Talented or Gifted?

What’s the difference between a Talent and a Spiritual Gift?

That’s an easy one right? A talent is something you’re good at; like sports, music, art, accounting, or (in my case) walking and chewing gum at the same time. In most cases, hopefully, your talent is something you built your profession around (TJ wrote a great article about this “What Should I Have Been?”) And what about a spiritual gift, that’s easy. It’s a Christmas present from God….no wait, it’s a blessing….no, it has to do with suffering, or fruits I think…isn’t there a parable about this? I asked a dozen people this week what they thought a spiritual gift is and I heard about a half dozen different responses. Continue reading “Talented or Gifted?”

Don’t Call Me Father

There’s a laundry list of “discussion points” when it comes to what we, as Catholics, believe and how we execute that belief that non-Catholics have an issue with. Such things as how we view Mary, the Saints, the Eucharist, Purgatory, Confession, etc… One of those topics is going to be discussed this Sunday (Nov. 5th) in the Gospel. In fact, the argument against this Catholic tradition is going to be spelled out in the Book of Matthew.

Has anyone ever told you that you are not supposed to call your priest “Father?” In the Gospel of Matthew we read the following:

“Call no one on earth your father;
you have but one Father in heaven.”

So, that seems pretty clear, right? If so, what gives us the right to go against what the Bible says and call our priests father? Continue reading “Don’t Call Me Father”

There’s no “I” in Parable?

About a month or so ago, I had a lengthy and very educational conversation about parables with a dear friend.  We agreed they were a critical teaching tool used by Christ throughout the New Testament. However, we spent a lot of time discussing why He used them, who the audience was at the time He used them, if they were meant to not be heard by those with hardened hearts, and if they were an earthly story with a spiritual truth. I’ll save those questions for another post, instead, I’d like to look at the parable from a slightly different angle.

Whenever I hear a parable in the gospel, for some reason, I try to find my role. I have a tendency to ask “who am I in this parable”. As an example, a few years ago my daughter, through a religion project at school, was asked how a Protestant views the parables versus how a Catholic views them. So I called one of my friends, who happens to be a convert, and he had a simple and very effective example that was incredibly enlightening. Let me try it on you: Continue reading “There’s no “I” in Parable?”

Forgiveness and The Lord’s Prayer

I’m Italian, so forgiveness is not my strong suit. You wanna be force fed some pasta, regardless of when your last meal was, I’m your man!

In the book of Matthew there’s a passage (MT 18: 21-35) that discusses a story about a King who, through mercy, decides to forgive a debt owed to him by one of his servants. Yet later in the story, that same servant is confronted by someone else who owes him a debt. Unlike the King, the servant is unwilling to forgive the debt and orders the person to be thrown into prison.

As I blame my ancestry on my inability to forgive sin, I wonder how many of us are in the same boat. Do you ask for forgiveness while not being able to grant it, like the servant in Matthew? As I thought about the story from Matthew and God’s message about how our forgiveness is tied to that of God’s forgiveness,  I’m reminded of my failings every time I say The Lord’s Prayer (one line in particular). This led to me wonder how well I know all the versus of The Lord’s Prayer. Below is an outline of The Lord’s Prayer from Ruth Ann a Professed Lay Carmelite. Continue reading “Forgiveness and The Lord’s Prayer”

Strength in Numbers

Goodfellas -1990

“For where two or three are gathered together in my name,
there am I in the midst of them.” (Matthew 18)

Hopefully the image is easily recognized from the classic mafia movie Goodfellas. Although the families in such movies (i.e. Corleone family in The Godfather) are usually Roman Catholic, there’s not much they do together where you picture Christ being “in the midst of them”. However, that’s not the reason I decided to use that image. Continue reading “Strength in Numbers”

3 Crosses You Shouldn’t Carry

As my father in-law sat at his wife’s death bed, he confessed the two prayers he had to the priest who later performed the burial service for my mother in-law. The first, he wanted to be present at the moment when she passed. After a life of ‘for better or worse’, he wanted to be there for the ‘death do us part.’ His second prayer, he asked God that he may take her time in purgatory. He wanted his wife to forgo the painful cleansing process and whatever “time” she would have spent there, he wanted it added to his time in purgatory. I spent weeks thinking about those two prayers, especially the latter. In that one sentence, he redefined the ends to which love should go. Continue reading “3 Crosses You Shouldn’t Carry”