"Lord, show us the Father, and we shall be satisfied."  (John 14:8)

I've heard it said that, at some level, each of us has a "father wound."  The meaning of that phrase applied individually likely varies from person to person, but the truth of it goes to the unique impact a father--or lack thereof--has on each of our lives.  What we today call "the West" (and for over 1500 years knew as Christendom), undeniably is suffering from a father wound--earthly and heavenly, both coerced and self-inflicted.

Fatherlessness in America has reached epidemic proportions.  The statistics are equal parts shocking and sobering.  A staggering 33% (24.7 million) of children in the U.S. live in a home absent their biological father.  Of children between the ages of 1st and 12th grade, the percentage increases to 39%.  Jesus once told his disciples "what man of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone?  Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent?"  (Matthew 7:9-10)  Sadly, for 1 in every 3 children in this country, the father isn't even around for a child to ask him for such things.

The negative effects the lack of a father has on a child are well documented and equally horrific.  These include vast increases in the risk of poverty, teen pregnancy, behavioral problems, alcohol and drug abuse, high school dropout and incarceration.  Two statistics in particular illustrate the father wound: (1) 63% of youth suicides come from fatherless homes; and (2) 85% of all children that exhibit behavioral disorders come from fatherless homes.  Of course, none of these statistics take into account those fathers that are physically present in the home, yet who are physically or mentally abusive, indifferent, or simply emotionally absent.  To be sure though, there are some fathers who qualify as “physically absent” from the home but who nevertheless are able to find the time and means to still be present in the lives of their children. But, in reality, these “absent but present” fathers are likely a rarity. Being a devoted father, after all, is a full time job, and physical and emotional presence in the home on a daily basis is almost always a necessity.

I share these statistics not to paint a hopeless picture or demean most fathers.  Far from it.  Many of us were and are blessed with wonderful, loving fathers who played active roles in our lives.  I'm also fully aware that numerous individuals overcome the absence of a father to reach lofty heights.  I personally know many such examples.  But neither is my intent to issue a get out of jail free card to those who have suffered from a physically or emotionally absent father. At some point, we all have to take personal responsibility for our lives, our decisions, and our sins.

But what these statistics above show--and what our own experience tells us--is that we each have a deep desire for the love of a father; a love without which things inevitably go wrong.  There is a hole in our hearts that only a father can fill.  Why?  How is it that nothing else can seem to fill the void a lack of the father creates?

The answer, I believe, lies in the apostle Philip's plea to Jesus: "Lord, show us the Father, and we shall be satisfied."  (John 14:8)  We do not know what Philip's relationship was like with his earthly father, but we can hear the longing in his voice for the Father's love.  That love we all seek.  It is that same yearning that caused St. Augustine to cry out "our heart [O Lord] is restless until it rests in You."  Because a father's love here on earth is but a dim reflection of the love of our Heavenly Father--the Creator of every star in the universe who decided to create you and me too.  We want to know Him, to see Him, to feel His love in the same way every child craves his or her father's love and attention.

So when Jesus responds to Philip's question, his answer echoes throughout the ages to each one of us: "He who has seen me has seen the Father."  For that, in a nutshell, was Jesus's mission--to show us the Father's love through his life, death and resurrection.  And only by becoming man, taking on our human flesh, could God fully reveal himself as the loving Father he has been for all eternity.  As Scott Hahn explains in his recent book The Creed:

"Father.  There, in a word, is the Christian revolution.  There is the word that set Christianity apart from any religion that has appeared on earth, before or since the birth of Jesus.  [A] Father whose love, it seems, is so great as to be unimaginable apart from his self-revelation in the Son."

Life is hard when our earthly father has been absent from our lives, but it is even harder when our Heavenly Father is absent.  But whereas it is almost unheard of for a child actively to seek separation from his or her earthly father, more and more adults in the United States have either completely or partially banished God the Father from their lives.  As of 2012, 20% of all adults in the United States described themselves as either atheist, agnostic, or having "no religious affiliation."  The very latest statistics from the Pew Research Center continue to paint a bleak picture, showing that half of Americans who have left Christianity no longer believe in God at all.

Even among those who still self-identify as Christian, over 60% infrequently or rarely attend worship services.  Sadly, among Catholics, it is even worse, with less than 25% attending Mass at least once a week.  So, although there still is a large segment of the population who retain some cultural identity as Christian, in reality, they practically are indistinguishable from non-Christians.  In both groups, God plays as little role in their day to day lives as those absent fathers cited in the statistics above.  If you've read any of my first few posts from this blog, you know I speak from experience.

This heavenly fatherlessness comes with a price.  One need not look long at the state of affairs in the West to see the effects of moral decay: the systematic slaughter of the unborn, the tossing aside of the sick and elderly through the faux compassion of increasingly accepted assisted suicide laws; the denial of reality through the redefinition of marriage and radical gender ideology; a steep decline in the protection of religious liberty; unprecedented moral relativism; the elevation of "science" as the only means by which truth (if there even be such a thing) can be known; and a general apathy, if not hostility, toward anything that makes moral demands on one's life or interferes with the ultimate god of pleasure.  The list could go on and on.  Next time you are sitting in traffic, or in line at the grocery store, or walking through the mall, look around at people's faces.  Overall, you're unlikely to see the joy and hope that comes from knowing God the Father as revealed by his Son, Jesus Christ.

It is long past time for us, as Christians, to take personal responsibility for this; for not showing others that the hole in their heart, which nothing else can fill, is the absence of God the Father.    In short, It is time to restore Christendom; not physically or collectively, but spiritually and personally.  As the late Christian historian Warren Carroll once wrote:

"Christendom . . . grows with that courage and profession, and above all by the silent impetus of prayer and example.  It fades with timidity, indifference, apostasy, and lack of holiness."

And for that, there is no better model than Mary, the Mother of God, whose "soul magnifies the Lord" and whose "spirit rejoices in God my savior."  (Luke 1:46-47)  Like so many earthly mothers who make up in love for the absent earthly father, so Mary points us to her Son so the Father will no longer be absent from our lives.  For unlike her, too often we turn the lens around, magnifying ourselves and not God, while rejoicing in the temporal but not the eternal.  We would do well to listen to the advice of St. Francis of Assisi, who said that "the deeds you do may be the only sermon some people will hear today."  That frame of mind, combined with radical conversion to holiness, is what it will take to show the world the Father.  As always, Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen sums it up better than I ever could:

"The Heavenly Father has a Son Who is the fullness of all the perfections of the Father, and yet from all eternity He has decreed that other children should be born to Him and be admitted to the glorious privilege of adoptive sonship in which they can say 'Our Father.'"

May we bring God the Father back into all of our lives.

God love you.


"Death is certain; life is short and vanishes like smoke.  Fix your minds then on the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ."  - St. Francis of Paola

A couple of weeks ago, I was on my daily morning run.  Almost every day, I run the same distance of 4 miles using the same route.  Basically, I run two miles out and two miles back to my house.  Half the route is within my subdivision, while the other half takes me out onto a two-lane FM road.  For most of that portion, there isn't much of a shoulder on either side of the road; just some gravel, dirt, and then weeds and/or grass.

On this particular morning, when I came to the two mile mark (where I always turn around), I decided to keep going.  I can't really explain why.  On occasion, I will do 5 miles instead of 4, but that wasn't my intention as I kept running on this day.  I just kept going.  I ended up running about another quarter of a mile and then turned around to head back home.  After about another mile or so, while still on the FM road, I noticed a pickup truck about 100 yards ahead coming my direction at an above average speed.  Without warning, the truck veered off the road almost completely and onto the gravel/dirt shoulder, straddling the two for several seconds.  Even though the truck was still well ahead of me, I quickly moved to the left off of the road and shoulder.  The driver eventually noticed what had happened and corrected himself before he got to me.  As he passed by, he gave me a small wave to acknowledge his error.

I continued my run and didn't think anything of the event for another minute or two.  Then it hit me like a ton of bricks.  If I had done my normal 4 mile run (turning around where I usually do), I  likely would have been in the exact location--or at least the proximate vicinity--where the truck ran off the road.  Given that scenario, the speed at which the truck was traveling, and the suddenness of his swerve, the chances are slim that I would have been able to avoid him.  In other words, running that additional quarter of a mile probably saved my life that morning.

Of course, this was no mere coincidence or a simple piece of good luck.  God watches over each of us as a loving Father every single day of our lives.  Without His love, His mercy, His grace . . . we would not exist, could not rise every morning, could not so much as take a breath of air into our lungs.  Yet most days we walk around this earth like little gods, demanding this, thinking we are entitled to that, grumbling about our difficulties, trying to control every single aspect or our lives.

