30 June 2015

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the saints You place in our lives and for their example and their prayers.

Br. Timothy Danaher, O.P. on the Role of Saints in the Church

"Are saints just Catholic celebrities? In some ways they seem similar. Hollywood and the Vatican each place certain people in the public eye, even though they promote different kinds of people and values. Also, like celebrities many saints were born with incredible talent, or into wealthy families. Thomas Aquinas fulfills both categories - he was both exceptionally intelligent and a cousin of the Holy Roman Emperor.

"The one thing, however, which sets saints apart is this: celebrities are recognized for excellence in the world, whereas saints are recognized for something from a totally different world."

In a recent commentary, Brother Timothy Danaher, O.P., reflected on the saints around us and on the role of saints in the Church.

To access Brother Timothy's complete post, please visit:

Dominicana: Are Saints Just Catholic Celebrities? (30 JUN 15)

Reflection Starter from Henry Ward Beecher

"Every tomorrow has two handles. We can take hold of it with the handle of anxiety or the handle of faith." - Rev. Henry Ward Beecher

29 June 2015

The Aroostook War and How It Changed the United States

"On July 4, 1827, less than a decade into Maine's life as an official state, outspoken sawmill owner John Baker raised a homemade American flag on the western side of the junction between Baker Brook and the St. John River.

"It was a bold statement on what was still disputed territory as the dust slowly settled from two previous wars against the British. Baker, the so-called 'Washington of the Republic of Madawaska,' was arrested by New Brunswick authorities and held until he could pay a 25-pound fine - an amount estimated to be worth tens of thousands of U.S. dollars in today's money.

"The incident contributed to growing pressure on the U.S. and Great Britain to determine once and for all where the northeasternmost borders between the two countries’ North American territories should be placed.

"Many Mainers have at least heard of the resultant Aroostook War, otherwise known as the 'Pork and Beans War.' But what largely became a footnote in U.S. military history changed America forever, in ways few people may recognize."

A recent Bangor Daily News article reported on this conflict, which began 188 years ago this week, and was the only occasion in which a state of the United States declared war on a foreign country.

To access this report (including its list of effects still being felt today, please visit:

Bangor Daily News: Think Maine: How Maine’s little-known war changed America forever (23 JUN 15)

Background information:

Maine: An Encyclopedia: Aroostook War

Solemnity of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, Apostles

Today the Church celebrates the Solemnity of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, Apostles. The assigned readings are Acts 12:1-11; 2 Timothy 4:6-8, 17-18; and Matthew 16:13-19. The Responsorial Psalm is Psalm 34 (Psalm 34:2-9).

The Gospel reading is as follows:

When Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”

They replied, “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”

He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”

Simon Peter said in reply, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Jesus said to him in reply, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the Kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

Reflections on this feast day:

Catholic Digest: St. Peter and St. Paul, Apostles

American Catholic: Saint of the Day: Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul

Dominicana: On Living Large (29 JUN 15)

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the many ways in which You work through us as we live our lives in today's world.

Simcha Fisher on Our Presence as Catholics in Today's World

"Between my adequate-ish knowledge of scripture and our 175-pound mastiff, I think we've seen the last of this particular Jehovah's Witness.

"The woman who came to our door this morning had been here before (back when the dog was smaller and less ... avid), but I think she's finally chalked us up as a lost cause. She said that she had been raised Catholic -- that her own mother is a Eucharistic Minister in my parish. I hate to think what her catechesis was like! She was under the impression that Catholics don't read the Bible or think about what it means. I was able to persuade her otherwise, just by quoting a few lines of the Gospel that I've heard a thousand times at Mass; so at least there's that.

"I wish that I had been less defensive and more inviting, though. As an evangelist, I'm laboring under a triple whammy: I'm a New Englander, I'm shy, and I'm a Catholic. (Also I was in my pajamas, but so is half the country.) All three together mean that I'm entirely focused on closing the door as quickly as I can and getting back to my comfortable, private living room. I have almost zero inclination to tell a stranger, 'Hey, have you heard about this magnificent truth which will transform your life? Let me tell you . . .'

"But that is what the Pope (and all the Popes since Peter, for goodness' sake) has been telling us to do: not to be content with hunkering down and preserving the Faith within our fortress, but to actively go out and spread the Good News."

In a recent commentary, writer Simcha Fisher reflected on the importance of being a Catholic presence to those we encounter each day.

To access her complete reflection, please visit:

NC Register: Blog: Knock knock! Who's there? A Catholic. (25 JUN 15)

Reflection Starter from St. Peter

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in his great mercy gave us a new birth to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead." - 1 Peter 1:3

28 June 2015

David Haas: "You are Mine"

As our Sunday celebration continues, I offer this version of David Haas' "You are Mine":

Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today the Church celebrates the Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time. The assigned readings are Wisdom 1:13-15; 2:23-24; 2 Corinthians 8:7, 9, 13-15; and Mark 5:21-43. The Responsorial Psalm is Psalm 30 (Psalm 30:2, 4-6, 11-13).

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

YouTube: Responsorial Psalm 13th Ordinary Sunday, Year B

The Gospel reading is as follows:

When Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a large crowd gathered around him, and he stayed close to the sea. One of the synagogue officials, named Jairus, came forward. Seeing him he fell at his feet and pleaded earnestly with him, saying, "My daughter is at the point of death. Please, come lay your hands on her that she may get well and live." He went off with him, and a large crowd followed him and pressed upon him.

There was a woman afflicted with hemorrhages for twelve years. She had suffered greatly at the hands of many doctors and had spent all that she had. Yet she was not helped but only grew worse. She had heard about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak. She said, "If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured." Immediately her flow of blood dried up. She felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction.

Jesus, aware at once that power had gone out from him, turned around in the crowd and asked, "Who has touched my clothes?"

But his disciples said to Jesus, "You see how the crowd is pressing upon you, and yet you ask, 'Who touched me?'" And he looked around to see who had done it.

