Years from now I will perhaps look back in my notes at this homily and will need to remind myself what was unique and different about this Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ, popularly known as Corpus Christi Sunday. Notes to self: 94 days ago, the World Health Organization declared pandemic status for the covid-19 virus. 87 days ago, the churches of the diocese of St. Petersburg were closed to the public. 79 days ago, a safer-at-home order was declared for the City of Tampa. Continue reading
During these last days as the topic of racial justice was omnipresent around us, someone emailed to ask if Francis of Assisi had ever written on race relationships. The short answer is “no.” Francis of Assisi lived in the 13th century growing up in the Umbria region of Italy. His world was provincial and focused on the world in which diversity meant which town you were from and the “other” referred to the “Saracens,” against whom the Crusades were aimed in order to free the Holy Land from Islamic control. Continue reading
When I was a child growing up in the 1950s Catholic milieu, we prayed “In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost.” We didn’t give it a lot of thought. We were kids. We also did not particularly make the connection between the third person of the Trinity and Casper the Friendly Ghost or any of his not-so-friendly counterparts. But at some point, the phrase “Holy Ghost” gave way to “Holy Spirit.” Continue reading
Super Bowl ads – love ’em, hate ’em or don’t pay attention – or go out and refill the chips and salsa! I hope you were able to see the New York Life commercial, “Love Takes Action,” that takes viewers through the four words for love, as expressed by the ancient Greeks: philia, storge, eros, and agape.
The New York Life ad takes its inspiration from C.S. Lewis’ The Four Loves, in which the Christian apologist identified four types of love mentioned in the Bible. While philia, storge, and eros are based on feelings, Lewis explains, agape, as it is presented in the New Testament, is a sacrificial love that comes about as an act of will rather than a response to emotions. As the greatest love of all, Agape represents the selfless love that God has for man and man has for God, and that every Christian should strive for, and is sometimes defined as charity/caritas….Enjoy.
Today is a day in which we Franciscans remember John of Montecorvino. To which most people – even most Franciscans – will say “who?” Brother John was the first Catholic missionary to China, centuries before the efforts of other Catholic religious orders. It is a compelling story. If you would like to read an interesting and accessible account of the travel within the context of an art historian comparing 13th century Italian and Chinese art, read Lauren Arnold’s: Princely Gifts & Papal Treasures: The Franciscan Mission to China & Its Influence on the Art of the West, 1250-1350 – fascinating book.
Beginning with the pontificate of Innocent IV (1243–1254), the popes and Mongol khans began to communicate and exchange gifts in a diplomatic effort to see if there was a basis upon which to effectively bind and subdue their common enemy, the Muslim Empire. The two most famous envoys were the Franciscans John of Plano Carpini and William of Rubruck. Their journeys, remarkable and daring, were not specifically missionary but were more as political emissaries. Carpini traveled in the years 1245–1247 while Rubruck’s mission was 1253–1255. Although Rubruck was sent by Louis XI of France to enlist the aid of the khan against Islam, Rubruck also attempted to convert the Mongols (also known as Tartars) by converting the Great Khan. William’s Itinera is a masterful travel account that also includes observations about the Saracens and Nestorian Christians found in the Mongol territories. On Pentecost 1255 William met with the Great Khan who received William but nothing more came of the meeting. Continue reading
Ike Ndolo’s chorus is an unabashed proclamation that he belongs to God and to heaven
“Grace is huge because you haven’t even asked for it but it’s available … Nobody is beyond Grace. God is always near. We are not abandoned, that to me is encouraging and beautiful. Even in the midst of our own brokenness in a broken world, a very broken world, we are not abandoned.” – Ike Ndolo
November 8th is the feast day of Blessed John Duns Scotus, a Franciscan friar from Scotland noted for his theological and philosophical work in the high-middle ages (late 13th and early 14th centuries). Scotus’ work was in the generation that followed Thomas of Aquinas and Bonaventure. His work was complex and nuanced, and he is generally considered to be one of the three most important philosopher-theologians of his time. He was given the medieval accolade Doctor Subtilis (Subtle Doctor) for his penetrating and subtle manner of thought. Continue reading
I finds words fascinating and surprising. Especially the connection between words that, in English, we would not give a second thought to connecting. I am of an older generation that during high school was required to take Latin, so from time to time, I see connections in the Latin roots. But words retain the ability to surprise. Continue reading
Today is the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi – buona festa!! to Franciscans and those of a Franciscan heart.
Over the years I have written a number of posts about the saint from Assisi. You can find them all (well, a lot anyway) in one place on this blog – here!
Enjoy the reading. God bless!
I remember the first time I had to speak to the parish, as pastor, and make a “pitch” for money. It was the 2012 Annual Pastoral Appeal. I think I remarked something akin to: “When I realized I had to make an appeal for money, I knew I had a choice. I could poke my eye out with a flaming stick, or I could make the pitch. It’s not a clear-cut choice.” I really do not like to talk about money or ask for it. Continue reading