We woud do well to remember the words of the psalmist: "Teach us to counts our days aright, that we may gain wisdom of heart."  (Psalms 90:12)  Because the truth is, this wasn't the first time God had protected me from danger or harm.  There have been several other times in my life that I can recall where I was keenly aware of God's intervention or protection over me--many times when I was too stupid to protect myself.  My guess is that you can recall these times in your life too.  But what about all those countless times that we haven't been aware of it?  All the times God has watched over and protected us, but we never realized it?

One of the worst aspects of the modern, secular world we live in is the loss of the sense of the supernatural; the loss of the belief in miracles.  But miracles happen everyday, we just usually don't realize it.  As G.K. Chesterton once said, "The sense of the miracle of humanity itself should be always more vivid to us than any marvels of power, intellect, art, or civilization."  (Orthodoxy)  Modern man in the twenty-first century has turned this truth on its head.

If we hold fast to the reality of the miraculous, however, it frees us to live with true joy, thankful for each and every day that God gives us.  As Jesus told us, He came so that we "might have life, and have it more abundantly."  (John 10:10)  Not merely life . . . not merely waking up day in and day out and going through the motions, but abundant life . . . life lived with a fullness and peace that surpasses all understanding.  Because in reality, Everything Is Grace--every day, every joy, every suffering, every tear, every breath, every moment.

God love you!


I'm over six feet tall.  If I wear my cowboy boots, I can add another half inch or so and get pretty close to 6'2".  I guess that makes me above average height.  Yet when it comes to following Jesus, I sometimes feel short in stature.

This reality hit home with me recently when reading the story about Zacchaeus in St. Luke's Gospel.  Scripture tell us that Zacchaeus was a rich tax collector who "sought to see" Jesus as He was passing through Jericho.  (Luke 19:1-3)  But his desire to see Jesus faced two problems: (1) as usual, there was a large crowd surrounding Jesus; and (2) Zacchaeus "was small of stature."  Quite simply, Zacchaeus was short, and there was no way he could see Jesus over the crowd. Undeterred, Zacchaeus climbed a sycamore tree to remedy the problem.  Jesus, impressed by such determination, yelled out to him, "Zacchaeus, make haste and come down; for I must stay at your house today."  (Luke 19:5)  Zacchaeus obeyed, came down from the tree, and received Jesus "joyfully."  (Luke 19:6) St. Luke then recounts that Zacchaeus told Jesus he would give half of his good to the poor and make restitution "fourfold" to anyone he had defrauded--all this while the crowd murmured in astonishment that Jesus would be the guest of a sinner.  (Luke 19:7-8)  In response, Jesus announces that salvation has come to Zacchaeus' house, and, more broadly, that "the Son of man came to seek and to save the lost."  (Luke 19:9-10)

Although I'm not physically "small of stature" as was Zacchaeus, I often identify with his plight.  Like Zacchaeus, most days I sincerely seek to see Jesus; and not only to see, but to carry my cross and follow him.  Yet certain things sometimes crowd around Jesus and obstruct my sight.  As St. Cyril of Jerusalem wrote, "The crowd is the confusion . . . which we must climb above if we wish to see Christ."  This confusion--the crowd--can take many forms: money and/or material possessions, worldly pleasure, fear, anxiety, apathy, spiritual laziness, and the like.  Combine this with a small spiritual stature--the weakening of the will and intellect resulting from sin--and some days it can be almost impossible to see Jesus as He passes by.  And make no mistake, He passes by us anew each and every day.

Fortunately, Zacchaeus shows us how to overcome this problem.  It is no coincidence that he climbed a tree.  Almost certainly there were other objects or structures that Zacchaeus could have scaled in order to see Jesus.  No, it had to be a tree, because the tree represents the Cross--both that of Jesus and our own.  As Cornelius a Lapide, referencing 1 Corinthians 1:24, explains:

Mystically, the sycamore is the cross of Christ and His doctrine, which to the Gentiles and men of this world is mere folly, but to Zacchæus and the faithful is the wisdom of God, and the power of God.

Like it did for Zacchaeus, climbing a tree--the Cross of Christ--gives us the wisdom of God; the wisdom to see past the crowd in our lives and overcome our small spiritual stature.  I've found that routine, constant prayer provides a great boost to climbing.  Similarly, offering even the most mundane of daily activities for God's glory seems to keep my eyes open and alert for when Jesus passes by.  Sure, such climbing habits may cause us to suffer scorn and rebuke, for just as it was for the Gentiles of Jesus's day, the Cross is folly to many a modern man.  Remember though that climbing trees is primarily a children's activity, and that Jesus told us that only those who become like children will enter the kingdom of heaven.  (Matthew 18:3)

So find a good tree to climb next time you feel the world closing in on you.  It will allow you to see Christ, and He will see you in return.  And as He called to Zacchaeus, so He calls to us, "come down quickly, for I wish to reside in your heart today."  And upon hearing those words, we can humbly descend from our perch, receive Jesus joyfully, and go about the business of announcing that salvation awaits all those who are lost.

