A favorite Biblical image used by the Church Fathers to describe the fragility and complexity of human life is that of a potter working with clay.
According to a Greek legend, Damocles, from the court of the tyrant ruler of Syracuse, voiced his desire to have the riches and pleasures of the king just for one day. And so, the next day, Damocles was led into the palace, and all the servants were bidden to treat him as their master.
Last month, we began to consider one of the Christian doctrines that many find deeply troubling, namely hell.
Hell is one of the least popular of all Christian doctrines. Many people have trouble reconciling the existence of hell with the truth that God is all good and all loving.
In Rome, amid the district of four-star hotels, expensive restaurants and luxurious residences on Via Veneto, there resides a strange church belonging to the Capuchin Friars called Santa Maria della Concezione, popularly known as the “Bone Church.”
Throughout the course of human history, wars have been waged and their outcomes have shaped the identity of many nations. But, there is another war, although generally unseen by human eyes, that “is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens” (Eph 6:12).
We walk surrounded by angels. We are not alone, as we journey through life; these spirits, created by God, surround us at all times, even though we cannot see them because they are pure spirits without a body.
It was not, of course, an ideal environment for growing in the faith, and it was probably a different environment than most of you face, but, whatever the circumstances, God provides what we need, if we make good use of what He has made available.
Friendship with Jesus does not begin with our human initiative. It begins with Him. “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you,” He tells us (Cf. Jer 1:5), “before you were born I dedicated you.”
Mark the Evangelist recounts a telling story about a blind man named Bartimaeus cured by Jesus because of his professed faith. After Bartimaeus was healed of his blindness, he followed Him “along the way” (Mk 10:52); that is, he became His disciple.