Browse by Topic: Vespers preaching

Br. Kevin Andrew, O.P.'s picture

The New Jerusalem

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According to the Book of Revelation, nothing profane shall enter the kingdom of Heaven. If so, how can we ever hope to enter? By the grace of Jesus.

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Br. Kevin Andrew, O.P.'s picture

You Only Live Once

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In his letter to the Philippians, St. Paul "chooses" life over death, because he -- and we -- may be of service to others while alive.

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Br. Bradley Thomas Elliott, O.P.'s picture

A Cheerful Giver

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Brothers and sisters: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each must do as already determined, without sadness or compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. Moreover, God is able to make every grace abundant for you, so that in all things, always having all you need, you may have an abundance for every good work. As it is written: He scatters abroad, he gives to the poor; his righteousness endures forever. The one who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You are being enriched in every way for all generosity, which through us produces thanksgiving to God. (2 Cor. 9:6-11)

Imagine this scenario: A father of four small children loses his job in an economic down-turn. In that same down-turn, an elderly widow on a fixed income loses her savings when the stock market plummets – savings that those she trusted promised would remain safe. A single mother is told that her only daughter is terminally ill, and the treatment is beyond what she could ever afford. These three individuals meet at Mass on Sunday morning only to hear St. Paul tell them how much “God loves a cheerful giver” and exhorts them to give generously of their recourses.

Our modern world is riddled with uncertainty. Simply no one, no matter how rich or resourceful, is immune from it. Even devout Christians, those who claim that “God is in control,” may find themselves haunted by doubt in their future security. This doubt leads to distrust; distrust leads to fear; fear leads us to spiritual isolation; and spiritual isolation tempts - even Christians - to a posture of protective competition with others, the world, and even with God. In such a world, is it truly possible for a Christian to be generous with joy? Yet this is exactly what St. Paul tells us to be. 

In the Gospels, we find one shining example of a giver whose generosity is praised by our Lord, yet it is a generosity that remained invisible to many. The story of the Woman in the Temple presents a poor woman among the rich elite. She is uncertain and afraid yet, out of her poverty, she still gives all that she has, a mere two coins. Jesus, knowing her gift and her intentions pronounces that she has given more than all the rest.

How can this be?

Jesus is illustrating that Christian generosity is not a matter of quantity, but quality. God in himself is pure gift. He gives out of the overabundance of His being, goodness, and mercy. Although He understands our human condition intimately and intensely, He labors under no economic problem of scarcity and lack. Thus the giving that is most akin to the heart of God is that giving and generosity which emerges from the human heart, not human physical abundance. Although the woman gave until it hurt, she could still be called a “joyful giver” since her giving was likened to the generosity of Christ, who also gave all that He had.

Let us recall what St. Paul teaches us: “God is able to make every grace abundant for you, so that in all things, always having all you need, you may have an abundance for every good work.” The giving that most pleases God is not one of great quantity, as if He somehow benefits from the gift, but rather one of great quality, where our hearts are conformed to His heart, and it is us, not Him, that change through the giving.

Thus, the remedy for worldly fear and uncertainty is also the very mark of Christian giving. This is a quality of loving self-surrender to God that characterizes the “cheerfulness” of joyful generosity. Let us remember that “the one who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will multiply your seed and increase the harvest of your righteousness.

In spite of the unavoidable uncertainties of life, we can always find joy in generosity. We can do this with full confidence that God can supply all of our physical needs.

This is not a call to imprudence, but rather a call to plant our lives in the seedbed of a supernatural hope in God. This hope is the true source of cheerful joy.

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Stay Alert

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A reflection on the Lord's warning to the complacent in the Book of the Prophet Amos, most fitting as we approach the end of the liturgical year and are called upon to think about our standing before the Lord.

Br. Peter Junipero Hannah, O.P.'s picture

Strange Grandeur: Embracing Catholic Distinctives in Today's World

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The Scriptures, and the God who inspired them, invariably disturb and surprise us. In the readings for my recent preaching, the prophet Joel describes a Day not of Light, but of Darkness; and our Lord Himself is accused by his adversaries of exorcising demons in the name of Satan. What, pray, could such contrasts have to say to us today? Much if we are willing to embrace what St. Paul calls the "foolishness of the Cross."

Br. Thomas Aquinas Pickett, O.P.'s picture

Holy to the Core

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We're not bad people, right? Compared with the people described by the prophet Amos, we're veritable angels! But what really lurks within the depths of our hearts? Are we really the people that we think we are?


Br. Chris Brannan, O.P.'s picture

We Preach Christ Crucified

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Below is a recording of Br. Chris' preaching for Vespers on Saturday, September 14, 2013, the Feast of the Exultation of the Cross. The preaching is on the reading from 1 Corinthians 1:23-24, on the theme of the "scandal" of the Cross, and its apparent "foolishness."

Br. Michael James Rivera, O.P.'s picture

Surrender and Bend Low

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"Humility is one of the most difficult of virtues both to attain and to ascertain," Bl. Cardinal Newman reminds us in The Idea of a University. So how how does one grow in humility? Hear one answer in my reflection from 1st Vespers on the 22nd Sunday of Ordinary Time.

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Br. Bradley Thomas Elliott, O.P.'s picture

To Love God

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This was a reflection given during Vespers at St. Albert's Priory. It is a meditation on the love of God.

As Christians we are commanded to love God with our whole heart, soul, and mind. But what does it mean to love God? Can we ever love God the way we ought, the way He deserves to be loved? How can we, as finite human beings ever love the infinite and invisible God who the ancient israelites dared never even look upon lest they die? 

Following our Lord's words in the Gospel that "whatever you do to the least of these you do unto me," should we not conclude that the heart inflamed with true love of God will desire nothing more than to express that love through service and kindness towards neighbor?

Br. Bradley Thomas Elliott, O.P.'s picture

Penance and Hope

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This is a reflection given at vespers at St. Albert's Priory. It is for the second week of Lent, a time when our practices of penance begin to wane. Although the virtue that is typically associated with lenten penances is temperance, this is a meditation on the connection between our acts of penance and the virtue of hope. When we practice penance for the sake of the kingdom of God, we do not merely grow in the virtue of temperance, which orders our desires for bodily pleasures according to right reason. We also practice the virtue of hope, hope for a world to come, and hope for the life of glory that surpasses what we could ever enjoy in this life through our bodily senses. The hidden secret to this season of mortification is the hope that springs from the promise of Jesus Christ.

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