Secret Key of Meeting with God

Our_Lady_of_EmmitsburgDear children, Today I am calling you to be people of prayer. Pray until prayer becomes a joy for you and a meeting with the Most High. He will transform your hearts and you will become people of love and peace. Do not forget, little children, that Satan is strong and wants to draw you away from prayer. You, do not forget that prayer is the secret key of meeting with God. That is why I am with you to lead you. Do not give up on prayer. Thank you for having responded to my call.

– Message of Our Lady of Medjugorje,        August 25,  2017

Reading the Mystics

Very rich insights here on the mystical life from Professor Bernard McGinn, the word’s preeminent historian of western Christian mysticism who has written a multi-volume history of Christian mysticism, continuing the project with two recent publications studying the historical development of Christian mysticism with Mysticism in the Reformation and Mysticism in the Golden Age of Spain. For many years Dr. McGinn taught at the University of Chicago Divinity School and continues his writing and research.

Sad is Beautiful

“Sad is beautiful,” a wise man once told me. There are few expressions that convey this reality as powerfully as the late-medieval hymn the Stabat Mater (“the Sorrowful Mother”), which speaks about the sadness of Mary during the Passion of Jesus. Friends, as we delve into this sacred season, with the Triduum upon us, I wanted to share this beautiful video that captures the sorrow of Our Lady so poignantly in one of the greatest hymns of all time. May it be useful for your meditation on the Passion in the coming days.

As a Franciscan I am proud to say that the authorship of the Stabat Mater—though debated—is most often associated with the Italian Franciscan mystic and poet Jacopone da Todi, who has given us some of the deepest mystical poetry of the medieval period with his work the Lauds. The English author and scholar of mysticism Evelyn Underhill wrote eloquently of Jacopone da Todi, capturing his spirit with these words:

“One of the greatest and most interesting Italian mystical poets: Jacopone da Todi, the typical singer of the Franciscan movement, the first writer of philosophic religious poetry, and perhaps the most picturesque figure in the history of early Italian literature…this vigorous missionary and subtle philosopher: this poet, by turns crude satirist, ardent lover, and profound contemplative, who can sink to the level of the popular hymnal and rise above that of St. John of the Cross.”

Good News for Medjugorje

The topic of Medjugorje has been making news recently because of the Vatican’s decision to assign a special envoy, a Polish archbishop, to examine the pastoral situation in Medjugorje and, on the other hand, because the local bishop of Mostar — whose authority over Medjugorje has been taken away by the Holy See a long time ago — has decided to issue more negative comments about the apparitions.

Here is a great explanation by the Mariologist and Professor at Franciscan University Mark Miravalle, clarifying why the recent news about Medjugorje, especially regarding the special envoy, is good news for Medjugorje.

Interview on Franciscan Spirituality & Lenten Devotions

Radio-MariaHere is a recent interview that I did for Radio Maria, discussing Franciscan spirituality and Lenten devotions. My interview comes after Professor Jem Sullivan, who has done tremendous work on Christian art and aesthetics. Please check out her book The Beauty of Faith: Using Christian Art to Spread Good News and her online course on sacred art.