This week’s article is uniquely positioned on the liturgical and secular calendars. Today is the Feast of the Holy Family, while tomorrow we celebrate the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. Tomorrow is also the Feast of the Circumcision — the eighth day after Jesus’ birth — marked with variable emphasis throughout Church history and other parts of the world. Additionally, tomorrow is New Year’s Day and the World Day of Peace, as declared by Pope St. Paul VI in 1968.READ MORE
We have now reached the fourth Sunday of Advent, as well as Christmas Eve. We will finish our series on the Beatitudes with a reflection on the final two, and thus enter the Christmas season with a renewed desire to live truly happy lives by following the formula Jesus gave us.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” -Matthew 5:9
Before we understand peace, we should clarify what it is not. Peace is not merely the absence of conflict. Today's world tells us that we ought to be quiet when we disagree, "live and let live,” or “go along to get along.” To outwardly reject sin as such is considered judgmental, combative, and agitating. However, when we stay silent for the sake of not rocking the boat, is that authentic peace? People or situations can have no outward signs of fighting or conflict while still experiencing strife and tension under the surface.READ MORE
We have now reached the halfway point of Advent and thus, of our examination of the Beatitudes as well. I hope that since the Beatitudes are a guide to happiness, that these reflections are adding to your Advent in a way that makes your heart receptive to the coming of Jesus Christ at Christmas. Now, let's look at the fifth and sixth beatitudes.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” – Matthew 5:7
Last week, we addressed the beatitude that promised satisfaction for those who seek justice and righteousness, which in and of themselves are good things when rightly ordered. However, while we have justice on one side of the coin, we must balance it with mercy on the other, because God himself is both justice and mercy. If justice existed without mercy, none of us would be safe from getting what we truly deserve for our sins. If our sense of righteousness against our enemies is to be satisfied, then so will theirs. This reality ought to tug at our heartstrings and stir up compassion and mercy in us so that we can see the suffering of others, bodily or spiritual, and desire that they be alleviated from their pain.READ MORE
As we find ourselves now on the Second Sunday of Advent, we will explore how the second two beatitudes can help our hearts become more receptive to the coming of Jesus at Christmas.
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” – Matthew 5:5
Meekness is a disposition that restrains our desire to overcome obstacles blocking our access to pleasure. For example, we may use our anger as motivation to defeat what is in our way. A sense of power or a competitive nature also inclines us to go after what we want or to keep someone else from having it. While these human tendencies are normal and not sinful in and of themselves (life demands that we must surmount certain difficulties to achieve inherently good things) they can quickly be taken too far when left unchecked.READ MORE
Advent begins this week, and we will spend time preparing our hearts for the coming of Jesus at Christmas. As such, I will provide a four-week series reflecting on how the beatitudes help us to become more childlike and receptive to the coming of the Word of God as a child himself. These reflections draw inspiration from Heart of the Gospel: How the Beatitudes Show Us God’s Plan for Happiness, by Sebastian Walshe, O. Praem.READ MORE