Category Archives: Spiritual Life

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).

The Catholic’s perpetual second chance

signs of love.jpg

I try to communicate to others, particularly the friends I teach about the Catholic faith, that to be authentically Catholic one has to fall in love with Jesus, and to do what He does. Mercy and love are constitutive parts of being called a Christian. This not always easy. It is a human struggle for many. But we are called by the Lord Himself to love and pray for your enemies; have mercy on the sinner; forgive injuries; feed the hungry. Not willing to do this, then it would be pretty hard to convince others that your proposed faith in Christ as Lord and Savior is true. The Pope’s Angelus address earlier today gives us a clue to my point: to be a Catholic means living in the mindset of having a perpetual second chance. Read the 2 papal paragraphs:

On this seventh
Sunday of Ordinary Time the biblical readings speak to us about God’s will to
make men participants in his life: “Be holy because I the Lord your God am
holy,” we read in the Book of Leviticus (19:1). With these words and the precepts
that follow from them, the Lord invited the Chosen People to be faithful to the
covenant with him, walking in his ways, and established the social legislation
on the commandment that says that “you will love your neighbor as yourself”
(Leviticus 19:18). If we listen, then, to Jesus in whom God took on a mortal
body to become every man’s neighbor and reveal his infinite love for us, we
hear again that same call, that same objective audacity
. The Lord, in fact,
says: “Be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). But who
can become perfect?
Our perfection is to live as children of God in humility
concretely doing his will
. St. Cyprian wrote that “to God’s paternity there
must correspond a conduct as children of God so that God might be glorified and
praised by man’s good conduct
” (De zelo et livore, 15: CCL 3a, 83).

In what way
can we imitate Jesus? Jesus himself says: “Love your enemies and pray for those
who persecute you so that you will be children of your Father who is in heaven”
(Matthew 5:44-45). He who welcomes the Lord in his life and loves him with all
of his heart can begin again
. He is able to do God’s will: to realize a new
form of existence
animated by love and destined for eternity
. Paul the Apostle
adds: “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in
you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16). If we are truly aware of this reality and our life
is deeply formed by it, then our witness becomes clear, eloquent and
efficacious. An [early Christian] author wrote: “When the whole being of man is
, so to speak, with God’s love, then his soul’s splendor is also reflected
on the outside
” (John Climacus, Scala Paradisi, XXX: PG 88, 1157 B), in the
whole of his life. “Love is a great thing,” we read in “The Imitation of
Christ,” [it is] “a good that makes every heavy thing light and easily endures
every hardship. Love aspires to sail on high, not to be held back by any
earthly thing. It is born of God and only in God can it find rest” (III, V, 3).

Did God Correct Himself?

Today’s Gospel from Saint Matthew poses a crucial question for our following Christ: How do we do it? The line that is frequently often misunderstand:

Jesus said to his disciples: “You have heard that it
was said, An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. But I say to you, offer no
resistance to one who is evil.

Several credible witnesses give a fruitful look at what it means to be a Christian today. Saint Basil the Great  (330-January 1, 379) wrote in Letter 2 that:

We must
try to keep the mind in quietness. For if the eye is constantly shifting its
gaze, one moment this way or that, then veering between upwards and down, it
cannot see clearly what lies directly in front of it
. It has to bring its
gaze to bear on this object so as to see it clearly in focus. In the same way a
mind distracted by thousands of worldly concerns cannot possibly bring a steady
gaze to bear
on the truth.

Read more ...

Discovering the Way: El Camino de Santiago

pilgrim shell.jpgSalt + Light TV has given a wonderful gift in doing a terrific story on the ancient pilgrimage trail called in Spanish, El Camino de Santiago. The Way of Saint James. Alessia Domanico is the host of “Discovering the Way: El Camino de Santiago.”

I’ve been wanting to walk the Camino for years. I can think of no other pilgrimage to do with gusto than this one. It may still take me time to plan and go on the Way of Saint James, but I am resolved. You???
As was said in the video, the walk along the long trail to tomb of Saint James does many things but for me it seems to me that its most important aspect is one’s ability to notice beauty, to notice life. Recall that beauty is that theological datum that most speaks of God in a most authentically human and spiritual manner.
The Camino is truly about the Christian tradition, there’s:
  • a great adventure, go for a purpose: you’ll grow spiritually and physically
  • an opportunity to pray, to do penance, to be reminded of tradition
  • catechesis on the faith
  • an opportunity to learn Christian and civil history
  • to know your own humanity, that of the other
  • learn and experience the christian faith
  • have the goal to go to the Cathedral of Saint James to visit the relics of a great Apostle.
I would also recommend Monsignor Kevin A. Codd’s book on the making the pilgrimage, To the Field of Stars.
Monsignor’s blog To the Field of Stars introduces you to the pilgrimage.

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]
coat of arms



Humanities Blog Directory