In 1938 the German scientist Otto Hahn discovered how to split the atom and thus brought us into the nuclear age. Years later when he learned that two nuclear bombs detonated on the Japanese mainland he became suicidal. In the years after the Great War he advocated far and wide that nuclear energy should never be used for weapons of war.
The atom, the smallest unit of nature's building material is very much like the family, which is also the basic structure of building societies. Families are comparable to atoms in the sense that violent bombardments against its unity unleash highly destructive forces.READ MORE
Just 20 minutes north of our Parish you will stumble across this landscape on the Lower Salt River. I snapped this shot a few days before last Christmas. It's the closest thing I've seen to autumn on the desert landscape. Capturing this moment demanded a bit of hiking along the river while weaving through the briars that were growing along mossy shore. Finding something picturesque often requires a sixth sense, because, in my case, I am frequently not sure about just what it is I am looking for.READ MORE
Here's an image of the Picket Post House at the Boise Thompson Arboretum--a little mansion by some stretch of the imagination but a welcome sight for the weary traveler sojourning through the desert.
On the subject of mansions, over the last few weeks I have revisited in my quiet time St. Theresa of Avila's Interior Castle. It is a classic and perhaps the first bold attempt to systematize the development of mystical prayer. She uses the image of a castle to describe the development of prayer and the life of virtue it requires. The castle is filled with any number of rooms, too vast to count, and this is symbolic of our individual and unique experiences of God in prayer; but there are seven stages or, as she calls them, mansions through which the soul must pass before complete transformation and perfect peace are found with God. There are lay Carmelites in our parish family who are far more informed than me on St. Theresa's spirituality. Perhaps you may want to reach out to one of them. Trust me. This would be time well spent.
The nostalgic mill town model at the Albuquerque Biopark presents a portrait of a much simpler America—one that, perhaps, our senior parishioners have memories. It speaks to me of a time when the lines between hard work, rest and prayer were more clearly defined. Every once in a while I experience a sense of nostalgia for my younger years like the memories of the pleasant and uninterrupted experience of reading the Adventures of TinTin. Those were days when there were no text messages summoning my curiosity. There was just one phone in the home shared by all.READ MORE
I have a friend who wore a heart monitor for a day. Later, his doctor observed that his heart appeared most rested and healthy between 4 and 5pm. "What were you doing at that time?" his doctor asked. "I was in adoration" came the response.
Isn't this the truth! The heart is more than a muscle. It is also the place where God loves to reside. How true of Pope Benedict XVI when he wrote, "In a world where there is so much noise, so much bewilderment, there is a need for silent adoration of Jesus concealed in the Host. Be assiduous in the prayer of adoration and teach it to the faithful. It is a source of comfort and light, particularly to those who are suffering." (Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation, Sacramentum Caritatis)READ MORE
I took this picture at the White Sands Desert of New Mexico, not far from where the U.S. Army detonated the first nuclear bomb on July 16, 1945. There, on those sands, I prayed that God spare our world future use of such weapons. Deserts of the Bible have been places where people were tempted and suffered trial for the purpose of preparing themselves for some mission.READ MORE
I clicked the shutter in a nick of time before these winter travelers sped off. The third passenger reminded me of 'King Louie' from the Jungle Book. As I was touching it up in post processing I chuckled in prayer, "God, I like this photo but it says nothing spiritually to me. Show me how to use it for the bulletin." When I looked at it again the next day, I thought of my guardian angel. Yes, of course! This purely spiritual creature has the mission of not only 'watching our backs' but enlightening us with what concerns God's most holy Will. If you haven't memorized the Guardian Angel prayer, just pray it every day for a month and it will stick.
Paving and Painting belong to the nature of our world because the sign of decay is visible in any manmade object over time. This truth, I believe, should highlight our spiritual longing for something permanent and incorruptible that fills our desires to love and to be loved. The liturgies that unfold near the base of our bell tower are intended to found and strengthen our spiritual longings for what lies beyond the decay of this world. If you are a believer, you know of what I am writing about.
I am grateful to the numerous parishioners who have donated their talents toward the upkeep of God's Temple. God has taken note of our generosity with the Church's material needs and no act of generous love will go without its reward. Thank you for making our worship space and grounds more accommodating to our faith family. But now, we must turn our attention to a more suitable structure where our faith family at Holy Cross can see Jesus and talk with Him face to face: The Stabat Mater Chapel.
Maricopa County operates White Tanks Cemetery for people who die without any family to look after their mortal remains. Located next to loop 303 is a large rocky patch. There are no marble tombs, no headstones or grass for that matter. Springing forth from the terrain are mushroom-like brass markers on which names and burial dates are engraved. That is all.
On the eve of Thanksgiving last year I accompanied a group of about 75 people, most young and Catholic who gathered to pray for the dead. After the first reading and responsorial psalm, there was a second reading. Then we prayed together the Our Father and were given each a flower to leave at a marker of our choice. I placed my flower on the marker of 'Jacob Richards'—quite possibly a homeless person whose relatives do not know about his death.READ MORE
We are blessed at Holy Cross to have a multi-cultural committee that organizes very colorful liturgies. One of the thoughts that hit me during the annual celebration of our Thanksgiving Day Mass as I gazed over the traditional uniforms from around the world was the need to thank God for all those missionaries He sent, who in centuries past led our ancestors to embrace the Catholic Faith. Because of that missionary zeal we find ourselves united by the same Faith and this is ultimately a work of God’s Holy Spirit.
It is not true what John Lennon’s Imagine has to say about religion. The experience of the Catholic Faith has already taught us that we are to see each other as brothers and sisters. After all, God our Father has brought us into His one Family through the sacrifice of His Son in order that we may share the same mansion in the world to come. And there is unimaginable happiness and peace there. I assure you, Heaven is more than utopic. It is the real utopia.
To My Spiritual Sons and Daughters of Holy Cross,
In my conversations with some of you we have been sensing something deeply unsettling for a very long time: there is so much in Christmas celebrations today that speaks nothing of THE EVENT that took place in Bethlehem. So, I thought it would be good to ask you, as much as I ask myself: what should we provide to family and friends to help them better see, that, what happened in Bethlehem is really the only thing worth celebrating during Christmas? A spiritual Christmas celebration requires a deepening of our Christian identity.
To that end I thought it would be good to suggest taking a better look at our family traditions and to see if there is anything that is more of a distraction rather than a means of growth in the love we profess for God who came to us as a Child. It belongs to the wisest of Christian practices to examine ourselves periodically and to see more clearly the things we need to change or at a minimum to ask God to change the things we cannot by ourselves.READ MORE
The initiative our faithful bring to their ministries gives momentum to the spiritual life. The New Testament letter from James teaches that faith without works to support it is not faith at all. I walked into the kitchen next to Wellen’s Hall and found a few of my parishioners preparing tamales by the hundreds. The tamales you may have bought funded Our Lady of Guadalupe Festivities. The Mother of God deserves our love and devotion. I could not help but notice in the kitchen a certain joy and satisfaction that my parishioners had that day in secretly offering to Mother Mary a day’s worth of toil. I think she was pleased in the same way as when a mother receives a red rose from her child.
It is a pity that we do not have a relicof the True Cross at our Parish. I washowever blessed with the venerationof such a relic a few weeks ago duringmy on-going formation absence.
Theelaborate reliquary or structurehousing the relic is often made ofprecious metals and gems and is oneof the lesser criteria that supportsauthenticity. I don’t know for sure if itwas a true relic. In fact, one couldassume some posture of doubtbefore such realities, but Inevertheless expressed my gratitudefor the instrument on which Christshowed you and me the depth of Hislove. I kissed the glass windowprotecting the relic and thanked Godon behalf of my parishioners.READ MORE
Pope Francis said during his recent visit to Philadelphia that “All the love and beauty God has in Himself, He gives it to the family.” It is a beautiful thing to behold when parents and grandparents introduce their children to life’s joys such as one might find at the Arizona State Fair. This is where this Sunday’s illustration came from.READ MORE