Thursday, November 29, 2012

Our Salvation is not from the Earth (From Catholic Exchange)

Our Salvation is not from the Earth:
Reading 1 Rv 18:1-2, 21-23; 19:1-3, 9a
Responsorial Psalm Ps 100:1b-2, 3, 4, 5
Gospel Lk 21:20-28
Our salvation is not from the earth. It is not the product of human effort. Our salvation is from above, from Jesus Christ. So we should raise our hearts to heaven, the source of our salvation. Jesus will return. So as Christians, we should be a people of hope. Because Jesus has promised to return and bring us to be with him in his Father’s house, there is no need to fear the future.
Let us ask Jesus today to forgive us for the times that we worry too much and get preoccupied with the passing things of this world. Let us ask him to increase our faith in him and to help us to see his work in our lives. Let us also ask him to increase our hope that we might not get discouraged as we see our faults and lack of progress.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Irreligious Priesthood

"We all feel angry with an irreligious priesthood; but some of us would go mad with disgust at a really religious one."

          - From G.K. Chesterton's "What's Wrong with the World?"

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Writing Straight with Crooked Postcards

Several months ago a friend and member of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul was visiting Paris.  She sent me a postcard with a brief note about all the wonderful sacred sites of Paris, including relics of St. Vincent de Paul.  But she put down the wrong address and changed a 3 to an 8.  So the postcard ended up many miles north of the parish, and was delivered to a home.

A few weeks later, a couple approached after Mass and told me they had some of my mail.  They gave me the postcard and we laughed about the wrong address.  But the couple wanted to talk more, so we did.  After about half an hour they said that it had been many, many years since they attended Mass, and they thought this was the Lord calling them back, and they promised they would start attending their local parish.  They hadn't stopped attending for any strong reason, just drifted away, and said that maybe this was the kickstart they needed to get back to the Church.

So a little memory lapse on the parish address brings someone back to the Church.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Reform can be painful

From time to time you read of the life of a saint, usually a priest or bishop who is noted for his reform of his diocese or parish.  I've been tempted in reading those remarks to think about the joy of reform and having a nicer Catholic presence in that diocese or parish.  Oh wouldn't it be nice to be in that reformed area where we all live like true Catholic brothers and sisters in Christ.

Maybe those places do happen after the reform, but I've come to the conclusion that living through that reform wouldn't be so much fun for either those being reformed, or the person(s) doing the reforming. 

I think we're starting to see a little bit of it in our own country.  Anti-Catholics think they have seen the weakness of our faith, and have decided to push out against us, to try to divide and conquer, and finally show the Church to be the paper tiger they have always believed it to be.  Not only do we have blatently anti-Christian comments and actions to deal with, but also anti-Catholic.

Is this the beginning of a time of reform?  Will these things begin to awaken Catholics to the precious nature of our faith, or will it take more, stronger efforts of those who push out against the Church?  Cardinal George has made some strong statements that seem to point out that he believes this to be only the beginning of a modern persecution of Christians of all kinds, and Catholics in particular.

We Catholics, often at Mass, pray for the needs of the Church during the General Intercessions/Prayers of the Faithful.  We often pray for a strong Church and strong leaders, who grow in faith and devotion.  But that growth and strength does not come easy and without sacrifice on the part of all members of Christ's Body.

When reform begins to happen, at some point either through actions or words, people are told that the current way of doing things is not acceptable, that things must change, that they aren't living up to be the people Christ calls us to be.  That never goes over easily.  For the most part, people are comfortable with the current state of things, and change is either difficult to contemplate, or insulting if they think they are 'good people' or better yet, 'good priests.'

We are all called to daily reform and conversion to Christ.  Especially during Lent we are reminded to pick up our cross and follow the Lord.  Picking up that cross is heavy, and the splinters are painful.  It is hard to carry.  But carry the analogy forward.  If we're picking up a cross, where are we taking it?  What is the end goal?  Do we just carry around a cross for a while -- or are we truly following the Lord to the Crucifixion?  If we're carrying it, we are probably going to have to use it, and it is probably going to be used on us.

Many years ago, a holy priest told me at the beginning of my priesthood that especially as priests we are called to follow Christ.  But remember in our churches we have a representation of where that path leads when we look on a Crucifix.  We also know that there awaits the Resurrection on the other side.  He told me that we all want resurrections, but we don't want the passion that gets us there.  Reform is another form of that passion.

Reform can be painful.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Prayers for Bishops

During the Eucharistic Prayer at Mass, we always pray for our Bishop(s). I think I know why.

I cannot for the life of me understand why anyone would accept the role of Bishop and less still continue as a Bishop.

I've been able to see just a small part of their lives in a close up way. I briefly held a chancery position and was able to see the daily working of the diocese and what is required of a Bishop to keep things moving. Our new Auxiliary Bishop has chosen to live in my rectory, so I see how a newly consecrated Bishop begins to learn what it means to be a Bishop and what it takes to be a Bishop. A friend was named the Bishop of Gallup, NM a few years ago, and I hear back from him and from other friends what is happening in his life.

From what I have witnessed, it takes an impossible mixture of holiness, fortitude and humility. I once heard Marriage described as a 'Saint making process.' I have the feeling that being a Bishop is a 'Martyr making process.' It might not be a red martyr, when actual blood is shed and life is lost for the faith, but a white martyr in which lifelong suffering and ridicule is accepted and offered to God in union with Christ on the Cross.  Many times that suffering comes from the ones who are supposed to be the closest collaborators with the Bishop, the priests of the diocese.

Pray for our Bishops.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Western Beauty

Several of the scenes in the *incredible* video were taken near Sedona, AZ, and I grew up just a few miles from there.  This entire video is stunning and breathtaking.

http://www.vimeo.com/29950141

Landscapes: Volume Two from Dustin Farrell on Vimeo.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

SAFE?

from ADAM'S ALE

SAFE?:
Many people see Church as a safe place to be. Just think of the word “sanctuary.” If you are in danger you run to a church and claim sanctuary and supposedly are afforded a certain amount of protection as long as you remain there.But church and the realm of faith is anything but safe. One need only look at the statues and stained glass windows in his local parish (if he is fortunate enough that it is thusly equipped) to see people who were stoned, beheaded, set on fire, and whose leader Himself was crucified.

If you think things are much different today you are mistaken. Martyrs are still made throughout the world. But of course one might be inclined to think, “those things happen over there though, not here.” Wrong again. I’ll grant you that we do not have martyrs in the United States. But things are not all roses. That is because the Church is involved in the world of thoughts and ideas and it is one of the very few institutions that does not put its Okay stamp on modern culture and go along with the tide of popular opinion.

What is at stake? Men and women in the medical field who want to live out their Catholic faith run the risk of losing their jobs because they refuse to perform procedures or administer drugs that the government wants to mandate ridding us of our conscience clauses. Institutions come closer every year to being in direct conflict with new government regulations in hiring and in practices that go against Catholic teaching such as supplying medical coverage for abortions (just one example.) As same sex marriages are made legal the Church runs the risk of having to recognize such marriages or face sanctions. If you do not believe this take a look at what Archbishop Broglio is facing as archbishop of the military.

Faith is not safe. If you are safe it is only because such things have not yet directly affected your life. All of this prompted Francis Cardinal George to comment, “"I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square".