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.

November 10, 2016

Devotion to the Infant King of Heaven and Earth is a beautiful, Scripture-based devotion. Origins of such a devotion can be found in Isaiah's prophecy of a new shoot coming forth from the stump of David's father, Jesse. The Spirit of the Lord, it is prophesied, will come to rest upon this new ruler (Isaiah 11:1-2). This prophecy comes true in Jesus, whom the Angels declare to the shepherds on the night of His birth as Messiah and Lord (Luke 2:...

November 3, 2016

Bueno, votaremos esta semana. ¿Las lecturas de esta semana nos ofrecen alguna guía final? Yo pienso que sí.

Primero, en anticipación del final del año litúrgico, las lecturas se dirigen a la consideración de los últimos tiempos. ¿Por qué esto importa? Porque así es como debemos aproximarnos a la mesa de votación — con la convicción que nuestro voto importa ahora y en la eternidad. Como votemos es una de las cosas por las cuales tendremo...

November 3, 2016

Well, we vote this week. Do this week's readings offer us any final guidance? I think they do.

First, in anticipation of the end of the liturgical year, the readings are turning toward a consideration of the end times. Why does that matter? Because that's how we should approach the voting booth — with the conviction that our vote matters now and in eternity. How we vote is one of the things for which we'll have to give an account to God...

November 3, 2016

The first and third readings for the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time tell about the incredible future that awaits beyond our troubled times.

Malachi is a prophet, not a Dale Carnegie. He tells how it is, not how we would like to perceive it. His imagery is frank, direct and even brutal. "Lo the day is coming, blazing like an oven, when all the proud and all evildoers will be stubble, and the day that is coming will set them on fire, leavin...

November 3, 2016

Bury my body wherever you will; let not care of it cause you any concern. One thing only I ask you, that you remember me at the altar of the Lord wherever you may be." — St. Monica, as recorded in the "Confessions" of St. Augustine

St. Monica's words to St. Augustine reveal a reversal of the priorities we normally associate when someone passes away. Today, many want their loved one to be buried nearby so that they may visit them frequen...

October 27, 2016

Imagine that our life is like a book. When we die, Jesus hands us the book and reads it to us. When He's done reading, He hands us the book and says: "Would you like to edit any parts of that? I'd be glad to help."

What if we had the chance — not to change the past, but to make things better?

That's an image of purgatory. Like all images, it's imperfect. But I suspect there are few of us who wouldn't jump at the chance to repair...

October 27, 2016

The theme of the three readings for the 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time are pieced together with this theme from the responsorial psalm: "But I in justice shall behold your face; on waking I shall be content in your presence." These readings pierce our ordinary lives on earth with the brilliant hope of resurrected life.

In the first reading from Maccabees, this hope shines so beautifully in the lives of the brothers who were arrested and t...

October 27, 2016

Before the Second Vatican Council of the 1960s, nearly every Mass had only two readings as part of the Mass. The first reading was known as the epistle, as the lectionary tended to draw more from the letters of the New Testament than from the books of the Old Testament. After the psalm and Gospel acclamation would come the Gospel.

The Holy Spirit moved the Second Vatican Council to emphasize afresh the Scriptures. In particular, the cou...

October 20, 2016

For the past two weeks, we've heard readings from St. Paul's Letter to the Ephesians. This is his concluding advice to the Ephesians and to us.

"Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil ... stand fast with your loins girded in truth, clothed with righteousness as a breastplate, and your feet shod in readiness for the gospel of peace. In all circumstances, hold faith as a shield, to q...

October 20, 2016

The readings for the 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time are as amazing as they are incomprehensible. God is as infinite in power as He is in mercy and love.

The Book of Wisdom states: "Before the Lord the whole universe is as a grain from a balance or a drop of morning dew come down upon the earth." On my family's farm, we had a balance scale to weigh items to be sold, and I can assure you that if a grain of wheat fell from the scale, we woul...

October 20, 2016

Saints are primarily mentioned in two Eucharistic Prayers.

The first is the First Eucharistic Prayer, or the Roman Canon. It's the oldest Eucharistic Prayer, because it was developed by St. Peter while he was in Rome. After him, popes have added to the prayer and changed it until Pope St. Gregory the Great (who died in 604) put it into its final form. Since then, it has rarely changed, for the Church holds this prayer as part of our tra...

October 13, 2016

This week we celebrate the Feast of the North American Martyrs — eight Jesuit missionaries who were killed between 1642 and 1649. Theirs is a great story of faith and courage as they lived and shared the Gospel in the United States and Canada.

One of the things we know about the North American Martyrs is that they faced their deaths with eyes wide open. St. Isaac Jogues had been beaten almost to death before he escaped from his captors...

October 13, 2016

This week we celebrate the Feast of the North American Martyrs — eight Jesuit missionaries who were killed between 1642 and 1649. Theirs is a great story of faith and courage as they lived and shared the Gospel in the United States and Canada.

One of the things we know about the North American Martyrs is that they faced their deaths with eyes wide open. St. Isaac Jogues had been beaten almost to death before he escaped from his captors...

October 13, 2016

The responsorial psalm ties together the good news of all three readings for the 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time, which tell that the Lord is deeply moved by the prayers of the lowly.

In the first reading, Sirach says God shows no favorites "but He hears the cry of the oppressed....The prayer of the lowly pierces the clouds; it does not rest till it reaches its goal, nor will it withdraw till the Most High responds."

The poor aren't...

October 13, 2016

The Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar is a common way to refer to the Eucharist. When we think about the phrase's full meaning, we better grasp the value the Eucharist has to the Church. How we treat the Blessed Sacrament and how we behave in His presence show our reverence and respect for it. Even when cleaning the chalices, ciboria, patens and cloths that contain or touch the Eucharist, we are called to protect and dignify the sanctity of...

October 6, 2016

Aquí hay algo más grande que Salomón ... Hay algo más grande que Jonás."

Esto no es solamente algo que dice Jesús en Lucas 11, en una de las lecturas de esta semana, sino también un tema del Nuevo Testamento. Jesús es más grande que Juan el Bautista (Jn 1; 26-28). Él es más grande que Moisés (Hb 3; 3-6). Él es más importante que el Sabbath (Mc 2; 27-28). Él es más importante que el Templo (Mt 12;6).

El hecho que Jesús sea "más gr...

October 6, 2016

There is something greater than Solomon here ... there is something greater than Jonah here."

This isn't only something Jesus says in Luke 11, which we read this week, it's also a theme of the New Testament. Jesus is greater than John the Baptist (John 1:26-28). He's greater than Moses (Hebrews 3:3-6). He's greater than the Sabbath (Mark 2: 27-28). He's greater than the Temple (Matthew 12:6).

The fact that Jesus is "greater than"...

October 6, 2016

The readings for the 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time stress the importance of persistence in prayer before our God.

In the first reading, the Israelites battle the superior army of Amalekites. Joshua was to engage the Amalekites in battle, while Moses climbed to the top of a hill overlooking the battlefield. He raised his arms toward heaven, and as long as he kept them raised, the Israelites were victorious. But when his arms grew weary, t...