God love you.




Over a dozen times in the Gospels, Jesus tells the apostles and/or disciples to be not afraid.  It seems those who followed Jesus then were often fearful--both of what they did not understand and of what they could not control.  Those of us who follow Him today are not much different.  I certainly am not.  It can be easy to let fear rule or lives: fear about our past, fear about our future, fear about our family, fear about work, fear about our country and the state of the world, fear about our eternal salvation, fear, fear, fear.  If left unchecked, this fear can lead to despair, and often times, is the root of various sins.

But Jesus tells us not to fear, and for good reason.  Below is a short poem I wrote while reflecting on this truth.  It is in the form of a prayer or conversation between Jesus and us.  I pray that in some small way, it might help you to be not afraid.


It is I; be not afraid

Wipe your tears, forget your shame

Though the seas you are sailing may be stormy with strife

Fear not, I came to give you abundant life


How Lord?  I've been so lost

Pursued the pleasures of this world at every cost

Denied you too, more times than I can count

Was willing to sell you for any amount


Hush my child and walk this way

My grace awaits you every day

One foot, then the other . . . climb the ladder high

Towards the dwelling place my Father has prepared for you from the beginning of time


I will try, oh God, but I'm still so scared

The trials of this life seem more than I can bear

Evil, sickness, death and sin

I can hardly breathe . . . the walls are closing in


Have you already forgotten that I walked this earth too?

Experienced sorrows and temptations just like you

But the penalty for sin, I bore for all mankind

Gave my body and blood so that you might become divine


My Lord and My God, let me touch your side and feel your hands

You are the Bread of Life without which I cannot stand

Abide with me, and I will fear no more

Anoint my head with oil . . . all your graces upon me pour


Arise faithful servant, there is nothing left to fear

Just open your heart, and I will always draw near

And though you will stumble, it's not the end of your story

Because from the day of your creation, I destined you for eternal glory.


God love you!


This is the eighth and final part  in a series of short reflections on the eight general attributes of God that can known by reason, as set forth by St. Thomas Aquinas in his Summa Theologica.  I've been learning about St. Thomas and the Summa from Dr. Taylor Marshall and the online classes he offers at the New Saint Thomas Institute.  These reflections are the result of my meditations on each individual attribute during prayer.  As such, they are not meant to be deep theological discussions, but simple spiritual thoughts on the majesty of our God .  I pray you find them beneficial in your walk with Christ.


"This I command you: love one another." (John 15:17)

"God is One." Thus, unity is the eighth attribute of God. As St. Thomas explains, God's unity--His oneness--is evident from His simplicity and infinite perfection. Moreover, quoting St. Bernard of Clairvuax, St. Thomas tells us that "among all things called one, the unity of the Divine Trinity holds the first place." (Summa Theologica, Prima Pars, q. 11, art. 4) In other words, the unity of love among the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit reveals God's oneness above all else. "The highest exemplar and source of this mystery is the unity, in the Trinity of Persons, of one God, the Father and the Son in the Holy Spirit." (CCC ¶ 813)


We share and participate in the Triune God's unity of love by following the two commandments Jesus gave us: 1. Loving God; and 2. Loving our neighbor as ourselves. (Matthew 22:36 - 40) One doesn't have to look around very long to realize that there isn't a whole lotta love in today's world. Perhaps that is why, for me at least, practicing the second commandment can be so difficult sometimes. But as Christians, our primary job in many respects is to bring forth the love of Christ into a fallen and loveless world. Indeed, as Jesus tells us, "[t]his is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." (John 13:35) It was this other-wordly, agape love that the pagans noticed when the early Christian's were being martyred for their faith: "See [ ] how they love one another . . . how they are ready even to die for one another." (Tertullian’s Apology, Chapter XXXIX.) When we, as Christians, fail to love one another, we make ourselves indistinguishable and no different from the world at large.

