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 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.

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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...

February 16, 2017

Las lecturas de esta semana nos enseñan acerca de la sabiduría. El libro de Sirac y los evangelios de esta semana nos muestran la sabiduría de Jesús. Veamos más profundamente la conexión entre la sabiduría, Jesús y nosotros.

La descripción de la sabiduría de Sirac vaticina los atributos de la Palabra en el evangelio según San Juan. La sabiduría es creada por el Señor desde la eternidad (Juan 1,1-2). La sabiduría comprende las profundida...

February 16, 2017

The readings for this week teach us about wisdom. The book of Sirach describes wisdom as an attribute of God. The Gospels for the week show us the wisdom of Jesus. Let's take a deeper look at the connections between wisdom, Jesus and us.

Sirach's descriptions of wisdom foreshadow the attributes of the Word in the Gospel of John. Wisdom is created by the Lord from all eternity (John 1:1-2). Wisdom grasps the depths of all creation (John...

February 16, 2017

The readings for the Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time call us into a new freedom by trusting in God's loving providence that surrounds us. As we open our eyes to this, anxiety is replaced with trustful abiding.

In the first reading, Isaiah expresses Israel's panic that God had forsaken her, since things aren't going Israel's way. God's response is poetically beautiful: "Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child o...

February 16, 2017

Before looking at why we abstain from meat as a common penance, we should examine why we even do penance in the first place.

The disciples of St. John the Baptist commonly fasted as a way to express sorrow for their past sins, as well as to help them to learn to say "no" to future sins. They were dismayed, however, when Jesus and His disciples didn't fast, but feasted regularly. Some approached Jesus to ask Him about this. He responded:...

February 9, 2017

Aprendemos mucho de la historia de la salvación a través de los santos. Ellos nos educan con su ejemplo: "¡Se así!" También en la historia de la salvación aprendemos mucho por medio de los pecados. Estos nos enseñan mediante ejemplos negativos: "¡No seas así!"

Las lecturas de esta semana están llenas de enseñanzas mediante ejemplos negativos.

Caín y Abel • Caín sintió cólera y resentimiento hacia Abel. Nosotros t...

February 9, 2017

We learn a great deal from the saints of salvation history. They teach by example: "Be like this!" We learn a great deal from the sins of salvation history, as well. These teach by counter-example: "Don't be like this!"

The readings this week are full of teachings by counter-example.

Cain and Abel • Cain felt anger and resentment toward Abel. We all feel anger and resentment sometimes. But Cain didn't master his...

February 8, 2017

The readings for the Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time suggest there is no limit to our participation in Godliness. The first reading states: "Be holy, for I, the Lord, your God, am holy." That's our open invitation to allow God to possess us with His holiness. He doesn't limit our participation in His goodness.

The more we desire His godliness, the more we discover ourselves doing what He does, loving everyone, even enemies. I shouldn't...

February 8, 2017

Growing up, I remember Mother Angelica on EWTN commenting to callers who had been away from the sacrament of reconciliation or were afraid to go that they would feel so good afterward, that they should go out and buy a pizza. Such a comment came from a heart that had approached the sacrament and found peace in the deep mercy of God.

Such an experience reflects what the Church teaches. In the Catechism of the Catholic Church, our faith t...

February 2, 2017

A lo largo de la semana que viene, las lecturas diarias nos llevan a reflexionar sobre el orden que Dios ha escrito en el mundo a través de la creación y el pacto, sobre lo que sucede cuando nos alejamos de ese orden y cómo Jesús vino para restaurarlo.

Comenzamos la semana con el relato de la creación, del Génesis 1 — una visión magnífica del orden del mundo. Dios habla diez veces, señala la bondad del mundo siete veces, da sus bendicio...

February 2, 2017

Throughout the coming week, the daily readings prompt us to reflect on the order God has written into the world through creation and the covenant, what happens when we turn away from that order, and how Jesus came to restore it.

We start the week with the first creation account, from Genesis 1 — a magnificent vision of the order of the world. God speaks 10 times; He notes the goodness of the world seven times and He gives His blessing t...

February 2, 2017

The readings for the Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time suggest the word of God comes directly from His heart, and if we follow His word, it leads us directly back to His heart.

In the first reading from Sirach, we learn that if we exercise the free choice of keeping His commandments, the commandments will save us. What does it mean to be saved by the word of God? Does it mean we will be saved from starving to death or losing our property or...

February 2, 2017

We can trace the use of bells in the liturgy back to the liturgy of the Old Testament. In the Book of Exodus, the vestments of the high priest are described in detail. Among the ornamentation on the vestments are alternating pomegranates and bells (Exodus 28:33-35).

God instructed the bells to be sewn on the vestments for two reasons.

1) They were part of the joyful noise made to the Lord, as referenced in Psalm 98:4.

2) B...