Category Archives: Spiritual Life

The way of sanctity lies open to you

St Justin de Jacobis.jpgToday the Pontifical Ethiopian College enjoyed time
with Pope Benedict XVI on the occasion to mark the 150th anniversary of the
death of Saint Justin de Jacobis (1800-1860), patron of the College. The
Ethiopian College prepares men for priestly service in their home country. Part
of the Pope’s address was devoted to holiness. On holiness the Pope said:

“Sanctity lies at the very heart
of the ecclesial mystery; it is the vocation to which we are all called. Saints
are not some exterior ornamentation of the Church; rather, they are like the
flowers of a tree which testify to the endless vitality of the lymph flowing
through it
. It is good to see the Church like this, in ascension towards the
fullness of the ‘Vir perfectus’; in continual, demanding, progressive
maturation; dynamically driven towards complete fulfilment in Christ.”

Here is a minute’s worth of a video clip on the event. These are the same points the Pope has made to the rest of the Church since he ascended to the papacy and it is the very theme that Father Julián Carrón has called those of us who follow Communion and Liberation to heed.

Why forgive?

Adnan Agca.jpg

Time magazine asks an excellent question, don’t you think? I do. The only answer I am muster to give is: because it is the right thing to do AND our Savior forgave his killers. Therefore, we ought to do the same.
BUT, if you are ashamed to forgive and to receive forgiveness, you must be convinced that Jesus Christ is blowing smoke or not real. The 4th century Persian bishop, Aphrahat said as much in his treatise On Penitents where he taught that a Christian in the state of sin should seek sacramental forgiveness as the Church taught. Aphrahat decapitates the sin of presumption and pride when he says,
… the man wounded by Satan should not be ashamed to confess his, and leave it behind, and beg for the medicine of penance. For gangrene comes if a man is ashamed to show his wound, and then the whole is harmed. Whoever is not ashamed has his wound healed, and goes back to battle again; but if gangrene comes, he cannot be healed, and he cannot take up his arms again.

So, why forgive? Because if one doesn’t forgive the sins of another, how will you face your own humanity and the Savior face-to-face?

Aphrahat, On Penitents 2-3 (Demonstrations 7), adapted translation by Frank H. Hallock, Journal of the Society of Oriental Research 16 (1932), pp. 43-56.
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Tips for growing in holiness and going to Mass

In a previous blog post on the Father David Toups,
pastor of a Florida parish the author drew our attention to a young but
accomplished priest who was doing his best to live the vocation he was given.
As a secular priest he’s pastoring souls to Jesus by encouraging them to lead
lives of holiness. And remember, holiness is not reserved to a few; it is
however, open and “achievable” by all. So the question becomes: How do I work
on becoming holy?

Father Toups offers the following:

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Father John F. Harvey, OSFS, RIP

Fr John Harvey.jpg

The Reverend Father John F. Harvey, OSFS, 92, died yesterday. He was the founder of Courage
Father Harvey’s obit can be read here.
A year ago, Father Harvey gave a retreat to us at St Joseph’s Seminary.
May his memory be eternal.

Exercising proper judgment in our life so that we share in God’s glory

St John the Baptist & St Dominic.jpgLast week the novices of the Order of Friars Preachers –the Dominicans of the Province of Saint Joseph– heard the following talk by Dominican Father André-Joseph LaCasse. Father LaCasse is the pastor of the Church of Saint Gertrude, Cincinnati, OH. I am not a Dominican but I have great affection for the Dominican vocation and many friends are of that persuasion, however many readers of this blog are not Dominicans. So, I thought after reading LaCasse’s talk there is something we can all be helped by what was said about the fraternal life the Dominican Order. In my estimation Father LaCasse’s thoughts are applicable to all states of the Christian life: the single person, the married couple, the Capuchin, the secular priest, bishop, etc. In the School of Community (of CL) we’ve been working on Father Luigi Giussani’s notion of charity and sacrifice and are about to start the section on virginity. And I ask myself: How is it that as a Christian I live in a state of perpetual discernment of faith, hope and charity through a life of sacrifice? In what concrete ways do I live honestly? Well, I’m off to confession to find that out. You?

You are privileged here because you
live with friars who have lived this life for quite some time. In our community
we have two jubiliarians, one who is close to being a jubiliarian, and the rest
of us who have lived this life for over twenty years. Our lives as religious is
a steady progress towards perfection, but a perfection that experiences many
imperfections along the way
. Our lives are not extraordinary. None of us has
won prestige. None of us is in the limelight. We live ordinary lives of
consecration, hoping that we can do our best to advance the cause of Jesus
Christ and his Church.

The Dominican life is a life of
prayer, study, and the apostolate. Most days are ordinary days where you are
called to be simple servants of the Church. Do you desire to be a servant? Are
you willing to die to your own desires
in order to do the desire of God manifested
through the will of our superiors? In a real sense you will not be able to
answer this question until something is asked of you that takes real sacrifice
and humility
. But still the question needs to be asked now: Am I willing to die
to myself and become a servant of the Church? The question needs to be answered
now because from the very beginning of your discernment you must be brutally
honest with yourself.

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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]
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