What Are You Afraid Of?
by Bishop Robert Barron . June 19, 2005 .
"Who or what are you most afraid of?" is, I submit, a very important spiritual question. To answer it honestly is to know how and why your life is structured the way it is. The simple message of the the Gospel for this week is that one should fear, above all, the loss of friendship with God. More than the loss of money, health, power, the esteem of others, life itself, one should be afraid of losing intimacy with God. If that is truly your greatest fear, you are not far from the Kingdom of Heaven.
The Falling of the Fire
by Bishop Robert Barron . May 15, 2005 .
On this great feast of Pentecost, we reflect on the charismatic gifts of the Holy Spirit. God's Spirit has given to each baptized person some gift for the upbuilding of the church. When one finds that gift, he should center his entire life around it. There are three paths to the discernment of one's charismatic gift: prayer, listening to the church, and the stirring of the acorn. To find out what that last one means, listen to the sermon!
The Beatitudes: A Spiritual Program
by Bishop Robert Barron . January 30, 2005 .
In the great opening verses of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus lays out, in short order, his ethical and spiritual program. It turns all of our customary expectations and prejudices upside down. To be "happy," fulfilled, we must empty the self, become meek, learn how to sorrow, hunger not for egotistic satisfaction but for justice, work for peace, and become the objects of persecution. Strange, puzzling, unnerving, counter-intuitive--and the key to joy.
The Blooming Desert
by Bishop Robert Barron . December 12, 2004 .
We have another great image from the prophet Isaiah this weekend: the blooming desert. So many of the Biblical heroes--Abraham, Moses, John the Baptist, Paul, Jesus himself--have to pass through the desert before they undertake their missions. It is only through this period of dryness, austerity, simplification, and spiritual prioritization that the blossoming of grace comes. Good Advent lesson for us.
The Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit
by Bishop Robert Barron . December 5, 2004 .
In the eleventh chapter of the book of the prophet Isaiah, we find a description of the gifts of the Holy Spirit with which the Messiah will be embued. They include wisdom, understanding, knowledge, counsel, fear of the Lord, piety, and fortitude. The good news is that these gifts are given to all of the baptized, all those who participate in the Messiahship of Jesus Christ. What precisely are these gifts and what difference do they make in our lives? Listen in order to find out.
The Wisdom of Qoheleth
by Bishop Robert Barron . August 1, 2004 .
Our first reading for this Sunday is taken from the wonderful book of Ecclesiastes. This Biblical text is made up of the cranky reflections of Qoheleth, an old man who has seen it all and done it all--and finds all of it "vanity and a chase after wind." Why do we attend to his rather sardonic meditations? We do so because it is altogether salutary to be reminded that our ultimate joy is found in none of the goods of this world. So sit down with Qoheleth, pretend he's your curmudgeonly but loveable grandfather, and listen.
Come, Holy Spirit
by Bishop Robert Barron . May 30, 2004 .
The two great symbols of the descent of the Holy Spirit are wind and tongues of fire. Wind is powerful, unpredictable, destructive, like the Spirit which seizes us and takes us where we would rather not go. Tongues of fire signal impassioned speech on behalf of the Good News, a willingness to announce the Gospel publicly and even in the face of opposition. With the whole church around the world, we pray on this great feast of Pentecost for the coming of that troublesome and wonderful Holy Spirit.
Paul’s Basic Message
by Bishop Robert Barron . May 16, 2004 .
Last week we explored the central teaching of St. Paul: to live in Christ Jesus. This week, we draw out four implications from this teaching: the corporate nature of the church, a sacramental imagination, the gifts of the Spirit, and the acknowledgement of Jesus as Lord. In emphasizing these themes, Paul gave shape to the whole of Christian theology through the ages.
by Bishop Robert Barron . February 15, 2004 .
Detachment is a key theme in the spiritual masters. It means that we must detach ourselves from all of those created goods--sex, money, power, pleasure--that are not our ultimate good. When we do this, we experience a spiritual freedom that actually enables us to enjoy those things more. Luke's version of the Beatitudes is, I submit, all about this detachment.
The Strange Path of Love
by Bishop Robert Barron . February 1, 2004 .
Our second reading for Mass this weekend is one of the most beautiful and oft-quoted in the Biblical tradition: Paul's hymn to love in the 13th chapter of 1 Corinthians. Love--willing the good of the other--must undergird everything else in Christian life. Even the strongest faith, if it is unformed by love, is nothing; even the greatest pastoral outreach, if it is not for the sake of love, means nothing; even the most spectacular spiritual gifts, if they don't conduce toward love, are worthless. In light of this reading, we have the criterion by which to assess the quality of our lives.