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.

Before the Cross | Eucharist allows us to experience the holiness of God

Archbishop Robert J. Carlson and Father Thomas Santen, pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Manchester, cut the ribbon at a dedication ceremony of St. Joseph's new parish center Aug. 26.

For many of us today, the figure of Karol Wojtyla (Blessed John Paul II) symbolizes eucharistic sanctity. This great man showed us what it means to be close to God through intimate communion with His Son, Jesus Christ. For nearly six decades, from the time of his ordination to the priesthood in Poland in 1946 to his death in Rome in 2005, Karol Wojtyla taught us about the holy Eucharist.

Before the Cross | Francis of Assisi, a great saint and a joyful man

We all have our favorite saints -- women and men who inspire us by their holiness and their humanity. Saints are "icons" of Christ, living images that present to us different aspects of the face of Jesus, God incarnate.

Some saints were great teachers, as Jesus was. Some gave themselves entirely to caring for the poor and the sick, as Jesus did. Some sacrificed their lives and died a martyr's death, as Jesus did. All surrendered their personal desires to do the will of God, as Jesus did when he prayed, "Not my will be done, but yours" (Luke 22:42).

Before the Cross | The Eucharist is food that lasts, nourishing our souls

After fasting in the desert 40 days and 40 nights, Jesus was hungry. St. Matthew's Gospel tells us that the Evil One took advantage of the Lord's condition and tempted Him to turn stones into bread. We know His reply. Quoting Deuteronomy (8:2–3), Jesus rebuked His tempter saying, "One does not live by bread alone but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God" (Matthew 4:4).

Ordinary food provides temporary nourishment for our bodies. The Word of God offers food for our souls, nourishment that lasts far beyond the bodily hunger we experience day in and day out.

Before the Cross | Jesus, always there for us in the holy Eucharist

Archbishop Robert J. Carlson addressed catechists and teachers as agents of the new evanglization during a Mass for the Religious Education Institute Aug. 13. The Mass was celebrated at St. Francis Xavier (College Church) on the campus at St. Louis University.

There's no mistaking the craggy face, diminutive size and radiant smile of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta. Mother Teresa was known throughout the world for her charity, her simplicity and her truthfulness. When she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979, she was asked, "What can we do to promote world peace?" Instead of responding with some form of global initiative, she simply said, "Go home and love your family."

Before the Cross | Eucharist, living Christ's gift of self as if we deserved it

Arcbhbishop Robert J. Carlson took a tour of the rehabilitation construction at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary. The project team — including the seminary administration, Cannon Design, BSI Constructors and SSC Engineering, all under the leadership of Archbishop Carlson — have focused on good stewardship. This has allowed the seminary to accomplish an expanded scope, including renovations to the convent building.

None of us deserves to receive Christ in the Eucharist. Holy Communion is always a completely unmerited gift that we receive as a result of God's grace. Nothing we can do by our own initiative makes us worthy that the Lord should enter our hearts. All we can do is try to be ready, try to "stay awake" and be attentive, and try to be truly grateful when our Lord gives Himself to us in the great eucharistic mystery.

Before the Cross | Eucharist, the anticipation and promise of heaven on earth

Pope Benedict XVI has observed that the mission that was given to the apostles by our Lord contains a paradox. On the one hand, they were invited to remain with Him, to stay close to Him as intimate friends and companions. On the other hand, they were sent out to the whole world to proclaim His Gospel and to baptize in the name of the Holy Trinity. "Staying close" and "being sent away" is the paradoxical mission given to each of us who seek to follow Jesus Christ as His disciples.

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