Posted by: frroberts | March 22, 2017

Gifts of the Visitation, night one, part ii

Posted by: frroberts | March 22, 2017

Gifts of the Visitation, Night one, part i

Posted by: frroberts | March 17, 2017

The Return of the King

In the last book of The Lord of the Rings triology, The Return of the King, a major storyline is the fate of the Kingdom of Gondor, a great kingdom that has been without a king for nearly eight hundred years. Under the rule of steward regents, Gondor weakened slowly until eventually it stood on the verge of collapse. Finally, just as enemy forces were preparing to attack and wipe out the city, the long-lost rightful heir to the kingdom surfaced, accompanied by a large army able to save the city from certain destruction. Despite official protestations to the contrary, the Steward of Gondor did everything that he could to block the return of the king.  He preferred maintaining control of the falling kingdom to allowing the rightful king to rule him and save the city. “Better to reign in hell than to serve in heaven.”

Today we observe liturgically the original return of the King, Christ’s riding into Jerusalem on a donkey.  Profound paradox marks this triumphal entrance. The crowds hail Jesus as the Messiah, but just days later they will cry out, “Crucify him!” Our lives as Christians reflect this paradox. We profess Jesus as Lord, but Church history is replete with examples of ways in which Christians have failed to live in a manner that is consistent with that profession.  The news gives us even more evidence that this is case in the Church today. Any honest examination of conscience reveals that most of us struggle with this paradox at various moments throughout the week. We say that we want Jesus to be our King, but very often our way of life does not reflect our words. Too frequently, we make honor, power, pleasure and money into our kings.

Holy Week is a reminder that we cannot confess Jesus as our King except in the Holy Spirit. The crowds hailed Jesus as King, but did not do so in the Holy Spirit and in a short period of time, they turned on Him. On this Palm Sunday we ask the Father to send His Holy Spirit to us so that when we sing “Hosanna to the son of David” it might not be merely lip service but the confession of a heart that has been crucified to sin and is ready to the welcome Jesus as Lord.

Posted by: frroberts | March 17, 2017

An example of a good confession

Posted by: frroberts | March 17, 2017

The Prayer from Saint Patrick’s Breastplate

Posted by: frroberts | March 17, 2017

Saint Patrick believed in more than just green beer

Not being of Irish descent, I have always been a bit confused by the feast of Saint Patrick.  I remember getting pinched every Saint Patrick’s Day as a boy because I refused to wear green.  While in college, I observed that this feast of the patron saint of Ireland had become an occasion for many to consume large amounts of beer.  I am not certain that those doing so attended Mass with any frequency or could even claim to have ethnic roots in the Land of Saints and Scholars.

There are quite a few charming legends about and even prayers attributed to Patrick, many of which are of dubious historical value.  Most historians regard the Confession of Saint Patrick and Patrick’s Letter to the soldiers of Coroticus, both written in Latin, as originating from the man who would later come to be known as the Apostle to Ireland.

From these two sources, we learn that Patrick was probably born somewhere on the island of Britain in the 380s into a Roman Christian family.  His father was both a deacon and Roman Imperial magistrate and his mother a near blood relative of the great monk Saint Martin of Tours (316-397).

Around the age of fifteen, Patrick committed a very serious sin, the nature of which is unknown, that placed him under ecclesiastical censure.  A year later, he was captured by coastal raiders and taken to Ireland as a slave.  During his six years of slavery in Ireland, Patrick tended livestock.  Long hours in solitude while pasturing his master’s flock proved to be a salutary remedy for his soul.  Having repented of his sins and under the guidance of a heavenly voice, Patrick fled Ireland and returned to freedom in Britain.

Another vision came a few years later that convinced him God was calling him to preach the gospel to the people of land where he been enslaved.  Patrick went to a monastery in Gaul (modern-day France) and spent about eighteen years preparing for his missionary vocation and returned to Ireland as a bishop with a handful of monk companions in the 430s.  In the thirty years that followed, his Irish mission enjoyed extraordinary results.

While there are many legends attributed to Saint Patrick that seek to explain the remarkable success of his work of evangelization through an appeal to the miraculous, very few today give sufficient attention to the most likely source of Patrick’s conversions, heroic fidelity to the Gospel.  His mission to Ireland made concrete our Lord’s words, “love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you” (Lk. 6:27-28).  This was a man who had been kidnapped and enslaved by the very race to which he went to preach the name of Jesus.

In the centuries immediately following Saint Patrick, the Church in Ireland exhibited the same holy zeal that characterized her apostle.  Irish monks were the Church’s best missionaries during the early Middle Ages and were noted for practicing severe penances and rigorous prayer disciplines.  Their labors to spread the Gospel were instrumental in the Christianization of Britain and much of central Europe.  Irish monasteries were also centers of learning that were unrivaled in all western Europe until well into the High Middle Ages.

There is a great deal of talk about the New Evangelization today in the Church.  We who desire to preach Christ to those who have not accepted Him as Lord would do well to imitate Saint Patrick by accepting suffering as chastisement for our sins, observing long periods of solitary prayer, forgiving our enemies and doing good to those who have most hurt us.

Posted by: frroberts | March 17, 2017

C.S. Lewis on Marriage

Posted by: frroberts | March 12, 2017

Parish Mission Starts Tomorrow!

When? March 13, 14, 15 at 6:30pm

Where? Saint Joseph Catholic Church, 514 W. Washington, Winchester, Indiana

What? Lenten Parish Mission

Additional information: Mass at 6pm every night beforehand.  Confessions available after every talk.  Light meal and fellowship in hall afterwards.

