Faith, Not Philosophy: Homily for Tuesday, September 12, 2017

To listen to the entire homily, click here.

Readings for Today

There are some people who are very clever.  They speak eloquently. We might even admire what they say.  But we can never confuse this with faith.  Faith is not always about the right words, smart thought, or philosophy. Faith is faith.  It is about believing and trusting in God.

This philosophical approach was used by Paul.  But it was not successful.  That is because faith is about a personal relationship with Jesus.  It is not simply about thinking, or “cleverly concocted myths”, but is about allowing Jesus into our lives and hearts.

The Comfort of the Rosary: Homily for Friday, September 15, 2017

To listen to the entire homily, click here.

Readings for Today

Whenever I am in distress, I find the rosary a particularly helpful devotion. And today’s memorial tells us why.  Mary suffered.  She understands it.  And in her suffering, she provides a model: stay close to God and do what he says. So it only stands to reason that Mary would understand our suffering too.  And she would pray that her son would ease our suffering.

Every major religion in the world has some type of repetitive prayer. By praying the rosary, we are reminded of the events of salvation. We can meditate on what Jesus does for us.  And we can have the prayer from the woman who truly understands us.

Be prepared: Homily for Friday, September 1, 2017

To listen to the homily, click here.

Readings for Today

I was only a boy scout for one day.  The meeting time conflicted with religious education classes, and so I was not able to be a boy scout.  I did learn enough that first day, however, to know that being prepared is an important motto.  Boy scouts always make sure they have what they need.  In rain or snow, sun or cold, boy scouts had what they needed.

Being prepared is a good motto for the spiritual life too.  We must always be ready to have whatever it is that Jesus wants to give us. We must be ready for whatever moments he is present.  How do we do this? We do this by being ready in prayer, in the sacraments, at Mass, and in all other ways our prayer life can be strengthened.  And when we do this, it is at those times that we find ourselves prepared.

Sanctifying: Homily for Thursday, August 31, 2017

Listen to the homily.

Readings for Today

Jesus tells his followers to pray always.  Just how is this done? In the midst of our responsibilities, how can we follow this command? The Church, thankfully, through the saints, and through her liturgies, provides the solution.  There is the prayer known as the “Liturgy of the Hours”, with prayers designed to occur at various moments of the day.  There are websites like the bishops’ website that provide the daily readings.

And then there is the little effort to see that all we do can be seen as a way of praying and sanctifying the day.  Loving actions parents make for the children is a type of sanctification.  Making a meal, working at a job, and other aspects of our daily endeavors can be seen as ways to sanctifying our day.  Hopefully, though, it is by taking a little time in silent prayer that we find the presence of God in our lives.

Hypocrite: Homily for Thursday, August 17, 2017

To listen to the entire homily, click here.

Readings for Today

I am a hypocrite.  I say one thing and do another.  I believe in the forgiveness of God, but I do not forgive.  I proclaim a belief in grace, but I ignore grace.  Truth be told I am a sinner.  Today’s gospel focuses on being a hypocrite.  There is a man who has been granted great mercy but cannot show it to others.  Why? How is it that this happened? How did the man wind up in this situation?

It may have been for a reason the man thought was good.  If he could scrape together even a little bit of money, perhaps he could see his image go up in the opinion of the king.  There are times when we get so focused on one goal, we allow it to overtake the way we act.  The man who was forgiven did harm.  He sinned against human dignity.  He failed to appreciate the mercy of the.  And when it comes to God our king, we can do the same.

 

Seeking Silence: Homily for Sunday, August 13, 2017

To listen to the entire homily, click here.

Readings for Today

Today’s first reading is one of my favorite readings.  Despite all of the marvelous things God has done, people’s hearts are not being changed.  In fact, it seems the more Elijah shows God’s power, the worse it gets for him. He wants to die. But in an ever so silent way, God comes to Elijah. But not dramatically, as in an earthquake, fire or mighty wind, but in a tiny whispering sound.

It can be so hard today to find a tiny whispering sound.  We are so distracted.  There is so much noise around us.  Cell phones, tablets, computers, and more.  We are constantly bombarded with outside information and distractions.  And while there is good to these devices, there is also a challenge.  Do they bring us closer to God, or do they drive God away?

Daily Prayer: July 22, 2017

St Mary Magdalene, you came with springing tears to the spring of mercy, Christ; from him your burning thirst was abundantly refreshed through him your sins were forgiven; by him your bitter sorrow was consoled.

My dearest lady, well you know by your own life how a sinful soul can be reconciled with its creator, what counsel a soul in misery needs, what medicine will restore the sick to health.

It is enough for us to understand, dear friend of God, to whom were many sins forgiven, because she loved much.

Most blessed lady, I who am the most evil and sinful of men do not recall your sins as a reproach, but call upon the boundless mercy by which they were blotted out.

This is my reassurance, so that I do not despair; this is my longing, so that I shall not perish.

I say this of myself, miserably cast down into the depths of vice, bowed down with the weight of crimes, thrust down by my own hand into a dark prison of sins, wrapped round with the shadows of darkness.

Therefore, since you are now with the chosen because you are beloved and are beloved because you are chosen of God, I, in my misery, pray to you, in bliss; in my darkness, I ask for light; in my sins, redemption; impure, I ask for purity.

Recall in loving kindness what you used to be, how much you needed mercy, and seek for me that same forgiving love that you received when you were wanting it. Ask urgently that I may have the love that pierces the heart; tears that are humble; desire for the homeland of heaven; impatience with this earthly exile; searing repentance; and a dread of torments in eternity.

Turn to my good that ready access that you once had and still have to the spring of mercy.