The woman, realizing what had happened to her, approached in fear and trembling. She fell down before Jesus and told him the whole truth. He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has saved you. Go in peace and be cured of your affliction."

While he was still speaking, people from the synagogue official's house arrived and said, "Your daughter has died; why trouble the teacher any longer?"

Disregarding the message that was reported, Jesus said to the synagogue official, "Do not be afraid; just have faith." He did not allow anyone to accompany him inside except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James.

When they arrived at the house of the synagogue official, he caught sight of a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. So he went in and said to them, "Why this commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but asleep." And they ridiculed him. Then he put them all out.

He took along the child's father and mother and those who were with him and entered the room where the child was. He took the child by the hand and said to her, "Talitha koum," which means, "Little girl, I say to you, arise!" The girl, a child of twelve, arose immediately and walked around. At that they were utterly astounded. He gave strict orders that no one should know this and said that she should be given something to eat.

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the gift of Your grace, a gift that constantly reaches out to us.

Msgr. Pope on Why the Road to Destruction is Wide and the Road to Salvation Narrow

"In the gospel earlier this week, we read a warning from Jesus that too many people just brush aside:

"Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many. How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few (Matt 6:12-13). . . .

"The question does surely arise as to why many walk the wide road to destruction and Hell. Is it because God is stingy or despotic? No. God surely wants to save us all (Ez 18:23; 1 Tim 2:4). The real answer is that we are hard to save and we must become more sober about that. We have hard hearts, thick skulls, and innumerable other traits that make us a difficult case.

"If even a third of the angels fell, that ought to make us very aware of our own tendency to fall. This should make us more humble about our own situation. The fallen angels had intellects vastly superior to ours and their angelic souls were not weighed down with the many bodily passions that beset us. But still, they fell!

"Adam and Eve, possessing preternatural gifts and existing before all the weaknesses we inherited from sin, also fell. Are you and I, in our present unseemly state and vastly less gifted than the angels, really going to claim that we are not in any real danger or are easy to save?

"We need to sober up and run to God with greater humility, admitting that we are a hard case and in desperate need of the medicines and graces that God offers. He offers us His Word, the Sacraments, holy fellowship, and lots of prayer! We need not be in a panic, but we do need to be far more urgent than most moderns are about themselves and the people whom they say they love."

In a recent commentary, Monsignor Charles Pope (pastor of Holy Comforter-Saint Cyprian Parish, Washington, DC) reflected on why we humans "can be a hard case in terms of being saved" (including, among others, having hard hearts and stubborn wills, being obtuse in our desires, not liking to be told what to do, and acting like lemmings.

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

Community in Mission: Why Is the Road to Destruction Wide and the Road to Salvation Narrow? A Meditation on a Teaching by Jesus (24 JUN 15)

Reflection Starter from Pope Francis

"Let us sing as we go. May our struggles and our concern for this planet never take away the joy of our hope." - Pope Francis

26 June 2015

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the many ways in which You call us and encourage us to be Your presence in this world.

Msgr. Pope on the Spiritual Work of Bearing Wrongs Patiently

"Here is  perhaps the most revolutionary of the Spiritual works of mercy. It is the one tied most directly to the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. To decide to bear wrongs patiently is nothing less than to declare a revolution and to wage a very paradoxical counteroffensive against this world and its economy of anger.

"There is a cycle of violence and retribution in which the devil seeks to engage us. The cycle begins with one person harming or slighting another, perhaps tempted to do so by the devil or by the world or flesh, manipulated by him. And then, the harm having been worked, the victim retaliates and escalates. The salvos go back and forth with increasing fervor, often including others as well. Meanwhile, Satan observes from the wings with delight as he reaps a bountiful harvest of anger, fear, bitterness, violence, and poisonous personal and social venom. Through such cycles, he is able to bring down friendships, families, cultures, and nations. Indeed, world wars can set much of the planet ablaze.

"This is Satan’s economy. Its currency is hatred and its coinage is revenge. He would have us develop diverse portfolios of grievances and fears, and fill our coffers with memories of past wrongs stretching back hundreds or even thousands of years. So clever are Satan's marketers that those who are consumers and suppliers think their vengeance is righteous - even holy. And so the economy of Satan grows and grows, fueled by vengeance, bankrolled by grievances.

"Into this economy, this cycle of violence and retribution, the Christian who bears wrongs patiently engages in the revolutionary act of saying, even if on a small scale, 'the cycle of violence, anger, and retribution ends with me.”'It is like throwing a wrench into the gears of Satan's economy. Even if it is just the bearing of very small wrongs, it slows the machine of hatred and retribution, and causes the economy of Satan to grind more slowly. The person who does this engages in a revolutionary act, a paradoxical act of sabotage. . . ."

In a recent commentary, Monsignor Charles Pope (pastor of Holy Comforter-Saint Cyprian Parish, Washington, DC) reflected on the spiritual works of mercy and their place in our lives. He then stated that he would like to focus a bit more on the spiritual works of mercy through occasional blog posts until he has covered all seven. One of these follow-up posts focused on the work "Bear Wrongs Patiently."

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

Community in Mission: Bear Wrongs Patiently – A Meditation on the 5th Spiritual Work of Mercy (1 JUN 15)

Reflection Starter from St. Josemaría Escrivá

"Christian optimism is not a sugary optimism, nor is it a mere human confidence that everything will turn out all right. It is an optimism that sinks its roots into an awareness of our freedom, and the sure knowledge of the power of grace. It is an optimism that leads us to make demands on ourselves, to struggle to respond at every moment to God's call." - Saint Josemaría Escrivá, whose memory the Church celebrates today.

24 June 2015

Lightning Safety Awareness Week

This week, the week of 21-27 June, is being observed as Lightning Safety Awareness Week. This year's theme, “Building Lightning Safe Communities,” is designed to emphasize the importance of protecting people, property, and places against the deadly, yet often underrated lightning threat.

Summer is the peak season for what is considered one of the nation’s deadliest weather phenomena – lightning. However, lightning strikes year round. In the United States, an average of 49 people are killed each year by lightning. To date, there has been nine deaths in 2015.


