Monday, April 18, 2016

Amoris Laetitia

Over the last several days I have been reading Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhoratation “The Joy of Love” (AMORIS LAETITIA). What a wonderful document on the family. Whether you are Catholic or not, I must highly recommend it to everyone. It is rather long, it took me seven reading sessions to get through it, but your time is well spent. With the subject of the family, marriage, children, anything shorter would not do it justice. I would especially recommend it to young people contemplating marriage, newly married, and all married people as well. It is also very important to those who are divorced. I consider this document a gift to us from the Holy Spirit through the thoughts of Pope Francis.

Althought there is nothing like reading the document itself, here is a link that provides a summary:

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Black-out Day

Yesterday, Good Friday, for me was black-out day. Fasting, no television, Internet, Facebook, texting, emails or phone. How refreshing to spend the day without all the noise. I chose the day to pray and mediate on what our Savior did for us, and how I can become a better version of myself as God intended me to be.

Tomorrow, Easter, I will rejoice. I will be jumping up and down in joy. He is Risen! His suffering and death brought to you and me redemption and salvation. Alleluia! There is no greater love...

Monday, December 28, 2015

Feast of the Holy Innocents

Today is the feast of the Holy Innocents. You remember, the biblical account of infanticide by Herod the Great, the Roman-appointed King of the Jews. According to the Gospel of Matthew (2:16-18), Herod ordered the execution of all young male children in the vicinity of Bethlehem, so as to avoid the loss of his throne to a newborn King of the Jews whose birth had been announced to him by the Magi.

In our time, "In a culture too often unfriendly to children, the victims of Bethlehem have become an emblem of all discarded children, cast away nameless on the streets, in crack houses, in pornographic film studios, and, a recent focus, in the disposal bins of abortion centers, because they got in the way of someone's pleasure, or ambition. They are our tragedy, but the adults who demean them, exploit them, abandon them are the Enemy's triumph in the war of evil versus good, death versus life."

We are all too unafflicted and unconcerned by this tragedy and crisis in our culture. My parish has over 4,000 families, yet we cannot get more than two or three at our monthly Respect Life meetings.

[Quote from "waiting in Joyful Hope" Liturgical Press, 2015]

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Feast of the Holy Family

Today's first reading at Mass for the Feast honoring the Holy Family caught my attention. I thought I would share it. It is from Sirach 3:2-6, 12-14:

God sets a father in honor over his children;
a mother’s authority he confirms over her sons.
Whoever honors his father atones for sins,
and preserves himself from them.
When he prays, he is heard;
he stores up riches who reveres his mother.
Whoever honors his father is gladdened by children,
and, when he prays, is heard.
Whoever reveres his father will live a long life;
he who obeys his father brings comfort to his mother.
My son, take care of your father when he is old;
grieve him not as long as he lives.
Even if his mind fail, be considerate of him;
revile him not all the days of his life;
kindness to a father will not be forgotten,
firmly planted against the debt of your sins
—a house raised in justice to you.

Always, always, honor and respect your parents. Before you know it they will be gone. My dad died when I was 10. I still remember him with fondness and love.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

The Year of Mercy Begins Today

"The Lord Jesus shows us the steps of the pilgrimage to attain our goal: “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For the measure you give will be the measure you get back” (Lk 6:37-38). The Lord asks us above all not to judge and not to condemn. If anyone wishes to avoid God’s judgement, he should not make himself the judge of his brother or sister. Human beings, whenever they judge, look no farther than the surface, whereas the Father looks into the very depths of the soul. How much harm words do when they are motivated by feelings of jealousy and envy! To speak ill of others puts them in a bad light, undermines their reputation and leaves them prey to the whims of gossip. To refrain from judgement and condemnation means, in a positive sense, to know how to accept the good in every person and to spare him any suffering that might be caused by our partial judgment, our presumption to know everything about him. But this is still not sufficient to express mercy. Jesus asks us also to forgive and to give. To be instruments of mercy because it was we who first received mercy from God. To be generous with others, knowing that God showers his goodness upon us with immense generosity."
--Pope Francis, Misericordiae Vultus, Paragraph 17

Saturday, December 5, 2015

There is Enough for Everyone

On this mountain the Lord of hosts will prepare for all peoples a feast of rich food and choice wines. –Isaiah 25:6

There is Enough for Everyone

Reflection. Advent is a time to identify our hungers and go to the right place to have them satisfied.
I suggest that the right place is the Word of God and the Table of the Eucharist. Few of us are physically hungary but we have many spiritual hungers.

Prayer. St Joseph, we pray that our hungers may be satisfied by the Living Word and the Bread of Life.

--from Day by Day with St. Joseph, Catholic Book Publishing

Friday, December 4, 2015

Year of Mercy

Tuesday, December 8th, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception begins the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy as called for by Pope Francis. Jubilees date back to Old Testament times. But in our era they occur every 25 years. The last one was in the year 2000 celebrating the millennium. The Year of Mercy is called Extraordinary because it falls outside the 25 year cycle. Jubilees are times of renewal, graces and forgiveness.

Pope Francis tells us that Jesus is the personification, the face, of the Father’s mercy. The Year of Mercy has several aspects. First, it reminds us of God the Father’s great mercy toward us. We can easily understand this by seeing the mercy, forgiveness, love and concern a parent has for their child. Mercy is readily and freely given. In acknowledging this mercy we should find joy, serenity and peace. In realizing God’s mercy toward us we become witnesses of our faith and express it with greater enthusiasm and conviction. We become living signs of the Father’s love for us.

