Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy Trinity Sunday!

"The mystery of the Most Holy Trinity is the central mystery of Christian faith and life. It is the mystery of God in himself. It is therefore the source of all the other mysteries of faith, the light that enlightens them."  (Catechism of the Catholic Church 234)

First Day  - Matthew 28:16-20

Second Day - Mark 1:9-11

Third Day - Mark 12:35-37

Fourth Day - John 14:15-24

Fifth Day - John 15:18-27

Sixth Day - John 16:12-15

Seventh Day - 1 Corinthians 12:1-6

Eighth Day - Ephesians 2:11-22

Ninth Day - Ephesians 4:1-6

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. (2 Corinthians 13:14)

Sunday, April 27, 2014

For Divine Mercy Sunday, a Novena of Passages on God's Mercy

Though we are sinners, God still loves us and seeks us out.

First Day - Psalm 51

Second Day - Psalm 130

Third Day - Matthew 6:7-15

Fourth Day - Matthew 9:9-13

Fifth Day - Matthew 18:23-35

Sixth Day - Luke 15:1-10

Seventh Day - Luke 15:11-32

Eighth Day - John 8:2-11

Ninth Day - Romans 5:1-11

"The Son of man came to seek and to save the lost." (Luke 19:10)

In addition, the Bible has its own prayers of asking God for His mercy, known as the penitential psalms.  Including Psalms 51 and 130 above, they are Psalms 6, 32, 38, 51, 102, 130, and 143.  These psalms convey an intense spirit of repentance.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

For Easter, a Novena of Passages on the Resurrection

First Day - Matthew 28:1-10

Second Day - John 20:1-18

Third Day - Luke 24:13-49

Fourth Day - Mark 16:9-18

Fifth Day - John 20:19-29

Sixth Day - Acts 2:22-32

Seventh Day - Romans 6:1-11

Eighth Day - 1 Corinthians 15:1-11

Ninth Day - 1 Corinthians 15:12-28

"I am the Resurrection and the Life."  (John 11:25)

Friday, April 18, 2014

For Good Friday, a Novena of Passages on Christ Crucified

First Day - John 3:13-17

Second Day - John 12:27-36

Third Day - Mark 15:1-15

Fourth Day - Matthew 27:32-47

Fifth Day - Luke 23:32-43

Sixth Day - John 19:25-37

Seventh Day - 1 Corinthians 1:18-31, 2:1-5

Eighth Day - Galatians 3:1-14

Ninth Day - Phillipians 2:1-11

"When you have lifted up the Son of man, then you will know that I am he." (John 8:28)

Saturday, March 22, 2014

A Novena of Meditations on the Father's Love -OR- on Fatherhood

But while he was yet at a distance, his father
saw him and had compassion (Luke 15:20).
There is some overlap here with other collections of passages, like with those on God's Love and on Being Children of God, but I wanted to present passages with this post which specifically illustrate the solicitude which God the Father directs toward us - his children in Christ Jesus - as a loving Father.

First Day - Matthew 5:43-48

Second Day - Mark 9:9-11

Third Day - Luke 11:5-13

Fourth Day - Luke 15:11-32

Fifth Day - John 12:20-26

Sixth Day - John 14:18-24

Seventh Day - John 16:20-28

Eighth Day - 2 Corinthians 1:3-7

Ninth Day - Hebrews 12:1-11

Cast all your anxieties on him, for he cares about you.  (1 Peter 5:7)

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Peace and Justice Updates, February-March 2014


February - March 2014

Referendum for Unification with Russia, Ukraine - The Crimean people will vote on a referendum widely expected to transfer control of the Black Sea region (Crimea) from Ukraine to Moscow, despite an outcry and threat of sanctions from the West. The vote, dismissed by Kiev and Western governments as illegal, has triggered the worst East-West crisis since the Cold War and marks a new peak in turmoil in Ukraine. It follows events in November when the now ousted President Viktor Yanukovych walked out on a trade deal with the European Union sparking violent protests in Kiev. More than 2000 polling stations and two million ballot cards have been hastily printed since the referendum was announced more than two weeks ago.


Pope Francis' Letter to Families, Vatican - Pope Francis issued a letter to families on February 25 in which he asks for prayers for the upcoming Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, which is being convened to discuss the theme of “pastoral challenges to the family in the context of evangelization”. In the letter, he asked for the prayers of families with the intention "that the Spirit may illumine the Synodal Fathers and guide them in their important task." He also notes that the Extraordinary Synod on the family will be followed a year later by an Ordinary Assembly with the same theme, as well as by the World Meeting of Families to take place in Philadelphia in 2015.


UNAIDS-Caritas Internacionalis, Rome - The United Nations, the Catholic Church and other faith-based organizations pledged to work more closely together to try and bring an end to the global AIDS epidemic at an international conference in Rome February 25-26. UNAIDS and other agencies leading the fight against the disease recognized that Churches provide up to 50% of all HIV-AIDS community care in some countries. Participants at the two-day meeting also noted that faith-based groups offer a unique combination of access to life saving drugs and care for the dignity of the individual, which other medical or scientific partners cannot provide.


