There are three things, my brethren, by which faith stands firm, devotion remains constant, and virtue endures. They are prayer, fasting and mercy. Prayer knocks at the door, fasting obtains, mercy receives. Prayer, mercy and fasting: these three are one, and they give life to each other. Continue reading “The Big 3 – St. Peter Chrysologus”
Just a few days ago, as we began the holy season of Lent, the Church, in the liturgy of Ash Wednesday, described it as a “Campaign of Christian service.” As Americans, the notion of a campaign might evoke images of individuals traveling around, trying to convince us why we should choose them to lead our country. From the perspective of the Eternal City, however, the notion of a campaign involves a king or a general and an army marching out into battle. This is the image the Church takes up with respect to this spiritual campaign, a battle against an enemy. Continue reading “Divine Conscription”
Time for a story…it seems fitting to give a little background about Rome for those who’ve never lived in or visited the Eternal City. While it might seem like some mythical Catholic wonderland where once-in-a-lifetime moments are, well, once in a lifetime, I’m sorry to say that it’s not quite that “mythical.” Yes, it’s beautiful; that’s why they call it “bella Roma”. Yes, there are once-in-a-lifetime moments; if one hangs around long enough, though, it probably becomes twice or three times in a lifetime. Without crushing anyone’s hopes and dreams about the heart of Catholicism, I have a story to tell… Continue reading “One Friday Night at the Sistine Chapel”
Dostoevsky’s famous The Brothers Karamazov revolves around this broken family, especially the father and his three sons and the small Russian community in which they live. One of the noticeable fact about this work is the distinction he makes between people. Those engaged in objectively morally evil behavior have chaotic lives which seem to be spinning more out of control with every breath; they are carried away by every whim and wind. On the other hand, those engaged in morally good behavior have a life of order, they’re in control, and their lives are peaceful. It’s a remarkable contrast that is presented by Dostoevsky.
In the summer of 1999, I spent 10 days backpacking in the backcountry of Philmont National Scout Ranch on a carry-everything-you-need kind of trip. On the morning of the third day, we planned to hike to the top of Mt. Baldy, but after getting a late start, we failed just short of the summit due to thunderstorms rolling in over the mountain. From that point on, we set a new goal for the final day of our hike: get to the other iconic peak of the ranch, the Tooth of Time…for sunrise. It didn’t matter that it was a 5-hour hike from our camp to the top of the peak; we spent days planning about how to shave time off that hike because we were committed to the goal. We sought to ways to find closer camps, hike faster, look for shortcuts, etc. Continue reading “The End and the Journey There: The 2nd Sunday of Lent”