My homily, as preached last Sunday, January 22nd at the church of St. Cecilia in Wisconsin Dells, WI
Click HERE to link to the homily.
As preached at the chapel of St. Cecilia in Wisconsin Dells, WI. Below are the quotes I used from Pope Francis:
God’s dream does not change; it remains intact and it invites us to work for a society which supports families. A society where bread, “fruit of the earth and the work of human hands” continues to be put on the table of every home, to nourish the hope of its children.
Let us help one another to make it possible to “stake everything on love”. Let us help one another at times of difficulty and lighten each other’s burdens. Let us support one another. Let us be families which are a support for other families.
Perfect families do not exist. This must not discourage us. Quite the opposite. Love is something we learn; love is something we live; love grows as it is “forged” by the concrete situations which each particular family experiences. Love is born and constantly develops amid lights and shadows. Love can flourish in men and women who try not to make conflict the last word, but rather a new opportunity. An opportunity to seek help, an opportunity to question how we need to improve, an opportunity to discover the God who is with us and never abandons us. This is a great legacy that we can give to our children, a very good lesson: we make mistakes, yes; we have problems, yes. But we know that that is not really what counts. We know that mistakes, problems and conflicts are an opportunity to draw closer to others, to draw closer to God.
Address at the Rally for the World Meeting of Families
Among the vulnerable for whom the Church wishes to care with particular love and concern are unborn children, the most defenseless and innocent among us. Nowadays efforts are made to deny them their human dignity and to do with them whatever one pleases, taking their lives and passing laws preventing anyone from standing in the way of this. Frequently, as a way of ridiculing the Church’s effort to defend their lives, attempts are made to present her position as ideological, obscurantist and conservative. Yet this defense of unborn life is closely linked to the defense of each and every other human right. It involves the conviction that a human being is always sacred and inviolable, in any situation and at every stage of development. Human beings are ends in themselves and never a means of resolving other problems. Once this conviction disappears, so do solid and lasting foundations for the defense of human rights, which would always be subject to the passing whims of the powers that be.
Evangelii Gaudium No. 213
Apologies for not having posted in a while. I have been terribly ill of late. Have no worries, all is looking up but the past two weeks have taken a lot out of me.
Now, to the brief point.
Ever had a hard time know what the right choice is? You know, sometimes there is a decision to make and its not certain what direction you should take or where you should go. I have had that short of moment recently and wanted to share some little spiritual advice.
Point 1 – the Moral Choice.
- The first thing is to look at the two (or multiple) choices and first ask, ‘Is this morally right or morally wrong.’
- This is generally the easiest step and if you are confused, ask an expert.
- If the answer to a point is, ‘no, this is not morally justifiable.’ Then don’t do it.
- If the answer is, ‘yes, this is morally justifiable.’ Then you can do it
Point 2 – Can I do it?
- This is an important question. Can I do one thing or another – do I have the practical, intellectual, physical, psychological, economical, capacity to do this thing.
- While this question is fairly easy, it requires courage and honesty. Do not kid yourself with this question.
- Be courageous = have a broad avenue for saying ‘yes.’ Challenge yourself, push yourself – verso l’alto! (to quote Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati.)
- Be honest = sometimes we have already found our limit and know that, at this time, I just cannot achieve what is asked in this instance.
Point 3 – What do I want to do?
- This is something that many well-meaning Christians miss. They assume that what they want can’t possible be what God wants. Since when?
- You have a particular genius – a personality, skills, talents, hopes, dreams – a way of looking at creation that is singular to you.
- True, you are not the only person in the world – that’s why this is not the first point – but God’s Will intersects with your life.
- Be not afraid – you matter, you count, you are important. “Follow after me and I will make you fishers of men.” There is a choice here. One can follow or not, one can walk or not but the individual must choose.
Point 4 –
- Look at our Lord, ask Him what to do right to His Face.
- After point 3, pray.
- Have you ever had a conversation with someone? Have you ever put forward and idea? I mean a good idea, one you have thought about, have researched and pondered. When you explain it to a person, face to face, you can tell what they think even before they speak.
- This is true of our Lord. His Face, incarnate in the Lord Jesus Christ, can be see and descried, it can be sought after and found.
