30 April 2020

Islamic State Ongoing Updates - April 2020

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25 April 2020

16 April 2020

15 April 2020

26 April 2020

Homily - 26 April 2020 - The Third Sunday of Easter

The Third Sunday of Easter (A)

Dear brothers and sisters,

The Psalmist sings today, “I set the Lord ever before me,” which is another way of saying that the focus of his thoughts, the focus of his attention, is the Lord; everything else – however important it might be – is secondary (Psalm 16:8). In an age of constant distractions battling for our attention, it is sometimes difficult for us to set the Lord always before us.

When we come to this recognition of ourselves, when we come to realize that we all too often put other things or people before us as the focus of our attention, it can be a moment of great grace. For in such a moment, the possibility of refocusing our lives and hearts opens before us. In such a moment, we would do well to remember the admonition of Saint Jerome: “Consider here that it is always in our power to set the Lord before us.”[1] But how do we do this?

Those two disciples who walked along the way to Emmaus were despairing. “But we were hoping he would be the one to redeem Israel,” they said; “and beside all this, it is now the third day since this took place” (Luke 24:21). Saint Augustine tells us the reason they despaired “was that they had seen him dead. He, however, opened the Scriptures to them, so that they would realize that if he hadn’t died, he couldn’t be the Christ.”[2] This is why the Doctor of Grace goes on to ask them, “Why have you given up hope, just because you have seen him crucified, because you have looked at him hanging there, because you have thought him weak?”[3] They saw his wounds, but they did not recognize their power.

Despair, of course, is always something to be avoided, because it “is only for those who see the end beyond all doubt.”[4] Those two disciples despaired because they thought all was ended; they saw the Lord Jesus die, but they failed to understand what his death truly meant; they failed to remember his Resurrection. They did not keep the Lord ever before them.

If they had kept the Lord ever before them, they might have seen what Saint Bonaventure found in the Crucifixion of the Lord. He says to us:

If at times something sad happens, something bad, something tedious, something bitter, and certainly if sometimes a good thing happens by chance, then you should immediately look to the crucified Jesus hanging on the cross. Look there at the crown of thorns, the iron nails, the lance in the side; gaze at the wounds in his feet and hands, the wounds in his head, his side, and his whole body, and recall that this is what he suffered for you, what he bore for you, so that you may know how much he loved you. Believe me: after gazing in such a way [at the crucifix], you will find that everything sad becomes joyful, everything heavy becomes light, everything boring lovable, everything harsh sweet and soothing.[5]

It goes without saying that we cannot forget that “God raised him up, releasing him from the throes of death, because it was impossible for him to be held by it” (Acts 2:24). At the same time, however, to recognize him in his Resurrection is to know that he was Crucified for us. This is why he still bears his wounds, the marks of his love, on his glorified body; he does not want us to forget the unfathomable depths of his mercy.

When we no longer keep the Lord before us, when we take our eyes off of him and away from the signs of his love, we begin to sink amidst the storms of life, just as those two disciples did. Saint Augustine teaches us that

The Lord’s absence is not an absence. Have faith, and the one you cannot see is with you. Those two, even when the Lord was talking to them, did not have faith, because they didn’t believe he had risen. Nor did they have any hope that he could rise again. They had lost faith, lost hope. They were walking along, dead, with Christ alive. They were walking along, dead, with life itself. Life was walking along with them, but in their hearts life had not yet been restored.[6]

With so much extra time on our hands these days, how can we fail to keep the Lord ever before us? With fewer distractions vying for our attention, let us keep our attention focused on Christ Jesus and on the signs of his love so that through the glory of his Resurrection we may dwell in hope (cf. Acts 2:26; cf. Psalm 16:7). Amen.

[1] Saint Jerome, Homily on Psalm 15[16].
[2] Saint Augustine of Hippo, Sermon 236.2.
[3] Saint Augustine of Hippo, Sermon 236A.4
[4] J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring: Being the First Part of the Lord of the Rings (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1994), 262.
[5] Saint Bonaventure, On the Perfection of Life, VI.6.
[6] Saint Augustine of Hippo, Sermon 235.2-3.

23 April 2020

Is it possible to resume public Masses while maintaining the social distance?

