fr theodore ziton


April 18, 2012 + The Empty Tomb

by Fr. Theodore E. Ziton
from The Word, April 1959

Winter is now past! The snow is gone, and the gardener prunes his trees and vines for another harvest. Nature joyfully cries out: “Stop, look and listen for spring is here!” Yes, there is a glorious resurrection in nature. STOP! or you will tread upon the tender flowers that have just risen from the dead. LOOK! and you will see that old tree whose branches in winter resembled the long arms of a ghost, but now the tree begins to bloom with fragrant apple blossoms. LISTEN! and you will hear the singing bird so full of song that it seems he will burst his little throat. The earth sounds a note of joy and gladness. Everyone picks up the melody and intones the words:  “Stop, look and listen, for there is a resurrection in nature.”

In the Songs of Songs we read: “Arise, my dove and come: Winter is now past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth.” (2: 10-12). Yes, the winter of Calvary is past; the storm of sorrow is gone, and Jesus the Nazarene, whose very title in Hebrew means the Flower, has appeared in glory today. Beautiful was that Flower when it took its roots in the dark cave of Bethlehem. Fragrant was that Flower when it was bruised and pinned to the Cross which became its vase: but glorious is that Flower today, for It now fully blooms never to wither away again.

January 4, 2012 + Set Time Aside

by Rev. Fr. Theodore E. Ziton
from The Word, June 1960

TIME, that precious gift of God . . . how wisely do we use it?  How well do we apportion it? How much do we appreciate it?

Time is so precious a gift that God dispenses it but sparingly as if He were fearful that we waste it or hoard an excessive supply of it. Only the time present belongs to us along with its reserves of potential happiness and joy. We would prove ourselves guilty of ingratitude were we to ignore the value of time and put an ever unrequited hope in the future over which we have little or no power.

Set time aside . . . to enjoy the gift of life. Because so many people fail to appraise the time present, they complicate their lives and deprive it of its natural spontaneity in trying to pry into the future. Do you suppose that He Who gives us our daily bread is at the mercy of the weather or of man’s malice? Should we learn to tread the path of life with our eyes focused on Him, never would our soul age; our eyes would meet incessant marvels upon witnessing His evident solicitude on our behalf. Indeed, life would prove a thrilling spiritual adventure if only we took time out to truly enjoy it.

September 28, 2011 + The Ten Commandments

by Rev. Fr. Theodore E. Ziton
from The Word, October 1958

“And God spoke all these words, saying,

  1. “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.   You shall have no other gods before me.
  2. “Thou shalt not make unto thyself any graven image.
  3. “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.
  4. “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
  5. “Honor thy father and thy mother.
  6. “Thou shalt not kill.
  7. “Thou shalt not commit adultery.
  8. “Thou shalt not steal.
  9. “Thou shalt not bear false witness.
  10. “Thou shalt not covet.” (Exodus 20:1-17)

In the Ten Words, or the Ten Commandments, which God spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai we find the foundation upon which rests the structure of our civilization. The Ten Commandments are timeless and ageless. There will never be an age or a civilization when it will be right to kill, to steal, to commit adultery, or to lie. The Ten Commandments are a moral conviction which binds mankind together. They echo in all the Churches of Christendom. They constitute the most ancient of all creeds, to which men of good will everywhere give assent. They strike a universal chord and sound the music of that eternity which God hath set in the heart of man.

August 17, 2011 + Candles and Lights

by Fr. Theodore Ziton
from The Word, April 1968

The candle is one of the oldest and the most widely used sacramentals in the Church. It is one of the richest religious symbols or instruments used to express spiritual ideas. It is seen glowing throughout the entire Church and is used in every Sacrament except that of Confession.

Two things are needed for the illumination of the Church. They are oil and wax. The oil which comes from the fruit of the olive tree is symbolic of the grace of God. It is an indication that the Lord sheds His grace upon men, while men on their sides are ready to offer Him in sacrifice deeds of mercy. Pure wax which is collected by bees from the flowers of the field, is used as a token that the prayers of men offered from a pure heart are acceptable to God. And, too, the pure wax, produced by virgin worker bees, is a beautiful figure of the pure body of Christ, born of the Virgin Mary.

Thus, we see that the Church used and uses visible things of God’s creation to lead man to the invisible majesty of God’s Kingdom.

The candle is lit to illumine God’s home, the Church, but it is also a confession that He is the Light of the World, and that we attest to that light by our belief through prayers to Him. The lighted candle reminds us, too, of Christ’s gospel, the Holy Bible, which dispels the darkness of sin and ignorance; the lighted candle also stands for the Church of the living God, the pillar and ground of truth. For the individual Christian the candle’s flame means the faith that makes us “children of the light.”

May 12, 2010 + The Ascension

by Rev. Fr. Theodore E. Ziton
from The Word, June 1958

For the last time Jesus blessed the group of the faithful. Then they saw Him soar above the earth, rising by His own power, From the Mount of Olives, He saw, round about, the places which He sojourned while on earth, from birth to death, which had been sanctified by his presence; the pale brown desert of Judea the River Jordan; Mount Calvary; the plains of Bethlehem.

The Apostles had forgotten everything about them. Straining their eyes, they continued to seek out a gleam of His presence. They would have followed Him anywhere He went on earth; they would have cast themselves into the depths of the sea and perished with Him in the waters, but on this aerial path they could not follow Him. Speechless and surprised with admiration, they watched the Divine Master mount higher and higher to heaven till finally He disappeared in a cloud. While they were gazing up to heaven, two men stood by them in white garments, and said to them: “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up into Heaven? This Jesus who has been taken up from you into Heaven, shall come in the same way as you have seen Him going up to Heaven.”