Archive for January 2010

A prophet in his home town

January 30, 2010

It’s less than a year until the 10th anniversary of Pope John Paul II’s letter Novo Millennio Ineunte (“At the Beginning of the New Millennium”).  In it, he challenges us with this:

…is it not the Church’s task to reflect the light of Christ in every historical period, to make his face shine also before the generations of the new millennium?
Our witness, however, would be hopelessly inadequate if we ourselves had not first contemplated his face.
.                                                                                             — NMI, n. 16

This Sunday’s Gospel reading is an especially fertile passage for contemplating the face of Christ.  Here are some of the ‘faces of Christ’ that I found:

  • 1 – the face of Christ upon whom all eyes were fixed
    2 – the face of Christ empowered by the Holy Spirit
    3 – the  face of Christ declaring truth
    4 – the face of Christ secure in the knowledge that the Father was “well pleased” with him (cf. Lk 3:22)
    5 – the face of Christ confident in his role as Son of God
    6 – the face of Christ faithfully revealing his mission
    7 – the face of Christ desiring that his people would embrace this news of their long-awaited restoration
    8 – the face of Christ hopeful that his people would recognize and accept their Messiah
    9 – the face of Christ sensing the doubt arising in the hearts of his hearers
    10 – the face of Christ recognizing the dissipation of their acceptance of him
    11 – the face of Christ hearing the doubt expressed verbally by some in the assembly
    12 – the face of Christ aligning himself with the great prophets rejected by Israel
    13 – the face of Christ delivering the hard word
    14 – the face of Christ reminding the people of how, when their ancestors were unfaithful, blessings were instead sent to Gentiles
    15 – the face of Christ being subjected to the anger and abuse of the crowd
    16 – the face of Christ being forced out of the city
    17 – the face of Christ devoid of even the slightest desire to return violence for violence, passing through the angry mob unharmed

A Catholic unfamiliar with Jewish law might not realize that when the mob “led him to the brow of the hill…to hurl him down headlong,” they intended to stone him to death, and this was just the initial step in that process.  This is explained by Henri Daniel-Rops in his book “Daily Life in the Time of Jesus“:

…the condemned man was to be taken to a cliff the ‘height of two men’ and one of the accusers was to throw him down backwards, obviously to stun him by the fall or to break his back; it was only after this that the stones were to be thrown, and the first was to be aimed at his heart.

Msgr Romano Guardini, commenting on this Gospel passage in his book “The Lord,” makes the following observation:

At the bottom of the human heart, side by side with longing for the eternal source and fulfillment of all things, lurks resistance to that source:  elementary sin in its lair.  Seldom does it confront holiness openly; almost always it strikes at the bearer of holiness: at the prophet, the apostle, the saint, the confirmed believer.  Such people do irritate.  Something in us finds the very presence of one dedicated to God unbearable.  We revolt against him, ‘justifying’ our distaste with his shortcomings (naturally, there are always shortcomings) or with his sins.  How could such a person be a bearer of sanctity!  Or perhaps it is only his weaknesses (which from our dour viewpoint of rejection immediately swell perniciously), or his eccentricities that are so maddening – nothing is more trying than the eccentricities of a saint!  In short, the fact that he is a human, finite being is too much to bear……And the sharpest criticism, the most impatient rejection of holiness is always to be found in the prophet’s own home.

In “Praying the Gospels,” Fr Lovasik includes these sentiments in his prayer based upon this passage of Sacred Scripture:

I can imagine what Your Heart feels as you are seized and led away to death through the streets of Your home town by those who were Your neighbors and townsmen, and to whom You had surely shown much kindness…Teach me to be patient in bearing the disappointments caused by my own friends. 

Bp Serratelli — Part 2

January 29, 2010

Last week I posted the first installment of an article on family life from Bp Serratelli’s weekly column.  The concluding episode is now available.

For husbands, fathers and sons…

January 28, 2010

…an article by Mike Aquilina (link on right sidebar) via Happy Catholic in which he honors — and shares lessons learned from — his father and grandfather.

Syracuse

January 27, 2010

One month from today our brethren in Syracuse will be gathering for their annual Men’s Conference.  Last year’s talks by Rick Santorum and Fr Stan Fortuna can be heard here.

The prayer of the poor in spirit

January 26, 2010

Six of the seven Offices of the Church’sLiturgy of the Hours” begin with this form of the invocation found in Psalm 70:2

God, come to my assistance;
      Lord, make haste to help me.

John Cassian, in his Conference Ten (“On Prayer”), extols the efficaciousness of this verse for our prayer life.  He begins with this:  (see the very bottom of Page 132 here)

To keep the thought of God always in your mind you must cling totally to this formula for piety: ‘Come to my help, O God; Lord, hurry to my rescue.’

It is not without good reason that this verse has been chosen from the whole of Scripture as a device.

He exposes the wealth and value of this Scriptural entreaty over the next few pages, and begins the conclusion of his consideration of this verse with these two paragraphs: (starting at the bottom of Page 135)

Our prayer for rescue in bad times and for protection against pride in good times should be founded on this verse.  The thought of this verse should be turning unceasingly in your heart.  Never cease to recite it in whatever task or service or journey you find yourself.  Think upon it as you sleep, as you eat, as you submit to the most basic demands of nature.  This heartfelt thought will prove to be a formula of salvation for you.  Not only will it protect you against all devilish attack, but it will purify you from the stain of all earthly sin and will lead you on to the contemplation of the unseen and the heavenly and to that fiery urgency of prayer which is indescribable and which is experienced by very few.  Sleep should come upon you as you meditate on this verse until as a result of your habit of resorting to its words you get in the habit of repeating them even in your slumbers.

This verse should be the first thing to occur to you when you wake up.  It should precede all your thoughts as you keep vigil.  It should take you over as you rise from your bed and go to kneel.  After this it should accompany you in all your works and deeds.  It should be at your side at all times.  Following the precept of Moses, you will think upon it ‘as you sit at home or walk along your way’ (Dt 6:7), as you sleep or when you get up.  You will write it upon the threshold and gateway of your mouth, you will place it on the wall of your house and in the inner sanctum of your heart.  It will be a continuous prayer, an endless refrain when you bow down in prostration and when you rise up to do all the necessary things of life.

Please pray now

January 25, 2010

I came across the following in our blog stats just now:

These are the search terms people used when clicking into our blog.   Whoever found us on that last search needs help. 

Today

Search Views
divine mercy 4
guardian of the redeemer 2
“guardian of the redeemer” 1
divine mercy image 1
clinic in st.thomas that do aborshion 1

There is a mother and child in great need of grace right now.  I’d ask that you take a moment right now, and pray.  Pray hard.

Meet the Ashley CMF group

January 23, 2010

Here’s a pic from this morning’s gathering of the Catholic men’s fellowship group that meets at St Leo’s parish hall in Ashley every Saturday at 7:30:

Clockwise from the left:  Christian, Fr Robert Kelleher, Jim, John, Pat, Joe, Miguel, Jay & Jeff.

New participants are always welcome!