I know a lot of Catholics are upset they cannot attend the Holy Mass and/or receive the Eucharist. I share that sentiment. And it breaks my heart everyday that I cannot offer the Mass with the faithful, as I wrote just a few days ago.

Presently some friends are endeavoring to encourage priests to violate the Governor's Executive Order limiting gatherings to more than ten people. To this notion, I remind them of Saint Paul's admonition: "Let every person be subordinate to the higher authorities, for there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been established by God" (Romans 13:1). Priests, particularly, in this situation are subordinate on the one hand to the civil authority and, on the other, to the authority of their Bishops, most of whom have suspended the public celebration of the Holy Mass.

Those who want their priests to publicly celebrate the Holy Mass say we can do so while keeping the social distance (which we do know helps stop the spread of the coronavirus), but is this actually true? Join me, if you will, for a little thought experiment.

For the sake of argument

Let us presume two very unlikely scenarios in this thought experiment:
  1. That the Governor will reinstate the previous limit on gatherings consisting of more than 50 people (we are currently at 10); and,
  2. That the Governor will include religious worship among the list of tolerated essential duties.
Given these two presumptions, is it possible to resume the public celebration of the Holy Mass while maintaining the required social distance?

Presently, I am Pastor of two parishes: St. Augustine in Ashland and St. Peter in Petersburg. Since I reside in the rectory in Ashland, we will use St. Augustine church in this thought experiment.

Gatherings of not more than 10 people

Before we consider larger gatherings, let us presume the Governor includes religious services among the essential tasks, but keeps the gathering size to not more than 10 people.

Given this, nine parishioners could join me at the Holy Mass, but who gets to decide who gets to attend and how often? Do you do it by lottery? On a first come, first serve basis? Alphabetically? Or some other basis? Frankly, I hope not to be put in such a position because the avoidance of the appearance of favoritism would be very difficult. 

Gatherings of not more than 50 people

St. Augustine's has just one Mass each Sunday (the Church's ideal) with an average attendance weekly attendance between 85 and 100 people.

Because we cannot reasonably plan for fewer people to return to Mass and should account for an increase in attendance (we have seen people popping into the church for private prayer whom we do not recognize), let us presume a congregation of 110 people keeping 6 feet apart from each other.

Given the length of the pews and the distance between the pews, I could put 3 people in every fourth pew, for a total of 30 in the pews. I could additionally put 2 put in the sanctuary, 2 people in the choir loft, and 3 people in the vestibule (provided no one uses the restroom, which is unlikely). That makes a total of 37 people per Mass and at least 3 Masses per weekend, just at St. Augustine's.

St. Peter's has two Masses per weekend and has an average attendance between 170 and 190 people per weekend. At best, I think I might be able to squeeze 60 into that church while maintaining the social distance, which means at least another 3 Masses per weekend, just at St. Peter's.

Given these assumptions, that would mean that I would have to celebrate at least 6 Masses per weekend, which is forbidden by canon 905 § 2, which states: "If there is a shortage of priests, the local ordinary ca allow priests to celebrate twice a day for a just cause, or if pastoral necessity requires it, even three times on Sundays and holy days of obligation." Given the current law, celebrating 6 Masses each week is simply not an option.

Outdoor Masses

Others have suggested outdoor Masses at which people drive their cars, park the cars six feet apart, and remain inside the cars during the Mass. This poses considerable logistical considerations (how many parishes are able to broadcast on a radio frequency to be picked up in cars or loudspeaker system capable of sufficient volume without becoming a noise nuisance?).

Other considerations in such a situation are even more practical in nature. For example, St. Augustine's does not have a parking lot; parishioners park on the side of the streets adjacent to the church, so an outdoor Mass would not work for us.


Given all of this, as long as we are required to keep to social distancing, I do not see how it is possible to resume the public celebration of the Holy Mass within our churches; our churches are big enough and we do not have enough priests.

Until such time as an arrangement can be found, I ask you to be patient and steadfast in prayer. It breaks your priests' hearts as much as it breaks yours that we cannot administer the Eucharist to you. We miss you. We love you. We pray for you daily. And we long for the day we can gather with you again at the altar of the Lord.

