The junior priest who is an excellent homilist, singer, and confessor was transferred to another parish in the Diocese last week. I was thinking I should wait and see how his freshly-ordained replacement would do, but the Lord sent me a clear sign it was time now to flee this white-washed sepulcher of a parish. The very next day, the pastor gave a homily putting one person’s refusal to serve someone in a restaurant “just because of the Administration they… Read more

“Look, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is being delivered into the hands of sinners.” — Matthew 26:45 It would be foolish to deny it: sometimes God’s presence is held in evil hands. This is the mystery of His Passion—that He let himself be handed over this way. And because the sacrifice of His Passion is perpetually offered, this is not an event locked-up in the past, but an ever present reality. We cannot expect to… Read more

The economy of grace places under judgment all economic thinking of the sort, “This is mine; I’m not sharing.” Yesterday’s second Mass reading is social dynamite, if we have the mind and heart to take it seriously: “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, for your sake He became poor, so that by His poverty you might become rich… Not that others should have ease while you are afflicted, but that as a… Read more

Salvation takes time. It is not a binary state: saved/unsaved. Though justification does in fact belong to the heart of Christianity, justification must increase (which is called sanctification). To get this wrong risks turning Christian election into partisanship, as if we are a remnant against the world. The truth is other: election is always only ever for mission. We are a remnant for the world. If we are called out of Babylon, chosen to be church, it’s because we have been entrusted… Read more

This great Feast of Corpus Christi falls just a couple of days after my brief stay with a distant cousin who is a charismatic evangelical. It leads me to compare and contrast how she and I understand and experience the presence of Jesus. As I was making and eating breakfast in her house the other day, I couldn’t help but overhear a long video she was watching of a British charismatic preacher on her smartphone. I have no idea of… Read more

How are we to live? What is the good life? The central question of philosophy. But Christianity raises the stakes from there (as we began to explore in the last post), setting the good life within the limitless dynamism of the Trinitarian processions, revealing the fulness of the good life as an eternal life. An eternal life has everything to do with the resurrection of the flesh, the realization of new heavens and a new earth in which justice is… Read more

Who am I? What constitutes my “self”? An imperative might attend that interrogative: Find Yourself. Perhaps an injunction of consumerist inanity. Perhaps an Augustinian call to interiority. How do we become ourselves? Do we consume the world, in the hope of gaining enough substance to turn our black-hole personality inside out and shine again? Or do we endure our existential ache, attentive to where it points us (to our origin and end), ready to surrender whatever there is to us in… Read more

These are Pentecostal days, days of conflagration. That might come across as ominous. Is and isn’t. The Heraclitean fire arcing from alpha to omega is limitless love and supreme delight. But having to encompass every motion within its sanctifying motion, this fire of the Holy Spirit must also master malice and the empire of self. To love, we have to burn hotter than the fires of self-love (“To Carthage then I came burning”). Which means the Holy Spirit must burn… Read more

Happy Pentecost to you all! This great feast shakes us awake to the cosmic scale of the Christian mission. The Kingdom we are the instruments of realizing encompasses all time and space and every human soul who has or will ever live, in their tens of billions. Keeping this before our mind’s eye, humbles us and makes us more ambitious at the same time. Serenity and urgency characterize the Christian who knows what has to be done and Whose motive… Read more

Love one another, with a love so limitlessness it is divine. That is the one command refracted in all other true commands, attested by the entire Johannine corpus traversed in the liturgical readings of Eastertide. Love minus zero/no limit, Bob Dylan so aptly expresses it, and it is the most necessary thing for life. Everything grows from the Cross, as displayed in the riot of acanthus and doves in the San Clemente apse mosaic. Love one another as I have… Read more

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