Unless you've been living under a rock for the past decade or so, you are surely aware of the sex-abuse scandal that has rocked the Catholic Church, nearly bringing it to it's knees. It is a scandal in all aspects of the word. It has caused many people pain and suffering, many Catholics a loss of faith, and many people to hate the Church.
In 2017 Pasadena City Council members voted to put up an eight-foot high fence along the inside of the iconic Colorado Street Bridge. This seemingly noble decision was made in an attempt to deter people from using the bridge as a means of committing suicide. Welcome to California, the same state where a year earlier politicians adopted the California End of Life Option Act into law, opening the door for physician-assisted suicide. These two cases show how when it comes to the debate between pro-choice or pro-life, reason and prudence are lost on us all.
I didn’t make rent this month. Yet, in a way I find comfort in that. As a man, it’s almost crazy to accept that these words are my own, because one of the deepest, inherent needs of the masculine soul is the need to provide for his family. Not being able to achieve that most basic of responsibilities can emasculate the even the toughest, manliest of men.
Living the Christian life has never been easy. In the beginning belief in Jesus was a death sentence. Over the centuries many faithful have faced persecution. Thankfully for us we don’t have such problems, at least not in the States. But one of the challenges we do have in being Christians in our modern world is making sure that we are the ones influencing the world and not making the mistake of allowing the world influence us. The Parable of the Sower is a perfect example of this.
I was baptized as an adult. Many people don't remember their baptisms, because they were only days or weeks old at the time. In my case, I remember being dressed in white, walking down the aisle, standing at the front of the Church overcome with nervousness. Of course, I was excited, but being the center of attention—all eyes on me—was very distracting. The priest was a large man, much larger in stature than I, and seemed like a giant towering over me. Yet as he scooped up the water from the baptismal font and poured it time after time over my forehead proclaiming boldly "Ricky, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit" in my mind I was waiting for something miraculous to happen. And although at the time I didn't feel it or hear it or even sense it, in hindsight I know that something miraculous did happen that day.
As you know I'm a big proponent of marriage as it has been seen traditionally for thousands of years. I believe that the family is also an essential part of society and the Church. Without the family, society crumbles. Without the family, the Church dies. That is why these are two very important institutions that I think people don't fully understand.
I'm feeling down today. I woke up to 23 new messages from a good friend of mine. His name is Father Switbert Mujuni. We've only been acquainted for about a year and a half, but I consider him one of my most intimate friends. Father Swit is the pastor of a poor parish in a rural area of Tanzania called Bumai.
Every moment of every day is an opportunity for blessing. Each encounter wherever it occur is an opportunity for grace. You and I are meant to be channels, instruments through which the blessings of God pour out into the lives of others. Yet, so often we let fear get in the way, we prevent those blessings from ever occurring for the tiniest of fears.
There is something inherently beautiful about being outside in the glory of what so naturally is nicknamed "God's Country". Taking in the fresh air, admiring the scenery, one can't help but get caught up in it. On a camping trip this past weekend with family and friends, on several occasions I caught myself or one of the others staring off, glassy-eyed, overcome with a profound sense of serenity that is so hard to come by these days.
What really sets us apart from the plants and the animals, the sea and the sky? Animals are free to move about, to seek food and shelter. Plants grow, spread their seeds, multiply. But they don't really have much of a choice. They do what they have to do to survive. They live off of instinct. However, the human being has a very special gift bestowed upon him at the moment of creation... freedom.
This morning I was out for a walk. I prefer the early mornings just as the sun begins to peek over the San Gabriels. With rosary beads in hand I made my way down the quiet streets. But on this particular morning I was interrupted by the sound of rushing wind over my right shoulder. At first I thought it was just a bird who came to close. Though after a second time I caught a glimpse of the outstretched wings spanning close to five feet and I realized I was being pursued by a hawk!