19 April 2020

Homily - The Second Sunday of Easter - 19 April 2020

The Second Sunday of Easter (A)
Divine Mercy Sunday

Dear brothers and sisters,

Last evening, while Facetiming with a couple of friends, I was asked a question which is likely on the hearts and minds of many people today. My friends asked why God might be causing the present pandemic to be happening. They went on to clarify their question by asking why God might allow the pandemic and what good he might bring out of all of this. They knew, with Saint Paul, “that in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).

When Saint John Chrysostom commented on these words from the Apostle, he said:

For if tribulation, or poverty, or imprisonment, or famines, or deaths or anything else should fall upon us, God can change them into the opposite. For this is one instance of his ineffable power, that he can make painful things appear light to us and turn them into things which can be helpful.[1]

How is it, then, that the present pandemic can turn to good for those who love God? How is that it can become helpful to us?

I would first say that these questions about why God would permit such a tragedy cannot be answered with absolute certainty because he has not yet revealed his purposes to us in this regard and so no one can know the answer to these questions.

That said, we can perhaps find some indication, some hint, of God’s possible purposes in these words of Saint Peter, which the Church sets before us today:

In this you rejoice, although now for a little while you may have to suffer through various trials so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold that is perishable even though tested by fire, may prove to be for praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ (I Peter 1:6-7).

We might, therefore, say that the usefulness of our current difficulties can help us focus again on our faith.

In recent years, it is no secret that many of us have slowly begun to take our faith for granted. Many have practiced it with a certain amount of apathy or disregard. When it was convenient and fit into our other plans, we made time for the Holy Mass, but it was not at the center of our plans. The Bible was rarely picked up in our homes or read amongst our families. Family prayer time was minimal, and devotions were often lacking. We received the Eucharist almost as if it were routine. When we at last gather again, will anything have changed? Will the genuineness of our faith have been proved?

Returning to the questions with which we began, is it possible that the Lord has allowed this pandemic so the genuineness of our faith might be proved? Is it possible he has allowed this pandemic so our faith might be rekindled?[2] Is it possible he has allowed this pandemic so we might devote ourselves anew to reading the Scriptures, to adoring the Eucharist, and to the communal Christian life (cf. Acts 2:42)? To my mind, the answer to each of these questions is a resounding, “Yes.”

Already, several people have contacted me to talk about some of the unexpected blessings they have found in these days of sheltering in place. These include a heightened recognition of their longing for God, especially in Holy Communion; a deeper appreciation for the presence of God in the sacred writings of the Bible; an unexpected desire to be with the members of the parish again; a satisfaction that has come from spending more time with family; and a sense of peace from not being frantically busy all of the time.

While the pandemic itself is a great tragedy for humanity, these are no small blessings God has already brought about through it. It will remain for us to learn these lessons well, and not to forgot them. Once we are able to gather again at the altar of God, it will remain for us to imitate those first Christians who “devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles and to the communal life, to the breaking of bread and to the prayers” (Acts 2:42).

While these blessings may not be useful according to the standards of the world because they will not make us more efficient or bring about economic prosperity, according to the standards of God and the Christian life, they are of infinite use because through them we will “attain the goal of [our] faith, the salvation of [our] souls” (I Peter 1:9). This is why, having seen these same sorts of blessings brought about by God after several disasters in his own lifetime, Saint Jerome said, “Let calamity strike, let every kind of disaster fall, as long as after the catastrophe Christ comes.”[3]

While we remain at home and until we gather together again, let us use this time well by heeding the promptings of the Holy Spirit to more time in prayer, to more time spent reading the Word of God, and to more time in the community of our families. If we do this, our faith truly can be rekindled, some great good will come out of this calamity, and we will “grasp and rightly understand in what font [we] have been reborn, by whose Spirit [we] have been renewed, [and] by whose Blood [we] have been redeemed.”[4] Amen.

[1] Saint John Chrysostom, Homilies on Romans, 15. In Thomas C. Oden, et al, eds., Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture, Vol. VI: Romans (Downers Grove, Illinois: Inter Varsity Press, 1998), 225.
[2] Cf. Roman Missal, Collect for the Second Sunday of Easter.
[3] Saint Jerome, Homilies on the Psalms, 6. In Thomas C. Oden, et al, eds., Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture, Vol. VI: Romans (Downers Grove, Illinois: Inter Varsity Press, 1998), 225-226.
[4] Roman Missal, Collect for the Second Sunday of Easter.

