Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Lost Sheep - Good Shepherd

Have you ever contemplated upon the mental image of the shepherd from Matthew and Luke's gospels -- the shepherd who leaves the flock of ninety-nine sheep to find the one that was lost? Have you ever noticed that in some of the paintings of Jesus as the shepherd, the lamb hoisted upon His shoulders has a bandage around one leg? Sheep ranchers will tell you that in some cases, a young lamb will habitually stray -- no matter how many times the shepherd brings it back to the flock, it continues to run off - leading other members of the flock to stray as well.

In severe cases, in order to protect the life of the young lamb and the rest of the flock, the shepherd is forced to do the unthinkable...... the shepherd intentionally breaks the leg of the habitually wandering lamb.

Friday, January 14, 2011


One of the songs from the alternative Christian band, Jars of Clay, is called: Redemption.
We look out way down past the road we came from ...
We're looking at redemption;
It was hidden in the landscape
Of loss and love and fire and rain.
Never would have come this way.
Looking for Redemption.
There is a truth in these lyrics many of us can easily recognize, especially those who have dealt with serious hardships and setbacks in relationships, employment, finances, or health. It is oftentimes through these crosses that we ultimately find God "hiding".

Monday, January 10, 2011

Can we Love Someone we do not Know?

In the 1950's, Arthur C. Clarke penned a short story titled, "The Nine Billion Names of God," based on the philosophy that mankind was created essentially to 'know the creator.'  In the story, the inhabitants of a Tibetan monastery theorized that by acknowledging every possible name of God, they would come to this intimate knowledge - the nature and essence of the creator Himself - and will thus have achieved mankind's ultimate purpose for being.

We learn at an early age from our Catechism why we were created: "To know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this life and be happy with Him forever in the next."  As if pondering this truth, Saint Louis de Montfort asks (The Love of Eternal Wisdom): "Can we love someone we do not even know?  Can we love deeply someone we know only vaguely?"  Jesus allowed us to recognize what was at stake when he prayed to the Father over his disciples: "Now this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent." (Jn 17:3)


Friday, January 7, 2011

A Letter - A Prayer - A Life

One of the awesome things about Sacred Scripture is the many ways it can touch your heart.  You can read a passage or hear it read a dozen times and each time something new will be placed on your heart.  Sometimes a message or meaning is so obvious, so in-your-face, that you wonder how you could have missed it.  One day, I had one of those moments while I was reading Matthew's account of Judgement Day, as illustrated by the Separation of the Sheep and Goats. 

What's in a Name?

"That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet."

Shakespeare seems to suggest that a name is not bound to the quality or essence of a thing - that it simply is what it is.  Sacred Scripture, as interpreted in the Catechism, and beliefs fashioned by our own experiences, may disagree.

Consider the thought processes, and sometimes turmoil, involved in naming a child; a responsibility which seldom is, nor should be, taken lightly.  As has been the custom since ancient times, we may choose the name of a close relative of honor (see Lk 1:59-63), or maybe a Saint or an otherwise holy biblical figure out of respect or in hope that by virtue of the name, a degree of their sanctity or nobility may rest upon the child.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Slice of Pie

Every now and again, it's important to step back from the hustle and bustle of our daily routine to look where we are spending our time and energy. 

Have you ever looked at a breakdown of your typical day?  Where do you spend your time and energy - work, school, sitting in traffic, sports or exercising, eating, talking to friends, reading e-mail, listening to music, watching TV or movies, social networking, gaming, shopping, sleeping, praying, reciting the rosary, participating in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, volunteering in support of the sick, hungry, the homeless, the dying, the handicapped, the poor and the elderly.  

Monday, January 3, 2011

January 3rd: The Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus

O sing a new song to the Lord;
sing to the Lord, all the earth.
O sing to the Lord,
bless his name.
This Christmas Season it gives me great joy to share with you the message of hope and love that must fill the hearts of all the members of the Confraternity of the most Holy Names of God and Jesus.  Like the light that dispels the darkness, so this "Good News" - the coming of Our Savior - is reason to rejoice. No wonder that not just the psalm cited here but almost all the one hundred fifty psalms make explicit mention of the Holy Name of God.