In His prayer to the Father just before entering into His Passion, Jesus expresses his utmost desire for all those who believe in Him to be united in love:

"And I have given them the glory you gave me, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may be brought to perfection as one, that the world may know that you sent me, and that you loved them even as you loved me." (John 17:22 - 23)

Let that sink in for a moment. We must love one another, not only to identify ourselves as Christians, but also so the world will know that God the Father sent Jesus the Son to die for us. By loving one another, we show God's love for all. As St. Thomas states in his commentary on this passage, "nothing shows the truth of the gospel better than the charity of those who believe." As such, "we must try to live holier lives according to the Gospel; for it is the unfaithfulness of the members to Christ's gift which causes divisions." (CCC ¶ 821) Pretty high stakes.

I've been praying a lot lately asking God to give me a greater love of neighbor and to fill me with His supernatural love in order to do the same. During this time, I came across this quote of Father Basil Maturin from his book Christian Self-Mastery:

"The more we love God, the more we shall love man; the less we love God, the less we shall, in the true sense of the word, love man."

Simple enough. More love for God = more love for neighbor. But I needed something more practical and concrete. Leave it to C.S. Lewis to come to the rescue. In Mere Christianity, Lewis offers two practical pieces of advice I will leave you with. First, with respect to loving God, he says:

"Do not sit trying to manufacture feelings. Ask yourself, 'If I were sure I loved God, what would I do?' When you have found the answer, go and do it."

Then, with respect to love of neighbor, he explains:

"Do not waste time bothering whether you 'love' your neighbor; act as if you did. As soon as we do this we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him."

During this Holy Week, opportunities abound to do something for love of God and love of neighbor. By doing so, Jesus will infuse us with His "joy" so that our "joy may be complete." (John 15:11) And who know, maybe you will hear someone say, "See how they love one another."

God love you.



This is the seventh in a series of short reflections on the eight general attributes of God that can known by reason, as set forth by St. Thomas Aquinas in his Summa Theologica.  I've been learning about St. Thomas and the Summa from Dr. Taylor Marshall and the online classes he offers at the New Saint Thomas Institute.  These reflections are the result of my meditations on each individual attribute during prayer.  As such, they are not meant to be deep theological discussions, but simple spiritual thoughts on the majesty of our God .  I pray you find them beneficial in your walk with Christ.


"And this is Eternal life, that they know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou has sent."  (John 17:3)

If God is infinite and immutable, it follows naturally that He also must be eternal.  This is the seventh attribute of God according to St. Thomas.  To be eternal means that God has no beginning and no end.  He cannot be measured by time.  Thus, St. Thomas says that "eternity is nothing else but God himself."  (Summa Theologica, I, q. 10, art. 2).  Moreover, this eternal nature applies to each of the three persons of the Trinity, not just God the Father.  "The Father is eternal, the Son is eternal, the Holy Ghost is eternal."  (Id. (quoting St. Athanasius)).

Like all of His attributes, God's eternal nature may seem at first like an abstract concept with little implication in our daily lives.  To the contrary, however, God created us to share in His eternal nature and His eternal life.  Perhaps the most quoted passage in the Gospels speaks to this truth: "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life."  (John 3:16)  As created beings, we are not eternal in the same way as God, for we have a beginning.  But He did create us to have no end--life everlasting.  In other words, although each of us physically will die one day, our souls will live forever.  "Though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed every day."  (2 Corinthians 4:16)  The only question then is where we will spend eternity.  As C.S. Lewis explains in Mere Christianity, this reality has some sobering ramifications:

"Christianity asserts that every individual human being is going to live for ever and this must be either true or false.  Now there are a good many things which would not be worth bothering about if I were going to live only seventy years, but which I had better bother about very seriously if I am going to live for ever."

As the Catechism explains, this means that "it is incumbent upon man to make use of his freedom in view of his eternal destiny." (CCC ¶ 1036)  Freedom is the key word.  We freely choose where we will spend eternity: either with Him in heaven or separated from Him in hell.  For "God predestines no one to go to hell; for this, a willful turning away from God (a mortal sin) is necessary, and persistence in it until the end."  (CCC ¶ 1037)  Again, it is our choice--those small (and sometimes big) decisions we make every day to either grow in holiness or turn away from it.

"The human will cannot be assaulted from without; it can only be betrayed from within, by a free decision which, multiplied, forges the chain of habit." (Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen)

Jesus affirmed this truth when he told the Pharisees: "My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me . . . No one can take them out of my hand."  (John 10:27-28)  Only we can take ourselves out of Christ's hands through unrepentant sin.  St. Augustine says that "as Christians, our task is to make daily progress towards God."  There is no such thing as standing still on the ladder of the spiritual life.  We are either climbing up toward eternal life with Him or descending downward to the everlasting abyss.