15 April 2020

Pondering Saint Damien and the Pandemic

Detail, stained glass window
Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady of Peace
Honolulu, Hawaii
From the moment I first encountered Saint Joseph Damien de Veuster, SS.CC, he supplanted Saint Francis of Assisi as my favorite Saint. This, of course, is not to diminish the role of the Poverello in my spiritual journey as one of my favorite guides, but is to say instead that something in Father Damien reached more deeply into my soul than did Saint Francis; precisely why that was or what it was that spoke so clearly to me is difficult to say.

At any rate, Father Damien died on this day in the year in 1889, after ministering to the patients with Hansen’s Disease (then called leprosy) on the Kalaupapa Peninsula on the island of Molokai. He was that royal soul, to borrow a phrase from Walter Murray Gibson who answered the call of King David Kalakaua who sought ministers and doctors to attend his subjects suffering from the separating sickness, a call equally supported by Bishop Louis Maigret. Father Damien - at the age of 33 - volunteered to be one of four priests who would each spend three months in the settlement on an annual rotation. Once he arrived on the Kalaupapa Peninsula, Father Damien intended to stay, and stay he did, for the rest of his life.

After eleven years in the settlement, Father Damien contracted the disease that everyone feared, the disease he knew so very well after attending to his parishioners’ every need with such generous and heroic love. He died five years later, having spent sixteen years of his life among those cast out by the rest of society. Not for nothing was he hailed as the Hero of Molokai; he stayed when so many others abandoned those most in need.

In this time of pandemic, I cannot help but ask myself what Father Damien would do today. His Bishop sought volunteers to go and minister among the very ill, and he did not think twice about it; he offered his life and said, “I would gladly give my life for them. I do not spare myself when it is necessary to go on a sick call that takes me twenty to twenty-five miles away.” In the end, he did give his life for them and fulfilled what he said when he first met them: “I make myself a leper with the lepers to gain all to Jesus Christ.”

Reflecting on his example, I cannot help but wonder what we priests ought to be doing today. We today are told by our superiors - who have to had make incredibly difficult decisions which have rent their hearts - to minister when possible, keeping to specific guidelines issued by the medical professionals and the civic government. All of this is done out of great concern for the common good and is a clear expression of Christian charity.

Father Damien was told something similar, and very quickly ignored such precautions so as to take on, as Pope has said, “the smell of the sheep;” he expressed Christian charity from a different angle, which was quite controversial in his own day because he violated the clear instruction of his Bishop and orders of the royal government.

Now, do not take me wrongly; in no way whatever am I suggesting being disobedient to the Bishops or to the civil authorities. Nor am I suggesting that we priests are all called to heroic virtue. Nor am I suggesting even that I am called to heroic virtue. Father Damien clearly was and he ministered accordingly, with great success and love. How is it that we priests today are called to minister? The best we can do, I think, is to keep to the instructions those placed over us by the Lord have issued.

At the moment, effectively separated from my flocks (I am Pastor of two different Parishes), I feel a bit restless as I - like everyone else - seek to determine the best way to respond in the present situation to the needs of my parishioners. I eagerly look forward to the day when I can gather again with them around the altar of the Lord.

Whether what I have said above makes any sense or not, I do not know; it is difficult to adequately express my feelings, because I do not fully grasp them yet myself, even after struggling with them these past many weeks.

Still, I cannot help but return to these wise words of Father Damien: “We must all die... So let us begin from this day to prepare for a happy death. Let us not lose a moment of the little time we still have to live.” Through the intercession of this heroic priest, may the Lord guide each of us in the days ahead until we sing with Father Damien the praises of God.

11 April 2020

Homily - 11 April 2020 - The Easter Vigil During the Holy Night

Holy Saturday
The Easter Vigil During the Holy Night

Dear brothers and sisters,

On this most sacred night, we commemorate that curious visit of the women to the tomb of Jesus to give his body a proper anointing. I say their little pilgrimage was curious both because they admitted they did not know how to remove the stone and because they went “while it was still dark” (cf. Mark 16:3; John 20:1). It is almost as if they have not quite thought things through, but grief will do that to a person. In these recent weeks, as well as at other moments in our lives, we know something of that thoughtlessness brought on by grief and we feel it particularly on this night which the Church calls “the greatest and most noble of all solemnities.”[1]

This night, this vigil of Easter Sunday of the Lord’s Resurrection, is the greatest and most noble of all solemnities because this is the night that we go with those women to peer inside the tomb. We go with them with the certainty of hindsight that the Lord’s body is no longer in the tomb. Consequently, we usually accompany these women with a certain excitement, a giddiness even, but tonight we perhaps accompany them with a sense of unease. While we may not like this feeling, it can give us a greater understanding of the tremendous mystery of this night.

