2017 Tops in Catholic Social Media

Recognizing bold and effective evangelization in the new public square

The Fisher’s Net Awards is a way to encourage and recognize churches, ministries, and apostolates who have drawn from the Church’s rich history of using art, design, and technology to reinvent the proclamation of the Gospel for a modern age in the new public square.


TOP BLOGS

Yes, blogging is still a thing. This category recognizes the best Catholic blogs and their bloggity blogging bloggers. Here are the 2017 picks.

Carrots for Michaelmas carrotsformichaelmas.com

Fr. Z’s Blog wdtprs.com/blog

Life Teen lifeteen.com/blog

One Peter Five onepeterfive.com

Our Franciscan Fiat ourfranciscanfiat.wordpress.com

Shameless Popery shamelesspopery.com

Simcha Fisher simchafisher.com

These Stone Walls thesestonewalls.com 


TOP WEBSITES

The internet continues to be the place where people of all walks of life gather to exchange pieces of their lives. We share ideas, pictures, stories, movies, and more there. It is truly the new public square and undoubtedly where the apostles would go to proclaim the Kingdom if they were commissioned today. Here are the best overall 2017 websites.

Church of the Resurrection corlansing.org

EpicPew epicpew.com

EXALT exaltplano.com

Impacting Culture impactingculture.com

Migrants + Refugees migrants-refugees.va

St. John XXIII Catholic Community stjohn23.org

Those Catholic Men thosecatholicmen.com

Word on Fire wordonfire.org 


 

TOP PODCAST

With technology what it is today, anyone can have a ‘radio’ show. If you’ve got interesting things to say or interesting people to ask, this is an amazing way to share your Catholic identity with the world in a time when it’s desperately needed. Here are the 2017 picks.

Catholic Stuff You Should Know catholicstuffpodcast.com

How-to Catholic madetomagnify.com/category/podcast

The Art of Catholic matthewsleonard.com

Catholic Hipster catholicdrinkie.com/hipstercast

Catching Foxes catchingfoxes.fm

Coffee & Pearls sterlingjaquith.com/coffee-and-pearls

The Liturgy Guys liturgicalinstitute.org/the-liturgy-guys

Pints with Aquinas mattfradd.com/pints-with-aquinas

 

His Gift and Our Gift

So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first, be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift. Matthew 5:23-24

In this wonderful season of hope that is fulfilled through the incarnation of God in his Son Jesus, the “Word becoming Flesh”, we joyfully receive the gift that is above all other possible gifts. Yet, in this time of celebration, many broken souls and relationships are trapped in a season of despair and a lack of hope.

As people of faith, what is our task in this world as it relates to reconciling one another? There are so many divisions that exist in this world. Noted priest, author and professor Henri Nouwen, asks us to consider what we intend to give as our gift at a time when we are receiving God’s gift of Jesus. “All these divisions are tragic reflections of our separation from God. The truth that all people belong together as members of one family under God is seldom visible. Our sacred task is to reveal that truth in the reality of everyday life.”

I would suggest we reflect on Henri’s words, and hopefully find that path of reconciliation with those we have hurt, or possibly accompanying others in finding the healing of reconciliation in this season of hope, joy, and peace. In Jesus, God and God’s love “hits the streets.” In this broken world, where can we bring God’s love and reconciliation as our gift?

Reflecting Reflections – Day Nine

St John Abby

Someone has put it memorably: “Nothing is so rare as the moment when we want to be where we are, doing what we are doing.” Attention, being truly present, can transform even the simplest moments of life. The present and what we are doing deserves respect. Our talk gives away how little we prize the present: We ‘catch’ a bus; ‘grab’ a bite to eat; ‘dash off’ a letter or a report; ‘run’ to the store; ‘get through the week.’ But this present moment and place are where God and others are, where real life is. Diana Eck says: “To be aware, alert, attentive is the greatest spiritual challenge we ever face, even the only one.” Could be.

Living Faith

Come to me. Matthew 11:28

How do I come to Jesus? Do I seek to run with the task and fail to be one with him in that task? I know that when I accept his initiation to come, he brings me into a personal relationship with him, where I enter an inner place of peace he has promised all will receive. It is the kind of peace that quiets the mind and heart and surpasses human understanding. It doesn’t tell me that I won’t continue to experience frustration, trials, and suffering, but I know that with him, these burdens become lighter and more bearable.

