Ave Maria Living.com

Ave Maria, Florida – the town with a Catholic heart.©™ Stories & information for residents & visitors.

Archive for Father Robert McTeigue SJ

McTeigue: The Annunciation is our icon of what our lives should look like


Annunciation by Ave Maria artist Cornelius Sullivan.

When was the Culture of Life first proclaimed against the culture of death? It could be said that the Culture of Life began with John Paul’s encyclical, “Evangelium Vitae,” promulgated in 1995. It could also be said that the Culture of Life began in 1973, in response to the Supreme Court ruling on Roe vs. Wade. It might even be said that the Culture of Life was inaugurated by Pope Paul VI in 1968, with his encyclical “Humanae Vitae.” You could make a good case for any one of those claims.

Here’s an easier question: When was Ave Maria University founded? Well, depending upon how one counts such things, we can say that Ave Maria University is looking forward to soon celebrating its twelfth anniversary. That is true, but it is not quite correct.

I think that Ave Maria University, and the Culture of Life which it serves, were both inaugurated at the Annunciation, the great solemnity we are celebrating today. At that moment, when the Providence of God met the humility of Mary, human life was given an identity, a dignity and a destiny that the pagans of the ancient world could not have imagined, and which the modern world cannot match or even comprehend. In that moment, in the “fiat,” in the “yes” with which Mary responded to the Archangel Gabriel, the horrifying power of sin and the culture of death it spawned, began to be broken.

Consider this lovely image from Saint Irenaeus. He wrote: “Eve, by her disobedience, tied the knot of disgrace for the human race; whereas Mary, by her obedience, undid it“. Our Blessed Mother, by her love, trust and obedience, cooperated with God so that within her very body, the seed of the Culture of Life took root.

We here at Ave Maria, love and serve the Culture of Life begun at the Annunciation; we here at Ave Maria, in opposition to the culture of death which is devouring both human bodies and human souls, wish to imitate the love, trust and obedience of Mary. In imitation of our Blessed Mother, we too wish to cooperate with the saving plan of God. We want to say “yes” to what God would do with us, body and soul. That is why this glorious Solemnity of the Annunciation, a cause of joy for all Catholics, is held especially dear to us here at Ave Maria. The Annunciation is for us here at Ave Maria our icon, our charter and our measure.

Márton Váró’s iconic Annunciation relief in Ave Maria, Florida.

The Annunciation is our icon, for it helps us to see what our lives should look like—a humble, grateful and fruitful trusting of God’s Power and Providence. The Annunciation is our charter, for Mary’s “fiat”, her “yes” to the work of God must be echoed and implemented by us here. And the Annunciation is our measure, for we can only judge our success or failure by our obedience to the call of God.

Today, on the Solemnity of the Annunciation, the patronal feast of Ave Maria University, let’s pray for three graces, three special blessings. Let’s pray to be alert—alert to the promptings of the divine messengers sent our way, as Mary was. Let’s pray to be obedient—obedient to the workings of Divine Providence, as Mary was. And let’s pray to be fruitful—fruitful stewards of the amazing grace entrusted to our care. If we do that, if we pray and live to be alert, obedient and fruitful, then we can both echo and imitate Mary at the inauguration of the Culture of Life and say, “May it be done to me according to your word.”

Ave Maria University’s Father Robert McTeigue, S.J., preached this homily during Mass for the Solemnity of the Feast of the Annunciation, which is the patronal feast of the town of Ave Maria, the parish of Ave Maria Oratory, and Ave Maria University. Father McTeigue is currently finishing a collection of homilies and essays on preaching entitled, I Have Someone to Tell You: A Jesuit Heralds the Gospel. He recently began writing a weekly column. Father McTeigue earnestly seeks your prayers that his life and work be to God’s greater glory.


McTeigue: We are called to a conflict that is at once constant, universal, and inevitable

Do you want to hear a story? In the early 20th century, a group of Anglican missionaries decided that they would imitate Jonah, and call towns and villages to conversion. They decided to go to rural China to carry out their plan. They went from place to place, standing in the center of gatherings of people. They attracted a lot of attention, because, in rural China in the early twentieth century, these missionaries of the Church of England were clearly rare, foreign, and exotic. Then they would read John 3:16 out loud and ask if anyone wanted to be baptized. They never got any takers. The missionaries would leave, disheartened, wondering why Jonah was able to call the entire city of Nineveh to conversion, and they could not get one single convert.

