November 9 is the Feast of the Dedication of St. John Lateran Basilica in Rome. Fr. Steve Grunow offers his homily on the significance of this day, both within the life of the Church and within our own understanding of what it means to be a dwelling place of Christ.
Today the Church remembers the dedication of the great basilica church of St. John Lateran in Rome.
The Lateran Basilica is the cathedral church of the Holy Father as he is bishop of Rome. The magnificent building stands on land that was given to the bishops of Rome by the Emperor Constantine. Remember, it was during the reign of the Emperor Constantine that the laws restricting the practice of the Church’s faith were removed from Roman Law and the Church went from being an illegal cult, whose profession of faith was considered an act of treason, to being the favored religion of the Roman emperor.
This changed the Church for good and for grief.
One of the most arresting features of the Basilica of St. John Lateran are monumental statues of the twelve apostles that stand as if they are supporting the ceiling of the church. Larger than life and full of dramatic intensity, the sculptures show the Apostles holding the instruments of their martyrdom. The Apostles are represented, not as they were on earth, but how they are in heaven...
“I would like to write a beautiful prayer,” writes the young Flannery O’Connor. “There is a whole sensible world around me that I should be able to turn to Your praise.” Tuesday, November 12, the personal, interior life of this gifted author will be available in a new book. Fr. Damian Ference reviews the book below.
I’ve been keeping a secret for two years. I was not bound by the seal of confession, but by W.A. Sessions, a personal friend of Flannery O’Connor.
On October 6, 2011, the opening night of an O’Connor conference at Loyola University Chicago, Sessions read – for the first time in public – excerpts from a recently discovered prayer journal of Flannery O’Connor. Before he read O’Connor’s prayers, he made it very clear that we, the audience, were not permitted to record, report, or even comment upon anything that he would read. He was serious. And so were the prayers that he read to us. I took notes – lots of notes – for my own prayer and reflection. But I haven’t been able to tell anybody about them until now.
Some folks are downright shocked to discover that the same woman who wrote stories involving racism, rape, murder, an amputee, a hermaphrodite, and a mentally challenged young woman, was also a daily communicant. But it’s true. Flannery O’Connor was a devout Catholic, and the prayer journal from her time as a graduate student at the University of Iowa offers an honest, intimate, humorous, mysterious, and comforting view into the mind and heart of one of America’s greatest writers...