Easter: A Time of Conversion and Encounter

In the last year, the Archdiocese of Baltimore began a renewal process that we call “Be Missionary Disciples”.  Read more

Atlas and Christ

A Reflection from Ven. Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, from his book, Our Grounds for Hope: Enduring Words of Comfort and Assurance

“Opposite St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York is a giant statue of Atlas, bending and groaning and grunting under the weight of the world. That is modern man! Read more

Caring for Ourselves so We May Care for Others

I have often heard that before I can care for others, I must care for myself. Another way of looking at this is that I can’t give to others what I don’t have myself. If I am to minister to others and lead them to a relationship with Christ, it is essential that I take time for my own relationship with Him. Read more

The Sound of Silence

I had the privilege of leading a couple of parish retreats this summer. The participants were parish volunteers from all different kinds of ministries. They gave themselves a gift of time with our Lord, and I was truly evangelized by their faith and their presence.

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Paris, Your Parish, and the Wisdom of Silence

Sometimes it’s only in silence that our hearts can hear most clearly what’s being said.

Last week, news from Paris began streaming across our TV screens, smart phones, and tablets. In the midst of TV news anchors updating us on the latest developments, politicians shouting for retaliation, reporters reading the terrorists’ messages, it was the silences in between that spoke to our hearts. Read more

Families in the Image of God: How is our Praise?

There’s no vocation crisis from the looks of the company I kept today – a twenty minute procession of priests, religious habits in all types of designs (amazing how many different shapes black and white can take!), and thousands of lay ministers of all variety imaginable. I guess that means my sample size is vibrantly Catholic and I’ve made it to the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia!

A blessing of Church ministry is that our job is at the same time a ministry to others and a ministry to ourselves. This afternoon as I sat at the opening keynote address listening to and reflecting on Bishop Robert Barron’s challenging words, I found myself in a personal examine and a ministerial brainstorm. (Isn’t the Holy Spirit’s efficiency great?!)

How is my Praise?

The opening keynote by Bishop Barron walked us through an examination of what it means to be in the image of God. Resisting the desire to just transcribe all his profound and engaging presentation, allow me to dwell on one theme of his talk. The easiest way to answer the question “who are you?” he said, is by answering the follow up question “what do you worship?” When we worship false gods – of whatever variety – the result is emptiness and brokenness. I don’t have to think too hard to call to mind personal examples of that one playing out. As soon as I de-throne God as Lord of every aspect of my life, disaster awaits. Only when our hearts are ordered aright, with God as God and me as His beloved creature, is fulfillment possible.

Bishop Barron emphasized that right praise is foundational to our identity and vocation. “Our deepest task is to lead all of creation in a chorus of praise.” False worship rends the heart, while adoration aligns us to God. What is the core of our mission of evangelization? Simple answer from today’s keynote: teach people how to praise.

That means that we are praising God.

That means that we are praising God constantly, and in all areas of our life.

That means that we are praising God well, as God has revealed is proper to Him.

I invite you to join me in the reflection of what that means in our own lives, and what that means in our ministry of evangelization. How authentic is my praise – do I pray as I want, or as God wants and ought to be praised? Is my prayer me-centered, or Him-centered? How does obedience factor in – begrudged and done in resignation, or do I recognize God’s laws and God’s representatives as a privileged opportunity to show Him my praise? In the ministry entrusted to us, how are we teaching others to praise? Are our families praising God, and praising Him aright? In liturgical prayer, especially the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, is our focus the worship of God?

Challenging thoughts as day one comes to close. And for that, praise God!

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