Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’—like the poem by St. Francis on which it is based—speaks of the fragility of our ecology due in large part to the weakness of our morality. Unless we value each creature as integral to our humanity, we cannot act as responsible stewards of a global community.
“Time is going by so quickly!” I hear that comment nearly every day from relatives, friends, patients, and even strangers I chat with at the grocery store. Life seems to be whizzing past at lightning speed. We all say we’d like to slow it down, but, in the midst of our super busy, modern lives, how can we do that?
We are two weeks into the new year—a good time to take stock on our resolutions. Each year we promise to do things to improve our health, our lives, our relationships, etc. The gyms are packed, houses are organized, and grocery shopping takes on a new, healthier perspective—at least for a while.
I recently cycled across town to a pub on the Philadelphia waterfront. I sat at a table with a breathtaking river view: piers lined with magnificent sailboats, water splashing gently against the dock. We had gone from dodging traffic to the serenity of the majestic Delaware River in a matter of minutes. My thoughts transitioned to meditation.
There are 18 parables in the Gospel of Luke. One of the shortest ones contains one of the most powerful messages. It’s about the rich man who had a magnificent harvest. He faced a conundrum: “What shall I do with this fantastic harvest? My barns will never hold all of this since they still have some of last year’s harvest.” His solution makes sense and, in fact, helps him plan for what he anticipates will be big harvests for years to come.
For most people who like to pray the psalms, Psalm 23 is clearly a favorite. My prayer is that, with the gracious help of the Holy Spirit, we may each come to a fuller understanding of this psalm. May we be drawn, like a humble lamb, to trust the good shepherd, who watches over us with total love. May this popular psalm become for us a prayer of simple trust!
Perhaps the three most well-known Franciscan saints are Francis, of course, Clare of Assisi, and Anthony of Padua. I would like to take this opportunity to highlight the similarities between Francis and his early follower, Anthony.
I am a sinner. As a 9-year-old, I remember eyeing a miniature Cincinnati Reds baseball bat at my friend Mike’s house. And I wanted it. I don’t have one, I clearly remember reasoning, and he has so many toys that he won’t notice. So I took it.
We are still joyfully celebrating the Christmas season even as we begin a new year and a new month. And the Christmas season, in all its mystery and joy, is a wonderful time to ponder this most fundamental dimension of our faith—the blessed Eucharist—the “source and summit” of our lives as Christians. It is, after all, the life of Christ that we celebrate and consume in the Blessed Sacrament.