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Author Archive for Msgr. Charles Pope

The Night Prayer of the Church as a “Rehearsal for Death”

Some years ago I was addressing a group of young adults at a “Theology on Tap” gathering. I was asked by an attendee of some ways to avoid temptation. Among the things I offered was to meditate frequently on death, especially at night before going to bed. The bar got very quiet and everyone looked […] Read the rest of this entry »

What Are Passive Purifications and Why Are They Needed?

Have you undertaken certain Lenten practices or abstinences to assist you growth in holiness? If so, you do well. Practices such as these are included in what are known as “active purifications.” Active purifications consist of our holy works and efforts and our mortifications, which, by the grace of God, help to purify our mind, our heart, and what is […] Read the rest of this entry »

Designer Religion: A Critique of a Recent Description of Faith in a National Publication

We live in times of what I would call “designer religion.” Many people seem to think they have a right to assemble religious teachings they like and discard what they do not. The idea that faith is revealed by God and that we are to discover what He has revealed (in both creation and Scripture) […] Read the rest of this entry »

The Cross in the Cosmos – A Meditation on a Teaching by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger

The Wisdom Tradition of the Scriptures emphasizes that God speaks and is discerned in things He has made. Scripture says, The heavens declare the glory of God, the firmament (stars) shows forth his handiwork (Psalm 19:1). Indeed, when God spoke His Word, creation came forth. And the Word that God spoke was the Logos, Jesus. Scripture says, Through him […] Read the rest of this entry »

Order! Order in the Universe! – A Meditation on the Wisdom That Creation Reflects

In a courtroom, the judge can bring an unruly outburst to an end by shouting, “Order! Order in the court!” I often feel the same urge in the debates of our time about God’s existence and His role in the created universe. It is not so much that the debates can get unruly, but that I, with the  insistence […] Read the rest of this entry »

Beams of Heaven As I Go – A Homily for the Second Sunday of Lent

What is it that gives hope, peace, and serene joy to the Christian life? Briefly, it is the vision of glory, a glimpse into the Promised Land of Heaven, which the Lord can and does give to His people. Today’s gospel shows forth a kind of process wherein the Lord lays the foundations of hope, […] Read the rest of this entry »

Triumph is Born of Struggle – An Important Truth, as Seen in a Movie Outtake

Some years ago, the movie Bruce Almighty was near the top of the box office charts. Unfortunately, one of my favorite scenes was cut from the released version of the movie. I was only able to see it in the “deleted scenes and outtakes” section of the DVD version. Why they deleted the scene is unfathomable […] Read the rest of this entry »

Down with the Struggle or Up with the Cross? A Word to Priests, Catechists, and Parents

Some forty years ago, the Venerable Bishop Fulton J. Sheen admonished the priests of his day with these words: We become real priests when we empty ourselves, and no longer seek our [own] identity, and where we are lifted up to the cross, not going “down to people.” Too many of us today feel we […] Read the rest of this entry »

Out of Pride and Into Humility: A Lenten Meditation on a Teaching by St. Bernard of Clairvaux

In yesterday’s post, we considered the twelve steps of pride set forth by St. Bernard of Clairvaux. In escalating ways, the twelve steps draw us to an increasingly mountainous and enslaving pride. St. Bernard also enumerates the twelve steps to deeper humility (I am using the list from Vultus Dei HERE)  and it is these that we consider […] Read the rest of this entry »

How Does Pride Accumulate in Our Life? A Reflection on a Teaching by St. Bernard of Clairvaux

So you think the idea of the “Twelve Steps” is new? Well, if you think you’ve got a new idea, go back and see how the Greeks put it, or in this case how the Medieval Latins put it. St. Bernard of Clairvaux identified twelve steps up the mountain of pride in his work Steps of Humility […] Read the rest of this entry »

Choice and Consequences

The themes of early Lent are pretty basic. The ashes of Ash Wednesday announce the simple truth that we are going to die and  thereafter face judgment. Hence, we need to repent and come to believe the good news that only Jesus can save us. Another early reading from Thursday after Ash Wednesday featured Moses laying out the basic […] Read the rest of this entry »

Becoming the Beatitudes – A Lenten Meditation on the Gift of the Life Jesus Died to Give Us

In the Beatitudes, and indeed in the whole Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-8), the Lord is painting a picture of the transformed human person. The Sermon on the Mount is the Lord’s great moral treatise. But it is not to be understood so much as a list of things to do (out of our […] Read the rest of this entry »