Monday, June 30, 2014

About time

Well, sorry for not posting for so long, and just a heads up that I probably won't be posting much while I am away. I am in Norcia now, a little and ancient -- and beautiful -- city in central Italy. It is not far from Assisi, if that is any help.

Norcia is the birthplace of Sts. Benedict and Scholastica. I am staying at a monastery built over the site of their home. I have friends in the monastery, and it is just the place for peace and good prayer.

My time with the seminarians on the Rome Experience ended well, but Rome was hot. It must be at least 10 degrees cooler here so it is much more pleasant for walks, etc.

Although this is an out of the way place, all kinds of interesting people come through. This will be a good time in many ways. But I think I will not distract myself with posting much. Let's pray for each other!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Thank you, prayer warriors!

Sr. Margaret Andrew passed her defense, with some revisions to do on her dissertation -- which I understand is pretty standard for such things. What is amazing to me is the fact that she was up to now working (and evangelizing) in a secular university. I think that her work will now be of use and interest for those working in Catholic secondary education: how to be a Catholic school more than in religion classes and religious practices. Her thesis is that it is possible to teach English in a Catholic way. Anyhow, thanks for the prayers!

I have had a good day so far in Rome, getting started on my work with the Rome Experience program for seminarians, as well as getting over my jet lag with a long nap this afternoon. I am sitting at my desk which literally has a view of the dome of St. Peter's. Life is good. It is especially good with the chance to experience some good order, in particular in my spiritual life, as I enter into the schedule here. After I finish here in a couple of weeks, I will be going to the monastery in Norcia for even more good order. And it does not hurt to be in Italy! There is so much beauty, holiness, and fun!


Monday, June 16, 2014

Calling prayer warriors!

Sr. Margaret Andrew is defending her Ph.D. dissertation tomorrow at 10:30 a.m. CDT in Tuscaloosa, AL. You know what to do. Pray. Fast. Offer it up!

I am on the way to Rome for a couple of weeks to help with the Rome Experience. Then I will be in Norcia for a spiritual "reboot." After tomorrow, you can pray for that.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Dominum and Vivificantem

It's Pentecost!  I love Pentecost and never more than this year.

The event of Pentecost is what it really means to be spiritual.  It's not sitting around on pillows drinking Chai tea or anything vague like that. It is the power to live and proclaim Jesus as Christ and Lord. It is the power to make disciples of all nations. It is the power to live Jesus.

Lord and Giver of Life, indeed.  Dominum and Vivificantem!

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Everything matters

or perhaps better, everyone matters. I think that is what Pope Francis is trying to tell us. This is certainly the message of the Church's moral teaching about marriage and sexuality. It is also the message of the Church's social teaching and of  the Church's teaching about freedom of conscience and so forth. It is a very counter cultural message. In our culture only I matter, which really means that nothing matters. It is very confusing.

We have got to care about everybody. That's hard to do, especially when you are constantly being told only to care about yourself. After a while, there really isn't time for anyone else, if I continually put myself first. Most of us can see this, but we fail to see how we are lured into this situation little by little, not all at once.

I have a simple, but not easy, suggestion to make. Start living like everyone matters. Spend more time, money, and effort on other people -- and on God -- than you can afford to. You will actually be set free. You will have more of all of the above: more of yourself to give away.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

To the margins

Here is a beautiful article about my friend Archbishop Sample confirming in a prison.

Oh, yeah, and he loves the liturgy!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

truth incarnate

Pope Francis is certainly the master of the evocative gesture: So many on this Holy Land trip!

Some people are concerned about these gestures thinking, for example, that they imply a unity that does not exist among different groups of Christians or among Christians, Jews, and Muslims. True enough, that unity does not exist, and it will take a lot more than gestures to accomplish actual unity. But I don't that is what the Holy Father is meaning by these gestures. He is not denying the reality of the divisions that exist but emphasizing the truth of a deeper unity that does exist. When the Holy Father kisses the hand of a Holocaust survivor, he is kissing the hand of mystery.

I admit a bit of frustration with the ambiguity of some the Holy Fathers gestures and even words, but I also admit that I have been forced into rethinking and hopefully redoing some things. This is different from Pope Benedict whose words were so clear, and I thank God for that. But this is not an either/or situation. And is the most important word in Catholic theology, as Fr. Hardon said. So now let's do with Pope Francis the way we thought with Pope Benedict. And don't forget that the most amazing thing about Pope Benedict is something he did.