In addition, hundreds of people are permanently injured each year. People struck by lightning suffer from a variety of long-term, debilitating symptoms, including (but not limited to) memory loss, attention deficits, sleep disorders, chronic pain, numbness, dizziness, stiffness in joints, irritability, fatigue, weakness, muscle spasms, and depression.

For more information related to lightning safety, please visit:

National Weather Service: Lightning Safety

Lightning Protection Institute: Lightning Safety Awareness Week

Insurance Information Institute: YouTube: Beyond Thunder Dumb: When Lightning Strikes…

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the gift of butterflies - for their beauty and for the role they play in Your creation.

Tod Worner on the Role of Tradition

"He was a joyful man. Everybody felt so. Simply to look upon him was to experience the oft-forgotten word: Mirth. British journalist and author, G.K. Chesterton's exuberance, wit and charm were as large as his three hundred pound frame. He wrote puckish poems and humorous essays. He drank with the gruff (yet hilarious) Hilaire Belloc and exchanged clever poetry with his wife, Frances. Chesterton was the epitome of mirth. But he was also deadly serious. He argued (without quarreling) with intellectual giants like George Bernard Shaw, H.G. Wells and Clarence Darrow on matters of deep and lasting import. And while he could disarm his opponent with self-effacement and geniality, he would subsequently strike at the heart of the argument with uncanny precision and devastating effect. His weapon of choice? The endurance of Truth, the dignity of man, and the stubborn relevance of common sense."

In a recent commentary, wrier Tod Worner reflected on the ponderings of G. K. Chesterton and other Catholic thinkers regarding the role of tradition and the importance of, while celebrating what we are currently doing, pausing and considering what we may be undoing.

To access his complete post, please visit:

A Catholic Thinker: Don't Dismiss Tradition (A Letter to the Modern World) (10 JUN 15)

Reflection Starter from St. Thomas More

"The ordinary acts we practice every day at home are of more importance to the soul than their simplicity might suggest." - Saint Thomas More, whose memory the Church celebrated on Monday (22 June)

23 June 2015

Charlotte Church: "Amazing Grace"

As we continue to live this week, I offer this version of Charlotte Church presenting Amazing Grace:

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the gift of the spoken word.

Pope Francis Issues Encyclical "Laudato si'"

Pope Francis recently presented his Encyclical Laudato si', "on Care for our Common Home."

The Encyclical strives to seek to establish a dialogue with all - individuals as well as organizations and institutions - that share the same concerns as the Pope, approached from different perspectives, in a global situation that renders them increasingly intertwined and complementary.

The Encyclical takes its name from the invocation of St Francis of Assisi: "Laudato si' mi' Signore" "Praise be to you, my Lord." The reference to St. Francis also indicates the attitude upon which the entire encyclical is based, that of prayerful contemplation, which is designed to invite readers to look towards the 'poor one of Assisi' as a source of inspiration and as the quintessential example of "care for the vulnerable and of an integral ecology lived out joyfully and authentically."

For an overview of this encyclical, please visit:

Vatican Information Service: Overview of the Encyclical Laudato si' (18 JUN 15)

Media reports:

National Catholic Register: Pope Francis’s Environmental Encyclical: 13 Things to Know and Share (18 JUN 5)

Huffington Post: Pope Francis Releases 'Laudato Si' Encyclical And Lays Out Moral Case For Addressing Climate Change (18 JUN 15)

Baltimore Sun: Pope Francis' encyclical: a summons to a decision (19 JUN 15)

New York Times: Pope Francis, in Sweeping Encyclical, Calls for Swift Action on Climate Change (18 JUN 15) 

Reflection Starter from Leonardo da Vinci

"I have offended God and mankind because my work didn't reach the quality it should have." - Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci

22 June 2015

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the gift of good literature.

Catholic TV: Suggestions for Our Relationship with Jesus

"In [a recent daily] Gospel [reading], we hear something special from our Lord:

     "'I have called you friends.'

"Jesus tells us in no uncertain terms that he does not call us slaves; he calls us his friends. He doesn't want [to] live in disharmony with us - struggling to convince us to . . . act on his Word. Like a true friend, he wants to work with us, inspiring us to do and be better people, and walking with us along the way.

"But do we call Jesus friend? Do we welcome his company and guidance, delighting in him and staying in touch with him? Or do we leave him in the dust when he offers to walk with us?"

A recent Catholic TV message offered three suggestions to help us improve our relationship with Jesus.

To access this Catholic TV message, please visit:

Catholic TV: 3 Friendship Tips for Your Relationship with Jesus (8 MAY 15)

Reflection Starter

"Show up for your life." - from message board in front of First Baptist Church in America, Providence, RI

21 June 2015

On the Charlestown, SC, Shootings

The National Black Catholic Congress, Inc. (NBCC) and other Catholics throughout the United States are standing in prayer and solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Christ at the Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church in Charleston, South Carolina, and the AME Church worldwide and with the people of the City of Charleston and the State of South Carolina.

In a recent statement, the NBCC honored the great significance that the Mother Emanuel AME Church has in the history of the unite States. NBCC members (as have Catholics and other Christians throughout the nation) recommitted themselves to work with all people of good will to be instruments of peace and workers for justice and to strive to continue to advocate for respect for the dignity of human life. These efforts are aimed at including honest dialogue about racism, its continued effects upon our nation, and action to overcome them.

The members of the Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church and their supports have been tremendous examples of a Christian response to the massacre that took place at this church.

"Thou, Whose Almighty Word"

As our Sunday celebration continues, I offer this version of "Thou, Whose Almighty Word":

Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today the Church celebrates the Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time. The assigned readings are Job 38:1, 8-11; 2 Corinthians 5:14-17; and Mark 4:35-41. The Responsorial Psalm is Psalm 107 (Psalm 107:24-26, 28-31).

The Gospel reading is as follows:

On that day, as evening drew on, Jesus said to his disciples:"Let us cross to the other side."

