We Do Indeed Need to Show Joy as Catholics

My motto — “Be happily and uncomplicatedly Catholic.”

Michael J. Sheehan, Archbishop of Santa Fe 


Congratulations to all you lay theologians, who sent in your thoughts as to why Jesus went to be baptized by John. As Father Jean-Pierre of Caussade, a French Jesuit who died in 1751, wrote, “Theology is full of ideas and expressions explaining the marvels of his ultimate state in each soul in accordance with its capacity. If we wish to quench our thirst, we must lay aside books, which explain thirst, and take a drink.”

          I commend all of you who took a deep sip and sent in your thoughts. With the large number of replies, I had a group of five Joyful Catholics, headed by the learned John Ceccotti, select the best one to present. The one chosen was sent by Judy Beckman, an active parishioner at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in Toledo, Ohio. As a passionate advocate for the mentally ill, Judy is getting together a group to use their spiritual resources for those coping with mental illness and their loved ones. Here is her writing:

We have to remember context of biblical situations and try not to over spiritualize in order to dissect all the wisdom we can from our Bible study. 

At that time people, including his disciples, did not know who Jesus was. Those who witnessed his baptism received divine confirmation of his identity as son of God, which fed their faith to fully accept this belief.

          Today we are feeding our faith by hindsight of knowing all that Jesus did and Scriptures supporting his identity of being both God and man. He was fully human as well as fully divine.

          Being fully human, he had free will, just like all of us do. I believe that part of Jesus’ mission was to demonstrate how to use that free will for our best good. Even though Jesus did not need to be baptized for spiritual reasons like we do, he showed us an example of a righteous choice to begin a life of living for God. 

And what are your comments about Judy’s statement? aljagoe@comcast.net

Other recommended Catholic blogs

Franciscanized World

Happy Catholic (UK)



Recommended readings

Kevin Wells’ new book, BURST, a Story of God’s Grace When a Life Falls Apart, is a powerful story of his life and suffering when stricken with a life-threatening brain hemorrhage. The many endorsers of the book include Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington.

          Beginning with Kevin’s grandfather, I have been fortunate in knowing the Wells family for many years. They are a splendid Catholic clan, and Kevin is a talented writer in getting across his inspirational story. 

Reasons to be joyful 

If the Republicans had won the last presidential election, we would now be initiating a third losing war. (McCain advocates military intervention in Libya.)

And Sarah Palin would be a heart-beat away from the presidency.


Last week, the winner of the autographed copy of Light Reading for Good and Wayward Catholic is Kathleen Riley in Bangor, ME. Here are the answers:

  1. Including Sundays, there are 46 days in Lent.
  2. The two people who appeared to Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration were Moses and Elijah.
  3. The biblical saint who died and was buried twice was Lazarus.

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