Henri Nouwen

Then the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat; The calf and the young lion shall browse together, with a little child to guide them.  Isaiah 11:6

The marvelous vision of the peaceable Kingdom, in which all violence has been overcome and all men, women, and children live in loving unity with nature, calls for its realization in our day-to-day lives. We must remind one another constantly of the vision. Whenever it comes alive in us we will find new energy to live it out, right where we are. Instead of making us escape real life, this beautiful vision gets us involved.

Magnificat

Come to me. Matthew 11:28

Ann Voskamp brings another perspective to the above statement: “Jesus will go to impossible lengths to rescue you.” Sin is many things but most importantly it is separation from God. It is a willful movement away from him. And what does God do about this action on our part? He hastens to have us return. He unceasingly calls us back to communion with him through repentance, that opposite path of distancing. Stop running from him – stop – for he seeks to embrace you in his love.

Give Us This Day

In working for the Church, I often find myself fighting to do the good and realize that it’s too much about ‘me.’  As Dr. Carolyn Woo so clearly noted in her service for Catholic Relief Services, we have to put away our pride and anxiety and realize we are not only working for God, but we are also working with God.    Eventually, through prayers of pleading and frustration,

Psalm 127 reminds us that all is in vain if God is not part of our endeavors. When our work or other worries weigh us down, we can learn from the wisdom of St. Pope John XXIII, who at the end of a day would say: “I’ve done the best I could in your service this day, O Lord. I’m going to bed. It’s your church. Take care of it!”

Richard Rohr

How can my life be a reflection of divine love in this time and place? The classic Christian phrase for discipleship—the imitation of Christ—means that we were made by God to become like God, loving all others, loving universally. —Sallie McFague

Jesus told us, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind.” He called us to a presence that is a broader and deeper kind of knowing than just cognitive thinking. Thinking knows things by objectifying them, capturing them as an object of knowledge. But presence knows things by refusing to objectify them; instead, it shares in their very subjectivity. Presence allows full give and take, what Martin Buber called the “I/Thou” relationship with things as opposed to the mere “I/it” relationship. Buber summed it up in his often-quoted phrase: “All real living is meeting.”

Reflecting Reflections – Day Eight

Richard Rohr

Over and over, Jesus lays this path before us. There is nothing to be renounced or resisted. Everything can be embraced, but the catch is to cling to nothing. You let it go. You go through life like a knife goes through a done cake, picking up nothing, clinging to nothing, sticking to nothing.  And . . . you can then throw yourself out, pour yourself out, being able to give it all back, even giving back life itself. That’s the kenotic path in a nutshell. Very, very simple. It only costs everything.

Living Faith

We have seen incredible things today. Luke 5:26

We are rightly amazed when we read or see a miracle occur. Yet far too often, we characterize that action as being something others can do, certainly nothing we could never do, because, after all, it’s Jesus doing that. But we are called to be Jesus. We are called to be his love. Wouldn’t a kind word or action to someone who desperately needs some affirmation of their worthiness in life be something incredible or miraculous to them?

Henri Nouwen

Then the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat; The calf and the young lion shall browse together, with a little child to guide them.  Isaiah 11:6

Jesus the Christ came to realize that vision. The final vision is that not only will all men and women recognize that they are brothers and sisters called to live in unity, but all members of God’s creation will come together in complete harmony. How can you keep the vision of the peaceable kingdom and God’s beloved community alive in your sphere of influence?

Magnificat

Your sins are forgiven. Luke 5:20

Sin is many things but most importantly it is separation from God. It is a willful movement away from him. And what does God do about this action on our part? He hastens to have us return. He unceasingly calls us back to communion with him through repentance, that opposite path of distancing. Stop running from him – stop – for he seeks to embrace you in his love.

The Word Among Us

Here is your God . . . he comes to save you. Isaiah 35:4

God is unconditionally devoted to us and continues to pursue us even when we continue to mess up and distance ourselves from him.  He never abandons us even though that is often our thought. He seeks us and desires us. But that doesn’t always mean he will solve the very thing that we are trapped in that keeps us from being open to him. We need to stop and listen for him.  

