Wednesday, January 31, 2018

The true race of prophets (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

   Jesus Christ belonged to the true race of prophets.  He saw with open eye the mystery of the soul.  Drawn by its severe harmony, ravished with its beauty, he lived in it and had his being there.  Alone in all history, he estimated the greatness of man.

--Ralph Waldo Emerson,
"Address to the Harvard 
Divinity School, 1838"

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Speak the Word filled with the fire of charity... (St. Anthony Mary Claret)


   Love is the most necessary of all virtues.  Love in the person who preaches the word of God is like fire in a musket.  If a person were to throw a bullet with his hands, he would hardly make a dent in anything; but if the person takes the same bullet and ignites some gunpowder behind it, it can kill.  It is much the same with the word of God.  If it is spoken by someone who is filled with the fire of charity – the fire of God and neighbor – it will work wonders.

--St. Anthony Mary Claret

Monday, January 29, 2018

Listening to the Word of God (Fr. John Russell)

   We must each seek out and listen to the word of God in our lives.  He is always speaking to us, I believe, in the language of our lives.  But it can be difficult to make out what he’s saying over the crashing of the waves.

   The word of God to us is often counter-intuitive.  What he’s telling us often isn’t what we want to hear.  It’s often not easily recognized or understood, agreeable or believable to us.

   Hearing the word of God and keeping it requires a little faith.

--Fr. John R. P. Russell

To read Fr. Russell’s complete article, click here.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Accepting the Word (Pope Paul VI)

   Here lies the test of truth, the touchstone of evangelization:  it is unthinkable that a person should accept the Word and give himself to the kingdom without becoming a person who bears witness to it and proclaims it in his turn. 
--Pope Paul VI 

What is a touchstone? 
A touchstone was originally a black stone (like flint)
used to test the purity of gold and silver
by the streak left on the stone when rubbed by the metal. 
How does your witness to the kingdom 
hold up to the test?

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Sunday Gospel Reflection, January 28, 2018: To him shall you listen...

How do we interpret God’s message? 

   When Moses delivers God’s law to the people of Israel in the Book of Deuteronomy, it is clear that the people, fearing to hear God’s voice directly, desire a mediator, a go-between who can transmit God’s word to them.  God is willing to establish a prophet among them, on one condition:  to him shall you listen, God says.  Psalm 95 will remind the people that, if today they hear his voice, they are not to harden their hearts – rather, they are to kneel before the Lord in worship.  When God’s word is transmitted by a trustworthy voice, the word becomes a source of joy and thanksgiving.

   In Mark’s Gospel, Jesus teaches in the synagogue in Capernaum, and the people are astonished at his teaching, for he teaches them as one having authority.  Jesus is not only transmitting God’s word, he is God’s Word, the Word made flesh.  His authority comes from within his very person, and so he commands the attention of all who are present to him.  Even the unclean spirit inhabiting a local man recognizes Jesus and his authority:  I know who you are – the Holy One of God! 

   The issues facing the people of Israel continue to press upon us today.  How do we authentically interpret God’s message in the context of our own time?  How do we know if our understanding of the word of God is the true one?  And once we acknowledge it as true, how do we make it a part of our own identity:  how do we ensure that it is at the core of our being, the center of our self, the depth of who we are as individuals and as a community?  Paul has one suggestion for the Corinthians:  adherence to the Lord without distraction.  Only when we listen first to God, focused on that eternal love that is to be ours, can we be sure that God’s Word is at work in us, living and true.

This post is based on Fr. Pat’s Scripture class.
Image source:

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Faith grasps a heart (Alexander MacLaren)

   Faith does not grasp a doctrine, but a heart.  The trust which Christ requires is the bond that unites souls with Him; and the very life of it is entire committal of myself to Him in all my relations and for all my needs, and absolute utter confidence in Him as all sufficient for everything that I can require.
--Alexander MacLaren, 
The Holy of Holies