The central theme of Pope Saint John’s Paul II’s post-synodal apostolic exhortation, Ecclesia in America, is the encounter with the living Jesus Christ. As he points out, the Second Vatican Council identified a “manifold presence of Christ in the [sacred] liturgy,” and he insists that this presence should be a theme of constant preaching on the part of the Church. Liturgies are guaranteed encounters with the Living Christ because they spring from the will and power of God and not from our efforts. This manifold encounter with Jesus in the liturgy is central to the teaching, to the catechesis, and to the evangelization of Holy Mother Church.READ MORE
Happy (almost) Lent! I pray that this journey for us all is fruitful and leads us closer to Christ.
I remember especially well the six years I spent in seminary formation and how this time grew my appreciation for the Lenten season. Lent was a HUGE deal in the seminary (every year seminarians joked about making "I Love Lent" t-shirts and I usually scowled at them in return). Yet, the special emphasis the seminary culture gave to the penitential nature of this season was an opportunity for my own spiritual growth and helped me to focus on the ways I often drown out the Lord in my own life. One example I remember vividly was how much noise there is in my life. From the radio, television, podcasts, and my phone, I was continuously surrounded by things and people talking at me. Lent, in its simplicity, was a chance for the Lord to speak to me. In the simple and silent character of the Lenten season, the Lord's voice grew louder. However, initially letting go of many things and comforts I enjoyed each day, I began to feel like I was being thrown around like a ship at sea without an anchor. Then, the Lord made Himself known through the silence and intentional focus that I, and the seminary community, gave to Him. I was no longer being thrown around as the Lord became my anchor and sheltered from the storm. This is where the full beauty of Lent made itself known and the Lord drew me closer to Him than I had ever been before (so much so that if they had actually made the t-shirts, I would have been the first in line!).READ MORE