Give Us This Day

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. . . . I will trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.
– Thomas Merton

 

Reflecting Reflections – Day Seven

Living Faith

And this is what he proclaimed: “One mightier than I is coming after me. I am not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of his sandals.” Mark 1:7

Transparency for Jesus. John the Baptist was this wonderfully pure and focused messenger of preparing for salvation. History is replete with disciples of Christ who have helped us deepen our understanding and relationship with the Jesus by what they said and how they lived. Who has done that for you? How have you done that for others?

Henri Nouwen

Then the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat; The calf and the young lion shall browse together, with a little child to guide them.  Isaiah 11:6

Jesus the Christ came to realize that vision. The final vision is that not only will all men and women recognize that they are brothers and sisters called to live in unity, but all members of God’s creation will come together in complete harmony. How can you keep the vision of the peaceable kingdom and God’s beloved community alive in your sphere of influence?

Magnificat

A voice cries out In the desert, prepare the way of the LORD!. Isaiah 40:3

The primary condition for a fruitful and rewarding Advent is abandonment and surrender. We must let go of all our mistaken dreams, our conceited poses and arrogant gestures – all the pretenses with which we deceive ourselves and others with. Have you looked in the mirror of your life yet? What is your life preparing for?

The Word Among Us

I have baptized you with water; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit. Mark 1:8

The Holy Spirit has many purposes. He reveals God’s love to us. He helps us understand Scripture. He teaches us how to live as brothers and sisters. He holds the Church together and moves us to work for the kingdom of God. And so much more! How is the Holy Spirit working in your life?   

Give Us This Day

I am not worthy. Mark 1:7

Worthiness. So many of us are challenged to see ourselves as worthy. John, the great messenger for the coming of the savior, Jesus, explains the inexpressible gift that was coming to all humankind – Christ’s gift of himself. While none is worthy of this wholly unmerited gift, it should, however, be the most precious gift that we seek in our lives. How do you value the gift of Jesus Christ in your life?

Richard Rohr

Kenosis, or self-emptying, is revealed in the Trinity. The Cappadocian Fathers of the fourth century saw that God the Father, who is Love, completely empties God’s self into the Son; the Son empties into the Spirit; and the Spirit empties into the Father. Incarnation flows from this kenosis that is inherent to God’s nature. Jesus’ entire life demonstrates how God loves unconditionally and selflessly.

Jesus had only one “operational mode.” In whatever life circumstance, Jesus always responded with the same motion of self-emptying—or to put it another way, of the same motion of descent: going lower, taking the lower place, not the higher. We as Christians, need to get back to the foundations and the One we follow, Jesus Christ, through a practice of self-emptying and incarnation. These are both key to a deeper connection with our faith.

Reflecting Reflections – Day Six

Living Faith

Though the Lord may give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself any more, but your eyes shall see your Teacher. And when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left, your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.’ Isaiah 30:20-21

We are challenged to always follow the Lord’s way, especially in times of difficulty. In these times, when the wind is fiercely in our face, we struggle and battle to get through it on our own. But the Lord is telling us to lean into him by simply turning our back to the wind, and feeling him behind us, pushing us along, ever so gently.

Henri Nouwen

It is a land the Lord your God cares for; the eyes of the Lord your God are continually on it from the beginning of the year to the end.  Deuteronomy 11: 12 (NIV)

Both Henri and Pope Francis speak eloquently of how we are brothers and sisters with all of creation. How do you care for and reflect the beauty and majesty of God’s creation?

Magnificat

At the sight of the crowds, his heart was moved with pity. Matthew 9:36

God bends down to care for the lowly. He sees and cares for all of us. He seeks to transform us in and through his love. In this way, he became human and came to us, in love, as a child in need of love. Who are you reaching out and loving today?

The Word Among Us

Go to the lost sheep. Matthew 10:6

How many are lost in this world? What are they searching for? Where can they find true happiness? These real questions are surrounding so many in this world. Today’s reading is asking us to both tell our story of our joy and happiness, and to also be that example of Christ love to others.  

Give Us This Day

The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few. Matthew 10:37

Jesus is not only calling the disciples, he is calling us! To do God’s work, we must be open to being guided and nourished by the Spirit of God.

In a world that is despairing, in a world where violence and hatred have reared their ugly heads, what work are we called to do so that the love of God reigns? What preparation do we need to bring healing to a sin-sick world? Through prayer and being open to the Spirit, we are being prepared for the work of making a better world.

Richard Rohr

Love is the outflowing way that we must relate to God and to everything [because everything flows from God] and the outflowing way we must relate to each individual person.

