Tag Archives: Catholic

Spiritual habits recommended by Saint Pio

Here are five spiritual habits Saint Padre Pio promoted to Catholics in their practice of the Faith.


“Confession is the soul’s bath. You must go at least once a week. I do not want souls to stay away from confession more than a week. Even a clean and unoccupied room gathers dust; return after a week and you will see that it needs dusting again!”


“It is quite true, we are not worthy of such a gift. However, to approach the Blessed Sacrament in a state of mortal sin is one thing, and to be unworthy is quite another. All of us are unworthy, but it is He who invites us. It is He who desires it. Let us humble ourselves and receive Him with a heart contrite and full of love.”


Someone once told Padre Pio that he thought a nightly examination of conscience was pointless because he knew what was sin as it was committed. To this, Padre Pio replied, “That is true enough. But every experienced merchant in this world not only keeps track throughout the day of whether he has lost or gained on each sale. In the evening, he does the bookkeeping for the day to determine what he should do on the morrow. It follows that it is indispensable to make a rigorous examination of conscience, brief but lucid, every night.”


“The harm that comes to souls from the lack of reading holy books makes me shudder…. What power spiritual reading has to lead to a change of course, and to make even worldly people enter into the way of perfection.”


“If you do not succeed in meditating well, do not give up doing your duty. If the distractions are numerous, do not be discouraged; do the meditation of patience, and you will still profit. Decide upon the length of your meditation, and do not leave your place before finishing, even if you have to be crucified. Why do you worry so much because you do not know how to meditate as you would like? Meditation is a means to attaining God, but it is not a goal in itself. Meditation aims at the love of God and neighbor. Love God with all your soul without reserve, and love your neighbor as yourself, and you will have accomplished half of your meditation.”

Calling yourself Catholic?

12 Apostles of JesusIn CCD the other day a question we hear from time-to-time: why do the followers of Jesus call themselves “Catholic”?

The first written reference to the term “Catholic” is found in the early days of the second century with Saint Ignatius of Antioch, who as bishop, was arrested and brought to Rome by armed guards. This was the time of persecution of diverse practice of religion. Before his martyrdom, he wrote a letter to his fellow Christians in Smyrna (the city of Izmir in modern-day Turkey) in which he said, “Where the bishop is present, there is the Catholic Church.” Hence, the word “Catholic” comes from the Greek root meaning “universal.”

The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that the Church is catholic because “The Church is catholic: she proclaims the fullness of the faith. She bears in herself and administers the totality of the means of salvation. She is sent out to all peoples. She speaks to all men. She encompasses all times. She is “missionary of her very nature” (868).

Traditional Catholicism has virtue

In an April 2012 Wall Street Journal article by Anne Hendershott and Christopher White, “Traditional Catholicism is Winning” the authors calmly present the data of what is happening in the various sectors of the Church that are prospering, that is, thriving, in an authentic way. Clear teaching and beautiful liturgical practice leads to human flourishing. As I am fond of saying, communion with the Divine Majesty leads to one’s greater freedom in Christ Jesus.

Pairing the word “traditional” with Catholicism gives some people the hives. Knee jerk reactions to all sorts of things happen and the reasonable and the holy are marginalized. The trouble is that as Catholics we’ve been sloppy in living the gift of Catholic faith and we’ve been too easy with regard to the manner in which we live it. In short, we’ve experienced  these past years a lack of coherence in the areas of what we believe, how we pray and how we live. It all has to hang together in an authentic way. Otherwise the faith becomes moralism –lifeless.

It is true that we have to be very clear on what we mean, how we live the faith, and why we do what propose to do. Remember that Catholicism bridges the gap between faith and reason; it does not abandon the mind, nor does it rely merely on liturgical practice. Catholic faith is totality of reality, revealed and natural.

The authors of the article say,

They are attracted to the philosophy, the art, the literature and the theology that make Catholicism countercultural. They are drawn to the beauty of the liturgy and the church’s commitment to the dignity of the individual. They want to be contributors to that commitment—alongside faithful and courageous bishops who ask them to make sacrifices.


Cardinal Francis George, the longtime leader of the Chicago archdiocese, once gave a homily that startled the faithful by pronouncing liberal Catholicism “an exhausted project . . . parasitical on a substance that no longer exists.” Declaring that Catholics are at a “turning point” in the life of the church in this country, the cardinal concluded that the bishops must stand as a “reality check for the apostolic faith.”

Read the whole article. You will want to read it, and reflect –and then do your part.

Tradition implies uncompromising and total faithfulness to apostolic preaching

Sometimes others can reflect back to us our own perduring mission and charism given by the Spirit. Here Orthodox theologian Father John Meyendorff gives a trajectory for us to comprehend, and to recover.

“. . . all true civilizations have discovered that the energy of youth should not be immediately directed to action, but should first given the opportunity to learn at the school of experience of others, in order to benefit future responsible service from the wisdom of the past. In the Orthodox Church this rather obvious truth is not simply matter of common sense. It has absolute, theological dimension, because we believe that there is no church without Tradition. The Orthodox faith is not a sect improvised by an enthusiastic preacher in the American Bible-belt; it is the catholic faith of the Apostles, the Fathers, the councils, the saints of all ages, and there is no way in which one can live it, or preach it, before learning first and becoming rooted in Holy Tradition. This requires responsible effort and patience. To bypass this responsible process, by simplified “super-Orthodox” heresy-hunting, by growing of beard and hair, or the formal preservation of the nineteenth-century liturgical minutiae would be caricature of traditionalism. Indeed – as anyone cognizant of the early Church, or of St Basil the Great, or of Photius of Constantinople, or of Orthodox historical and theological literature of the last two centuries knows – one cannot preserve Holy Tradition by freezing it in forms and formulae of one particular historical moment. If one does that, one cuts oneself from the past, as well as from the living responsibility of the present: the Russian Old Believers are a tragic example of this. Holy Tradition implies uncompromising and total faithfulness to the apostolic preaching, unchanging, but also living and saving. It alone teaches how to avoid the pitfalls – so typical of Protestantism – of fundamentalism and liberalism. It alone allows us to separate not only Truth from falsehood, but also the essential from secondary. Maintained by the succession of bishops, it also requires knowledge and discernment by all. In our youthful enthusiasm to build the Church in this country, let us build the Church catholic – which is two thousand years old – and fight the dangers of ignorant amnesia.”

John Meyendorff. Witness to the World (Crestwood, NY: St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1987),192-193.

Robert Barron’s Catholicism to be shown in New York in 2012

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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]yahoo.com.
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