Before saying “I do” here’s what you should ask by Father Denis Sonet

Before saying “I do” here’s what you should ask

 

Love doesn’t conquer all, but knowledge of yourself and your spouse-to-be before you marry goes a long way.

“When a man and a woman marry, they become one. The difficulty is deciding which one,” the American writer H.L. Mencken once quipped. Love moves us to do everything for the other but, before marriage, we must have insight into the other’s needs, weaknesses, strengths, qualities, and flaws.

Differences can be a treasure, or a pitfall. So conversations during the engagement period should delve into the smallest details, those “little contingencies” we sometimes tend to brush off with a “love will conquer that!” attitude, but which over time become major obstacles and symptoms of deeper issues. Unresolved questions can hide tomorrow’s hornet’s nest. So here are some examples of the questions to ask, individually or together.

Know your partner and know yourself

Am I at ease with his friends? Can I share her passions (like bungee-jumping or deep-sea diving)? Can she share mine? Does he need to have his way when things are up for discussion? Could I put up with that my whole life? Can we deal with having opposite political views? Can we talk about it together?

Are his or her leisure activities beyond our means? Do we agree about our future standard of living? Are we more or less agreed about being open to children and how many we’d like to have? Does his personality make me feel awkward? Am I ill at ease with her behavior when others are around? What about his smoking or alcohol consumption? Her gloomy or depressive nature? His sense of humor?

Is he or she overly dependent on their parents? Am I comfortable with his way of dealing with personal problems? What differences are there between our respective values? Between our ideas about marriage? Are there points where these differences could cause conflict? Do we tend to avoid certain subjects? Am I really capable of “leaving my father and my mother” to cling to my spouse? Is he lacking in tenderness or sensitivity?

Accept that the other may not be how you’d dreamed

Don’t forget one thing: life as a couple is a beautiful but difficult thing. It runs up against “otherness,” the fact that the other is other, that they’re not you. And as to the crazy dream of total unity—we’ll do everything together, we’ll go to Mass together, do the shopping together—impossible! Deep down, are we capable of accepting the other may not be how we’d dreamed? If so, then a loving marriage awaits!

Father Denis Sonet

Our Life is Training for Learning to Love Like the Holy Trinity by CONSTANCE T. HULL

Our Life is Training for Learning to Love Like the Holy Trinity

CONSTANCE T. HULL

 We are called to participate in the Divine Life. This means that God calls us to enter into the love of the Triune Persons and to radiate that love outward towards others. St. Thomas Aquinas said: “Charity makes man tend to God by uniting his affection to God in such a way that man no longer lives for himself, but for God” (ST IIa IIae, q.17, a.6, ad3). This charity is a supernatural virtue that God gives to us so that through the infusion of this gift, we can learn to love Him above all else and to love our neighbor as He loves.

Love and intimacy with God come about through a willingness on our part to enter into the communion of the Divine Persons in our daily lives. It is always God who calls us first to enter into this intimate union with Him. Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalene explains:

“It is a created participation in the charity, the infinite love with which God loves Himself, that is, the love with which the Father loves the Son, with which the Son loves the Father, and by which each loves the other in the Holy Spirit. Through charity we are called to enter into this divine current, into this circle of eternal love which unites the three Persons of the Blessed Trinity to one another…Charity plunges us into the very center of God’s intimate life; it enables us to share in the infinite love of the three divine Persons: in the intimate love of the Father for the Son, and of the Son for the Father; it enables us to love the Father and the Son in the love of the Holy Spirit.”

This invitation to enter into the love of God and the demands it places upon us are a constant source of struggle for each one of us in our Fallen state. In order to love God to such an extent that we are willing to surrender our entire lives to Him, we must learn how to love as He loves. This begins in prayer where we learn to love Him, but then He calls us outward towards others. The clearest expression of how God loves is through Christ Crucified on the Cross. It is this kenotic (self-emptying) love that is a reflection of how the Three Divine Persons of the Trinity love.

How do we learn to no longer live for ourselves and to love as Christ loves?

We do so by seeking to give ourselves away, even to the point of loving people who hurt us, betray us, reject us, and persecute us. Christ forgave those who were crucifying Him from the Cross. That is the same love we are called to. It is the same love that is reflected in the lives of the saints. We are able to answer this high calling in our lives because it is God who loved us first (1 John 4:19). It is this love that God has given to us that leads us to be able to love others, even in our weaknesses and failings.

One of the quickest and most effective ways to learn how to love as Christ loves is to seek to offer sacrifices, penances, mortifications, and sufferings for the sake of those who hurt us. Not only does suffering for a person who has hurt us teach us how to love and forgive, it also unleashes tremendous spiritual graces in the life of the other person in a way we may only fully realize in the next life.

This practice is not easy, especially when we experience deep pain and betrayal at the hands of those we love the most; or on the other end of the spectrum, those who persecute us. Oftentimes, when we are hurt or betrayed by our spouse, parents, children, friends, priests, bishops, and others, we would rather hold onto our righteous anger. We have a right to be angry when people hurt us, but we can’t stay in that anger for very long or it will begin to destroy charity within us. Anger always runs the risk of turning into resentment and a desire for vengeance.

Anger also has a tendency to blind us, which is why when we have been deeply hurt or betrayed by another person, we often need time to allow the emotions within us to settle in order for reason to return. It is then that we are able to consider how to move forward from the pain that has been caused and seek to forgive as Christ has forgiven us for our own sins, which are numerous.

Willing the good of another

Even when a loved one hurts us, we still love them. This means that we still desire their good. For that is what it means to love another person. Fr. Gabriel again:

“To love a person is to desire his well-being. We understand, therefore, that the essence of love is in the act of the will by which we wish good. This does not take away from the fact that the act may often be accompanied by sensible affection, making our love both an act of the will and of the sensibility. Nevertheless, it is clear that the substance of real love is not to be found in the emotions but in the act of the will. Charity does not change our manner of loving, but penetrates it, supernaturalists it, making the will and the sensibility capable of loving God.”

To love another is to desire their good even after they have inflicted harm upon us. Our love is not dependent upon our emotions. It is an act of the will. Love is a choice.

As Catholics, we are called to supernatural love through which we seek to love as God loves, which means forgiving those who hurt us and continuing to seek their good. There are times when seeking another’s good means making reparations for what they have done against us. This is especially true for our loved ones who are trapped in habitual serious sins or those who are unrepentant. Our sacrifices and prayers—despite our own personal pain—are necessary in willing the other person’s good. God will use those sacrifices for the sanctification of the other person and for our own sanctification.

There will come times in our lives when we must love others more than they love us or we must love them enough to seek their salvation even if they are indifferent or hostile towards us. I recently heard a seminarian say that a priest told him and his fellow seminarians that: “every priest needs a woman in his life who loves his vocation more than he does.” I was struck by this because of God’s calling in my own life to minister to priests and seminarians, but it also applies in all of our relationships.

There will be times when wives and husbands must seek to love the other’s call to become a saint more than their spouse and to sacrifice for them despite the pain that is experienced. Parents must seek to teach holiness to their children even when they wander far from the path. Friends will often need to love another’s immortal soul and the gift of salvation for another more than they do. Priests must love their flock and the souls entrusted to their care despite the indifference or hostility they may face. There may come a day when we must seek to love someone who is persecuting us and to will their good despite our own suffering. We are called to pour ourselves out in total self-emptying love as Christ did on the Cross, in a manner that images the love of the Holy Trinity.

This life is our training ground for learning to love as the Holy Trinity loves. God invites us into the love shared between the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. He infuses us with the gift of charity so that we can seek to love Him above all else. Part of learning to love Him above all else is to seek to give ourselves away and to love our neighbor despite the sufferings it may cause us. It is to seek their good. The ultimate good that we can will for another is eternal life. When we love God above all else and we live for Him, then we will seek to surrender ourselves fully in love for others, including to the point of suffering in love for those who hurt us.

By Constance T. Hull

Constance T. Hull is a wife, mother, homeschooler, and a graduate with an M.A. in Theology with an emphasis in philosophy.  Her desire is to live the wonder so passionately preached in the works of G.K. Chesterton and to share that with her daughter and others. While you can frequently find her head inside of a great work of theology or philosophy, she considers her husband and daughter to be her greatest teachers. She is passionate about beauty, working towards holiness, the Sacraments, and all things Catholic. She is also published at The Federalist, Public Discourse, and blogs frequently at Swimming the Depths (www.swimmingthedepths.com).

Our Lady Is the True Guardian of Womanhood, Not Feminism by DONALD DEMARCO

Our Lady Is the True Guardian of Womanhood, Not Feminism

DONALD DEMARCO

On the night of October 29, 2019, Meghan Murphy, a freelance writer, spoke at a Toronto library to an audience of roughly 100 people, mostly women. Her topic, entirely unwarranted just a few years ago, was “Gender Identity: What Does It Mean for Society, The Law, and Women?” Her main point was that “allowing men to identify as women” endangers and undermines women’s rights. Murphy identifies herself as a feminist and her presentation was hosted by a group called, “Radical Feminists Unite.”

As we’ve come to expect with any speech that diverges even mildly from the latest politically-correct fashions, several hundred people (upwards to 1,000, according to the Toronto Star) protested vehemently outside the library, accusing Murphy of “transphobia,” and “misogyny,” among other things too indelicate to mention. A dozen police were brought to the scene and it was clear that members of the audience, upon exiting the library, felt unsafe. “I think it’s really unfortunate,” said one protestor, “that the Toronto Public Library felt it necessary to give a platform for hate speech.” An objective observer, however, might very well conclude that the real hatred was coming from the protestors, not from the speaker. Hate is not a synonym for speech.

Murphy expressed her concern that the trans-activist movement was bringing about “the erasure of women.” Her point is well taken. If a woman can become a man, then being a woman is no longer a permanent feature of her personality. If womanhood is a transitory phenomenon, something that changes according to one’s feelings, then it is not something that should be honored for itself. Avoiding the “erasure” of women, one would think, should be a concern for all women, and not regarded as a form of hatred that should be censored by force.

It is ironic that many women who call themselves feminists are in favor of “deconstructing” the notion of woman. Monique Wittig calls for “a political deconstruction of the term ‘woman’ in order to break free of the “myth” that has surrounded it. Julia Kristeva argues that there are no women, though we should keep the word since it provides them with political benefits. According to Judith Butler, “When the constructed status of gender is theorized as radically independent of sex, gender itself becomes a free-floating artifice.” Shulamith Firestone argues that “Humanity has begun to outgrow nature… We must get rid of it”—nature, that is.

 

In the wake of the protests at the Toronto library, Simon Fraser University canceled a talk by a Vancouver speaker, accused of being “transphobic.” The sold-out event, scheduled for November 2, was entitled, “How media bias shapes the gender identity debate.”

Feminism begins with “choice,” though it is not at all clear as to what the limits of choice might be. There is the choice for abortion and various forms of reproductive technology, the choice for sexual freedom and the choice for physician-assisted suicide. But should there also be the choice for the erasure of what it means to be a woman? In this regard, feminism has brought about its own extinction. By not placing limits on choice, choice can be self-destructive.

It is now well documented that men who identify as women have created serious problems for young girls in their restrooms. These problems have extended to the domain of sports and to in many other areas where tradition has seen fit to distinguish men from women.

This problem of the erasure of woman, as well as the death of feminism, is further complicated by the present tendency to mark any opinion that one does not agree with as a psychological aberration. This is logically the end of philosophy, as well as dialogue, free speech, and understanding another person’s point of view. Transphobia has joined homophobia as a barrier to any reasonable or even medical discussion of certain aspects of human sexuality. A dissenter from political correctness is no longer merely wrong, he is sick. Protest replaces philosophy. Demonstrations replace dialogue. Christophobia, Islamophobia, and logophobia are now part of our everyday vocabulary. Ideology, the arbitrary preference of one group that excludes other groups, displaces philosophy, the quest for truth that serves everyone.

Mary Ann Glendon was the Vatican representative to the 1995 Beijing International Conference on Woman sponsored by the United Nations. “What is clearly ‘old-fashioned’ today,” she remarked, “is the old feminism of the 1970s—with its negative attitudes toward men, marriage and motherhood, and its rigid party line on abortion.” Feminism has gone through many such “fashions”; each one has its own expiration date. Yet the eternal feminine endures as it has from time immemorial. Mary, the Mother of God, remains a role model for all women. She endures both as a mother and as a woman. Henry Brooks Adams once said of Our Lady: “In the bankruptcy of reason, she alone was real.” Mary remains a woman in the bankruptcy of reason that we are currently experiencing.

