Tuesday
Dec032013

The Majesty of the Eucharist

Author Vicki Burbach has a way with words in her entries on the National Catholic Register's Roman Catholic Spiritual Direction blog. Providing nuggets of wisdom from classic Catholic books, Vicki most recently was kind enough to mention and muse about her own parish, St. Peter Church, and its relationship to the restoration of the sacred and reverence for the Eucharist. Click here to read her most recent entry.

Sunday
Dec012013

KMTV Story on Thanksgiving Day Dinner

Local KMTV channel 3 led off their 10 p.m. news on Thanksgiving Day with a story about the annual Thanksgiving Dinner at St. Peter Church to feed the homeless, hungry, and lonely in our community. It was a lengthy, accurate, and moving story. Over 500 people in need were served a warm dinner and treated with love and respect on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 28, 2013.

Thursday
Nov212013

Catholics, Beards & Catholic Beards 

Best Catholic Beard in the Archdiocese of Omaha Award goes to Fr. Dan Lenz, OSB at Mt. MichaelWhile I've been growing my beard as an act of personal penance (or perhaps your penance since you have to look at the mangy thing) as an offering during this Year of Faith and during our time of church interior renewal, who knew that the many men of the parish would start copying me, especially in this month of November? I'm touched and flattered and... Wait... What's that? My secretary has to tell me something... I see, so it's not because of me but because its No Shave November? Well, it looks like I was not the inspiration (sigh), but you might enjoy these two hilarious articles on the innate link between Catholicism and beards.

Monday
Nov182013

Thanksgiving

"Healing of the Lepers" by James Tissot"And one of them, realizing he had been healed, returned, glorifying God in a loud voice; and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him" (Lk 17:15-16).... "Then he said to him, 'Stand up and go; your faith has saved you'" (Lk 17:19).

I look back to the text. That is what it says: "Thy faith has saved thee." And the leper's faith was a faith that said thank you. Is that it? Jesus counts thanksgiving as integral in a faith that saves.

We only enter into the full life if our faith gives thanks.

Because how else do we accept his free gift of salvation if not with thanksgiving? Thanksgiving is the evidence of our acceptance of whatever he gives. Thanksgiving is the manifestation of our Yes! to his grace.

Thanksgiving is inherent to a true salvation experience; thanksgiving is necessary to live the well, whole, fullest life.

"If the Church is in Christ, its initial act is always an act of thanksgiving, of returning the world to God," writes Orthodox theologian Alexander Schmemann. If I am truly in Christ, mustn't my initial act, too, always be an act of thanksgiving, returning to Jesus with thanks on the lips?

I would read it much later in the pages of the Psalms, at the close of a Communion service as the bread and the wine were returned to the table, the Farmer handing his Bible over to me, his finger holding the verse for me to see because he had just read it there, what I had been saying, living, believing, and the chin would quiver before I'd brim at the way God shows his salvation: "He who sacrifices thank offerings honors me, and he prepares the way so that I may show him the salvation of God" (Ps 50:23 NIV).

Thanksgiving - giving thanks in everything - prepares the way that God might show us his fullest salvation in Christ.

- Taken From Ann Voskamp, "One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are" (Grand Rapids, MI.: Zondervan).

Wednesday
Nov132013

Carrying Our Cross

"Christ Falls on the Way to Calvary" by RaphaelChrist intends no man ever to carry the cross alone. We cannot remind ourselves too often that our life in the Risen Christ is an interchange between us of his love. In the power of his love in ourselves, we give to him in our neighbor.

There is nothing Christ asked for more urgently in his earthly life than sympathy, nothing he asks for more often and receives less often in those in whom his Passion is lived today in its deepest humiliations and derelictions.

There are too many "commonsense Christians," afraid to spend themselves on anyone from whom they do not get visible results. They are ready with hard work for reform, they pour out good advice, they are proud to be realists who repudiate everything that seems to them to be impractical, including the poetry of Christ, but they have no use for those baffling human creatures who won't - or can't - play the game by their rules. These "realists" refuse to see that there are problems which cannot be solved, griefs which cannot be healed, conditions which cannot be cured. They are impatient with the suffering they cannot end; unable to accept its reality, they wash their hands of it, because they cannot, so they think, do anything about it.

But we cannot make an end of Christ's suffering, for as long as the world goes on, the Passion of Christ will go on in his members; and he will ask, not for his suffering to be mitigated, but for sympathy. In Gethsemane Christ tried to awaken his Apostles, not because they could take away his agony, but because they could give him their compassion.

- Taken from Caryll Houselander, "The Risen Christ" (Sheed & Ward Publishers, 1958).