These well-intentioned missionaries overlooked one factor. The Chinese people they met in China spoke Chinese; the missionaries were announcing the gospel in English. They were announcing something that no one but they themselves could understand, and act upon.


That story got me to thinking about understanding and hearing. I’ve seen parents stand at the edge of a playground that’s occupied by dozens of screaming kids, and they can pick out the voice of their own child and filter out the words and yells of all the other kids. I don’t know how that works.

Read the rest of this entry »

McTeigue: Goals, resources and allies in the battle to restore the male soul (all present in Ave Maria)


In his latest column, Father Robert McTeigue “identif[ies] assets both spiritual and natural that we can bring to bear in this great struggle for men.” Father sent AveMariaLiving.com a note requesting that we link readers to it because in it he favorably mentions the town of Ave Maria, Florida. This is the second of three columns in which McTeigue addresses the cultural and spiritual battle for the male soul. The first column described “some of the academic, legal, social, cultural and economic forces arrayed against men as men, and pointed to [the battle’s] spiritual root.” In the upcoming third column he will “describe a concrete plan of life for the cultivation of authentic masculinity, addressing a man’s role as pilgrim, warrior and king.” The fourth column will discuss distinctively Christian friendship among men.

1st column in this series: Modern culture has declared war on masculinity.
2nd column in this series: Goals, resources and allies in the battle to restore the male soul.
3rd column in this series: Male role models from Scripture, not GQ.
4th column in this series: Distinctively Christian friendship among men.

High School Rugby in Ave Maria - Papists

altar boys

ave maria wrestling may 2014

Alex of Ave Maria - Alex Klucik

Saint Josephs Day Ave Maria

Dewane procession

Brewing IPA in Ave Maria

Shamrock football awards houde vega scanlon scheck

Mt Jefferson

Papist Rugby

Father Mayer with Bishop Dewane


McTeigue: Rejoice because “You are worth my Son”


Well, we have a problem. In our liturgical calendar, this Sunday is known as “Gaudete Sunday”, which may be very loosely translated as “Rejoicing Sunday.” In my copy of the Roman Catholic Daily Missal, I read that, “On this day the Church urges us to gladness in the middle of this time of expectation and penance.”

Now, those who know me can tell you that I am not prone to spontaneous outbursts of rejoicing and gladness, and achieving rejoicing and gladness on a schedule, even a liturgical one, would take a significant act of the will on my part. And while I do frequently experience expectation, what I most often expect is best not spoken of in the presence of impressionable young children such as we have here among us this morning.

Now, in fairness, I must say that I think that I and those like me—we have earned our gloom. Some among the chronically gloomy would say that they have earned their gloom by making the effort to keep abreast of what’s going on in politics near and far. Some such folks have concluded that the rule of law is in tatters in this country and beyond whatever borders may still be said to remain. They remind us that the veneer of law that covers underlying lawlessness, sooner or later, inevitably fades away. Lawlessness, as both history and headlines teach us—for those who care to learn—they teach us that lawlessness and the tyranny that precedes it do not protect the vulnerable, promote the common good, or secure the rights of the Church.

Other folks say that they have earned their gloom as they observe the present state of the Church’s life. These folks call “apostasy” what one prominent Catholic described as “miscues” during the recently-concluded Extraordinary Synod on the Family. These same folks also use the word “persecution” as they look at those circling the Church around the world and closer to home. Beheadings abroad and local legislation show that nowadays those with access to either to power or force tend to have no love for Holy Mother Church.

So, for those who are more inclined to count clouds during the day rather than count stars at night, Gaudete Sunday seems a bit…incongruous.

Nonetheless, duty calls. Saint Paul exhorts us with these words: “Rejoice in the Lord always: again, I say, rejoice!” Saint Paul is right, and whatever dark, brooding, Irish melancholics you may know, and those like him, are wrong. Let me explain why.


Read the rest of this entry »

McTeigue: Do we think of Ave Maria as the Hobbits thought of the Shire?


“Consider, as you watch the movie, whether we think of Ave Maria as the Hobbits thought of their hometown of the Shire.”

What do you think of when I say the words, “Oil Well Road”? Well, if you have spent any time here in Ave Maria, you know that Oil Well Road is the link to the city of Naples and to the great world beyond. If you have been around for more than just a few couple of years, you probably know that Oil Well Road has been expanded by a massive construction project. And you know that the project of widening, straightening and leveling Oil Well Road took a lot of time, effort and money.

