At the name of Jesus…

The following linked passage is, I believe, based on a hymn from the early Church, which St. Paul quotes to make a point.  Always making points, that one.

I particularly like this hymn.

The following is a sentimental notion, and therefore not of much use to anyone’s spiritual journey.  Nevertheless, I have imagined such an event, such an uttering of Jesus’ name which would, in fact, bring every beast and human to its knees.  Would it be the very voice of God, calling for His Son?  Would the sky be stained with the colors of the Apocalypse, the wind dense with the presence of the Creator?

This can’t be more than silly.

And yet…I believe we were at Mass when Amelia, as is her custom, was rummaging through her purse and our pockets and the missalette.  She stopped at the cover which held the image of an icon.  There was the Virgin Mary, holding the child Jesus.  Standard stuff, if you’re looking for song number #438 and just flipping past it.

Amelia pointed, which cued Marcy to tell her who those people are.  She said, “That’s Mary, and that’s Jesus.”

For a long moment, Amelia did nothing but stare.  It . . . → Read More: At the name of Jesus…

The New Evangelization: Conversation

Last week in an address to the Seminary community at Mundelein Cardinal George highlighted the pastoral importance of listening.  He stressed that listening to God’s people helps you to hear their fears, their needs, their desires, their shortcomings, and all of the things that can help you lead and pastor them.  This got me to thinking about the importance of conversation in the New Evangelization.

While it is extremely important to broadcast the true message of salvation in every way (print, web, social media, DURING THE HOMILY) people are just a bit more complicated than being just consumers of salvation data.  They need to gnaw on it, play with it, work it out in their own way.  They need to have conversations about it.

I was recently reading a post on Fr. Barron’s Word on Fire regarding the Japan tragedy and a young woman named Monica posted a question in the comments.  It was a thoughtful question and was written by someone who looks to be genuinely seeking truth.  Unfortunately, as of this writing, the question has gone unanswered.  I think this is real shame.  Now I’m not trying to pick on WOF, I think they’re doing great work but . . . → Read More: The New Evangelization: Conversation

Ashes Data, or proof that repentance matters

A while back I was involved in remodeling the St. Julie Billiart website.  At the time I also installed Google Analytics to track the web traffic on the site to help St. Julie analyze trends as well has help optimize their website.  I came across some data this week that was eye opening and I thought I’d share it with you.

One of the first improvements I wanted to make in the redesign was adding a “quick links” section on the right hand of the page.  This provides some of the most frequently accessed content (Mass times, confession times, bulletin, etc) in an easy to find place for users.  Last Christmas I added a seasonal quick link for Christmass Mass schedules on December 18th.  From the time of December 18th (5 days before Christmas Eve) to January 3rd (as the link also contained New Years information) the page was viewed 723 times.

On Monday March 7th (2 days before Ash Wed.) I posted an Ash Wed page.  From the 7th until Wednesday 9pm that page was viewed 1,027 times.  In the period between Dec 1st and March 10th it ranked as the third most-viewed quick link on the site, behind the permanent . . . → Read More: Ashes Data, or proof that repentance matters

Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return…

That may seem to be a harsh or morbid subject to accompany this picture.  Is it any less true for babies?  (This particular baby being my three-month-old daughter, Ruth).

More importantly, though, I think there is something in the levity of a baby receiving ashes that is easy to miss for “serious” Catholics – namely, perhaps we are sometimes too serious about ourselves.  Perhaps there is great truth in the notion that a baby does not think any more of herself than what she is – if she really thinks that much about herself at all.

If the majority of our time could be spent in carefully attending to – and punctuated by wonder at – the souls around us, then maybe it is not so harsh a thing to say, “You are dust.”  In the context of such a truth you see how wondrous the Lord is.

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