Leaving the crowd, they took Jesus with them in the boat just as he was. And other boats were with him. A violent squall came up and waves were breaking over the boat, so that it was already filling up. Jesus was in the stern, asleep on a cushion.

They woke him and said to him,"Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?"

He woke up,rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, "Quiet! Be still!" The wind ceased and there was great calm.

Then he asked them, "Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?"

They were filled with great awe and said to one another, "Who then is this whom even wind and sea obey?"

Reflections on these readings:

Oblates of St. Francis de Sales: Sundays Salesian: 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time (June 21, 2015)

Oblates of St. Francis de Sales: Salesian Sunday Reflection: 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time (June 21, 2015)

Community in Mission: My Soul Looks Back and Wonders How I Got Over – A Homily for the 12th Sunday of the Year (20 JUN 15)

The Deacon's Bench: Homily for June 21, 2015: 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time (20 JUN 15)

Dr. Marcellino D’Ambrosio: The Socratic Method: Let me Ask you a Question

Word on Fire: The Storm at Sea (Cycle B * Ordinary Time * Week 12)

St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology: In the Storm: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time (15 JUN 15)

CWR Blog: Death, disease, demons and the deep (21 JUN 15)

Spirituality of the Readings: Parental Pains (12th Sunday of Ordinary Time B)

The Word Embodied: Incomprehensible Death (12th Sunday of Ordinary Time B)

Historical Cultural Context: Faith and Loyalty (12th Sunday of Ordinary Time B)

Thoughts from the Early Church: Commentary by Augustine (12th Sunday of Ordinary Time B)

Word to Life Radio Broadcast: Twelfth Sunday of Ordinary Time (19 JUN 15)

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the victory that is Yours.

Msgr. Pope on the Truth Contained in the Hymn, "Once to Every Man and Nation"

"There is a lesser known hymn, at least in Catholic circles, that is remarkably appropriate for our times. It challenges us to see the choice before us soberly, and encourages us with the fact that the victory is already ours if we choose Christ Jesus. In times like these we need courage and conviction; this hymn serves as a powerful anthem to such a call. I would like to present the verses of the hymn and supply commentary throughout. . . .

"The hymn, Once to Every Man and Nation was based on a poem written by James Russell Lowell. . . .

"Written over 160 years ago, Once to Every Man and Nation is a poignant reminder of who is in control of history, and who will ultimately write the last chapter.

"The basis for this hymn was Lowell's poem, 'The Present Crisis,' which spoke to the national crisis over slavery leading up to the Civil War.

"Lowell was right; the darkness of slavery could not ultimately prevail over the light of truth. This hymn can serve today to summon us to courage and to remind us that the increasing moral darkness of these present times cannot ultimately stand; the light of day will return. We have already won the victory in Christ Jesus."

In a recent commentary, Monsignor Charles Pope (pastor of Holy Comforter-Saint Cyprian Parish, Washington, DC) reflected on this hymn and on the truth it contains.

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

Community in Mission: A Summons to Courage and a Reminder of Victory in an Old Hymn (14 JUN 15)

Reflection Starter from Pope Francis

"Christians are witnesses not to a theory, but to a Person: Christ risen and alive, the one Saviour of all." - Pope Francis

18 June 2015

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the great gift of the Mass.

Bishop Tobin on Reverence at Mass

"After attending Sunday Mass in Florida not too long ago I came across the following admonition in the Sunday bulletin: 'Please come to Mass early enough not to disrupt. Leave late enough not to insult. (The Mass does not end until the final blessing). Worship reverently enough not to distract. And dress proudly enough not to offend.'

"'Now that little blurb contains some very useful reminders,' I said to myself. It addresses a recurring problem in some our churches these days – an habitual lack of reverence for the sacred mysteries taking place in our midst, especially when the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is being offered."

In a recent commentary, Bishop Thomas J. Tobin, of the Diocese of Providence (RI), reflected on the need for a spirit of reverence when participating in Holy Mass..

To access Bishop Tobin's complete essay, please visit:

Without A Doubt: The Holy Mass – "Let the Whole World Tremble" (11 JUN 15)

Reflection Starter from St. Bonaventure

"Christ is the lamp that illuminates the whole of Scripture: he is its gateway and its foundation. For this faith is behind all the supernatural enlightenments that we receive while we are still separated from the Lord and on our pilgrimage. It makes our foundation firm, it directs the light of the lamp, it leads us in through the gateway." - Saint Bonaventure

17 June 2015

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for kind words of encouragement.

What a Subway Ride Taught Me About Evangelization

A few months ago in this column, I shared a story about a subway ride to work during which the conductor asked everyone to smile and be more friendly to the strangers we encounter every day. Well, today I've got another subway story, this one having to do with evangelization.

It started when a man stepped onto the train and asked for everyone's attention. When you're jammed into a subway early in the morning, this kind of greeting usually results in sighs of exasperation - mine included. But this time was different.

Here's the gist of what this man had to say: "I'm not here to ask for money so relax. I’m just here to share a bit of news. I was originally at the L train station but it wasn't running so I made my way over here. On the way, I kept telling people I passed that the L train wasn't running, but they all just ignored me. Another passerby asked me why I was telling everybody about the train when they were ignoring me. I told him that I'm just responsible for passing on the message. What other people choose to do with it is up to them. But spreading the message is on me. So let me tell you this message this morning. God loves you. We need to look out for each other and be our brother's keeper. Let kids and the elderly have a seat on the train. Consider what God wants you to do."

Then he got off the train.  I've heard many a preacher on New York subways. They often adopt scolding tones or yell about repentance and sin. They hammer you over the head with the message that you have to accept Jesus, but I often find they do it in such a way that it's more likely to drive people away from Jesus.

On the other hand, you have this man who got people's attention, then started with a story and point that were non-religious and that most people could understand and relate to. He met people where they were at, not from some lofty religious height that morning commuters might automatically shut out. Finally, he brought God into his message in a positive, loving way - asking people to perform some concrete action and give a little thought to what God wants from them.  And then he left.

