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The Healing Power of Christ

When You heal, everything comes back to life, even in the past, and You give fruits to the one who has not known how to flower. 

– Maurice Blondel

I recently came across the above quote from the French philosopher, Maurice Blondel.  It appears to be a statement addressed to God.  It expresses the sovereignty of the Lord God over all things – space, time, life.  God is not limited by time, for time is His creature, and He transcends it. As the Source of all life, the Lord can touch the wounds that we carry in the present and heal them all the way back to the moments in which we received them.  The sins we’ve committed, He can forgive.  The effects of our sins, as well as sins committed against us, He can heal.  He alone can bring forth life where there was no life, where there was only the stinking rot of death, where there was nothing at all.  He doesn’t do it just for us as individuals.  Our Lord binds up and heals the wounds that exists in families and even nations.  It is something at which to marvel, the recapitulation and healing of the whole of salvation history through Our Lord’s 33 years on earth – doing what Adam failed to do, putting right what Abraham, Moses, David, and all of us have gotten wrong. 

Bursting with life, Jesus shares His life with the barren-hearted – those who do not know how to love, how to flower.  Without Him to fill us with His life, we are left alone and closed in on ourselves.  He comes to us from Heaven and opens His heart to us that we might open our hearts to Him and let Him bring us to the very Heart of God, the eternal embrace of Father, Son, Holy Spirit. 

posted 9/22/20

Consumed and Sustained

A friend of mine, some years ago, tried to solve what was a terrible mosquito problem in his backyard by purchasing one of those bug-zapping lights.  I’m sure you’re familiar with these things.  They glow with a light that bugs find irresistible, to the point that they get so close to it that they are consumed by its blazing heat. Continue reading “Consumed and Sustained”

Pray the Rosary

Patrick Peyton was born in 1909 into a large family of 9 children, and grew up working the family farm in Co. Mayo, Ireland.  After considering a vocation to the priesthood as a boy, he later decided to emigrate to America, where he hoped to make his fortune.  But it wasn’t long after he arrived to Scranton, PA that he felt aContinue reading “Pray the Rosary”

Sacramentals

Statues, rosary beads, crucifixes, scapulars, holy cards, miraculous medals, candles, palms, ashes – these are part of the “furniture” of our lives as Catholics.  Technically, we call these things “sacramentals.” Sacramentals are different than sacraments in a couple of ways.  The sacraments were instituted by Christ Himself as the seven ordinary ways in which He shares His life – His sanctifying grace – with us.  As one author puts it: “Sacraments bearContinue reading “Sacramentals”

Embracing the Holy Cross

posted 9/12/20 The Cross is the most distinctive sign of Christianity.  This is because, as we say to Our Lord during the Stations of the Cross devotion, “by Your holy cross You have redeemed the world.”  I remember the beautiful bronze Stations of the Cross that we had in seminary.  The first station, of course, depicts Pilate’s condemnation of Jesus.  There wasContinue reading “Embracing the Holy Cross”

Brain Heart World

posted 8/29/20 Recently, I watched a 3-part documentary series called Brain, Heart, World.  It was produced by an organization called “Fight the New Drug,” which describes itself on its website as: a non-religious and non-legislative organization that exists to provide individuals the opportunity to make an informed decision regarding pornography by raising awareness on its harmful effectsContinue reading “Brain Heart World”

Regaining Hope

posted 8/22/20 Several years ago, someone gave me a book called Regaining Sight.  It is a compilation of articles from a magazine called Imprint, published by a religious community, the Sisters of Life.  The articles are stories about different people, the challenges they face, and how their relationship with God helped them through a particular struggle.  They feature people like the late Steven McDonald, who was aContinue reading “Regaining Hope”

Struggling with Sadness

posted 8/15/20 In the gospel this coming Monday we hear about a rich young man who approaches Jesus, asking Him: “what good must I do to gain eternal life?”  Our Lord instructs the young man to keep the commandments.  When the young man tells Christ that he already observes them, He responds: “If you wish to be perfect, go,Continue reading “Struggling with Sadness”

