Verbum Domini
Verbum Domini
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We’re supposed to get angry. Anger is about justice. When we perceive something unjust, especially when we are personally involved, our natural (and good) response is anger. It compels us to set things right, to reestablish order and equity. The trouble is, in our fallen nature, we are often angry about the wrong things, or in the wrong measure. Wishing your car were armed with heat-seeking missiles – that you might repay the convertible that cut you off – is a bit unmeasured. Like all the passions, anger is good, but it needs the light of reason, so that its actions might also be good. The passions themselves are blind, and without reason’s vision, they invariably stumble and blunder, making a mess of things. more
Relationships are a lot like rubber bands. An elastic can be stretched and pulled for brief periods, but once the stress is released, it returns to its original shape. Yet, if it is stretched indefinitely, left hanging and bearing some heavy weight, it eventually loses its elasticity. It becomes misshapen. Its vibrancy and purpose are lost. Something similar can be said of relationships long overburdened by issues and tensions. They eventually lose their shape. They are overstretched and cannot find their way back. A rubber band can also be pulled beyond its capacity. It can snap. Sadly, we know the same is true in relationships. An act of betrayal, a gross transgression of boundaries, or some other disloyalty can sever any friendship. Most relationships can bend and stretch with little setbacks and peccadillos (they can even be strengthened by them), but a grave breach of trust is almost always the end. more
“A man ran up, knelt down before Jesus, and asked him, ‘Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’” Like all of us, the man in this Sunday’s Gospel was yearning for more in his life. It seems he had considerable wealth, yet his question to Jesus reveals that material wealth had not brought him the fulfillment he sought. Jesus acknowledges the man’s yearning by saying to him, “You lack one thing. Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” more
We hear of two strange plants this weekend: a burning bush and a fruitless fig tree. more
Self-help is an $11 billion industry. Books, CDs and DVDs abound promising techniques and strategies for self-fulfillment. They could fill libraries. They often top bestseller lists. No doubt, many have found relief through their advice (otherwise they wouldn’t make money). Their emphasis on self-realization is especially attractive. Whether its gaining a competitive edge or acquiring peace of mind, this genre offers the means to become our better selves, to become what we think we should be. But with 80 percent of their consumers being repeat buyers, they arguably fall short of their promise (for if one is fulfilled, why buy again?). more
We become like the things we love. We see this most dramatically with teenagers. One day, they are dressed like anybody else. But then, infatuated with a new music group or subculture, they transform from head to toe. Suddenly they have a new hairstyle, new clothes, and, most lamentably, a new attitude. Their new figure matches their new love. What they see and love in some new trend or band, they try to become themselves. These superficial transformations are easy to make and (thank God) easy to undo. Deeper transformations, becoming virtuous or holy, take a lot more time and require a far greater love. more
Life is a fight. Our faith reveals a cosmic struggle, a struggle for our souls. The devil schemes to ensnare us. God is everywhere at work. We are in the fray, clinging to the hope that “all things work for good for those who love God” (Rom 8:28). But this struggle wears us down. We need to be sustained. more
From time to time we need a pick-me-up. If our spirits are down, if we feel a bit forlorn, we need an encouraging word, a little resurrection of the spirit. more
A common characteristic of the saints is they know they are sinners. Paging through the Lives of the Saints, we find a dramatically diverse cast of characters. They are all unique. They are all very much themselves. Yet, without fail, wherever we sense the odor of sanctity, we can be sure that humility is part of the fragrance. Every saint is profoundly aware of his or her own brokenness. They are often even vocal about it and we should take them at their word. As one draws closer to God, the more one perceives how much he falls short. more
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