Praying with a “Marked Deck”

October 19, 2014

Meditating on the Gospels helps us to grow closer to Jesus, but which passage should we bring to our time of prayer? With the 1st Sunday of Advent (coming liturgically the evening of November 29th) we’ll begin exploring the Gospel of Mark in our Cycle B Sunday readings. To enter more deeply into the Mass, you can meditate on next Sunday’s Gospel.  Or, to get a sense of Mark’s Gospel as a whole, you can pray it bit by bit from start to finish. Or, you can be completely surprised by divine providence’s unpredictable hand. In my Holy Hours, I’m planning to randomly draw my passage for lectio divina from the following list:

2♠   Mark 1: 1-15
3♠   1: 16-31
4♠   1: 32-45
5♠   2: 1-12
6♠   2: 13-22
7♠   2: 23 – 3: 6
8♠   3: 7-19
9♠   3: 20-35
10♠ 4: 1-9, 14-20
J♠   4: 10-13, 21-25
Q♠  4: 26-34
K♠  4: 35-41
A♠  5: 1-20

2♥   5: 21-24, 35-43
3♥   5: 25-34
4♥   6: 1-16
5♥   6:17-29
6♥   6:30-44
7♥   6:45-56
8♥   7: 1-13
9♥   7: 14-30
10♥ 7: 31-37 & 8: 22-26
J♥    8: 1-10
Q♥   8: 11-21
K   8: 27 – 9: 1
A♥   9: 2-13

2♦   9: 14-29
3♦   9: 30-37
4♦   9: 38-50
5♦   10: 1-16
6♦   10: 17-31
7♦   10: 32-45
8♦   10: 46 – 11: 11
9♦   11: 12-25
10♦ 11: 27 – 12: 12
J♦   12: 13-27
Q♦  12: 28-37
K♦  12: 38-13:2
A♦  13: 3-23

2♣   13: 24-37
3♣   14: 1-11
4♣   14: 12-26
5♣   14: 27-42
6♣   14: 43-52
7♣   14: 53-65
8♣   14: 66-72
9♣   15: 1-15
10♣ 15: 16-24
J♣   15: 25-38
Q♣  15: 39-47
K♣  16: 1-13
A♣  16: 14-20

By Satan’s Power — Friday, 27th Week in Ordinary Time—Year II

October 10, 2014

Readings: Galatians 3:7-14; Luke 11:15-26

Some in the crowd said of Jesus, “By the power of Beelzebul, the prince of demons, he drives out demons.” In a certain sense, those people would be right.

Satan’s power in the world led to Jesus’ Passion. The devil probably thought he was winning by getting Jesus crucified, for ‘cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree.’ Yet Jesus surprised him by turning this curse into ‘a blessing for all nations.’ Jesus suffered Satan’s power, but brought good out of the evil. In this way, by the power of Beelzebul, the prince of demons, Jesus drove out demons from the world.

Originally posted on October 8, 2010

Popes Are Not Perfect — Wednesday, 27th Week of Ordinary Time—Year II

October 8, 2014

Readings: Galatians 2:1-2,7-14; Luke 11:1-4

[W]hen Cephas came to Antioch, I [Paul] opposed him to his face because he clearly was wrong. For, until some people came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he began to draw back and separated himself, because he was afraid of the circumcised. And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, with the result that even Barnabas was carried away by their hypocrisy. But when I saw that they were not on the right road in line with the truth of the Gospel, I said to Cephas [Peter] in front of all, “If you, though a Jew, are living like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews?”

Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples.” He said to them, “When you pray, say: Father, …forgive us our sins….”

Christ Handing the Keys to St. Peter by Pietro Perugino (detail)The Church on earth is both human and divine — it is holy, yet made up of and led by sinners. When the apostles asked Jesus how they should pray he told those men who were to become the Church’s first leaders to always ask that God the Father would forgive their sins.

Some bulk at the doctrine of papal infallibility asking, “How can a pope, a sinful man, be infallible?” (One could likewise ask how sinful men could write the Sacred Scriptures.) A pope is infallible when he proclaims a doctrine by a definitive act as supreme pastor and teacher of all the faithful regarding faith or morals, but nothing guarantees that he and the Church’s other leaders will never make sincere yet unwise decisions, or that they will never commit serious sins. Infallibility is not the same as impeccability. Imagine the Church as car on the interstate. The Holy Spirit provides guard rails to prevent us from crashing, but we do not always drive as straightly and speedily as we could.