I mention the construction project at Oil Well Road because of what we read about John the Baptist in Mark’s gospel this afternoon. Borrowing from the prophet Isaiah, the Baptist calls upon his hearers to, “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.” Well, gosh—how hard can that be? I mean, if the Lord wants to go somewhere, it should not be difficult for Him to get the roads He wants. I mean, He is God, after all….He just needs to snap His fingers and “POOF!” Instant 12-lane superhighway! Right? Well…no….

The way of the Lord that John the Baptist spoke of, the way of the Lord Who is coming into the world, is the way into our hearts. And that road is a mess. About the human heart the prophet Jeremiah said, “More tortuous than anything is the human heart, beyond remedy; who can understand it?” To which I would add, “Amen!” We know he is right. The road into our hearts is crooked, with plenty of detours, dead ends, littered with the debris of idols and cratered by sin.

But the reason that the season of Advent is a season of hope is because the Church proclaims that our Lord will walk into our hearts if the way is prepared for Him. Yes, yes, I know—easier said than done. I am reminded now of a friend whose little boy spilled grape juice on a white carpet. As his mother gasped in horror, he said, “Don’t worry Mommy! I’ll just magic it away!” We cannot have recourse to magic or to wishful thinking to make straight the way of the Lord into our hearts. So, how shall it be done? How about by prayer? The short answer to that question is, “Yes and No.”

The answer is “No” if we think that prayer will allow us to “magic away” what separates us from God. For example, if I think that all I need to do is to say my prayers and then, presto-change-o, abracadabra, hocus-pocus, all my attachments to sin will simply disappear, and then the Lord can just sprint into my heart and there begin His reign, then the answer is surely “No.” Prayer does not work that way. We all know that. And we all know that because we have all tried it.

So, I will ask again: Can we prepare the way of the Lord by prayer? The answer is surely, “Yes,” if we understand prayer properly. We must understand that prayer is the fuel for the engine of our discipleship, which means that prayer is the power behind apostolic action. Filling up the tank and then leaving the car in the garage gets us nowhere.

Prayer gives disciples the fuel needed to begin the necessary and hard work of reforming our lives. Prayer gives us the desire and energy we need to remove the obstacles of sin that keep our Lord from entering our hearts and from exercising His authority over our lives. To make straight the way of the Lord is a project that requires prayer, and then reform, which is a clearing away of whatever impedes to progress of God into our lives.

Today, I will mention just one impediment, one great obstacle that keeps God from realizing His reign over our lives. That obstacle is the illusion, the subtle and persistent illusion that we believe we ought to be allowed to take for granted, because we have deserve it, an ordinary life of routine, comfort and plenty.


Next week, the third movie installment of Tolkien’s great novel, “The Hobbit” will be in the theaters. I am sure that many folks here will see the movie; I will probably see it myself. While you are watching that movie, I would like you to

Read the rest of this entry »

McTeigue: John Paul the Great and the Gospel of the Family

Familiaris Consortio

Sometimes, a homilist feels like a DJ at a wedding reception. He always knows that some people will leave disappointed because they didn’t hear what they were hoping to hear that day.

Today’s feast day is in honor of Saint John Paul 2, and so one might reasonably expect a homily that waxes eloquent in praise of that great saint.

We have just marked the end of the Extraordinary Synod on the Family, of which John Paul should have been the patron. That synod did not leave the Church in a state of serene clarity, and so one might reasonably expect a homily that applies the wisdom of John Paul to the synod.

And today we have a disturbing passage from the Gospel of Luke, wherein Jesus describes the blessings of faithful servants and the doom of unfaithful servants. We tell ourselves we are one and fear that we are the other, and so one might reasonably expect a homily that helps us to take this painful parable to heart.

But why should we settle for reasonable expectations? Let’s try to do it all in the short time that God has given us!

The parable we heard today warns us that we do not know the day or the hour when our Lord might return to us in His glory, or when death might carry us off to Him. We would do well to be ready for either event. But that observation is as facile as it is banal, and by itself, it isn’t likely to do us much good.

The parable reminds us, and John Paul would surely agree, that the Lord comes to us day by day, moment by moment, in Word and Sacrament, in our neighbor, and in mundane events. Are we ready to greet our Lord hidden within the ordinary and the familiar? Do we see ourselves as serving our Lord’s hunger as we prepare yet another meal? Do we see ourselves as honoring our Lord’s wisdom as we write another essay? Do we see ourselves as reverencing our Lord’s innocence as we dry a child’s tears? These familiar acts, John Paul would tell us are truly familiar—that is, they are the acts of family. The family is an altar upon which are placed loving acts of praise, sacrifice and care—sometimes dramatically, sometimes quietly, and, please God, always with great love, regardless the cost.

