Verbum Domini
Verbum Domini
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Greatness always begins in seed form. A few examples reveal this: Each of us began as an embryo; the 300-foot redwood trees on the West Coast of the United States began growing quietly, invisibly, spreading their roots under the earth; scientists claim that the universe began from a tiny point, no larger than the head of a pin, and after the big bang it has continued to expand. The same is true, Jesus tells us, for the Kingdom of God. more
The hardest part of hard work is getting started. Consider all the snow you’ve been shoveling. The most difficult part is not lifting the shovel. It is getting out the door. The worst part is not the hour you spend clearing the driveway, but rather the few moments it takes to push yourself outside. It is easier to get going if you know someone is already out there. It is easier to start working, if you know someone will be working with you. Perhaps that is why on the first Sunday of Lent we hear about Jesus’ forty-day fast in the desert. Beginning the work of Lent, its helpful to know the Lord is already out there. more
Distraction is a prayer killer. Many kneel before the Blessed Sacrament or take up the sacred scriptures with a desire, with a need, to be refreshed by the divine Word. But sudden anxieties flock to the heart like crows. They call out tomorrow’s troubles, they cluck and claw at things left undone. Their squawk and crow drown out the One we want to hear. Their dark presence shades the light of the mind lest we think on him whom we love. Many experience such distractions as a torture. Often prayer is abandoned merely to escape that black cloud of pecking concerns. more
I celebrate a lot of funerals. Gathered in the sacristy with the servers (usually kids), we pray thanking God for the gift of the resurrection and asking him to increase the faith of those who mourn. Faith in the resurrection is powerful. It changes everything. It changes the way people live. It changes the way people die. It changes the way people deal with death. more
The city of Providence has a lot in common with Rome. Both are founded on seven hills. Both boast delicious culinary cultures. Both fall under the patronage of Saints Peter and Paul. Perhaps we don’t appreciate that last one enough. This Sunday we celebrate their common feast, a solemnity in the Church’s calendar. It is a special day for our diocese as well. These two martyrs are the principal intercessors for our local Church. We should look to their example and depend upon their prayers. We might ask specifically, “how would Saints Peter and Paul respond to the challenges in Rhode Island, especially those concerning the Church? What would they tell us to do?” more
I once visited a church that was no longer a church. It had been sold and deconsecrated. The Eucharist was no longer there, but many of the symbols of our faith remained. The altar stood useless against the back wall. Colored light came through the windows, but fell upon the remnants of an exodus. Statues of saints kept vigil over the hallowed memories of a fallen temple. The church had become a banquet hall. The sacristy and sanctuary had become staging for the head table. Feasts were now served in the Holy of Holies. The center of the nave, where the faithful once knelt in worship and prayer, was now a dance floor. The paintings, the statuary, all of the Catholic imagery which once elevated the spirit, were now so much kitsch in an alternative party venue. It was heartbreaking. more
If someone is going to speak on your behalf, you want them to be well prepared. This is particularly true in the business world. Good companies spend tremendous resources on their employees. They equip them. They ensure that their employees have all the necessary tools for success. For if the laborer is ill equipped, the company mission is imperiled. more
I think it’s safe to say that most of us admire the saints. We look to them as our role models for living the Christian life. Many people, however, misunderstand what it means to be a saint. Many think it’s about being perfect, and therefore they abandon the hope of ever living a holy life. However, does being holy mean being perfect and never sinning? This is an appropriate question for us to ponder as we prepare to celebrate the Solemnity of All Saints this Sunday. more
Mountaintop views are well worth a hike. Slogging up a mountain trail, wrestling with a backpack (usually the size of a small child), surviving on peanuts and Gatorade is all worth it once you get to the top. From up there the various elements of the world seem to come together in harmony. For this reason, spiritual writers often use the term “mountaintop experiences” when referring to privileged moments of prayer. These are moments of clarity and insight where the various strands of life seem to come together. They are moments of profound peace and faith, in which God’s presence is felt tangibly. If a retreat or a season like Lent can be compared to a hike, then these spiritual elevations are like mountaintop views for the soul. more
In seminary, an entire semester’s worth of study and preparation came down to one 10-minute oral exam. I have rarely felt greater heights of anxiety. Each professor had a mythical status built upon a tradition of tall tales passed from class to class. Your audience was not with flesh and bone, but with a demigod whose whim would decide your fate. Some paced, some continued to study, others turned to the scriptures for consolation. That was my routine. I read repeatedly: “have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 4:6-7). Saint Paul got me through those days of judgment. more
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