In today’s reading from Galatians, St. Paul recalls the time he gave some fraternal correction to the first pope. St. Peter had not been teaching error regarding the Gentiles and the Mosaic Law, but his personal example (withdrawing from their company so as not to offend the circumcised) was sending a mixed and wrong signal. Even St. Peter could make a mess of things sometimes. Popes, bishops, and priests need the help of our prayers. Like St. Augustine observed: for you, they are leaders; but with you, they are Christians. They are disciples of Jesus Christ who, like yourself, must strive and follow after Him daily.

Bible Verses for your 2015 Calendar

September 26, 2014

January

“I know well the plans I have in mind for you… plans for your welfare and not for woe, so as to give you a future of hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

February

“Stern as death is love, relentless as the nether world is devotion; its flames are a blazing fire.” (Song of Songs 8:6)

March

Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38)

April

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were… Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” (John 20:19)

OR

The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” (Psalm 14:1)

May

“When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, behold, your son.’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother.’” (John 19:27)

June

“From the rising of the sun to its setting let the name of the LORD be praised.” (Psalm 113:3)

July

“Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof.” (Leviticus 25:10)

August

“A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.” (Revelation 12:1)

September

“The LORD will guard you from all evil; he will guard your soul.” (Psalm 121:7)

October

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock.“ (Revelation 3:20)

November

“Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, his mercy endures forever!” (Psalm 107:1)

December

“A child is born to us, a son is given to us… they name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:5)

Our Lady’s Wisconsin Message: The Meaning of the Two Trees

September 25, 2014

In the Garden of Eden, there were many fruit-bearing trees, but Genesis mentions only two by name: the Tree of Life, and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. By partaking of the Tree of Life the human race could keep living forever, but the Lord warned that to eat from the other tree would mean our certain death. On October 9th, 1859, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared near Green Bay to a 28 year-old Belgian immigrant named Adele Brise while she was walking eleven miles home from Sunday Mass. Interestingly, Our Lady chose to appear to Adele not in a church, or a thousand other places, but between two trees: a Maple and a Hemlock.

Maple LeavesYou’re familiar with the beauty and goodness of the Maple. In the fall, its leaves turn the most striking colors, and in the spring its sap yields sweet syrup. But do you know about the Hemlock tree? The poison that the Greek philosopher Socrates was condemned to drink came from this plant. Ingesting just six or eight fresh Hemlock leaves can kill a healthy adult. The Maple is a tree of life while the Hemlock is a tree of death. Mary, the New Eve, stood between the two.

Three Conium Maculatum (or Poison Hemlock), Cedar Bog, Champaign CoMary told Adele, “I am the Queen of Heaven, who prays for the conversion of sinners, and I wish you to do the same. You received Holy Communion this morning, and that is well. But you must do more. Make a general confession, and offer Communion for the conversion of sinners. If they do not convert and do penance, my Son will be obliged to punish them.” Our Lady’s message between the two trees is akin the words of Moses, who told the Israelites: “I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Choose life, then, that you and your descendants may live, by loving the Lord, your God, heeding his voice, and holding fast to him. For that will mean life for you, a long life for you to live on the land….

Peshtigo Fire MapApparently, Our Lady’s warnings were not sufficiently heeded. In October of 1871, exactly twelve years later, disaster came. Both in terms of size and number of lives lost, the Peshtigo Fire remains the worst recorded forest fire in U.S. history. Between 1,200 and 2,400 lives ended in that firestorm which saw, according to an eyewitness, “large wooden houses torn from their foundations and caught up like straws by two opposing currents of air which raised them till they came in contact with the stream of fire.” This seems to be the punishment due to sin that Mary spoke of, yet this does not mean that everyone who perished in that fire was condemned. We should remember that at harvest time, the wheat and the weeds are pulled up together in a moment, but their future fates are not the same. Once uprooted, the good are gathered and kept in the barn, while the bad are thrown away forever.

The firestorm came and surrounded the shrine of Our Lady, where hundreds had come for refuge with their families and herds, beseeching her intercession before God. As many as fled to her there were saved. The shrine’s consecrated earth was an emerald-green island in an ocean of smoldering ashes as far as eyes could see.

Mary, the Queen of Heaven, prays for the conversion of sinners and she wishes you to do the same. You receive Holy Communion, and that is well. But you must do more. Begin by receiving the sacrament of reconciliation regularly, because it is powerful for growing in holiness. The sinner whose conversion you are most responsible for is your own.

Parallelism & Padre Pio — Monday, 25th Week of Ordinary Time—Year II

September 23, 2014

Readings: Proverbs 21:1-6, 10-13; Psalm 119:1, 27, 30, 34-35, 44

We see within today’s readings a literary structure often found in the Bible: parallelism. A verse states an idea and is immediately followed by a line reexpressing that same truth (or contrasting it.) For example, in our psalm we read:

The way of truth I have chosen;
I have set your ordinances before me.

And in Proverbs:

The soul of the wicked man desires evil;
his neighbor finds no pity in his eyes.

When the arrogant man is punished, the simple are the wiser; when the wise man is instructed, he gains knowledge.

Parallelism is a providential gift to translators and readers of the Bible because it helps them to understand Scripture’s meaning better than they would through a singular statement alone.

St. Padre Pio PortraitSt. Padre Pio (or Pius of Pietrelcina) is among the most famous saints of the past century. Like Jesus, large crowds were drawn to him and religious authorities were cautiously wary of him, but he always remained obedient. Like Jesus, Padre Pio possessed the mystical ability to read peoples’ souls — to know strangers’ stories, sins, and struggles. He spent long hours in the confessional, being firm with the hardened and gentle with the weak, just like Jesus was with the Pharisees and the woman at the well. Also, by God’s gift, Padre Pio bore the stigma, the wounds of Christ, in his hands, feet, and side.

God uses parallelism to help us to fathom His Word better. In both Sacred Scripture and in the saints of Jesus Christ, parallelism helps us to understand the Lord better.

Generosity & Envy — 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time—Year A

September 21, 2014

Readings: Isaiah 22:6-9; Philippians 1:20c-24, 27a; Matthew 20:1-16a

DenariusHe woke up while it was still dark and kissed his wife while she slept.

He dressed and left home quietly, so as not to wake up the children across the room.

He walked into town and came to the large market square, where the venders were already setting up shop, and day laborers like himself were congregating.

At dawn, landowners came to hire men to harvest their vineyards and fields.

He was left behind, yet he did not leave.

Hopefully, someone would hire him at noon for at least a half-day’s work.

Three o’clock came, and he was still standing there unemployed, refusing to go home. How could he go home, empty-handed?

Around five o’clock, a landowner found him and asked, “Why do you stand here idle all day?”

Speaking for those standing with him he answered, “Because no one has hired us.”

The landowner said to them, “You too go into my vineyard.”

When it was evening, the vineyard owner had his foreman summon the harvesters and pay them—in this he was abiding by the command in the book of Leviticus, “You shall not withhold overnight the wages of your laborer.”

When he received his pay, the man thought there had been some mistake.

Though he worked only an hour, he had been given a silver denarius coin, the standard pay for a full day’s work.

He badly wanted to leave with it, but he was a righteous man, and quietly approached the foreman.

But the foreman reassured him—there had been no mistake!

Oh, the joy he felt! For tonight and tomorrow, his family would not be hungry.

*  *  *  *  *

Was the landowner unfair in the treatment of his workers? At the beginning of the day, the Greek text says the landowner achieved ‘harmonious agreement’ with the labors regarding the usual daily wage. This was not fraud nor exploitation, but a just wage for an honest day’s work. Were the later workers been idle due to laziness? No, they honestly say, but “because no one has hired us.”

Let us revisit the landowner’s arguments in his own defense: he said to one of the grumblers in reply, “My friend, I am not cheating you. Did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? Take what is yours and go. What if I wish to give this last one the same as you? Or am I not free to do as I wish with my own money? Are you envious because I am generous?” The landowner was not being unfair, he was being generous. He kept the precept of Leviticus, which ensured that poor laborers would not be deprived of their daily bread overnight, but he also kept the command which comes in Leviticus five verses later: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

Would the grumblers have been happier if the coins were taken back from the hands of all of the one hour workers? Yes, and no. For the envious person is not happy until everyone is unhappy like himself. And even then, he is still unhappy. What if the grumblers had had perfect hearts? Then they would have been concerned about those unchosen workers, as impoverished as themselves, that were left behind in the marketplace, and upon seeing those latecomers receive a full daily wage they would be happy and relieved for them. But these grumblers’ thoughts were not God’s thoughts, and their ways were not his ways.

Saint Augustine in his Study by Botticelli, 1480Beware of envy. Envy is sadness at the sight of another’s blessings and the immoderate desire to acquire them for oneself. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches, when envy wishes grave harm to a neighbor, it is a mortal sin. St. Augustine rightly called envy “the diabolical sin,” for the book of Wisdom tells us that “by the envy of the devil, death entered the world.” St. Augustine observed, “From envy are born hatred, detraction, slander, joy caused by the misfortune of a neighbor, and displeasure caused by his prosperity.”

