Finding the Child Jesus

November 4th, 2013
Jesus at the Temple - by Brian Jekel

Losing, searching and discovering Jesus as a child parallels the Crucifixion, burial, Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus as an adult. Looking at the stories in the first two chapters of Luke in the order given we can see that they all are about prophecy and fulfillment. The first chapter is about announcing the births of […]

Jesus vs. Superman

October 28th, 2013
Jesus vs Superman

I have often thought, however unintentional and coincidental, that the image of the super hero caught between daily and heroic garb, such as Klark Kent revealing Superman, has striking similarities to the image of Jesus exposing His Sacred Heart. In both images we see the true passion of the man beneath a veiled exterior. Both […]

God Is Love – Count on it

March 31st, 2013

Saint John tells us that God is love (1 John 4:8). While he tells us this so that we are enabled to discern who belongs to God, we can also learn something of the nature of God. I’m going to do something that is often frowned upon in scripture interpretation; I’m going to apply a […]

Immaculate Conception of Mary as Prevenient Grace

December 8th, 2012

Prevenient Grace, which term the priest spoke today during the prayer over the offerings, is the same as Preventing Grace, and in this instance, relates to the singular grace that Mary received in being conceived without original sin. Prevenient or Preventing Grace is that grace which God gives without the consent or cooperation of man […]

Most Holy Eucharist

November 21st, 2012

It has been called[1], Bread of Angels, Bread from Heaven, The Breaking of Bread, The Lord’s Supper, Wedding Feast of the Lamb, Memorial, Sacrifice of Praise, Spiritual Sacrifice, Pure- Holy- Perfect- and Acceptable Sacrifice, Holy Mass, Holy Eucharist, Holy and Divine Liturgy, Holy Communion, True Presence, Most Blessed Sacrament, Sacrament of Sacraments, Medicine of Immortality, […]

Parable fo the Two Sons

August 25th, 2012

The degree to which we receive Christ, His mission, His word, His covenant, His peace and His command is important since our commitment to Him will determine our actions. That is, what we say should be the same as what we do. There are four ways to respond to Christ. Two of them are mentioned […]

Works of Mercy Body and Soul

August 16th, 2012
New Jerusalem

The corporal works of mercy are expressed in the gospels in the section titled Judgment of the Nations (Matthew 25:31-36). Jesus explained the final judgment in what is often referred to as a parable but which is closer to a metaphor. The Spiritual works of mercy are like the Corporal works but they attend to […]

Faith Phrases Q and A

June 21st, 2012

Mustard seed Q. The mustard seed is not he smallest of all seeds nor is it the smallest of the seeds in Palestine. Similarly, the mustard bush is not he largest of bushes nor is it the largest of bushes in Palestine. So why would Jesus use these phrases, “smallest of seeds” and “largest of […]

Acting in Faith – a Lenten Practice

February 19th, 2012

Today’s Gospel reading from Mark 2:1-12 is the breakthrough story of the paralytic, whose friends, seeing that the immense popularity of Jesus prevents access to Him, open up the roof of the house where Jesus is staying and lower the child to Him. Upon seeing this extraordinary act Jesus is moved to heal the paralytic. […]

Indiana Jones and a Catholic’s Perspective

November 5th, 2011
Indiana Jones Hat and Bullwhip

Indy movies are about fun. They are not intended to catechize but a good catechist will make use of any pop culture experience to explain the faith. Jesus did this with parables, using archetypes of people from various vocations; vineyard owners and workers, Samaritans and priests, fathers and children, women and men, etc. Saints have […]

A Heart for Christ

October 8th, 2011
Image of Christ Laid in the tomb

As a writer, I enjoy a good parallel in sentence structure and between two subjects in a paragraph, and when used as a motif throughout a work. Sometimes I am struck by a parallel I would not have considered, such as the one that the Franciscans draw in their short Way of the Cross on […]

When the Water Turned to Wine

June 13th, 2011
Jesus turns the water to wine

John 2:1-11 When did it happen; at what point did the water turn to wine? There are no active words from Jesus calling the water wine. The waiters followed his instructions, filling the jars to the brim. They would have seen, and smelled the effervescence of wine had the change taken place immediately. Jesus then […]

Proclaiming the Kingdom

May 14th, 2011
Elephant optical illusion inverted

The Luminous Mysteries each have a distinct way of pointing to Christ as the Messiah. Declaration at Jesus’ baptism, transformation at the Cana wedding feast, proclamation at all of Jesus’ discourses, transfiguration on the mount and transubstantiation at the institution of the Eucharist, each reveal, in varying ways, that Jesus is the Christ and the […]

Reading Jesus between the Lines

March 16th, 2011

John 2:1-11 – The wedding feast at Cana – presents us with the only recounting of Jesus’ first public miracle, which leaves the reader to ponder apparent gaps that might otherwise have been filled in by harmonizing with Mathew, Mark and Luke. The first two lines establish the setting; it’s the third day of the […]

