Monday, September 28, 2009

Saint Wenceslaus: "the one who is least among all of you is the one who is the greatest.”

Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.
-- Lk 9:46-50

Martyrdom is the supreme witness given to the truth of the faith: it means bearing witness even unto death. The martyr bears witness to Christ who died and rose, to whom he is united by charity. He bears witness to the truth of the faith and of Christian doctrine. He endures death through an act of fortitude. "Let me become the food of the beasts, through whom it will be given me to reach God."
-- CCC 2473

Image: Saint Wenceslaus of Bohemia

Saturday, September 26, 2009

TWENTY-SIXTH Sunday: "if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out"

Numbers 11, 25-29; Psalm 19: 8, 10, 12-14; James 5, 1-6; St. Mark 9, 38-43. 45. 47-48

Some think that the preaching of the Church should not include the mention of hell. The Church requires the priest or deacon to preach on the text of the Scriptures, and in our Gospel not only does the Lord mention the existence of hell, he goes on to describe this state of final and everlasting separation from the love and goodness of God.

The Church, in faithfulness to the Lord, teaches about the existence of hell and preaches about it because the Lord himself spoke of its existence. To have a distaste for the discussion of hell or the reality of evil is the choice of the individual. We are called, though, not merely to be good such that we have a distaste for evil or for speaking about it; we are made to be holy as God is holy, and therefore to be satisfied not merely with being good but, much more, to long to be saints.

The saints faced the reality of hell by taking responsibility for their moral choices and for availing themselves of Christ's mercy in Confession and the Eucharist on a frequent basis. The Lord teaches the people in our Gospel about the reality of hell in order to inform them that they must take responsibility for their actions and realize that they can choose to be eternally separated from God and all that is good. He teaches that free and wholehearted service to the poor, the hungry and the thirsty are the good works which reflect interior holiness. He teaches that scandalizing those whose faith is weak is a mortal sin, punishable by the greatest of penalties. We are to avoid sin and scandal by rejecting the near occasions of sin. And if we fail to root sin out of our lives, it is by our own choice that we "go to hell, to the unquenchable fire."

Jesus often speaks of Gehenna, of "the unquenchable fire" reserved for those who to the end of their lives refuse to believe and be converted, where both soul and body can be lost. (Cf. Mt 5:22, 29; 10:28; 13:42, 50; Mk 9:43-48) Jesus solemnly proclaims that he "will send his angels, and they will gather...all evil doers, and throw them into the furnace of fire,"(Mt 13:41-42) and that he will pronounce the condemnation: "Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire!" (Mt 25:41) (CCC 1034)

There is no middle way: we either go to heaven, perhaps by way of a purification from our attachment to sin, called purgatory, or we are consigned to hell "where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.

I look forward to meeting you here again next week as, together, we "meet Christ in the liturgy" -Fr. Cusick

(See also paragraphs 1034 in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.)

Art: Hieronymus Bosch, Last Judgment.

Saturday, 25th Wk: “Pay attention to what I am telling you."

... The Son of Man is to be handed over to men.” But they did not understand this saying; its meaning was hidden from them so that they should not understand it, and they were afraid to ask him about this saying.
-- Lk 9:43b-45

As for the Son, he effects his own Resurrection by virtue of his divine power. Jesus announces that the Son of man will have to suffer much, die, and then rise. Elsewhere he affirms explicitly: "I lay down my life, that I may take it again. . . I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again." "We believe that Jesus died and rose again."
-- CCC 649

Friday, September 25, 2009

Friday, 25th Wk: "Jesus was praying in solitude"

... and the disciples were with him, he asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?” They said in reply, “John the Baptist; others, Elijah; still others, ‘One of the ancient prophets has arisen.’” Then he said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter said in reply, “The Christ of God.”

