Bp. Callahan: Firmum Est Cor Meum

Even though I lived for barely three years at the Pontifical North American College in Rome, my time spent there had a tremendous impact on my life. The seminarians and their positive views about the Catholic Church were stimulating and evocative. These men had a sense of enthusiasm that I had not experienced in my daily dealings with Catholic life as a parish priest. Their prayer life was intense and genuine, centered more on the reality of Jesus in the Church rather than on an idea of how to “find” Jesus in the Church. It became a subtle, yet real distinction for me, knowing Jesus rather than simply pondering an idea of Jesus. The motto of the College is emblazoned for all to see as soon as one enters the building: “Firmum est cor meum” “My heart is steadfast.”

As we enter the midway part of the season of Lent, I am drawn to the words of Psalm 57:8 “My heart is steadfast, O God; my heart is steadfast.” These words are, of course, well chosen for the heart of a seminarian eager to purposefully draw close to the Lord for sacred service; but I also find a certain sense of strength in them as we, baptized and committed Catholics, continue our Lenten journey.

We find ourselves in a time when we are literally challenged to defend our faith. Murderous, barbaric actions are presented to us as daily news events. Christians are rousted from their homes and communities, brutalized and humiliated—or worse—in cruel denial of their basic human dignity. In our own country, the laws and customs we have cherished, that have formed the basis of our self- government, are being trampled or restructured in a willful denial of divine purpose or plan.
continue at There Is A River


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