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.

April 6, 2017

Easter Sunday celebrates the greatest feast of the entire year, Christ's resurrection from the dead. But we need to ask ourselves: "Is my experience of Christ's resurrection primarily head knowledge, or is my experience both head and heart knowledge?"

Exploring the readings, beginning with the Gospel, helps us answer the question. In the Gospel of John, Mary of Magdala "came to the tomb early in the morning, while it was still dark, and...

Father John Mayo
April 6, 2017

Q: What did Jesus really mean when from the cross He said, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’

This cry by Christ from the cross comes to us in the Gospels of St. Matthew and St. Mark. The words are a combination of Hebrew and Aramaic, which the Gospel writer then translates into Greek. This formulation is kept in major Bible translations, which first print the Hebrew and Aramaic word...

Arzobispo Robert J. Carlson
March 29, 2017

Estamos en la cuenta regresiva de la Semana Santa, y las lecturas de esta semana son algo así como las 10 Mejores del Antiguo Testamento. Una y otra vez los inocentes se enfrentan a la muerte — como Susana cuando fue acusada falsamente de adulterio. Una y otra vez pusieron su fe en Dios — como Jeremías cuando el pueblo se confabuló contra él. Una y otra vez Dios interviene — por ejemplo, cuando mando un ángel a salvar a Sadrac, Mesac y Abedneg...

Archbishop Robert J. Carlson
March 29, 2017

We're counting down to Holy Week, and the readings for this week are a kind of Old Testament Top 10. Time and again the innocent face death — such as Susanna when she was falsely accused of adultery. Time and again they put their faith in God — such as Jeremiah when the people plotted against him. Time and again God intervenes — such as sending an angel to preserve Shadrach, Meschach and Abednego when they were cast into the fiery furnace.

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Bishop Robert J. Hermann
March 29, 2017

Holy Week begins the greatest week of the liturgical year. As we enter more deeply into His passion and death, we discover Jesus entering our passion, our struggle with sin, weaknesses and inconsistencies. There's no doubt that Christ suffers much in our lives, gradually conquering our rebellious nature with the same love that led Him through His passion.

When I think of God's love for sinful humanity, I recall the image of the Holy Tri...

Father John Mayo
March 29, 2017

Once we get past the basic logistics of praying the Rosary and learn the order of the mysteries, we might ask: "OK, so now I am doing this. What am I supposed to be getting out of it?" To help, there are many aids to help us to pray the Rosary.

One of the most simple is to remember the fruit of the mystery. This fruit is the truth at the heart of the mystery. For example, in the first joyful mystery, we pray for the fruit of humility. T...

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...