It was the first time I remember liking a "subway preacher" and I wonder if his approach was more effective than most of the people who do this.  It was a "soft sell," so to speak.

That's not to say that the message of repentance isn't important, but when you're standing on a crowded subway early in the morning, you're already a little aggravated. Some stranger coming in and yelling that you're a sinner is likely to just make you more aggravated. But when a man comes in speaking confidently yet humbly that God loves you, that message might linger. It might be one of those scattered seeds that falls on fertile ground and slowly takes root over time.

It's an approach that The Christophers have been using successfully for 70 years by highlighting the concept, "It's better to light one candle than to curse the darkness." And it’s an approach all of us should remember if we're given opportunities to share our faith. Start with, "God loves you," and let Him lead you from there.

(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 C. S. Lewis

"If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this." - C. S. Lewis

16 June 2015

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, lord, for the many ways You reach out to comfort Your people.

Msgr. Pope on the Spiritual Work of Mercy to Comfort the Sorrowful

"The fourth Spiritual Work of Mercy is to 'comfort the sorrowful.' Sometimes it is listed as to 'comfort the afflicted.' This description broadens the work just a bit and also fits more with the original notion of the word 'comfort,' . . . .

"But of all the spiritual works of mercy, comforting the sorrowful requires the greatest patience, sensitivity, and also silence. This is because sorrow (or grief) often has a life and logic of its own; often it must be allowed to run its course. Sometimes there is not a lot a person can say or do when grief is present. Grief is something we can rarely get around; we must simply go through it. Thus, comforting or consoling the sorrowful and grieving people in our life often involves a kind of silent and understanding accompaniment more so than words or actions. To listen and give understanding attention often provides the greatest value."

In a recent commentary, Monsignor Charles Pope (pastor of Holy Comforter-Saint Cyprian Parish, Washington, DC) reflected on the spiritual works of mercy and their place in our lives. He then stated that he would like to focus a bit more on the spiritual works of mercy through occasional blog posts until he has covered all seven. One of these follow-up posts focused on the work "Comfort the Sorrowful."

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

Msgr. Charles Pope: Comfort the Sorrowful – A Consideration of the Fourth Spiritual Work of Mercy (19 MAY 15)

Reflection Starter from John F. Kennedy

"Too often we . . . enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." - John F. Kennedy

15 June 2015

Mormon Tabernacle Choir: "You're a Grand Old Flag"

As we continue our celebration of Flag Week, I offer this version of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing "You're a Grand Old Flag":

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the many ways in which You work in this world that You have created.

Mark Shea on Credulity

"St. Thomas Aquinas was once tricked by his fellow students who cried out, 'Look! A flying ox!' Thomas dutifully went to the window to look and his peers all laughed at him heartily. Thomas' reply (and one of the many reasons he's a saint): 'I thought it more likely that an ox would fly than a Dominican would lie.'

"I think of that story as I read a piece on the Blessed Virgin  Mary allegedly appearing in Egypt that made the rounds some time back. Dunno if it's a real apparition or not, but the headline got me thinking.

"You see, I'm always rather leery of such stuff. But, I'm also not altogether convinced that this speaks very well of me."

In a recent commentary, writer Mark Shea reflected on the effects of belief in happenings, especially happenings related to God and His workings in the world, that other people do not find credible.

To access Mark's complete post, please visit:

National Catholic Register: Mark Shea: In Praise of Credulity (15 JUN 15)

Reflection Starter from Psalm 119

"Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light for my path." - Psalm 119:105

14 June 2015

Flag Day

Today is Flag Day, which marks the anniversary of the adoption by Congress of the Stars and Stripes as emblem of the nation (in 1777). This year celebrates the 238th birthday of the U.S. Flag.

Presidential Proclamation:

Presidential Proclamation - Flag Day and National Flag Week, 2015

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

“I am the Flag”

by Ruth Apperson Rous

I am the flag of the United States of America.

I was born on June 14, 1777, in Philadelphia.

There the Continental Congress adopted my stars and stripes as the national flag.

My thirteen stripes alternating red and white, with a union of thirteen white stars in a field of blue, represented a new constellation, a new nation dedicated to the personal and religious liberty of mankind.

Today fifty stars signal from my union, one for each of the fifty sovereign states in the greatest constitutional republic the world has ever known.

My colors symbolize the patriotic ideals and spiritual qualities of the citizens of my country.

My red stripes proclaim the fearless courage and integrity of American men and boys and the self-sacrifice and devotion of American mothers and daughters.

My white stripes stand for liberty and equality for all.

My blue is the blue of heaven, loyalty, and faith.

I represent these eternal principles: liberty, justice, and humanity.

I embody American freedom: freedom of speech, religion, assembly, the press, and the sanctity of the home.

I typify that indomitable spirit of determination brought to my land by Christopher Columbus and by all my forefathers – the Pilgrims, Puritans, settlers at James town and Plymouth.

I am as old as my nation.

I am a living symbol of my nation’s law: the Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights.

I voice Abraham Lincoln’s philosophy: “A government of the people, by the people,for the people.”

I stand guard over my nation’s schools, the seedbed of good citizenship and true patriotism.

I am displayed in every schoolroom throughout my nation; every schoolyard has a flag pole for my display.

Daily thousands upon thousands of boys and girls pledge their allegiance to me and my country.

I have my own law – Public Law 829, “The Flag Code” – which definitely states my correct use and display for all occasions and situations.

I have my special day, Flag Day. June 14 is set aside to honor my birth.
Americans, I am the sacred emblem of your country. I symbolize your birthright, your heritage of liberty purchased with blood and sorrow.

I am your title deed of freedom, which is yours to enjoy and hold in trust for posterity.

If you fail to keep this sacred trust inviolate, if I am nullified and destroyed, you and your children will become slaves to dictators and despots.

Eternal vigilance is your price of freedom.

As you see me silhouetted against the peaceful skies of my country, remind yourself that I am the flag of your country, that I stand for what you are – no more, no less.

