"I have been listening to you on EWTN for about a year now. I left the Catholic Church 42 years ago. After many struggles during this last year, I finally went to confession on Sunday. I cannot begin to explain how excited I am to be home. Thank you so much for helping me on my journey home."
The book is ubiquitous and hugely appealing: "1,000 Places to See before You Die." Most of us long to see the world. But beyond mere wanderlust, we have a spiritual need to seek out holy places, touched by great saints and divine events. What’s on your must-see list? Here are some suggestions.
The early Christians established the first institutionalized system for the care of widows, orphans, the sick, and the poor. The Church has taken that care to the ends of the earth. Now many secular organizations serve the needy. But Christian charity goes beyond meeting material needs. It serves the whole person, preserving his God-given dignity.
When the newly baptized Juanillo took a second wife, Fray Pedro admonished him to live the Christian life he professed. The next morning, the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, 1597, Fray Pedro was murdered on his way to Mass. When the bloodbath was over, four more friars had been martyred for upholding the sanctity of marriage.
Not enough priests. Diocese in bankruptcy. Urban flight. Vanishing ethnic communities. For these reasons and others, parish closings and mergers are necessary in many places. But however necessary, they are traumatic and heartbreaking for those involved. Canon law helps the process by giving clear direction regarding dispersed property and displaced communities.
"Let us then not be ashamed to confess the Crucified. Be the cross our seal, made with boldness by our fingers on our brow and in everything; over the bread we eat and the cups we drink, in our comings and in goings out; before our sleep, when we lie down and when we awake; when we are travelling, and when we are at rest."
~ St. Cyril of Jerusalem in his "Catecheses" (xiii, 36), on the sign of the cross, a practice familiar to Christians in the second century and which had passed into a gesture of benediction by the fourth century, as many quotations from the Fathers show