Holy Week is quickly approaching.  During these last weeks of Lent, let us walk with our Lord to Jerusalem so as to progress toward the victory of eternal life He won for us on Good Friday.  "The world and its desire are passing away, but those who do the will of God live forever." (1 John 2:15-17)

God love you.


This is the sixth in a series of short reflections on the eight general attributes of God that can known by reason, as set forth by St. Thomas Aquinas in his Summa Theologica.  I've been learning about St. Thomas and the Summa from Dr. Taylor Marshall and the online classes he offers at the New Saint Thomas Institute.  These reflections are the result of my meditations on each individual attribute during prayer.  As such, they are not meant to be deep theological discussions, but simple spiritual thoughts on the majesty of our God .  I pray you find them beneficial in your walk with Christ.


For I, the Lord, do not change."  (Malachi 3:6).  Upon this verse, St. Thomas expounds on the sixth attribute of God: His immutability.  God cannot change.  He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.  If He could change, God would cease to be perfect.  Indeed, as St. Thomas explains, it is "impossible for God to be in any way changeable."  (Summa Theologica Prima Pars, Q. 9, Art. 1)  Stated differently, "God cannot be moved," nor can He acquire anything new, or extend himself to anything whereto he was not extended previously."  (Id.)  Thus, St. James says in his epistle that "all good giving and every perfect gift is from the Father of lights, with whom there is no alteration or shadow caused by change."  (James 1:17)

Who would want to believe in a God that changes?  If that were the case, how could we ever truly know the path of salvation, or if we were on it?  Maybe He changed the rules and didn't give us the memo.  Still, as absurd as a mutable, changing God sounds, we, in fact, try to change God all the time.

My two oldest children pray the Our Father every night before bed.  My four year old daughter has trouble saying the word "thy," and instead it comes out "my."  So, she often prays, "My kingdom come. My will be done.  On earth as it is in heaven."  Funny and cute, right?  I certainly laughed the first time I heard her say it.  Then I realized: wait a second, that's the version I've prayed for most of my life!  And that is how we try to change God--by following our own will instead of His, or at least hoping to bend His will into conformity with ours.

Fortunately--as with all of His divine attributes--God gave us the perfect example to follow in Jesus.  For Jesus never changed in his perfect obedience to the will of the Father.  "I honor my Father" and "do not seek my own glory," Jesus told those who questioned His authority and divinity.  (John 8:49 - 50)  "I do nothing on my own . . . [but only] what is pleasing to him."  (John 8: 28 - 29)  But nowhere was Christ's ultimate obedience to the Father's will more evident than in the Garden of Gethsemane, as the full weight of humanity's sins bore down on him:

"He advanced a little and fell prostrate in prayer, saying, 'My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet, not as I will, but as you will."  (Matthew 26:39)


What great comfort there is in our Lord's asking for the cup--His Passion--to pass from him.  How often do we similarly ask God to deliver us from some hardship or to give us something that we think we need.   If we didn't ask for such things, we wouldn't be human.  All to often, however, we stop our prayer there.  But if we will continue, as Jesus did, and pray "yet, not as I will, but as you will," we will truly imitate our Savior.  Thy kingdom come.  Thy will be done.  Therein lies true peace and joy.

God love you.



This is the fifth in a series of short reflections on the eight general attributes of God that can known by reason, as set forth by St. Thomas Aquinas in his Summa Theologica.  I've been learning about St. Thomas and the Summa from Dr. Taylor Marshall and the online classes he offers at the New Saint Thomas Institute.  These reflections are the result of my meditations on each individual attribute during prayer.  As such, they are not meant to be deep theological discussions, but simple spiritual thoughts on the majesty of our God .  I pray you find them beneficial in your walk with Christ.


God is present in all things, always and everywhere.  He is omnipresent.  This is the fifth attribute of God according to St. Thomas.  God "operates in all things" and "is in every place," if, by no other reason, than His giving everything its existence. (Summa Theologica q. 8, art. 1 and 2)  Thus, God declares in the Old Testament, "I fill heaven and earth."  (Jeremiah 23:24)  In a similar way, Jesus tells us that "where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am in the midst of them."  (Matthew 18:20)

But on this side of the thin veil between heaven and earth, God is present in another way unique from any other: the Eucharist -The body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ; Christ's flesh and blood under the appearance of bread and wine.  Jesus made this quite clear:

  • "This is my body which is given for you."  (Luke 22:19).
  • "[F]or this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.  (Matthew 26:28).
  • "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; . . . For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed."  (John 6: 53 - 55)


Before he ascended into heaven, after giving the great commission to baptize and make disciples of all nations, Jesus told the eleven apostles "I am with you always, to the close of the age."  (Matthew 28:20)  As often as we speak of the Incarnation, it still is easy to forget sometimes Christ's humanity.  It's one of the greatest gifts and miracles God gave us.  Being fully human as He was, Jesus knew what it was like to see, to touch, to smell, and to taste.  He knew by experience that, as humans, we perceive reality first and foremost by our physical senses.

