Robert P. Imbelli

Rev. Robert P. Imbelli, a priest of the Archdiocese of New York, is an associate professor of theology at Boston College.

By this author

The Christic Imagination

We just concluded the Tenebrae service at Saint Theresa's in the Bronx: the psalms were chanted, as were the Lamentations of Jeremiah. Several classes of the parish school were present -- and participating! After each psalm two candles are extinguished. At the end, the lone candle remaining lit was taken from the candelabrum and led the procession out of the church. There was rapt silence.

One of the readings is from the ancient homily of Melito of Sardis. Here is an excerpt:

Connecting the Circuits

The leitmotif of the great father of the Church, Origen, in his commentaries on Scripture was: "not only then, but now." The narrative of faith is not merely "in illo tempore," but "in hoc tempore."

It is the challenging task of the preacher to proclaim God's Word as relevant in our own day. But, of course, it is the task of every believer to appropriate the Good News, to pass over from a merely "notional" to a "real" apprehension and assent.

The Consistent Ethic of Pope Francis

Pope Francis met this morning with members of the Italian Movement for Life. In his remarks to the group he said:

They'll Go like Hotcakes

Tomorrow's L'Osservatore Romano reports:

During the Sunday Angelus, and on various other occasions, Pope Francis has urged the faithful to carry a pocket-sized book of the Gospels and to read it often to meditate on Jesus' words and deeds, especially those referred to in the day's liturgy, on which Pope Francis himself has commented.

Persecution from Without and Within

In his homily this morning at Santa Marta, Pope Francis spoke of persecution faced by Christians. He said:

Faith-quake

Ben Myers is an Australian theologian, a member, I believe, of the Uniting Church of Australia. In addition to numerous writings he has a blog, "Faith and Theology," where he recently posted a Lenten reflection on the "Apostles Creed."

Here is an excerpt:

Family Feelings

I have somewhat belatedly made my way through Friday's New York Times. There I found a review by Ben Brantley of a new production of King Lear. It is being staged at the Polonsky Shakespeare Center in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. Being a native Bronxite I have no idea where that is (I can barely find Brooklyn!). Any current residents of the Big Apple been there? In any case, back to Brantley.

Why Convert?

Rod Dreher shares a letter that Mother Thekla, an Orthodox nun, composed for a possible convert to Orthodoxy. She said in part:

I have not been told why you are about to convert, but I assure you there is no point whatsoever if it is for negative reasons. You will find as much “wrong” (if not more) in Orthodoxy as in the Anglican or Roman Churches.

Joseph: Guardian and Protector

When the inspiration came to travel to Rome last March for the historic Conclave, a prime concern was to choose realistic dates for the stay. How long would the Conclave last? When would the inaugural Mass of the new Pope be held? I happened to meet Cardinal Timothy Dolan and put the question to him. Without sure knowledge, he allowed himself to express a hope: "it would be wonderful if it were held on the Feast of Saint Joseph." And so it came to pass.

A Living Offering

In the February issue of First Things, Matthew Milliner, who teaches art history at Wheaton College, has a striking reflection on the birth and baptism of his daughter.

He and his wife had lost a young child at birth some years before. They had named him "Clement."  For thirteen years they prayed for another child, before being graced with the birth of Mary (whom they lovingly call "Polly").

Milliner meditates on the baptismal ceremony: