Confirmation in the Church Fathers

It has been said — though I know not by whom — that Confirmation is “a sacrament in search of a theology.” Confirmation preparation programs often emphasize the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit and state that Confirmation, in some way, complet … [Read more...]

“Many Shall Come from the East and the West”

A Comparison of the Preaching of Augustine and John Chrysostom

Introduction “Many shall come from the East and the West and will recline with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the banquet in the Kingdom of Heaven” (Mt 8:11). The two great preachers of the fourth and fifth centuries — John Chrysostom, Bisho … [Read more...]

Patience a Spiritual Sign

Pope Francis and Tertullian on Patience

Pope Francis set forth the vision for his pontificate in his first apostolic exhortation Evangellii gaudium, a clarion call for evangelization through joy in the modern world. A fitting diptych to this first document is his most recent … [Read more...]

A Surprising Beatitude

Dashing the Little Ones upon the Rock

In a 2007 class on the Epistle to the Hebrews, Jesuit Fr. James Swetnam passed along to us two words of wisdom from German Biblical scholar Joachim Jeremias. The first word: read a chapter of New Testament Greek every day. Indeed, very wise … [Read more...]

The Mystagogical Tradition

“Mystagogy” is a word that some parishes hear during Easter Time, and is often associated with the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA). Yet, a proper understanding of mystagogy provides inspiration and wisdom, not only for cat … [Read more...]

Lessons from a Patristic Homily

In learning how to craft homilies, it is worth studying past master homilists; from these masters, we can learn masterful techniques. Reading those who wrote in one’s own native tongue is, of course, a necessary thing: Newman would probably … [Read more...]

Confession of Faith, Eucharist and Martyrdom

With Special Reference to Early Church Fathers of the East

Introduction[0. Paper presented at Theological Colloquium held at St. Mary’s Malankara Seminary, Trivandrum (Jan. 13, 2017). ] The Church of the first millennium was born of the blood of the martyrs: “Sanguis Martyrum - Semen Chr … [Read more...]

The Rich Man and Lazarus: a Modern and Patristic Reflection

Lazarus at the Rich Man's Door by James Tissot In the parable of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31), the parable begins with a description of the rich man and his life of luxury and excess. He is portrayed as a member of the elite, … [Read more...]

A Vast Depth of Meaning: The Sea in Luke and Acts

The sea has a special appeal to the human heart. It has occupied our imaginations since the earliest myths: Odysseus, tossed about on the sea; Aeneas, exiled by Juno's hatred across the deep; and the destructive, yet life-giving cycle of … [Read more...]

Eastern Christian Liturgy in a Western Homily

St. John Paul II famously proclaimed that “The Church must breathe with two lungs”—speaking of the Western Church and the Eastern Church. Such breathing is meant to permeate all of the Church’s life and not just, say, the lives of histori … [Read more...]

Evangelization & Scripture: The Pastoral Prerequisites for Mass

The Sacred Liturgy is “an exercise of the priestly office of Jesus Christ” by which the sanctification of mankind is “signified by signs” “and is effected in a way which corresponds with each of these signs … it is a sacred action surpassing … [Read more...]

Winter Reading for February 2016

The Ancient Path: Old Lessons from the Church Fathers for a New Life Today. John Michael Talbot with Mike Aquilina. (New York: Image, 2015) 203 pages; $22.00. (Reviewed by Ken Colston) Richard John Neuhaus (A Life in the Public Square). … [Read more...]

Mother of Mercy

On March 13, 2015, His Holiness Pope Francis announced that on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary—December 8, 2015—the Universal Church would enter an Extraordinary Holy Year of Mercy. Why did his Holiness cho … [Read more...]

The Awe-Inspiring Mysteries: The Importance of Mystagogy

(This title is inspired by Edward Yarnold’s The Awe-Inspiring Rites of Initiation: Baptismal Homilies of the Fourth Century (Slough, Great Britain: St. Paul Publications, 1971), the title of which is based on the common language of “awe” use … [Read more...]

“The Indelible Mark”

Sacramental Character in Patristic and Scholastic Theology

The history of the development of doctrine is, in many ways, a history of language. It is a story of the perpetual struggle to adequately communicate the divine realities in human words, or at the very least, to attempt to do so without … [Read more...]