Living a Life of Relationship With God

Now the word of the Lord came to me saying,
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
and before you were born I consecrated you;
I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
Then I said, “Ah, Lord God! Truly I do not know how to speak,
for I am only a boy.” But the Lord said to me,
“Do not say, ‘I am only a boy’;
for you shall go to all to whom I send you,
and you shall speak whatever I command you.
Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, says the Lord.”
—Jeremiah 1:4–8

The Gospel of Prayer

One of the places we can turn to for help in learning how to pray is the Gospel of Luke. More so than any of the other Gospels, his is the Gospel of prayer. Luke gives us glimpses of Jesus praying in virtually every kind of situation: Jesus prays when he is joy-filled, he prays when he is in agony, he prays with others around him, and he prays when he is alone at night, withdrawn from all human contact. He prays high on a mountain, on a sacred place, and he prays on the level plane, where ordinary life happens.

The Sacrament of Holy Orders: A Sacred Calling

At our Baptism, the priest anointed us with sacred chrism and said that we were now identified with Jesus in his roles as priest, prophet, and king. As a priest, we are to offer sacrifice and we do this by participating in the Eucharist, offering both ourselves and the sacrifice of Jesus to the Father. As a prophet, we are to witness to the good news bringing peace and justice to all we meet. And as a king, we are to share in Jesus’ role of ordering all things toward the Father in the Holy Spirit. This honor applies to all the baptized and is often referred to as the priesthood of the faithful. It points to the dignity all share as children of God.

Marriage: A Unique Sacrament

“I will love you and honor you all the days of my life.”

With these words a man and a woman begin a journey together, and their lives, and those of their families and friends, will never be the same. Nor will that of the faith-community, for the exchange of marriage vows affects not only one man and one woman, but their parents and siblings, their extended families and their faith-communities. It changes their legal status and identity for now they will be a new family within society and within the Church. That’s how far reaching is the effect of committed love. Marriage is one of the most usual, and yet distinct, things two people can do.

Anointing of the Sick: Sacrament of Healing

Sickness, accidents, age—all things we have faced or will face as human beings. It’s just part of life. Life isn’t perfect and things happen. And sometimes they happen very unexpectedly.

When the Son of God became human of the Virgin Mary, he entered this imperfect world as Jesus of Nazareth. His life was not noticeably different from anyone else’s; at least not at first. And he, too, experienced human weakness. There were days when he suffered like us, especially at the end of his life. And so did his mother. After all, Simeon had predicted that a sword would pierce her heart. So, Jesus and Mary were not strangers to suffering.

The Healing of the Sacrament of Reconciliation

“Bless me Father for I have. . . . ” Perhaps one of the hardest things we do is admit to our own wrongdoing. It’s hard to say that we have sinned—and be willing to turn our life around to avoid that sin in the future. But we know that it is spiritually and psychologically healthy to do so. So where’s the hang up?

The Eucharist: An Ongoing Sacrament

I like to eat. Or, rather, I like to dine. There’s a difference I am told, and I like the distinction. We eat to stay alive. So, most often, breakfast and lunch are a matter of eating—my main goal is to take in the necessary nourishment to stay alive. But supper is different. Then I prefer to dine, because I enjoy gathering with my community or going out with family or friends to share life together over a meal. There is conversation and friendship, as well as food and drink. It becomes an experience that is more than just fulfilling a biological need. It becomes a social event.

The Sacrament of Confirmation: Stage Two of Our Faith Journey

It has been said that Confirmation is a sacrament looking for a theology. The implication is that we don’t have a clear understanding of what it is about, especially since it has been separated from Baptism and often received after first Communion. But that isn’t entirely accurate. There are issues, I admit, but we still have a pretty good idea of what the sacrament is about.

The Sacrament of Baptism: A Good Place to Start

We commonly say that the sacraments are signs that effect what they signify. That’s a fancy way of saying that they do what they say they do. When we pray the words—and do the prescribed actions using the appropriate objectswe bring about a promised result. Sounds kind of like magic, but it isn’t a question of magic, but of faith, since the aspect of the sacrament is the promise of Jesus to do something wonderful in our lives. This presumes a certain integrity or truthfulness in the sacraments. We can trust them because they are more than just human words and actions: they are the love of God active in human life.

A Ministry of Comfort: A Follower of Saint Francis Story

A member of the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia since 1960, Sister Margaret Xavier Romans, OSF, has ministered to God’s people in many varied capacities, but perhaps none has touched the lives of others so personally and profoundly as her very own pillow ministry.