By Donald DeMarco

Donald DeMarco is professor emeritus at St. Jerome’s University and adjunct professor at Holy Apostles College & Seminary. He’s a regular contributor to the St. Austin Review

The greatest pitfall in married life:by Fr. Paul Habsburg | 

The greatest pitfall in married life

Fr. Paul Habsburg | 

And how to overcome it with the help of some holy men …

In a relationship, we instinctively want to make our partner happy. But this noble inclination competes for first place with another instinct: that of self-preservation. When we expect from another the answer to our own thirst to be loved, received, and understood, we risk devouring each other … How can we avoid the greatest trap of married life, and live the fullness in which a spouse is in fact the sign of something greater?

“This is the paradox of love between man and woman: two infinites meet two limitations, two infinite needs to be loved meet two fragile and limited capacities to love. Only on the horizon of a greater love do they not consume themselves in pretension and do not resign themselves, but walk together toward a fullness of which the other is sign.“

This quote from a letter from the German poet Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926) to a French friend clearly reveals one of the greatest pitfalls of a relationship.

Even if it’s true that at the heart of a couple is the desire to make each other happy, it’s also true that this noble inclination competes for first place with the natural instinct of self-preservation. At mealtime, quite naturally, a small child does not think of his brother first. Rather, he sees him as a competitor, almost a threat. The same is true in the life of a couple. In us, the need to be loved, understood and received is naturally stronger than the need to give oneself and receive the other.

For women, this thirst to be loved, received, and listened to is almost infinite. In men, this usually corresponds to a capacity that is undoubtedly less, certainly not infinite. A man may display an almost infinite thirst to be respected, admired and desired… but a woman is not able to quench all of this thirst. So, if we lock these both thirsts in a small space and lock the door, it may not be pretty.

A thirst for fullness, ultimately a thirst for God

We find the same theme in several texts of John Paul II’s theology of the body. We also find it in Benedict XVI, especially in his encyclical Deus Caritas Est. It was already found in the works of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, the great French theologian of the 20th century. A contemporary of Rilke, he explained in his short essay L’éternel féminin, that when a man falls in love with a woman, a force, unknown to date, awakens in him. It is a kind of intoxication that surpasses him. It’s almost as if the woman were a promise of fullness of joy for the man.

But at the same time, Teilhard de Chardin argues that a woman is unable to fulfill this expectation. She’s not the source of fulfillment of this promise, he explains, but rather a sign of it. This means that the beauty of woman awakens in man a thirst for fullness, which is ultimately a thirst for God. If the man seeks to quench this thirst in the woman, he will inevitably be disappointed. If he expects all this happiness from the woman, then — still according to Teilhard — the man can even become violent out of frustration.

It’s important for both women and men to know that a woman’s beauty is not the source: it’s the sign that indicates the existence of this source. When the two go to the source to draw from it together, if both approach God in the unity of their relationship, and expect their happiness to come in a large part first from Him, they will find peace for their souls. God does not play with us. He takes us seriously!

We find this same reality in the woman’s desire to find in the man a safe and stable refuge, the rock on which she can always rely and rest. It is also important for both of them to know that man is not the rock, but that he is the sign of the existence of this rock … To build their house there, man and woman could therefore go together to this rock that is the Word of Jesus (Mt 7:24-27).

Let us remember St. Augustine. He’s known to have first sought his happiness in created things. In his own flesh, this great Father of the Church had come to understand that true happiness was not found in God’s creatures but in the Creator. Women — starting with our spouse — can help us move in the right direction. But they are not the source of our happiness:

“I asked the earth, and it answered me, ‘I am not He’; and whatsoever are in it confessed the same. I asked the sea and the deeps, and the living creeping things, and they answered, ‘We are not thy God, seek above us’” (Saint Augustine, Confessions, chapter 10).

This is good news! Because the relationship between spouses is a true mutual gift, a place of great joy. But at the same time, it necessarily contains small imperfections, which sometimes cause us inevitable frustrations. Let’s not forget that we’re still on the earth, a place of learning. We’re not yet in heaven. Instead of letting these imperfections become causes of annoyance, let them remind us that our spouse is not the source of our joy. They’re not even supposed to be. They’re only a sign that such a source exists.

A visible sign of God’s invisible action

The sacraments are the visible sign of an invisible presence and action of God. A piece of bread cannot make us happy, and a sign of the cross cannot give us the peace of forgiveness. However, they make visible a God who, in the Eucharist, nourishes us under the sign of bread—the same God who forgives us in confession with the sign of the cross. In this sense, man is also a sacrament that makes his invisible Creator visible. Thus, your spouse, in all their beauty and imperfections, may be for you a sign that simply reminds you that the true source of peace exists, but that it’s in God. As Pope Francis explains:

“Neither spouse can expect the other to be perfect. Each must set aside all illusions and accept the other as he or she actually is: an unfinished product, needing to grow, a work in progress.” (Amoris Laetitia, 218).

How many people abandon their homes with the illusion of finding in another person the happiness that their spouse could not provide? Perhaps they’d not been told that humans don’t work like that. Happiness is the fruit of having loved, of having given oneself faithfully, knowing that the source of joy is not in another human being, but in God.

A source for learning to love

Two great experts in the life of a couple, the evangelical pastor John Eldredge and his wife Stasi, give this advice to couples in their brilliant book Love and War: “Dear men and women, may the couple not be for you the place to seek your happiness, but rather the place to learn to love.” And if that isn’t enough, let’s remember the word of Jesus himself when he tells us: “If any one comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26).

Whoever seeks Jesus first, will then be able to love others much better: this is a sure doctrine, which has proven its worth for more than 2,000 years. Become witnesses to this beautiful and great truth end Quoted

The greatest pitfall in married life

JFr. Paul Habsburg | 

And how to overcome it with the help of some holy men …

In a relationship, we instinctively want to make our partner happy. But this noble inclination competes for first place with another instinct: that of self-preservation. When we expect from another the answer to our own thirst to be loved, received, and understood, we risk devouring each other … How can we avoid the greatest trap of married life, and live the fullness in which a spouse is in fact the sign of something greater?

“This is the paradox of love between man and woman: two infinites meet two limitations, two infinite needs to be loved meet two fragile and limited capacities to love. Only on the horizon of a greater love do they not consume themselves in pretension and do not resign themselves, but walk together toward a fullness of which the other is sign.“

This quote from a letter from the German poet Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926) to a French friend clearly reveals one of the greatest pitfalls of a relationship.

