I was in my third year of college the first time he played for me. Sitting under a tree at a local park, he strummed the guitar gently, crooning songs of love for God and His wondrous mercy.
Happy Mother’s Day and Father’s Day to all you moms and dads out there. And to all of you who might be on the verge of becoming a parent, I say congratulations as well.
Last month, we began to consider one of the Christian doctrines that many find deeply troubling, namely hell.
When Our Lady of Fatima appeared to Lúcia, Francisco and Jacinta for the third time, July 13, 1917, she did two things of great importance: first, she showed them a terrifying vision of hell to reveal the horrific suffering that sin causes; and second, she gave them what has come to be known as the Fatima Prayer, which she told them to say at the end of each decade of the Rosary.
“It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.” These words of Charles Dickens could easily be applied to the present situation that the Church faces in the American continent when she proclaims the Good News of Jesus Christ about marriage, family and the culture of life.
The Seminarian Support component of the “Together Let Us Go Forth ~ Juntos Sigamos Adelante” campaign is particularly exciting to me because it directly affects the men who will serve as our future priests.
El amor conyugal “avanza gradualmente con la progresiva integración de los dones de Dios” (#122), dice el Papa Francisco en su Exhortación Apostólica sobre la Alegría del Amor en la Familia. No hay límite a la capacidad de los cónyuges a participar en la caridad infinita que es el Espíritu Santo (cf. #134). “Así, en medio de un conflicto no resuelto, y aunque muchos sentimientos confusos den vueltas por el corazón, se mantiene viva cada día la decisión de amar, de pertenecerse, de compartir la vida entera y de permanecer amando y perdonando. Cada uno de los dos hace un camino de crecimiento y de cambio personal. En medio de ese camino, el amor celebra cada paso y cada nueva etapa” (#163). En este viaje hacia la plena madurez en Cristo, la iglesia acompaña a las parejas casadas y asiste en la tarea permanente de formación de la conciencia que, como el Catecismo dice (#1784) “garantiza la libertad y engendra la paz del corazón”.
There is a close connection between service of the poor, freedom and evangelization. Catholic apostolates integrate service to the poor with joyful witness to Christ; they serve because they love Jesus. They freely receive God’s mercy; they freely give mercy to others in turn. They imitate Jesus in His solidarity with the poor.
Since his election on March 13 of this year, he has caught the attention of the world. Even non-believers and non-practicing Catholics are paying attention. Pope Francis surprises and inspires, even as he challenges us to love the poor and in them to meet Jesus anew.
Advent is a season of expectation, of waiting for promises to be fulfilled — God’s promises, to our Israelite ancestors in the faith and to us. Isaiah promises the birth of a child named Emmanuel, “God with us.”