Verbum Domini
Father Michael Najim
149 results total, viewing 71 - 80
Soon after entering seminary, I visited a friend who was unfamiliar with the faith. Driving in his car, he told me he had a song he wanted me to hear. As it began, I could tell it was a song about Christianity. more
Some people have it all. They’re smart, good looking and personable. They have interesting jobs where they make a lot of money. They have talents that bring them notoriety and fame. Publicly praised, they also have happy home-lives. They have found the perfect spouse and the two of them have bright well-behaved children. The envious wish them some secret fault or failure and burn when virtue is discovered instead. It’s not fair. Why should one person enjoy so many blessings, while the rest struggle with just a few? 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
There is a graveyard beneath Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Where the Vatican now stands, there once was a necropolis, a city of the dead. Mausoleums stood side by side like little houses, silent streets running beside them. It was there, in this graveyard, that Saint Peter was buried in a simple poor man’s grave. 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
Libraries always stamp their books. Somewhere on the pages of any library book you will find the name of the library where it belongs. This serves as a reminder to those dilatory members (among whom I include myself) who indefinitely delay the return of some (probably unread) book. There it is, sitting on your desk or on your nightstand, staring at you, reminding you that “I belong to the Library of ______, and I am overdue.” In addition to pricking your conscience — it is a matter of justice after all — you are also heaping late fees upon yourself. You will not be released from this guilt “until you have paid the last penny” (Matt 5:26). It is better not to wait. more
A visit to the Vietnam War Memorial feels like dying. Walking its length, you gradually descend, the world disappearing behind an imposing wall of obsidian. more
Every time I visit my mother’s house, I get the tour of the garden and plants. She shows me which have been repotted, which have started to bloom, and which, sadly, have seen better days. There are almost always new acquisitions as well. These plants need constant vigilance. They don’t take care of themselves. When my mother is away, I receive detailed instructions on the horticultural maintenance of the house. There are different measurements of water for each of these green friends and one flower, the orchid, has its own food measured out a 1/4 cup at a time. Of course, I also have to be careful to distinguish the real plants from the fake. I’ve watered plastic more times than I’d like to admit. more
People love conversion stories. From that of Saint Paul to Saint Augustine, Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton to the man sitting next to us in the pews, we are fascinated by these stories of grace, repentance and homecoming. For “cradle Catholics,” these personal testimonies are often a source of renewal. more
My first memories of injustice are line-cutters. Whether we were going to the library, or the cafeteria, or recess, there was almost always someone cutting in line. If it was the big kid, a space was cleared with a few grumbles (it was better than the alternative). If it was the popular kid, he would talk his way in. A few whispered words and he was instantly where he wanted to be; explaining to the rest of us “he’s letting me cut,” or the doubtful “he was saving this spot for me.” It was rare that I said anything, but I always felt the burn of indignation. Neither did I tell the teacher, for fear of the label ‘tattletale.’ Besides, there was almost always one of those around as well. more
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