Posted by: matt25 | March 20, 2016

Not Palm Branches, But Ourselves

Let us open ourselves to the Divine Love, throwing ourselves into that ocean of mercy! Trusting, surrendering, believing and receiving the grace which Jesus longs for us to accept. If today you hear His voice, harden not your heart.


“Let us go together to meet Christ on the Mount of Olives. Today he returns from Bethany and proceeds of his own free will toward his holy and blessed passion… He who came down from heaven to raise us from the depths of sin, to raise us with himself, now comes of his own free will to make his journey to Jerusalem. He comes without pomp or ostentation. 
Let us run to accompany him as he hastens toward Jerusalem, and imitate those who met him then, not by covering his path with garments, olive branches or palms, but by being humble and by trying to live as he would wish. Then we shall be able to receive the Word at his coming, and God, whom no limits can contain, will be within us.
In his humility Christ entered the dark regions of our fallen world and he is glad that he became so humble for our sake, glad that he came and lived among us and shared in our nature in order to raise us up again to himself. And even though we are told that he has now ascended above the highest heavens—the proof, surely, of his power and godhead—his love for man will never rest until he has raised our earthbound nature from glory to glory, and made it one with his own in heaven.
So let us spread before his feet, not garments or soulless olive branches, which delight the eye for a few hours and then wither, but ourselves, clothed in his grace, or rather, clothed completely in him. We who have been baptized into Christ must ourselves be the garments that we spread before him. Now that the crimson stains of our sins have been washed away in the saving waters of baptism and we have become white as pure wool, let us present the conqueror of death, not with mere branches of palms but with the real rewards of his victory. Let our souls take the place of the welcoming branches as we join today in the children’s holy song: Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Blessed is the king of Israel.”

From a sermon by Saint Andrew of Crete, bishop (Oratio 9 in ramos palmarum: PG 97, 990-994)

Posted by: matt25 | February 26, 2016

A hypothetical election showdown by the

A hypothetical election showdown by the numbers, if you pay attention to polls. 5 of 44 polls over the last 8 months show Trump leading Clinton. In 37 of the 44 she soundly defeats him.
Clinton has led Cruz for 5 months straight, but now he has caught up.
Rubio trailed Clinton until December. He led led since & currently leads 47.5% to 42.8% edge. (numbers pulled from an email sent by Catholic Vote)

Posted by: matt25 | February 25, 2016

Stop Christian Genocide

ISIS campaign of horror against Christians and other minorities is nothing new because Genocide is nothing new.  Genocide is defined by the United Nations in Article 2 of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (1948) as “any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part ; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; [and] forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.”  

There can be no doubt that genocide against Christians is happening and it must be opposed.  Extensive and irrefutable evidence supports a finding that the so-called Islamic State’s mistreatment of Iraqi and Syrian Christians, as well as Yazidis and other vulnerable minorities, meets this definition. This evidence includes:

• assassinations of Church leaders
• mass murders and deportations
• torture
• kidnapping for ransom
• sexual enslavement and systematic rape of girls and women
• forcible conversions to Islam
• destruction of Christian churches, monasteries, cemeteries, and artifacts

ISIS’s own public statements take “credit” for the murder of Christians precisely because they are Christian and express its intent to wholly eradicate Christian and other minority communities from its “Islamic State.” Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill noted in their historic joint statement that “whole families, villages and cities of our brothers and sisters in Christ are being completely exterminated.”

The Knights of Columbus, to their credit, are part of an effort along with In Defense of Christians (IDC is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that seeks the protection and preservation of Christians and Christianity in the Middle East through raising global awareness, mobilizing international support, and educating policymakers toward constructive international policies on their behalf.) to encourage the US administration not ignore Christian genocide.  A new online petition is urging Secretary of State John Kerry not to exclude Christians from a declaration of genocide at the hands of ISIS.  Co-sponsored by In Defense of Christians (IDC) and the Knights of Columbus, the petition can be signed at

Christians in Iraq and Syria have suffered injustice after injustice by being kidnapped, killed, having their homes and churches confiscated or destroyed, and being forced to flee for their lives. Because of hit squads, they fear to enter UN refugee camps and, as a result, are then often excluded from immigration to the West,” said Supreme Knight Carl Anderson, who signed the petition and testified on the matter before a congressional subcommittee in December.

He added, “After all of this, these people deserve to have the U.S. State Department call what has happened to them by its rightful name: genocide — just as the European Parliament, Pope Francis, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom and so many other prominent individuals and institutions have already done.”
IDC Executive Director Kirsten Evans said, “The International Association of Genocide Scholars, over 200 members of Congress and over seventy human rights experts and organizations, spanning the nation’s religious and political spectrum, have raised their voices that the treatment of these communities by ISIS meets even the strictest definition of genocide under international law, and must be treated as such.”

The State Department is required by law to make a designation one way or the other on the matter by mid-March.

Take a moment to sign the petition today.  Pray and work for peace every day.


Posted by: matt25 | February 21, 2016

Rejoice In The Lord Always, Really?

I have been involved with prison ministry for over half of my life and I was talking with a group of guys yesterday who struggle with this idea of “Rejoice in the Lord always.”  Our conversation stemmed from a question about why Catholic Churches have crucifixes and Protestant Churches have crosses without the corpus on them.  


So I in turn struggled to find the right words to explain the connection to a theology of suffering to them.  This is a difficult concept for anyone who is suffering to wrap their head around, yet it is foundational to the Catholic Christian’s fully embraced spiritual journey.   Rather than try to tell you what I said, I will share what I received in my email today.  Because while he is saying the same things I did, Bishop Robert Barron did a much more succinct and clearly stated job of it in this Reflection for the 10th Day of Lent.