While those women may not have thought everything through before heading to the tomb, we can be sure that

in no way did they delude themselves about the true meaning of their gesture: to pour oil on a corpse does nothing for the deceased; it only serves to express the affection of others; an affection which at that point is completely powerless to bring the person back to life. Hence the painful anguish of such a gesture. When Jesus was alive, the women were able to show him their affectionate love and devotion. But that time is over, and they can do nothing more for him.[2]

Or so they thought. Now they must be messengers of his triumphant love (cf. Matthew 28:10).

Like those women, “a fear, mixed with disorientation and bewilderment, has taken hold of us. We feel lost, confused, blind. We cannot read what is happening very well, we cannot see or glimpse what it will be, how we will be, how and if we will resume our life.[3] It is as if we, too, stand before the tomb, startled by the angel who is surprised at our grief. As he said to the women, so the angel says to us, “Come and see the place where he lay;” come and renew your faith in the One who has conquered death (Matthew 28:6).

We keep this night in vigil, we keep watch for the Lord, because “the resurrection of Christ is the foundation of our faith and hope, and through baptism and confirmation, we are inserted into the paschal mystery of Christ, dying, buried, and raised with him, and with him, we shall also reign.”[4] We can be inserted into the mystery of his Passion, Death, and Resurrection because he still bears his wounds. Through the immeasurable grace of Baptism, we are joined to Christ and inserted, as it were, into his very heart; our lives “are swept up by Christ into the heart of divine life, so that [we] may ‘live no longer for [ourselves] but for him who for [our] sake died and was raised’” (II Corinthians 5:15).[5]

Even so, the knowledge of his triumphant victory over sin and death, does not automatically bring about an end to sadness within us. Indeed, “the joy of Easter is not a banal happy end of the story of Jesus, it is not the happy end of the Gospel for which they all lived, nor is it the cancellation of the pain of the world or the simple removal of the many bleeding wounds of history.[6] Rather, the joy of Easter goes much deeper than this; it is the certainty that, precisely in the midst of these moments of sadness and suffering, the Lord Jesus has already cleared the way to new life and lasting joy and hope.

The words of the angel were not just an announcement of the Resurrection of the Lord from the dead; he was not simply functioning as a newscaster. No, through his words, the women were

invited to take on a new attitude, … to make a change, to convert. They must recognize that their search and their spontaneous worries were not oriented in the right direction. They want to honor Jesus with funerary rites, but he had no need of them. The women stop short at the event of his death, taking that as the final point. But the messengers remind them of Jesus’ words to the contrary: that is, that death would not have the final say, but would only be a necessary passage to a new life.

In this, they “were led to understand that it was not a question of absence but of a new mystery of life, the Easter proclamation that was just proclaimed also leads us to believe what a mystery wants to reveal to us, a new word wants to be born from this silence.[7]

With those women, we must also take on a new attitude; we, too, must perceive the angel’s invitation to see the world in a new way. This invitation may leave us also “fearful yet overjoyed,” but we must not give in to fear (Matthew 28:8). We must rather return again and again to the tomb to see again the certainty of the Lord’s Resurrection; we must wait in silence for the word which the Lord wishes to speak to us: “Do not be afraid” (Matthew 28:10).

As we stand before the tomb, we must consider the orientation of our lives. Do I live my life focused on myself and on success according to the standards of this world? Or do I live my live focused on Christ Jesus, ever desiring to be inserted into his Paschal Mystery and so to become a saint? The proclamation of Easter joy is rooted in our ability, by God’s grace, to become like Christ, to live not only for him, but with him and in him. This Easter, if we turn our hearts again to the Lord, if we open them to him anew, then the joy of his life and love will be ours. Amen. Alleluia!