Practicing Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, and Right Diligence expands our realm of conscious freedom to choose love. God cannot and will not give us any gift that we do not want and freely choose—usually again and again.

Reflecting Reflections – Day Five

Living Faith

After the man, Adam, had eaten of the tree, the LORD God called to the man and asked him, “Where are you?” He answered, “I heard you in the garden; but I was afraid, because I was naked, so I hid myself. Genesis 3:9-10

We just finished taking our second graders through their first reconciliation. It is always a beautiful time as you watch them go through the natural hesitancy and fear as they are unsure of the how they will ‘perform’ in the process and no matter how much you remind them of the love that will be displayed by the priest, fearful of having to tell someone they sinned. Isn’t the behavior of Adam very reminiscent for today’s adults? Don’t we shy away from reconciliation because we have a hard time acknowledging our failures in front of someone else? We have to stop hiding and believe in the grace that awaits us in reconciliation.

Henri Nouwen

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away.  Revelation 21: 1 (NIV)

Our final homecoming involves not just ourselves and our fellow human beings but all of creation. The full freedom of the children of God is to be shared by the whole earth, and our complete renewal in the resurrection includes the renewal of the universe. That is the great vision of God’s redeeming work through Christ. Does God’s promise of a “final homecoming” for you and all of creation give you hope?

Magnificat

Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word. Luke 1:38

The Gospel shows us the Blessed Virgin as a perfect model of purity, humility, candor, simplicity, obedience and lively faith. Following her example of obedience to God, we can learn to serve delicately without being mindless. In Mary, we don’t find the slightest trace of the attitude of the foolish virgins who obey thoughtlessly. Our Lady listens attentively to what God wants, ponders what she doesn’t fully understand and asks about what she doesn’t know. Then she gives herself completely to doing the divine will. The Blessed Virgin shows us that obedience to God is not subservient.

The Word Among Us

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 1:3

Holy Scripture very often invites us to praise God our Lord. This is not a matter only of verbal praise as our actions should prove that we mean what we say. St. Augustine affirms this: “He who does good with his hands praises the Lord, and he who confesses the Lord with his mouth praises the Lord. Praise him by your actions.” What better example do we have today than Mary. She shows us humble trust in God yet a willingness to question Him. We see a reflective heart that embraces God’s answers wholeheartedly. We don’t see perfect peace, but we do see perfect faith.

Give Us This Day

God has looked with favor on his lowly servant.

There is truly so little historically that we know about Mary. But what we do know about her life was the purity of her consent to the will of God. How much more would we need to know from her life than that? How many of us would give anything to be half as capable as the Blessed Mother is serving God in this way?

St John’s Abby

Otherwise, you might yield to grief, like those who have no hope.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-14

The young are shocked by the death of people their own age in accidents, from suicide, even from cancer. The elderly hear daily of the deaths of people they’ve known. Grief at such deaths is only appropriate. Those who have no hope of eternal life certainly are in a different situation than the believer. But for the believer, too, hope in the resurrection cannot simply erase the loss we feel. While we celebrate funerals full of hope and even joy in the resurrection, we cannot bypass the time necessary for grief. Beliefs do not simply obliterate emotions.

Reflecting Reflections – Day Four

Henri Nouwen

The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!”  And let the one who hears say, “Come!”  Whoever is thirsty, let them come; and whoever wishes, let them take the free gift of the water of life. Revelation 22:17 (NIV)

One thing we know for sure about our God: Our God is a God of the living, not of the dead. God is life. God is love. God is beauty. God is goodness. God is truth. God doesn’t want us to die. God wants us to live. Our God, who loves us from eternity to eternity, wants to give us life for eternity. How can you give your full ‘yes!’ to God’s love today?

Living Faith

Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. Matthew 7:21

Did you ever wonder who Jesus was talking about? He is speaking to those who say or do something in the Lord’s name but their hearts tell the Lord something else. If we publically profess our faith in the creed but our hearts have never been truly given over to the Lord and that intimate relationship established, then our profession of Jesus as Lord is not a true submission to his lordship and our relationship and profession are out of alignment.

Magnificat

Thy will be done.

Thy kingdom come as if he didn’t come. But the kingdom of God has come, since you have obtained his grace. For he himself says: The Kingdom of God is within you.

Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. By the blood of Christ, all things were pacified both in heaven and on earth; heaven is hollowed; the devil is cast down. He turns there, where the man also is whom he deceived. Thy will be done, that is. let there be peace on earth as there is in heaven.” – St. Ambrose

The Word Among Us

The Lord is God, and he has given us light. Psalm 118:27

Light gives us insight. If we are irritable with someone and possibly hurt them, the light of God can show us the root of that irritation and also show us the pathway of love that may have been hidden but now changes the way you look at that person. What has the light of God shown you in the areas of those you may have hurt? Advent is a wonderful time to seek reconciliation.    

Give Us This Day

The Paradox and the Promise

Advent reveals our search for Jesus. We all receive the Word, sometimes with deflecting hearts and hardened attitudes. Jesus invites us to be humble enough to accept the rock-like nature of love, forgiveness, and peace. This is the promise of Jesus, the paradox that forms our lives. We are to become humble believers in Advent. When we follow out of our need and longing, we are certain to find our way to the manger again, where hope for our lives becomes a sure thing.
Fr. Ronald Raab

Richard Rohr

[We need] a Christian identity that is both strong and kind. By strong I mean vigorous, vital, durable, motivating, faithful, attractive, and defining. . . . By kind I mean something far more robust than mere tolerance, political correctness, or coexistence: I mean benevolent, hospitable, accepting, interested, and loving, so that the stronger our Christian faith, the more goodwill we will feel and show toward those of other faiths, seeking to understand and appreciate their religion from their point of view. —Brian McLaren

How can we learn to draw from the deep aquifer, the common Source of Love for all religions, without denying the goodness of our own small spring? This is the marriage of unity and diversity.

Reflecting Reflections – Day Three

St John’s Abby

“God heals the broken-hearted,
and binds up all their wounds.
God fixes the number of the stars;
and calls each one by its name.”
Psalm 147

As we often struggle with resolving life’s difficulties, we seem as Christians to ignore or disbelieve the words of the psalm that God truly carries about our individual lives. How can a God of such immensity really be concerned about me and my worries? But the incarnation tells the true answer to that doubt. The existence of Jesus Christ, the Son of God in human flesh, tells us that God does care about our problems. Turn it over to Him, place your cares and worries at the feet of the Lord.

Henri Nouwen

“Surely this is our God; we trusted in him, and he saved us.  This is the Lord, we trusted in him; let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation.”  Isaiah 25: 9 (NIV)

In the transition from earthly life to eternal life, the whole concept of time becomes mute. beyond death, there is no before or after, no past or present. The resurrection of the body is separated from time. For us who still live in time, it is important not to act as if the new life in Christ is something we can comprehend or explain. God’s heart and mind are greater than ours. All that is asked of us is trust. When it comes to matters of life and death, do you find comfort in knowing that “All that is asked of us is trust?”

Living Faith

“Jesus said to them, “How many loaves do you have?’ “Seven,’ they replied, “and a few fish.’ ” Matthew 15:34

A beautiful thought today: do we practice the reliance on Jesus that the early disciples did? The disciples provided a small amount of fish and bread and Jesus miraculously multiplied them to feed the thousands. What small and insufficient thing can we offer Jesus that we will trust Him to work miracles within our lives?

Magnificat

My heart is moved with pity” Matthew 15:32

“Remember that I raced in love to be close
and found you and put my bleeding arms around you;
and now I feed you,
now with bread that is me and wine become me,
and we are so close now;
don’t try to imagine, just remember,
in all your time now
this is my body my blood,
my life my soul my breath,
my pure love that will never die,
And it is all
in human hearts (yours)
from human words (mine).” – Fr. Harry Cronin

The Word Among Us

“How many loaves do you have? Matthew 15:34

An interesting aspect of the reading today details the disciples bringing their resources to the Lord and he did wondrous things with them. And just as we gather today at Mass, the Lord does not desire us to merely be spectators. We can come hungry for His Word and thirsty for His touch. Do you know that when the offertory is brought forth, its intention is to represent the real needs of those gathered? We should actively participate in bringing our gifts and needs to Him during the offertory. Then after Jesus has transformed the gifts, we can come to the altar and receive more than enough to satisfy us.