Our response reveals the second aspect. In following Jesus, in living the Gospel life, the essence of being a Christian is having mercy toward others. Our mercy toward others is seen in our forgiveness. We are told to forgive seventy times seven times. Our mercy is also seen in our charity and in the corporal works of mercy. We sense the need to be patient, kind and compassionate to others including those who are separated from us. We become Good Samaritans.

A Jubilee year also is a time of forgiveness. Every Jubilee is a time of special reconciliation, but the Year of Mercy encourages us and the church to make special efforts of reconciliation with the Father through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, with ourselves – sometimes the hardest one to forgive, and with our family and neighbor.

One prominent feature of the Year of Mercy is the opening of the Holy Door, so rich in itself with symbolism. This will be done not only at the Vatican but also in every diocese. Holy Name Cathedral as well will have a holy door opened.

The Jubilee calls for pilgrimage. Many will go to Rome, many to their diocesan cathedrals.
I hope you will take time and meditate on and embrace this opportunity for yourself and others to take advantage of this Year of Mercy.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Aquinas 101

With deference to our Franciscan brother St. Bonaventure, I’ve been studying St. Thomas Aquinas’ thought, philosophy and theology for about a year now. I’ve finished reading the first of his five
volume Summa Theologiae.

The Summa is difficult, but most of the difficulties lie in the volume of his works and in his terms. I say this because I just finished Aquinas 101 by Rev. Francis Selman, and I must say this is a terrific book to read if you have an interest in St. Thomas or what to know the basis of a lot of Catholic philosophy and theology. Selman presents St. Thomas in a very clear and easily understandable way. I feel greatly rewarded for having read it.

More so, I am impressed by the height of Thomas’ knowledge and his love for God which is clear in every paragraph he writes.

So impressed am I with this book, I’m considering facilitating a book discussion group in my parish.

Monday, October 5, 2015

The Art of Manliness

I’ve been reading “The Art of Manliness,”, blog, on and off, for some time now. He had a lot of good articles for men. The only thing is that he never mentions faith. In my opinion, faith makes a man fully a man. Nevertheless, below are the 100 skills every man should know. I won’t say how many I know. Let’s just say a good majority.

Here is the link to read more about it:

1. Tie a Necktie
2. Build a Campfire
3. Hang a Picture
4. Shine Your Shoes
5. Treat a Snakebite
6. Read a Book
7. Survive a Bear Attack
8. Wet Shave
9. Parallel Park
10. Paddle a Canoe
11. Negotiate/Haggle
12. Fix a Leaky Faucet
13. Treat a Burn
14. Tell a Joke
15. Predict the Weather
16. Do a Deadlift Properly
17. Recite a Poem from Memory
18. Grill with Charcoal
19. Perform CPR
20. Throw a Spiral
21. Sew a Button
22. Split Firewood
23. Find Potable Water
24. Change a Flat Tire
25. Break down a Door
26. Take the Perfect Photo
27. Sharpen a Knife
28. Change a Diaper
29. Give a Speech
30. Navigate With Map and Compass
31. Unclog a Toilet
32. Buy a Suit
33. Swim the Front Stroke
34. Shake Hands
35. Treat Frostbite
36. Iron Your Clothes
37. Practice Situational Awareness
38. Do a Proper Pull-Up
39. Build a Shelter
40. Grow Your Own Food
41. Cook Eggs
42. Make Small Talk
43. Identify Poisonous & Edible Plants
44. Do a Front Dive
45. Shuffle Cards
46. Hunt
47. Properly Pour Beer
48. Perform the Fireman’s Carry
49. Open a Bottle without an Opener
50. Cast a Fishing Line
51. Speak a Foreign Language
52. Drive in Snow
53. Perform the Heimlich Maneuver
54. Ask a Woman on a Date
55. Always Know North
56. Fell a Tree
57. Hitch/Back-Up a Trailer
58. Play Poker
59. Write in Cursive
60. Throw a Knockout Punch
61. Make Pancakes from Scratch
62. Skipper a Boat
63. Dress for the Occasion
64. Shoot a Bow and Arrow
65. Drive Stick Shift
66. Do a Proper Push-Up
67. Pick a Lock
68. Mix Two Classic Cocktails
69. Field Dress Game
70. Play One Song on the Guitar
71. Use a Chainsaw Safely
72. Do a Squat Properly
73. Cook a Steak
74. Entertain Yourself (Without a Smartphone)
75. Change Your Car’s Oil
76. Whistle with Your Fingers
77. Shovel Snow
78. Carve a Turkey
79. Tie a Bowline
80. Ride a Horse
81. Give a Good Massage
82. Get a Car Unstuck
83. Break a Rack of Pool Balls
84. Make a Logical Argument
85. Cook Bacon
86. Write a Letter
87. Shoot a Gun
88. Make a Toast
89. Jump Start a Car
90. Know How to Dance
91. Brew the Perfect Cup of Coffee
92. Tie a Tourniquet
93. Know Two Cool Uncle Tricks
94. Fillet a Fish
95. Calm a Crying Baby
96. Ride a Motorcycle
97. Hammer a Nail Correctly
98. Cook a Signature Dish
99. Make Fire without Matches
100. Tell a Story

Come to Me

Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. - Matthew 11-28