Verbum Domini
Father Michael Najim
149 results total, viewing 91 - 100
Anxiety is unbecoming of a Christian. It is a bit scandalous to see an adopted child of God worried and hurried, nail-biting and waiting for the other shoe to drop. The redeemed heart should be peaceful. The gift of the Spirit should set the mind at ease. It is unsettling to encounter an apprehensive and fretful believer. Perhaps they imagine wrath piled at the gates, an irritable God trailing us, ready to vent, saying to himself, “just give me a reason.” Perhaps they see themselves on the edge, ready to be dropped from his charity at the slightest fault. It is almost as if they don’t know who they are. They certainly don’t know their Father. more
People know their priest. The faithful have a sixth sense when it comes to their shepherd. They know his heart within the first few encounters. They know if he is a prayerful man. They sense his weaknesses and strengths. His celebration of Mass is a window into his soul, for there his worship of God is on display. His manner in the confessional exposes his heart. Is there compassion? Is there the humility of a sinner, himself no stranger to God’s mercy? In his homilies people look for both charity and courage (no one wants a sheepish shepherd). They seek a pastor who loves God and themselves; and loves both well. more
Seasons affect our moods. There is something about the lengthening days, the warming air, the flowers and fragrance of spring that affect the heart. The beginnings of spring encourage gatherings, little kindnesses, and even greater patience (something easily observed in traffic). Smiles tend to come more easily. New friendships are made and old ones repaired. Spring awakens our better selves, infusing hope in the winter weary. It is the perfect season for the Resurrection. more
Some love sadness. Their heart is set upon heartbreak. If prolonged, sorrow becomes a friend, a miserable whimpering companion that, though sour, is nonetheless familiar. People sometimes cling to their complaints and cuddle up with melancholy. Their gloomy attachment grows worse when it brings attention and pity. They are disconsolate, but love to be consoled. As the injured risk addiction to painkillers, acquiring a new illness in place of the first, so the downcast may develop a dependency upon condolences, risking perpetual misery. Bonding with their desolation, they recoil at optimism, play down good news, and rehearse their whining woes. They are most anxious at the prospect of being happy, that their dark friend might be chased away by cheer. more
Prometheus stole fire from the gods and gave it to humans. He is depicted as a great benefactor, one who risked himself for our good. Contrast this myth about fire with the truth about the Eucharist. Jesus too brings us a heavenly gift, but freely given, not stolen. Prometheus brought fire to warm the body. Jesus, giving his body, warms our souls with Charity. Prometheus brought light for guidance in a dark world. The Eucharist illumines our hearts, strengthens our spirit, and directs us to heaven. If the Greeks celebrated a myth, how much more we should celebrate the truth exceeding even the most imaginative mythologies. In the Eucharist, Jesus does not give a mere gift from heaven, but heaven itself. more
Do you believe in love? That is not an easy question today. I know many young adults who believe love is a chemical reaction in the brain, a feeling, a temporary experience, ordered to coupling and procreation. It passes as quickly as it comes. For them, this is a reason not to marry, because the love won’t last. For them, love is a mirage not marriage. It is an irony that, in a society where any love or expression of love is recognized, we don’t have a very good grasp on what it actually is, or even if it really exists. more
The culture of death fears death. Our culture promotes the destruction of the unborn, the elderly and the sick. These are enshrined as rights. We hear plenty of talking heads jabber about the right to die, while they recoil at a right to life. Our culture has embraced death with both arms, and yet, we are profoundly afraid of it. As we live in the now, living for this world, the sight, the thought, the reminder of death is almost taboo. Wakes and funerals are less attended, the dying are shut away in private rooms (lest we see them), and many campaign to end old lives quickly (get it over with). For a culture that embraces death, we sure have trouble looking it in the eye. more
Learning to read is a great gift. Yet, by itself, reading is a fairly simple skill. It is taught easily to children whose minds are still forming. They learn to associate sounds with symbols and group them to decode a message. Considered for what it is, the act of reading is unremarkable, perhaps little better than a parlor trick. But the potential of reading — the access through time, place, thought and imagination — is breathtaking. Its depths are unfathomable. That elementary link of letter and sound opens the world to us. Once we know how to read, we can never exhaust its treasures. It is the same with Christ. more
Moses had a rough go of it. He was caught between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand, there was the all-powerful God, who, though often mysterious, had very clear expectations. On the other hand, there were the people. They were good at pointing out the obvious and complaining. What were they doing in this desert? They were hungry and thirsty. They had plenty of food and drink in Egypt, plenty of fleshpots. Was this supposed to be a rescue? Were they going to survive this liberation? “Is God in our midst or not?” (Ex 17:7). more
We all must think about heaven now and then. It’s helpful to take the perspective of the angels, to peer upon our problems from the clouds, to measure them against eternity. There are days when we lift our eyes in exasperation, calling out for a better, fairer or easier world. But knowing we will not find it here, we may be tempted to despair. Thinking on heaven is a strategy to renew our hope and shore up our confidence, St. Paul admonishes us: “Bear your share of hardship for the gospel” (2Tim 1:8). Occasionally, to maintain stamina, we must anticipate the rest and peace of the blessed. more
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