Articles by Fr. Alan Phillip

Over the years I have done a lot of writing. Some of my better articles are now available on this website. Just click on the "articles" link at the top of this page. These articles cover a wide variety of subjects including:

Abortion
A Department of Peace
How to Handle Criticism
Money
Listening
 

Love
Marriage
Fear
Priesthood
Worship

These articles are copyrighted, but you are free to duplicate them, email them, etc., for non-commercial purposes.  Some are suitable for classroom use.  Others are more appropriate for spiritual reading.  You may wish to discuss some of them around the dinner table.  The article, How to Handle Criticism, I recommend for everyone who is engaged in ministry in their parish.  I wish the Peace Interview would be acted out on national TV.  And as a Passionist, I hope everyone reads the first article, A Story About Us

 

 
Words
   
 
Recent Articles:
ߦ   Words
ߦ   You are beautiful
ߦ   Celibacy, A Second Reason
ߦ   Celibacy, The First Reason
ߦ   Church History, Trivia Pursuit
ߦ   Community
ߦ   Corpus Christi
ߦ   Criticism, Giving and Taking
ߦ   Department of Peace
ߦ   Eucharistic Prayer
ߦ   Fear
ߦ   Holy Trinity
ߦ   Listening
ߦ   Love, A Meditation
ߦ   Marriage
ߦ   Marriage Preparation
ߦ   Money
ߦ   Music at Sunday Mass
ߦ   A Story about All of Us
ߦ   Abortion
ߦ   How to Handle Criticism

 
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     I'd like to say a few words about "words."  Does this sound familiar?

"May I have a word with you?"
"Put in a good word for me."
"Mark my words!"
"And now a word from our sponsor."

Words gave birth to a new nation.  "We hold these truths..."
Two words, "Siege Heil", led to the death of millions of people in World War II.

     As he left the Philippines, three words of General MacArthur, "I shall return", expressed his determination to win a war.

     Four words by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. "I have a dream", awakened a nation's conscience about prejudice.

    Words can inspire.  As he set foot upon the moon, Neal Armstrong proclaimed, "One small step for man.  One giant step for mankind."

     Words have made slaves and words have freed slaves.
     Words have declared wars and words have signaled peace.

     Words are important.  But not just the words of famous people.  The words of ordinary people are important.

     Words on the front lawn can express joy and excitement.
"It's a boy!" or "It's a girl!"

     Words on the front lawn can also express the end of an era.   "For Sale".

     Some words always spark our interest: "Once upon a time..."

     And two very common words force us to a frequent decision: "Paper or plastic?"

     Three words from your high school principal, "Here's your diploma!", can spark hope in the future.

     Two words from your boss, "Your fired!", can bring fear of the future.

     Two words from a friend, "I'm sorry", can heal an old hurt.

     And one word from a jury, "Guilty", can change everything.

     Three words, "I love you," transform both the speaker and the listener.

Words can
  amuse and anger
   bless and course,
    charm and repel,
     heal and hurt,
      unite and sever.

Words have power.  Words change things.

     While water is poured, the words are spoken, "I baptize you..."  And someone becomes a child of God.

     At this altar the words are spoken, "This is my body.  This is my blood."  And bread and wine are changed into the body and blood of Christ

     Before this altar, two words are spoken, "I do," and two persons become one in the sacrament of Marriage.

     In the sacrament of Reconciliation, the words are spoken, "I absolve you from your sins..."  And even a lifetime of guilt can be removed.

     The bible assures us of the power of God's word.   In the book of Genesis, we read, -- "And God said, 'Let there be light', and there was light.  And God said, 'Let there be earth... and water... and sun and sky...and man and woman.'" God spoke, and it was done.  The power of God's word to create.
 
     God's word was spoken to old Abraham and Sarah, "You shall have a son."  And it was done.  The power of God's word, against all odds.

     God's word was spoken through Moses to the Pharaoh of Egypt. "Let my people go."  And it was done.  God's word sets people free.

     Jesus spoke words of power.  "Get up.  Take up your matt.  And walk."  God's word heals.

     Eight words on the cross summed up the event that saved the world. "Into your hands, Father, I commend my spirit."

     In the gospel according to John we read,

     "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.  All things were made with him, and without Him was nothing that has been made."

     God expresses himself in a Word that is a Person.  Jesus is the self-revelation of God.  And what does this special Word of God express?  Jesus' life, death and resurrection proclaim God's solemn word, "I love you".

     Now, as followers of Jesus, God sends us forth, scattering us about as a farmer scatters seeds all over the place.  We are "words" of God.   God says, "By your lives, proclaim who I am."

     When I preach a homily, I use - words.  But louder than words is the homily of example.  St. Francis told his followers, "Preach the gospel.  If necessary, use words."
 
     Good example, backed up with beautiful words, make a powerful homily indeed.   What kind of words?

"Welcome."
"How can I help?"
"I believe in you."
"I'm sorry."
"I forgive you."
"Keep up the good work."
"Thank you."
"Tell me more."
"We can work this out."
"You're beautiful."
 "God bless you."

Do our words build community?
Do our words soothe and heal?
Do our words give support and encouragement?
Do our words always express the truth?

So I close with these few lines of verse:

You are writing a gospel,
   a chapter each day,
By the deeds that you do,
   and the words that you say.

People read what you write,
   distorted or true;
So what is the gospel
   according to you?

                        -- Anonymous


You are writing a gospel, a chapter each day,
By the deeds that you do and the words that you say.
Men read what you write-distorted or true;
What is the gospel according to you?

 

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