I thank God for the blessing in getting to know you. My soul leapt when I met you, just as the baby leapt inside Elizabeth when he was in the presence of Christ (cf. Lk 1:41). I intuited that Christ was strong within you and I praise God for making our meeting in Atlanta possible. As iron sharpens iron, I pray that we will sharpen one another (cf. Prov 27:17), that we will encourage one another and build one another up (cf. 1 Thess 5:11), and through our exchanges we can test to discern the will of God, what is good, acceptable and perfect (cf. Rom 12:2). I pray that God’s face will shine upon you during your time at seminary.
Reformed Calvinists and other Protestants all find common cause against papal authority. If Protestantism is true, after centuries of its existence, God decided to eradicate the office of the papacy. I would claim that because Catholicism is true, the papacy was established by Christ, has endured, and retains the authority entrusted to it by Christ, even to this day.
As I’ve said before, if you haven’t read it yet, you should. It may set your soul on fire for our Catholic faith.
There are certain disciplines that are associated with the lifestyle of an athlete that could also be compared with the lifestyle of a Christian.
For the first Christians, Christianity was a lifestyle.
There was unity and continuity between their professional lives and their family lives, between their social lives and their lives as members of the Church.
Many people feel that they need to leave the values and principles of their faith outside certain activities in the same way you leave a coat in a waiting room.
Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful. Enkindle in us the fire of your love. Send forth your spirit and we shall be created, and you shall renew the face of the earth.
The essence of Catholicism is dynamic transformation.
You cannot become more like Jesus Christ and at the same time stay as you are.
God constantly calls us to new life.
As you journey toward your destiny, God intertwines your talents with the needs of others to allow you the privilege of touching them, serving them, and inspiring them as they make their own journey.
[Quoting G.K. Chesteron:] “Christianity has not be tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried.”
“Love one another. As I have loved you, so you should also love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35)
How I wish that when people discovered you or I are Catholic, they could immediately conclude that we are honest, hardworking, generous, loving, joyful, compassionate, temperate, humble, disciplined, prayerful, and generally in love with life.
[In meeting with Catholic leaders around the world], the same issues seem to emerge consistently: Our parishes are emptying; we lack real contact with the youth; divorce is destroying families, dividing communities, and alienating whole families from Catholicism for generations to come; vocations to the priesthood and religious life are scarce; and the Church is facing a growing marginalization in the wake of an ever-intensifying secularity.
As a Church, we have failed to show them how Jesus, the sacraments, the Gospel, the Eucharist, and Catholic spirituality in general can ease their pain, make them whole again, and bring meaning and purpose to their lives.
The mission of the Church in this age is to share the life-giving gift of the Gospel with the people of our time.
Francis of Assisi said, “Preach the Gospel at all times, and only when necessary use words.” Our culture is hungry for authentic lives. Let your life speak.
Personal holiness is the answer to every problem.
Holiness is simply the application of the values, principles, and spirit of the Gospel to the circumstances of our everyday lives, one moment at a time. It is not complicated; it is disarmingly simple. But simple is not the same as easy.
[Saints] fashion Catholicism into a lifestyle, they listen attentively to the voice of God in their lives, and they passionately pursue their personal adventure of salvation.
The Church… is not so much something we inherit from generations past… as it is something on loan to us from future generations.
Everything the Church does is centered around a celebration.
The spirit of Catholicism is predominantly one of celebration, which is the genius and the fundamental orientation of our faith.
I believe the best way to defend life is to celebrate life.
When Catholicism is the foundation of our family life, our social life, our intellectual life, our spiritual life, our community life, and our professional life, then we will have established an integrated life, a life of integrity.
And if just a handful of people in one place and at one time will give their whole selves to seeking, discovering, embracing, and living this life, they will change the whole course of human history.
This post is a continuation from the one I published earlier. Again, if you haven’t already gotten a copy, I highly recommend Matthew Kelly’s “Rediscover Catholicism.” This book may very well revitalize your love for our faith. There is genius in Catholicism:
We often do things that we think will make us happy, only to discover that they end up making us miserable.
These moments of happiness are of course real, but only as real as a shadow: A person’s shadow is real, but it is nothing compared to the actual person.
God gave us this yearning for happiness that constantly preoccupy our hearts. It seems he has placed this yearning within each human heart as a spiritual navigational instrument designed to lead us to our destiny.
The philosophy of Christ is the ultimate philosophy of human happiness.
It is easy to be a follower, but to be a disciple means to be a student — to be humble, docile, and teachable, and to listen. All this requires discipline. Christ invites us to a life of discipline not for his sake, but for our sake; not to help him, but to help us; not to make him happy, but to allow us to share in his happiness.
There are four major aspects of the human person: physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual.
Christ proposes a life of discipline… as the key to freedom.
We find ourselves enslaved and imprisoned by a thousand different whims, cravings, addictions, and attachments.
[Our culture subscribes to] the adolescent notion that freedom is the ability to do whatever you want, wherever you want, whenever you want, without interference from any authority.
Freedom is the strength of character and the self-possession to do what is good, true, noble, and right.
Love is the core of Jesus’ philosophy. But in order to love you must be free. For to love is to give your self freely and without reservation.
[To] give your self — to another person, to an endeavor, or to God — you must first possess your self. This possession of self is freedom. It is a prerequisite for love, and is attained only through discipline.
Before Jesus, the sick were left on the side of the road, left there to rot and die by relatives who feared for their own health.
Education was only for the nobility until the Church recognized and proclaimed the dignity of every human person and introduced the idea that every person deserved an education.
All the worldly success of Christ and the Church are insignificant compared to the change Christ wants to have in you and your life.
Love is our origin and our destiny.
Our quest for happiness is a quest for God. This is the genius of God. [It] is the ultimate homing device, designed to draw us gently toward our eternal home.
[Quoting St. Augustine:] “Our hearts are restless until they rest in you, Lord.”
Christ did not entrust the Church with a social, political, or economic mission, but with a mission that is primarily spiritual.
When we allow the Gospel to transform the way we live and love and work, it elevates every honest human endeavor and every aspect of society.
[God] wants to deliver you from everything that stands in the way of becoming the-best-version-of-yourself.
[God reveals to us our unique pat of salvation through] the relationship between our legitimate needs, our deepest desires, and our talents.
One of the most ancient practices of Christian spirituality is the unveiling of the deepest desires of our hearts through contemplation and reflection.
It is through prayer, reflection, the Scriptures, the grace of the Sacraments, the wisdom of the Church, and the guidance of the Holy Spirit that we discover and walk the path that God is calling us to walk.
The world and all it has to offer [i.e. pleasure, possessions, power] can never content the human heart. God alone can satisfy the deepest cravings of our hearts.
It is the task of the Church to introduce us to our destiny by unveiling for us the mystery of God, who is our ultimate end and our destiny.
God invites us to live, and become the-best-version-of-ourselves.
Let us never forget that people do not exist for the Church — the Church exists for people.
It is your task and mine to introduce others to their destiny by unveiling the mystery of God for them. It is your task and mine to assist all those who cross our paths to fulfill their destiny. This is one of the brilliant and beautiful ways that God has tied us all together.
I’m re-reading Matthew Kelly’s “Rediscover Catholicism” and am finding the author to be very quotable. So here are 21 quotes for your enjoyment:
There are 1.2 billion Catholics in the world. There are sixty-seven million Catholics in America — that’s at least fifteen million more people than it takes to elect an American president.
Every single day the Catholic Church feeds, houses, and clothes more people, takes care of more sick people, visits more prisoners, and educates more people than any other institution on the face of the earth could ever hope to.
The very essence of health care and caring for the sick emerged through the Church, through the religious orders, in direct response to the value and dignity that the Gospel assigns to each and every human life.
Prior to the Church’s introduction of education for the common man, education was reserved only for the nobility. Almost the entire Western world is educated today because of the Church’s pioneering role in universal education.
In the United States alone the Catholic Church educates 2.6 million students every day, at the cost of ten billion dollars a year to parents and parishes.
The Catholic education system alone saves American taxpayers eighteen billion dollars a year.
The Catholic Church has a nonprofit hospital system comprising of 637 hospitals, which treat one in five patients in the United States every day.
Our contribution on a local, national and global scale remains phenomenal even in spite of our faults, inefficiencies, and recent scandals, and yet the Church is despised by millions of ordinary Americans, while most Catholics want to crawl under the table when people start talking about the Church in a social setting.
We have forgotten our story and as a result we allow the anti-Catholic segments of the media to distort our story on a daily basis.
This year Catholic Charities will provide 2.2 million free meals to the hungry and the needy of Chicago. We don’t ask them if they are Catholic — we just ask them if they are hungry. Rediscover Catholicism.
There is nothing wrong with Catholicism that can’t be fixed by what is right with Catholicism.
We gravitate toward what is manageable, rather than imagining what is possible.
If you had an ancient treasure map, would you throw it away just because it was old?
Most of us know good, intelligent people, contributing members of our communities, who won’t have anything to do with Christianity. … Did the hypocrisy of individual church members or leaders obscure their experience of God?
Our siblings, parents, and children are sending us this message, as are our friends, neighbors, and colleagues. They are saying, whispering, crying out, “Don’t tell me — show me!”
In reference to the well-known fact that Gandhi read from the New Testament every day and often quoted the Christian Scriptures, a reporter once asked him why he had never become a Christian. He answered, “If I had ever met one, I would have become one.”
We spend much of our time fixated on secondary questions (usually related to controversial and sensational issues) and every little time exploring the primary questions about our brief stay here on earth.
[The three dominant philosophies of our time:] (1) Individualism: “What’s in it for me?”; (2) Hedonism: “If it feels good, do it!”; (3) Minimalism: “What is the least I can do?”
The false and adolescent notion is that freedom is the opportunity to do whatever you want, wherever you want, whenever you want, without the interference of any other person or party.
Hedonism is not an expression of freedom; it is a passport to enslavement by a thousand cravings and addictions. And in the end it produces not pleasure, but despair.
Minimalism is the enemy of excellence and the father of mediocrity.