Archbishop's column

Before the Cross - Archbishop Robert J. Carlson's Column

'Before The Cross' by Archbishop Robert J. Carlson. Archbishop Carlson is the ninth Archbishop of Saint Louis. Listed below are the most recent columns written by Archbishop Carlson; click on the title to read the column. The Archdiocesan website has more information about Archbishop Robert J. Carlson.

Only the pure of heart can see God

Archbishop Robert J. Carlson presided over an Advent Day of Recollection at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis on Dec. 18.

“Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God”  (Matthew 5:8)

Would you like to see God? Don't answer too quickly. This is a serious question with profound consequences for your daily life. Those men and women who have seen God — the prophets and patriarchs of the Old Testament and the apostles and saints of the new dispensation in the two millennia since the birth of Christ — all had their lives radically transformed as a result of the vision of God which was their privilege and also their sacred burden.

Advent and Christmas are seasons of great joy

Archbishop Robert J. Carlson gave his thanks during a public reception for retiring Bishop Robert J. Hermann in Boland Hall after celebrating a Mass of Thanksgiving Dec. 12. at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis.

Last weekend we celebrated Gaudate Sunday. The Latin word gaudete means rejoice. In his letter to the Philippians, St. Paul tells us to rejoice always because the Lord is near. Christians should always be filled with joy, but we rejoice in a special way during the Advent and Christmas seasons because the Lord is near.

What do we mean when we say that the Lord is near?

Before the Cross | Mercy comes from God, cannot be forced

Archbishop Robert J. Carlson congratulated Danielle Adolphson, 13, as he celebrated Mass and the Sacrament of Confirmation Monday at St. Mark’s Catholic Church in Affton.

A famous quotation from the Merchant of Venice speaks about the nature of forgiveness or mercy. “The quality of mercy is not strained,” Shakespeare writes. “It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven upon the place beneath: it is twice blest; it blesseth him that gives and him that takes.” Mercy “is an attribute to God himself,” the bard continues. And we are most like God, Shakespeare says, “when mercy seasons justice.”

Before the Cross | Complacency is an obstacle to the genuine happiness Jesus teaches

Archbishop Robert J. Carlson, left, introduced Auxiliary Bishop-designate Edward M. Rice during a press conference Dec. 1 announcing the appointment.

It's easy to confuse happiness with comfort. Our sinful human nature — encouraged by advertising and the entertainment media — urges us to seek comfort for its own sake. Happiness as the world defines it is self-centered. It focuses our attention, first and foremost, on taking care of our own individual needs and desires.

Before the Cross | Thanksgiving should be more than a secular holiday

Archbishop Robert J. Carlson, in his column this week writes: “If God can thank us, and forgive us, in spite of our selfishness and sin, shouldn’t we be able to do the same? Shouldn’t we have the faith and the courage to look beyond our own needs and wants and fears to the gifts we have received from God and from so many others?”

Thanksgiving Day, celebrated earlier this week, is a harvest festival celebrated primarily in the United States and Canada. Traditionally, it is a time to give thanks for the harvest and express gratitude in general. While it may have been religious in origin, Thanksgiving is now primarily identified as a secular holiday (Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia).

Beatitudes teach us Christ’s ‘meekness’ is quiet form of strength

I don't know about you, but I've struggled with some of our Lord's teachings. Sometimes they seem to defy common sense. Is it really a good idea to turn the other cheek when someone assaults you? If you're not St. Francis of Assisi or Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, can you really sell everything you have and give it to the poor in order to follow Jesus? And what about paradoxical sayings like "the last shall be first" or the third beatitude, which tells us "the meek shall inherit the earth"?

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