Even if it’s true that at the heart of a couple is the desire to make each other happy, it’s also true that this noble inclination competes for first place with the natural instinct of self-preservation. At mealtime, quite naturally, a small child does not think of his brother first. Rather, he sees him as a competitor, almost a threat. The same is true in the life of a couple. In us, the need to be loved, understood and received is naturally stronger than the need to give oneself and receive the other.

For women, this thirst to be loved, received, and listened to is almost infinite. In men, this usually corresponds to a capacity that is undoubtedly less, certainly not infinite. A man may display an almost infinite thirst to be respected, admired and desired… but a woman is not able to quench all of this thirst. So, if we lock these both thirsts in a small space and lock the door, it may not be pretty.

A thirst for fullness, ultimately a thirst for God

We find the same theme in several texts of John Paul II’s theology of the body. We also find it in Benedict XVI, especially in his encyclical Deus Caritas Est. It was already found in the works of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, the great French theologian of the 20th century. A contemporary of Rilke, he explained in his short essay L’éternel féminin, that when a man falls in love with a woman, a force, unknown to date, awakens in him. It is a kind of intoxication that surpasses him. It’s almost as if the woman were a promise of fullness of joy for the man.

But at the same time, Teilhard de Chardin argues that a woman is unable to fulfill this expectation. She’s not the source of fulfillment of this promise, he explains, but rather a sign of it. This means that the beauty of woman awakens in man a thirst for fullness, which is ultimately a thirst for God. If the man seeks to quench this thirst in the woman, he will inevitably be disappointed. If he expects all this happiness from the woman, then — still according to Teilhard — the man can even become violent out of frustration.

It’s important for both women and men to know that a woman’s beauty is not the source: it’s the sign that indicates the existence of this source. When the two go to the source to draw from it together, if both approach God in the unity of their relationship, and expect their happiness to come in a large part first from Him, they will find peace for their souls. God does not play with us. He takes us seriously!

We find this same reality in the woman’s desire to find in the man a safe and stable refuge, the rock on which she can always rely and rest. It is also important for both of them to know that man is not the rock, but that he is the sign of the existence of this rock … To build their house there, man and woman could therefore go together to this rock that is the Word of Jesus (Mt 7:24-27).

Let us remember St. Augustine. He’s known to have first sought his happiness in created things. In his own flesh, this great Father of the Church had come to understand that true happiness was not found in God’s creatures but in the Creator. Women — starting with our spouse — can help us move in the right direction. But they are not the source of our happiness:

“I asked the earth, and it answered me, ‘I am not He’; and whatsoever are in it confessed the same. I asked the sea and the deeps, and the living creeping things, and they answered, ‘We are not thy God, seek above us’” (Saint Augustine, Confessions, chapter 10).

This is good news! Because the relationship between spouses is a true mutual gift, a place of great joy. But at the same time, it necessarily contains small imperfections, which sometimes cause us inevitable frustrations. Let’s not forget that we’re still on the earth, a place of learning. We’re not yet in heaven. Instead of letting these imperfections become causes of annoyance, let them remind us that our spouse is not the source of our joy. They’re not even supposed to be. They’re only a sign that such a source exists.

A visible sign of God’s invisible action

The sacraments are the visible sign of an invisible presence and action of God. A piece of bread cannot make us happy, and a sign of the cross cannot give us the peace of forgiveness. However, they make visible a God who, in the Eucharist, nourishes us under the sign of bread—the same God who forgives us in confession with the sign of the cross. In this sense, man is also a sacrament that makes his invisible Creator visible. Thus, your spouse, in all their beauty and imperfections, may be for you a sign that simply reminds you that the true source of peace exists, but that it’s in God. As Pope Francis explains:

“Neither spouse can expect the other to be perfect. Each must set aside all illusions and accept the other as he or she actually is: an unfinished product, needing to grow, a work in progress.” (Amoris Laetitia, 218).

How many people abandon their homes with the illusion of finding in another person the happiness that their spouse could not provide? Perhaps they’d not been told that humans don’t work like that. Happiness is the fruit of having loved, of having given oneself faithfully, knowing that the source of joy is not in another human being, but in God.

A source for learning to love

Two great experts in the life of a couple, the evangelical pastor John Eldredge and his wife Stasi, give this advice to couples in their brilliant book Love and War: “Dear men and women, may the couple not be for you the place to seek your happiness, but rather the place to learn to love.” And if that isn’t enough, let’s remember the word of Jesus himself when he tells us: “If any one comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26).

Whoever seeks Jesus first, will then be able to love others much better: this is a sure doctrine, which has proven its worth for more than 2,000 years. Become witnesses to this beautiful and great truth end Quoted

Taming the Tongue 10 Fatal Abuses of Speech:  by ED BROOM, OMV

Taming the Tongue 10 Fatal Abuses of Speech:  by

ED BROOM, OMV

Saint James warns us that we should be slow to speak and quick to listen. The Imitationof Christ asserts that few have ever regretted refraining from speaking. On the other hand, many regret having opened their mouths when they should have kept them shut. Still more, Jesus warns us that every word that comes forth from our mouth we will be judged; and Jesus says: “From the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”

Finally, St. Bonaventure asserts that we should open our mouths in three occasions: to praise God, to accuse ourselves and finally, to edify others. Hopefully this will be our criteria for speaking! The primary purpose for this gift of speech that God has given to the human person is to communicate the truth with love.

We would then like to briefly go over the ten fatal flaws that result from improper speech. In each instance, our goal is to find the preventive medicine rather than curative. The reason being is that once a word has been issued forth from the mouth, it cannot be retrieved. Much like when a rock is launched in the direction of a window pane, it cannot be returned to the hand but it instead goes out and shatters the glass in nearly an instant. So when it comes to taming the tongue, it is far better to prevent the stones of our words then to try to repair the damage.

  1. Lying 

Lies should be avoided at all costs. A lie perverts the proper end and purpose of human speech, by falsifying the truth that ought to be spoken. If all were to lie then human solidarity and unity would be impossible because nobody could trust anybody’s word and we would then always be living with the suspicion that the other who speaks is deceiving.  Jesus said that the devil is the father of lies. Therefore, in a very real sense liars are sons and daughter of the devil! A strong statement, but true.

ADVERTISING

 

  1. Telling White Lies 

Many will justify the lie by saying that it is only a white lie, an inoffensive lie, that nobody will be hurt, or even that the white lie was said to avoid doing harm to the other person. There was a moment when Charlie Brown told Lucy that what he told was only a white lie. Lucy responded:  “Charlie, I did not know that lies come in colors.” In sum, your speech should always communicate the truth in the big as well as in the small things. Jesus reminds us that those who are faithful in the small will be faithful in the large.

  1. Shouting and Yelling

Frustrated people who have little self-control often have recourse to yelling or shouting, with the hope of moving the listeners to action; this might also be the case of parents with their children. The end is to get those subject to the shouting to submit in obedience, which rarely results as planned. On the contrary, people will pay even less attention to the overly-emotional and uncontrolled shouting. Rather than losing control of our emotions, it is far better to give fraternal correction but with calmness and peace. In this way you show love, even while giving parental or fraternal correction, while also maintaining control over your tongue.

  1. Slander or Calumny

At all costs, we should strive to maintain and defend not only our own good reputation but also the reputation of others. All have a right to the defense of their good name. But how quickly somebody’s good name can be undone by the slander of another! Therefore, calumny or slander can be defined as “character assassination”—that is to say, killing the good name of another.

Actually, in this light, slander not only violates The Eight Commandment—”Thou shall not bear false witness against his neighbor”—but it can also be seen as a violation of The Fifth Commandment:  “Thou shalt not kill.” Even The Book of Proverbs tells us the harm that is done by slander or calumny: “A man who bears false witness against his neighbor is like a war club, or a sword, or a sharp arrow.”

  1. Speaking Gossip

All too prevalent in our modern society are those who have become the gossiper. Such a person always finds the negative act and motivations in the other person and then speaks about that behind their back.

Gossipers cause damage in many ways:

  • They hurt God, the source of truth who hears all things.
  • They hurt themselves by sinning by their speech.
  • They hurt the persons listening to their gossip.
  • Finally, and most obviously, they hurt the person against whom they are gossiping.

If you are a gossiper, or you even listen to gossip, stop right now! The Holy Bible is clear about avoiding this: “Do not spread slanderous gossip among your people,” (Leviticus 19:16). Remember, Jesus says that every careless word that comes from your mouth you will be judged. Be prepared for judgment day!

  1. Sarcasm in Speech

Sarcasm is using irony and mockery to show contempt. Utilizing sarcasm wounds charity; it is like adding salt to the opened wound. It hurts, burns and smarts!  The sarcastic person belittles, disparages and pokes fun at others, gets the listeners to laugh and degrades others and their innate dignity.

Before giving in to sarcasm, apply the Golden Rule. How would you like it if you were to be the butt of a sarcastic joke? Do to others what you want them to do to you. So speak to other and about them as you would like to spoken to and about.

  1. Breaking Confidence

If what you have heard is meant to be kept in confidence, not revealed, or to be kept secret, then it’s best to keep your mouth shut and sealed.

Priests must maintain the seal of the confessional. Professionals are obliged to maintain confidence in many cases. In this case, the common proverb, silence is golden, is indeed is very true. Therefore, in taming the tongue to prevent this fatal flaw, we sometimes we are obliged to simply remain silent. In this, we have a very eloquent silence indeed!

  1. Blasphemy

Of the utmost serious flaw of the tongue is that of blasphemy. What then is blasphemy?  In Father John Hardon’s Pocket Catholic Dictionary we read:

“BLASPHEMY: Speaking against God in a contemptuous, scornful, or abusive manner. Included under blasphemy are offenses committed by thought, word or action, serious contemptuous ridicule of the saints, sacred objects, or of persons consecrated to God is also blasphemous because God is indirectly attacked. Blasphemy is a grave violation of charity against God. Its gravity may be judged by capital punishment in the Old Testament, severe penalties in the Church, and in many cases also of the State.”

A concrete and recent example of this was the abuse and the desecration of a statue of  the Blessed Virgin Mary by pouring fake blood over the statue on Christmas Eve in Oklahoma. Through this act, the Church was mocked and Our Lord’s mother was attacked. May God have mercy on us!

  1. Abusive and Vulgar Language

While not as serious as blasphemy, a great abuse of the tongue is the all-too prevalent proliferation of vulgar language. Often words are used to degrade the human person as well as the intimate act that God has designed for the procreation of new human beings. This is wrong and should be brought to a screeching halt for those who are in the habit of using such ugly and indecent language.

We should never forget that we are temples of the Holy Spirit. As Catholics, our tongues partake of the Body and Blood of Jesus whenever we receive Holy Communion. As part of our preparation for Holy Communion we should tame the tongue to be ready to receive such a great gift.

We should act according to the dignity of who we are—Temples of the Living God. We ought to also act according to our dignity as future citizens of Heaven, our eternal home with God!

  1. Bragging and Boasting

Another form of speech that we should eschew is that of bragging or boasting.

What is this form of speech?  It is when we are praising and placing ourselves above all, lauding and adulating our own supposed greatness. In this we attribute all of our successes, merits, and rewards to our own greatness. This is very displeasing to God because it is the epitome of pride!

God lifts up the lowly, but despises the proud of heart. Our Lady in her Magnificat expresses this truth:

“For he has looked upon his handmaid’s lowliness…
He has thrown down the rulers from their thrones but lifted up the lowly.”

Our attitude of heart should be that of the Psalmist: Not to us, LORD, not to us but to your name give glory.

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This description of Heaven reminds us who is waiting there by Philip Kosloski 

This description of Heaven reminds us who is waiting there

Philip Kosloski | 

St. Cyprian describes Heaven as a great family reunion, where we hope to see many of our loved ones.

At times Heaven can appear to be something abstract, a place in the clouds where God dwells. In reality Heaven is much different, full of people, many of whom held a special place in our hearts on earth.

St. Cyprian, a bishop in the 3rd century, wrote about one of the reasons we should long for Heaven.

There a large number of dear ones are waiting for us, of parents, brothers, children; a numerous and full crowd are longing for us; already secure of their own immortality, and still anxious for our safety. To come to the sight and the embrace of these, how great will be the mutual joy to them and to us! What a pleasure of the kingdom of heaven is there without the fear of dying, and with an eternity of living! How consummate and never-ending a happiness!

There is the glorious company of the apostles; there is the assembly of exulting prophets; there is the unnumbered family of martyrs crowned for the victory of their struggles and suffering; there are virgins triumphing, who, by the power of chastity, have subdued the lusts of the flesh and the body; there are the merciful recompensed, who with food and bounty to the poor have done the works of righteousness, who keeping the Lord’s commands have transferred their earthly inheritance into heavenly treasures.

To these, O most dearly beloved brethren, let us hasten with most eager longing; let us desire that our lot may be to be with these speedily; to come speedily to Christ.