Good Teacher

posted 7/18/20 Robert P. George is the McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University, where he has taught since 1985.  The grandson of immigrants who worked in the coal mines of West Virginia, George is known as one of the nation’s leading conservative intellectuals.  As a practicing Catholic who holds views considered “conservative” on many issues, George’s outspoken critiques of abortion, same-sex marriage, euthanasia, pornography, large-scale government welfare programs, and human trafficking often putContinue reading “Good Teacher”

The Paralytic

posted 7/2/20 Today’s gospel is St. Matthew’s account of Jesus’ healing of the paralytic in the town of Capernaum (Mt 9:1-8).  The afflicted man is brought to Our Lord by his friends, lying on a stretcher.  “When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, ‘Courage, child, your sins are forgiven.’” I wonder if there wasn’tContinue reading “The Paralytic”

Images of God

posted 6/25/20 When I was a kid, I liked to read the copy of The Children’s Bible, which was first published by Golden Press in the 1960s.  Even before I learned to read, the pictures depicting the Bible stories fascinated me, especially those of the Old Testament.  In my mind I can still see the picture of the animals entering Noah’s Ark asContinue reading “Images of God”

The Narrow Gate

posted 6/23/20 The first reading for today’s Mass is from the Second Book of Kings (2 Kings 19:9-36).  It is an account of the siege of Jerusalem that took place about 700 years before the birth of Christ.  The ruler of the Assyrian Empire, King Sennacherib, had already conquered the northern Kingdom of Israel and sent 10 of the Israelite tribesContinue reading “The Narrow Gate”

Sacred Heart of Jesus

posted 6/19/20 On a hill overlooking the city of Paris is the Basilica of Sacre-Coeur, dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  It is a modern structure, whose construction began in 1875 and was completed in 1914.  Because of the outbreak of the First World War, it was not consecrated until 1917.  Probably the most remarkable thing aboutContinue reading “Sacred Heart of Jesus”

Finding Refuge

posted 6/5/20 There are times when I’ll be at a family gathering, the adults sitting at the dining room table and the kids playing somewhere (everywhere) else, and inevitably one of the children will come over and bury himself/herself in the side of his/her mother or father. It could be for a multitude of reasons.  It could be the kid is unhappy because someone wasContinue reading “Finding Refuge”

The Ugandan Martyrs

posted 6/3/20 Today is the feast day of St. Charles Lwanga and Companions, 22 young Ugandan men who were put to death for the faith in 1886.  While doing some research on these young saints, I came across a video that Bishop Robert Barron did on the Ugandan Martyrs and it’s much better than anything I could comeContinue reading “The Ugandan Martyrs”

The Human Heart

posted 6/2/20 When he was arrested in February 1945 on a trumped-up charge of having committed crimes against the Soviet Union, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was forced to march along with several other detained Soviet soldiers and a German civilian from the jail where they had been processed to the prison which would be their new home.  Solzhenitsyn, an officer in the Soviet Army, wasContinue reading “The Human Heart”

Mother of the Church

posted 6/1/20 There’s a couple I’ve known for many years – I’ll call them Fred and Jane.  They met each other not long after the untimely deaths of their first spouses.  Jane had children with her first husband, and Fred also had children, including a young son with severe disabilities.  I remember a conversation with Jane when she told me about the time she first metContinue reading “Mother of the Church”

The Love of God

posted 5/20/20 The wallpaper image on my smartphone is a photo that I took of another photo that was part of an exhibit during World Youth Day in 2016.  It’s a black and white image of a young Missionary of Charity bathing the emaciated body of a woman whom the sisters rescued from dying on the streetsContinue reading “The Love of God”

Love

posted 5/14/20 “You shall love… whether you like it or not.”  This is a line from the beautiful homily given by the priest character in the film To the Wonder. The film’s director Terrence Malick is famous (infamous?) for his artsy movies that have beautiful images but plots that are extremely difficult to follow – some might say they are incomprehensible.  Because of this, I won’t recommend theContinue reading “Love”

A Weird Catholic

posted 5/12/20 Recently, a friend of mine very thoughtfully gave me a new biography about Dorothy Day (1897-1980), who was one of the founders of the Catholic Worker Movement, along with her friend and mentor Peter Maurin.  I became interested in Day when I was in seminary through a friend of mine who had a greatContinue reading “A Weird Catholic”

