Saints Alive! | Sts. Perpetua & Felicity & Companions

They were martyred at Carthage in 203 A.D. during the persecution of Septimius Severus. With so many martyrs of the third and fourth centuries we have to say “they were martyred but nothing else is known about them.” That is not the case here. We have a detailed contemporary account of their arrest, trial, sufferings and martyrdom, written partly by the saints themselves and partly by an eye-witness. Devotion to them spread rapidly and they are mentioned in the Roman Canon of the Mass. For more about these two great saints: Christian martyrs, faithful witnesses of the early Church, please click on the image. Peace be with you!

Gospel Reflections | Jesus cleansing the Temple (Jn 2:13-25)

Today, on this third Sunday of Lent, the Gospel reading we hear in the Liturgy of the Word at Mass tells the story of Jesus cleansing the Jerusalem Temple. As we enter the third week of Lent, we are reminded to make room for God in our lives. We are invited to reflect: Do I make room for God each day? Am I bold enough to invite Jesus to cleanse my heart that I may be a temple, an indwelling of the Holy Spirit, fit for the living God? Let us continue our Lenten journey; let us open our hearts to Jesus and ask him to cleanse us as he did the temple in Jerusalem, removing all that must be cleared and cleaned; not only that we may have room for God in our lives, but that God truly becomes the center of my life, where all else moves in relation to the center. As Catholics we are invited this Lent to return to meet Jesus in the Sacrament of Confession. It is here where Jesus is waiting - acting in and through the priest, in persona Christi - to give us his sacrament of healing, helping us to be reconciled, healed. It is in and through the sacramental life, administered by Jesus through his Church that we're invited to participate to become who God wills us to be. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is the cleansing of our temple that we may be made ready to receive Jesus in the Sacrament of the Eucharist - thanks be to God! Be not afraid! Jesus is waiting for you when you find nothing else in this world satisfies you. For a Gospel reflection of Jesus cleansing the Jerusalem Temple please click on the image. Peace be with you!

Divine Office | Hold fast to God, the one true good

In today's Office of Readings we encounter a reading from the treatise "Flight from the World" by St. Ambrose (d. 397 A.D.). St. Ambrose was assiduous in carrying out his office, acting with charity to all: a true shepherd and teacher of the faithful. He was unimpressed by status and when the Emperor Theodosius ordered the massacre of 7,000 people in Thessalonica, Ambrose forced him to do public penance. He defended the rights of the Church and attacked the Arian heresy* with learning, firmness and gentleness. He also wrote a number of hymns which are still in use today. Ambrose was a key figure in the conversion of Saint Augustine of Hippo to Catholicism, impressing Augustine (hitherto unimpressed by the Catholics he had met) by his intelligence and scholarship. *The Arian theology held that the Son of God is not co-eternal with God the Father, and was distinct. The Arian concept of Christ is based on the belief that the Son of God did not always exist but was begotten within time by God the Father, therefore Jesus was not co-eternal with God the Father. As such, all mainstream branches of Christianity now consider Arianism to be heterodox and heretical.   For a reflection on "the one true good" click on the image. Peace be with you!

Saints Alive! | St. Colette of Corbie

Saint Colette, founder of Colettine Poor Clares, and reformer, began her reform during the time of the Great Western Schism (1378-1417) when three men claimed to be pope and thus divided Western Christianity. The 15th century in general was a very difficult one for the Western Church. Abuses long neglected cost the Church dearly in the following century. Colette reintroduced the primitive Rule of St. Clare in the 17 monasteries she established.

She is known as a patron of childless couples trying to conceive.

For more about this saint please click on the image.

Peace be with you!

Divine Office | The covenant of the Lord

In today's Office of Readings we encounter a reading from the treatise "Against the Heresies" by St. Irenaeus (ca. 130 - 202 A.D.) Whenever we take up a Bible we touch Irenaeus’s work, for he played a decisive role in fixing the canon of the New Testament. It is easy for people nowadays to think of Scripture – and the New Testament in particular – as the basis of the Church, but harder to remember that it was the Church itself that had to agree, early on, about what was scriptural and what was not. Before Irenaeus, there was vague general agreement on what scripture was, but a system based on this kind of common consent was too weak. As dissensions and heresies arose, reference to scripture was the obvious way of trying to settle what the truth really was, but in the absence of an agreed canon of scripture it was all too easy to attack one’s opponent’s arguments by saying that his texts were corrupt or unscriptural; and easy, too, to do a little fine-tuning of texts on one’s own behalf. Irenaeus not only established a canon which is almost identical to our present one, but also gave reasoned arguments for each inclusion and exclusion. For a reflection on "the covenant of the Lord" please click on the image. Peace be with you!

Saints Alive! | St. John-Joseph of the Cross

He joined the Franciscan Order of the Strict Observance (the reform of St. Peter of Alcantara) at age sixteen. St. John-Joseph of the Cross was known as a deeply holy man who served Christ and the monastic community through daily acts of mortification and humility.

For more about this saint please click on the image.

Peace be with you!

Articles of Faith | Lent: Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent—a season of purification, sacrifice, and preparation.

As we begin the penitential season of Lent, now - today - is a time of reflection; a time to ask what we are in need of to grow in the spiritual life.

Lent is the season where we are invited again to examine ourselves and ask God how we can turn our heart to him and grow closer so that we may die to oneself to live in God. As Christians, we can do so only with humility and patience, with generosity and perseverance.

For a reflection on Lent and Ash Wednesday, please click on the image.

Peace be with you!

Articles of Faith | The Scandal of the Eucharist

The Catholic belief in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist is a hard saying, no doubt. Yet, it's no harder a saying as is said by Jesus himself as he begins his colloquy in the synagogue at Capernaum with his disciples (see Jn 6:30). This teaching, the Catholic Church defends as the definitive and apostolic origins of the Eucharist, points to the Eucharist (from the Greek for "thanksgiving") as the "source and summit of the Christian life".

For a beautiful summation of the scandal of such a saying - the recognition of how hard it is to believe - enjoy this brief writing from Fr. Richard Veras of Saint Joseph's Seminary; and for a Catholic answer addressing common Evangelical Fundamentalist challenges to the Catholic understanding of the Real Presence, please also see more of this post by clicking on the image.

Peace be with you!

Catholics Come Home | Fallen Away Catholics

The story of the Prodigal Son, as we encounter in the Gospel of Luke (15:11-32), is one of the most poignant in all of literature. Sadly, there are many Catholics today who have fallen away from their baptismal faith. Each has a story of his own. Yet, by the sacramental power of one's baptism there remains a call unanswered - the yearning of a Father desiring the return of his child to the home of his baptismal birth. For more about this post, and for a 2 min video expressing the tender mercy that awaits at home in love's embrace, click on the image. Our father in heaven wants us home. He wants you home. If you’ve been away from the Church for one day, or for a lifetime, come home. Your family misses you.

For more, please click on the image.

Peace be with you!