St. Justin presented Christianity as an entirely reasonable religion.

Wednesday, 6/1/16

Today we honor St. Justin, a saint who presented Christianity as a completely reasonable religion. Justin, as a wealthy youth, had the time to devote himself to mastering the philosophy of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. In a world given over to the worship of idols, Justin followed the great ones of Greece in coming to the knowledge of the one God and creator who rewards good lives.

One day, dressed in his philosopher robes, and walking the beach, Justin fell in with an old Christian who complimented him on knowing so much about God. But then, the old Christian told him, “As much as you know about God, you do not know him personally.

Deeply moved by the truth of that, Justin submitted himself to a thorough mental and spiritual schooling in Christianity. So total was his immersion In the Faith, that he settled near the Forum in Rome, where he set up a school for those who wanted to become Christians.

Two other specialties of the school were that first, he entered into successful debates with Christian heretics, depriving them of followers who saw that Justin had to be right. Secondly, he paid close attention to the debates in the Roman Forum, boldly setting them straight when they pictured Christianity in a wrong way.
One such instance arose when a Roman senator pictured our Christian ceremonies as a form of worshipping a goat. In his rebuttal of that, Justin gave us our first fine description of how we conduct our Sunday service.  

Let's take that trip with Mary.

Tuesday, 5/31/16

Let’s just picture Mary in her journey to see Elizabeth. It was no easy thing for a teenaged girl to ask around around, locating travelers who would keep her safe on the ninety mile foot journey. See how spunky she was making the arrangements. And, was straining to feel Jesus moving within her?

How weary was she? How great was her anticipation of meeting with Elizabeth, and sharing secrets with her?

As for the rest of it, lets just watch in awe.

Today w honor men and women whose lives were taken or ruined by our wars.

Monday, 5/30/16

Today, as we remember those who gave their lives for their country, I choose to remember my brother Frank. Even though he didn’t lose his life in World War Two, he certainly lost his way. He was twelve years older than me, and this July he would have been a hundred.

With his four sisters, he grew up in a home where any curse word or immoral activity were never mentioned. If the Greek course in our St. Louis Minor Seminary hadn’t been so hard, Frank instead of me would have become the priest in our family. As it was, he spent his teens and early twenties with warehouse jobs that didn’t earn him enough to date any of my sisters’ perky girlfriends.

Drafted into a California boot camp in 1942, Frank began two years of writing wonderful daily letters that had us personally knowing each of the guys he was with. In 1943 he was part of the invasion of north Africa. In 1944 he was part of the invasion of southern France. Later that year, as a master sergeant, he was made provost marshal of a town in Alsace Lorraine.

Frank was posted to that town to stop the black market, but he became the black market. For a pack of Camels a soldier could get just anything he wanted. It left Frank unfit for settling back with a family where “a curse word or any immoral activity were never mentioned.”  

The evening Frank returned to us, he bolted our party; and when his buddies brought him back drunk at One A.M. he sprawled atop the dining room table. With his being too big to lift, I had to slide him and mother’s lace table cloth onto the floor.

After a dozen years of minor disasters, Frank convinced our Dad that if he would straighten out if he went to California. I didn’t believe him, but Dad financed the trip. Out there, Frank went on A-A, making a success of the last  seventeen years of his life.

When Frank died thirty years ago I got word of a memorial service scheduled for him at an A-A club forty miles east of Los Angeles, so I flew out there. I was delighted with a priest friend of mine who drove out from L.A. on seeing a notice in the paper. He is another Frank, Frank Mannion.

Frank Mannion and I, in our neat priest’s suits, didn’t conduct the service. We just sat there listing to a long string of men and women whom Frank had rescued from ruined lives. Each of them said, “Frank has just always been there for me.”.