The Storm of Our Desires

Peace Be Still, by Arnold Friberg

 

FROM time to time, I receive letters like these:

Please pray for me. I am so weak and my sins of the flesh, especially alcohol, strangle me. 

You could simply replace alcohol with “pornography”, “lust”, “anger” or a number of other things. The fact is that many Christians today feel swamped by the desires of the flesh, and helpless to change.Continue reading

Striking God’s Anointed One

Saul attacking David, Guercino (1591-1666)

 

Regarding my article on The Anti-Mercy, someone felt that I was not critical enough of Pope Francis. “Confusion is not from God,” they wrote. No, confusion is not from God. But God can use confusion to sift and purify His Church. I think this is precisely what is happening at this hour. Francis’ pontificate is bringing into full light those clergymen and laymen who seemed as though waiting in the wings to promote a heterodox version of Catholic teaching (cf. When the Weeds Begin to Head). But it is also bringing to light those who have been bound up in legalism hiding behind a wall of orthodoxy. It is revealing those whose faith is genuinely in Christ, and those whose faith is in themselves; those who are humble and loyal, and those who aren’t. 

So how do we approach this “Pope of surprises”, who seems to startle nearly everyone these days? The following was published on January 22nd, 2016 and has been updated today… The answer, most certainly, is not with the irreverent and crude criticism that has become a staple of this generation. Here, David’s example is most relevant…

Continue reading

The Anti-Mercy

 

A woman asked today if I’ve written anything to clarify the confusion over the Pope’s post-Synodal document, Amoris Laetitia. She said,

I love the Church and always plan to be a Catholic. Yet, I am confused about Pope Francis’ last Exhortation. I know the true teachings on marriage. Sadly I am a divorced Catholic. My husband started another family while still married to me. It still hurts very much. As the Church can’t change its teachings, why hasn’t this been made clear or professed?

She is correct: the teachings on marriage are clear and immutable. The present confusion is really a sad reflection of the Church’s sinfulness within her individual members. This woman’s pain is for her a double-edged sword. For she is cut to the heart by her husband’s infidelity and then, at the same time, cut by those bishops who are now suggesting that her husband might be able to receive the Sacraments, even while in a state of objective adultery. 

The following was published on March 4th, 2017 regarding a novel re-interpretation of marriage and the sacraments by some bishop’s conferences, and the emerging “anti-mercy” in our times…Continue reading

Getting Ahead of God

 

FOR over three years, my wife and I have been trying to sell our farm. We’ve felt this “call” that we should move here, or move there. We’ve prayed about it and surmised that we had many valid reasons and even felt a certain “peace” about it. But still, we’ve never found a buyer (actually the buyers that have come along have been inexplicably blocked time and again) and the door of opportunity has repeatedly closed. At first, we were tempted to say, “God, why aren’t you blessing this?” But recently, we’ve realized that we’ve been asking the wrong question. It shouldn’t be, “God, please bless our discernment,” but rather, “God, what is Your will?” And then, we need to pray, listen, and above all, wait for both clarity and peace. We haven’t waited for both. And as my spiritual director has told me many times over the years, “If you don’t know what to do, don’t do anything.”Continue reading

The Cross of Loving

 

TO pick up one’s Cross means to empty oneself out completely for love of the other. Jesus put it another way:

This is my commandment: love one another as I love you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. (John 15:12-13)

We are to love as Jesus loved us. In His personal mission, which was a mission for the entire world, it involved death upon a cross. But how are we who are mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, priests and nuns, to love when we are not called to such a literal martyrdom? Jesus revealed this too, not only on Calvary, but each and every day as He walked among us. As St. Paul said, “He emptied himself, taking the form of a slave…” [1](Philippians 2:5-8 How?Continue reading

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1. (Philippians 2:5-8

The Late Consecration

THE NOW WORD ON MASS READINGS
for December 23rd, 2017
Saturday of the Third Week of Advent

Liturgical texts here

Moscow at dawn…

 

Now more than ever it is crucial that you be “watchers of the dawn”, the lookouts who announce the light of dawn and the new springtime of the Gospel
of which the buds can already be seen.

—POPE JOHN PAUL II, 18th World Youth Day, April 13th, 2003;
vatican.va

 

FOR a couple of weeks, I have sensed that I should share with my readers a parable of sorts that has been unfolding recently in my family. I do so with my son’s permission. When we both read yesterday’s and today’s Mass readings, we knew it was time to share this story based on the following two passages:Continue reading

The Coming Effect of Grace

THE NOW WORD ON MASS READINGS
for December 20th, 2017
Thursday of the Third Week of Advent

Liturgical texts here

 

IN the remarkable approved revelations to Elizabeth Kindelmann, a Hungarian woman who was widowed at the age of thirty-two with six children, Our Lord reveals an aspect of the “Triumph of the Immaculate Heart” that is coming.Continue reading

The Testing – Part II

THE NOW WORD ON MASS READINGS
for December 7th, 2017
Thursday of the First Week of Advent
Memorial of St. Ambrose

Liturgical texts here

 

WITH the controversial events of this week that unfolded in Rome (see The Papacy is Not One Pope), the words have been lingering in my mind once again that all of this is a testing of the faithful. I wrote about this in October 2014 shortly after the tendentious Synod on the family (see The Testing). Most important in that writing is the part about Gideon….

I also wrote then as I do now: “what happened in Rome was not a test to see how loyal you are to the Pope, but how much faith you have in Jesus Christ who promised that the gates of hell will not prevail against His Church.” I also said, “if you think that there is confusion now, wait till you see what’s coming…”Continue reading