As such, it is only logical that when Jesus said that he would be with us "always" until the end of the age, he meant more than simply a spiritual presence.   And to be clear, he does reman spiritually present with us--through the Holy Spirit; through His words in Scripture; through the love we share for our neighbor.  But as human beings, Jesus knew that we, and especially the apostles, needed more than that to sustain us through the trials and sufferings of this life.  Indeed, we would need his physical presence to see, to touch, to smell, and to taste.  We would need the Eucharist.

While He was offending and shocking the Jews with this crazy talk of His flesh and blood, Jesus told them in no uncertain terms that "[h]e who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him."  (John 6:56)  To abide means to "remain or stay" and "to dwell or reside."  As St. Thomas explains: "In the sacrament of the Eucharist, what is outwardly signified is that Christ is united to the one who receives it, and such a one to Christ."  Stated simply, by partaking of the Eucharist--His body and blood--Christ becomes omnipresent within us.  And not only that, but in every Catholic church (parish) throughout the entire world, Jesus resides--is omnipresent--in the tabernacle.  Anyone who wishes may stop by whenever they like to sit with Him; talk with Him; adore Him!

In his commentary on  Matthew 28:20, the great Bible scholar Cornelius a Lapide summarizes this beautifully:

"[L]ikewise, Christ has willed to abide continually in the Church in the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. For as the humanity and deity of Christ are present in glory in Heaven, and are adored visibly by the angels and saints, so are the same likewise present in the Eucharist, but hidden under the forms of bread and wine, and therefore invisible, and are there adored, and even partaken of by the faithful."

With Lent now in full swing, I encourage you to read and pray with the sixth chapter of John's Gospel.  Then carve some time out of your busy day to stop by and say hi to Jesus in the tabernacle (or exposed in a monstrance for adoration) at your local parish.  If you are Catholic, try to attend a weekday Mass to receive Jesus in the Eucharist.  And if you are not Catholic, perhaps never realizing His real presence in the Eucharist, then what are you waiting for?  Christ wants to give Himself to you--abide in you--in a way you never thought imaginable.  You won't find it in any other church on earth except the Church He founded.

God love you.


This is the fourth in a series of short reflections on the eight general attributes of God that can known by reason, as set forth by St. Thomas Aquinas in his Summa Theologica.  I've been learning about St. Thomas and the Summa from Dr. Taylor Marshall and the online classes he offers at the New Saint Thomas Institute.  These reflections are the result of my meditations on each individual attribute during prayer.  As such, they are not meant to be deep theological discussions, but simple spiritual thoughts on the majesty of our God .  I pray you find them beneficial in your walk with Christ.


God is infinite.

This is the fourth attribute of God according to St. Thomas.  This means that God is "eternal and boundless," (Summa Theologica I, q. 7, art. 1) "that which has no end, no limit, . . . and therefore cannot be measured by a finite standard."  (Catholic Encyclopedia)  The idea of God's infinity most often applies to His not being limited by space and time.  Indeed, as King Solomon declared, "the heavens and earth cannot contain You."  (1 Kings 8:27) Likewise, the Catechism explains that God is "without origin and without end."  (CCC ¶ 213)

The infinite nature of God also applies to His perfections, such as His wisdom, beauty and power.  Yet two things illustrate this reality more than all others: God's infinite mercy and love.  There is a popular saying we've all heard that goes something like this: "Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me."  Really, this is just a clever way of illustrating that as humans, our mercy often is finite and limited.  For God though, through the person of His Eternal Son Jesus Christ, this expression is non-existent.  Indeed, His mercy towards us is unlimited--infinite--no matter how many times we "fool" Him.  Unconvinced?  Stare at a crucifix for a few minutes.  "He who did not spare his own Son but handed him over for us all, how will he not also give us everything else along with him?"  (Romans 8:32)

And God's infinite mercy flows directly from His boundless love for us.  A love, as St. Paul tells us, from which we can never be separated: "For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."  (Romans 8:38 - 39)

In John's Gospel, Jesus asks the first two disciples that began following him, "What are you looking for?" (John 1:38)  He's asking all of us that same question.  The answer, I believe, is that more than anything, we are looking for His infinite love and mercy.  One doesn't have to observe the state of the world long, especially in the increasingly secularized West, to see that people desperately are thirsting for God's love and mercy--whether they know (or will admit) it or not.  More powerful than any physical thirst, it is a spiritual thirst for Truth and the Eternal.  But what we forget--or don't even realize--is that as much as we thirst for Him, God thirsts for us even more.  Jesus told us so on the cross:  "I thirst."  (John 19:28)

A beautiful prayer attributed to Mother Teresa of Calcutta describes Jesus' unfathomable thirst for us better than anything I have ever read.  The prayer is somewhat unique, in that it is Jesus speaking to us, as opposed to us speaking to Him.  My favorite audio recording of the prayer is by Father John Riccardo, who is a parish priest in the Archdiocese of Detroit and the host of the daily podcast "Christ is the Answer" available on iTunes.  I encourage you to take ten minutes or so to listen to the prayer, and in doing so, I pray that you will be drawn closer to God's infinite mercy and His boundless love.

God love you.



This is the third in a series of short reflections on the eight general attributes of God that can known by reason, as set forth by St. Thomas Aquinas in his Summa Theologica.  I've been learning about St. Thomas and the Summa from Dr. Taylor Marshall and the online classes he offers at the New Saint Thomas Institute.  These reflections are the result of my meditations on each individual attribute during prayer.  As such, they are not meant to be deep theological discussions, but simple spiritual thoughts on the majesty of our God .  I pray you find them beneficial in your walk with Christ.


"God is good all the time; all the time God is good."

The author of this often-repeated phrase, as far as I can tell, is unknown.  But no matter its origin,  St. Thomas certainly would agree with the statement.  In fact, he explains not only that God is good, but that he is the greatest or supreme good.  Stated another way, nothing is more desirable than God, for all "other things are deficient in comparison."   (Summa Theologica I, q. 6, art. 2)

Deep down, we know this to be true, but the secular culture we live in wages an all-out war to convince us otherwise.  Lots of things are more desirable than God, the culture tells us: money, material possessions, power, fame, success, beauty, physical pleasure, entertainment, political ideology, etc.  This list could go on and on.  What the culture doesn't tell us though, is that none of those things will fill the God-sized hole in each of our hearts.  St. Augustine may have said it best:

"With You there is true rest and life untroubled.  He who entered into You enters into the joy of his Lord, and he shall have no fear, and he shall possess his soul most happily in Him who is the supreme good.  I fell away from you, my God, and I went astray, too far astray from you, . . . and I became to myself a land of want." (Confessions p. 81)

It's simple, really. When we try to fill that hole with anything other than God--when we want things more than God--we actually end up in "a land of want," "far astray" from Him.  What better time than Lent to fill our hearts with Him and discard all the empty promises of the world.

I was reflecting on this recently while reading the first chapter of John's Gospel, where the priests and Levites were questioning John the Baptist as to who he was.  Was he the Messiah, Elijah, the Prophet?  He answered them simply by saying: "I am the voice of one crying out in the desert, Make straight the way of the Lord."  (John 1:23)  The Lenten imagery in this statement immediately struck me.  Indeed, as Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI once wrote, "Lent recalls the forty days of our Lord’s fasting in the desert, which He undertook before entering into His public ministry."  We too then go into the desert of our hearts during Lent, praying and fasting in imitation of Jesus and to prepare for his coming Passion, death and resurrection.  And our goal is nothing more than to "make straight the way of the Lord," as St. Thomas explains in his commentary on John's Gospel:

"The way, prepared and straight, for receiving the Lord is the way of justice, according to Isaiah (26:7): 'The way of the just is straight.' For the way of the just is straight when the whole man is subject to God, i.e., the intellect through faith, the will through love, and actions through obedience, are all subject to God. "

Make your way straight and receive God this Lent.  Fill your heart,  nay your entire being, with Him--the greatest good.  Temptations no doubt will come while in the desert; they did for Jesus.  If and when they do, remember these words from St. Louis De Montfort:

"[Jesus] is our only Master, who has to teach us; our only Lord on whom we ought to depend; our only Head to whom we must be united; our only Model to whom we should conform ourselves; our only Physician who can heal us; our only Shepard who can feed us; our only Way who can lead us; our only Truth whom we must believe; our only Life who can animate us; and our only All in all things who can satisfy us."  (True Devotion to Mary, pp. 29 - 30).

God love you.