What is envy’s antidote or preventative vaccine? A good will towards all people, and rejoicing in their blessings and happiness as much as your own. Do you feel envious out of fear or resentment that there may not enough good things for you? Remember that the landowner in today’s parable, who ensures that his laborers receive their daily bread, represents God, who provides for the needs of those who serve him. As the psalmist says, “The Lord is near to all who call upon him.”

In Jesus’ parable, the landowner represents God, the laborers are those who faithfully serve him, and the equal pay they receive is salvation, eternal life, the reward of Heaven. Does this mean that all who serve God receive an equal reward? Once again, the answer is yes, and no. Each is given Heaven, but not all souls enjoy the same glory there. In our second reading, St. Paul says, “If I go on living in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me.” He is not sure if he would rather live or die (“I do not know which I shall choose”) because death means peaceful rest with Christ, while more labor in life means a greater reward.

St. ThereseWhen St. Therese of Lisieux was a little girl, she was rather put out to learn that not all souls enjoy the same glory in heaven. For the young, fairness means simple sameness. Her older sister, Pauline, told her to fetch a thimble and her father’s water tumbler and to fill both of them to the top with water. Pauline then asked her which one was fuller. St. Therese saw that every soul in heaven is filled to its brim and can hold no more; each being full of God and completely happy. In Heaven, there is enough love, glory, and happiness for everyone, even if we grow and develop different capacities for these while on earth.

So who will have the largest capacity in Heaven? Who will hold the most glory? I believe, as Jesus says, “the last will be first, and the first will be last.” The greatest glory will not go to those who are focused on who is first and greatest, but to those interested in promoting in the greater glory of all.

God’s angels have different degrees of glory and power, yet they find delight in one another. They have labored for the Lord since the beginning of time, yet they rejoice that God has been generous with us latecomers and included us in his work. Let us be like our angels, who happily pray for us and aid us, so that we might attain a glory greater than their own. Let us pray that others might become holier than us, provided we become as holy as we ought.

Our Lady’s Message in Wisconsin: Conversion & Catechesis

September 18, 2014

On the Feast of the Immaculate Conception in 2010, at the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help located about sixteen miles northeast of Green Bay, Bishop David Ricken endorsed our country’s first Church-approved Marian apparition:

“I declare with moral certainty and in accord with the norms of the Church that the events, apparitions and locutions given to Adele Brise in October of 1859 do exhibit the substance of supernatural character, and I do hereby approve these apparitions as worthy of belief (although not obligatory) by the Christian faithful.”

Crowned M - Sacred Heart Catholic Church -  Wauzeka WI155 years ago, a lovely blond-haired lady clothed in dazzling white, with a yellow sash around her waist and a crown of stars around her head, appeared to a 28-year-old lay woman named Adele Brise. Adele asked the lady who she was and what she wanted. She answered, “I am the Queen of Heaven who prays for the conversion of sinners, and I wish you to do the same. You received Holy Communion this morning and that is well. But you must do more. Make a general confession and offer Communion for the conversion of sinners… Gather the children in this wild country and teach them what they should know for salvation…”

This was the core of Mary’s message: for sinners to be converted and for children to be catechised. Yet Adele hesitated and asked how she was to teach the young when she knew so little herself. Mary replied, “Teach them their catechism, how to sign themselves with the sign of the Cross, and how to approach the sacraments; that is what I wish you to do. Go and fear nothing, I will help you.” After Adele’s encounter, her father built a small chapel on the site and Adele went about fulfilling her entrusted mission for the rest of her life. Exactly twelve years after Mary’s message came the terrible Peshtigo Fire which still ranks as the worst fire disaster in U.S. history. By a miracle, all who fled to Mary’s shrine for refuge were saved.

Our Mother, the Church, teaches that parents are the primary educators of their children in the Faith. This means that whether our kids go to CCD or Catholic school, family is the first and foremost teacher of life’s most important lessons. But how often do we talk to our children about Jesus and Mary, or teach them about what they should know for salvation? I suspect that many feel intimidated like Adele Brise was because they think they know too little. Yet Mary reassures us that anyone can begin teaching children the simple, precious lessons that will stay with them and bless them forever. As our children grow, we also must grow in the Faith, exploring the what’s and why’s of the Church’s teachings and living them out in our lives. Catechesis without conversion is in vain.

The Virgin Mary’s message to Adele Brise remains timely for us today: Pray for the conversion of sinners… Offer Communion for the conversion of sinners… Gather the children in this wild country and teach them what they should know for salvation… Go and fear nothing, I will help you.”

Everyone Has Time to Read the Gospels

September 9, 2014

Have you ever read the four Gospels:
Matthew, Mark, Luke, & John?

A Papyrus Manuscript (P66) of the Beginning of John's Gospel.

A Papyrus Manuscript (P66) of the Beginning of John

People say that they don’t have time to read the four most important books in human history, but the truth is that everyone does. It is simply a question of our priorities.

Given the average person’s reading speed and the number of words in each book, about how long does it take to read the Gospels?

Matthew:  1 hour, 14 minutes
Mark:  46 minutes
Luke:  1 hour, 18 minutes
John:  1 hour, 3 minutes

The Four Gospels:  4 hours, 21 minutes

For comparison, you can read:

If we have had the time for any of the things above, what excuse will we have for someday appearing before the Lord Jesus without having read his Gospels? Put first things first, and take time today to begin reading his four Gospels.

Comparing Catholic Bibles

September 6, 2014

 

The Douay-Rheims

  • This was the earliest Catholic Bible in English (New Testament published in 1582; Old Testament in 1610.)
  • It pre-dates the most famous Protestant Bible, the 1611 King James Version.
  • It is a very literal translation from St. Jerome’s Latin Vulgate from 382 AD.
  • It uses archaic English words, like “thou.”

 

The New Revised Standard Version – Catholic Edition (NRSV-CE)

  • The RSV was a translation for American readers from the original languages by thirty Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox scholars in the 1940’s & 50’s and was adapted for Catholic use in 1966.
  • It is considered a very literal & readable translation by many orthodox Catholic scholars.
  • It is often used in university or seminary courses and by important Catholic & Protestant biblical scholars.
  • The New RSV (or NRSV) was published in 1989 and has gender-neutral (or inclusive) language.

 

The New Jerusalem Bible (NJB)

  • The 1966 Jerusalem Bible was an English translation of a French Edition published by Dominican scholars in Jerusalem in 1956.
  • The 1985 New Jerusalem Bible revises the Jerusalem Bible directly from the original languages and contains inclusive language.
  • The NJB has a very literary style but is comparable in quality to the NRSV in scholarship.
  • This is the most widely used Catholic Bible in English outside of the United States.

 

The New American Bible (NAB)

  • The NAB was translated from the original languages according to the principles of the Second Vatican Council in 1970.
  • The 1980’s revised edition (the NAB-RE) restored some traditional phrasing and added inclusive language in the New Testament and Psalms.
  • The Holy See approved some use of inclusive language where the speaker or author intended a mixed audience (e.g. “brothers and sisters”, instead of the older “brethren,”) but rejected this in references to God or Christ, and to man, where the word has anthropological and theological significance.
  • Since Pentecost 2002, the revised NAB’s lectionary is the only one approved for use in U.S. English Masses, so faithful Catholics are already familiar with its readable style.

 


Translation Comparison of Matthew 18:15

Douay-Rheims:  “But if thy brother shall offend against thee, go, and rebuke him between thee and him alone. If he shall hear thee, thou shalt gain thy brother.”

NRSV-CE:  “If another member of the church sins against you, go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone. If the member listens to you, you have regained that one.”

NJB:  “If your brother does something wrong, go and have it out with him alone, between your two selves. If he listens to you, you have won back your brother.”

NAB-RE:  “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have won over your brother.”


Primarily Used Sources:

The Ungospel of Matthew 18:15-17*

September 6, 2014

(*From The Unbiblical Translation Bible)

15  “If your brother sins against you, go and tell anyone about his fault, except for him alone. He won’t listen, and the silent treatment guarantees this.

16  Instead, with one or two others (over coffee, on the phone, or during a lunch break,) testify to your grievances.

17  If they listen, then your gossip will spread through the church and (whether deserved or not) he will be treated as a telemarketer or a tax collector.”

Unpacking the Perfect Prayer

September 5, 2014

Based on CCC 2761-2865

Jesus “was praying at a certain place, and when he was finished, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.'” In response, the Lord entrusted to his disciples and his Church the fundamental Christian prayer, the Our Father.

St. Luke presents a brief text of five petitions, while St. Matthew gives a more developed version of seven petitions. The liturgical tradition of the Church has followed St. Matthew’s text.

