Category Archives: Spiritual Life

Is the Pope’s Irish proposal reasonable?

Haven’t been thinking of the Pope’s letter to the Church in Ireland regarding the sexual abuse problems in a while? Let’s start thinking anew: the year of prayer that the Pope asked for is coming to an with Easter. I’d like to know what’s different.


No one I know takes issue with what the Pope has been doing with the sexual abuse matters. That may be a point of criticism of me and my friends, but I don’t have all the answers to such a complex issue such as pedodphilia and ephebophilia and I tend to lean toward diagnosing the problem not merely from psychological and sociological criteria but most importantly from spiritual criteria. What does one do with sin in one’s spiritual life? My experience with secular and religious clergy, religious sisters and brothers, and of course the laity, is that there is lots of mediocre spiritual lives in the Catholic; I might even argue for an acceptance that there are a lot of spiritually dead men of the cloth pastoring souls today. Since the Pope’s March letter to Ireland of a year ago I have been thinking and praying about the matter, as you have you some concrete initiatives to address the situation, in addition to a special investigation into the way certain dioceses took responsibility for the crimes.



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We remain images of Christ, no matter what happens…

A perplexing issue of one’s faith is accepting that no matter what we do, no matter who we become, we remain a son or daughter of God. There is no unforgivable sin except the sin of presumption against the Holy Spirit. We can do the most heinous of things, even deny God’s existence, we remain in Christ’s reach for mercy in His washing us with His own Precious Blood. History has several good examples of people doing terrible things to others and destabilizing society, but is it impossible to have mercy on these people? The question eventually becomes: Can a person who does evil things be forgiven and saved? Is forgiveness outside the realm of possibility for God, for us? If not for God, why is it that we find so difficult to be merciful toward others?


As scripture say, all have sinned and fallen short of
God’s glory (Rom 3:23) so that all of us are at some time in our lives
potentially (and unfortunately all too actually) capable of real evil. Yet no
matter how depraved people may become, they remain always images of Christ the
true Image of God. That image-quality may be soiled, tarnished, obscured and
disfigured, but is never wholly lost, never totally destroyed.

The more we
commit sin the more we weave a web around ourselves, voluntarily blocking out
his light. That is why in the incarnation God punched a hole in our self-woven
cocoon and thrust in a hand to drag us out: that is why Christ descended into
our hell of God-forsakeness – so that we could not go on pretending to
ourselves – and in that way justifying our own ghastliness to ourselves and
others.

Meeting Christ in His Mysteries
Father Gregory Collins, OSB

Where is the inequality in love?

“Those who are unequal in their capacity to give can
be equal in the love within their hearts.”


Pope Saint Leo the Great

Planted in the Lord

Today’s first reading and Gospel ask the question (Mar 6, 2011): how, in fact, are we grounded in the Lord? Have I allowed Christ to enter into my life sufficiently and without reservation? Am I aware that Christ takes the initiative in calling me to a deeper conversion and that I have to respond? In your lectio divina today, set out to ground yourself in the Lord.

Pope Benedict’s message for the 2011 World Youth Day participants draws this line of thinking out:

“We … want to be able to see Jesus, to speak with him and to feel his presence even more powerfully. For many people today, it has become difficult to approach Jesus. There are so many images of Jesus in circulation which, while claiming to be scientific, detract from his greatness and the uniqueness of his person. That is why, after many years of study and reflection, I thought of sharing something of my own personal encounter with Jesus by writing a book. It was a way to help others see, hear and touch the Lord in whom God came to us in order to make himself known. Jesus himself, when he appeared again to his disciples a week later, said to Thomas: “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe” (Jn 20:27). We too can have tangible contact with Jesus and put our hand, so to speak, upon the signs of his Passion, the signs of his love. It is in the sacraments that he draws particularly near to us and gives himself to us. Dear young people, learn to “see” and to “meet” Jesus in the Eucharist, where he is present and close to us, and even becomes food for our journey. In the sacrament of Penance the Lord reveals his mercy and always grants us his forgiveness. Recognize and serve Jesus in the poor, the sick, and in our brothers and sisters who are in difficulty and in need of help.”

Lent begins with Ash Wednesday on March 9. What is on your list of Bona Opera, your good works? Chapter 49 of the Rule of Saint Benedict speaks of the monk (here, all people) keeping Lent in front of our eyes all the time. He urges us, therefore, to do good, to keep purity in our hearts and minds by refraining from evil. Saint Benedict exhorts us to restrain ourselves from sinful habits and to devote time to prayer of the heart, fasting, lectio divina, compunction, ascetism, and charitable work.

How are you going to build your spiritual life on solid ground? In what ways are you going to be a spiritual father and mother to another? Will you pray, fast and give alms to the good works of the Church uniting your intentions with the Sacred Heart of Jesus for sake of poor, needy, the Church, the Pope, sinful people and priests, etc? Will you study the Word of God and spend time in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament?

Prayer: personal & lived in communio

Thinking about uniting ourselves closely to Christ I
was wondering what prayer is and it is connected with my relationship with Him. The Pope said earlier this month that “prayer, on the one
hand, must be very personal, a uniting of myself with God in my innermost
depths. It must be my struggle with Him, my search for Him, my gratitude for
Him and my joy in Him. Yet it is never something private of my individual ‘ego’
that does not concern others. Praying is essentially and also always praying in
the ‘we’ of God’s children. “In this ‘we’ alone are we children of Our Father,
which the Lord taught us to pray. This ‘we’ alone gives us access to the
Father. On the one hand our prayer must become more and more personal, must
touch and penetrate ever more deeply the nucleus of our ‘ego’. On the other, it
must always be nourished by the communion of those praying, by the unity of the
Body of Christ, in order truly to shape myself on the basis of God’s love” (Benedict
XVI, Homily for Episcopal Ordinations, 5 Feb 2011).

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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