Tuesday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time

Contemplative prayer may seem like a lofty spirituality accessible only to an enlightened minority, but it is the only way we can truly respond to St. James’ exhortation to joy in the midst of trials.  Contemplative prayer is no more complicated than breathing or gazing upon someone we love.  Contemplative prayer is difficult only when we are unacquainted with obscurity and expect or prefer something obvious.

The Word of God, though extremely nourishing for our faith, still obliges us at some level to plunge into obscurity.  The only obvious thing that can directly and immediately develop our faith is the suffering due to trials.  We don’t need to go out looking for trials, they are already present in our daily lives:  I can experience my life, my habits, my sins as a burden;  I can also experience other people as a burden: responsibility, injustice, rudeness. read more

Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time

Leprosy was a term used for a variety of skin conditions that were more or less serious but all of which were disturbing. Today, the leprosy known as Hansen’s disease is curable by modern medicine so we don’t see it much in the West. In ancient times this disease was a death sentence where people were cast out of society and progressively took on the appearance of corpses as their bodies slowly decomposed. The harshest part of this disease was the fact that it caused the person who contacts it to also become ritually unclean or impure. Not only were they sick, but they were cut off from their people and the worship of God. read more

Monday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time

“He, then, who is quickly roused by wrong makes himself seem deserving of insult, even while he wishes to be shown not to deserve it. He who despises wrongs is better off than he who grieves over them. For he who despises them looks down on them, as though he doesn’t feel them; but he who grieves over them is tormented, just as though he actually felt them.” (Ambrose, DUTIES OF THE CLERGY 1.6.21–22.)

We are conscious of the ones in our lives who accuse us from without.  It is easy to feel ourselves becoming defensive and angry when we are unjustly (or even justly) blamed or accused for doing wrong.  David provides an incredible example of the precept given by St. Peter. Enduring external insult and condemnation humbly while trusting fully in God’s providence and forgiveness train the inner man to stand firm in the face of the inner voices that shame and accuse us.  “Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”  “The accuser of our brothers has been cast out.” read more