Interview: Tim Bartel – Catholic Writer’s Guild

February 25th, 2011
Dream of the Great Ship - by Tim Bartel

“Indeed, ‘interpretation’ can apply whether the story is a dream from God or a parable of Bosco’s invention… He enjoyed creating mystery, which kept people involved and aided them to contemplate holy things, conjecturing what they mean and how best to live out their morals, and simply filled them with wonder. “ The following is […]

Why the Grail is Holy

January 30th, 2011
Grail Maiden - Arthur Rackham 1917

One of the major criticisms offered by modern scholars examining early grail literature is that the grail was not originally titled as the Holy Grail and so therefore is properly understood simply as a cup, and just as a cup can be filled with anything so too the meaning of the Holy Grail can be […]

Pope Benedict and the Pillars of Saint John Bosco

December 11th, 2010

This is a fantastic portrait that seems to have gone otherwise unnoticed. What a profound resemblance to the images of St. John Bosco’s parable of the Two Pillars (1862) was shown to the public at the Piazza della Spagna in Rome on Wednesday December 8th 2010! Pope Benedict XVI made the short pilgrimage to the […]

Catholic Celiac Conundrum

September 15th, 2010
Low Gluten Catholic Hosts for gluten intolerant communicants

The present cannon law permits the reception of Holy Communion under both species or by bread species alone and also the wine species alone where necessary… The main concern for most Catholic Celiacs receiving the wine species only is to be sure to receive from a cup that has not been commingled with the bread species, either directly by the priest through intentional rite of commingling (Commixtion), intinction (not in ordinary practice today), or indirectly by the laity who receiving both species unintentionally transfer crumbs or residue. Keep reading: Catholic Celiac Conundrum »

For the Love of God

May 17th, 2010
Jesus-Consolation

Spiritual consolation is like an affirmation of love. It’s similar to showing or telling someone, “I love you.” The only difference is Keep reading: For the Love of God »

Beauty in Art

February 5th, 2010
La Gioconda AKA Mona Lisa, da Vinci 1503-1506, Cropped to bust, bevel indicates portion shown on The da Vinci Code book cover

The reason the masters works endure is because the subject satisfied deep desires of the soul… “Beauty, whether that of the natural universe or that expressed in art,… can become a path towards the transcendent, towards the ultimate Mystery, towards God.” Keep reading: Beauty in Art »

Liturgical References in Helinandus Gradale Text

January 30th, 2010
gradual

My Translation of Helinandus’ “Gradale” Text: During this time (117 – 719)[1] a hermit in Britain was shown a miraculous vision by an angel, a vision of the noble [Saint[2]] Joseph (of Arimathea) member of the Sanhedrin[3], who took down the body of the Lord from the Cross[4] and of that bowl/plate in which the […]

Faith a Chair and a Leap

January 6th, 2010
Leap of Faith from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

Modernists say that faith is a foolish blind leap but theologians say that faith is a contemplated and certain leap. We both agree that faith is a leap but we disagree that faith is blind and foolish. Consider a man sitting in a chair. He is certain that the chair is Keep reading: Faith a Chair and a Leap »

The Ultimate Cup of Kindness

December 31st, 2009

In the famous song Auld Lang Syne, which is about the good old days, the first line asks the question, “Should old acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind?” But the question is really would that be proper to forget those we’ve met long ago? And the song answers that question by rousing us […]

Selflessness and Chirstmas

December 24th, 2009

…as the sun burns itself out to light a world, so does everything – man included – become good by doing good to others Keep reading: Selflessness and Chirstmas »

The Gift of Christmas

December 12th, 2009
glowing-christmas-gift-open

Although the gift was now rewrapped and it was again hidden from sight, it was never far from his mind what he had done. Not only had he robbed himself of the joy of opening this gift on Christmas but he had robbed his family of the joy of seeing him open it too… How he wished that he could turn back time and get a second chance at saving this surprise. Keep reading: The Gift of Christmas »

The Long Run

December 6th, 2009
Ezra Kneels in Prayer - By Gustave Dore

…it’s the few yard gains hard fought for that have won many a game. And our spiritual enemies too know that they have conquered souls and brought them to ruin by wearing down the faithful. That’s why it’s extremely important to stay vigilant and never to loose heart for the fight. Keep reading: The Long Run »

Jumping for Joy

November 23rd, 2009
The Visitation by Domenico Ghirlandaio 1486-1490

Regarding the Second Joyful mystery of the Holy Rosary, I often wonder about Mary’s greeting, what she said, how far off she was etc… I imagine the words of Mary’s greeting to be the common Hebrew greeting, “Shalom!” Keep reading: Jumping for Joy »

A Constant Miracle

November 15th, 2009
The Widow's Two Mites: Gustave Dore Aprx. 1866-70

We seldom think about miracles where appearances remain constant such as the sun standing still for Joshua and the Israelites (Josh 10:12-14) or a bush burning but is not consumed by the fire (Ex 3:1-3)… The Eucharist is a constant miracle in several ways…

Five Good Reasons Why Every Catholic Should Go Green

November 6th, 2009
Solar Panels on top of Paul VI Audience Hall

The theory of anthropogenic (man-made) global warming has been accused of being a much exploited neo-pagan myth. The problem is that the myth issue eclipses our Christian duty as stewards of the Earth. In my humble opinion, just because there is evidence to justify flushing global warming down the drain doesn’t mean we should let stewardship drown with it. The fact that the Vatican recently appears to be truly concerned about global warming should not detract from the fact that it has always preached stewardship. Keep reading: Five Good Reasons Why Every Catholic Should Go Green »

The Voice of Mary

October 30th, 2009
The Marriage at Cana by David Gerard

One interesting observation concerning the miracle at the wedding feast at Cana (John 2:1-11) is the change in Mary’s voice from passive to active. When she speaks to Jesus about the wine running out she does not ask a direct question. She does not ask for a miracle. Contrast Mary in this scene against those […]

The Rubrics Cube

October 12th, 2009
Rubrics Cube

Rubrics[1] and the GIRM present just two choices; follow them or don’t follow them. So why is it that excuses about following (or not following) the guidelines for sacraments are as confusing as solving that similar sounding 70’s classic 3D puzzle Rubik’s Cube? On the one hand excessive attention to the rules detracts from the […]

Jonah and the Good Samaritan

October 8th, 2009

What a fantastic and often underestimated gift the Lectionary is! Each day the Lectionary juxtaposes readings from Moses and the Prophets with the Gospels in order that we may hear Christ’s messianic mission pronounced clearly. Each time I read the daily readings I consider what purpose the Church had in mind and often I find […]

Transfiguration Cloud

October 1st, 2009
The Transfiguration (top portion), Raffaello Sanzio 1516- 1520

So I think that this idea has merit… that the Apostles bore and raised the Church as Mary bore and raised Jesus. That brings up the question, when was the Church conceived rather than born or instituted (Jesus instituted the Church at His Ascension Mat 28:18-20)? It may be that the Church was announced at the Transfiguration, conceived at the Last Supper, labored for at the Crucifixion and born at the Resurrection. Indeed, as scripture says, this child was born quickly Keep reading: Transfiguration Cloud »

Limit of Evil

September 15th, 2009
Memory and Identity - Rizzoli 2005

Yet I can’t help but consider that it is because goodness itself (God) entered history by becoming man, suffering, dying and rising, that evil has any limit at all. It seems to me that the greatest evil that can be done has indeed been done to God. It is precisely because of the perfect goodness of God that evil has its limit. Keep reading: Limit of Evil »

From Cana to Senegal & from Baptism to Eucharist

September 1st, 2009
1596-97 Vrouwekathedraal, Antwerp

Jesus first instructs the workers to fill jars with water. And here is where every Christian journey begins, with instruction and the waters of baptism. The baptismal waters are just a beginning because the water must be turned to wine before the head waiter approves. In a sense the head waiter is like God the Father who at His son’s baptism declares, “This is my Son in whom I am well pleased.” Similarly, the head waiter approves of the wine in an extraordinary way Keep reading: From Cana to Senegal & from Baptism to Eucharist »

Two Standards – Part ONE

August 20th, 2009
Paradise Lost - Gustave Dore

Moving deeper toward the dark center of this place I saw many, many hundreds of thousands of people with snakes burrowing through their bodies, moving in and out of their flesh like worms in viscous mud. The people there stood nearly catatonic, not dancing at all but still as if completely given over to the movements of the serpents. The people’s heads were turned upward and their mouths open as if dry from thirst. But no water was given them. Keep reading: Two Standards – Part ONE »

The Father’s Workshop

August 20th, 2009
Holy Family in the Workhop

At once I am aware that the workshop is Joseph’s but also metaphorically the workshop of the Father in heaven. We get there instantly, and the Child Jesus explains, “We build many things here, my father and I.” I am aware that this means also that He and His Devine Father made all things. I notice a stain on a length of wood and Jesus responds, “Yes, it is my blood. Keep reading: The Father’s Workshop »

The Delighful Wound

August 11th, 2009
Sr. Mary of St. Peter

But this wound is different than the ordinary kind. It is a sign of contradiction in every sense of the phrase. First, it is a contradiction in the way that the cross of the crucifix is visually a contradiction, having a horizontal line that intersects a vertical line. The moment that the phrase “delightful wound” crosses the mind it intersects the heart with the enigmatic question, “what (or who) is this?” Second Keep reading: The Delighful Wound »