Think about that scene for a minute. What joy would you experience to hug a spouse or child again? What if you saw your best friend, or your parents? Would you run at full speed to embrace them?

Let those thoughts stir up within you a great longing for Heaven, one that informs your daily activities. If we want to see that scene one day, should we not do all that we can during our short life to make it a reality?

May we go forward each day with this in mind, living the Gospel in every aspect so that we can one day hug our loved ones tightly, for all eternity

How Jesus Makes Our Burdens Lighter JEANNIE EWING

How Jesus Makes Our Burdens Lighter

JEANNIE EWING

“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

Ever since I was a young child, this popular Gospel verse has baffled me. I learned in grade school what a yoke was — that wooden beam that allowed a team of oxen to pull a heavy load on a cart. How was it possible, then, that Jesus, using this same metaphor, could have a light and easy burden?

All of us have gone through periods of our lives when we are heavily laden with burdens and understand that “all you who labor” includes not just our daily work schedule, but the interior labors of hardship and difficulties we also carry. It’s why this verse is so beloved and a comfort to many during their struggles.

As obvious as the meaning behind finding rest in Jesus may be for some, I never got the part about a burden being light or a yoke being easy. Yes, God is God, which means He is all-powerful and can do anything. But why use that image to say a heavy load is not actually heavy at all?

 

Recently, I’ve gone through another very dark spell that has affected every facet of my life: spiritual, emotional, mental, physical. My burden has been beyond heavy, my onus unbearable and suffocating at times. I have found no rest or solace – not in prayer, not in the desperate lamentations I sigh heavenward, not in Scripture or conversations with friends or hymns or Mass. Nothing.

Then, I went to Confession. It is a constant on our family’s monthly schedule, but I’d gone about six weeks before dragging my weary body to church in the early evening hours. I was more than ready to give Jesus my burdens and lay them down at His feet.

Our Labors and Burdens

What are those labors and burdens referenced in these verses? The footnotes in the New American Bible state that they are about the scribes and Pharisees, who were burdened by the law. Could it be that some of our rigid religiosity actually binds us, rather than frees us to natural conversation and meditation with God?

Sometimes our burdens are self-imposed. Sin does this to a soul, and it afflicts the mind and body, too. Looking at the totality of our lives, when one aspect is out of sync, the rest will suffer alongside it. We can’t escape the truth that living an authentic Christian life means that we will struggle with the burden of our tailor-made crosses. They will be heavy, and at times, we will be crushed under their weight. When it seems that God has, indeed, given us more than we can handle, we beg Him to send us a comrade that will make it more bearable.

Finding Rest

Most people I’ve met have shared that they long for more rest in their lives. The word they often choose is peace. I think what modern-day Catholics are desperate for is a pace that is slower, a way to maintain the spiritual serenity gifted by the grace of God. We need to be refreshed. Because of our finite nature, we must take regular periods of restorative sleep to revitalize not only a weary body but a stricken soul, too.

In these verses, Jesus wants us to find rest by acquiescing to His will by way of holy obedience. It is when we are constantly fighting against Him, unrelenting and without any resolution, that we wear ourselves out. While it can be healthy to wrestle with God in times of uncertainty and in the aftermath of loss, we can’t stay in a state of constant resistance to His will. Obedience may just mean surrendering to the mysteries we all face. That is where true rest begins.

Jesus Lightens the Load

I was brutally honest in my most recent Confession. I told the priest I was angry with God, that I felt in some ways I was losing my faith. I had taken a huge risk in this openness, because I have had confessions in which the priest interrupts me or constantly reprimands me. It can be shaming. I knew that was a possibility this time, but my desperation and inner pain were bursting to be acknowledged.

I could not hide from myself, and especially not from God.

Thankfully, the priest was a true reflection of Christ in his gentle demeanor, his nonjudgmental responses, his kind and tender tone of voice. My penance was to pray for strength, which I did immediately. I let the tears cascade down my face as I openly sobbed in front of a handful of strangers.

The sense of finding rest or having my load lighter didn’t happen that day. But when I awoke the next morning and began my daily routine, I noticed my heart did not feel as crushed. I wasn’t constantly sighing. I could see life through the lens of gratitude, and God’s peace was awash in my soul.

As I prayed while the sun peeked through the silver maples in our backyard, I instantly thought of this verse and realized that Confession lightens the load. When we come to Jesus with the humility that honesty demands, He does not hold back from us. He grants us the reprieve we need, even if it is just barely enough to give us strength to carry on for one more day.

Sometimes that is all we need.

By Jeannie Ewing

Jeannie Ewing is a Catholic spirituality writer who writes about the moving through grief, the value of redemptive suffering, and how to wait for God’s timing fruitfully. Her books include Navigating Deep Waters, From Grief to Grace , A Sea Without A Shore For Those Who Grieve, and Waiting with Purpose. She is a frequent guest on Catholic radio and contributes to several online and print Catholic periodicals. Jeannie, her husband, and their three daughters (plus one baby boy) live in northern Indiana. For more information, please visit her website jeannieewing.com.  Follow Jeannie on social media:  Facebook | LinkedIn |Instagram

Cardinal Sarah’s Guide to the New Counter-Reformation MICHAEL WARREN DAVIS

Cardinal Sarah’s Guide to the New Counter-Reformation

MICHAEL WARREN DAVIS

In 1577, St. John of the Cross was taken prisoner by a group of Carmelites from Toledo who were opposed to the reforms of the Order he was undertaking with St. Teresa of Ávila. For eight or nine months, he was held in a six-by-ten-foot cell. The ceiling was so low that John (not a tall man) could hardly stand up. His one tunic was constantly soaked with blood from the frequent scourgings. The food they gave him was so bad that he suspected his guards were trying to poison him; he would say an Act of Love with every bite to steel himself against calumny.

Yet it was here that he wrote the Spiritual Canticle and parts of his masterpiece, Dark Night of the Soul. He bore captivity and torture with such love, patience, and determination that the older Carmelites called him “the coward”. The younger monks—not yet poisoned by the decadence and factionalism of the 16th- century Church—wept at John’s courage in the face of suffering. “This is a saint,” they whispered among themselves.

The most moving story, in my opinion, comes near the end of his confinement. John’s spiritual daughter, St. Theresa Benedicta of the Cross—inexplicably known even to Catholics by her secular name, Edith Stein—recalls it in The Science of the Cross:

Prior Maldonado [the “Calced” leader] came to John’s prison cell accompanied by two religious. The prisoner was so weak that he could hardly move. Thinking his jailer had entered, he did not move [to stand] up. The prior poked him with his foot and asked why he did not stand up in his presence. As John begged pardon, saying he had not known who was there, Padre Maldonado asked, “What were you thinking about since you were so absorbed?” [St. John replied,] “I was thinking that tomorrow is the feast of Our Lady and that it would be a great consolation for me if I could say Mass.”

 

(It’s said that the Virgin appeared to him the next day and showed him how to pick the lock. Talk about a mother’s love!)

It has become common now to say that the Church faces her greatest crisis since the Protestant Reformation. We should remember that a very different priest—Martin Luther, an Augustinian friar—had a very different response to the corruption in the Church: he accused the Pope of being the Antichrist and attacked magisterial teaching, including the dogma of the Real Presence. He defied the bishops, incurred excommunication, and founded a brand-new church to propagate his teachings.

John knew there can be no authentic reform in the absence of obedience to one’s lawful superiors—even superiors as cruel and corrupt as Prior Maldonado. That’s why John is remembered as the greatest saint of the Counter-Reformation, and Luther as the most dangerous heretic in Christian history.

I thought of John as I read Robert Cardinal Sarah’s new book, The Day is Now Far Spent. It is dedicated to two very different pontiffs: Pope Benedict XVI (a “peerless architect of rebuilding the Church”) and Pope Francis (a “faithful and devoted son of Saint Ignatius”). Yet it is Sarah himself, I think, who lays out the finest blueprint we’re likely to see for ecclesial reform—or perhaps I should say counter-reform.

Today, the word “reform” drips with innuendo, just as it did in the time of St. John of the Cross. It signifies a desire to change the permanent teachings of the Church as a solution to institutional corruption. It uses a temporal crisis as an excuse to propagate spiritual errors. It uses moral confusion to camouflage innovation. It can also encourage disobedience in the name of theological purity: we shouldn’t forget that the original Protestants viewed themselves as conservatives.

Just because a man opposes the Maldonados in the Church it doesn’t make him a John of the Cross. He may very well be a Martin Luther.

I have no doubt that Cardinal Sarah, for one, is a John of the Cross. Like the Mystical Doctor, he takes seriously St. Paul’s warning to the Ephesians: “For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Ultimately, the source of the present crisis—whether “present” means the 16th century or the 21st—isn’t new: it’s original sin.

Ultimately, then, the solution isn’t novel either: it’s the pursuit of greater holiness. As our Enemy is sin itself, the easiest sins to do battle against are those festering in our own souls. As St. Francis of Assisi put it, “the soldier of Christ must begin with victory over himself.”

The Day Is Now Far Spent is a manual for the new Counter-Reformation. As such, it’s as concerned with addressing the false solutions to the crisis as it is with the crisis itself—with refuting the Luthers as well as the Maldonados. His Eminence warns that,

No human effort, however talented or generous it may be, can transform a soul and give it the life of Christ. Only the grace and the Cross of Jesus can save and sanctify souls and make the Church grow. Multiplying human efforts, believing that methods and strategies have any efficacy in themselves, will always be a waste of time.

Cardinal Sarah isn’t recommending we ignore the crisis. On the contrary. “Let us not be afraid to say that the Church needs profound reform and that this happens through our conversion.” (Emphasis added.) “Go,” he commands; “repair by your faith, by your hope, and by your charity.”

“Wait a minute, Davis,” I hear some of you saying; “This doesn’t sit right with me. What about Bergoglio? What about Pachamama and the German bishops’ ‘synodal journey’? What about the Viganò report and the unanswered dubia? Are you saying we should ignore all of this and just say the rosary?”

Well, the rosary is certainly a good place to start—and a good place to end. It’ not a bad place to stop along the way either.

It is true that no crisis has ever been solved by mere inaction. But, once we’ve resolved to act, the question becomes, How do we act most effectively? Cardinal Sarah’s answer: prayer. His book is fundamentally about the efficacy of grace.

Those who follow the daily meditations of another Discalced Carmelite, Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen’s Divine Intimacy, may remember the reflection from two Wednesdays ago on apostolic prayer. As Fr. Gabriel reminds us,

We can never be certain at all that our prayers will be answered according to our expectation, for we do not know if what we ask is conformable to God’s will; but when it is a question of apostolic prayer which asks for grace and the salvation of souls, it is a very different matter. In fact, when we pray for the aims of the apostolate, we are fitting into the plan prearranged by God Himself from all eternity, that plan for the salvation of all men which God desires to put into action infinitely more than we do; therefore, we cannot doubt the efficacy of our prayer. Because of this effectiveness, apostolic prayer is one of the most powerful means of furthering the apostolate.

For “if God has willed the distribution of grace in the world to depend upon the prayers of men,” then we can render no better service to the Church than to set about diligently distributing these graces, teaching others how to do so, and encouraging them in their efforts.

By the same token, the Enemy would be most gratified if we came to value our own “methods and strategies” above Our Lord’s. Better yet, we could distract others. We could join the secular, anti-Catholic media in amplifying the corruption within the Church, thereby leading others to become scandalized. (Nearly 40 percent of U.S. Catholics have considered leaving the Church over clerical sex abuse.) We could cause our fellow Catholics to lose faith in our spiritual fathers. (“Those who make sensational announcements of change and rupture are false prophets,” Cardinal Sarah charges.)

Our Blessed Lord’s strategy for reform is quite simple: “Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” Everything else is idle noise.

Of course, Cardinal Sarah isn’t suggesting we ignore the crisis in the Church. On the contrary, he writes: “Let us not be afraid to say that the Church needs profound reform and that this happens through our conversion.” Those last three words are crucial: through our conversion. “We do not reform the Church by division and hatred,” he warns; “We reform the Church when we start by changing ourselves!”

Where should our conversion lead us? To a deeper faith in Christ, as opposed to a prideful faith in our own schemes. What do we need to change in ourselves? Anything that separates us from Him. He attacks the spiritual and moral roots of the rot—roots that spread far wider than the Vatican and go further back than 2013.

At the heart of all modern corruption and decadence—both within and without the Church—is the problem of materialism. As Cardinal Sarah states rather movingly, “The supernatural is swallowed up in the desert of the natural.” This is why the real solution to the present crisis—namely, prayer and fasting—seems so quaint, perhaps even naïve. It’s as though we can’t tell the difference between an image of St. Michael armed for battle and one of Bouguereau’s putti.

The most obvious manifestation of this decadence, this pervasive materialism, is the smartphone. His Eminence asks us to consider how much time we spend “absorbed by the images, lights, [and] ghosts” it offers. He calls the ubiquitous screen “an eternal illusion, a little prison cell.” The cardinal warns that these devices

steal silence, destroy the richness of solitude, and trample on intimacy. It often happens that they snatch us away from our loving life with God to expose us to the periphery, to what is external to us in the midst of the world.

(By the way, that goes for tablets, computers, and televisions as well.)

Can we bring ourselves to get rid of our devices, deactivate our social media accounts, and dedicate those liberated hours to deepening our relationship with God? Can we accept that the Church will only grow bigger and stronger as we ourselves become smaller and meeker? Can we trust Christ enough to take Him up on His offer to cease carrying our burden and rest? Are we humble enough to admit that our burden is too heavy for us to carry, and to take up His easy yoke instead?

Martin Luther said No, and went on to appoint himself reformer of the Church. In his arrogance and disobedience, that one friar wounded our Holy Mother more grievously than all the Maldonados put together.

John of the Cross stood by the Church. He cleaned her wounds with the tears he wept over sins—most especially his own. He nourished her with his fasting. He strengthened her with his suffering. He kept her company in the dark night, even when Our Lord withdrew His sweet consolation. It was his patience, humility, and obedience—even towards Maldonado—that won the wicked prior’s monks to his cause.

“If you think that your priests and bishops are not saints,” Cardinal Sarah writes, “then be one for them.” Today, there’s only one Carmelite monastery in Toledo, and it’s Discalced.

There will be no shortage of Luthers in this generation. But, with The Day Is Now Spent, we know there’s at least one John of the Cross in our midst.

By Michael Warren Davis

Michael Warren Davis is the editor of Crisis magazine and host of The Crisis Point podcast.

Eucharist: An Examination of Conscience on Catechetics and Liturgical Practice THE MYSTERY OF THE EUCHARIST: Sp Archbishop Alexander Sample

Eucharist: An Examination of Conscience on Catechetics and Liturgical Practice

THE MYSTERY OF THE EUCHARIST: Sp

Archbishop Alexander Sample

By now most of us are aware of a very disturbing Pew Research study into Catholics’ belief in the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist.

This has to be a wake-up call for all of us. The Second Vatican Council clearly taught that the Holy Eucharist is “the source and summit of the whole Christian life” (Lumen Gentium11). Pope St. John Paul II’s last encyclical letter was on the Eucharist, Ecclesia de Eucharistiain which he reminded us that the Church draws her life from the Eucharist. To put it simply, if we do not get the Holy Eucharist right, nothing else will be right in the Church and in the living out of our Christian lives.

So what are we to do in the face of such alarming evidence? In order to restore a truly Catholic belief in the Holy Eucharist, we need to be clear about the causes of such a decline in faith in the Real Presence. I posit two primary causes: a failure in catechesis and an impoverished liturgical practice.

We are reaping the fruit of decades of inadequate and failed catechesis in our Catholic schools and in our parish religious-education programs. Alarmed by what he saw as a serious decline in Eucharistic faith and practice immediately after Vatican II, Pope St. Paul VI issued an encyclical letter in 1965, Mysterium Fideicalling us all back to a strong Eucharistic faith and devotion. It seems we did not heed his cry of pastoral concern and anxiety.

We have to be honest and clear in stating that we have done a poor job with our young people and even adults in proclaiming and teaching our authentic Catholic faith in the Holy Eucharist. We must be bold and clear in re-presenting to the faithful, young and old, an authentic faith in the Holy Eucharist. This is a call to action that must be taken up, especially by us who exercise the office of bishop and the priests who are our principal collaborators.

I consider myself part of that first generation after Vatican II that was poorly catechized in many areas of Catholic belief, but especially with regard to the authentic meaning of the sacraments. I went to Catholic grade school and high school, but it was during the turbulent 1960s and 1970s. Now my generation has raised another generation of equally inadequately catechized Catholics. Many of my generation are now grandparents.

We have to break this cycle of ignorance of our Catholic faith.

I must state that I had a strong belief in Christ’s Real Presence in the Eucharist even as a young child. But I cannot credit my catechetical experience for that. I believed because I was an altar boy during the first years of the liturgical reform of Vatican II.

We still had strong liturgical practice that emphasized reverence for Our Lord in the Holy Eucharist. We still received Holy Communion kneeling and on the tongue. It was emphasized to us altar boys that no one but the priest, with his consecrated hands, could touch the Holy Eucharist, should it fall onto the Communion paten, which was still placed under the chin of the communicant.

My faith came from this powerful liturgical experience.

That brings me to the second cause, I believe, of this decline in Eucharistic faith, namely our liturgical practices in the post-conciliar period.

We have slowly drifted away from a liturgical experience that emphasizes Christ’s true presence in the Holy Eucharist. This includes our often casual reception of Holy Communion, our vague acknowledgement and reverence for Christ’s presence in the tabernacle, and the lack of proper reverence in the church and during the sacred liturgy.

As an ordinary minister of Holy Communion, it is my experience, and that of many priests, that far too many of us do not receive the Holy Eucharist in a manner that clearly demonstrates our deep faith in the profound mystery of Christ’s true presence. I won’t go into all the examples of how this is demonstrated, but it is a general lack of care and reverence for our Blessed Lord, truly present.

I respectfully call for an honest, open and humble examination of our common conscience in this regard. Perhaps some of the practices we have discarded in recent decades need to be re-examined and reintroduced.

How many of us remember to genuflect when coming before the tabernacle where Christ is present and reserved in the Holy Eucharist? Is the tabernacle itself in a place of honor and visibility in our churches? Do we conduct ourselves in silence and prayer when we come to Mass, where Our Lord is already present in the tabernacle, or are we chatting and visiting, virtually ignoring his presence?

I have issued an “Archdiocesan Liturgical Handbook” and a pastoral letter on sacred music, hoping to restore some degree of reverence, prayerfulness, beauty and a proper decorum during the celebration of Holy Mass, according to the mind and heart of the Church.

I have been criticized for this to some degree. When we see the Pew Research results, perhaps more will understand my concern and desire.

The soon-to-be beatified Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen once said, “If you don’t behave as you believe, you will end by believing as you behave.”

Archbishop Alexander Sample is the shepherd of the Archdiocese of Portland, Oregon.

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