Verbum Domini
Father Michael Najim
149 results total, viewing 81 - 90
I hated taking medicine as a child. Mom or Dad would pull me aside — usually disrupting some great shootout, or a climactic battle in the epic struggle between ninjas and samurai — to pour a large spoonful of some syrupy remedy and then slip it in my mouth. Sure, the manufacturer took care to mask it with a sugary flavor (usually orange), but there was always something off about the taste. I unveiled that mystery when I once mistook an adult aspirin for a chewable one. Not a pleasant memory. In whatever way it comes, medicine always seems to bear some bitterness. more
I know a young man who became a priest because he was once denied communion. A number of years ago, a zealous protestant, he attended a Catholic wedding. more
Why didn’t Jesus hold on to the keys? Why would he give them to Peter? Here is the Son of God, the very author of the heavens, giving away the keys of the kingdom. These keys of power, able to bind and loose, bearing eternal consequences, pass from the hands of God to the hands of a rural fisherman. Wouldn’t it have made more sense for Jesus to keep that authority for himself? Why entrust it to our frail humanity? What was he up to? “How inscrutable are his judgments and how unsearchable his ways!” more
The elements are raging this Sunday. Elijah is told to stand before the Lord atop Mount Horeb. A heavy wind roars against him, “rending the mountains and crushing rocks.” Then, a mighty earthquake stems from the depths, shaking the ground that supports him. Finally, a fire spins around the mountain, devouring all life it touches. Will it reach Elijah too? Peter has similar troubles in our gospel. He is also called to stand before the Lord, yet not on a mountaintop, but upon water. The waves rise against him and he fears dropping to the deep. Wind, earth, fire and water! The world is falling upon God’s saints. But where is God? more
Greed is madness. That was the opinion of early Christians. Greed, like delirium, stems from a false perception of reality. The Fathers of the Church marveled at the way men feverishly pursue stones and metals. These are mere earth, but by some derangement of the mind, men attach a value to them far exceeding any sober assessment. 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
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
At the Carmelite Monastery in Barrington they have the Holy Spirit on a switch. In the sacristy, above a light switch, white letters embossed on black tape read “Holy Spirit.” What an asset: the Holy Spirit on command! Talk about a direct line. It makes you wonder whether every convent is similarly equipped. Convents are often called spiritual dynamos, but who knew to take it literally? Imagine if we had such access in our homes, an on-demand Pentecost. It would certainly make an impression on our neighbors. 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’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
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