Tag Archive: spiritual life

“When you take a stand for truth in love, you can bring life to others.  If you and I just go around condemning people, that’s not of God.  God wants all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of His truth (1 Tim 2:4).  We are forbidden by God to judge others (Mt 7:1).  If we do choose to judge others, all we are going to do is keep them away from God.  They will run away from us.  If we love them enough and speak the truth in love as Paul says, then we can bring them to salvation.  Simply saying, ‘I’m right, you’re wrong,’ is not using the gift of fortitude.”

— Fr Larry Richards, Be a Man!: Becoming the Man God Created you to Be, p. 83.


I recently finished reading Archbishop Gomez’ Men of Brave Heart: The Virtue of Courage in the Priestly Life.  There is plenty to digest and reflect on in this work, and a good number of practical suggestions for priests.

Archbishop Gomez draws heavily on St Thomas Aquinas, and a variety of other sources.  The footnotes are extensive with plenty of leads to other material for the interested reader.

This book would make an excellent Lenten read for a priest, and indeed would be a great gift for your Parish Priest!

Countdown to Lent

Ash Wednesday is February 22nd this year.  Perhaps your parish may ask you to bring back your blessed palms from last year so that they can be burnt to make the ashes.

Now is a good time to think about what you’re going to do for Lent.  During Lent we prepare to solemnly renew our baptismal promises – renouncing sin and professing the faith – at the Easter Masses.

Prayer, fasting, and almsgiving are the three disciplines associated with Lent.

Here are some thoughts on prayer that might get you thinking: The heroic minute, immediately upon waking – the first battle of the day.

Lent is a good time to try something new, or try something you’ve felt called to do for some time.

Calling Catholic men of God

Yes, the title is correct, and I did intend to say “men.”  Many acknowledge today that more needs to be done to help Catholic men know and live the faith.  Unless you enter a seminary or a religious institute, many of the things on offer are either for women (e.g. the Catholic Women’s League) or are a turn-off for men.

An initiative in Ottawa will help fill a gap …

First Friday Evening Gathering of The Men of the Eucharist starts Friday February 3rd at the Diocesan Centre (1247 Kilborn Place) .

Click here to view poster for more details.

We will be meeting every First Friday Evening.

Here are the dates for the First Fridays for the upcoming year: Mark your Calendars

February 3, 2012
March 2, 2012
April 13, 2012
May 4, 2012
June 1, 2012
July 6, 2012
August (No gathering in August)
September 7, 2012
October 5, 2012
November 2, 2012
December 7, 2012


The series is based on a book by Fr. Larry Richards entitles “Be a Man”


See EWTN interview with Fr. Richards: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZMxavWpD8nE


Read reviews of Fr. Richards’ book:

Please pass this on to any men who might be interested in “Becoming the man God is calling you to be


We make sacrifices for all sorts of things, but are we prepared to make sacrifices for our holiness, and for the state of our soul?

A Priest Downunder reflects: Body and Soul « A Priest Downunder.

A few weeks ago the daily Mass readings were from the Book of Jonah.  At the time, one of my confreres loaned me a copy of a little book by Fr Paul Murray OP, “A Journey with Jonah: The Spirituality of Bewilderment.”

The Book of Jonah is one of the shortest books of the bible, but almost everyone knows about Jonah who gets swallowed by the “giant fish.”  Our Lord himself made reference to the story of Jonah.

Jonah is a bit of an anti-hero in most respects.  Upon hearing what the Lord asks him to do, he sets out – almost amusingly – in the totally opposite direction.  He tries to get as far away as he can from where the Lord wants him to go.  How many people, if they’re honest, would not admit that that tends to be our reaction, often, to the Lord’s wishes, whether we’re conscious of it or not.

For Jonah, running away from the Lord results in being swallowed by the giant fish and eventually regurgitated, not before experiencing the profound desolation of being taken to the dark depths of the ocean.

Jonah eventually arrives where he was sent, and the huge and wicked city of Nineveh repents after just one sentence uttered by our reluctant prophet.  Everyone, from king to the most lowly person, puts on sackcloth and ashes, and turns to the Lord.  Even the animals do the same!

But poor old Jonah, far from being pleased, is so angry and bitter, because this is exactly what he thought would happen, and he couldn’t see why he should have had to come to Nineveh.  He cries out to God and says that he’s angry to the point of wishing he was dead!  The Lord responds to Jonah and reminds him of His desire that people should turn to Him.

Fr Murray says:

Reading through the Book of Jonah, we soon come to realise that God speaks to us, not only through his word, but also through our own confused emotions.  Jonah’s relationship with God, at least to some significant degree, consists in a series of different states of feeling, all of which have been provoked by different circumstances: emotions of guilt, for example, or of fear or of joy.

With references to Cardinal Newman, Thomas Merton, and St John of the Cross, Fr Murray has provided much food for thought as the reader reflects on his or her own relationship with God.  How much of our lives is spent avoiding what we know the Lord is calling us to do?  Of course, our avoidance springs from all sorts of reasons.

May the Lord give us courage to hear His call, and to find our real fulfilment in carrying out His will.