In the Cathedral’s Chapel of the Treasury, where the sacred relics of Naples’ patron saint, Januarius (known as San Gennaro in Italian) are housed, a momentous event occurred. Saint Januarius, martyred around 305 A.D. during Emperor Diocletian’s reign, is venerated here, with his relics including two glass ampoules containing his dried blood. When Patriarch Bartholomew I held the relic, the dried blood within the ampoules unexpectedly liquefied. This miraculous occurrence, which remains unexplained by science, is traditionally believed to happen in response to the dedication and prayers of the local Napolitane faithful.
Wednesday, December 13, 2023
Sunday, May 28, 2023
This video sermon by Bishop Robert Barron is marvelous in its entirety, but something struck me in particular at about the 11th minute when he talks about the center of one’s life being, well, one’s own life. It reminded me of astronomers in many centuries past considering the movement of celestial bodies. Geocentrism was prevalent for a long time, holding that the earth was the center around which heavenly bodies revolved. I’ve always thought this to be analogical to our tendency to make ourselves the center of the universe, arguably from infancy when we knew no better. Eventually, the ancient heliocentric view came back to life, particularly when instruments became available to verify with more certainty, that the earth revolves around the sun. Over the centuries, of course, we’ve come to see that our sun is only the center of our system, and there are many, many suns out there at the center of orbiting bodies.
Going with the analogy I mentioned earlier, while infancy makes it inevitable for us to have thought of ourselves as the very center of everything, doesn’t it seem like we often think that way in our adulthood? So the sermon hit me there: we need to grow up from egocentrism, and in fact, stop seeing the world as a universe of egocentric ego-systems, where we are each masters of our own truth, our own reality, our own basis of meaning. We should look more broadly, consider carefully as astronomers did for centuries, and find that where we place our center is misplaced. In the complexity of our lives, the right and true center is God. He must be above everything else that we love, including ourselves. It is not to say that we should not love ourselves, or anyone or anything else. We should, but the foundation of how we love and regard them must be God, so that we will love and interact with them best. The notion of God may have seemed too abstract and unattainable, as the universe may have seemed too mysterious long ago, but the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, the man, Jesus of Nazareth.
Friday, February 03, 2023
To “glory in the cross of Christ” is, firstly, about his cross, his sacrifice and his love. As similes of Christ, what about our daily and not-so-daily crosses? Saint Teresa of Avila had some thoughts that I found helpful, certainly to remind me to look to Christ, who suffered so much more. If that daily cross ties with the cross on which Christ died, then likewise our suffering. If one had merit, then so does the other — as long as they remain of a piece.
Friday, August 13, 2021
Saturday, July 10, 2021
Saturday, April 17, 2021
Tuesday, November 12, 2019
Tough love and what I’d call simple wisdom from Padre Pio: