Friday, November 28, 2014

Today's Homily

You may have noticed over the past couple of weeks that the readings are clearly focused on the end of time. John has taken great pains to describe visions that he is seen about the next life in the next world. In the midst of all of this, perhaps the most important observation that John makes is the vision of a new heavens and a new earth. The reason I think that this is so important for us, is that all too often in our lives there are too many instances where we see things that are falling apart. I am not talking simply about physical things, although certainly watching someone age, and experience the inevitable hardships that come with growing older, is certainly quite important.

No, I am referring in so many ways to what we encounter time and time again in our world, throughout all ages of history. It’s not difficult to become overwhelmed by those things that we see occurring in our world. It’s sad in so many ways, that the things that human beings have been struggling with in terms of sin are still in our midst. People still do not get along, we still not learn to share, there are times are we treat people differently for very superficial reasons like the color of their skin, and the world is increasingly becoming a place of great disparity financially and otherwise.

If this is all there is, then indeed we are the saddest of peoples. About is not to suggest that life is miserable. I feel like I’m a pretty happy person. Perhaps you do too. But these events should remind us to focus our attention on the person of God who calls us to this new and extraordinary life. In the Psalms, God tells us that he is doing something new. In today’s reading John sees a vision of a new heavens and a new earth. And certainly the resurrection of Jesus changed everything about what it meant to be a follower of God. There was something far more important to hope for and to hope in because Jesus extends to each of us this tremendous gift of unending and eternal life.

It is important to remember that this newness occurs whether we see it or not. And so, it should be some comfort and consolation to those who may not feel that there is much new, or who may not see much new in their lives, to know that God continues to do these things, even when we are unaware.


Monday, November 24, 2014

PRACTICAL THEOLOGY: New from Ignatius Press

SAN FRANCISCO, CA (November 18, 2014) St. Thomas Aquinas' theoretical and philosophical brilliance were evident in his writings, particularly his masterpiece, the Summa Theologiae. Aquinas also provided personal and practical wisdom in his highly acclaimed work. In his new book, PRACTICAL THEOLOGY: Spiritual Direction From St. Thomas Aquinas, Dr. Peter Kreeft provides 359 pieces of wisdom from the Summa Theologiae, which, Kreeft says, "are literally more valuable than all the kingdoms of this world because they will help you to attain "the one thing needful," or "the greatest good," the ultimate end and purpose and meaning of life.

Kreeft's book is unlike any other on Aquinas in that it provides the most practical analysis of the Summa Theologiae ever written. Aquinas had a reputation as an absent-minded professor, but he provided practical, personal and functional advice that helped his followers, including Kreeft, in their quest for sanity, happiness and union with God.

The 359 gold nuggets Kreeft selected helped him in the struggles of real life, to live in the real world and to grow closer to the Lord. He hopes they do the same for his readers. After each passage directly from Aquinas, Kreeft provides brief spiritual commentary to help explain it and apply it practical, personal, existential, "livable" thoughts.

Kreeft, who is an expert on Aquinas, has framed these readings as answers to questions that people actually ask their spiritual directors. Each answer is taken word for word from Aquinas.

Among the many topics Aquinas and Kreeft cover in PRACTICAL THEOLOGY include:

  • The problem of evil
  • Interpreting the Bible
  • Love vs. knowledge
  • Reconciling justice and mercy
  • Human freedom and divine grace
  • Angels and demons
  • The need for theology
  • Predestination and free will
  • Three kinds of goods

"Peter Kreeft's writings fall into the category of true genius, and this work, PRACTICAL THEOLOGY, may be his opus," says Dan Burke, executive director, of the National Catholic Register. "Not only does Dr. Kreeft make Aquinas" thought more accessible, but he does so in what I believe to be Aquinas" most important gift to the Church, the revelation of truth illumining the path to union with God. If this path isn't quite clear to you, this is the book for you."

More Catholic books.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Stay Grateful, Stay in the Light

I do not know if you have noticed on Facebook, but there is an increasing number of people who are being challenged to be grateful. I have seen three day challenges, seven day challenges and even thirty day challenges. The idea is that for three, seven or thirty consecutive days a person who accepts the challenge is supposed to publicly post on Facebook what they are
grateful for, so that these things are not taken for granted.

I have heard that people who are grateful for things are healthier, and I know that when things are not going so well I do try to identify those things for which I am very grateful. It tends to turn my attention away from my troubles toward blessings I have in my life.

Taking the time to reflect upon those things for which we are grateful is a profitable exercise. It keeps us from taking things for granted. It keeps us from wallowing too much in the negative in life, to focus on what we have, rather than upon what we do not have.

It is interesting that not having what we want or wanting what we do not have is a tremendous cause of suffering in Buddhism. and is something we should strive to overcome. I have even tried to identify how negative things in my life can be things for which I am grateful. A setback at work can be turned into something positive when we express gratitude for having a job. Negative experiences can become positive simply in the way they can help us realize that even in our darkest hour we can find the positive light that gives us hope.


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Catholic Treasury of Prayers and Devotions: Kindle Edition

This treasury of prayers, now released on Kindle, will help you go to the Lord with courage and pray to receive God's grace.

Sometimes, the Pope said of prayers and devotions, one goes to the Lord "to ask something for someone;" one asks for a favor and then goes away. "But that," he warned, "is not prayer," because if "you want the Lord to bestow a grace, you have to go with courage and do what Abraham did, with that sort of tenacity."

This comprehensive treasury of Catholic prayer includes everyday prayers, devotionals, how to pray the rosary, litanies, the Stations of the Cross, Eucharistic prayers, prayers to prepare for confession, prayers to the saints, Marian prayers, family prayers, and more.

From Saint Benedict Press: Prepare the Way