Category Archives: Teaching & Living the Faith

Be living sacraments of Christ’s presence in the world leading all to eternal life

I am slowly reading a book written by Dom Michael Casey, a Cistercian monk from the Abbey of Tarrawara (Australia), The Road to Eternal Life, a series of reflections on the Prologue of the Rue of St Benedict. With all the talk of being a good witness and yesterday’s emphasis on our destiny in Christ, I thought Dom Michael’s reflection on boasting in the Lord makes some sense for us today. I recommend the book.

“And again he says, ‘Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord’.” (2 Cor 10:17 quoted in the Rule of St Benedict, Prologue v. 32)

The one in the New Testament who speaks most about boastfulness is Saint Paul. He sees boasting as an expression of an autonomy that weakens a person’s total reliance on God-that is, it weakens faith. Those who think that religion is simply a matter of conforming to the precepts of the law, or perhaps so twisting the precepts of the law so that they are comfortable, have not yet learned the art of putting their trust in God, relying on God’s mercy. They are locked into the schemes of self-perfection that they themselves have crafted. The end of such self-assurance can be only disaster. As Saint Ignatius of Antioch wrote to Polycarp, “The one who boasts has already come to nothing”.

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Pope lunches with friends, speaks of struggle against evil

At Monday’s lunch with many of the cardinals –not all–Pope Benedict XVI spoke of the struggle he and they are engaged together: for good against evil. Not exactly a lite topic for discussion for a lunch celebrating one’s 85th birthday and 7th anniversary of election to the Chair of Saint Peter, but a point that is true and needs to be addressed.

In reading his text (below) you will notice the Pope’s use of the concept ecclesia militans – the Church Militant – which he admits is “old fashion” but still fitting today. When we say “the Church Militant” it means all living Christians who struggle against sin, the devil, or as the Apostle Paul says  “..the rulers of the darkness of this world” and “spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12).

“Church Militant” has two other sisters, “Church Triumphant” and “Church Suffering” that give context to Christian life in light of the doctrine of the Communion of Saints and of what we know the Church to be.

The quick definition of the “Church Triumphant” (Ecclesia Triumphans), indicates those who live in the beatific vision, they see and are seen by God; we say these people are in heaven. The feast day for those in heaven is November 1, All Saints Day.  When we speak of the “Church Suffering” (also called the Church Penitent, Ecclesia Penitens; or Church Expectant, Ecclesia Expectans), we believe that this group of believers are the souls in purgatory. The feast day is  All Souls, November 2.

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We have a common, irreducible destiny…in God: let’s live like it


New Year greetings are exchanged between the Holy
Father and the authorities of the City of Rome, the Region of Lazio, and the
Province of Rome. On one level this meeting is a formality, because it is. But
there is a deeper issue at hand: collaborate with others to build up the
Kingdom even when your partner is perhaps secular. As Saint John Bosco did, as
well as countless other good educators, if you want to influence others, then
get to know the other person. Rome’s ecclesial leaders aren’t always on the
same page as the civil leaders, but absenting oneself from the other is no way
to advance the good life. And the Pope realizes this fact. 


He said on January
12, 

“The challenges we are currently facing are numerous and complex, and can
be overcome only if we reinforce our awareness that the destiny of each of us
is linked to that of everyone else. For this reason … acceptance, solidarity
and legality are fundamental values. The present crisis can, then, be an
opportunity for the entire community to verify whether the values upon which
social life is founded have generated a society that is just, fair and united,
or whether it is necessary to undertake a profound rethink in order to
rediscover values which … not only favor economic recovery, but which are
also attentive to promoting the integral good of human beings.”

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Bertone recalls the Church’s particular vocation: being a sign and instrument of God’s love and justice


The other day the Pope’s Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio
Bertone SDB celebrated Mass for the Vatican’s jurists where he noted “with the
beginning of a new judicial year … we are again invited to reflect upon the
relationship between divine and human justice, so that our consciences may be
illuminated and our actions may, as far as possible, correspond to the divine
will and its plan of love for each individual and for the community of man.” Moreover,
Bertone picked up a current theme of Benedict’s these days, that is, that of
justice, in which he called attention to the specific vocation of the Church to
be “a sign and instrument of God’s love [charity], and of His justice which is always an
expression of His merciful love.”

Catholic priest at the South Pole for Christmas

Steve Rossetti at the South Pole Christmas 2011.jpgFather Steve Rossetti, a priest of the Diocese of Syracuse (NY) and a professor of Theology at the Catholic University of America, is spending the Christmas holiday at the South Pole. 

How many people do you know who would opt for a holiday at the South Pole where on a good day it is 24 degrees? On a bad day, you could just be stuck there…. Honestly, I dot know many people who would go on this type of adventure. Father Rossetti’s at the South Pole because of friendship, first with God, then with the workers and with himself. Friendship that says I am a part of something greater than myself.
To me, Father Rossetti is giving us an example of what it means to be self-giving, a gesture of true charity which shows Christ’s concern for others. Going to the South Pole is more than a charitable work. It is a way of being, a way of standing in awe at the Divine Majesty. Why is this important to me? Because it reminds me (the act educates me) to the fact of the Incarnation as a given to human history: we are given.
The story is here.

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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