Saint Aloysius Gonzaga, Religious

The Lord’s prayer is not just a formula.  Indeed, Jesus Himself just finished rebuking those who multiply their words thinking that sheer quantity is what will get them a hearing before God.  The Lord’s prayer is truly prayed by a heart that has allowed itself to resonate profoundly with the different sentiments and petitions contained therein.  So the first step in learning how to pray the Lord’s prayer is actually understanding what each of the lines means:

“Our Father” – Our God is not Master, nor is He Judge, nor is He Supervisor or Babysitter.  Our God is not Mother, nor is He Friend or Buddy.  Fatherhood is a relationship to a being from whom we have received life, and so long as a man continues to give life he is truly a father.  The life that God the Father gives us is something we call Grace, that Grace is nothing less than a share in His own Life.  We continue to receive that grace to the extent that we allow God to exercise His Fatherhood upon us.  The first statement of the Lord’s prayer takes us immediately to the core of Christianity.  Our God is the True Father. read more

Wednesday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time

Sketch by Brie Schulze

The prophet Elijah is one of very few people said to have been assumed into heaven.  There is of course the Blessed Virgin Mary, some speak of Moses, others of Saint John the Apostle.  The only one clearly indicated in the scriptures is the assumption of Elijah.  Not only is it a unique occurrence, it is also fairly dramatic with blazing horses and chariot.  As Elijah is taken up into heaven, he leaves everything behind – even the prophet’s mantle.  Even the amazing office of prophet is useless and of little importance in heaven.  When we come before God, we will appear in all our miserable plainness.  We will be naked in our broken personhood before the majesty of perfection itself.  The only light that will shine from our being is that light of faith and trust in God’s mercy that He Himself planted in our hearts.  The more we’ve trusted in that mercy in this life, the brighter we will shine at the moment of judgment. read more

Saturday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time

Elijah and Elisha

Elisha’s initiation into the prophetic way of life sends a powerful message about the first criteria for bearing credible witness.  When Elisha asks Elijah if he can return to bid farewell to his kin, Elijah gives the cryptic response, “Go, return, for what have I done to you?”  On the one hand, Elijah seems to say that Elisha is free to do as he pleases – on the other hand Elijah seems to caution him to consider what it means to be placed under the prophet’s mantle.  It’s as though Elijah is saying, “Why do you look to me, a mere man, to instruct you according to the yoke that now we both bear?  We are driven by another!  Of myself, I have done nothing to you – it is Yahweh Himself who has placed a grave responsibility on your shoulders.  If you would return to your family I would not stop you, for surely you would not return to them unless Yahweh Himself sends you.”  Elisha’s farewell to his parents is prophetic indeed.  He sacrifices both his wealth and his means to procure it in one act as his oxen become nourishment for the people.  The renouncement and detachment of the prophet bring true nourishment to the people by exposing the Word of God to their minds and hearts. read more