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The Way of Beauty
April 15, 2015
Händel’s “Messiah” at Easter Time
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

At Christmas time, millions around the world enjoy George Friedrich Händel’s “Messiah.” Apart from carols, it ranks among the season’s most popular music.  In addition to the Advent-Christmas section, there are two other parts, the Passion of the Suffering Servant (Part Two), and the Resurrection (Part Three). Unless these two parts are also sung at Christmas time, they are otherwise infrequently performed.  In this Easter season, Part Three deserves more than a comment and...

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April 08, 2015
Putting on Christ
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

Etched in film memory of the 1940s is the scene in “Easter Parade” featuring Irving Berlin’s “In Your Easter Bonnet.” Wearing their new Easter outfits are the stars of the movie, Judy Garland and Fred Astaire. With others, they strut along Fifth Avenue singing the famous song. Even pet dogs, decked out in canine finery, prance along the Avenue with their owners.

In many cultures, Easter marks the time for special foods. Easter breads in different shapes and sizes are...

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April 01, 2015
'My Son, with you I am well pleased, so well pleased.'
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

The Hebrew Scriptures record more than fifty prophecies concerning the passion and death of the expected Messiah. The theme of the Suffering Servant, despised, rejected, and abandoned, anticipates his sufferings.  Amazingly, a few veiled references to the resurrection are found among them. The parallels between the Old and New Testaments offer the singular and compelling case that Jesus, and no other historical figure, fulfilled these prophecies. The most explicit of them are found in...

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March 25, 2015
Annunciations of Suffering
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

When Jesus began his ministry, he chose to make us men and women his cherished followers.  Wanting us to be his companions, he expressed it in the words, “I call you friends, for I have made known to you everything I have learned from my Father” (Jn 15:15).  In calling us in to his friendship, Jesus wanted us to share his divine life.  This raising up to a godlike stature is best expressed by the Psalmist:  “You have made them a little lower than gods” (Ps 8:5). 

The Eastern...

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March 18, 2015
Go to Joseph
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

St. Joseph’s role in salvation history celebrates the mystery of God’s dealing with a special man and his special vocation.  A unique grace was offered him, and he accepted God’s gracious gift.  It was entirely possible for him to turn away from it or reject. If, down through the ages, the beauty of Mary’s annunciation has inspired poetry, art, and music, the annunciation of Joseph merits similar artistry, for he stands with her, joint guardians of the Word-made-flesh.

Setting the...

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March 11, 2015
The Taste for God
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

Of the 21,000 restaurants in New York City, more than half specialize in Italian cuisine.  Whether the 12,000 serve Milanese, Venetian, Roman, Florentine, or Sicilian, Italian food reigns supreme.  People never lose their taste for ‘Italian,’ it seems.

Taste in Sacred Scripture

Hunger, thirst, taste, and tongue are words often used in Sacred Scripture.  When the Jews were trekking across the desert toward the Promised Land, they grumbled against God; ‘why did you bring us to this...

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March 06, 2015
The Beauty of Catholic Education VI: The Delicate Sense of Touch
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

In his earthly ministry, Jesus healed those in need by touching them.  Today, educators are wary of broaching the topic of touch because of the highly charged and negative press focused on the Church.  In many cases, they are forbidden to touch their students. Nonetheless, this must not dissuade them from a positive treatment of it either directly through the scriptures and indirectly otherwise.  If we don’t speak about touch in the context of our faith, who will?  In approaching the...

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March 04, 2015
Balancing Our Lives: 'The Great Game'
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

Imagine a painting that depicts a young girl taking one step at a time along the top of a fence.  Titling her arms now to the right, now to the left, she tries to maintain her balance to the very end.  Despite her lithe and willing body, it’s not easy.

Thus far, it’s been a game, but when it comes to balancing time spent with her family, on schoolwork and other activities, the girl must discover the meaning of the word while she lives her life.  As an adult, she will discover what...

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February 25, 2015
Praying with the Psalms during Lent
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

The Psalms are a masterpiece of prayer, a treasury for prayer.  King David is considered their chief author, but this lyric poetry of rare beauty was written over a period of 700 years. 

Intended for both personal and communal use, the Psalms are used not only at Mass but also at the Liturgy of the Hours. The 150 Psalms are prayed over the course of one week during the five Hours of the day:  Office of Readings, Morning Prayer, Day Time Prayer, Evening Prayer, and Night Prayer.

The Psalms...

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February 19, 2015
Coptic Christians and the White House
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

Pope Francis has called them martyrs, the twenty-one Coptic Christians executed in Libya.  “Jesus, help me,” were the last words of one of the Egyptian migrant workers, all of whom were trying to eke out a living for their families.  This mass butchery was carried out by Isis describing its victims as “crusaders.” In the act, Islamists cursed the cross.  Rome would be their next target. So they warned.

The White House described the slaughtered victims simply as Egyptian...

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