Guard me well, lest your freedom perish from the earth.

Dedicate your lives to those principles for which I stand: “One nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

I was created in freedom. I made my first appearance in a battle for human liberty.
God grant that I may spend eternity in my “land of the free and the home of the brave” and that I shall ever be known as “Old Glory,” the flag of the United States of America.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Red Skelton's commentary on the Pledge of Allegiance:

Red Skelton's Pledge of Allegiance

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Background Information:

The History Of Flag Day

"All People That on Earth Do Dwell"

As we continue our Sunday celebration, I offer this version of "All People That on Earth Do Dwell":

Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today the Church celebrates the Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time. The assigned readings are Ezekiel 17:21-24, 2 Corinthians 5:6-10, and Mark 4:26-34. The Responsorial Psalm is Psalm 92 (Psalm 92:2-3, 13-16).

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

YouTube: Responsorial Psalm - Psalm 92 Lord it is Good to Give Thanks to You O God

The Gospel reading is as follows:

Jesus said to the crowds: "This is how it is with the kingdom of God; it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land and would sleep and rise night and day and through it all the seed would sprout and grow, he knows not how. Of its own accord the land yields fruit, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. And when the grain is ripe, he wields the sickle at once, for the harvest has come."

He said, "To what shall we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable can we use for it? It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth. But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade."

With many such parables he spoke the word to them as they were able to understand it. Without parables he did not speak to them, but to his own disciples he explained everything in private.

Reflections on these readings:

Oblates of St. Francis de Sales: Sundays Salesian: Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time (June 14, 2015)

Oblates of St. Francis de Sales: Salesian Sunday Reflection: Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time (June 14, 2015)

Community in Mission: If You Can Use Anything Lord, You Can Use Me - Homily for the 11th Sunday of the Year (13 JUN 15)

The Deacon's Bench: Homily for June 14, 2015: 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time (13 JUN 15)

Word on Fire: Walking By Faith and Not By Sight (Cycle B * Ordinary Time * Week 11)

Dr. Scott Hahn: Tree of Righteousness: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time (8 JUN 15)

CWR Blog: Providence, Prosperity, and Purpose (13 JUN 15)

Spirituality of the Readings: Grow Unobserved (11th Sunday of Ordinary Time B)

The Word Embodied: Imperceptible Life (11th Sunday of Ordinary Time B)

Historical Cultural Context: Seed (11th Sunday of Ordinary Time B)

Thoughts from the Early Church: Commentary by Peter Chrysologus (11th Sunday of Ordinary Time B)

Word to Life Radio Broadcast: Eleventh Sunday of Ordinary Time (12 JUN 15)

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for Your Kingdom and all of its beauty.

Community in Mission: On Setting Focus and Simplifying

"Life is filled with distractions and one of the most critical decisions we make from moment to moment is choosing what to focus on. Brain scientists have studied for years how our eyes and ears, along with our brain do in fact filter out lots of background data. Otherwise our stress levels would be overwhelming at we sought to process every sound, image, movement and change in our immediate surroundings. Focus is essential lest we be overwhelmed

"It is the same in the spiritual life. Setting our focus on the Lord and His Kingdom is essential for us, lest the burdens, distractions and often trivial things of this world overwhelm and stress us. Daily prayer, ever deeper immersion in the truths of God and practicing the presence of God are essential practices that help filter out the less important things."

In a recent commentary, Monsignor Charles Pope (pastor of Holy Comforter-Saint Cyprian Parish, Washington, DC) reflected on the importance of simplifying our lives by focusing on 
on the Lord and His Kingdom.

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

Msgr. Charles Pope: Set your focus and simplify, as seen in a commercial (12 JUN 15)

Reflection Starter from Pope Francis

"We need to build up society in the light of the Beatitudes, walking towards the Kingdom with the least among us." - Pope Francis

12 June 2015

Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus

Today the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. The assigned readings are Hosea 11:1, 3-4, 8-9; Ephesians 3:8-12, 14-19; and John 19:31-37. The Responsorial Psalm is from Isaiah 12 (Isaiah 12:2-6).

Today's Gospel reading is as follows:

Since it was preparation day, in order that the bodies might not remain on the cross on the sabbath, for the sabbath day of that week was a solemn one, the Jews asked Pilate that their legs be broken and they be taken down. So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and then of the other one who was crucified with Jesus. But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs, but one soldier thrust his lance into his side, and immediately blood and water flowed out.

An eyewitness has testified, and his testimony is true; he knows that he is speaking the truth, so that you also may come to believe. For this happened so that the Scripture passage might be fulfilled: "Not a bone of it will be broken." And again another passage says: "They will look upon him whom they have pierced."

Reflection on the Sacred Heart of Jesus:

Saint Josemaria Escriva Homily: Sacred Heart of Jesus (17 June 1966)

A Concord Pastor Comments: Pause for Prayer: FRIDAY 6/7 (6 JUN 13)

YouTube: Fr. James Kubicki on the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Background information:

Annun Sacrum: Encyclical of Pope Leo XIII on Consecration to the Sacred Heart

Haurietis Aquas: Encyclical of Pope Pius XII on Devotion to the Sacred Heart

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the many ways in which You demonstrate Your great love for us.

2015 Peter's Pence Collection

The 2015 Annual Peter's Pence Collection will be taken up in many dioceses the weekend of 27-28 June. Through this collection, Catholics have an opportunity to support the humanitarian and charitable works of Pope Francis that reach out to the marginalized and poor.

The theme for the collection is "Be a Witness of Charity," emphasizing the need to show the mercy of God to others. Donations to this annual worldwide collection help the pope support victims of war and religious persecution, natural disasters, and those suffering around the world.

"Through the Peter's Pence Collection individuals can join with Pope Francis in providing much needed care and relief to those who find themselves suffering or on the margins," said Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr of Cincinnati, chairman of the Committee on National Collections of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops., in a prepared statement. "This collection is a way to be a witness to the love of Christ in unity with Catholics all around the world."

Reflection Starter from George Washington Carver

"Our creator is the same and never changes despite the names given Him by people here and in all parts of the world. Even if we gave Him no name at all, He would still be there, within us, waiting to give us good on this earth." - George Washington Carver

11 June 2015

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the blessings You offer through a Catholic school education.

The Kid from Jesuit

In case you hadn't noticed, that was a breath of fresh air breezing through the golf world. It's been building for a few years, but it really came to life this past April, when Jordan Spieth turned in a record-breaking performance to win the Masters. He's only 21, and he faced down some veteran players, and in the process he felt pretty good about himself. So did the rest of us, golf fans and non-fans alike.

What amazes everyone is the way Spieth blends his youth with a maturity beyond his years, and it's really no stretch at all to trace it to his schooling back in Dallas, his home town. Listen to Steve Koch, the athletic director at Jesuit College Preparatory School, which claims Spieth as a graduate of its class of 2011: "He says what he believes. He believes in supporting others, taking care of others before he takes care of himself."

Or listen to Colette Corbin of St. Monica’s, Spieth's elementary school: "Jordan was always respectful to staff and students alike. He was one of those kids that would just stay and help clean up in the cafeteria if he saw that I was short of students helping. He was considerate of others' feelings and tried to include other students that might otherwise not be part of a group."

They were among those who spoke to Seth Gonzales of The Texas Catholic, the Dallas diocesan newspaper, for a story distributed by Catholic News Service. Dallas was where Spieth was already something of a local celebrity when he was named Junior Golfer of the Year and led his high school golf team to three state championships.

The Jesuit golf coach, Cathy Marino, remembers that while Spieth obviously stood out as a golfer, he was always "one of the guys." Herself a 10-year veteran of the LPGA, she continued: "He was a regular high school kid a lot of the time and I was glad to see that. I think that's important, especially once you turn pro and it becomes a business."

Spieth's biggest fan says something about his priorities. She's his teen-age sister, Ellie, and she's autistic. His concern for her, at golf courses all over the country, is already the stuff of legend, and he made sure he had his family with him at Augusta, Georgia, when he won the Masters. So were his high school buddies - but not the Jesuit golf team, getting ready for a tournament of their own. Jesuit golfer Cameron Suhy summed up their reaction:

"It was pretty nerve-wracking the whole week, just watching him having to sit on the lead, but when he finally pulled it out it definitely gave our team a lot of confidence. We saw that a kid from Jesuit could win on golf's biggest stage."

There's a long road ahead for Jordan Spieth, and it will be interesting to see if he'll always be "the kid from Jesuit."  Michael Earsing, president of the school, will be a watchful observer.

"“I think it's a hope of everybody who works in Catholic education," he said, "that you see somebody who is achieving at such a high level, who is also a wonderful model for our students. Jordan is just the common man who achieves greatness, through the blessings and talent God has given him to the maximum."

(This essay is this week's "Light One Candle" column, written by Jerry Costello, 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

Jordan Spieth

Reflection Starter from Albert Camus

"What the world requires of the Christians is that they should continue to be Christians." - Albert Camus

10 June 2015

Thank You, Lord

Thank You, Lord, for the daily tasks You entrust to us.

Br. Nicholas Schneider, O.P., on Responsibilities and Stewardship

"As Dominican novices and student brothers we have house jobs, ranging from blue collar cleaning jobs to white collar administrative jobs, and they all support the community in some manner.  You can tell a lot about a particular house job from the title.  Some are traditional, like 'sacristan' and 'guest master'; some are descriptive, like 'third floor cleaner' and 'common room cleaner'; and some have fancy titles, like 'car czar' and 'lavator magnus.' Generally, the fancier the title, the less desirable the job.  Some of these jobs are very public, like baker and those involved with liturgy. Everything gets noticed and you will often be praised or criticized for what you did or failed to do.  However, most jobs don't garner much recognition, except when something goes wrong. No one notices the cleaning and vacuuming of the third floor unless the dust piles up and brothers start writing messages on the furniture.

"In addition to actually assisting in the operation and maintenance of the house, these house jobs provide great lessons in the virtue of stewardship. We are stewards here, not owners, and there are four important aspects of this stewardship.  First, we are given a job by the Student Master and trained by another brother who has previously performed the task.  Second, we are called to perform responsibly and to the best of our ability.  Third, at the end of the semester we pass the job on. In training another brother, we give an account for what we have done.  Fourth, we leave it behind and move on to another responsibility."

In a recent commentary, Brother Nicholas Schneider, O.P., reflected on our call to stewardship in accepting tasks given to us and freely relinquishing those which have passed onto others.

To access Br. Nicholas' complete post, please visit:

Dominicana: House Jobs (2 JUN 15)

Reflection Starter from G. K. Chesterton

"An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered." - Gilbert Keith Chesterton

09 June 2015

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the chorus of bird songs that You offer to us.

Randy Hain on Integrating Faith and Work

“How do we integrate our faith with our work? If you think about it, most of us will likely spend the majority of our adult (awake) lives in the workplace. A typical eight-hour work day accounts for a third of the total day, with the other two-thirds devoted to sleeping, family, friends, faith, and so on. In the practice of our faith, do we consider the workplace as an opportunity to be open about our Catholic faith or do we ignore this vital time and only think about being Catholic the other sixteen hours a day?

"I suspect many of us will agree that the workplace today is perceived as a challenging environment to be open about our Christian beliefs. Political correctness and rigid company policies have led many of us to compartmentalize our faith in an unhealthy and unnatural way. I often hear people say, 'I just leave my faith at the door when I get to work.' But how can we possibly separate our spiritual selves from our physical being?”

In a recent commentary, writer Randy Hain, Senior Editor for The Integrated Catholic Life, reflected on a number of ways in which one may continue to live their faith in a work environment.

