Posted by: frroberts | November 17, 2017

My Christmas wish list

Click here

Posted by: frroberts | November 17, 2017

Bishop Barron Reading List

Catholicism (DVD).

In this 5 DVD epic series Father Barron uses words, images and music to explicate the central themes of the Catholic faith, starting with Jesus Christ and ending with the Last Things, touching on God, Christian morality, the Church, Mary, the Eucharist, the Saints and the Holy Spirit in between.  This series is a feast of mind and spirit for anyone interested in learning more about the Catholic faith.  It would also be a great confirmation gift for a serious-minded adolescent.

Catholicism: The New Evangelization (DVD)

These DVDs are the sequel to Catholicism.  Anyone who has come to know and to love Jesus and His Church has probably experienced the frustration of meeting people who do not.  If Catholicism gave the what of the Catholic faith, Catholicism: The New Evangelization gives the how.  These DVDs give the believer insight into why it is difficult to share the faith in the culture in which we live and how to work around these challenges.

Catholicism: Pivotal Players. (DVD)


Priority of Christ.

Bridging the Great Divide.

Seeds of the Word: Finding God in the Culture.

Thomas Aquinas: Spiritual Master.

Vibrant Paradoxes.

To Light a Fire on the Earth.

Posted by: frroberts | November 17, 2017

God’s Judgment

Some of you will recall that one of the great positive influences in my priesthood was Fr. Sid Sidor, who fell asleep in Lord now a bit more than a year ago, dying of cancer.  Fr. Sid, like most holy people, was a little crazy.  There was, I think, a method to his madness.  At least I hope there was.  Here is a case in point:

One day I brought in to Fr. Sid a young man struggling with a drinking problem.  Now Fr. Sid was an alcoholic in his sixth decade of sobriety, meaning that he had not picked up a drink in more than fifty years.  He always had time for alcoholics.  After taking the lay of the land and realizing that the situation was serious, Fr. Sid said something that almost made me fall out of my chair.

“Young man,” he said “you have three options.  You can stop drinking, develop a relationship with God, work a spiritual program of recovery and you will have a blessed life.  Or you can keep on drinking and it will kill you.  Or, if you want to keep drinking, I can go upstairs, get my gun and let you go out back and take care of things so that you stop putting your family through the agony of dealing with an active alcoholic for decades.

I knew Fr. Sid well enough to realize that he was not serious about the last option.  But his candor about the gravity of the  situation had its desired effect.  I hear today that the individual in question has gotten his live together.

One of the things that Fr. Sid said frequently that sticks with me is that “no one goes to Hell for his sins. People go to Hell for their lack of repentance.”  I find that to be a comforting thought.  We sin, most of us, daily.  We do bad things more often than we are inclined to admit.  God does not ask for perfection, but for rigorous honesty about our errors and the humility to come to Him for forgiveness with desire to change.

What is the judgment of God like?  It is tempting to think that God judges us much like a teacher grading a multiple choice test.  We ask ourselves, will we get enough right answers to get into Heaven at the moment of our death?

The Gospel gives us a different vision of what God’s judgment looks like.  Jesus invites Himself into the house of the tax collector Zacchaeus.  We need to be honest here and say that tax collectors were almost always not nice people.  Their professions generally involved extorting money from the weak and the poor into order to support the Roman Empire’s military.  They often became rich by using their power to collect more than Rome demanded and take the overage for themselves.  We find it hard to imagine that Zacchaeus did not know that he was behaving very badly in the still hours of the night when he could not fall asleep.

When Jesus comes to Zacchaeus’ house He comes in judgment, inviting a sinner to repentance.  And how does Zacchaeus react?  He confesses his sins and promises to make amends for the evil that he has done.  What a relief it must have been for Zacchaeus to realize that Jesus believed that he could change.

Divine judgment is meant to set us free from the chains of our sins.  If we honestly believe that  we are without sin or just want to continue sinning, we have something to fear from Divine judgment.  But most of us, who deep down inside know we do wrong and want to do better, have nothing to lose and everything to gain from it.  We can stop spending so much time and energy trying to keep up the façade of our false self and start living out of who we really are, which, being real, is the only version of us that God actually loves.

At times, God’s judgment will show us unpleasant realities about our lives.  Fr. Sid’s words that I shared at the beginning of the homily are a good example.  But when God convicts of sin, He does so in order to set us free.  He forgives and, in a real sense, forgets.  But God does respect our freedom, even our freedom to say no to His desire to save us.  He will not force His mercy on us.  Saint Augustine put it well, “God who made us without us will not save us without us.”

The choice is ours.  Will we repent or will we not?  Will we go to confession and lay bare all of our sins or continue deceiving ourselves about our spiritual condition?

Posted by: frroberts | November 17, 2017

My homily last Sunday

Posted by: frroberts | November 16, 2017

How to Find God

Posted by: frroberts | November 15, 2017

Recommended Reading: Ronald Knox

The Belief of Catholics.