Jesus often draws apart to pray in solitude, on a mountain, preferably at night. He includes all men in his prayer, for he has taken on humanity in his incarnation, and he offers them to the Father when he offers himself. Jesus, the Word who has become flesh, shares by his human prayer in all that "his brethren" experience; he sympathizes with their weaknesses in order to free them. It was for this that the Father sent him. His words and works are the visible manifestation of his prayer in secret.
-- CCC 2602

(Christ in the Garden of Olives, after Francesco Albani, oil on canvas, Musee des Beaux-Arts, Chambery.)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Thursday, 25th Wk: "rebuild the house of the LORD.”

Herod the tetrarch heard about all that was happening,
and he was greatly perplexed because some were saying,
“John has been raised from the dead”;
others were saying, “Elijah has appeared”;
still others, “One of the ancient prophets has arisen.”
But Herod said, “John I beheaded.
Who then is this about whom I hear such things?”
And he kept trying to see him.
-- Lk 9:7-9

Far from having been hostile to the Temple, where he gave the essential part of his teaching, Jesus was willing to pay the Temple-tax, associating with him Peter, whom he had just made the foundation of his future Church. He even identified himself with the Temple by presenting himself as God's definitive dwelling-place among men. Therefore his being put to bodily death presaged the destruction of the Temple, which would manifest the dawning of a new age in the history of salvation: "The hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father."
-- CCC 586

Christ is the true temple of God, "the place where his glory dwells"; by the grace of God, Christians also become the temples of the Holy Spirit, living stones out of which the Church is built.
-- CCC 1197

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Wednesday, 25th Wk: “Take nothing for the journey"

Whatever house you enter, stay there and leave from there.
And as for those who do not welcome you, when you leave that town, shake the dust from your feet in testimony against them.
-- Lk 9:1-6

Jesus asks for childlike abandonment to the providence of our heavenly Father who takes care of his children's smallest needs: "Therefore do not be anxious, saying, "What shall we eat?" or "What shall we drink?". . . Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well."

-- CCC 305

God can reveal the future to his prophets or to other saints. Still, a sound Christian attitude consists in putting oneself confidently into the hands of Providence for whatever concerns the future, and giving up all unhealthy curiosity about it. Improvidence, however, can constitute a lack of responsibility.

-- CCC 2115

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Tuesday 25thWk: "The mother of Jesus and his brothers came to him"

... but were unable to join him because of the crowd. He was told, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside and they wish to see you.” He said to them in reply, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and act on it.”

The deepening of faith in the virginal motherhood led the Church to confess Mary's real and perpetual virginity even in the act of giving birth to the Son of God made man. In fact, Christ's birth "did not diminish his mother's virginal integrity but sanctified it." And so the liturgy of the Church celebrates Mary as Aeiparthenos, the "Ever-virgin".
-- CCC 499

Against this doctrine the objection is sometimes raised that the Bible mentions brothers and sisters of Jesus. The Church has always understood these passages as not referring to other children of the Virgin Mary. In fact James and Joseph, "brothers of Jesus", are the sons of another Mary, a disciple of Christ, whom St. Matthew significantly calls "the other Mary". They are close relations of Jesus, according to an Old Testament expression.

-- CCC 500

Saturday, September 19, 2009

25th Sunday: "The greatest serves the rest."

Wisdom 2, 12. 17-20; Psalm 54:3-5, 6-8; James 3, 16 - 4, 3; St. Mark 9, 30-37

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The way in which a people welcomes the least among them determines their own goodness.

When the Apostles, giving in to pride, begin to argue among themselves as to who among them is the greatest, the Lord calls a child into their midst and thus begins to teach them the contradiction of the Christian life: "If any one would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all." Every one who would be saved must welcome and love the smallest unborn child, the least of the poor, the abandoned, the rejected.

This humility and selflessness is a necessity of life in Christ because authentic charity will never fail to inspire it. One cannot love others in the proper way unless one is first prepared to disregard oneself enough to care for and love others by serving them before one serves oneself, by seeing to others' needs before one seeks to satisfy ones' own needs.

Charity is evidence of the indwelling of God himself in the person of the Holy Trinity, for "love has been poured forth into our hearts by the Holy Spirit who has been given to us."

