St. John Vianney would notice a peasant come to his small church everyday and sit on the last bench. One day he went up to him and asked him, "My good fellow, what are you doing here? Are you praying? You seem to be doing nothing." And pointing to the Blessed Sacrament, he said in reply, "I look at him - and he looks at me."
God does nothing unnecessarily. While it is true that we can access God present in our hearts and through our prayer, there is something profoundly necessary about Eucharistic Adoration. As creatures we need something tangible to ‘hold onto’. God accommodates this ‘need’ of the human heart by making Himself the Bread of Life. We gaze upon Him with our human eyes and He gazes back. We can take God into our hands, into our mouths, and into our hearts. God allows us to interact with Him on our terms. He is truly with us.
Prayer can be a mixed bag. Sometimes there is deep joy and peace, other times there is dryness and distraction. Yet God is always teaching us something even if His method of teaching changes. God’s ways can seem, not only mysterious but also ironic. We see God’s sense of humor most poignantly in the lives of the saints. In Abraham we see a man who was to be a great nation, yet is called to sacrifice His only son. In St. Therese we see a young woman who desired to be a missionary yet died in a cloister. Even in Our Lady, we see a woman called to be both Virgin and Mother. God transforms us little by little. But often it is not in the way we would choose. God’s ways are not our ways.
70. The family founded upon marriage is the basic cell of human society. The role, responsibilities, and needs of families should be central national priorities. Marriage must be defined, recognized, and protected as a lifelong exclusive commitment between a man and a woman, and as the source of the next generation and the protective haven for children.8 The institution of marriage is undermined by the ideology of "gender" that dismisses sexual difference and the complementarity of the sexes and falsely presents "gender" as nothing more than a social construct or psychological reality, which a person may choose at variance with his or her biological reality (see Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, no. 224). As Pope Francis has taught, "the removal of [sexual] difference creates a problem, not a solution" (General Audience, April 22, 2015). "Thus the Church reaffirms . . . her no to 'gender' philosophies, because the reciprocity between male and female is an expression of the beauty of nature willed by the Creator" (Pope Benedict XVI, Address to the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, Jan. 19, 2013). This affirmation in no way compromises the Church's opposition to unjust discrimination against those who experience "deep-seated homosexual tendencies," who "must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 2358).READ MORE
Every day we encounter inconvenience, temptation, and the painful recognition of our own weakness. These struggles can often feel like more than we can bear, so how can we stay afloat? In Eucharistic Adoration Jesus strengthens us to ‘do battle’ and to view the difficulties of daily life as a participation in His Cross. Not only do we receive the vision to see reality—but also the hope necessary to endure faithfully to the end. God’s grace is sufficient.
63. Politics is a noble mission to promote the common good. As such, it is about ethics and principles as well as issues, candidates, and officeholders. To engage in “politics,” then, is more than getting involved in current polemics and debates; it is about acting with others and through institutions for the benefit of all. The fact that much of our political rhetoric has become very negative and that political polarization seems to have grown should not dissuade us from the high calling to work for a world that allows everyone to thrive, a world in which all persons, all families, have what they need to fulfill their God given destiny. In our democracy, one aspect of this task for all of us requires that we weigh issues and related policies. In this brief summary, we bishops call attention to issues with significant moral dimensions that should be carefully considered in each campaign and as policy decisions are made in the years to come. As the descriptions below indicate, some issues involve principles that can never be abandoned, such as the fundamental right to life and marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Others reflect our judgment about the best way to apply Catholic principles to policy issues. No summary could fully reflect the depth and details of the positions taken through the work of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). While people of good will may sometimes choose different ways to apply and act on some of our principles, Catholics cannot ignore their inescapable moral challenges or simply dismiss the Church’s guidance or policy directions that flow from these principles. For a more complete review of these policy directions and their moral foundations, see the statements listed at the end of this document.READ MORE