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Blessed Charles of Austria

Charles was born in 1887 in Lower Austria to Archduke Otto and Princess Maria Josephine of Saxony. He grew up in a Catholic family, received a solid Catholic education, and developed a strong devotion to both the Eucharist and the Sacred Heart of Jesus. As a young man he took for his personal motto: “I strive always in all things to understand as clearly as possible and follow the will of God, and this in the most perfect way.� In 1911, at age 24, he married Princess Zita of Bourbon and Parma, and together they had eight children.The assassination of Archduke Francis Ferdinand on June 28, 1914 triggered World War I. At this point, Charles became the presumptive heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Two years later, upon the death of his great-uncle, Emperor Francis Joseph, Charles became emperor and king of Hungary. He saw his office as a mandate from God and as a way to implement Christian charity and social reform. He worked to end the war and was the only leader to support Pope Benedict XV's efforts for peace. In March 1919, he was exiled to Switzerland. From there, he tried to prevent the rise of Communism in Central Europe. He also tried to return to power twice in 1921, but gave up at the risk of a civil war. He never gave up his crown, even when exiled to the island of Madeira, Portugal, where he lived in prayerful poverty until his death from pneumonia one year later.Charles was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 2004.

Finding The Lost Pieces Of Our Lives – A Sermon On Luke 15:1-10

Proper 19C – Luke 15:1-10 I remember hearing someone say, “I feel like there are parts of myself that have been lost along the way, and I don’t know if I can go back and find them again.” It was nearly twenty years ago when I heard that and it’s never left me. I knew exactly what he was talking about. I thought about parts …

Hospitality: Unlocking The Door Of The Heart – A Sermon On Luke 14:1, 7-14

I don’t know if we were entertaining an angel that day, but I do know that she was a stranger. She was not a stranger in the sense that she was unknown and unfamiliar to me. I had dealt with her before. She was, however, a stranger in the sense that she was different from me and the others in the class. Her look, smell, and way of life were strange to us. I said to her Holall the right things, at least out loud I did. But the ideas, thoughts, and conversation inside me were a bit different.

Blessing Of The Backpacks: A Prayer For The Start Of School

Liturgies and prayer often mark moments of transition. Baptism, marriage, confirmation, and reconciliation are examples of that. What about beginning the new school year? It also is a time of transition. The new year represents growth and change; moving to a new classroom, school, or town; more responsibility and maturity. Below is one possibility for a blessing of the backpacks and a prayer for the …

A Non-Possessive Life – A Sermon On Luke 12:32-40

Many years ago a close, dear friend gave Cyndy and me a gift. “Open it now,” she said. We unwrapped it and took it out of the box. It was a piece of pottery, about six inches in diameter, beige colored, in the shape of a dome. There was a hole in the top and it was hollow inside. “Oh, it’s beautiful. Thank you so much,” we said. “It’s perfect. We love it.” Have you ever received a gift and had no idea what it was or what you were supposed to do with it? I wonder if that’s what happens to us when we hear Jesus say, “It is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”

A Prayer For Gilroy, El Paso, And Dayton

O Lord of life, the God of our salvation, who bears our burdens: Our hearts have once again been broken by violence and gunfire; this time in Gilroy, El Paso, and Dayton. Our eyes waste away with grief. Our spirit shakes with terror. How long, O Lord, how long?

When Life Ebbs Away – A Sermon On Luke 12:13-21

Proper 13C – Luke 12:13-21 “This very night your life is being demanded of you.” What is demanding and taking your life today?  That’s the question I want to begin with. It’s the question that runs through what I am about to say to you. And I hope it’s the question you will take with you when you leave here today. It is a central …

Let Us Dare To Pray (And Not Just For What We Want) – A Sermon On Luke 11:1-13

Proper 12 C – Luke 11:1-13 “Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you.” It would sure be a lot easier to hear and preach today’s gospel (Luke 11:1-13) if it weren’t for all the unanswered prayers in our lives. I’m not suggesting that our prayers never get answered the way we …

But First…. – A Sermon On Luke 9:51-62

Today’s gospel (Luke 9:51-62) is a difficult one. It’s confrontational and it doesn’t leave much, if any, wiggle room. “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” We’re either looking toward the kingdom or we are not. We’re either responding to the call of life or we’re not. We’re either open to the coming future or we’re not.

Being Free Of God – A Trinity Sunday Sermon on John 16:12-15

Jesus said, “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.” Maybe there is something unbearable about God. When have you experienced the unbearable in your life? What happened? How did it come about? In what ways are you experiencing the unbearable today?