Thirsting for Prayer

"What the world most needs today is prayer. It is prayer that will give birth to all the renewals, healings, deep and fruitful transformations we all want for society today.... I am more and more convinced that everything comes from prayer and that, among the calls of the Spirit, this is the first and most urgent one we should respond to." I highly recommend this book on prayer. I am carefully reading it now, I'm sure it will help me in my prayer life.

If Christ was humble, why can't we be?

"So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any incentive of love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfishness or conceit, but in humility count others better than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himse

Abou Ben Adhem

There is a poem entitled "Abou Ben Adhem" by James Henry Leigh Hunt we read in high school. It sometimes comes to mind because our teacher required us to memorize it in full: Abou Ben Adhem (may his tribe increase!) Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace, And saw, within the moonlight in his room, Making it rich, and like a lily in bloom, An angel writing in a book of gold:— Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold, And to the Presence in the room he said "What writest thou?"—The vision raised its head, And with a look made of all sweet accord, Answered "The names of those who love the Lord." "And is mine one?" said Abou. "Nay, not so," Replied the angel. Abou spoke more low

The Jesus Math: 77 Times = Countless Times

The Gospel Reading for today: "Peter approached Jesus and asked him, "Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times?" Jesus answered, "I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times." Our Lord Jesus suffered so much from His persecutors and He forgave them as he continued to suffer on the cross. View this video to get an idea. How much and how often have we suffered from those who have offended us? Is it anything like Jesus suffered for our individual sins? But is our forgiveness limited? Who among us is like an unforgiving servant in this parable? Our heavenly Father will make us pay our whole debt "unless each of you forgives your brother

"Peregrinantur, Rusticantur" -- We Are All Pilgrims

Sometimes in quiet moments some memories, or even just words, pop up into our consciousness. "Peregrinantur", "Rusticantur" -- These are words from one of the classic writings of the Roman philosopher/orator Cicero which we, as seminarians, studied in our Latin Poetry and Rhetoric class many many years ago. Once they all of a sudden came back to mind. "Peregrinantur" in simple English means "going on a pilgrimage, while "rusticantur" means "going to/living in the countryside" . . . and in both, enjoying it. Some are blessed to go on pilgrimages, like to the Holy Land, or Fatima, or Lourdes, or tracing the missionary journeys of St. Paul, or on other foreign trips, etc. Similarly, some

From Here to Eternity

Lent is a reminder of the Lord's Paschal Mystery -- His passion, death on the cross, and His resurrection. All for us -- that He may save us from sin and bring us to the glory of heaven . . . for all eternity. The great saint, Bernard of Clairvaux, is known for his often-quoted question in Latin: "Quid hoc ad aeternitatem?" which is translated: "What is this in relation to eternity?" This guided him in his outlook towards life, in dealing with events of life, and in making choices between good and evil. Our decisions, our actions in this life have a bearing on what we will be when we are no longer here in this planet called earth. Jesus Himself tells us: "But store up for yourselves treasur

The Meaning of Lent and the Samaritan Woman

LENT AND CHURCH GROWTH But in the early days of the Church, Lent was not so much a time to focus inward. It was time for Catholics to focus outward. It is a time not just for personal growth, but for growth of the Church. In the days of the Church Fathers, did the whole Church fast, pray, and give alms for the forty days preceding Easter? Absolutely. But Catholics did this primarily for the sake of others rather than themselves. There were two groups of people that were the main beneficiaries of this prayer and penance: new Catholics to be baptized at Easter and lapsed Catholics to be readmitted to communion. These folks were praying and fasting during Lent to break the power of darkness in

My Father Knew Only Four Latin Words

My dad knew only four Latin words: "Tempus fugit. Memento mori." These are also the first four Latin words I learned from him. "Time flies. Remember death." These words he never forgot. They gave him focus in his life, and I must say, because of him, gave me focus in my own. My dad lived a simple but fruitful life. He preached by example, rarely by words. He influenced many men in our town to join the Knights of Columbus which he helped establish in our parish (where I think he learned the "Tempus fugit . . . "). Dad was a prayerful man. One of his favorite prayers is the Trisagio, an ancient prayer of the Church which is addressed to the Most Holy Trinity: "Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Imm

"Listen to Him" - A Homily on the Transfiguration

The story is told of a 75-year old woman who in a vision, spoke to God and asked him, “God, how much time do I have to live?” God said, “35 more years.” And so for one whole year, the old woman did everything to make her face look beautiful and her body reshaped into that old Coca-Cola bottle figure. She underwent plastic surgery several times: she had a face-lift and had her nose reshaped, she underwent liposuction where her body bulged in the wrong places. In other words, – a complete body transformation or makeover. One day, after leaving the hospital, confident and feeling as beautiful as ever, she was hit by a car and died instantly. When she entered St. Peter’s gate, she walked over

As Residents of the Plain, We Need to Go to the Mountain - A Reflection on the Transfiguration

We need to go to the mountain to refresh us and assure us of what we are going to be. This is where we receive the Father’s admonition: “Listen to Him.” For God speaks to us, in the plain – in our pain, in suffering, in conflicts. And in our pain and conflicts, we have the strength, because we have experienced Him and seen His glory on the mountain. And this gives us hope. Jesus brought the 3 disciples with Him on the mountain – for them to have a glimpse of Who He is, and thus strengthen them when they go back to the plain – to see Him suffer and die. We are nourished and get inspiration on the mountain. When we go down to the plain, we can spread that inspiration. The world has its own

We Are Given Only One Life to Live . . . Only One -- A Reflection This Lent

Life is beautiful. Yes, indeed . . . in many different ways. But it is far from perfect. There are events, things and people that contribute to making it happy and beautiful, but they can also at times make it sad or ugly, with or without our own choosing, or fault. This journey called life can be so engaging and our desire to get the most out of it so intense that we would like it to last forever. On the path of life, we could tarry a lot to enjoy the flowers and the fruit from the trees on the wayside. But when the path becomes rocky we could become disheartened or lose the strength to walk on. We are not alone on the path of life. We have fellow travelers with us. They are part of our jo

Letting the Trojan Horse In - Reflections on the First Sunday of Lent

The Greek mythology about the Trojan Horse, the ingenuous strategy of the Greeks to take back Helen of Troy, "the face that launched a thousand ships," can be brought to mind in reflecting on the readings at Mass this First Sunday of Lent. The mythical story says that after ten years of unsuccessful attempts to breach the impregnable walls of the city of Troy, the Greeks thought of the plan to build a huge horse which had inside it several of its brave warriors. The Trojans naively brought in the huge horse left by the Greeks outside its walls. While the the Trojans were asleep, the Greek warriors went out in the night, opened the gates to its vast army and vanquished the city, killing man