IF only we understood what is lost when we let ourselves become forked by the two pronged skewer of pride.

The one prong is defensive: “I am not wrong, or as bad as you say.” The second prong is despair: “I am useless, a worthless failure.” In both cases (often the second prong follows the first), the person expends great energy hiding a basic human truth: the need for God.

Humility is the crown of the Christian. The adversary does everything in his power to prevent us from coming before God with our genuine sinfulness, failure, and character flaws. Such honesty is rewarded by God, and paradoxically, becomes a vessel of strength.

As long as the devil keeps you on his fork, strength is kept at bay, and your crown is left in the treasury of God.

AT a time when the “religious” in the world are strapping bombs on their bodies and blowing themselves up; when missiles are being launched in the name of biblical land rights; when scriptural quotes are taken out of context to support self-interested rights–Pope Benedict’s encyclical on love stands as an extraordinarily bright beacon in the darkened harbor of the earth.

This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.
(John 13:35)

Paralyzed


 

AS I walked the aisle to Communion this morning, I felt as though the cross I was carrying was made of concrete.

As I continued back to the pew, my eye was drawn to an icon of the paralyzed man being lowered in his stretcher to Jesus. Immediately I felt that I was the paralyzed man.

The men who lowered the paralytic through the ceiling into Christ’s presence did so through hard work, faith, and perseverance. But it was only the paralytic–who did nothing but gaze at Jesus in helplessness and hope–to whom Christ said,

"Your sins are forgiven…. rise, pick up your mat, and go home."

Gandolf… the Prophet?


 

 

I WAS passing by the TV as my children were watching "Return of the King"—Part III of The Lord of the Rings—when suddenly the words of Gandolf leapt straight from the screen into my heart:

    Things are in motion which cannot be undone.

I stopped in my tracks to listen, my spirit burning within me:

    …It’s the deep breath before the plunge…
    …This will be the end of Gondar as we know it…
    …We come to it at last, the great battle of our time…

Then a hobbit climbed the watchtower to light the warning fire—the signal to alert the peoples of middle earth to prepare for battle.

God has also sent us "hobbits"—small children to whom his Mother has appeared and charged them to set the fires of truth ablaze, that light may shine in the darkness… Lourdes, Fatima, and more recently, Medjugorje come to mind (the latter awaiting official Church approval).

But one "hobbit" was a child in spirit only, and his life and words have cast a great light across the entire earth, even into the dark shadows:

We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has gone through. I do not think that wide circles of the American society or wide circles of the Christian community realize this fully. We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-Church, of the Gospel and the anti-Gospel. This confrontation lies within the plans of divine providence. It is a trial which the whole Church . . . must take up.  —Cardinal Karol Wotyla who became Pope John Paul II two years later; reprinted November 9, 1978, issue of The Wall Street Journal

    WE must learn to see every imperfection as just more fuel for offering.’ (Excerpt from a letter from Michael D. Obrien)

FROM a song I never finished…

Bread and Wine, on my tongue
Love become, God’s only Son

A remarkable reality: the Eucharist is the physical form of pure Love.

Divisions Beginning


 

 

A GREAT division is occurring in the world today. People are having to choose sides. It is primarily a division of moral and social values, of Gospel principles versus modern presumptions.

And it is exactly what Christ said would happen to families and nations when confronted with his presence:

Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. From now on a household of five will be divided, three against two and two against three… (Luke 12:51-52)

WHAT the world needs today is not more programs, but saints.

Each Hour Counts

I feel as though each hour counts now. That I am called to a radical conversion. It is a mysterious thing, and yet incredibly joyful. Christ is preparing us for something… something extraordinary.

Yes, repentance is more than penitence. It is not remorse. It is not just admitting our mistakes. It is not self-condemnation: "What a fool I've been!" Who of us has not recited such a dismal litany? No, repentance is a moral and spiritual revolution. To repent is one of the hardest things in the world, yet it is basic to all spiritual progress. It demands the breaking down of pride, self-assurance, and the innermost citadel of self-will.(Catherine de Hueck Doherty, Kiss of Christ)