Don Shula

posted 5/9/20 Last week, Don Shula, the winningest coach in NFL history, passed away at the age of 90.  Shula is best known for being the head coach of the Miami Dolphins, leading them to two Super Bowl titles, including a perfect undefeated season in 1972.  He also won an NFL championship in 1968 as head coach ofContinue reading “Don Shula”

Faith

posted 5/8/20 I remember a conversation with a man named Jim who was sharing with me his life story.  He told me that he grew up as a Protestant, but during his young adulthood he found himself kind of lost, drifting from the faith of his childhood and wondering what life was about.  After some years of real struggles and some darkness, he found himself reading aContinue reading “Faith”

Revealing Ourselves

posted 5/7/20 When I was a kid there was an unwritten (though oft-spoken) rule in our house that when you came home from Tashua Pool in Trumbull you were to hang out your towel to dry in the backyard.  I usually complied with this rule, through there were times when I would just leave it on the floor in theContinue reading “Revealing Ourselves”

Lessons from Mustard Seed

posted 5/6/20 There’s an organization in Jamaica called Mustard Seed Communities that provides homes for people with severe disabilities.  In my last assignment, the members of the parish youth group would go down there each year to volunteer as part of a mission trip.  It was not easy work, but it was very rewarding to see how the teenagers fromContinue reading “Lessons from Mustard Seed”

Acedia: Take Two

posted 5/5/20 So, let me tell you how my life has been ever since I published my reflection on the sin of acedia yesterday.  I wasted at least an hour watching YouTube videos and checking my Twitter feed, I fell asleep during my holy hour in church, I mindlessly snacked on junk food in the rectory kitchen instead of making a proper dinner for myself, andContinue reading “Acedia: Take Two”

Acedia

posted 5/4/20 When I was the Vocation Director of the Diocese one of the things I was expected to do was have what’s called a “social media presence,” which meant posting content on platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.  I quickly realized how social media can easily suck up all your attention and waste huge amounts of time with things that are not very edifying.  While usingContinue reading “Acedia”

The Good Shepherd

When I was in seminary, one of the priests on the faculty told us a story about his first pilgrimage to the Holy Land when he was a seminarian.  He and the rest of the group were near the Sea of Galilee and as the tour guide was telling them about the site they were visiting, theyContinue reading “The Good Shepherd”

God Is

posted 4/29/20 “Do you know, daughter, who you are, and who I am?  If you know these two things, you will be blessed.”  So spoke Our Lord to St. Catherine of Siena in a vision.  Our Lord continued, revealing to her the answer: “You are she who is not; whereas I am He who is.  HaveContinue reading “God Is”

Liturgy and the Spiritual Life

posted 4/28/20 In yesterday’s reflection, I wrote about the importance of liturgy in our lives, distinguishing liturgical prayer from devotional prayer.  Devotional prayer is important, but liturgical prayer is necessary. In the context of liturgy we pray collectively and uniquely as the Mystical Body of Christ, the Church.  When we pray in this way, we actually participate in the interior life of Jesus Christ. Continue reading “Liturgy and the Spiritual Life”

Doc

posted 4/21/20 Growing up I had a friend named Darren whom everyone called “Doc.”  Everybody liked Doc.  He was very friendly and had a great sense of humor.  He was always telling funny stories, most of them made up, and would make fun of you in a way that you couldn’t help but laugh as you thanked him for the insult. Continue reading “Doc”

Notre Dame

posted 4/16/20 Yesterday was the one-year anniversary of the terrible fire that threatened to completely destroy the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris.  Before the fire, Notre Dame was one of the most-visited places in the world.  Jason Baxter, a professor at Wyoming Catholic College, noted in a recent article in America magazine that Notre Dame had 12 million visitors each year, moreContinue reading “Notre Dame”

Accepting God’s Will

posted 4/2/20 The first reading from yesterday’s Mass has stayed with me all day, and I find myself continuing to think about it.  It was a passage from the Book of Daniel and tells the story of three young Israelites who are living in exile in Babylon about 550 years before the birth of Christ.  They are amongContinue reading “Accepting God’s Will”

Mercy

posted 3/30/20 The gospel for today’s Mass is the Woman Caught in Adultery (John 8:1-11).  Scribes and Pharisees bring a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery to Jesus, who is teaching in the Temple area in Jerusalem.  They try to test Him, wanting to know if He will make a judgment in accordContinue reading “Mercy”

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