passion

"Christ on the Cross" (detail) by Velazquez

My people, what have I done to you?

The Reproaches The Good Friday Reproaches, or Improperia, are among the most unsettling prayers of the Church’s liturgical tradition. They are fitting for the most unsettling day of the year: that day we dare to call “Good,” the day our churches stand stark and empty, the day when the comforting words of the Holy Mass are not uttered, the day […]

"Christ's Entry into Jerusalem" by Hippolyte Flandrin

The Paradox of the Cross — Joy in the Midst of Sorrow

The Cross is the great paradox of Christianity. More than a few people have asked me over the years why the Catholic Church focuses so prominently and persistently on the Crucifix. One inquirer even suggested that the Crucifix hanging above the Altar is too intense a reminder of the sorrow in the world and that she would never join a […]

"Ecce Homo" by Antonio Ciseri

Shall I Crucify Your King?

As we approach Palm Sunday and Good Friday, we also approach one of the most difficult moments in liturgy: our call to crucify Christ. For the reading of the Passion accounts in these liturgies, there is the option for the Gospel to be read by multiple readers. I would venture to guess that most parishes read the Passion account this […]

"Christ on the Cross" (detail) by Velazquez

Four Ways to Finish Lent Well

As we near the end of Lent, it’s a good time to stop and assess how we have done thus far.  Before the revision of the Roman Missal in 1970, this coming Sunday, the Fifth Sunday of Lent, was referred to as “Passion Sunday” and marked the beginning of Passiontide.  In his incredible fifteen-volume work on the liturgy, Dom Gueranger […]

"Christ on the Cross" (detail) by Velazquez

Finding Joy in the Midst of Sorrow

“We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). The Paradox of the Cross The Cross is the great paradox of Christianity. More than a few people have asked me over the years why the Catholic Church focuses so prominently and persistently on the Crucifix. One inquirer […]

Mobilizing one’s whole being

Last weekend I had the pleasure of seeing Pixar’s Inside Out.  I was pleasantly surprised by it, not expecting it to be as thought-provoking and multi-faceted as it was.  One of the themes—and I don’t think I’m spoiling anything, given that it was mentioned in the first ten minutes of the film—was the purpose of the emotions. As Joy was […]

The Cross in Our Lives

There are so many reasons that Christ’s Cross should be on our minds as a Christian, especially because we are navigating the season of Lent—that beautiful and prayerful time of year. Holy Mother Church prods us to become more mindful of Jesus’ Passion and Death on the Cross—His unselfish holy sacrifice so that we might have Eternal Life. We practice […]

"Christ on the Cross" (detail) by Velazquez

The Paradox of the Cross—Joy in the Midst of Sorrow

The Cross is the great paradox of Christianity. More than a few people have asked me over the years why the Catholic Church focuses so prominently and persistently on the Crucifix. One inquirer even suggested that the Crucifix hanging above the Altar is too intense a reminder of the sorrow in the world and that she would never join a […]

Pope Francis (and Jesus) Wants us to “Shake things up!”

One of the themes of Pope Francis at World Youth Day 2013 was to “shake things up.” This is quite different from the advice I was given as a child: “In polite conversation, never bring up politics or religion.”  This is quite good advice, if your aim is to be well-liked.  Politics and religion are risky because they involve deeply […]

"Christ's Entry into Jerusalem" by Hippolyte Flandrin

How I Found Joy in Sorrow and Pain

The Cross is the great paradox of Christianity. More than a few people have asked me over the years why the Catholic Church focuses so prominently and persistently on the Crucifix. One inquirer even suggested that the Crucifix hanging above the Altar is too intense a reminder of the sorrow in the world and that she would never join a […]