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human condition

Five Remedies for Sorrow from St. Thomas Aquinas

January 27, 2019 5 Comments
Five Remedies for Sorrow from St. Thomas Aquinas

One doesn’t usually go to the St. Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologica for advice on emotional matters. But for the feast of St. Thomas we shall indeed go there to seek advice on sorrow and consider some of St. Thomas’ remedies for it. (His advice is contained primarily in the Prima Secundae questions 35 – 37.) […]

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What Is Time?

January 22, 2019 8 Comments
What Is Time?

So often in funerals I hear proclaimed the familiar lines from the Book of Ecclesiastes, which speaks to the great mystery we call time; more on its text, in a moment. If I were to ask you to define time, could you do it in a way that really satisfies? For example, some have defined […]

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The Courage to See

October 30, 2018 1 Comment
The Courage to See

The following is taken from a homily I preached this past weekend for the Archdiocese of Washington’s annual White Mass, celebrating the gifts of persons with disabilities/special needs and the deaf community.  You can view the video of the homily here at the Archdiocese’s YouTube page. I would like to speak to you today about […]

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Working for the Kingdom Despite Human Failures

October 18, 2018 2 Comments
Working for the Kingdom Despite Human Failures

My father had an expression: “Charlie, people disappoint.” It was his way of saying that even people we think irreproachable, godly, and saintly can let us down, either with sin or simply by being unable to help us in key moments. Something of that comes through in the words of St. Paul from today’s first […]

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A Prescription for Peace in a World of Woe

September 18, 2018 5 Comments
A Prescription for Peace in a World of Woe

The Gospel for Tuesday of the 24th Week provides a kind of prescription for peace in a world of woe. Let’s look at it in four stages. I. The Place – Jesus journeyed to a city called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd accompanied him. The name of the city, Nain, means fair […]

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St. Augustine on Suffering as a Medicine

August 27, 2018 4 Comments
St. Augustine on Suffering as a Medicine

The feast of St. Augustine this Tuesday provides us yet another opportunity to learn from him. We can ponder his teaching on suffering and its role in preserving us from something far worse. When asked, most people identify their most serious problems as those related to their physical health or their finances; family and career […]

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Of Plenty, Population, and Trust – A Further Reflection on the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes

July 29, 2018 3 Comments
Of Plenty, Population, and Trust – A Further Reflection on the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes

The multiplication of the loaves and fishes that we read about at Sunday Mass was a miracle so astonishing that it is recounted in all four Gospels. A second, similar instance is recorded in another gospel passage. So, this sort of miracle is recounted five times within the four Gospels. There are many theological reasons […]

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The Difference Between Penance and Punishment

July 15, 2018 0 Comments
The Difference Between Penance and Punishment

There is an old rabbinic story that speaks to the danger of being “unbroken.” It also illustrates the difference between penance and punishment. I am relating this story from memory and may have adapted it somewhat over the years, so if you know it in a different way, please be merciful! Here is (my version […]

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