Author: Fr John

The boundless limits of God’s mercy

Auschwitz. The most notorious concentration camp in history. The commandant of Auschwitz was Rudolf Höss, who personally perfected the Nazis’ mass murder techniques. During his four year leadership at Auschwitz, three million prisoners were killed. Survivors of Auschwitz referred to him as an animal. Not merely an evil man, but an animal. A year after Europe was liberated, Höss was captured and tried for war crimes. He was sentenced to death, and the court declared Höss should be executed at Auschwitz, where he had killed so many people. Höss was terrified — not of death, but of life in Polish prisons, where...

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12 Rules For Life

Monash University recently launched an ill-advised recruitment program which presents Monash as the university of choice for cultural marxists who want to change the world. There are subliminal suggestions that research and academic excellence might be suitable means for change, but mostly the message is: resort to student radicalism, enforce ‘safe spaces,’ join mass demonstrations, and change the world: If this portrayal of student life had come from a student union, who would be surprised? What makes it extraordinary is that the university itself has produced this, and endorses it. The video has evoked a lot of negative Youtube...

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The Easter story

One of the things psychology has taught me is that the human brain is hardwired for story. It’s how we derive meaning. Story is how we make sense of the world. I think it’s related to something else I’ve learned in psychology: We’re not thinking beings who sometimes feel; we’re emotional beings who sometimes think. And so, for that reason, it’s not enough for us just to learn facts, and to recite facts, like a machine. We need stories to make sense of the facts, and our emotional response. Here’s a really simple example: imagine you join the whole...

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Living the sabbath

When I was in Israel last May, I was very impressed by the nation’s observance of the sabbath. Saturday in Israel resembles Christmas Day in Australia: businesses are closed, there’s almost no traffic on the roads, and everyone is at home. Work is unimaginable; it’s a day of very intentional rest and recreation with family and friends. Most Israelis are not religious; they are secular. But they observe the sabbath with the same fervour that secular Australians observe Christmas Day. It struck me that Australia lost something valuable when it repealed Sunday trading laws. Six months into my psychology...

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Choosing an Advent motto

Advent is, lamentably, banished. On this First Sunday of Advent, Christmas trees and decorations are already well established in public places, and Christmas carols are played everywhere. Soon the Christmas parties will begin in earnest. On Boxing Day, however, trees and decorations are dismantled; carols are retired, and the pleasant pace of summer vacation sets in. By then, many people are exhausted by the frantic Christmas rush — shopping, cleaning, cooking, feasting — and they’re glad to see an end to it. But it isn’t meant to be this way. There are twelve days of Christmas after all, and it doesn’t...

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Recent Comments

  • Fr John on The boundless limits of God’s mercy: “In further research, I learned that Höss did endure cruelty in one Krakow prison which "almost had me at the…Apr 10, 18:38
  • Peter on The boundless limits of God’s mercy: “This is where as a mere mortal I cannot begin to understand the depth of God’s forgiveness. I…Apr 10, 18:06
  • Peter on 12 Rules For Life: “I have the book, it is terrific.Apr 5, 06:10
  • Fr John on The Easter story: “Thanks Peter! It's a new resolution of mine to blog at least three times a week. Hence the "renovations," to…Apr 2, 22:28
  • Peter on The Easter story: “Dear Father it is a long time between posts. I always look forward to your posts. I pop in every…Apr 2, 12:46
  • Terry Maher on Living the sabbath: “Thank you Father John for celebrating the Mass for Life on January 27.Jan 5, 14:17
  • Maryse on Living the sabbath: “Sundays is the heaviest workday for priests – but what a great schedule for their usual day off, Monday, Father!…Jan 4, 09:09
  • Caroline on Living the sabbath: “I need the opposite – more work and less rest! There are too many sabbath days in my week! My…Jan 2, 12:40
  • Peter on Choosing an Advent motto: “Thank you Father, for your writings, I find them very inspiringDec 18, 18:24
  • Cisca on The loneliness of the priest: “Thank you for sharing such a beautiful insight to priesthood life.Dec 14, 13:29