February 27, 2016

Anaphora

I begin to realize that this religious life is made of different seasons. At the beginning were the first steps (and missteps!) in praying and living in community. Then there was the settling into the longer period of studies, with its own particular spiritual delights and pitfalls. Then the time of being a new priest in a parish, a time lush with people, variety, and spiritual gifts, but also capable of producing great theological and pastoral frustrations. Now--and for almost four years now!--I have the life of a secretary in the General Curia, a more hidden kind of life, closer to the interior of the brotherhood of the Order, more monastic in both its spiritual opportunities and dangers.

February 18, 2016

Litany of Praise

A friend of mine wrote to share the news that she had received ecclesiastical approbation for a prayer litany she had composed, the Litany of Praise. In her letter she said I could distribute it at my discretion. Given an impramatur from none other than Cardinal Dolan, how could I not?

Here's a sample:

Praised by Jesus in His Transfiguration, now and forever.
Praised be Jesus in His Institution of the Eucharist, now and forever
Praised be Jesus in His agony in the garden, now and forever

Pray and download the whole thing with this link. Share and enjoy!

February 10, 2016

Missionaries of Mercy

There have been friars here in Rome from all over who will be commissioned today by Pope Francis to be Missionaries of Mercy for the Holy Year. One of them asked me to translate the decree he received:

FRANCIS
SUPREME PONTIFF

establishes you
N.
A MISSIONARY OF MERCY

That, as a special gift of the Mercy of the Father, you may duly and validly absolve each and every sin, even those reserved to the Apostolic See, everywhere on the earth, until the end of the same Extraordinary Holy Year.

In fulfilling devoutly and faithfully your service for the salvation of the souls of the Christian faithful, with simplicity of heart and benevolence and kindness of soul, may you always have before your eyes God the Father of Mercies and the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Mercy.

May the Charity, Peace, and Mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ be always with you.

From the office of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization
February 10, 2016 A.D.

+Salvatore FISICHELLA
titular archbishop of Vicohabentia
President

+Octavio RUIZ ARENAS
Secretary

February 8, 2016

The Cloud

When the priests left the holy place,
the cloud filled the temple of the LORD
so that the priests could no longer minister because of the cloud,
since the LORD’s glory had filled the temple of the LORD.
(1 Kings 8: 10-11)

This moment in the first reading today, from the dedication of the Temple, is one of my favorites in all the Scriptures.

The priests could no longer minister because of the cloud.

To me it's an image of that place in prayer where religious ideas and concepts of God start to fail, and one can no longer 'minister,' in the sense of know what to do in order to serve 'God.'

And yet the Presence is there. Murky (the cloud),  but also glorious and somehow full and complete (the LORD's glory had filled the temple).

February 6, 2016

On Masturbation

I received a message via the contact form, and given that it touches upon an issue that arises with some frequency in confession, and which probably touches the consciences of many of the faithful who try to live chastely according to their state of life (whether in marriage or in the single or consecrated life), I thought I would answer in a post rather than privately.

Here's the message, with the personal details removed, of course:
I just have a serious question about our faith which needs a clear answer. I believe that you can help me reflect and understand what is really true. I am now...years old and I am still struggling with masturbation. I have tried many times to get rid of it. For the record, I was able to stop it for 8 months. However, there came a time that I can't resist it anymore. Honestly, it feels so natural but a voice in my head says its wrong. I am really confused if its a sin or not? This is a hard battle.