Christ died out of love for us, while we were still"enemies." (Rom 5:10) The Lord asks us to love as he does, even our enemies, to make ourselves the neighbor of those farthest away, and to love children and the poor as Christ himself. (Cf. Mt 5:44; Lk 10:27-37; Mk 9:37; Mt 25:40, 45)

The Apostle Paul has given an incomparable depiction of charity: "charity is patient and kind, charity is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Charity does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Charity bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things." (1`Cor 13:4-7) (CCC 1825)

I look forward to meeting you here again next week as, together, we "meet Christ in the liturgy" -Fr. Cusick

(See also paragraphs 474 and 557 in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.)

Meeting Christ in the Liturgy (Publish with permission.)

Saturday, 24th Wk: “Whoever has ears to hear ought to hear.”

as for the seed that fell on rich soil,
they are the ones who, when they have heard the word,
embrace it with a generous and good heart,
and bear fruit through perseverance.”

To obey (from the Latin ob-audire, to "hear or listen to") in faith is to submit freely to the word that has been heard, because its truth is guaranteed by God, who is Truth itself. Abraham is the model of such obedience offered us by Sacred Scripture. The Virgin Mary is its most perfect embodiment.
-- CCC 144

Friday, September 18, 2009

Friday, 24th Wk: "Jesus journeyed"

preaching and proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom of God.
-- Lk 8:1-3

By her very mission, "the Church . . . travels the same journey as all humanity and shares the same earthly lot with the world: she is to be a leaven and, as it were, the soul of human society in its renewal by Christ and transformation into the family of God."

Missionary endeavor requires patience. It begins with the proclamation of the Gospel to peoples and groups who do not yet believe in Christ, continues with the establishment of Christian communities that are "a sign of God's presence in the world," and leads to the foundation of local churches. It must involve a process of inculturation if the Gospel is to take flesh in each people's culture.

There will be times of defeat. "With regard to individuals, groups, and peoples it is only by degrees that [the Church] touches and penetrates them and so receives them into a fullness which is Catholic."
-- CCC 854

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Thursday, 24th Wk: "she is a sinner.”

"her many sins have been forgiven;
hence, she has shown great love.

But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little.”
-- Lk 7:36-50

This "as" is not unique in Jesus' teaching: "You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect"; "Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful"; "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another."

It is impossible to keep the Lord's commandment by imitating the divine model from outside; there has to be a vital participation, coming from the depths of the heart, in the holiness and the mercy and the love of our God.

Only the Spirit by whom we live can make "ours" the same mind that was in Christ Jesus. Then the unity of forgiveness becomes possible and we find ourselves "forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave" us.
-- CCC 2842

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Ss. Cornelius & Cyprian: "you should know how to behave"

... in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of truth. Undeniably great is the mystery of devotion, Who 7 was manifested in the flesh, vindicated in the spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed to the Gentiles, believed in throughout the world, taken up in glory.
-- 1 Tm 3:14-16
God is infinitely good and all his works are good. Yet no one can escape the experience of suffering or the evils in nature which seem to be linked to the limitations proper to creatures: and above all to the question of moral evil. Where does evil come from? "I sought whence evil comes and there was no solution", said St. Augustine, and his own painful quest would only be resolved by his conversion to the living God. For "the mystery of lawlessness" is clarified only in the light of the "mystery of our religion". The revelation of divine love in Christ manifested at the same time the extent of evil and the superabundance of grace. We must therefore approach the question of the origin of evil by fixing the eyes of our faith on him who alone is its conqueror.
-- CCC 385

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Our Lady of Sorrows: "Standing by the cross of Jesus"

he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.”
-- Jn 19:25-27

Mary's role in the Church is inseparable from her union with Christ and flows directly from it. "This union of the mother with the Son in the work of salvation is made manifest from the time of Christ's virginal conception up to his death"; it is made manifest above all at the hour of his Passion:

Thus the Blessed Virgin advanced in her pilgrimage of faith, and faithfully persevered in her union with her Son unto the cross. There she stood, in keeping with the divine plan, enduring with her only begotten Son the intensity of his suffering, joining herself with his sacrifice in her mother's heart, and lovingly consenting to the immolation of this victim, born of her: to be given, by the same Christ Jesus dying on the cross, as a mother to his disciple, with these words: "Woman, behold your son."

