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Showing posts from May, 2016

One Great Dance of Love--The Trinity

Several years ago I celebrated Mass in a nearby parish.  After the Mass I greeted people at the door of the Church and someone asked me, "Father, why do we have a feast honoring a doctrine?  Christmas, Easter and other feasts celebrate not just doctrines but things that happened to Jesus, Mary or one of the saints"

   I don't remember exactly what I said to her but I pondered her question after that.  Unfortunately in the western sphere of Christianity academic speculation about the Trinity has turned our understanding of it into a dry mysterious concept.  The Trinity, however, is not just a doctrine. (No, I'm not putting down the idea of a doctrine, just noting that doctrines point to actual spiritual realities.)  The Holy Trinity is a dynamic, flowing reality of love and grace into which we are swept at Baptism, Confirmation, in the other sacraments and in many other ways.

   A moment of inspiration regarding the Trinity came on my visit to the Holy Land in 1993.…

Accompanying Others: Understanding Pope Francis

Ever since Pope Francis uttered the words, "Who am I to Judge?" in reference to a gay person he has been open to unfortunate misinterpretation and misunderstanding. Two words are need to properly understand much of what he says--dialogue and accompaniment.  Both of these are vital elements in good ministry.  I can't say that I have practiced these virtues at all times, but I can say that when I have I have experienced some of the most fruitful moments of my ministry.

   There is a tendency to define people by their sins and weaknesses and to then justify writing them off.  Pope Francis is constantly reminding us that everyone, and he means everyone, is a human person first and therefore worthy of dignity and respect regardless of what they have done.  His visits to prisons and his messages to the prisoners are a great example of this.  He is calling us to keep this in mind in our dealings with those who come to us in the Church, many of whom feel alienated from the Ch…