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Showing posts from January, 2016

Morning Prayer With St. Thomas Aquinas

St. Thomas Aquinas, the Angelic Doctor, is well known for his voluminous writings, his mind-bending theological and philosophical insights, and the unparalleled beauty of his Eucharistic hymns. And yet, above all else, Aquinas was a man of prayer  - after a mystical experience he had near the end of his life, he declared that all his writings were like "straw" in comparison to this supernatural revelation. I have to admit, that any attempt I have ever made to pick up St. Thomas' Summa has been met with frustration and bewilderment. I am indebted to those authors who have been able to make Aquinas' teachings accessible. Some of my favorites are: Dr. Peter Kreeft's book Practical Theology: Spiritual Direction from St. Thomas Aquinas is organized into 359 topical discussions from the teachings of the Angelic Doctor. What I appreciate most about Dr. Kreeft's book is that I can pick it up, as needed, and explore a particular topic in the work of St. Thomas. Th

Snow in the Scriptures

Snow is NOT the most popular weather topic in the Scriptures, but where it is mentioned it teaches us some valuable lessons about the Lord, His goodness and mercy, and our response to Him.  Here are two of my favorite quotes about snow from the Scriptures: 1. Daniel 3:50: "Frost and snow, bless the Lord; praise and exalt Him above all forever. This Scripture, known as the Canticle of Daniel, is the hymn of praise sung by the three young men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abendego, while they are in the fiery furnace. In the midst of the flames which should surely consume them in the most painful and brutal way, these men boldly proclaim the glory of God, and command that all of God's creations bow down in praise of Him.  The result of their praises is that they are saved from the flames and King Nebuchadnezzar who had condemned them to the furnace in the first place, acknowledges the power of God saying "there is no other God who is able to deliver in this way." Wh

Baptism and the Domestic Church

The routine and ritual of the Sunday mornings of my childhood are forever etched into my memory. My siblings and I looked forward to Saturday night sleepovers at my Italian-immigrant Grandmother’s house and on Sunday morning we awoke to the smell of frying meatballs and simmering sauce. Hand in hand, we walked with my Grandmother to 10:30 Mass and the remainder of Sunday was spent with my parents, aunts, uncles, and cousins lazily feasting on my Grandmother’s food. Mass was the focal point of our Sundays and the shared family meal was a way to extend the celebration. Little did I know it at the time, but the catechesis of those Sunday mornings was slowly forming me into a disciple and a missionary. In a weekly audience on January 15, 2015 Pope Francis reflected on the Sacrament of  Baptism,  stressing “an important fruit of this Sacrament: it makes us members of the Body of Christ and of the People of God.” He went on to elaborate that “the People of God is a disciple People — b

"See I am doing something new!"

January. Just the mere mention of it brings forth images of dark mornings, cold days, ice and snow (at least for those if us living in the Northeast.) Regardless of your climate, January means an end to the holidays and festivities of December. Houses are stripped of their lights and decorations, diets have begun, family has gone home and everyone has settled back into the ho-hum of everyday life. Same old, same old is the way I would describe my January so far. My kids are back into their homeschooling routine and in doing my mid-year assessment of where we are vs. where we should be, I was dismayed to find out that summer vacation is a long, long way off, both from a calendar perspective and a work-load perspective. The scale tells me I had a few too many cookies during Christmas vacation and I can't seem to get my house back in order after the holidays (yes, we are the only house on the block with Christmas lights still on.) To say my mood is less than ideal would be an und

There's Nothing Ordinary about Ordinary Time

The Monday after the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord beings the first week of "Ordinary Time" on the church's calendar.  Ordinary Time is the longest of the church's 6 liturgical seasons (the other seasons are: Advent, Christmas , Lent , Easter Triduum, and Easter) spanning nearly 34 weeks of every year, and is interspersed between those other seasons, culminating with the Solemnity of Jesus Christ the King of the Universe , which occurs on the Sunday preceding the first Sunday of Advent.  The name "Ordinary Time" is derived from the ordinal numbers used to count its weeks (1st, 2nd, 3rd) and has nothing to do with any "ho-hum" quality to the season.  The Latin term used to describe the season is "tempus per annum", or time throughout the year.  The  liturgical color (or the color worn by the priest when he celebrates Mass, and used to adorn the altar and sanctuary) is green - which is the symbol of life and hope.  The Mass readings