The Synod on the Family would agree that the families entrusted to our care deserve, as their birthright, Capture“faithful and prudent” stewards. It is right, then, as disciples of Christ, to have an examination of conscience regarding our stewardship of the families entrusted to our care. Our Lord Himself resides in each member of our family, and we would do well to attend to His needs and the gifts He brings.

I fear that we often misunderstand these words of Our Blessed Lord: “Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.” Many seem to think that what Jesus means is this: “Well, if you’ve been given lot of resources and blessings, expect a lot of accountability. And if you’ve been given a whole lot of resources and blessings, expect a whole lot of accountability.” If that were a correct interpretation, one would almost be inclined not to be very blessed.

I think that’s a misunderstanding of the gospel. I think Jesus is saying this: “Look, if you’ve been entrusted with responsibilities, expect to give an account before God of your stewardship. And if you’ve been entrusted with responsibility for creatures made in the image of God and redeemed by my Precious Blood—if you have been entrusted with the care of family—then expect to give an exacting account before God of your stewardship.”

Frightening? Maybe. But it is also wonderful news! God gives not just His love but also gives us those whom He loves! He gives us the vocation of loving as He does—freely, fully, faithfully and fruitfully. God calls us to become like Himself, He Who is Love, and He gives us the family as a great school of love. That’s why the family must be cherished and protected and guarded most vigilantly—because without proper stewardship of family, we will fail, each of us and all of us, at our human vocation to become love by loving as God loves.

Let’s pray today for the intercession of Saint John Paul, that great apostle of the family, to bless the work of the synods and our family life, so that, like him, we may be faithful in love, even unto death. Then with him we can echo the words of the psalmist and say, “God indeed is my savior. I am confident and unafraid.”

May God’s Holy Name be praised now and forever.

Ave Maria’s Father Robert McTeigue, S.J., preached this homily on the feast of Pope Saint John Paul the Great last Wednesday. Father McTeigue is currently finishing a collection of homilies and essays on preaching entitled, I Have Someone to Tell You: A Jesuit Heralds the Gospel. He recently began writing a weekly column, which this week focuses on what he would want the Synod Fathers to know about his long-suffering divorced friend, Pete. Father McTeigue earnestly seeks your prayers that his life and work be to God’s greater glory – and he invites your comments.

McTeigue: Christ wants a radically welcoming and inclusive Church


Ave Maria’s Father Robert McTeigue, S.J., preached this homily at Mass last Friday:

We were created for the praise of God’s glory. What is God’s glory? God’s glory is the shining forth of His truth.

In these days, when people tell us that we must be a “welcoming” Church and an inclusive “Church”, I think we must ask, “Can we be the Church that welcomes and includes the truth of God that God Himself has revealed?”

Can we welcome and include the truth of God’s wisdom? The wisdom that made us male and female and for each other as male and female? Can we be such a welcoming and inclusive Church?

Can we welcome and include the truth of God’s goodness? The absolute goodness that cannot abide any evil or lie? Can we be such a welcoming and inclusive Church?

Can we welcome and include the truth of God’s mercy? The mercy that allows us to embrace the justice of God which names good as good and evil as evil? Can we be such a welcoming and inclusive Church?

It is for such as these that we were made, we who were made for the praise of God’s glory. And at this moment, when we are being called upon to welcome and include what dishonors God, that we must decide whom we shall worship? Shall we worship the living God Who has revealed Himself to us through His only-begotten Son, Who is the Way, the Truth and the Life? Or shall we worship an idol of our own making?

If we make our choice well, then we will know the truth of the psalm we heard today: “Exult, you just, in the LORD; praise from the upright is fitting.”

May God’s Holy Name be praised now and forever.

Father McTeigue is currently finishing a collection of homilies and essays on preaching entitled, I Have Someone to Tell You: A Jesuit Heralds the Gospel. He recently began writing a weekly column, topicwhich this week focuses on what he would want the Synod Fathers to know about his long-suffering divorced friend, Pete. Father McTeigue earnestly seeks your prayers that his life and work be to God’s greater glory – and he invites your comments.

%d bloggers like this: