Fickle Sunday by Dr. Italy: Re-Blogged



Marcellino D’Ambrosio (Dr. Italy)

Fickle Sunday



This post is also available in: SpanishItalian

Passion Sunday — The Sunday before Easter, Palm Sunday, is observed by virtually all Christians. But for the Roman Catholic Church it is also Passion Sunday during which all stand for readings and meditations from the passion account. The feast has a bittersweet taste. Though it celebrates the King’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem amidst hosannas, the parade leads straight to the Lord Jesus’ suffering and death on Calvary.

Passion Sunday / Palm Sunday. We now come to the Sunday with a split personality. It starts with an upbeat gospel recounting Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. It is a festive affair, complete with a parade route strewn with palm branches instead of ticker tape. But we quickly progress to the stark reading of Jesus’ passion, bearable only because we already know its happy ending. Mel Gibson’s film did us a favor in reminding us how shockingly brutal the whole business really was.


Two names for the same day: Palm Sunday and Passion Sunday. I propose a third name: Fickle Sunday. For the same crowd that was cheering during the parade was jeering a few days later. They’d been wowed by his sermons, fed with loaves and fishes, healed of their diseases, delivered of their demons. But as soon as the tide began to turn, so did they. Their cries of “Hosanna” turned to shouts of a very different kind: “Crucify him!”


Of course, he was not surprised in the least. The gospels tell us that he knew the human mind and heart all too well. He was not fooled by all the acclamations and fanfare. Flattery could not swell his head. He had no illusions of grandeur or ambition for worldly glory. In fact, Paul tells us that He had willingly emptied Himself of heavenly glory in pursuit of His true passion – His Fathers will and our salvation.

Jesus “set his face like flint.” He was on a mission and nothing would deter him. He barreled through barriers that usually stop us dead in our tracks–fear of ridicule, fear of suffering, abandonment by our closest companions. He was willing to endure the sting of sin to blot out sin, and was eager to face death in order to overcome it.


He did indeed have a “well-trained tongue.” His words had mesmerized the crowds, intrigued Herod and even made Pilate stop and think.

But now his lips are strangely silent. All the gospels point out that he said very little during his passion, collecting only seven brief statements from the cross. Maybe this was to fulfill the Scripture that said “like a lamb led to the slaughter or a sheep before the shearers, he was silent and opened not his mouth” (Isaiah 53: 7b).

Actually, everything that happened in these fateful hours fulfilled Scripture. Isaiah 50 had foretold the beating and mockery. Psalm 22 lays it all out hundreds of years before it happens: his thirst, the piercing of his hands and feet by Gentiles (called “dogs” by the Jews), and the casting of lots for his clothing. The opening line of this psalm happens to be “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Could it be that the Lord uttered this phrase to remind us that this was all in the plan?


So the virtual silence of his well-trained tongue was to fulfill Scripture. But there was another reason for his silence. Though Jesus was destined to preach on Good Friday, the message was not to be delivered in words. The language of this sermon was to be “body language.” Good Friday, according to Jewish reckoning, actually began at sundown on Holy Thursday. So on the beginning of his final day, Jesus gave us the verbal caption of his last and greatest sermon: “This is my body, given for you; this is my blood, which is poured out for you.”

“I love you” is not so much something you say as something you demonstrate. Diamonds may be a moving testimony to love, but the laying down of one’s life is even more compelling. And though this life is human and therefore vulnerable, it is also divine and therefore infinite in value. A gift so valuable that it outweighs every offense committed from the dawn of time till the end of the world. A gift so powerful that it melts hearts, opens the barred gates of paradise, and makes all things new.

This post is offered as a reflection upon the readings for Palm or Passion Sunday, liturgical cycle B (Mark 11:1-10; Isaiah 50:4-7; Psalm 22:8-24, Philippians 2:6-11; Mark 14:1-15:47) which commemorates Jesus’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem amidst cries of hosanna only to lead to his suffering on the cross.


For more on Palm Sunday and Holy Week, see the Holy Week section of the Crossroads Initiative Library.


Tuning in to the Call of God REGIS NICOLL: Re-Blogged


Tuning in to the Call of God

“When God calls you to do something,” the speaker cautioned, “your only response is, yes.” I saw a number of heads nodding in agreement, but I sensed a question stirring in the heads of others: “But how do I know when God is calling?”

It’s an important question. In fact, there is no question more important for Christians. For how can we follow Christ, if we can’t tell his call from that of the culture or of those darker angels that would lead us into temptation or prod us to another have-to, got-to, need-to duty that seems good and feels good—and maybe, is good—but is not God sent?

The answer is, we can’t—without first recognizing the means by which God calls us.

Prior to Pentecost, God called individuals in four ways: Directly, through some physical manifestation of himself (the burning bush); indirectly, through divine messengers (angels); subconsciously, through a dream or vision (Jacob’s “stairway to heaven”); or personally, through God incarnate (during Jesus’s earthly ministry).

But what was the norm then, is exceptional today. The Christian who waits for a theophany or Danielic dream to receive a word from God, could be waiting a long time. And, yet, while God’s call may no longer come through angelic visitations or blinding lights, it can be discerned with the help of two books: The Book of Nature and the Book of Scripture.

The Book of Nature
The psalmist tells us that God speaks through his creation: “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hand. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.” And since humans are part of his creation, God speaks through human nature too.

Our design, as with any intelligently crafted object, reflects our purpose and, thus, is indicative of what God may or may not be calling us to. Here, the Socratic dictum, “Know thyself,” is particularly apt.

At 6’4” and 200 lbs, I am not fit to be a jockey, nor is a jockey fit to be an NFL player. From design considerations alone, the desire of either of us for those careers can be dismissed, out of hand, as originating from God.

The same goes for someone contemplating a same-sex relationship. Because homosexual couples cannot combine to accomplish the primary function of sex—namely, reproduction—God’s call would not be to a same-sex union, committed or otherwise, but to celibacy or to a union that, by design (if not in effect), is compatible with that function.

Added to a unique mix of inborn physical, mental, and psychological features, each Christian is endowed with spiritual gifts that equip him for service in God’s kingdom. Thus, spiritual gifts—and, how spiritual gifts align with inborn traits—are important “pointers” to calling.

For example, a Myer-Briggs ENFJ personality type combined with the gift of shepherding could point to a calling as a pastor. On the other hand, an ISTJ who has the gift of teaching is not likely to be called to a ministry of hospitality. (By the way, that’s me.)

But while spiritual gifts and natural traits can indicate a calling, they are not sufficient to confirm a calling. For that, we need the other Book—the Book of Scripture.

The Book of Scripture
We know, or should know, that God will never direct us to something that is contrary to his Word. Thus, any notion enticing us down a path that is intrinsically sinful (adultery) or that will lead us into sin, is counterindicative of God’s calling.

Rather, God’s calling will always be consistent with his revealed will. It is a tragedy that many Christians have left their spouses, aborted their children, or taken on huge debt in the belief that God’s will for them is to be happy. But God’s will is not that we would be happy, but that we would be content in whatever circumstances we find ourselves.

His ultimate intent, of course, is that we “be conformed into the likeness of his son.” With that in mind, we should be wary of any nudging that, while not sinful, immoral or unethical, is not conducive toward that end.

Thankfully, believers are not left alone with their unaided reason to puzzle out the written Word. We have the indwelling Word, the Holy Spirit, whom Jesus, the incarnate Word, promised, “will teach [us] all things” and “guide [us] into all truth.” But to receive his counsel, we must create space for him to speak through the disciplines of prayer, silence, contemplation, and study.

We also have the corporate Word—that is, the Church—the body of one-another knitted together under the Lordship of Christ for mutual support, accountability, encouragement, and… let’s not forget, teaching, correction, and discipline.

As to how the Books of Nature and Scripture might apply in a real life situation, I’ll share a personal experience.

Elder Care
For some time I had been praying on how best to care for my elderly parents. Mom was 87 with diabetes and other issues, and dad was 90 with advancing dementia. They were living in their own home four hours away, and I’m their only child.

The Book of Nature told me that, as their son, I was the person best-suited by nature to provide for their care. The Book of Scripture told me that my duty as a son is to honor them. But that required a move, either for them or my wife and me.

For a couple of years, I had lobbied (quite well, I thought) for an assisted-living facility near us. My pitch, while initially entertained, was repeatedly shot down by Mom. Even at 87 Mom was very active in several local and regional organizations. What’s more, she lived in the town where she was born and raised and where many of our relatives are buried. I continued praying for direction.

Then one summer, while visiting my parents with our daughter and son-in-law, our daughter asked, “Grandma, if Mom and Dad got a house big enough for all of you, would you consider moving up with them?”

Whoa! I didn’t see that coming. The option had never crossed my mind, which was now awhirl with all the difficulties and obstacles (not the least of which, was financial).

Looking for Mom’s reaction, I noticed that for the first time she seemed open to the idea. After extended discussions over the next few days, Mom decided that they would make the move. Thanking God, I was still uncertain as to how all those obstacles would be overcome.

I immediately began house-hunting, with the goal of having Mom and Dad settled in by Thanksgiving. Being that it was late July, it was an ambitious goal: Available homes with the features we needed were scarce; the physical move of two households, one of elderly parents, would be difficult and time-consuming; and financial institutions were tightening the requirements for home loans which, as it turned out, proved to be the biggest threat to our plans.

By mid-September, after wrangling for nine weeks with a non-local lender, our loan had yet to be approved. Although I had experienced sporadic moments of doubt from the start, I was beginning to seriously wonder if we had made the right decision: Was it really best to move my parents from their familiar and comfortable surroundings? Would a move be too taxing for them? Was it good stewardship to go into debt, especially in this economic climate? In short, had I heard God?

Overwhelmed with uncertainty, I did something that I recall having done only once before: I opened my bible with my eyes shut and pled for a sign of affirmation or correction. When I opened my eyes, I gazed down at Isaiah 58. The chapter heading in my bible read, “Right and Wrong Fasting.”

Fasting? I slumped in my chair, thinking this some sort of divine barb. (For some time I had been temporizing over a conviction to include fasting in my Rule of Life.) I braced to receive my medicine and, through squinted eyes, began reading.

Sure enough, the chapter was about fasting, but of a different sort:

…to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke … to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter— when you see the naked, to clothe himand not to turn away from your own flesh and blood

It was like the plot twist at the end of a novel when several seemingly unconnected story lines are suddenly resolved. Here, in the short bandwidth of ten words, the Lord answered not one, but two prayers: The “fasting” I should attend to in this season of life, is the care of my “own flesh and blood”; and the call I had “heard” from the Book of Nature and the Book of Scripture was correct.

Four weeks later, we moved into our new home. On Thanksgiving Day, the four of us and six members of our extended family sat around the dinner table for what we all agreed, was the best Thanksgiving we ever had. END QUOTE

Editor’s note: Pictured above is a detail from “Elijah fed by an Angel” painted by Ferdinand Bol between 1660 and 1663.

Ireland: The land of saints, scholars and martyrs: by [Irish for the day] Philip Kosloski: Re-Blogged 


It took about a thousand years for the country to receive its first martyrs.

Unlike various countries in the world, Ireland was converted to Christianity through the peaceful preaching of St. Patrick and the country’s “Twelve Apostles,” and not a host of martyrs. For many centuries the Catholics in Ireland were not persecuted by a governmental body (though there were some interior squabbles).

That was the case until the 16th century when King Henry VIII began a persecution of Catholics after his excommunication from Rome. This lasted until about 1713, with persecution rising and falling during that time frame.

According to a letter written by a local bishop to the pope at the time, their persecutors “were burning houses, destroying churches, ravishing maids, robbing and killing unoffending persons. They kill … all priests who pray for the pope or refuse to erase his name from the canon of the Mass, and they torture preachers who do not repudiate his authority. It would fill a book to detail their cruelty.”

Over this time frame countless churches and monasteries were seized and destroyed and many Catholics were condemned to death.

It eventually became evident that there needed to be a single feast for all those martyrs, both known and unknown and June 20 was established as the feast of “Irish Martyrs.” St. John Paul II beatified a larger group of these martyrs in 1992 and had the following words to say about these holy witnesses who further sanctified the Emerald Isle with their blood.

In a decisive hour, a whole people chose to stand firmly by its covenant with God: “All the words which the Lord has spoken we will do.” Along with Saint Oliver Plunkett, the new Beati constitute but a small part of the host of Irish Martyrs of Penal Times. The religious and political turmoil through which these witnesses lived was marked by grave intolerance on every side. Their victory lay precisely in going to death with no hatred in their hearts. They lived and died for Love. Many of them publicly forgave all those who had contributed in any way to their martyrdom.

The Martyrs’ significance for today lies in the fact that their testimony shatters the vain claim to live one’s life or to build a model of society without an integral vision of our human destiny, without reference to our eternal calling, without transcendence. The Martyrs exhort succeeding generations of Irish men and women: “Fight the good fight of the faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called . . . keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 

To the Martyrs’ intercession I commend the whole people of Ireland: their hopes and joys, their needs and difficulties. May everyone rejoice in the honour paid to these witnesses to the faith. God sustained them in their trials. He comforted them and granted them the crown of victory. May he also sustain those who work for reconciliation and peace in Ireland today!

Blessed Irish Martyrs, intercede for the beloved Irish people!

The Mass & Nothing But: by David Warren Re-Blogged

The Mass & Nothing But

The history of my conversion to Catholic was long and involved. This I have had the chance to realize, through the fifteen years since I was received, as a man already fifty. One does think back, and shouldn’t dwell, yet in the search for self-understanding one is not a bubble in the present time. Moreover, according to me, one learns from retrospect what one might learn in no other way.

It started when I was six, at the latest. My post-Protestant father, from Canada but teaching in Lahore’s College of Art, had me enrolled at St Anthony’s. Why, given his own worldview, he would put me at the mercy of Irish Marists and Jesuits, was easy to explain. He thought they had the highest academic standards. Nothing more.

They certainly did take knowledge very seriously. “Scientia cum Virtute,” lest I forget.

They also offered a parody, sometimes less than funny, of everything condemned in, for instance, the residential-schools controversy in Canada later on. I got my share of beatings in the schoolyard and more than my share from the brothers themselves. They took no excuses, and pleas of innocence went unheard. If nothing else, I learned plenty about injustice, from a school principal who struck me as psychotic (and later left the Church to join a Buddhist commune in California).

But I learned other things, too, from various earnest teachers; one of which was the Sacred Heart Cathedral, next door. As a white boy, I was compelled to attend. (Until it was discovered that I were a “Prottie,” and duly beaten for having attended.)

What did I learn from there, I hope gentle reader is asking? Something inchoate, that would follow me for years.

At the time I believed what my atheist mama told me, that the Mass is some primitive magical rite, by its nature out of place in our modern, scientific, rational world. At some level, Catholics were as one with barbaric savages. As her Presbyterian ancestors had said, they are superstitious. They do strange unaccountable things, like talking to the dead, and eating wee morsels of bread, under the impression it is human flesh.


But still: we should be nice to them.

What I learned at Sacred Heart is that all this was true, with incense and bells on. (Those were the days of the Latin Mass; when I went back decades later it was Urdu and tamba drums.)

And something more, that took many years for me to begin to make sense of. I learned that I had a Catholic sensibility. Moreover, that I did not have a Protestant one. That in any conflict between the sensibilities, I was spontaneously on the Catholic side. How to explain?

At some intuitive level, it seemed to me that Catholicism was fertile, that the alternative was sterile. Saint John Paul put it with shocking precision when he distinguished the Culture of Life from the Culture of Death, though he didn’t mean anything sectarian by it. He was referring to the same fundamental difference in outlook that happens to set real Catholics apart from almost everything in their modern surroundings.

Now let me retain my focus on the Mass. I became a Christian in early adult life, and then a High Anglican (for the smells and bells), till finally I defected over here. Indeed, I spent a quarter century on the verge of “poping,” every time the Anglicans did something un-catholic. But in the meanwhile I attended many weddings, funerals, even baptisms in more Protestant places, out of trained politeness; and I observed their customs through alien eyes.

This is the first, and perhaps also the last thing to know about our differences: that over there they have “church services.” The Mass, for them, is not “instrumental.” It is a simple memorial, because Christ said, “do this.” They do, at their best, just as they were instructed, but without the magic.

Whereas, Catholics do what we were instructed, but for us the Sacraments have an effect. They are not a memorial, but an act; they accomplish something. It is “the Sacrifice of the Mass,” and our cross tends to have “the little man on it” (as the brainless cashier in a trinkets store once put it). And He looks like He might bleed on your shoes.

I have drawn a contrast between what I call the “instrumental” and the “symbolic.” Symbols, in this sense, are intellectual things. They are bloodless. An academic can write all about symbols, without understanding even one. He may produce long dictionaries of symbols, and manuals of ethnography, too, with cross-references and indexes. He will still miss the point.

Ditto, an encyclopedia of angels and demons, saints, martyrs, leprechauns and fairies, without the slightest belief that anything is real.

That word, “real,” I have used advisedly. I mean to allude back to the medieval conflicts between Realists and Nominalists – which, very plausibly, lie under each of our modern Reformations (of the sixteenth, eighteenth, and now the twenty-first centuries).

At the heart of each is the rejection of Realism – the view that there are real things outside of ourselves that will be real whether we accept them or not. Examples: truth, beauty, goodness. Conversely, an advance of that Nominalism which holds that Man (or “peoplekind,” as our prime minister says) creates reality when he gives it a name. Everything is finally a “social construct,” even male and female, up and down.

To that view, I must have been a sucker for Catholicism from the start. I always believed in reality, and that there were more things in heaven and earth than they could dream. And I have never “outgrown” this, and hope never to outgrow.

I am a Realist. I believe the most primitive savage is fully a man, and so I’m just like him. For men are real, and will continue to be real, no matter what you call them. END QUOTES


*Image: The Adoration of the Eucharist by Jerónimo Jacinto de Espinosa, c. 1650 [Museu de Belles Arts de València, Spain]



A LOVE STRONGER THAN LIFE BY DR. Marcellino D’Ambrosio (Dr. Italy): Re-Blogged

A LOVE STRONGER THAN LIFE BY DR. Marcellino D’Ambrosio (Dr. Italy)

As we approach Easter, the Church switches our focus from our Lenten sacrifices to a much more important sacrifice.  It was motivated by a love stronger than death, a choice for fruitfulness over comfort and safety.  Unless a grain of wheat fall to the ground and die, it remains just a grain of wheat.

All of us want the very best for those we love. But as we pursue it, we often have a rude awakening. The best turns out to be quite expensive, whether you are dealing with homes, cars, or colleges. To get it will cost much time and money, maybe even some blood, sweat, and tears.

We are then presented with the opportunity for a gut-check. How badly do we really want the best? Is it a burning desire that is strong enough to propel us up the steep hill we need to climb to get to the top? Or would we rather just settle for less?


As Lent winds down and Holy Week approaches, the liturgical readings switch focus from our need for redemption to the dramatic choice looming before the Redeemer. He had leapt from heavenly glory to the indignity of a stable. He had left his mother for a band of uncomprehending disciples and a fickle crowd.

That was all hard enough. But now, if he would fulfill the Father’s plan to deliver us from the bondage of sin, even more would be required.

Hebrews 5 mentions Jesus’ tears and loud cries to God, recalling the agony he experienced in the garden. The Garden of Gethsemane, by the way, is on the slope of a mountain. The guards approaching the garden with their torches were visible to Our Lord from a long way off, as they made their way along the Kidron Valley. Jesus saw them coming. He could have simply walked over the crest of the Mount of Olives and disappeared into the Judean wilderness.


To tell the truth, he “saw them coming” weeks before that and could have eluded them at any time.

But his burning desire to save us was greater than his natural aversion to torture. His love was even stronger than death. Unless a grain of wheat fall to the ground and die, it remains just a grain of wheat. But if it dies, it produces much fruit. Jesus knew that his death would be fruitful beyond all imagining. And being fruitful was more important to him than being comfortable.


We gratefully celebrate this love in every Eucharist, remembering it most solemnly during Holy Week.

But the Lord calls us not just to remember his sacrifice, but to imitate it. We are called to be not just believers, but disciples. Jesus renounced his natural human life, but was given in return a new, risen, humanity which explodes the limits of the human existence that we know.

We all have a life that we’re rather attached to, with people, places, things, and activities that we are comfortable with.  After all, my life may not be perfect, but it is familiar. And it’s mine. The Lord invites me not just to give up chocolate for a few weeks, but to give up myself. He asks me to die to my own plans, my own will, and put my destiny entirely in his hands.


Incidentally, that is precisely what baptism is supposed to mean – that it is no longer I that live, but Christ that lives in me (Galatians 2:19b-20). That I’m no longer in the driver’s seat, but I’ve put Jesus there. That all that is dearest to me, I’ve put on the altar and will only take it back if the Lord gives it back.

Why would we do such a radical thing?

Only if we truly believe that planting the seed of our lives and dreams in the fertile soil of the Lord’s vineyard will produce much fruit. That we, like the apostles, will grow to be more than we’d ever hoped we’d be. That he would do through us, as through them, more than we’d ever dreamt possible.


So here’s the question: is being fruitful was more important to you than being safe . . . or comfortable . . . or in control?

This post focuses on a love stronger than death and the fruitfulness of the grain of wheat that falls to the ground and dies.  It reflects upon the readings for the 5th Sunday in Lent, liturgical cycle B (Jeremiah 31:31-34; Psalm 51, Hebrews 5:7-9; Gospel of John 12: 20-33).

Five Ways to Practice Conversion FR. ED BROOM, OMV: Re-Blogged

Five Ways to Practice Conversion

Be converted, the kingdom of God is at hand.

These are the first world we hear from the lips of Our Blessed Savior as He initiates His Public ministry. Conversion in Greek is Metanoia, meaning change of heart. The core of the teaching of the Precursor of Jesus, St. John the Baptist, was the same, “Be converted because the Kingdom of God is at hand.”  Furthermore, St. Peter and the Apostles also preached the call to conversion. Therefore, if the greatest of all prophets, the first Pope, and Jesus Himself preached the urgency of conversion then indeed it must be important!

The Church, the Mystical Body of Christ, reiterates this message in various forms and seasons. At the start of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, after greeting the people, the priest invites himself and the whole congregation to pause briefly for an examination of conscience. On what? Our communal and personal recognition of sin and humble invocation that God would have mercy on us and help us to undergo metanoia—conversion of life.

Ways that we can undergo a true conversion of life

The following are ways that we can delve deep into our souls and strive for a sincere and deep conversion of life!  However, we must always remember that true conversion of life is more God’s work in our souls than our doing!  We must collaborate with the grace of the Lord!

1. Memory

Our memory is in need of constant purification. St. Paul exhorts us to put on the mind of Christ; then he says that you have the mind of Christ. Past wounds in our early years, addictions that enslaved, abuses either physical, emotional, social or moral—all of these must be brought to the Lord for a deep healing and conversion. One short but powerful suggestion: THE WORD OF GOD!   The Word of God is powerful like a two-edged sword that separates bone from marrow. The daily reading of the Word of God in prayerful meditation can result in the conversion of the mind. One more step: memorize Sacred Scripture! If you like this analogy: what chlorine is and does to a swimming pool (cleansing and purifying) the Word of God can do to the human mind. Lord, may your Word be a light for my path and a torch for my steps!

2. Eyes

Our eyes need constant vigilance and control. Unfortunately, the most powerful addiction in the United States is that of pornography. Children are exposed to this ravenous and merciless wolf at a very tender age. Studies show that pornography can be more powerful than the addiction to drugs. A recovering gang member, drug-addict and alcoholic rejoiced that he was able to conquer all the above vices. However, he could not detach himself from the addiction to pornography.

Three suggestions to attain this metanoia/conversion:

  • At the crack of dawn upon waking, to consecrate one’s whole being— especially the eyes—to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
  • Second, when tempted invoke the Precious Blood of Jesus as a shield against the fiery darts of the devil.
  • Lastly, visit the Blessed Sacrament exposed and contemplate the Eucharistic heart of Jesus. In the words of the Psalmist: “Look to the Lord and be radiant with joy.”

3. Control the Tongue

Our tongue has to be controlled constantly! Saint James reminds us poignantly that we should be slow to speak and quick to listen. Jesus reminds us that every word that issues from our mouth will be subject to judgment. Also the Lord tells us that from the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.

Here are three concrete suggestions to attain conversion of our mouth, a transformation of our speech:

First, we should get in the habit of speaking more to God and less to people.

Second, we should learn to hold back our impulses and think before we speak.

Finally, apply the Golden Rule of Jesus to speech. Do to others what you would have them do to you; say to others what you would like them say to you! Following this advice, we are on the highway to converting our tongue!

4. Intentions

Being honest with ourselves we must humble admit that our intentions are often mixed. Even in the best of actions are hidden some self-seeking, self-love and vanity.  Sincere examination of conscience will highlight this truth! In the Diary of Saint Faustina, time and time again Jesus manifests His desire that she always have purity of intention, that her actions be done to please Him and for the honor and glory of God. The Bible points out that man sees the appearance but God reads the heart.  In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus strictly warns us not to do our actions to be seen and praised by man. Remember! Do your actions such that your right hand does not even know what your left hand is doing. Your father who sees in secret will recompense you.

The motto of St. Ignatius, the founder of the Jesuits, is four letters: A.M.D.G. —Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam—meaning, for the greater glory of God. That indeed should be the motivating principle that drives all of our actions in life! One concrete suggestion to obtain the conversion/metanoia of our intentions — Give all to Jesus through the hands of Mary.

In the classic of St. Louis de Montfort, True Devotion to Mary, St. Louis presents a scene in which a pauper desires to present the King with an apple. The apple is not of the best, nor is the pauper the most worthy of admiration.  However there is a secret to access to the heart of the King—the love the King has for his Queen. If the pauper can reach the Queen and give her the apple, then her Highness will take the apple, polish it, place it on a golden platter next to a beautiful flower and present it to the King. Then the King will accept it. Why? Not because of the pauper but because of the powerful and irresistible persuasion of the Queen. If we place our intentions in the Immaculate Heart of Mary then she purifies, embellishes and corrects our distorted motives!

5. Heart

Last but not least we all must go through a daily conversion of the very center of our being— our heart. Jesus says that from the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The human heart can contain within it the most noble of intentions, but the human heart can also embrace the most despicable of desires. Constant conversion/metanoiaof heart is necessary on a daily basis!

What might be the most efficacious means to undergo a true conversion of heart? Simple and to the point: fervent and passionate daily holy communion! In Holy Communion we receive the totality of Jesus: His Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. Therefore, if we receive His Body, that means we also receive His Sacred Heart. In the most Sacred Heart of Jesus can be found all of the most sublime virtues and to the highest degree of holiness and perfection.

Faith, hope, charity, patience, purity, meekness, obedience, mortification, fortitude— just to mention a few, are some of the virtues present in the Sacred Heart of Jesus. These virtues are present in every Consecrated Host that we can receive in Holy Communion on a daily basis.

In a real sense, we can undergo a daily spiritual heart transplant every time we receive Holy Communion with faith, devotion and love.  Beyond a shadow of doubt, Holy Communion received with the proper dispositions is by far the most efficacious channel to arrive at a true conversion of heart. Our Lord’s loving Heart burns and consumes all that is ugly and ignoble in our hearts so that we can truly say with the Apostle Saint Paul: “It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me!” END QUOTES

What does the word “Eucharist” mean?  Philip Kosloski: Re-Blogged

What does the word “Eucharist” mean?

 Philip Kosloski

© Jeffrey Bruno|Aleteia


The word isn’t of English origin, and has many different levels of meaning.

One of the most used words in Catholicism is the word “Eucharist.” It’s heard every Sunday at Mass and Catholics use it all the time. What does it mean?

The Catechism of the Catholic Church offers a brief definition of the word.

The inexhaustible richness of [the sacrament of the eucharist, i.e. the “Mass”] is expressed in the different names we give it. Each name evokes certain aspects of it. It is called:

Eucharist, because it is an action of thanksgiving to God. The Greek words eucharistein and eulogein recall the Jewish blessings that proclaim — especially during a meal — God’s works: creation, redemption, and sanctification. (CCC 1328)

In the original Greek version of the Gospels, Jesus is recorded using a similar word while celebrating the Last Supper.

Take this, and divide it among yourselves … And he took bread, and when he had given thanks [εὐχαριστήσας – eucharistēsas] he broke it and gave it to them (Luke 22:18-19).

Essentially, the word “Eucharist” means “giving thanks,” but in a Jewish context is directed specifically towards giving thanks to God.

Early on the word was adopted to refer to the entire sacrament of the Eucharist, more commonly known as the Mass, where Catholics celebrate God’s saving act on the cross. There is even an ancient document called the Didache that possibly dates to the time of the apostles and uses this word in this context.

Celebrate the Eucharist as follows: Say over the cup: “we give you thanks, Father, for the holy vine of David, your servant, which you made known to us through Jesus your servant. To you be glory for ever.”

Over the broken bread say: “We give you thanks, Father, for the life and the knowledge which you have revealed to us through Jesus your servant. To you be glory for ever” … Do not let anyone eat or drink of your Eucharist except those who have been baptized in the name of the Lord.

Besides referring to the entire celebration of the Eucharist, the word is also used even more specifically to refer to the bread and wine that are transformed into the body and blood of Jesus.

So the word “Eucharist” is a multi-faceted word with many different dimensions, all going back to the basic human need of giving thanks to God.