Starvation and Refugee needs in Central Africa - A massive food shortage continues to worsen as refugees displaced by violence in the South Sudan and the Central African Republic arrive in regions of Central and East Africa, e.g., Chad, Cameroun, and Ethiopia, where the needs of the refugees far surpass the availability of aid and resources. UN bodies such as the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and the World Food Program (WFP) struggle to provide for the needs of the refugees. The UNHCR has received only 9% of the $112 million it is asking for in 2014 while the WFP is airlifting tons of rice and cereal as many of the roads remain impassible and will become even more so as the rainy season approaches.


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Growth in Charity

Here is a short article I just finished writing which, if all thing fall in their proper order, should be published in the March 2014 edition of the Western Dominican Province's Lay Dominican bi-monthly, "Truth be Told".

"We love because he first loved us" (1 Jn. 4:19). God's love precedes our own. The starting point for our growth in the theological virtue of charity is the knowledge of God's love made manifest most especially in Christ's death for us at Calvary: "In this is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his son as expiation for our sins" (1 Jn. 4:11). In his encyclical, Deus Caritas Est, Pope Benedict XVI points out that Christ's "death on the cross is the culmination of the turning of God against himself in which he gives himself in order to raise man up and save him. This is love in its most radical form" (no. 12). In contemplating this love God has for us in Christ Jesus, we avail ourselves of the opportunity to personally realize and accept this love, thus germinating the seed of faith implanted within us at baptism, and so come to "know and believe the love God has for us" (1 Jn. 4:16).

Such knowledge of and faith in God's inexhaustible love for us inspire a sense of appreciation and gratitude by which we feel that the only appropriate response to such love should be nothing less than our wholehearted fulfillment of the Lord's twofold command to love God, and one's neighbor as oneself (cf. Mt. 22:37-39). Thus inspired by the Spirit who "pours God's love into our hearts" (Rom 5:5), we comprehend how it is that to love God means "to keep his commandments, and [that] his commandments are not burdensome" (1 Jn. 5:3), since our reciprocal love for God inclines "our hearts to him, to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments" (1 Kg. 8:58, cf. Ps. 119:36). This knowledge of God's love also liberates us to actively pursue lives of "faith working through love" (Gal. 5:6) when our realization of God's love as our greatest good diminishes in us "the cares of the world, the delight in riches, and desire for other things" (Mk. 4:19), and so allows us to more freely submit ourselves to the "law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 8:2). Benedict XVI further explains how the Holy Spirit motivates our life of charity:

"By dying on the Cross - as Saint John tells us - Jesus 'gave up his Spirit' (Jn. 19:30), anticipating the gift of the Holy Spirit that he would make after his Resurrection (cf. Jn. 20:22). This was to fulfill the promise of 'rivers of living water' that would flow out of the hearts of believers, through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit (cf. Jn. 7:38-39). The Spirit, in fact, is that interior power which harmonizes their hearts with Christ's heart and moves them to love their brethren as Christ loved them, when he bent down to wash the feet of the disciples (cf. Jn. 13:1-13) and above all when he gave his life for us (cf. Jn. 13:1; 15:13)." (Deus Caritas Est, no. 19)

This growth in God's love is an ongoing process. The occasion arises when we notice that prior senses of inspiration have waned, and that continued growth in love entails that we express love in the same manner as Christ did: on the cross. In some cases, love may indeed be painful, and in any case demands that we put the needs of others ahead of our own. Our desires to justify spiteful or selfish behavior on our part become obstacles to consistently displaying the love to which God calls us, and we recognize that to love when it is most difficult depends increasingly on God's grace.

Sacred Scripture links this training of our dependence on God's grace to the theological virtue of hope: "The Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love" (Ps. 147:11; cf. 33:18-22). Though God's love is always present, there may be times when we only know this through faith, as our senses and our circumstances at such times may seem devoid of love. God commands us to love others whom even on a daily basis treat us uncharitably (cf. Mt. 5:43-48). In such contexts, our ability to nonetheless desire the good for such individuals calls for our surrender to God's grace in hope that this same grace may continue to transform our hearts and theirs even when such transformation may not be readily visible. It is still natural for us in the meantime to mourn the consistent lack of mutual love between ourselves and those around us, though such mourning directs our hope toward the Lord's promise, "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted" (Mt. 5:4, cf. Benedict XVI, Jesus of Nazareth, Vol. 1, pp. 86-88).

It is in these very situations, however - when we do what is right by loving God and neighbor in spite of our passions - that the fire of charity purifies our beings and so increases our capacity for love. Saint Peter writes, "Having purified your souls by obedience to the truth for a sincere love of the brethren, love one another earnestly from the heart" (1 Pet. 1:22). Jesus also describes the process by which those disciples who have already borne fruit are pruned by our heavenly Father so that they may bear more fruit (cf. Jn. 15:2), and so come to share more fully in Jesus' divine life (cf. Jn. 15:1-11). "Looking to Jesus," then, as "the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross" (Heb. 12:2), we persevere not only in hope that God will sustain us in love, but so, too, that we may ultimately attain final union with him "who is seated at the right hand of God" (ibid.). And, conversely, it is the very act of pressing on toward our final destination in hope that we continue to grow in our capacity for love as God's children since "everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure" (1 Jn. 3:3).