Did you ever catch yourself secretly wondering whether or not God really, really has our best interest at heart? It is so easy to slip into thinking that doing the will of God is automatically tantamount to a life of suffering and woe. Instead, Jesus came to bring us life – abundant life! As Pope Francis reminds us we are called to encounter and become messengers of the joy of the Gospel!
Paradoxically, however, we have to admit that the kingdom of God that Jesus preached and lived out in his own life does put us in the pathway of suffering and even conflict. Blessed are the poor, the meek, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness… (see Matthew 5:1-11)–these are not the values of the business-as-usual-world and we shouldn’t be surprised when we find opposition. In the face of this where do we find encouragement and confidence in following God’s loving plan for our lives?
Perhaps this is one of the reasons why Pope Francis is giving the Church – and the whole world – the gift of the canonization of John XXIII and John Paul II. Both of these men teach us with their lives and their words that a life of holiness is a life of deep confidence in God’s love for us.
As the editor for the Classic Wisdom Collection, I was delighted when two of my colleagues volunteered to prepare a book each for this series. Sr. Donna Giaimo compiled Secret to Happiness: Wisdom from John XXIII and Sr. Lorraine Trouvé worked on Be Not Afraid: Wisdom from John Paul II. Like the other titles in this series, Secret to Happiness and Be Not Afraid are short but substantial collections of writings about the spiritual life lived out in the real world. They both address overlapping issues of confidence, humility and trust in God. Let their words and their example inspire you!
Sr. Sean Mayer, FSPRead More
|Sister Anne has a new book out–but you won’t find it here in the Michigan Avenue bookstore. It’s only available as an e-book! (Don’t worry if you don’t have an e-gadget; you can download a free Kindle program to read the book on your computer.) Read the reviews and download the introduction from the 5 Keys to Understanding Pope Francis website!|
Our shipment is in, so call your order in right now for Pope Francis’ “The Joy of the Gospel” (English or Spanish).
Be sure to let your parish ministry team know that the handy paperback edition of Pope Francis’ document is ready to ship–and that there are bulk discounts available (at $9.95, it’s already the least expensive English version out there):Read More
Sister Kathryn Hermes is coming back to Chicago!
This year, the Advent Women’s Retreat will be based on HeartWork, a new process of spiritual growth developed by Sister Kathryn. Join us Dec. 7, from 8:30-3:00 for an Advent retreat day with John the Baptist, King David and St. Joseph that will lead you to a place of rest using the simple tools and exercises of HeartWork–practices you can take with you and continue at home.
As in past years, the retreat will be held at St. Peter’s in the Loop (downtown Chicago). Doors open at 8:15.
Register through the bookstore (call us at 312-346-4228 or drop in), or register online. Through the bookstore, we can accept Visa/MasterCard, personal checks and cash. Online accepts all major credit cards. The $40 fee (50% discount for religious sisters and students) includes coffee/donuts and a boxed lunch. (As requested, we’ll try to have more salad and fruit options this year.)
Sister Kathryn Hermes is a Daughter of St Paul and author of the best-selling “Surviving Depression: A Catholic Approach” (and its accompanying Journal) “Beginning Contemplative Prayer,” “Making Peace with Yourself,” and other spirituality books. Sister holds a Master’s in Theological Studies and an advanced certificate in Scripture. She is currently Director of Electronic Publishing for Pauline Books & Media, Boston.
Sister Kathryn’s books will be available for purchase and signing throughout the day. (You can also get them in e-book formats!)
8:15: Doors open
8:30: Orientation and Opening Meditation
8:50: John the Baptist and Making Peace with Life Choices (Meditation and Exercise)
9:30: Private Prayer (handout)
10:00: King David and Making Peace with Life’s Responsibilities (Meditation and Exercise)
11:15 Private Prayer (handout); Opportunity for Confession
12:00: Mass, followed by lunch
1:30: St. Joseph and Making Peace with our Concern for Others ( (Meditation and Exercise)
2:30: Q&A, Closing Meditation
Registration Widget loading…Click Here to visit the event page.
For more about Sister Kathryn’s HeartWork ministry, visit http://www.pauline.org/heartwork
The interview of Pope Francis conducted over three days by his fellow Jesuit Antonio Spadaro did more than spark a few headlines: it got the whole world talking about what the Pope had said (or not said, as the case may be). There’s always a risk involved in going off-script, but Francis clearly believes that it is worth it–and he seems to hope that the world’s one-billion-plus Catholics will be able to carry their part of the conversation forward.
Many people seemed to get the Pope exactly wrong. Apparently believing the headlines, some fervent Catholics have called the bookstore with troubled questions, wondering if Francis is selling out on Catholic doctrine or making political statements that compromise the very positions their bishops are upholding. (“I’m not a right-winger” means one thing in the US context; something very different for a person who lived through Argentina’s “dirty wars.”)
America (Jesuit weekly) has a number of thoughtful posts on what has got to be the journalistic coup of the magazine’s more than a century-long history.
Here are some additional posts on an interview that deserves to be read carefully, reflected over, and prayed with. For now, you can read it online; the book version will be in soon (call to reserve your copy).
Followed by this brief “spiritual antivenin” by the same author
and a poignant reflection on the would-be patients in the “field hospital” that is Francis’ vision of the Catholic Church
(All of the above from the prolific and profound Scalia.)
Keeping Up with Francis (by Daughter of St. Paul nunblogger, Sister Anne)
First thoughts about the Francis Interview (by Father John Zuhlsdorf)
Pope Francis’ Comments about Homosexuality in the Big Interview (by Father John Zuhlsdorf) The most headline-grabbing aspects of the Pope’s interview really comprise a tiny sliver of the lengthy whole, but since the Pope’s comments have been taken out of context to such a degree, Father Zuhlsdorf patiently puts the context back in.
And one scholar suggests that the discomfort being expressed by many anxious Catholics is an invitation to transform the uncertainty into reflection. The article offers some helpful distinctions about the difference between, say, an interview and an encyclical, as well other insights that shed extra light on the Pope’s words.
Just released (Pauline Books & Media): Jorge from Argentina: The Story of Pope Francis for Children (primary-level readers).Read More
Once a year where I come from there is a huge county fair. Pumpkins piled high, baked goods, and horses, cattle, and every kind of farm animal await the visitors. More subdued yet no less attractive are displays of lovely model homes. These always feature the newest “built-in” appliances: dishwasher, freezer/refrigerator, and stove. But no matter how lovely and appealing the kitchens with the built-in luxuries appear, reality sets in at the first meal. The food in the freezer has to be defrosted; the stove can collect spills; the dishwasher has to be loaded and unloaded; the fridge has to be checked almost daily to keep things fresh.. Even a shiny kitchen has its hidden “cross” of unpleasantries.
As a teenager, I imagined my own personal cross might come fifty years later: perhaps some colossal battle with cancer or some other enormous suffering. After all I had been healthy, active—a horseback rider, a busy student. It hadn’t occurred to me that bearing the burden of the cross comes built-in with any walk of life, any age, or circumstance. I smile when I recall a clever skit put on by some of our sisters. The act opened with a room full of Styrofoam crosses. The sisters on stage were invited to pick whichever cross they felt suited them.. Some hugged tiny crosses; others lifted large crosses as though they were trophies. Each sister had a different size. Of course size did not matter, since the weight amounted to next to nothing. We laughed when the skit was over because all the participants tried to choose the crosses that suited them best.
Now way beyond my teens, I wonder no longer when the cross will come. I discovered my built-in cross: the effort it takes me to control reactions or responses to annoyances, to be pleasant when I feel cranky, to squelch a nasty remark just when it seems to be perfect timing. All these are ways of taking up my cross—even if it be only made of Styrofoam! Read more >>Read More
We’ve heard it a thousand times: “Go out to all the world and tell the good news” (Mark 16:15). But what is this “Good News” that we are supposed to be proclaiming? At the heart our Catholic Faith is all about Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, who loves us and for us was born, lived, died and is risen.
In his forthcoming bookMeeting Jesus Christ: Meditations on the Word,Monsignor J Brian Bransfield shows us how Jesus invites each of us to a personal relationship of discipleship. As we spend time with Jesus, we get to know him, and we are drawn to follow him and tell others about him.
Sr. Sean Mayer, FSP
As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the customs post. He said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up and followed him. While he was at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat with Jesus and his disciples. The Pharisees saw this and said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” He heard this and said, “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. Go and learn the meaning of the words, I desire mercy, not sacrifice. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.” (Mt 9:9–13, NAB)
So far, it has been an ordinary workday at the customs post and table. Over the years the shadow of many people fell over his table. They all came, young and old, healthy and sick, wealthy and poor. They had one thing in common: they always walked away poorer, while Matthew walked away richer. He dismissed their excuses and took their money. Not that Matthew ever really noticed any of them, for he had other things on his mind. People were numbers, and the numbers fit in well-defined columns. Matthew’s ledger had many columns to be filled in, debts to settle, and money to be made. And where money takes over, there is little room for anything—or anyone—else. But today, a new shadow falls over Matthew’s tax table. Another account is about to come due.
As Jesus passed on from there . . . (Mt 9:9)
Consider the contrast. Jesus is on the move while Matthew sits still. It is as if the new movement of Jesus and the old stubbornness of Matthew collide, sparking new life. Jesus is near, but the moment will not last long. The Lord moves in slow motion, the din of the crowd fades away. Time itself begins to watch. The tables are about to turn.
As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the customs post. (Mt 9:9)
And in this prolonged moment, something happens. Jesus sees Matthew and says, “Follow me” (Mt 9:9). From Matthew’s immediate response—“And he got up and followed him” (Mt 9:9)—it is clear that Matthew also saw Jesus. And in this mutual seeing something occurs. Something instantaneous takes place. Matthew totters on the brink of death-life. In this moment Matthew has a personal experience of God and sees that only in Jesus can Matthew accomplish all that God asks of him. In this daily moment he sees his life in its real context. The call is the free initiative of God’s grace that illuminates Matthew’s entire and total existence. Matthew makes an act of faith in response to the word of Jesus. Saint Paul tells us, “So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the word of Christ” (Rom 10:17). The act of living faith is not a narrow, robot-like automatic response as if Matthew’s freedom is overridden, replaced, or destroyed. Quite the contrary, the look of Jesus enters Matthew’s heart, past all of its history, pain, and sin, and pierces it to the core. He has “shone in our hearts” (2 Cor 4:6).
Saint Theresa Benedicta of the Cross explains that at certain moments in our life, through God’s action we perceive through supernatural light a spiritual vision that is “much sharper and far clearer than corporeal vision. It is like the sudden illumination by a bolt of lightning, that in a dark night allows things to stand out clear and distinct for a moment. Read more >>
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