How did Jesus…

How did Jesus ascend into heaven (logistically)? How did he choose his disciples? In the latest Jesuit Autocomplete, Fr. Eric Sundrup and Fr. Paddy Gilger answer some of the Internet’s most searched questions about Jesus:


The Best Prayers of the Decade

Mike Jordan Laskey writes:

One caveat before I begin: Of course, only God can receive and, uh, judge and rank prayers. As such, the prayers here are presented in an arbitrary order — 1 is no “better” than 25. Think of this less as a true “25 best prayers” list, which is impossible for any human to assemble, and more of a “25 prayers that brought me closer to God over the past 10 years” list.

25. The backboard slaps in Brian Doyle’s short essay “Elegy Against the Backboard”

This little 2016 essay by the late, great Brian Doyle framed the whole exercise for me. Doyle talks about playing basketball in a men’s league with a quirky, massively talented player who liked to slap the backboard while shooting lay-ups in pregame warmups. The whole team took on this habit before, tragically, the player got very sick and passed away. After he died, a bunch of the guys were playing one night, and, without planning it, they warmed up in the same way, slapping the backboard one after the other. “I wanted to tell you about those few minutes, when we did that little thing that wasn’t little. I bet every one of us remembers those few minutes, too,” Doyle writes. “There are many ways to pray.”

There are many ways to pray. A few different ones comprise this list.

24. The prayer card for unborn babies and their mothers I picked up in the back of a random church before our first daughter was born

My wife and I couldn’t seem to find the words to pray for our first baby in the womb — I guess because it was such a foreign, miraculous, unspeakable experience. I found a little prayer card on the table in a church narthex and we used it for our first two kids before I lost it during our recent move, which was before the birth of our third kid. I don’t remember what the prayer said. But it is such a relief to have words given to you for praying when you aren’t able to handle it yourself.

23. Singing the Salve Regina in Latin with our 4-year-old for a few weeks before she got bored of it and requested a new song

That first kid is 4 now, and a few months ago, she let me teach her the Salve Regina in Latin, which we sung every night before she went to bed. She has a knack for language and pretty much memorized the hymn, which was a pure marvel to me. It got too long for her eventually and she requested other songs. Parenting victories are small and short-lived but still good!…

1. Prayers for Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Square when he introduced himself to the world for the first time in 2013

That first night of Pope Francis’ papacy set the tone for the years since. Before he blessed the multitudes outside St. Peter’s Basilica, he asked for their prayers first. Groundbreaking humility. Francis always seems to be asking people to pray for him. I should probably do that. Even more importantly, I should work to grow more comfortable with asking people to pray for me. Because if there’s one thing pulling this list of 25 prayers together has reminded me, it’s that prayer works and has no substitute.

See the full list here.


Pope: Climate Emergency Poses Challenge of Civilization

via Vatican News:

While recognizing the growing agreement “on the need to promote processes of transition”, to encourage solidarity, and reinforce the links between climate change and poverty, the Pope says there is “much concern about the ability of these processes to respect the timeline required by science”.

Pope Francis asks if there is “the political will to allocate with honesty, responsibility and courage, more human, financial and technical resources to mitigate the negative effects of climate change”. The Pope confirms the need for a “clear, far-sighted and strong political will”, and calls us “to reflect conscientiously on the significance of our consumption and production models and on the processes of education and awareness to make them consistent with human dignity.”

In his message, Pope Francis says we are facing a “challenge of civilization” in favour of “the common good and of a change of perspective that places this same dignity at the centre of our action, which is clearly expressed in the “human face” of climate emergencies.” The Pope confirms that there remains a “window of opportunity, but we must not allow it to close”.

Pope Francis speaks of how young people today “show a heightened sensitivity to the complex problems that arise from this emergency.” We must not place the burden on the next generations to take on the problems caused by the previous ones, he writes.


Quote of the Day

Pope Francis: “Corruption undermines the dignity of the person and shatters all good and beautiful ideals. All of society is called upon to make a concrete commitment to combat the cancer of corruption which, with the illusion of quick and easy profits, in reality impoverishes everyone.”


Pete Frates, Champion of the Ice Bucket Challenge, Dies at 34

via the Boston Globe:

Mr. Frates was 34 when he died Monday in his Beverly home, his family at his side. Through his work helping to raise tens of millions of dollars by popularizing the Ice Bucket Challenge, his impact on ALS research will be felt for generations.

Using social media, the former BC star center fielder popularized the Ice Bucket Challenge as a way to focus attention on ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

In the process, he inspired an unprecedented outpouring of support for research — more than $220 million worldwide, according to the ALS Association.

“Upon my diagnosis, it became abundantly clear that my calling was to raise ALS awareness and to fight for a brighter future for all those affected today and those yet to come,” Mr. Frates, who lived in Beverly, wrote in a 2014 column for Bleacher Report, a sports website.

His family’s statement said that Mr. Frates — “a husband to Julie, a father to Lucy, a son to John and Nancy, a brother to Andrew and Jennifer” — had encouraged countless people through his advocacy.

“Pete was an inspiration to so many people around the world who drew strength from his courage and resiliency,” the family said. “A natural born leader and the ultimate teammate, Pete was a role model for all, especially young athletes, who looked up to him for his bravery and unwavering positive spirit in the face of adversity.”


Pope Francis’ Prayer Intentions for December 2019: For the Future of the Very Young


Every child who is marginalized, abused, abandoned, without schooling, or without medical care, is a cry that rises up to God.

In each of them is Christ, who came to our world as a defenseless child; it is Christ who looks at us through the eyes of each of these children.

Let us pray that every country decides to take necessary measures to make the future of children, especially those who suffer, a priority.


Consumerism Is a Virus That Attacks The Faith

via Vatican News:

Pope Francis described consumerism as “a virus that attacks the faith at the roots”, because it makes us believe that life depends only on what we have, so we forget about God. “Even if the Lord comes, you just follow the appetites that come to you”, he said. The real danger is that which anesthetizes the heart, added the Pope, letting ourselves be burdened and dissipated by our needs.

Things are never enough, said Pope Francis. “Our houses are filled with things but empty of children”, he said. “This is the demographic winter we are suffering”, he added. We have no time for God or for others. Our greed grows and others become obstacles, so we end up feeling threatened, always dissatisfied and angry, raising the level of hatred….

“We must overcome the temptation that the meaning of life is accumulation”, he said. We must “resist the dazzling lights of consumption, which will shine everywhere this month.” Prayer and charity, he added, are truly “the greatest of treasures.”