[1] Roman Missal, “The Easter Vigil in the Holy Night,” 2.
[2] Albert Vanhoye, Daily Bread of the Word: Reflections on the Weekday Lectionary Readings (Chicago: Liturgy Training Publications, 2019), 109.
[3] Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Homily, 11 April 2020.
[4] Paschale Solemnitatis, 80.
[5] Catechism of the Catholic Church, 655.
[6] Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Homily, 11 April 2020.
[7] Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Homily, 11 April 2020.

10 April 2020

Homily - 10 April 2020 - Good Friday

Good Friday of the Lord’s Passion
Celebration of the Passion of the Lord

Dear brothers and sisters,

Back on Ash Wednesday, none of us could have foreseen our present circumstances which have kept us from gathering at the altar of the Lord and even from venerating his Cross together today. In some ways it seems as though the world has grown cold, and not simply because of the return of the less pleasant temperatures.

On this Good Friday of the Lord’s Passion, it feels as though our hearts have grown perhaps a bit cooler than we should like to admit. As we contemplate the death of Christ Jesus for our salvation, how can we not see the many ways we fail to follow his example of love? Every time we withdraw from him, we step away from the fire of his love and our hearts grow colder (cf. Hebrews 12:29).

The ashes which were placed on our heads at the beginning of Lent came from the palms we carried the previous Palm Sunday. We carried those palms to commemorate the Lord’s entrance into his holy city of Jerusalem; we carried them to pledge our allegiance to him and to show our willingness to allow him to rule over every aspect of our lives. But because we are weak and sinful, we burned those palms, remembering both our failed promises and his mercy, and used their ashes as a sign of repentance to show our desire to draw closer to the Lord, to step away from our sinfulness into the warmth of his love.

One of the famed lines of poetry in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings comes from the Hobbit Bilbo, who composed these words: “From the ashes a fire shall be woken, A light from the shadows shall spring.”[1] Anyone who has stoked fading embers or raked coals knows what this means, that even from dying ashes a fire can indeed arise. However cold our hearts may have become, however distant from the Lord we may have moved, if we draw near to him he can cause the fire of his love to awaken within us again.

If we turn our attention for a moment to Saint Francis of Assisi, we find an example of what this means for us. In his youth, he was more concerned with worldly pleasures and the enjoyment of the company of his friends and the esteem of others, than he was with the things of God. But after his conversion, Saint Bonaventure tells that “Christ Jesus Crucified was laid, as a bundle of myrrh, in his heart’s bosom, and [Francis] yearned to be utterly transformed into [Christ] by the fire of his exceeding love.”[2]

On this Good Friday, Mother Church invites us to contemplate the image of Crucified Love and, like Saint Francis, to receive Christ into our hearts that we, too, might allow “the power of his love [to sear] through us like a flame, enabling us to become totally ourselves and thus totally of God.”[3] We are invited today to look upon the greatness of the Lord’s love for us and to consider in what ways our love fails to respond adequately to his.

This is something we do not like to do very often. We know that our love is not yet like the Lord’s. We know we fail to love God and neighbor in very many ways, both large and small. Yet the remembrance of our weak love is always also a reminder of the greatness his love. However cold our hearts may have grown, however far from the Lord we may have moved, he always desires to stir up the fading ashes of our dwindling love into a great and blazing fire able to transform the world.

For this reason, Saint Augustine said, “Our love, like a fire, must take hold of what is nearest and then spread to what is further off.”[4] What is nearest to us if not the love of God? Who is nearest to us if not Christ Jesus himself? Indeed, he is closer to us than we are to ourselves.[5] Let us, then, this day, draw near to his Cross. Let us take hold of it and carry it with us to every aspect of our lives so that the fire of the Lord’s love may warm every heart. Amen.

[1] J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring: Being the First Part of the Lord of the Rings (Boston, Massachusetts: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1994), 167.
[2] Saint Bonaventure, The Life of St. Francis, 9.2.
[3] Pope Benedict XVI, Spe salvi, 47.
[4] Saint Augustine of Hippo, Ten Homilies on I John, 8.1. In Thomas C. Oden, et al, eds., Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture, New Testament Vol. XI: James, 1-2 Peter, 1-3 John, Jude (Downers Grove, Illinois: Inter Varsity Press, 2000), 214).
[5] Cf. Saint Augustine of Hippo, Confessions, 3.6.11.