To access Mr. Hain's complete essay, please visit:

The Font: Six Practical Ideas for Integrating Faith and Work (20 APR 15)

Reflection Starter from Isaac Newton

“In the absence of any other proof, the thumb alone would convince me of God's existence.” - Isaac Newton

08 June 2015

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the many ways in which You encourage us and help us as we face the challenges before us each day.

Russell Shaw on Religious Persecution in the United States

"The persecution of the Catholic Church and other morally conservative religious bodies has begun in the United States. As predicted, it isn't - thank God - bloody persecution like the persecution of Christians in many countries. But it's real persecution, and likely to get worse.

"This new persecution currently has two prongs.

"One consists of pressuring individual religious believers to cooperate with public policies inimical to faith. The other prong is pressure targeted at religious groups and institutions to adapt their programs to the promotion of values hostile to the sponsors' moral convictions."

In a recent commentary, writer Russell Shaw reflected on the forms of religious persecution now affecting the people of the United States.

To access Mr. Shaw's complete post, please visit:

The Font: America Embraces Era of Religious Persecution (1 JUN 15)

Reflection Starter

"A good word now is worth ten on a headstone." - New England Proverb

07 June 2015

"Pange Lingua Gloriosi Corporis Mysterium"

As our celebration of Corpus Christi continues, I offer this version of Saint Thomas Aquinas ' "Pange Lingua Gloriosi Corporis Mysterium":

The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi)

Today the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi). The assigned readings are Exodus 24:3-8; Hebrews 9:11-15; and Mark 14:12-16, 22-26. The Responsorial Psalm is Psalm 116 (Psalm 116:12-13, 15-18).

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

YouTube: Psalm 116: I Will Take the Cup of Salvation, and Call On the Name of the Lord. by Keith Ballentine

The Gospel reading is as follows:

On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, when they sacrificed the Passover lamb, Jesus' disciples said to him, "Where do you want us to go and prepare for you to eat the Passover?"

He sent two of his disciples and said to them, "Go into the city and a man will meet you, carrying a jar of water. Follow him. Wherever he enters, say to the master of the house, 'The Teacher says, "Where is my guest room where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?"' Then he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready. Make the preparations for us there."

The disciples then went off, entered the city, and found it just as he had told them; and they prepared the Passover. While they were eating, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, gave it to them, and said, "Take it; this is my body." Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, and they all drank from it. He said to them,"This is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed for many. Amen, I say to you, I shall not drink again the fruit of the vine until the day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God."

Then, after singing a hymn,they went out to the Mount of Olives.

Reflections on these readings:

Oblates of St. Francis de Sales: Sundays Salesian: Body and Blood Of Jesus Christ (June 7, 2015)

Oblates of St. Francis de Sales: Salesian Sunday Reflection: Body and Blood Of Jesus Christ (June 7, 2015)

Msgr. Charles Pope: Unless! A Homily for the Solemnity of Corpus Christi (6 JUN 15)

Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio: The Eucharist: The Real Presence of the Body and Blood of Christ?

Word on Fire: Jesus' Sacrifice (Solemnities * Corpus Christi)

Dr. Scott Hahn: Blood of the Covenant: Scott Hahn Reflects on Corpus Christi (1 JUN 15)

CWR Blog: The Bible and the Eucharist (6 JUN 15)

Spirituality of the Readings: Indelicate Question (The Body and Blood of Christ)

The Word Embodied: An Embodied God (The Body and Blood of Christ)

Historical Cultural Context: The Meaning of a Meal (The Body and Blood of Christ)

Thoughts from the Early Church: Commentary by John Chrysostom (The Body and Blood of Christ)

Word to Life Radio Broadcast: Corpus Christi (5 JUN 15)

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the gift of Your Real Presence in the most Blessed Sacrament.

Msgr. Pope on the Purpose of Aridity in the Spiritual Life

"None of us who commit to prayer and the spiritual life enjoy those periods during which prayer, liturgy, or spiritual reading seem dry or dull. But such moments are necessary - or so it would seem - for God permits them. If something were always pleasant, we would not be sure if we loved God or merely the pleasantries. An old saying asks if we love the consolations of God or the God of all consolation. It is the dry and difficult times that help us to determine the answer."

In a recent commentary, Monsignor Charles Pope (pastor of Holy Comforter-Saint Cyprian Parish, Washington, DC) reflected on the importance of periods of dryness in our spiritual lives.

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

Msgr. Charles Pope: On the Purpose of Aridity in the Spiritual Life (3 JUN 15)

Reflection Starter from Pope Francis

"The light of the Gospel guides all who put themselves at the service of the civilization of love." - Pope Francis

05 June 2015

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the blessing of well-prepared nourishing food.

Br. Dominic Mary Verner, O.P., on Chefs' Culinary Creations and the Celebration of Corpus Christi

"'Compliments to the chef,' you tell the waitress. You never met the man behind the meal. He could be a big burly fellow with tattooed arms and a booming voice. Or maybe he's tall and trim, straight-laced and no-nonsense. You've never seen him, because the cook plies his trade of spice and heat, meat and blade beyond the veil of the kitchen's swing-hinged double-doors. But even though you've never seen him, you know a good meal when you taste one; you know when compliments are due.

"But as the waitress carries your compliments through those portals, you consider for a moment whether your appreciation really meets the mark. Getting caught up again into one of your more philosophical moods, it dawns on you that the art of a cook is no mere art to be complimented - cooking is the art of staving off death with style.

"Beyond those gates, which open and close with a shudder and crack, deep in his culinary kingdom, the cook sets about unlocking the esculent power of the dead to become a feast for the living. In his hands, by his blade and flame, dead flora and fauna are forged into a tasty treatment to keep death at bay. If you eat, you may go on living - if you give up eating, you will die. It is the magic of the cook to draw your mind from the somber reason for your meal to focus on the delightful taste of the remedy."

In a recent commentary, Brother Dominic Mary Verner, O.P., reflected on the blessing of a chef preparing a good meal and its relationship to our celebration of Corpus Christi.

To access Br. Dominic Mary's complete post, please visit:

Dominicana: Compliments to the Chef (4 JUN 15)