St. Paul reflected often on suffering. In his letter to the Colossians, the apostle says, “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ” (Colossians 1:24).

In his letters, Paul frequently attests to his great suffering. He was beaten, shipwrecked, imprisoned many times, rejected by his own people, and he suffered under the weight of some ailment—physical or psychological, we don’t really know—for the whole of his life. Finally, of course, he was put to death. He was a man who knew about pain.

But here he tells us that he rejoices in his sufferings because, somehow, they are joined to the sufferings of Christ.

How do we understand this? Well, Christ saved us through an act of suffering. He died for us on the cross, bearing in his own person the weight of our sin. On the cross, suffering and love coincided. And when you think of it, every act of love involves suffering, since love always involves bearing the burden of another.

Now in Paul’s vision, the Church is not a society or a collectivity of like-minded people. Rather, it is a body, made up of interdependent cells, molecules, and organs. We don’t just follow Christ or admire him; we participate in him. Baptism involves just this dynamic of identification and participation.

Therefore, we shouldn’t be surprised that we will be called upon to suffer. We have been given the privilege of carrying on Christ’s work in the world in just this way.

Charles Williams speaks of the principle of co-inherence as key to Catholicism. This is the idea that we are connected to one another much as the organs and systems of a living body are connected.

Thus, just as one system can take up the work of another, or one organ the burden of another that is ailing, so can one member of the body of Christ bear the burden of another.
In accord with Paul’s master idea, we can consciously offer our suffering—physical, spiritual, psychological—to Christ in order that he might use it, in his own mysterious manner, to benefit someone else. Christ allows us to minister through our pain.

Posted by: matt25 | February 17, 2016

Popes Are Political, Jesus Was Too

In a recent Washington Post article one of the presidential candidates referred to Pope Francis’ visit to Mexico as political.  I think he is right, although not in the particular spin he used to present the idea.

How would I define politics? Interaction with others in an effort to exchange ideas, and influence current and future actions of a community. In that sense most public activity is political. Religion and faith have always, and rightfully, had a political component. That is why freedom of religion, not merely freedom of worship, is so important in a society that values freedom. 

So a pope making a trip to Mexico, the United States, or anywhere else is political.  But that is no surprise.  Jesus’ trip to Jerusalem was political and so was Peter’s trip to Rome.

Posted by: matt25 | January 26, 2016

You’ve Got To Stay Bright

Yesterday we remembered St Paul and today two of his disciples, Timothy & Titus. Who passed their faith to you, and who are you passing your faith on to? The Christian Faith is alive. If it is not being shared it is a light under a bushel which does nothing to dispel the darkness.

Posted by: matt25 | January 23, 2016

Hidden Prison

There is no prison as confining as a mind and heart steadfastly shuttered to prevent the light of truth from finding entry.

Posted by: matt25 | January 1, 2016

A Prayer For Your New Year

May the grace and mercy of God abound bringing you healing where there is pain, peace where there is conflict, joy where there is sorrow, and  light to dispel every darkness in your new year.   And may your life be so filled with love that there is room for nothing which diminishes it. I ask this in the sacred name of Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, who live and reign with the Father, in and outside of time, always and forever. Amen.

Posted by: matt25 | November 23, 2015

Morning Musing For Thanksgiving Week

“Thanks and Change”

For our blessings
Large or small
We thank you Father
For them all

Help us remember them
One by one
And strengthen our relationship
With your Son

Temples of the Spirit
Who is one with you
May we be your love
And make all things new

Then with hearts
Transformed by grace
We’ll be blessed and blessing
In all we face

– Matthew Hens

Posted by: matt25 | October 4, 2015

Be Simple, Humble and Pure

St Francis wrote us a letter, part of which follows. It is a great reflection to deepen my worship on Sunday and everyday.

From a letter written to all the faithful by Saint Francis of Assisi

It was through his archangel, Saint Gabriel, that the Father above made known to the holy and glorious Virgin Mary that the worthy, holy and glorious Word of the Father would come from heaven and take from her womb the real flesh of our human frailty. Though he was wealthy beyond reckoning, he still willingly chose to be poor with his blessed mother. And shortly before his passion he celebrated the Passover with his disciples. Then he prayed to his Father saying: Father, if it be possible, let this cup be taken from me.

Nevertheless, he reposed his will in the will of his Father. The Father willed that his blessed and glorious Son, whom he gave to us and who was born for us, should through his own blood offer himself as a sacrificial victim on the altar of the cross. This was to be done not for himself through whom all things were made, but for our sins. It was intended to leave us an example of how to follow in his footsteps. And he desires all of us to be saved through him, and to receive him with pure heart and chaste body.

O how happy and blessed are those who love the Lord and do as the Lord himself said in the gospel: You shall love the Lord your God with your whole heart and your whole soul, and your neighbor as yourself. Therefore, let us love God and adore him with pure heart and mind. This is his particular desire when he says: True worshipers adore the Father in spirit and truth. For all who adore him must do so in the spirit of truth. Let us also direct to him our praises and prayers saying: Our Father, who art in heaven, since we must always pray and never grow slack.

Furthermore, let us produce worthy fruits of penance. Let us also love our neighbors as ourselves. Let us have charity and humility. Let us give alms because these cleanse our souls from the stains of sin. Men lose all the material things they leave behind them in this world, but they carry with them the reward of their charity and the alms they give. For these they will receive from the Lord the reward and recompense they deserve. We must not be wise and prudent according to the flesh. Rather we must be simple, humble and pure. We should never desire to be over others. Instead, we ought to be servants who are submissive to every human being for God’s sake. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on all who live in this way and persevere in it to the end. He will permanently dwell in them. They will be the Father’s children who do his work. They are the spouses, brothers and mothers of our Lord Jesus Christ.

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