National Vocation Awareness Week

This week (the week of 13-19 January) is National Vocation Awareness Week, a week dedicated to promoting vocations to the priesthood, diaconate, and consecrated life through prayer and education; it is also a time to renew our prayers and support for those who are considering one of these particular vocations.

National Vocation Awareness Week began in 1976 when the U.S. bishops designated the 28th Sunday of the year for the beginning of the observance. In 1997, this celebration was moved to coincide with the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, which falls on 9 January (today) in 2012.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has set up a website, http://www.foryourvocation.org/, designed to help all members of the Church foster vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life. They have also started a Facebook page to continue the outreach process.

In addition, many dioceses and religious orders have also set up a website or webpage designed to encourage vocations within the diocese or to the order. An example of this is the Diocese of Providence website, http://catholicpriest.com/.

“The discernment of a vocation is above all the fruit of an intimate dialogue between the Lord and his disciples. Young people, if they know how to pray, can be trusted to know what to do with God's call.” – Pope Benedict XVI

Reflection Starter from Vince Lombardi

“The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor.” – Vince Lombardi

13 January 2013

“When John Baptized In Jordan’s River”

As our Sunday celebration continues, I offer this version of “When John Baptized In Jordan’s River”: