Posts by Fr Joseph M Esper

The Most Holy Trinity

One day a girl brought home her report card. Most of the grades were all right, and a few were even very good—but there was one glaring exception that stood out like a sore thumb, no doubt due to a lack of effort on the girl’s part in that particular subject. When her mother saw this grade, she demanded in an angry tone, “Young lady, I want you to explain to me why you got an ‘F’ in spelling!” The girl shrugged her…

How I Need To See Him

Once upon a time there was a widowed mother whose only family member was her son, and she loved him with all her heart. The boy grew up, and as a young man entered the army and went off to war. One day the woman received the tragic news that her son had died in battle. She was heartbroken and had no one to console her. Having a deep faith in God, she prayed, “O Lord, I need to see him again—just for five…

Defending The Faith

In October 2021, a pregnant girl in South America was considering abortion, but she changed her mind; because of the loving support of pro-life volunteers and priests at a women’s shelter run by the Church, she decided to have her baby. This infuriated a group of radical, pro-abortion feminists, and they reacted by spraying red paint on the walls of the cathedral in the Bolivian city of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, and then marching inside as Mass was being said. When…

Our Ways Are Not God’s Ways

I’d bet that, for many of us when we were growing up, one of our favorite movies was The Wizard of Oz. One of the scenes from the movie that’s always stuck with me is when Dorothy and her friends return to the wizard’s castle and bring him the broomstick of the Wicked Witch of the West, as he had ordered. However, the wizard—who appears to them as a huge, disembodied vaporous face, flanked by streams of shooting fire—curtly dismisses them without granting…

God’s Time

A young nurse named Leslie once witnessed something that, according to her, defied medical science. A patient was told by a hospital surgeon that his badly infected leg needed to be amputated—but a few hours later, the doctor discovered that somehow, even though this normally never happened, circulation had returned to the man’s leg, and he was going to be okay. As the mystified doctor later stated to Leslie, “When I walked into the waiting room to talk to the patient’s family,…

Resisting Evil

Some years ago, there was a woman in Mexico who supposedly possessed great spiritual powers, including the gift of healing; people from throughout the country were going to her for help, and afterwards singing her praises. This was brought to the attention of the local archbishop, a very holy man. Something didn’t quite feel right about the situation, so he sent a priest to investigate. This priest, after spending time with the woman and observing her so-called healings, reported back to the archbishop,…

Answering Our Higher Calling

One summer the New Yorker magazine used for its front cover a painting of a scene from the beach. There were five people in the painting: four adults and a little girl. Three of the adults were pacing back and forth with anxious expressions while talking on their cell phones, and the other adult was seated on a beach chair, staring intently at his laptop computer. In the meantime, the girl was holding a seashell up to her ear, listening to the sound of the sea…

A Family Garden

The sheriff’s department in a large city once distributed a list of rules titled “How to Raise a Juvenile Delinquent in Your Own Family.” The rules were: (1) Begin at infancy to give the child everything he wants; this will teach him that the world owes him a living; (2) Pick up everything he leaves lying around; this will teach him that he can always shift responsibility to others; (3) Always take his side against neighbors, teachers, and police officers. These people…

A Spirit of Urgency

Just over two months ago, on October 7, the nation of Israel was surprised by a number of deadly, vicious, and unjustified terror attacks launched from the Palestinian city of Gaza; many Israeli civilians—innocent men, women, and children—were brutally tortured, murdered, or captured and taken away as hostages. An Israeli named Amir, his wife Miri, and their two little girls, ages three and one, lived in Israel near Gaza in a small kibbutz—a Jewish community or village in which all the…

Come Share Your Master’s Joy

About 120 years ago, a woman entered a New York City department store during a heavy storm, wet and disheveled from the weather. Because business was slow that day, the sales clerks had gathered together and were talking baseball, even though there was other work they could have been doing. It was a lazy afternoon, and they were more interested in their discussion, so they ignored the customer—except for one young man we’ll call Henry Lattimore—who went over to the woman, spoke…

A Different Way—to Live

Once upon a time there were three friends—Ralph, Reuben, and Roger—down on their luck and searching for work, but without success. Then they finally got very lucky: a wealthy landowner hired them to live on and take care of his large apple orchard. They were quite grateful and determined to do a good job. The men soon decided each of them should be in charge of one-third of the orchard, so they divided it into three sections by means of a small fence,…

The Watchman

College students are back in the classroom now that a new academic term has begun—but this year some of them will be tempted to take advantage of a new form of cheating previously unavailable: using A.I., or artificial intelligence. Programs such as Chat GPT are now capable of writing term or research papers on virtually any subject imaginable, using correct grammar and including a bibliography and reference notes (though there’s evidence that sometimes Chat GPT will itself cheat by completely fabricating…
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