Give Us This Day

“I do not want to send them away hungry” Matthew 15:32

“Maybe we think that Jesus didn’t really multiply the fishes and loaves; he just inspired the people to share the food they’d brought. We like to explain the Bible away, to turn every miracle into metaphor, draining the Scriptures of their power and meaning.  The point isn’t to reduce the idea of miracle, but to expand it. The point isn’t to drain the Bible of its power, but to show that this power is present in our time, too, in every moment.

In Jesus, the difference between matter and spirit has been forever transcended. What’s miraculous isn’t the walking on water, but the water itself, the lake, the Sea of Galilee, thirteen miles long and eight miles wide, with the sun rising over it in the mornings, and every lake . . . because God is everywhere, lovely in ten thousand places. The miracle is life itself, the ordinary.” – Deacon Chris Anderson

Richard Rohr

As Thomas Merton reflected, “We are already one.” We just need to start becoming what we already are. —James Finley

God is otherness and diversity, a pluriformity. The basic problem of “the one and the many” is overcome in God’s very nature. God is a mystery of relationship, and the truest relationship is love. Infinite Love preserves unique truths, protecting boundaries while simultaneously bridging them. While these two tasks seem initially like opposites, and impossible to reconcile, oneing is God’s essential task and the goal of all authentic spirituality.

Reflecting Reflections – Day Two

Henri Nouwen

“Father, into your hands I commit my Spirit” Luke 23:46

Letting go of someone we love can be incredibly painful. How do remain faithful to His will and yet understand at a certain point it’s time to let go and let God? We will be faced in life with one of the toughest decision ever, to say: “Do not be afraid … I love you, God loves you … it’s time for you to go in peace. … I won’t cling to you any longer … I set you free to go home … go gently, go with my love.” Saying this from our heart is a true gift. It is the greatest gift love can give. But it’s hard, really hard, It’s only through the strength I receive from Him that I have the courage to be this messenger.

Living Faith

“But a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom.” Isaiah 11:1

The imagery suggests the need for a new beginning, to spring from the very origin from which David and his dynasty arose. That beginning is found in the birth of the Jesus. He is the hope we have been waiting for. Is there something in your life that seems dried up? Think again! Look at all of the enemies of your hope and then rejoice in the life that is to come.

Magnificat

“Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike.” Luke 10:21

The transformative nature of coming to Christ is a wonderful picture of how we obtain that childlike nature. The cruelly voracious individual is made meek, the angry man into gentleness, the fierce into mildness, the proud is now humble, and the annoyed is now pleased. Help me Lord to incline myself towards you today that I might be all that is good and gracious in the childlike.

The Word Among Us

“The spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him.” Isaiah 11:2

This reading brings back the words of Confirmation and the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. I am particularity drawn to the gift of Fortitude or Courage. The dictionary defines courage as the ability to confront fear in the face of pain, danger, uncertainty, or intimidation. Christians identify courage as the virtue of fortitude, which the Catechism of the Catholic Church says “enables one to conquer fear, even fear of death, and to face trials and persecutions.”

When Archbishop Oscar Romero spoke out for the poor of El Salvador, he knew he was putting his own life in danger, and he was strengthened by the courage that is a gift of the Holy Spirit. What are we challenged with in our lives? How can we call upon the gift of courage to strengthen our faith in stepping out to serve the least, the lost, and the forgotten?

Give Us This Day

“The calf and the young lion shall browse together, with a little child to guide them” Isaiah 11:6

As Pablo Picasso wisely remarked late in his life, “It takes a long time to become young.” As I recently witnessed the first steps of our first grandchild, I was amazed at the wonderment that filled my heart as I watched his joyful bounding in the garden. Three days into the season of Advent and our readings remind us of the need to recall our child nature. To once again be led by an unflinching and unwavering trust in the Lord. Let us, with childlike wonder, embrace the unconditional love of God.

Richard Rohr

“Putting on the mind of Christ” . . . [is] what we are actually supposed to be doing on this path: not just admiring Jesus, but acquiring his consciousness. Cynthia Bourgeault

When we seek what is truest in our own tradition, we discover we are one with those who seek what is truest in their tradition. There is a point of convergence where we meet each other and we recognize each other as seekers of awakening.

In Scripture St. Paul writes, “May the mind that is in Christ Jesus also be in you” (Phil 2:5). This is the truest depth of our Christian tradition, what it truly means to be a disciple of Jesus. We are called to recognize, surrender to, and ultimately be identified with the mystery of God utterly beyond all concepts, all words, and all designations. This is our destiny.