I am reading through “Friends of God” by Saint Josemaria Escriva. Here is an excellent quote, which has some very concrete examples of penances we can offer up with love to our Lord:
“Penance is fulfilling exactly the timetable you have fixed for yourself, even though your body resists or your mind tries to avoid it by dreaming up useless fantasies. Penance is getting up on time and also not leaving for later, without any real reason, that particular job that you find harder or most difficult to do.
Penance is knowing how to reconcile your duties to God, to others and to yourself, by making demands on yourself so that you find enough time for each of your tasks. You are practising penance when you lovingly keep to your schedule of prayer, despite feeling worn out, listless or cold.
Penance means being very charitable at all times towards those around you, starting with the members of your own family. It is to be full of tenderness and kindness towards the suffering, the sick and the infirm. It is to give patient answers to people who are boring and annoying. It means interrupting our work or changing our plans, when circumstances make this necessary, above all when the just and rightful needs of others are involved.
Penance consists in putting up good-humouredly with the thousand and one little pinpricks of each day; in not abandoning your job, although you have momentarily lost the enthusiasm with which you started it; in eating gladly whatever is served, without being fussy.
For parents and, in general, for those whose work involves supervision or teaching, penance is to correct whenever it is necessary. This should be done bearing in mind the type of fault committed and the situation of the person who needs to be so helped, not letting oneself be swayed by subjective viewpoints, which are often cowardly and sentimental.
A spirit of penance keeps us from becoming too attached to the vast imaginative blueprints we have made for our future projects, where we have already foreseen our master strokes and brilliant successes. What joy we give to God when we are happy to lay aside our third-rate painting efforts and let him put in the features and colours of his choice!” (Friends of God, 138).
Dear Sisters, Fathers, and Friends
The opposite of love is not hatred, but indifference. Isn’t it crushing to us when we sense that somebody ignored us, or doesn’t care about us? Some of you who work with the elderly could probably share a number of stories of how the elderly suffer when they feel forgotten by their loved ones. I think this also affects many young people as well. Facebook, texting, and social media can create a world of indifference. Read More
Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger relates about a conversation he once had with a bishop from a communist country: “…[he] said to me what was most characteristic of that world, no longer allowed to be open to anything transcendent, was its unbelievable dreariness, the boredom of a world that can expect nothing of itself, the everlasting grayness of leaden everyday life with no celebration, in which, ultimately nothing else can arrive, because man simply reproduces himself.”
I know some of you have come from Poland, and can certainly relate to this dreariness, and probably the horrors of life under such a government. Actually in our current country we are perhaps not too far off the mark on this. Read More
This is the very first homily I preached, at Solemn Vespers of Pentecost, to a Men’s retreat.
The majority of you have come here after a day and a night of a men’s retreat. This is good. And yet some others have gathered here in prayer as well. Let this not distract you men, but rather help you focus. We believe in the “Communion of Saints” which includes the saints in Heaven who pray for us, the souls in purgatory who rely on our prayers, and our brothers and sisters across the world. We are united in prayer most especially in the Eucharist. There is no competition between male and female:there is complementarity.
Now I want to address the men here, and to the women, I encourage each of you: please pray for your husband(if you are married), your father, your sons, and your brothers. Please pray especially to St Joseph that he may help us men to be faithful and courageous.
Men, we are inherently visual creatures. We are constantly on the go or seeking, we are distracted and captivated by beauty. Due to our fallen nature, the devil often uses this to steer us from the path of virtue and holiness. The beauty in liturgy is meant to captivate us-to be a genuine sign of the beauty of God’s revelation. All of creation glorifies God, and in using all these things-vestments, incense, bells, a certain harmony in movement, chanting, musical instruments like the organ, God uses our senses to be captivated by His love and His call to each of us to become a saint. Every fiber of our lives is meant to glorify God! Read More
Frequent meditation on Our Lord’s passion is essential for our spiritual lives. It’s almost like a pitch pipe for a schola. Every now and then, the pipe is played to keep the schola from going flat. The same is true with us. We may be living and practicing the faith, but eventually we may slowly start to slip into acedia, or lukewarmness. We begin to go flat, so we need a little tute to get us back on the right note.
Then we hear the Gospel like we hear it today:
“They shall look on him whom they have pierced” (John 19:37) and in the book of Revelation we hear “every eye will see him, every one who pierced him; and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him” (1:7).
This is the first homily I preached for my good friends, the Sister Servants of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Cresson, PA.
“to all who received Him, believed in His name, He gave power to become children of God.”
What a profound statement this truly is! Our Lord took on flesh and entered this world as we all do- in the womb of a Mother. He truly experienced the human condition in all aspects except for sin. This very weakness is His strength that he offers to each of us.
What does it mean to become a child of God? And what is this power that Saint John speaks of? Read More