-- CCC 964

Throughout her life and until her last ordeal when Jesus her son died on the cross, Mary's faith never wavered. She never ceased to believe in the fulfillment of God's word. And so the Church venerates in Mary the purest realization of faith.
-- CCC 149

(See also CCC 495, 2605.)

Art: Tiziano, Mater Dolorosa, Museo del Prado.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Exaltation of the Holy Cross: "so must the Son of Man be lifted up"

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son,
so that everyone who believes in him might not perish
but might have eternal life.

Jesus accepted Peter's profession of faith, which acknowledged him to be the Messiah, by announcing the imminent Passion of the Son of Man. He unveiled the authentic content of his messianic kingship both in the transcendent identity of the Son of Man "who came down from heaven", and in his redemptive mission as the suffering Servant: "The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." Hence the true meaning of his kingship is revealed only when he is raised high on the cross. Only after his Resurrection will Peter be able to proclaim Jesus' messianic kingship to the People of God: "Let all the house of Israel therefore know assuredly that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified."
-- CCC 440

The Word became flesh so that thus we might know God's love: "In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him." "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life."
-- CCC 458

(See also CCC 423, 661, 219, 444.)

Art: Crocifissione, Santa Croce, Firenze.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

24th Sunday: "who do you say that I am?”

Isaiah 50, 4-9; Psalm 116; James 2, 14-18; St. Mark 8, 27-35

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The Church has pored over the Holy Scriptures for nearly two thousand years, and has received the Old Testament from the Jewish people, who themselves have loved and studied the Word of God from the time of Abraham around 1700 BC. Jesus himself interpreted the Scriptures for us, so that we might fully understand that he is Messiah and Lord. His Lordship is established by his victory over sin in his suffering, Passion, death and Resurrection.

"The Church remains faithful to the interpretation of 'all the Scriptures' that Jesus gave both before and after his Passover: 'Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?' (Lk 24:26-27, 44-45) Jesus' sufferings took their historical, concrete form from the fact that he was 'rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes,' who handed 'him to the Gentiles to be mocked and scourged and crucified.'(Mk 8:31; Mt 20:19)" (CCC 572)

Faith can therefore try to examine the circumstances of Jesus' death, faithfully handed on by the Gospels (Cf. Dei Verbum 19) and illuminated by other historical sources, the better to understand the meaning of the Redemption." (CCC 573)

Our openness to the word of the Scriptures determines how the Lord might reveal himself so as to nurture our relationship with him. Read and ponder the Scriptures daily, particularly hearing with care their proclamation in the sacred Liturgy where Christ truly speaks to us again and again with the desire that we might truly know him.

I look forward to meeting you here again next week as, together, we "meet Christ in the liturgy".

Saturday, 23d Wk: “A good tree does not bear rotten fruit"

... nor does a rotten tree bear good fruit.
For every tree is known by its own fruit.
-- Lk 6:43-49

A sacramental celebration is a meeting of God's children with their Father, in Christ and the Holy Spirit; this meeting takes the form of a dialogue, through actions and words. Admittedly, the symbolic actions are already a language, but the Word of God and the response of faith have to accompany and give life to them, so that the seed of the Kingdom can bear its fruit in good soil. The liturgical actions signify what the Word of God expresses: both his free initiative and his people's response of faith.
-- CCC 1153

Friday, September 11, 2009

Friday, 23d Wk: “Can a blind person guide a blind person?"

