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, sacraments at center of vibrant parish life

Too often we think that parish viability is determined by the size of a parish or by its financial resources. Numbers are important, of course, but vibrant parishes are not defined by them. Parishes are spiritual communities. Their health must be measured by spiritual vitality more than by the size of the congregation or its bank account.

Parishes are signs of the presence of God in our world. If a parish has a strong sacramental life, if the holy Eucharist is at the center of the parish's life -- that's a powerful statement about its vitality.

Praying for those who have died is a spiritual work of mercy

Catholic Christians always have believed in the importance of praying for those who have died. We call this a spiritual work of mercy. We also believe that the dead pray for us -- that they intercede for us as advocates. This means, of course, that we believe there is a real relationship that continues to exist between the living and the dead. And like all personal relationships, we believe that our connection (communion) with those who have died is nourished and strengthened by personal, and sometimes intimate, communication.

Before the Cross | Forgiveness and patience are spiritual works of mercy

Do you consider yourself a patient person? How willing are you to forgive people who have wronged you? Some of the hardest sayings in the Bible have to do with forgiveness and acceptance of those who hurt us — physically, emotionally or spiritually.

Is it really possible to love our enemies and to keep forgiving someone who constantly does us harm? Yes, it’s possible, but it sure isn’t easy.

Before the Cross | Jesus speaks the truth with both disturbing, comforting results

Archbishop Robert J. Carlson distributed Communion July 10 during a Mass at the JQH Arena in Springfield, Mo., The archbishop celebrated Mass for more than 3,000 teens who attended the Steubenville St. Louis Mid-America conference in Springfield. A second conference was held last weekend.

The Gospels portray Jesus as a man whose words could be both disturbing and comforting. He spoke out forcefully against hypocrisy and injustice, but He gave great comfort to those who were suffering — physically, emotionally or spiritually. We are called to act as Jesus did — to perform the spiritual works of mercy known as "admonishing sinners" and "comforting the afflicted."

Before the Cross | Seven spiritual works of mercy — practical ways to help others

Sister Mary Michael of Jesus Crucified knelt on the altar facing Archbishop Robert J. Carlson after her perpetual profession as a Carmelite Sister of the Divine Heart of Jesus at the sisters’ Kirkwood convent July 2.

For the next several weeks, I'll be writing about the spiritual works of mercy. Mercy is a virtue that compels us to alleviate the suffering of another. God's mercy is abundant and everlasting. His compassionate love creates us from nothing, heals our wounds (physical and spiritual) and overcomes death — restoring us to life in Christ.

Before the Cross | Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch

Archbishop Robert J. Carlson, center, walked from the rectory of the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis for Mass on June 26 in conjunction with the archdiocesan Eucharistic Congress. To the left of the archbishop was Cardinal Raymond L. Burke, principal celebrant of the Mass, and to the right Auxiliary Bishop Edward Rice.

After He had finished speaking, He said to Simon, “Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.” Simon said in reply, “Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing, but at your command I will lower the nets.”

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