“‘…so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you.’”
There are many types of unity. For example, if two persons agree about a political issue, and join a common party, these two persons have political unity. If two persons agree about a moral teaching, or agree to act in common on behalf of a moral goal, these two persons have moral unity. If two students study for doctorates in physics, specializing in the same specific topic, and become the two foremost experts in the world about that topic, these two persons have intellectual unity. Two persons can be united by far less significant matters: they can be united by their nationality, by the clothes they wear, or by the physical space they share (in an elevator, a house, or a courtroom). Continue reading →
“…Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice….”
Catholic art is beautiful because it focuses on persons: the three Divine Persons, and human persons as well. In Catholic art that portrays today’s feast—the Visitation of Our Blessed Mother—there are four persons shown to the eye of the viewer. Of course, two of them have to be shown indirectly because they are unborn children: St. John the Baptist in the womb of Elizabeth, and Our Lord in the womb of the Blessed Virgin. Sometimes these two unborn children are portrayed by something akin to halos shining, indicating the grace that dwells within these women through their openness to human and divine life. Continue reading →
“Now this is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ.”
We are approaching the end of the Easter season. For seven weeks we have heard of the events surrounding the Resurrection, and how these events have touched the lives of those who encountered Jesus, such as Mary Magdalen, Peter, and Thomas. We have heard how the lives of these followers of Jesus were changed because they believed in the events they witnessed: they believed through their faith. The Church today is also made up of followers of Jesus, those whose lives have been changed by their encounter with the Body of Christ. Continue reading →
“In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world.”
This coming Sunday’s celebration of Pentecost is the backdrop for all our weekday readings this week. Wherever we Christians are, we are united in the Mystical Body of Christ, and together we are praying this week for a greater openness to the Gift who is God the Holy Spirit. Continue reading →
“‘… behold, I am with you always, until the end of the world.’”
Some claim that “separation makes the heart grow fonder”. That may on occasion be true. But the heart growing fonder doesn’t mean that separation is easy.
On this next-to-last Sunday of the Easter Season, the Church is celebrating the Ascension of the Lord. This feast recalls that bittersweet day, forty days following the Resurrection, when the Risen Lord rose to the Father’s Right Hand in Heaven. On Easter Sunday, He rose from the dead to the earth, in order to spend forty days with His disciples. Very likely, part of the Easter joy of those disciples was them believing that Jesus was back to stay: back from the dead, in a glorified body! Now the Messiah would rule among them forever!
At some point, of course, they realized that this sort of joy was unfounded. Perhaps during those forty days Jesus plainly told them that He wasn’t going to rule on earth, but from Heaven. Perhaps He told them exactly how many days He was going to remain with them. Perhaps it wasn’t until the moment of the Lord’s Ascension that they realized He was leaving them, then and there. Regardless of how it happened, their faith—even after the Resurrection of Jesus—had to mature further. So does ours. We need to purify our hearts and mind of false hopes and false joys. We all have false hopes and false joys regarding our Faith, and regarding our spiritual lives. Continue reading →
“‘And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.’”
Eager Christians sometimes ask for spiritual direction. But the greatest stumbling block to such direction going anywhere is the directee not being willing to practice authentic detachment. Spiritual direction cannot lead to the Lord if the directee will not practice honest and thorough detachment.
Detachment is one of the chief truths to which the Lord’s Ascension points our attention: to detaching ourselves from everything except God. First, we have to detach ourselves from all things which we put in place of God, and secondly, we have to “cling” to God alone.
Being detached from all created things does not necessarily mean that we remove them from our lives. Rather, being detached from created things means that we recognize that the happiness and meaning that any created thing can bring into our life is less than we might want to imagine. We can go about detaching ourselves from created things in several ways. We might need to remove certain created things from our lives altogether, especially if they prey on certain individual faults that we have. We can also detach ourselves from created things through simple penance, or what the Church sometimes calls mortification. Continue reading →
Regardless of whether one’s diocese transfers the Ascension from the fortieth to the forty-third day after Easter Sunday, today—that is, the Saturday following the fortieth day of Easter—is the feast of Our Lady, Queen of Apostles. Today’s feast helps us during these days of preparation for Pentecost, by reflecting on Mary as she prayed in the midst of the apostles in the Upper Room. Continue reading →
“The hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures but I will tell you clearly about the Father.”
The “spiritual momentum” of the Sacred Triduum and Easter Season moves us through the Passion and Death, the Resurrection, and the Ascension of the Lord Jesus… to the Solemnity of Pentecost. In the Church’s celebration of Pentecost, we meditate not only on the divine origin of the Church. We meditate not only on the divine mission of the Church. Continue reading →
“But I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you.”
Jesus uses the imagery of pregnancy to describe suffering in relation to joy, as both pertain to Jesus’ Resurrection and His sending (with the Father) the Gift of the Holy Spirit. While it’s a truism of our culture that any goal worth achieving demands hardship, the image of pregnancy is more pregnant with meaning. The image of pregnancy connotes new life: a life independent of the life that came before, yet owing its existence to the one who begot it. Continue reading →