god's plan

I THOUGHT YOU SHOULD KNOW | Acceptance of God’s plan brings rest to our restless souls

The readings for the Fifth Sunday in Lent reflect two seemingly contradictory states (though they are actually complementary): rest and restlessness.

First, the state of rest. Jeremiah saw his share of conflict, but he also saw it was never destined to be a permanent state for mankind. Earlier he had said, "More tortuous than anything is the human heart, beyond remedy; who can understand it?"

I THOUGHT YOU SHOULD KNOW | Embrace the great mystery of God’s plan

Sunday, Dec. 18, is a week from the celebration of the birth of the God-Man who comes to save the world from sin. The closer we get to this great event, the deeper we enter into the mystery of His coming in time and in our hearts.

In the first reading for the Fourth Sunday of Advent, God desires to reveal a sign of God's coming to Ahaz, but proud Ahaz refuses to ask for the sign, saying, "I will not tempt the Lord!"

BEFORE THE CROSS | Reflections on our rejections of God’s plan

Archbishop Robert J. Carlson and priests reacted to a joke from Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, Archbishop of New York and native St. Louisan. Cardinal Dolan spoke on “American Catholicism, American Politics Reconsidered” as part of the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics lecture series March 2 at Graham Chapel on the campus of Washington University in St. Louis. See story, page 10

The readings this week feature a series from the Gospel of John. Jesus performs His second and third signs, healing a child and healing a lame man at the pool of Bethesda. Paradoxically, the tension surrounding His ministry grows.

It would be easy to watch this tension externally, saying: "Look at how those people are growing in their opposition to Jesus. Too bad for them!" A better path for our reflections is an internal approach, asking: "Where have I resisted Jesus, and where do I still resist Him?"

I THOUGHT YOU SHOULD KNOW | Embracing the 'confusion' of God's plan

Bishop Robert J. Hermann

The three readings for the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time point out that when God enters into our lives, we lose our way. The things we had depended upon to carry out our life's project are undermined. We become confused and uncertain as to what's happening next.

The skills we have honed lose their purpose. Our life's goal falls apart; we're angry. What should have worked no longer does. What in the past gave consolation now leaves us hollow and empty.

BEFORE THE CROSS | God awaits our response to His plan for us

The readings in the past week give us a shortened version of the entire Exodus story. The Israelites begin the week in slavery; they end the week in freedom.

The opening of the readings from Exodus strengthens our faith. Exodus 1 details a great calamity: How the Israelites were enslaved by the Egyptians after 400 years of living peacefully in their midst. Exodus 2 relates the birth of Moses: God's people are oppressed, but the plan for their deliverance is set in motion. It will take several years for that plan to ripen to its fullness. But God is at work to deliver his people.

POPE'S MESSAGE | Holy Spirit, not human smarts, helps people see God's loving plan

Pope Francis drove through St. Peter’s Square after celebrating Mass, during which he proclaimed two new saints for the Church. Pilgrims from St. Louis were present for the historic Mass of canonization for two popes, St. John Paul II and St. John XXIII on April 27.

VATICAN CITY -- Human smarts aren't enough to truly understand God's word and how He is working in people's lives, Pope Francis said.

Christians need the help of the Holy Spirit to "go beneath the surface of reality and peer into the depths of God's thinking and His plan of salvation," he said.

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