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A Life of Prayer Centered on the Holy Mass

On November 15, 2017, Pope Francis addressed the crowd gathered for the weekly audience and explained that to illustrate the beauty of the Eucharistic celebration, he wanted to begin with a very simple aspect and said  Mass is prayer; rather, it is prayer par excellence, the loftiest, the most sublime, and at the same time the most 'concrete.' In fact it is the loving encounter with God through his Word and the Body and Blood of Jesus. It is an encounter with the Lord.To understand better what Pope Francis meant, we need to consider first what prayer is. First of all, prayer is a dialogue, a personal relationship with God. Man was created as a being in a personal relationship with God who finds his complete fulfillment only in the encounter with his Creator. The path of life leads toward the definitive encounter with the Lord.
Pope Francis went on to say that “praying, as every true dialogue, is also knowing how to be in silence — in dialogues there are moments of silence — in s…
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Building Coherence and Unity of Life

Christ cannot stop being who He is as he walks around the land, sleeps in the boat, has dinner with friends, preaches to the multitudes or performs miracles. Similarly a Christian cannot stop being Christian in all aspects of life, including secular activities. I copy from St. Josemaria Escriva in The Way, n. 353: “Nonsectarianism. Neutrality. Old myths that always try to seem new. Have you ever stopped to think how absurd it is to leave one's Catholicism aside on entering a university, a professional association, a cultural society, or Parliament, like a man leaving his hat at the door?” 

St. Josemaría is not inviting us to make a show of our Catholicism, or to act in a way that is not compatible with our reality as lay members of the Church. What he wants is that each of us, in our particular circumstances, consider carefully the external and clear demands of unity of life in our work and social life. It takes courage (which can be considerable, given the circumstances of the tim…

Ordinary Time.

We've come to that time of year where there is a little bit of a lull - Halloween is on the horizon, but we aren't experiencing the busy-ness that usually is associated with the holiday seasons (Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter). And we're not in "vacation mode" that the months of summer often bring (though with the weather the way it's been, maybe you haven't quite shaken the vacation mode just yet!)

The Church even calls this time "Ordinary." So what does that mean for our spiritual life?

It's so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day, ordinary activities of our lives which can leave our spiritual life just sort of there in all of its ordinariness too. For me, personally, this time of year brings on the monotony of work which can be busy some days but then run-of-the-mill on others. And my attitude toward my spiritual life also seems to become more relaxed, which leaves me prone to temptation and sin.

So how can I avoid that? Below are som…

On Christian Hope (it's not just any kind of hope...)

Once again we are left stricken and horrified by the brutal massacre of innocent people in Las Vegas. We claim to our Lord, ‘Why, Lord, why?’ And it is only in prayer that we can find some solace and renew our hope (and our faith and our charity).

Isaiah 40: “Comfort, comfort my people…” On December 7 of last year, Pope Francis had a lot to say about hope, and his words are like a blueprint for our own reflection. Hope, he said, “is very important, because hope never disappoints." Optimism disappoints, but hope does not! We have such need, in these times which appear dark, in which we sometimes feel disoriented at the evil and violence which surrounds us, at the distress of so many of our brothers and sisters. We need hope! We feel disoriented and even rather discouraged, because we are powerless and it seems this darkness will never end. 
We must not let hope abandon us, because God, with his love, walks with us. “I hope, because God is beside me"... we can all say this. Each …

Saint Stalkers Revisited

On October 1, the Church celebrates the feast day of one of my favorite saints, St. Therese of Lisieux. A little over a year ago, I wrote a reflection on our original blog space about St. Therese as one of my personal saint stalkers. In the spirit of celebrating her feast day tomorrow, I thought it might be a good time to revisit and update the post. The original post is reproduced in its entirety below. --Have you ever had a saint stalker? A member of the recognized communion of saints who just keeps popping up in your life? You probably have -- you just might not have noticed it. I think I’ve had a few saint stalkers in my day, but the one who is currently trying to get my attention and help save my soul is none other than St. Therese of Lisieux. She’s been hard at work with me for nearly 4 years now. Yes, you read that correctly: Four. Long. Years. (Edit: Since this was written in 2016, it's been 5 years now.)

When did I first realize that St. Therese was saint stalking me? It’…

Anger, Wrath, & W.W.J.D.

The Gospel message we hear in Matthew 18: 21-35 can make me feel uneasy at times. In this passage, we hear of a servant who begs his master for forgiveness for a huge debt and receives it; but when a fellow servant asks forgiveness of a much smaller debt, he refuses mercy and compassion and demands repayment immediately. When the master catches wind of this, he seizes the servant he forgave and has him tortured until he can repay his massive debt, thereby pretty much ruining his life.

Ouch. Reality check!

How often have I obsessed over small things and refused others forgiveness for something that's admittedly petty? Forgiveness does as much, if not more, for us as it does for the one who is forgiven. But it's not the easiest thing to do, especially when offenses are large and are tied to deep emotions.

The Book of Sirach tells us that anger and wrath are hateful things -- things that sinners cling to. And while 'rising above' is definitely not easy, the simple act it …

Acts 17: 22-31

As we pondered in what direction to take our new home for spiritual growth reflections, this account from Acts of the Apostles of St. Paul preaching to the Athenians came to mind.

“You Athenians, I see that in every respect you are very religious. For as I walked around looking carefully at your shrines, I even discovered an altar inscribed, ‘To an Unknown God.’ What therefore you unknowingly worship, I proclaim to you.

The God who made the world and all that is in it, the Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in sanctuaries made by human hands, nor is he served by human hands because he needs anything. Rather it is he who gives to everyone life and breath and everything. He made from one the whole human race to dwell on the entire surface of the earth, and he fixed the ordered seasons and the boundaries of their regions, so that people might seek God, even perhaps grope for him and find him, though indeed he is not far from any one of us. For ‘In him we live and move and have our…