Pope Pius XI, G.K. Chesterton, and Pope Francis have all warned about the danger of a sort of "False Francis of Assisi," of loving a sort of distorted vision of the great Saint of Assisi. The truth is, all of those things that the world (rightly) loves about St. Francis are, in fact, simply the natural result of St. Francis' love of God. If you ignore that root of sanctity, you end up with these false Francises: Francis the Hippie, Francis the Italian Nationalist, Francis the poet, etc. The true Francis is Francis the Lover, which is to say, Francis the Saint.
There's a spiritual malady afflicting our homes, our workplaces, our political conversations, and how we speak to (and of) one another, both on- and offline. A major part of the cure is learning to recognize that those who are hardest to stand are often the ones closest to us, and that the call to charity is often in the little things of daily life.
I've been gone for the better part of the last two weeks because of World Youth Day. It was emotionally and physically exhausting, but an incredibly rich experience.
In much of the West, the lights of the Christian faith seem to be dimming, and the world seems to be growing ever colder towards the Gospel. We should take heart in the fact that this isn't the first time we've seen things go south, and we should take counsel in seeing how the Saints succeeded in the re-evangelization of fallen away places like England. Father Matthew Fish of the Archdiocese of Washington explores this in light of yesterday's Feast of St. Augustine of Canterbury.
Today is the Feast of the Ascension of Christ. What can we say about this Feast? It’s a proclamation and a promise. What does it proclaim? That we are body and soul, and that our bodies are good. What does it promise? That Christ has not abandoned us, and that we, body and soul, are destined for future glory.
On Easter Sunday, why does Jesus say to Mary Magdalene, “Do not hold me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father"? And why does He then invite St. Thomas to touch His hands and side?
As far as I know, Christianity is unique in this: we believe in a God who willingly, and regularly, humiliates Himself. Consider the worst blasphemies imaginable, and then consider how far beyond those that Jesus is willing to go.
In my opinion, Holy Saturday is the hardest day of Holy Week to really "enter into." Is it a day of mourning? Not exactly. A day of rejoicing? Again, not exactly. The best description I've heard it is that it is a day of "quiet hope." Here are some aids to cultivate a spirit of quiet hope as we make the massive transition from Good Friday to Easter Sunday, and as we commemorate Christ's "harrowing of hell."
"I opened the sea before you, but you opened my side with a spear." Today is Good Friday, the worst and best day in history. How does one enter into the incomprehensible mystery that man killed God? These aids might be a start.
Today is Holy Thursday, the night of the Last Supper, and therefore the anniversary of both the Eucharist and the priesthood. It's here that Jesus celebrates the first Mass, and then commissions his disciples to do the same. And it's here that the Passion of Christ truly begins. Here are a few resources to help as you enter into Triduum, the holiest time of year.