Category Archives: Spiritual Life

All Souls Day and Purgatory

November is the month dedicated to praying for the Souls in Purgatory. A venerable and fitting custom of prayer and sacrifice for those of our families and friends who died, and those unknown to us personally. Don’t let these days go by without offering a prayer for the Souls in Purgatory, and visiting the cemetery.

The All Souls Indulgence is noted here.

Today is a fitting day to recall what the Catholic teaching of purgatory is: here, here and here. Plus, “Is Purgatory necessary?” may be helpful.

Pope Francis moves 2014 Spiritual Exercises away from Vatican

Pope Francis has entrusted the 2014 Lenten Spiritual Exercises to a Roman parish priest and popular spiritual director, Monsignor Angelo De Donatis, 59. Since 2003, he’s been the pastor of the Basilica Parish of Saint Mark the Evangelist Church near to the Piazza Venezia.

The Lenten Exercises will be held 9-14 March closing the Curial offices and Papal meetings not taken. What theme Monsignor De Donatis will preach on is unknown.

The Casa Divin Maestro (Divine Master House) is operated by the Society of St Paul, located in Arricia, in the Alban hills, 30 miles from the Vatican. The Society of St Paul is a religious community of men founded by Blessed Giacomo Alberione, who also founded several other religious communities including the Daughters of St Paul; the work of Alberione’s Pauline family has something to do with social media and evangelization.

The change in location  seems to be the first since the Exercises were first conceived in 1964 by Pope Paul VI. The now retired Secretary of State, Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone SDB,  sent a letter to curial officials saying the Pope wanted the Exercises made “in a recollected, silent fashion, away from the office.” By the looks of it, a smaller crowd is expected due to the size of the retreat facility.

Yet another example that Pope Francis is asking that the Curia and therefore, us, to take seriously the spiritual life.

Labor Day 2013

truck-thumb-250x162-13063The Christian finds in human work a small part of the cross of Christ and accepts it in the same spirit of redemption in which Christ accepted the cross for us. In work, thanks to the light that penetrates us from the resurrection of Christ, we always find a glimmer of new life, of the new good, as if it were an announcement of “the new heavens and the new earth” in which man and the world participate precisely through the toil that goes with work.

Blessed John Paul II
Laborem exercens, 27

Getting to the heart of what St Augustine teaches us today

The Church put on the lips of the priest, and also on our own lips, yesterday this prayer at Mass:

Renew in your Church, we pray, O Lord, that spirit with which you endowed your Bishop Saint Augustine that, filled with the same spirit, we may thirst for you, the sole fount of true wisdom, and seek you, the author of heavenly love.

I am stimulated by what we ask the Lord: to be filled with the same spirit as Augustine, thirsting for Him and seeking divine love.

Shortly into the papacy of Benedict XVI he went to pray before the relics of Saint Augustine in Pavia, Italy. When I saw this picture yesterday I immediately got to wondering why is Augustine so important to some, and irrelevant to others. Why does Augustine have such an crucial influence on us 1600 years after his death? The answer is still being formed but I think part of an answer is his capacity for friendship, and to relentlessly seek God.

The Augustinians are meeting for their 184th General Chapter and Pope Francis opened the Chapter with Mass. Here is a report on the gathering of the Augustinians with His Holiness.

BUT let me offer you an opportunity to hear what Saint Augustine’s spirituality is and how it is relevant to us today. I found a 2009 presentation on Augustinian spirituality given by Father Theodore E. Tack, OSA, who, at the time of his death in February (’13) been a professed member of the Augustinian friars for more than 60 years; he was the 93rd Prior General of the Augustinians, a headmaster, and until his death a high school teacher in Tulsa, OK. Tack gives a great overview of Christian life through the eyes of Saint Augustine.

Father Tack’s presentation, “The Relevance of Augustine for Young Adults Today,”  is a very good introduction to the person and perduring influence of Augustine of Hippo. Like the Pope visiting the relics, we need to visit a man who has a profound influence on the Church. Don’t be fooled by the title; his presentation is really for all. He offered this work as the opening presentation for the Society of St Augustine at Villanova University.

Prayer connects all of us to God’s mercy

All prayer is communion, not only between Christ and me but also between everybody in the Church and myself. All prayer takes us into the communion of saints.

Perhaps it would be helpful to think that when I am praying I am closely united with everybody who ever prayed and everybody now praying. I am completely caught up in this communion of saints and this great reality of the prayer of Christ.

I am not lost or submerged in it, but I am truly myself when I am praying in union with Christ and with the communion of saints.

Thomas Merton
Thomas Merton in Alaska

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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