A New Testament Commentary for English Readers: The Gospels.

A New Testament Commentary for English Readers: The Later Epistles/The Apocalypse.

A New Testament Commentary for English Readers: The Acts of the Apostles and Paul’s Letters to Churches.

Waugh, The Life of Right Reverend Ronald Knox.

The Mass in Slow Motion.


Ronald Knox: A Man for All Seasons.

A Retreat for Beginners.

In Soft Garments.

The Quotable Knox.

The Creed in Slow Motion.

Pastoral and Occasional Sermons.

Pastoral and Occasional Sermons.

A Retreat for Lay People.

The Hidden Stream.

The Knox Bible.

Walsh, Second Friends: C.S. Lewis and Ronald Knox in Conversation.

Tastard, Ronald Knox and English Catholicism.

Posted by: frroberts | November 14, 2017

Great Books by a Living Author

Angels, Barbarians and Nincompoops.

Out of the Ashes.

The Politically Incorrect Guide to Western Civilization.

Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of your Child.

Life Under Complusion: Ten Ways to Destroy the Humanity of your Child.

Real Music: A Guide to the Timeless Hymns of the Church.

Reclaiming Catholic Social Teaching.

Defending Marriage.

Ironies of the Faith: The Laughter at the Heart of Christian Literature.

Reflections on the Christian Life.

Posted by: frroberts | November 14, 2017

How are we to live?

Posted by: frroberts | November 13, 2017

Gift Idea

Rublev’s Holy Trinity Icon

Posted by: frroberts | November 13, 2017

Jesus, lover of my Soul

Posted by: frroberts | November 13, 2017

Death comes to us all

On a Saturday in late November of 1990, my dad and I went up to South Bend for the Notre Dame-Penn State game.  The Irish were ranked #1 and all that they had to do was beat the Nittany Lions in order to play for the national title in the Orange Bowl.  Despite jumping out to a 21-0 first half lead, my team went on to lose on a last-second field goal.  I talked my dad into staying for the Notre Dame-Iowa basketball game that started about an hour after the game across the street in the Joyce Center.  My father left a message on our brand new answering machine letting mom know we would be back late.

But my mother never checked.  When we walked in around one in the morning, she was still awake and just a little short of hysterical.  She was certain that we been in a car crash driving back from South Bend.  She had called all the state highway patrol posts from South Bend to Logansport trying to find out if we were dead.  What made matters worse was that minutes before our arrival a couple of police cars pulled up in our neighbor’s driveway.  My mother thought that they had gotten the wrong house and the police would soon be coming to tell her that her husband and son had both died.

Eventually my father was able to smooth things over, my mother calmed down and we all got bed.

The next day after Mass we learned from our neighbors the reason for the police visiting their house the night before.  Their son, who has just gotten his driver’s license, had been killed in a car crash while my dad and I were on our way back from South Bend.  Human intuition is a strange thing.  My mother literally sensed that death was in the air.  And she was right.

We do not like talking about death.  In our age, death, along with religion and politics, is not mentioned in polite conversation.  Avoidance of death might be common today, but this attitude toward death does not easily square with a lively Christian faith.  While a certain fear of death is unavoidable because we tend to fear the unknown, we who have come to believe in and live in Jesus Christ have nothing to fear when it comes to death.

In our second reading, which Saint Paul wrote during his imprisonment as he awaited execution for being a follower of Jesus, the Apostle to the Gentiles writes confidently that “the time of my departure is at hand.”   This reference to death is not the first time that Paul has reflected on the question in his letters.  Elsewhere Paul questions whether it is better for him to live or continue his ministry or die and be with the Lord in heaven.  Paul could see the profit that would come to him and others if he continued to preach the Gospel.  He also realized that being with Christ in heaven was his ultimate goal.  In the end, he left the question to Providence.

At times we wonder if some people believe that science will eventually advance so much we will be able to live forever.  It can seem like many of our politicians encourage us to think this way when they talk about health care reform.  Some will play to our fear of death by telling us that those that can afford it will lose access to health care if the system changes.  Others will play to our fear of death by telling us that changes in the system will mean greater access to health care for those who cannot afford it now.  None of them admit that no matter how much access to health care any of us has, 100% of us will die.

For a Christian, death is “falling asleep in the Lord.”  We do not say goodbye to loved ones so much as we take temporary leave from them, having faith that we will be reunited in Heaven at the high wedding feast of the Lamb, the fulfillment of what we do every time we come together for Mass.  Death is simply a transition from a preliminary stage of existence to the a final one.

We conclude with a question, a simple and terrible question worth contemplation for all of us, “If I were to die tonight, would I go to heaven?”

Posted by: frroberts | November 12, 2017

Consagracion Marian, clase 2

Posted by: frroberts | November 12, 2017

Marian Consecration, class two

Posted by: frroberts | November 12, 2017

The Church is young and alive


Posted by: frroberts | November 12, 2017

Robert DeNiro reads about the love of God

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