March 13: Behold the Lamb of God – my conversion and the Eucharist
March 14: Behold your Mother – my journey with the Blessed Mother
March 15: Behold the Cross – Entering Lent and a personal journey through the Stations of the Cross

Denise Bossert entered the Catholic Church on August 14, 2005. Her journey began 18 months earlier with the death of her father, a Presbyterian minister. She inherited her father’s personal library and discovered a book by St. Augustine in the bottom of one box. That book broke through her bias against Catholic saints and changed her life. She went on to read St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila. She had fallen in love with Catholic saints and her life as a Protestant was over at that point.

Her syndicated column called Catholic by Grace has been published in 63 diocesan newspapers. She has also written for Catholic magazines and appeared on EWTN’s Journey Home and Women of Grace.  Ave Maria Press released her first book – Gifts of the Visitation – which is available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Denise is a nationally-recognized Catholic speaker on topics that include: conversion, the Immaculate Conception, the Visitation and Women of Salvation History. She has been the keynote speaker to sold-out conferences (1200+ attendees) as well as the guest speaker for parish missions, Advent events, and Lenten evenings of reflection.

She is a mother of four and a grandmother of three.

Posted by: frroberts | March 12, 2017

Sermoncast: Keeping our Eyes on the Prize

Posted by: frroberts | March 4, 2017

Sermoncast: Spiritual Warfare

Posted by: frroberts | March 3, 2017

Report: Cardinals pushing for Francis’ resignation

Posted without comment.  Original source, Catholic News Service:

According to a report in The London Times and best selling Catholic author and journalist Antonio Socci, about 12 cardinals who have supported Pope Francis since his election in March 2013 now fear that his controversial reforms may cause a schism in the Church, and so they hope to pressure the Pope to resign.

“A large part of the cardinals who voted for him is very worried and the curia … that organized his election and has accompanied him thus far, without ever disassociating itself from him, is cultivationg the idea of a moral suasion to convince him to retire,” reported Socci in the Italian newspaper Libero, as quoted in The London Times of March 2.

The cardinals who want Pope Francis to resign are among the liberal prelates who backed Jorge Bergoglio (Pope Francis) four years ago, said Socci, and they would like to replace him with Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican secretary of state.

“Four years after Benedict XVI’s renunciation and Bergoglio’s arrival on the scene, the situation of the Catholic church has become explosive, perhaps really on the edge of a schism, which could be even more disastrous than Luther’s [who is today being rehabilitated by the Bergoglio church],” said Socci.

Posted by: frroberts | March 3, 2017

C.S. Lewis on Sex

Posted by: frroberts | March 2, 2017

Parish Mission: Catholic By Grace

When? March 13, 14, 15 at 6:30pm

Where? Saint Joseph Catholic Church, 514 W. Washington, Winchester, Indiana

What? Lenten Parish Mission

Additional information: Mass at 6pm every night beforehand.  Confessions available after every talk.  Light meal and fellowship in hall afterwards.

March 13: Behold the Lamb of God – my conversion and the Eucharist
March 14: Behold your Mother – my journey with the Blessed Mother
March 15: Behold the Cross – Entering Lent and a personal journey through the Stations of the Cross

Denise Bossert entered the Catholic Church on August 14, 2005. Her journey began 18 months earlier with the death of her father, a Presbyterian minister. She inherited her father’s personal library and discovered a book by St. Augustine in the bottom of one box. That book broke through her bias against Catholic saints and changed her life. She went on to read St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila. She had fallen in love with Catholic saints and her life as a Protestant was over at that point.

Her syndicated column called Catholic by Grace has been published in 63 diocesan newspapers. She has also written for Catholic magazines and appeared on EWTN’s Journey Home and Women of Grace.  Ave Maria Press released her first book – Gifts of the Visitation – which is available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Denise is a nationally-recognized Catholic speaker on topics that include: conversion, the Immaculate Conception, the Visitation and Women of Salvation History. She has been the keynote speaker to sold-out conferences (1200+ attendees) as well as the guest speaker for parish missions, Advent events, and Lenten evenings of reflection.

She is a mother of four and a grandmother of three.

Posted by: frroberts | March 2, 2017

One Priest’s Lenten Discipline

Be extra sure to take a day of rest one day a week (besetting sin).

Fast (one meal, two snacks) every day but Sundays and Solemnities (Annunciation and Saint Joseph).

Visit all parish shut-ins.

Go to confession weekly.

Posted by: frroberts | March 1, 2017

My Article in _Pilgrim_

Take some time to read an article I wrote at Pilgrim, “Atheist Field Hospital?”

It is fashionable these days in the Catholic Church to talk about accompanying and integrating all different categories of persons whom the Church has allowed to linger on the margins in the past.  Those who advocate such approaches do so largely because they see it as pastorally effective.  The logic goes something like, “lower the bar far enough, and those who had felt excluded by this or that discipline of the Church will come in.”  The doors should be open to all who are seeking God in good conscience.  This theory holds an embedded assumption that clearly articulated doctrine and rigorous discipline drive people away from religious belief and practice.

As someone who has actually been a pastor of souls, I have reservations about such an approach.  In my experience, it is hopelessly subjective and confusing for both the shepherd and the sheep.  Seeking God with a good conscience necessarily includes the willingness to obey an authority higher than oneself.  The process of embracing such obedience may be messy and complicated, but it remains indispensible.  It is indispensible because worshipping God in spirit and truth is impossible without obedience.

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