The Path of Life

The Path of Life

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Light and Life

In today’s first reading at Mass (Isaiah 49:8-15; Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Lent), the prophet promises God’s people that they have not been forgotten. He assures them that—despite all apparent indications to the contrary—God regards them with the tender affection of a mother; he will save them, protect and provide for them, lead and comfort them. They have not been forsaken.

“In a time of favor,” Isaiah foretells, God will say to the prisoners, “Come out!” To those in darkness, “Show yourselves!”

In the most immediate and literal sense, God kept this promise. The Babylonian exiles to whom the prophet was speaking were freed and allowed to return to Jerusalem.

However, God’s tender affection did not end then and there. Isaiah’s words are true in a much more timeless, figurative sense. They apply to us today just as much as they did to the ancient Israelites.

In today’s Gospel reading (John 5:17-30), Jesus echoes the prophet’s words: “The hour is coming and is now here when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. … The hour is coming in which all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and will come out.”

Later in the same Gospel (John 11), Jesus demonstrates that he was not kidding around. In raising his friend Lazarus from the dead, he fulfills Isaiah’s prophecy once again by shouting: “Lazarus, come out!” And when the dead man stumbles out of his tomb, wrapped up in burial cloths, Jesus tells the astonished crowed, “Untie him and let him go.”

More is going on here than a simple prefiguring of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead and his promise that his disciples will share in that resurrection (though that is certainly part of it). Resurrection and new life are not only things we await while enduring the trials of this life – some kind of future prize. They also are available to us here and now – just as they were to the Babylonian exiles and to Lazarus. As Jesus says in John 10, “I came so that they [all of us] might have life and have it more abundantly.”

In one way or another, we are all imprisoned in darkness or entombed by life-stripping circumstances, attitudes, or habits. To each one of us, Jesus calls: “Sue…Gary…Richard…Alicia…Theresa…Terrelle…Michael…Candace……Come out!”

This Lenten season, here are some good questions to ask ourselves: “Do I hear his voice? Am I willing to step out of the darkness and into the light—into life? Can I not only respond to the voice of Jesus calling, but also allow others to untie me and let me go—so that I, in turn, may then do the same for the other Lazaruses of this world?”

As St. Paul writes (2 Corinthians 6:2), “Now is a very acceptable time; now is the day of salvation.”

Monday, February 19, 2018

Mending what is broken

The season of Lent, writes Ann Cavera, is a time for rediscovering the lost art of mending what has been broken. These days, there is much in need of mending -- in those around us, and within ourselves. It is necessarily a slow, painstaking, and counter-cultural process. But well worth the effort. Read her entire reflection on Saint Meinrad Archabbey's Echoes from the Bell Tower blog by clicking here. It is worth prayerfully considering this Lent -- and beyond.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Sunday, December 24, 2017

From our house to yours ...

Gingerbread replica of the Archabbey Church
constructed by Brs. Kolbe, Joel, and John Mark


O Emmanuel

Sunday, December 17, 2017

The new birth of Advent

Unless Christ, by being made in the likeness of sinful flesh, had taken on himself the nature of our first parents, unless he had stooped to be one in substance with his mother while sharing the Father’s substance and, being alone free from sin, united our nature to his, the whole human race would still be held captive under the dominion of Satan. The Conqueror’s victory would have profited us nothing if the battle had been fought outside our human condition. But through this wonderful blending, the mystery of new birth shone upon us, so that through the same Spirit by whom Christ was conceived and brought forth, we too might be born again in a spiritual birth.
-- Pope St. Leo the Great

Thursday, November 23, 2017

True thanksgiving

Beloved, how blessed and wonderful are God’s gifts! There is life everlasting, joy in righteousness, truth in freedom, faith, confidence, and self-control in holiness. And these are the gifts that we can comprehend; what of all the others that are being prepared for those who look to him? Only the Creator, the Father of the ages, the all-holy, knows their grandeur and their loveliness. And so we should strive to be found among those who wait for him so that we may share in these promised gifts. And how is this to be, beloved brothers? It will come about if by our faith our minds remain fixed on God; if we aim at what is pleasing and acceptable to him, if we accomplish what is in harmony with his faultless will and follow the path of truth, rejecting all injustice, viciousness, covetousness, quarrels, malice and deceit.

This is the path, beloved, by which we find our salvation, Jesus Christ, the high priest of our sacrifices, the defender and ally in our helplessness. It is through him that we gaze on the highest heaven, through him we can see the reflection of God’s pure and sublime countenance, through him the eyes of our hearts have been opened, through him our foolish and darkened understanding opens toward the light, and through him the Lord has willed that we should taste everlasting knowledge. He reflects God’s majesty and is as much superior to angels as the name he has obtained is more excellent than theirs.

Let us then serve in his army, brothers, following his blameless commands with all our might. The great cannot exist without the small, nor the small without the great; they blend together to their mutual advantage. Take the body, for example. The head is nothing without the feet, just as the feet are nothing without the head. The smallest parts of our body are necessary and valuable to the whole. All work together and are mutually subject for the preservation of the whole body.

Our entire body, then, will be preserved in Christ Jesus, and each of us should be subject to his neighbor in accordance with the grace given to each. The stronger should care for the weak, and the weak should respect the stronger. The wealthy should give to the poor, and the poor man should thank God that he has sent him someone to supply his needs. The wise should manifest their wisdom not in words but in good deeds, and the humble should not talk about their own humility but allow others to bear witness to it.

Since, therefore, we have all this from him, we ought to thank him for it all. Glory to him for ever. Amen.
--Pope St. Clement I
(whose memorial is honored today)