In case you are wondering the best place to see the face of Jesus, well there are many, but here’s number one:
The Holy Eucharist y’all.
Genius advice? Probably not. But even her in holy Rome it’s the way to go.
Love you all and ask for your prayers.
I have always loved the Blessed Virgin Mary. Today, I fell in love with her.
This morning my friend Fr. Daren and I met Mr. Paul Badde at a little cafe not far from St. Anne’s Gate at the Vatican. From there Mr. Badde took us to the Dominican Convent of the Holy Rosary on Mont Mario in Rome.
Mont Mario is a hill in Rome, though not one of the Seven Hills of Rome. In ancient times it was outside of the city, located on the western side of the Tiber River and a bit north of the Vatican Hill. It is recognizable to many who have visited Rome as it is the tallest hill in Rome and there is an observatory on the hill which can be seen from most parts of the city. It is not often visited as there are many private homes and a beautiful nature preserve (which is not a normal Roman tourist destination.) It is also held that Mont Mario is the place where Constantine had his vision of the Cross in the sky before the Battle of the Milvian Bridge.
The Convent of the Holy Rosary has ancient foundations but the current church is a baroque building build in 1725. The convent is home to an order of cloistered Dominican nuns – about 25 of them. While Mont Mario is not the original location of this particular convent, the convent was founded by St. Dominic himself when he came to Rome, about the year 1220. It is a beautiful place that, in addition to this wonderful contemplative order, houses significant relics of St. Dominic, St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Catherine of Siena.
It is also home to this icon:
The icon is called in Greek Hagiosoritissa in Italian L’Avvocata or The Advocate. It is sometimes all called Our Lady of St. Luke.
I have not had time to research this history very deeply as most of it seems to be in either Latin or Italian and is almost completely lost in English.
In brief, it is a treasure. It is said to have been painted by St. Luke. The first established Christian community outside of Jerusalem sent a request saying, more or less, ‘hey, you have the Apostles, you have the Virgin Mary, can we at lest get a picture or something?’ Thus, the first images of Jesus and Mary were sent to this place. When the Muslim conquests began they were sent to Constantinople. When Constantinople was first threatened, the image of Our Lady came to Rome and was entrusted to the Dominicans. That is the super short version.
It carbon dates to the first century, so that claim is clear. There is an extant record of its being brought to Constantinople, so that is clear. There is also a record of Greek monks bringing it to Rome, so the line is clear. It is also a unique type of iconography. Many iconographers have come to see the image and have testified that the method used to make this icon is unique and has been lost to history. There is more historical detail but, it seems to have the clearest and strongest of all claims to be, if not the original icon of the Virgin Mary, an icon written by someone who knew Mary personally and looked upon her face.
I looked upon that face today and didn’t want to leave.
The eyes of this image pulled me in like nothing I have seen before and filled me with a consolation I have not felt. it was a window into endless beauty, pureness of love and joy beyond telling. More to the point, when I looked at and prayed before this icon of Mary, my heart was pulled to love the Eucharist in the Tabernacle like I had never done before. We prayed the Rosary before this image and all I could think was, ‘I don’t love Jesus enough but I can love Him more and more and more and more and more. . .’ It was a heavenly peace.
In brief, wow! It is much like the image of Jesus at Manoppello (which I will write about soon.) How do more people not know about this!
Pope Benedict XVI visited and venerated the image in 2010. If I was the Pope I would be up there once a week and have that icon in St. Peter’s for just about every Marian feast day there is and twice on Saturdays.
It seems to me that the good God is re-unveiling some of this wondrous images and relics and working many miracles in a time when the world needs it so very much. St. Faustina is proved true when she talks about the Lord God working great miracles of the heart in these times. May He be blessed forever!
As the West declines and the last lights of this once great civilization go off – a bright horizon opens by the work of the Holy Spirit to re-fire Divine Love in souls.
True enough I hope to obtain a doctorate in Liturgy from the Pontifical Institute for Liturgy at the Pontifical Athaneum Sant’Anselm while I am in Rome. Just as much I hope to help spread the word about these great and holy icons (Manopello and Mont Mario) for I feel that, as He did in the early days of the Church, the good God wishes to use these things to bring people to know the wonder and glory of His Son, Jesus Christ.
O, and they have the hand of St. Catherine of Siena.
O felix Roma!