Memorial Day weekend is among us. Many of us have mowed our lawns several times; some hay has already been cut(and harvested). Flowers have been purchased and planted and we are enjoying their beauty. Even some beauty of theflowers of spring has passed. Despite the regular rainfall and less than favorable temperatures, new life springs from theearth. Fields have been tilled and seeds have been planted (is there a rain resistant variety of corn/beans?).READ MORE
Samuel McCarty concluded his twelve week internship on Friday 12 May. Some have asked, which causes me to presume some other are wondering, what I have learned from the Pastoral Internship experience. In an attempt to thoroughly answer those wondering thoughts, I need to revisit some recent history. Late in autumn, perhaps more like early winter, I was invited to consider being a pastor to provide an internship experience for one of our seminarians. I distinctly remember praying thoroughly about the matter, and praying specifically for Samuel who I knew was going to be the candidate.READ MORE
It isn't often that we're given the chance to take a step back and recognize the many things we should be grateful for. The Lord is so good to us, and yet we rarely take a moment to say a simple thank you. Luckily for me, I've been given an opportunity right now to reflect on my semester internship and to acknowledge the multitude of graces I've received. Since gratitude is on my mind, I figured I would offer a brief encouragement on it.READ MORE
Every year the month of May celebrates Mary, our dear mother. It offers us an opportunity to reconnect with Our Lady and return to, or perhaps discover a devotion to her.
This time of year we recognize earth's motherhood. All around us in nature we see new life – fresh faced flowers, robins' eggs, lambs and calves. Creation reminds us about the cycle of life and death, that all things are renewed ("See, I make all things new" Revelation 21:5). We turn to Mary because it is in her womb that our new life takes shape: her motherhood provides the gentle help we need to live our identity as children of God.READ MORE
St. Antony of Egypt is the most famous of the desert fathers, men who fled into the African wilderness in order to seek the Lord. The Life of Antony, written by St. Athanasius, includes an anecdote that I think bears an important lesson for us today.
Athanasius tells us that when he was about 18 or 20 years old, Antony was meditating on the lives of the Apostles and pondering how they left everything to follow the Lord. In the midst of these thoughts, the saint went to Mass and heard the Scripture passage where Jesus says, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.” (Matthew 19:21). Believing that this was the voice of God directed to him, Antony did precisely what the Gospel invited him to do: he sold everything he had, gave the money to the poor, and began a life of poverty and prayer.READ MORE
On September 1, 1939, the German military invaded Poland and one of the darkest episodes in history ensued – what is now called the Second World War. We are very aware of the atrocities and violence that occurred at that time. Today, merely to mention the Nazi party and what they did evokes horror and revulsion. However, just before this greatdarkness God offered the world a message of hope through a young nun named Sister Faustina. She recounts in herdiary how Jesus appeared to her and asked her to announce a devotion to his mercy, which has today spread across theworld. She writes, “On one occasion, I heard these words: My daughter, tell the whole world about My Inconceivablemercy... I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the fount of My mercy.”READ MORE
What if Jesus didn’t know anything about you except what you told him? Would you be able to have arelationship? The main idea behind this simple paradigm for prayer is that we can use our everyday, ordinaryexperiences as the springboard to relationship with God. Because we live in the world and live very active lifestyles, wecan use that nearly limitless trove of experiences as material for prayer. Here’s the paradigm:READ MORE
Holy Week has arrived. We have ushered it in with palms and the Passion narrative, and now we embark withOur Lord on a journey to Calvary and beyond. As we approach the greatest mysteries of our faith in the Paschal Triduum,it might be helpful to pause for a moment and reflect on the meaning behind these upcoming days.READ MORE
Some weeks have elapsed since I composed a weekend bulletin article. Samuel McCarty's presence has lifted this task from me for a short while. His presence has also lifted the spirits of many within our parish through the inspiration he provides through ministry and witness. Many have remarked how reawakened their senses have become knowing that a talented young man, like Samuel, and others around our diocese are responding to God's call to serve us in the Diocese of La Crosse. I continue to find myself being effected through his energy and idealism which can become clouded through the distractions of daily ministry. Continue to pray for him (us) as we all seek out God's gifts among us and also pray for more vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life.READ MORE
No doubt you've heard the phrase before, "Oh, I'm spiritual but not religious." Or, "I don't go to any church but I still pray." Once I heard someone say, "Well we might leave the Church, but we won't lose our faith." In today's culture there is a distinct animosity towards organized religion – the Catholic Church included. How do we respond?
First, it is necessary to remember that the Church, like Christ, bridges the gap between heaven and earth. This means that despite her divine origin and identity, she is populated by sinners like you and I. The ministers and members of the Church fail to live up to the Gospel and the standards that Jesus preached, and many of the 'spiritual but not religious' crowd have been turned away by our actions. This cannot be!READ MORE
I've been reading the book God or Nothing by Robert Cardinal Sarah, and it has been really fantastic. It's clear that Cardinal Sarah is a deeply holy and courageous man, and his words have been both challenging and inspiring to me. (The book was published by Ignatius Press in 2015 and is subtitled "A Conversation on Faith with Nicolas Diat" if you want to find it.) Here are a few quotes that stood out to me – I hope you enjoy them!
"We understand, therefore, that in piercing the Heart of Jesus, the soldier's spear revealed a great mystery, for it went farther than the Heart of Christ. It revealed God; it passed, so to speak, through the very center of the Trinity." (p. 25)
"Man is great only when he is on his knees before God." (36)READ MORE
I would like to introduce to you a very ancient reality that many people today experience and they don't know why? I can tell you there are no real answers to why some people have this ability. These are graces that have been given to those who need them, the Gift of Tears.
Tears hold a special kind of power to cleanse your mind, reconnect the head and heart and realign you with the power of your soul, but many people see tears as a form of weakness, as being "childish" or giving into negativity. We need to refuse to accept the worldly view of tears and embrace them as Holy.READ MORE
If you’ve read C.S. Lewis’ The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, then you’re familiar with the character Eustace Scrubb. He begins as really a terrible person: always complaining and making others around him miserable,believing himself to be the victim of circumstances, being arrogant and selfish. By the end of the story and in subsequent books, however, he becomes a man of great courage and self-sacrifice. There is an episode near the middle of the book that helps to explain this change. Eustace finds himself transformed into a dragon, and one night he follows the great lion Aslan to a spring in the midst of a garden. Although he longs to bathe in the cool refreshing waters, he is unable to shed the dragon skin that prevents him. At last Aslan himself peels off the foul scaly skin and allows Eustace to be renewed in the water. He describes the experience:READ MORE