Draw me to him where I may wash away my sins; bring me to him who can slake my thirst; pour over me those waters that will make my dry places fresh. You will not find it hard to gain all you desire from so loving and so kind a Lord, who is alive and reigns and is your friend.

For who can tell, beloved and blest of God, with what kind familiarity and familiar kindness he himself replied on your behalf to the calumnies of those who were against you? How he defended you, when the proud Pharisee was indignant, how he excused you, when your sister complained, how highly he praised your deed, when Judas begrudged it.

And, more than all this, what can I say, how can I find words to tell, about the burning love with which you sought him, weeping at the sepulchre, and wept for him in your seeking?

How he came, who can say how or with what kindness, to comfort you, and made you burn with love still more; how he hid from you when you wanted to see him, and showed himself when you did not think to see him; how he was there all the time you sought him, and how he sought you when, seeking him, you wept.

But you, most holy Lord, why do you ask her why she weeps?

Surely you can see; her heart, the dear life of her soul, is cruelly slain.

O love to be wondered at;

O evil to be shuddered at;

you hung on the wood, pierced by iron nails, stretched out like a thief for the mockery of wicked men; and yet, ‘Woman,’ you say, ‘why are you weeping?’ She had not been able to prevent them from killing you, but at least she longed to keep your body for a while with ointments lest it decay.

No longer able to speak with you living, at least she could mourn for you dead. So, near to death and hating her own life, she repeats in broken tones the words of life which she had heard from the living.

And now, besides all this, even the body which she was glad, in a way, to have kept, she believes to have gone.

And can you ask her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping?’

Had she not reason to weep?

For she had seen with her own eyes–if she could bear to look–what cruel men cruelly did to you; and now all that was left of you from their hands she thinks she has lost.

All hope of you has fled, for now she has not even your lifeless body to remind her of you.

And someone asks, ‘Who are you looking for? Why are you weeping?’

You, her sole joy, should be the last thus to increase her sorrow. But you know it all well, and thus you wish it to be, for only in such broken words and sighs can she convey a cause of grief as great as hers. The love you have inspired you do not ignore,

And indeed you know her well, the gardener, who planted her soul in his garden. What you plant, I think you also water.

Do you water, I wonder, or do you test her?

In fact, you are both watering and putting to the test.

But now, good Lord, gentle Master, look upon your faithful servant and disciple, so lately redeemed by your blood, and see how she burns with anxiety, desiring you, searching all round, questioning, and what she longs for is nowhere found.

Nothing she sees can satisfy her, since you whom alone she would behold, she sees not.

What then?

How long will my Lord leave his beloved to suffer thus?

Have you put off compassion now you have put on incorruption? Did you let go of goodness when you laid hold of immortality?

Let it not be so, Lord.

You will not despise us mortals now you have made yourself immortal, for you made yourself a mortal in order to give us immortality.

And so it is; for love’s sake he cannot bear her grief for long or go on hiding himself. For the sweetness of love he shows himself who would not for the bitterness of tears.

The Lord calls his servant by the name she has often heard and the servant knows the voice of her own Lord.

I think, or rather I am sure, that she responded to the gentle tone with which he was accustomed to call, ‘Mary’. What joy filled that voice, so gentle and full of love.

He could not have put it more simply and clearly:

‘I know who you are and what you want; behold me; do not weep, behold me; I am he whom you seek.’

At once the tears are changed; I do not believe that they stopped at once, but where once they were wrung from a heart broken and self-tormenting they flow now from a heart exulting. How different is, ‘Master!’ from ‘If you have taken him away, tell me’; and, ‘They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him,’ has a very different sound from,

‘I have seen the Lord, and he has spoken to me.’

But how should I, in misery and without love, dare to describe the love of God and the blessed friend of God? Such a flavour of goodness will make my heart sick if it has in itself nothing of that same virtue.

But in truth, you who are very truth, you know me well and can testify that I write this for the love of your love, my Lord, my most dear Jesus.

I want your love to burn in me as you command so that I may desire to love you alone and sacrifice to you a troubled spirit, ‘a broken and a contrite heart’.

Give me, 0 Lord, in this exile, the bread of tears and sorrow for which I hunger more than for any choice delights.

Hear me, for your love, and for the dear merits of your beloved Mary, and your blessed Mother, the greater Mary.

Redeemer, my good Jesus, do not despise the prayers of one who has sinned against you but strengthen the efforts of a weakling that loves you.

Shake my heart out of its indolence, Lord, and in the ardour of your love bring me to the everlasting sight of your glory where with the Father and the Holy Spirit you live and reign, God, for ever. Amen.’

– Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109), Doctor of the Church

Daily Prayer: July 21, 2017

Saint Lawrence of Brindisi,

We seek your prayer and intercession to use our gifts and talents to their fullest ability.  Just as you became known for service to the poor and needy, diplomat, scholar and preacher, so too, for us, ask Jesus to help us use our gifts. Pray we may be mindful of the poor.  Ask for grace so we may share the gospel.  Help us to grow deeper in love with Jesus.  In all things, help us to do the will of Christ which you so faithfully did in your life.  We pray through Christ our Lord.

Daily Prayer for Thursday, July 20

A prayer for rest

O God,

you have given us the power to do many things.  Sometimes we can become so busy with activity that we forget to take time to step away and rest.  You reminded the disciples often of this need.  Help us to rest, so that we might remember again those things that are really important.  Help us to relax, and so recharge ourselves by opening up to the power of rest.  Help us always to remember to value those moments of rest, whether it is vacation, a day off, or even just a small break.  Help us to make a retreat, either great or small, so that we can come to know you better.  Help us to remember that value that the people in our lives have.  Let us never become so busy we forget them.  Help us always to be open to your priorities in our lives.  Lead us away for a while with you.  We ask this in the name of Jesus, who is Lord, forever and ever.  Amen.