New Evangelization

Fr. Barron on the New Evangelization

While much has been said about the New Evangelization, leave it to Fr. Barron to put it in perspective. This video reminds us of the qualities we should be seeking for ourselves to make the New Evangelization successful.

Year of Faith

Faith and Prayer

We are reading a series in the Office of Readings from the letter of St. Augustine to Proba. In it, the great saint is giving a strong reminder to his good friend the need for prayer. To make his point, he uses the Our Father as the example of the perfect prayer. I could not help but connect these readings with the Year of Faith. For Faith to be real and effective, it must be rooted in a relationship with Christ. For that relationship to be nurtured, prayer must be understood as a daily spiritual need, like sleeping and eating to the body. Without Christ interwoven in our day, the day quickly slips into a weakened relationship with the source of our existence. A day without prayer is like a day without food -- we can keep going but we will be weak.

Today more than ever it seems that Catholics do not understand prayer and no longer perceive a need for it. So many people come to church to have idle conversations with neighbors. They come before the Lord of Heaven and Earth to focus attention on another human being, all the while ignoring God. Rather than directing their words to the Lord, they direct them to those around them. I truly believe this practice is the reason so many say to me they do not know how to pray or for what they should pray. Even when they do offer prayers, they conclude that God was not listening. The Year of Faith is to be an affirmation that not only does God listen but He also answers. The breakdown we must address during this Year is the fact that we are the ones not listening and responding -- we are the ones failing in prayer. His answers are given in such a way that originates from realizing it is not my will but His. This is the foundation of Faith and Prayer. We need to voice our prayers in the right context -- as St. Augustine notes, “We need to use words so that we may remind ourselves to consider carefully what we are asking, not so that we may think we can instruct the Lord or prevail on him.”

Prayer will certainly require us to use words and to form requests but the mistake made today is that many think the request is the prayer. Prayer does not truly begin until self-abandonment to the Divine Will takes place. In the Our Father we repeat often “Thy will be done!” Yet when many people form requests and say they are praying, they do not really do not act in such a way as to confirm they want God’s will to be done. It is more like, “God do my will because I know you agree with what I want.” And when it does not happen it must be because God was not listening. That is not prayer because it is built on Pride. The goal of prayer is Union with God but that Union comes from ascent by the one praying. All of the idle chatter and all of the constant avoiding people do while in church is subconsciously an avoidance of truly meaning, “Thy will be done!” If I stop for just a moment and truly communicate with God, if I truly get beyond the requests and enter into self-abandonment, only then is there room for God’s will to be done. Thus, this Year of Faith is a gift and encouragement for all believers to grow in relationship with God by saying, “Thy will be done!”

As the Year of Faith begins, the perfect model of One Who truly prays is the Blessed Mother. She is the One Who said, “Be it done to Me according to Thy Word.” May we always attach ourselves to Her and follow Her instruction to “do whatever He tells you.”

Voter's Guide

Catholics and Voting

As the elections draw near, Catholics often wonder about voting and what criteria should be considered when choosing a candidate. Of course, the Church does not endorse any candidate but provides guidelines on how to choose one. As part of the process, it may become clear that a particular candidate cannot be voted for because of the policies embraced. Here is a good guide provided by EWTN to assist Catholics in preparing for election day.

Catholic Vote

A Message on Principles

While many seem to believe that the separation of Church and State means that those of faith have to stay out of the political process, that is simply not true. Yes, we are Catholic and have Catholic principles. But those principles belong in the public square. Here is an interesting video produced by

A Real Dose of Vice

There is No Debate Here

In watching the Vice Presidential debate yesterday, there were certainly many sparks flying. Since both are Catholics, the moderator put them on the spot with regard to their Catholicism. She wanted to know about the role religion plays in their view on abortion. Congressman Ryan’s answer was good but the exceptions he listed are not. Of course, Vice President Biden took the secular route and basically said that Life beginning at conception is not an absolute Truth. For the most part, his answer reflected a relativistic approach to morality. It is not possible to be a “practicing” Catholic and not be totally pro-life. If you believe in Life beginning at conception, then you cannot tolerate any abortion at all. Of the two, Ryan’s position is clearly better.

With regard to their positions, Mr. Biden spoke about “imposing” a doctrine as if it is OK for someone else to kill the innocent because they are not Catholic. Killing is killing and the intentional killing of an innocent is always a grave moral evil. In his response, Mr. Biden made it clear that he is not personally convicted as a Catholic and has not made the Catholic Faith his own. It sounds like he views himself merely in categorical terms with regard to being Catholic. Based upon his answer, he should refrain from receiving Holy Communion until such time as he embraces the Truth about Life (and in his case, many other things).

On the other hand, is encouraging to know that for Mr. Ryan Catholicism informs everything he does. If only every Catholic would come to this realization. Of course, we know it is not “popular” to acknowledge the full Truth about Life beginning at conception and that this is true for every life conceived. When someone realizes this truth, he or she must see it though completely. In this regard, no human being conceived, even if it happens as the result of an evil act such as rape or incest, should be killed. Human beings do not get to pick and choose which innocent human beings gets to live and which do not. The most disturbing part is that many today believe it is best to predetermine the fate of a child because he or she came into existence through an evil human act.

The Catholic Teaching on abortion is clear and, between the two Catholics represented in this debate, a good Catholic cannot support Mr. Biden or his platform. For all Catholics who will cast a vote this year, recall that the principle when voting is to choose candidates whose position will work toward limiting or eliminating this evil from our midst.

For those who are interested, there is a site called Catholic Vote. Check it out…

A Pastoral Letter

You Too…

Bishop Murphy has released a new pastoral letter for the faithful in the Diocese of Rockville Centre. It is entitled, “You Too Go Into the Vineyard.” As we approach the Year of Faith, this letter gives us all a chance to reflect on the role we play in evangelization.