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Showing posts from November, 2011

Prepare the way for the Lord, An Advent Message

I was tempted to introduce Advent by offering a comment on the new translation of the Mass texts, but chose to wait until they have been in use for a while. Instead, some thoughts on the season itself.

  Most of us Catholics think of Advent as the time when we get ready spiritually for Christmas. That is indeed one of the purposes for the season, and certainly we need to attend to that more often than we do, but it is not the only purpose of this wonderful time.  At the beginning of  Advent the Church's focus is more on the Second Coming of Christ, than on the First Coming.  This Sunday's Gospel (from Mark 13:33-37) Invites us to "Be watchful! Be Alert! You do not know when the time will come." (Mk 13:33)

   There is a great deal of sound advice in these words.  For one thing they certainly make it clear that anyone who tries to predict the end times doesn't know what they are talking about.   But how are we to prepare for the end times, for the coming of the …

Feast of the Dedication of the Basilica of St., John at the Lateran--A Feast of the Church

Today the Church celebrates what for many is an unusual feast, the dedication of the Basilica of St. John Lateran in Rome.  This basilica holds a special place in Church history, Franciscan history and in my own heart. Back in 1999 our Minister General, Fr. Giacomo Bini, OFM sent a latter to the friars of the order asking for volunteers to serve as confessors for the Jubilee Year 2000.   The Roman basilicas are staffed by the diocesan clergy of Rome, but each one has a staff from members of different religious orders as confessors, the reason being that we can bring in people from around the world who speak different languages.   We Franciscans have been assigned to the Lateran because it was there that Pope Innocent III approved the rule of Francis and his brothers. Ability to speak Italian as well as 15 years of ordination were two of the requirements to supplement the full time team of confessors  there so  I signed on and was accepted. I spent just about 7 months in Rome that yea…

The Way, A Movie for All Saints Day

In these early days of November we Catholics, and many other Christians as well, observe two feast that focus our attention on the next life--All Saints Day and All Souls Day.  I find it interesting that in my case anyway some of the same people that I honored as saints in my own life I prayed for on the next day, because after all we are not certain and in some way all of us are both saints and sinners.
   Often, as we look to the next life, we don't stop to reflect on the fact that whatever happens in the hereafter is based on what we do now, on our response to the call to holiness which comes to us through our Baptism.  What do we do now, in this life, to grow into sainthood.

   All of us are made saints (holy) the moment we are baptized.  It's what we do afterwards that changes things one way or the other.  I remember having this fact brought home to me very clearly back in 1978 when I was on an extended pilgrimage in Rome and Assisi.  We visited the cathedral of St. R…