A Penitent Blogger

Mindful of my imperfections, seeking to know Truth more deeply and to live Love more fully.

Quid sum miser tunc dicturus? Quem patronum rogaturus? Cum vix iustus sit securus?
Recordare, Iesu pie, Quod sum causa tuae viae: Ne me perdas illa die...

Saturday, April 24, 2010

"The Church was at peace"

So it says in today’s first reading (Acts 9:31-42), speaking of a brief period of time after its chief persecutor was converted to the Faith.

These periods of peace for the Church seem all too fleeting, but of course true peace will only be perfected when all of Christ’s faithful stand before the throne of God.

Meanwhile, we will have good times and challenging times: as individual believers and as a Church.

In both of today’s readings, Saint Peter, the first Pope, figures prominently in good times and bad times for Christ’s faithful.

In the first reading, the Church is at peace and Saint Peter himself works great miracles.

In the Gospel (John 6:60-69), many people are leaving the ranks of Christ’s faithful and yet in that difficult moment, God’s grace enables Saint Peter to be a glorious example of faithfulness.

Many of (Jesus’) disciples
returned to their former way of life
and no longer walked with him.

Jesus then said to the Twelve,
“Do you also want to leave?”

Simon Peter answered him,
“Master, to whom shall we go?
You have the words of eternal life.
We have come to believe
and are convinced

that you are the Holy One of God.”

May God give us the grace to be strong and faithful in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and members of His Church – in times of peace and times of challenge.

Ashamed to be a lawyer

Mark's fellow lawyers disgusted him: they were interested in money, not justice.

So Mark left the practice of law behind and focused on the practice of the faith.

He gave away his money and became a Capuchin, taking the name Brother Fidelis.

He would be a powerful advocate for the faith and was soon famous for his preaching.

He was sent to preach missions in places where nearly all the people had left the Church to follow a different direction.

He would be very successful – too successful.

One day he was preaching in a church when a mob stormed in, killing several guards and striking Fidelis.

A friendly man in the crowd offered to take Fidelis to safety. Fidelis thanked him but said he was in God's hands.

When he walked outside the church, the mob's leaders gave Fidelis one last chance to give up the faith.

Fidelis refused and was beaten to death right then and there - 388 years ago today in Seewis, Switzerland.

The memory of Saint Fidelis of Sigmaringen is celebrated on this day.

(from an earlier post)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


It's official: Archbishop John Clement Favalora has retired and Bishop Thomas G. Wenski will be the new Archbishop of Miami. Ad multos annos.

They covered their ears and killed him

It is childish.

They cover their ears and shout the ancient equivalent of “La la la, I’m not listening!”

Then, childishness turns to murder as we hear in today’s first reading (Acts 7:51-8:1a) how Stephen stayed on message and became the first person to be killed explicitly for the sake of Christ.

But Stephen, by the power of Christ, would ultimately prove victorious.

Many in today’s world also cover their ears and shout to keep from really hearing the truth of Christ proclaimed by the Church.

Sometimes – God have mercy on us – what they shout are terrible things that a few Church members and even a few Church leaders have done (or truly failed to do).

We need to deal with these terrible things – there must be repentance, true justice, true healing, and the protection of innocents – but we cannot shrink from our overwhelming obligation to stay on message and proclaim the truth of Christ – no matter what the world may say and no matter what the world may do.

And in Christ we will be victorious.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Recognized as companions of Jesus

There are many wonderful lessons in today’s first reading (Acts 4:13-21), such as "Whether it is right in the sight of God for us to obey you rather than God, you be the judges."

But perhaps the most challenging lesson is that the Apostles were recognized “as the companions of Jesus.”

Would WE be recognized as companions of Jesus?

Sunday, April 04, 2010

The blessings of Easter to you all

Christos anesti!

Alithos anesti!

Christ is risen!

Indeed he is risen!

(This year the calendars converge and our Orthodox brothers and sisters also celebrate the Resurrection of our one Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.)

"Think of what is above"

Sometimes it is very easy to become distracted in this confusing world.

Sometimes, in this world of never-ending challenges, it is easy to become discouraged.

For many members of the Church, the news lately has been especially discouraging, as allegations of terrible crimes and apparent cover-ups have been trumpeted again by the media – by coincidence or design – right before the most sacred celebrations of Christendom.

Right up front, let us be clear: those crimes were heinous, the perpetrators deserve to be punished, children must be protected, and those who could have stopped those crimes and did not must take responsibility for their sins of omission.

Let us also be honest: while many who report and seek accountability in these matters are acting from the best of motives and in the most ethical of ways, there are also some who pursue these matters for selfish purposes or in ways that are harmful to nearly everyone.

It is a difficult world in which we live, full of imperfect people (including ourselves).

We must deal responsibly with the world in which we live and do what is right in it, but today’s celebration of the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ reminds us that even as we soldier on in this world, our hope is not limited to it.

Indeed, our hope – which can motivate us to overcome anything in this world – is infinite and eternal.

As Saint Paul says in one of the Epistles provided for today’s Mass (Colossians 3:1-4):

If then you were raised with Christ,
seek what is above,
where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.

Think of what is above,
not of what is on earth.

For you have died,
and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
When Christ your life appears,
then you too will appear with him
in glory.

Friday, April 02, 2010

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre

The Station Churches of Lent have come to an end, but today, on this Good Friday, it is good to call to mind yet another Church involved with stations: the Stations of the Cross, the last stations of which are within the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

There, just beyond the arch to the left,
is where our Lord died.

We adore You, O Christ, and we bless You
because by Your Holy Cross You have redeemed the world.

Adoramus te, Christe, et benedicimus tibi,
quia per sanctam crucem tuam redemisti mundum.

What we must do

The news media has been full of terrible stories about the Church in recent days.

In some of the coverage, there has been an element of false accusation.

But the hideous reality of a few clerics abusing children (and various authorities failing to protect the children) cannot be denied.

However, no matter what our opinions or experiences may be, all of us can and must look to Christ on this Good Friday.

Christ – falsely accused.

Christ – assaulted by religious authorities.

Christ – tortured and ridiculed.

Christ – crucified and buried.

Before Christ we must kneel and before Christ we must weep.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, be merciful to me – a sinner.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

The Basilica of St. John Lateran

The Lenten march of the Station Churches has come to an end as Lent gives way to the celebration of the Triduum, but we are brought yet again to the Basilica of Saint John Lateran for it is here that the Bishop of Rome begins the celebration of the Triduum, and the end of Lent, with the celebration of Holy Thursday Mass at his Cathedral and the washing of the feet.

May our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who washed the feet of his disciples, bless you and me with abundant graces during this Triduum, so that we may follow our Lord as faithful servants.

(adapted from an earlier post)

What shall we pray for this month?

Pope Benedict's general prayer intention for April is:

"That every tendency to fundamentalism and extremism may be countered by respect, tolerance, and dialogue among believers."

His missionary prayer intention is:

"That persecuted Christians may persevere, sustained by the Holy Spirit, in witnessing to the love of God for all, even for those who persecute them."

Holy Thursday & Priesthood

Today, on Holy Thursday, the Mass of the Holy Chrism is celebrated (although many dioceses celebrate it earlier in the week for practical reasons) at which Holy Chrism and other sacramental oils are blessed and at which priests rededicate themselves to their ministry. After the homily the bishop speaks to the priests:

"My brothers,

"Today we celebrate the memory of the first Eucharist, at which our Lord Jesus Christ shared with his apostles and with us his call to the priestly service of his Church.

"Now, in the presence of your bishop and God’s holy people, are you ready to renew your own dedication to Christ as priests of his new covenant?"
Priests: "I am."

"At your ordination you accepted the responsibilities of the priesthood out of love for the Lord Jesus and his Church. Are you resolved to unite yourselves more closely to Christ and to try to become more like him by joyfully sacrificing your own pleasure and ambition to bring his peace and love to your brothers and sisters?"
Priests: "I am. "

"Are you resolved to be faithful ministers of the mysteries of God, to celebrate the Eucharist and the other liturgical services with sincere devotion?"
Priests: "I am. "

"Are you resolved to imitate Jesus Christ, the head and shepherd of the Church, by teaching the Christian faith without thinking of your own profit, solely for the well-being of the people you were sent to serve?"
Priest: "I am."

(Then the bishop addresses the people:)

"My brothers and sisters, pray for your priests.

"Ask the Lord to bless them with the fullness of his love, to help them be faithful ministers of Christ the High Priest, so that they will be able to lead you to him, the fountain of your salvation."
People: "Lord Jesus Christ, hear us and answer our prayer."

"Pray also for me that despite my own unworthiness I may faithfully fulfill the office of apostle which Jesus Christ has entrusted to me. Pray that I may become more like our High Priest and Good Shepherd, the teacher and servant of all, and so be a genuine sign of Christ’s loving presence among you."
People: "Lord Jesus Christ, hear us and answer our prayer. "

"May the Lord in his love keep you close to him always, and may he bring all of us, his priests and people, to eternal life."
All: "AMEN."

(from an earlier post)