Early Christians prayed the Our Father three times a day and it has always been associated with the celebration of the Lord’s Supper, the Mass.

The doxology, “For the Kingdom, and the power, and the Glory are yours, now and forever,” which follows the Our Father is not found in the most ancient Gospel texts, but it does date back to very early Church tradition.

The Our Father uses some unfamiliar, old English words: “Art” is a form of “is,” while the word “thy” means “your.” Thus, the prayer begins, “Our Father, who is in heaven, hallowed be your name…”

We pray “Our Father” rather than “My Father” because our relationship with God is not individualistic, but communion that includes our brothers and sisters as well.

Our Father above surpasses the excellence of all good fathers on earth, and He is the ideal that inferior fathers fail to embody.

Saying “Our Father who art in heaven” does not point to some spatial place far away, but speaks to His beatific majesty among us.

For the Jews, seven was a number symbolizing perfection. The Our Father consists of seven petitions. The first three mainly address God’s glory: “thy name, thy kingdom, thy will.” The last four refer to our needs: “give us, forgive us, lead us, deliver us.”

“Hallowed be thy name” We cannot make God more holy; but his name, his person, can be regarded as more sacred among us. Not only does this rule out blasphemy, but prays that all would come to a deeper personal relationship with Him.

“Thy Kingdom come” We pray for the fullness of His kingdom, his kingship, and his reign on earth. The Kingdom of God has begun among us with Christ, but the evils on earth show that it has not yet come in full measure.

“Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” Imagine if everyone on earth did His will as perfectly as the saints and angels? These first three petitions are advanced by God’s graces and our cooperation.

“Give us this day our daily bread” We need three kinds of sustenance: literal food for our survival, gracious rations for our many other human needs, and the Most Holy Eucharist for our perfection.

We pray “this day” for “our daily bread” to emphasize our constant reliance and trust.

“And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us” Jesus tell us that if we do not forgive others from our hearts, we will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven. You can pray for your enemies, know that you are loving them as a friend.

“And lead us not into temptation” God tempts no one. The original Greek can be translated, “Do not allow us to enter into temptation,” or “Do not let us yield to temptation.” We know our weakness and should pray for protection and deliverance.

“But deliver us from evil” We pray for freedom from all evils; present, past, & future; of which Satan, the Evil One, is the primary author or instigator. Just as the listings of apostles begin with Peter and end with Judas, so the Lord’s prayer begins with Our Father and ends with evil. Our confident, loving focus is on God, but we should not be naively unaware of the enemy of our souls.

With this deeper understanding of the Lord’s Prayer, the Our Father, the perfect prayer, try praying its words slowly and meditatively for new intimacy and fruits.

“Get Behind Me” — 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time—Year A

August 31, 2014

Gospel: Matthew 16:21-27

Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer greatly from the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised.  Then Peter took Jesus aside and began to rebuke him, “God forbid, Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to you.”  He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle to me.  You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.”

In Hebrew, “satan” means “adversary.” Peter is not the devil, but in opposing the Father’s true will for the Messiah, Peter is acting as an adversary and an obstacle to Jesus. Earlier in Matthew’s Gospel, during the temptation in the desert, Jesus told the devil, “Get away, Satan!” Later, in describing the Last Judgment, Jesus tells the unrighteous goats on his left, “Depart from me, you accursed…” Yet to St. Peter, Jesus says, ‘You are my friend, so get behind me… Stay close to me, and follow my lead.”

“Late Have I Loved You…”

August 28, 2014

Saint Augustine in his Study by Botticelli, 1480In “The Confessions,” the first autobiography in Western history, St. Augustine of Hippo tells of his sinful youth away from the Lord prior to his conversion. In perhaps its greatest passage, Augustine pens these words to God:

“Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved you!  You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you.  In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things which you created.  You were with me, but I was not with you.  Created things kept me from you; yet if they had not been in you they would not have been at all.  You called, you shouted, and you broke through my deafness.  You flashed, you shone, and you dispelled my blindness.  You breathed your fragrance on me; I drew in breath and now I pant for you.  I have tasted you, now I hunger and thirst for more.  You touched me, and I burned for your peace.”

Neat Things About “A Man For All Seasons”

August 21, 2014

“A Man For All Seasons” was 1966’s Academy Award winner for Best Picture, and it is my all-time favorite movie. This YouTube video I made presents a number of interesting things you never knew about this wonderful film. I invite you to watch, “like,” and “share” it.

 


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