Church teaching articles and columns

Below are the latest columns from the St. Louis Review. Click on a title or the 'Continue Reading' link to read the whole story.

March 23, 2017

We have three full weeks of Lent behind us, and three more weeks until Easter. In the Gospels this week, Jesus is performing signs. How do these signs help us intensify our preparation for Easter in the second half of Lent?

Reading about the signs that Jesus did in the Scriptures helps us reflect on the signs that Jesus is doing in our own lives. Perhaps we saw something in the news that brought us not only joy or sorrow, but brought us...

March 23, 2017

Tenemos por delante tres semanas completas de la Cuaresma, y tres semanas más para la Pascua. En los Evangelios de esta semana, Jesús está haciendo señales. ¿Cómo nos ayudan estas señales a intensificar nuestra preparación para la Pascua en la segunda mitad de la Cuaresma?

Leer en las Sagradas Escrituras acerca de las señales que Jesús dio nos ayuda a reflexionar sobre las señales que Jesús está dándonos en nuestras propias vidas. Quizá...

March 23, 2017

The purpose of symbols is to move our minds to think about the reality being represented. For instance, the waters of baptism call to mind the washing away of sin that occurs in this sacrament. When we fail to understand the meaning of a symbol, it becomes a meaningless gesture. To question the meaning of a symbol, then, is a good thing. It helps us understand what it means and how it is to move our minds and hearts.

As we began the Len...

March 22, 2017

The readings for the Fifth Sunday of Lent have many levels of meaning, but ultimately they tell one thing: The glory of God is on the way for all those who choose Jesus as Lord and Savior.

In the first reading, God tells Ezekiel, "O my people, I will open your graves and have you rise from them, and bring you back to the land of Israel." Here God isn't speaking literally about the resurrection but rather that He will bring them back fro...

March 16, 2017

Esta semana celebramos la solemnidad de San José — el padre adoptivo de Jesús y esposo de la Bienaventurada Virgen María. Quiero aprovechar la ocasión para referirme a algo en lo que he estado pensando desde hace un tiempo: el acoso sexual.

Mi hermana compartió conmigo una cita de la Hermana Diane Bergant, una religiosa de la Congregación de Santa Inés, profesora y autora: "El reino de Dios puede ser realizado por Dios solamente a travé...

March 16, 2017

This week we celebrate the Solemnity of St. Joseph — foster father of Jesus and husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary. I want to take the occasion to address something that I've been thinking about for a while: sexual harassment.

My sister shared a quote with me from Sister Diane Bergant, a Sister of the Congregation of St. Agnes, professor and author: "God's reign will be accomplished by God only through you and me. When we treat people w...

March 16, 2017

In the readings for the Fourth Sunday of Lent, God's Word pierces mankind's darkness and reveals a light that will always shine for those who walk in it.

In the first reading, God chooses one of Jesse's sons to be king. While Jesse presents seven sons, God doesn't choose any of them. God tells Samuel, "Not as man sees does God see, because man sees the appearance but the Lord looks into the heart."

When Samuel asks Jesse, "Are th...

March 16, 2017

The station (or stational) churches are specific churches in the city of Rome that are designated to be visited by the pope or his delegate on a particular day of the Lenten season.

Such a practice dates to as early as the second or third century. Seeking to bring greater unity to the city with different groups, the pope began visiting the parishes these groups belonged to in an effort to forge a greater unity. As time went on, this inf...

March 9, 2017

De acuerdo a las lecturas de esta semana, hemos pecado. Lo que merecemos es un castigo. En lugar de eso, Dios nos ofrece misericordia y compasión.

Pero, ¿cuáles con las cualidades de la misericordia y la compasión? Cuando esperamos por ellas, ¿qué es exactamente lo que estamos esperando? Mientras más conozcamos al respecto, más conoceremos de qué se trata nuestro viaje cuaresmal.

Ciertamente, esperamos el perdón. Tal como lo pide...

March 9, 2017

According to this week's readings, we have sinned. What we deserve is punishment. What God offers, instead, is mercy and compassion.

But what are the qualities of mercy and compassion? When we hope for them what exactly are we hoping for? The more we know that, the more we'll know what our Lenten journey is about.

Certainly, we hope for forgiveness. As the Psalm for Monday pleads: "Lord, do not deal with us according to our sins....

March 9, 2017

The readings for the Third Sunday of Lent are simultaneously simple and overwhelmingly profound. Our eyes see and our hearts hear of physical water, but our spirits hunger and thirst for the Holy Spirit.

In the first reading, the Israelites thirst for water to nurture their bodies, but their spirits are even thirstier for meaning. They are profoundly frustrated with being in the desert without water, whereas in Egypt they had plenty of...

March 2, 2017

The great artist Michelangelo has a series of statues called "the incompletes." He began to sculpt them but never finished. It's unclear whether he was making a deliberate artistic statement or simply ran out of time. Clearly, however, the incomplete statues are a great metaphor for human life.

Like the statues, our identity has begun to emerge. Like the statues, that identity is incomplete. Finishing the work of carving our identity is...

March 2, 2017

El gran artista Miguel Ángel hizo una serie de estatuas llamadas "las inconclusas". El empezó a esculpirlas, pero nunca las terminó. No está claro si él estaba haciendo con ellas deliberadamente una declaración artística, o si simplemente no tuvo tiempo de terminarlas. Sin embargo, está claro, que las estatuas inconclusas son una gran metáfora para las tareas de la vida humana.

Como las estatuas, nuestra identidad ha comenzado a emerger...

March 2, 2017

On the second Sunday of Lent, the Church gives us the scene of Jesus, up on the mountain, being transfigured before Peter, James and John. The Church wants to lift our eyes to the beauty of our calling in Christ. Keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus' Transfiguration lifts our eyes above our present period of purification to allow Jesus to have a new freedom in our hearts. This prepares us for the glory as pre-figured in the Transfiguration.

...

February 23, 2017

Cada año la gente lucha con esto: Es miércoles de ceniza, así que ayunamos y ponemos la ceniza en nuestra frente. Pero el evangelio nos instruye que mantengamos en secreto nuestro ayuno. Algunas personas se sienten avergonzadas. Otras se sienten hipócritas. ¿Qué es lo que está pasando? — ¿Cómo se supone que debemos aproximarnos al primer día de Cuaresma?

Primero, examinemos lo que Jesús nos dice realmente. "Ten cuidado de no hacer buena...

February 23, 2017

Every year people struggle with this: It's Ash Wednesday, so we fast and put ashes on our foreheads. But the Gospel instructs us to keep our fasting a secret. Some people feel sheepish. Some feel hypocritical. What's going on — how are we supposed to approach the first day of Lent?

First, let's examine what Jesus actually says. "Take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them." He didn't say: "Don't do these d...

February 23, 2017

We begin the First Sunday of Lent with the story of the creation and fall of man. We are told that man was created out of clay, and then God "blew into his nostrils the breath of life, and so man became a living being."

I am reminded of the story of the little boy who crawled out from under his parents' bed and asked his mother, "Mom, is it true that we were created out of dust and that we will return to dust?" and his mother said, "Yes...

February 23, 2017

You raise a valid point, to wit, that the penitential nature of these two days ought not to be compromised.

However, there are a couple of points:

• Church law does define Ash Wednesday and Good Friday as days on which Catholics must fast, but not all Catholics. Only those aged 18-59 are obligated to fast, and even then, those whose health would be seriously injured by a strict fast are allowed to consume as much food as necessar...