Posts Tagged 'USCCB'

USCCB Vocations Fair at World Youth Day!

If you’re planning to attend World Youth Day in Madrid, Spain, plan to join us at our Vocations Fair. Read more here.

Sacred Heart of Jesus

Sacred Heart of Jesus

For as long as I can remember, the Sacred Heart has been a part of my life. When I was growing up (even though I didn’t notice this until I had come back home to visit as an adult), there was a framed image of the Consecration of the Family to the Sacred Heart in a very prominent place in my house. I was educated by the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus at a high school named Cor Jesu. I joined a community whose charism is entwined with Sacred Heart devotion. And I have uttered the phrase “Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place my trust in you” more times than I think would be countable if they had been recorded. Certainly, the Sacred Heart of Jesus has been near and dear to me for the entirety of my life.

But what, exactly, is the Sacred Heart? Probably artistic images come to mind…or prayers…or even a vague sense of the love God has for each of us. I was having a conversation yesterday with a few people about what their understanding is of the “Sacred Heart,” and our discussion was relatively profound, I think. One person described the Sacred Heart as fire…that which enkindles, inflames, and ignites us into loving action. Someone else described the Sacred Heart as the image that in itself contains all the love of God and all the pain He endured out of love for us, and the mysterious unity of those two realities: love and pain.

What is the Sacred Heart for you? Or, more accurately: who is the Sacred Heart for you? Today, we celebrate the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. May the love of His Heart reach out to you, reach out through you, and be a blessing for all.

Eucharistic Adoration for Vocations

Dear Friends,

I was just looking through the USCCB site for quotes or information on the saint we celebrate today, St. Justin Martyr, and came across this wonderful page, A Holy Hour for Vocations. In this Holy Hour format a reflection on the Eucharist by St. Justin Martyr is offered for our reflection, “[This Eucharist] has been blessed by the word of prayer instituted by Him, and from it our flesh and blood by assimilation are nourished. This, we are taught, is both the flesh and blood of Jesus incarnate.”

Jesus incarnate is the giver of every vocation. May he bless all those called to the priesthood or consecrated life!

Just do it.

We read that when Jesus called Peter, Andrew, James, and John, they responded immediately (MT 4:18-22). As I read this passaged I was very struck by the immediacy with which they acted. There was no hesitation, no rebuttal, no second-guessing…just action.

Its helpful to reflect on the way the Apostles responded and check my own responses throughout the ordinary situations in my life: waking up in the morning, how many times have I turned the alarm off and went back to sleep? Have I put off studying for a assignment or test that I know is coming up in school? Or have I even put off a chore that my parents or supervisor asked me to do?

Procrastinating is delaying or putting off something that should be done now. If you experience a “stir” within your heart about the priesthood or consecrated life, respond to it, act on it, ask your parish priest about it. St. Thomas Aquinas teaches, “It is praiseworthy to act quickly after taking counsel, which is an act of reason (II-II, Q. 127, a. 1).” Simply asking for more information doesn’t commit yourself to the priesthood or consecrated for ever; it just helps you answer the questions you have about it so you can respond to the promptings with reason. Don’t ignore it or let endless questions about it plague your mind. An old phrase from a “Nike” tennis shoes commercial come to mind: “Just do it.” We all have a responsibility to grow in our Catholic faith and in the spiritual life, but we can’t do it alone. The Church provides guides for us, to help us discern our vocation and live out our Christian call. Ask the questions; it won’t hurt.

May Our Lord strengthen you today to respond to His grace.

On the Road

Have you ever wondered if you would have recognized Jesus if you had been one of the Emmaus disciples? When I truly pay attention to St. Luke’s Resurrection account, I notice that the two men who meet Jesus on the way to Emmaus are good disciples. They are heart-broken at his death in Jerusalem, they are familiar with his teachings, and they are desirous of sharing his story with this total “stranger” who joins them for the long journey out of town. We aren’t told why they’re leaving Jerusalem or where they’re really headed. We aren’t told whether they planned on telling the story of Jesus Christ all along their way or if they just so happened upon someone who was interested in chatting about it. We aren’t told what their ultimate destination is, nor how they intend to spend the remainder of their lives.

What we are told is that they found their hearts burning within them as they shared time and memory with Jesus. They desired his company, and they invited him in to continue to be in relationship with them. They shared bread with him, they received blessing, and they recognized him in the breaking of the bread. And then he was gone. Then did the fire of his love catch flame in them, and compelled them to get up from that very table and run all the way back from where they’d come…just to tell the story!

Maybe this week we can take a moment to reflect on our own discipleship of Jesus. Even when we don’t recognize him, he walks with us, telling us the story of his life, sharing with us the story of ours, and inviting us to see where the two intersect. Even when we’ve journeyed a long way, perceiving him to be absent, somehow in those moments when we listen to the story of his life, we can also sense his presence right there with us. Even when we don’t realize it is Christ we have invited to “remain with us,” he comes and reveals himself in ways quite unexpected. And even when he disappears from view, he sets our hearts on fire, sending us urgently out to those we love most, sharing the good news: we have seen him—he is alive!

More Company for Holy Week

Along with drawing strength from his Heavenly Father (see post “Who is your company for Holy Week?”), Jesus had other company during his journey from Palm Sunday to Easter.

It’s subtle, but it’s significant.

As you read the Scriptural accounts of the passion and death of Jesus, she is not mentioned much, but I think Mary played a huge role. What mother would not be there for her son? Especially in the toughest moments of his life, while others abandon him. I think he drew a lot of strength from her.

There are times when doing what God wants is greeted with great fanfare, and there are times when it is very difficult. Jesus certainly experienced this. His miracles attracted great multitudes, and yet he sweat blood in his struggle to accept his Father’s will in Gethsemane. He accepts that cup, and as he struggles to carry the cross, Mary is with him every step of the way.

Spend some time with Mary. She always helps her children in their struggle to accept God’s will and carry it out. No matter if the crowds are thick or thin, you can count on her company.

The Moment of Truth

We’ve all been there. That hinge moment when everything you’ve ever hoped was true is put on the line for “the moment of truth.” Sitting for a really important midterm or final…the “big game”…a critical point in a relationship…a crisis in the family. All of these are situations where what we hold dear, what we treasure as vital is put to the test to see whether or not its worthy of the value we place on it. Those are scary moments, aren’t they? And yet, they are also defining moments. We nail the test, we make the shot, we find the relationship is just as strong as we had hoped it would be, we grow stronger in our families through the companionship in the crisis. These are the moments of truth. These are the moments that make life beautiful…because they demonstrate to us that when we are most vulnerable and have nothing to rely on but faith…well, somehow that’s enough.

This Sunday’s Gospel is the story of Lazarus being raised from the dead. Jesus and Martha have a wonderfully simple, yet powerfully dramatic little verbal exchange: Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise.” Martha said to him, “I know he will rise, in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” And there it is: the moment of truth. “Do you believe this?” This is Martha’s moment—the moment to either stake everything on Jesus or…not. This was no simple question, no casual inquiry. This was, for Martha, the moment wherein all that she hoped Jesus to be was put on the line and she had to either stake it in complete vulnerability or hedge her bets and rely on what she perceived to be true: death, finality, basic logic. “Do you believe this?” Pope Benedict tells us that in this question posed by Jesus to Martha, “for the Christian community, it is the moment to place with sincerity—together with Martha—all of our hopes in Jesus of Nazareth.” And Martha, in her most stunning Gospel moment replies, “Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God.” O Martha of such deep hope in Christ, pray for us.

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