Tag Archives: God

Pray and rest – where God lives on earth

I am the pastor of a parish that lays in the shadow of the United Nations building on the East Side of Manhattan. Our church is open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday. We have two daily weekday Masses — one in the early morning, and one at lunch hour. Both Masses attract people who live or work in the neighborhood. So do the Confessions offered before the noontime Masses. I am truly impressed by the number of people who take time out of their busy schedules to be with the Lord and receive His sacramental refreshment.

I am also inspired by the number of people who stop by the church when there is no Mass being celebrated simply to pray to God. They have come to the house of God to be with God. People kneel, sit, or stand in the sight of God and open their hearts to Him. They especially turn toward the Divine Savior Jesus Christ present in the Blessed Sacrament in the tabernacle to renew their love and devotion. They also light candles and ask the intercession of the saints.

Our parishioners come from all the nations of the earth. Many work at the United Nations. Others are from among the many immigrants who come to New York in search of a better life and jobs that will allow them to help their families back home. As with Rome in the past, all roads lead to New York, or at least it seems that way.

The people who come to spend time praying in our church are part of the mystery of God’s providence. They are a great reminder to me that the priest and the parish church — indeed, the whole Church throughout the world — are only here to make available to people the opportunity to get to know and love Jesus Christ. The people praying in my parish church are glad (I hope!) that I am there, but that is not why they come. I can be transferred tomorrow, but the parish will still be here. They come to find where Jesus lives and to spend time talking with Him.

They come to a Catholic parish because that is where God resides on earth. The house of God is a truly accurate description of the parish church. As I observe the comings and goings of people who visit my parish, I am reminded that they want to be with God in heaven when they die, and so they come to prepare for that journey by spending time with God in His earthly abode.

It has been said that home is a place where they have to take you in no matter what you may have done. Our parish home is where God not only takes you in, but purifies you from your sins in the sacrament of Penance and then nourishes and strengthens you with His own Body and Blood in the Most Holy Eucharist.

I know that people are happy when they see their priests praying in church apart from Mass. The lay faithful should know how much we priests are inspired and encouraged by seeing ordinary people step into the church to spend time in prayer. Take advantage of seeing an open door at any Catholic parish to spend time in heaven’s antechamber, where the God we long to see face to face in the next life is already present among us, hidden in the sacred host in the tabernacle. We all benefit spiritually from this very good use of our time.

FATHER GERALD E. MURRAY is pastor of Holy Family Church in New York. He holds a doctorate in canon law from Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome and appears as commentator on religious topics on TV and radio, including EWTN, Fox News, Fox Business, MSNBC, NY1, Radio Maria, Relevant Radio, Fox News Radio, and the Voice of America. He writes a monthly column for The Catholic Thing website. He served in the U.S. Navy Reserve Chaplain Corps from 1994 to 2005.

The Virtue of Hope: How Confidence in God Can Lead You to Heaven

Fr. Philip Bochanski
TAN Books, 226 pages

Baptism infuses the Christian with the gift of faith, but there are two other theological virtues –hope and love – also bestowed – and often neglected. Fr. Philip Bochanski focuses on hope, which seems in short supply amid the relentless procession of bad-news headlines, the epidemic of depression, and other tribulations of today’s world. Hope, he points out, directs us to our ultimate goal of heaven and lends us the necessary strength and endurance to reach that goal. Stressing relationships, he uses the lives of saintly people to illustrate how humility, vocation, and recognizing our utter dependence upon God are the pathways for exercising this virtue.

Order: Amazon 

Genuine, receptive listening opens people’s hearts

The month of February is dedicated to love, no matter how dreary the weather may be in some places. Annually honoring Saint Valentine’s Day reminds couples to take their relationships seriously. A romantic dinner, kind gestures, love letters, and gifts express one’s love for another. But what couples really crave, in my opinion, is someone who will listen. Not just sit there and say, “yes dear,” but truly listen — with all one’s heart, mind, and soul.

Listening is loving. It’s a lost art today. Even with the most advanced communications technology, we don’t know how to listen as people made in God’s image and likeness.

This month we might take note and give loved ones what they want most: a sense of being heard and loved.

People know me as the “cooking priest,” and may ask, what does listening have to do with food and cooking? Quite a lot, actually. It relates to the ability to discern what another is hungering for and trying to communicate. It’s like the unconditional love parents instinctively have in listening, hearing, and understanding what a crying child is trying to indicate. It’s the love that God has for His children when the scriptures say, “What father, if his son asks for a fish, will instead give him a serpent?” (Luke 11:11).

Let’s consider some simple lessons about listening with the heart:

We sometimes hunger for things that aren’t good for us. Our Good God, a loving listener, will sometimes respond to our requests with a revolting taste, bitter herbs of truth, or a “time out” in order to heal disordered appetites. Do we know how to communicate what we really desire?

Listening to a person isn’t just understanding words, but grasping the totality of the person’s experience. Are we courageous enough to listen without judgment?

When it comes to loving disagreeable spouses or challenging family members, it might require us to ask ourselves, “What is God trying to say to me when I speak to this person who is tough to tolerate?” Do we know the “lesson” God is teaching in such difficult encounters?

Listening isn’t easy. Yet, God listens to us – and truly hears how our hearts, bodies, and souls grumble. Our job is to listen as God does, which requires discernment, faith, and every Christian virtue. This month, give the great gift that God gives – learn to listen to each other, and in so doing, love one another.

LEO PATALINGHUG IV DEI, priest, author, speaker, TV and radio host, founder of Plating Grace and The Table Foundation. Learn more at FatherLeoFeeds.com


Coconut Curry Mussels • Serves 2-3

Fresh, edible mussels will ‘open up’ when properly cooked. Providing the right ingredients and atmosphere can likewise help people open up in healthy conversation.

1 1/2 pound of mussels, cleaned
1 Tbsp butter
1-2 cloves minced garlic
1 medium onion, diced
1 cup white wine
2-3 Tbsp yellow curry powder
1 can coconut milk
1 -2 tsp of “fish sauce” (found in the international section of market)
1-2 tsp of soy sauce
2 limes (1 juiced, other cut into wedges)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp chili pepper (or favorite hot sauce)
2 tsp honey
1-2 Tbsp of Cilantro leaves (or parsley)

Serve with 4-6 pieces of crusty bread, or 1/4 lb. cooked angel hair pasta.

In a large pot, melt butter and sauté onions and garlic. Add wine; cook for 1-2 minutes over medium heat. Add yellow curry powder and mix together before adding the coconut milk, fish sauce, the juice of one lime, salt, pepper, and honey. Stir together. Carefully add mussels to pot; mix together, then cover for 2-3 minutes, or until mussels have opened. Stir all together so mussels are coated with the sauce. Plate with extra lime wedges, top with cilantro leaves, and serve with crusty bread or pasta.