Will not both fall into a pit?
No disciple is superior to the teacher;
but when fully trained,
every disciple will be like his teacher.
-- Lk 6:39-42

Jesus scandalized the Pharisees by eating with tax collectors and sinners as familiarly as with themselves. Against those among them "who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and despised others", Jesus affirmed: "I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." He went further by proclaiming before the Pharisees that, since sin is universal, those who pretend not to need salvation are blind to themselves.
-- CCC 588

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Thursday, 23d Wk: "love your enemies"

"do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you,
-- Lk 6:27-38

Christ died out of love for us, while we were still "enemies." The Lord asks us to love as he does, even our enemies, to make ourselves the neighbor of those farthest away, and to love children and the poor as Christ himself.

The Apostle Paul has given an incomparable depiction of charity: "charity is patient and kind, charity is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Charity does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Charity bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things."
-- CCC 1825

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Wednesday, 23d Wk: “Blessed are you who are poor"

... for the Kingdom of God is yours.
-- Lk 6:20-26

The kingdom belongs to the poor and lowly, which means those who have accepted it with humble hearts. Jesus is sent to "preach good news to the poor"; he declares them blessed, for "theirs is the kingdom of heaven." To them - the "little ones" the Father is pleased to reveal what remains hidden from the wise and the learned. Jesus shares the life of the poor, from the cradle to the cross; he experiences hunger, thirst and privation. Jesus identifies himself with the poor of every kind and makes active love toward them the condition for entering his kingdom.
-- CCC 544

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary: "those he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son"

so that he might be the firstborn
among many brothers.
-- Rom 8:28-30

The "splendor of an entirely unique holiness" by which Mary is "enriched from the first instant of her conception" comes wholly from Christ: she is "redeemed, in a more exalted fashion, by reason of the merits of her Son". The Father blessed Mary more than any other created person "in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places" and chose her "in Christ before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless before him in love".
-- CCC 492

The Holy Spirit prepared Mary by his grace. It was fitting that the mother of him in whom "the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily" should herself be "full of grace." She was, by sheer grace, conceived without sin as the most humble of creatures, the most capable of welcoming the inexpressible gift of the Almighty. It was quite correct for the angel Gabriel to greet her as the "Daughter of Zion": "Rejoice." It is the thanksgiving of the whole People of God, and thus of the Church, which Mary in her canticle lifts up to the Father in the Holy Spirit while carrying within her the eternal Son.
-- CCC 722

Art: Pietro Cavallini, The Nativity of Mary, 1291.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Monday, 23d Wk: "save life"

On a certain sabbath Jesus went into the synagogue and taught,
and there was a man there whose right hand was withered.
The scribes and the Pharisees watched him closely
to see if he would cure on the sabbath
so that they might discover a reason to accuse him.
But he realized their intentions
and said to the man with the withered hand,
“Come up and stand before us.”
And he rose and stood there.
Then Jesus said to them,
“I ask you, is it lawful to do good on the sabbath
rather than to do evil,
to save life rather than to destroy it?”
Looking around at them all, he then said to him,
“Stretch out your hand.”
He did so and his hand was restored.
But they became enraged
and discussed together what they might do to Jesus.
-- Lk 6:6-11

Christ is Lord of eternal life. Full right to pass definitive judgment on the works and hearts of men belongs to him as redeemer of the world. He "acquired" this right by his cross. The Father has given "all judgment to the Son". Yet the Son did not come to judge, but to save and to give the life he has in himself. By rejecting grace in this life, one already judges oneself, receives according to one's works, and can even condemn oneself for all eternity by rejecting the Spirit of love.
-- CCC 679

Saturday, September 5, 2009

TWENTY-THIRD Sunday: "Be opened!"

Isaiah 35, 4-7; Psalm 146; James 2, 1-5; St. Mark 7, 31-37

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

"And they brought to him a man who was deaf and had an impediment in his speech...And taking him aside from the multitude privately, he put his fingers into his ears , and he spat and touched his tongue; and looking up to heaven, he sighed, and said to him, "Ephphatha," that is, "Be opened." And his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly." (St. Mark 7. 32-35.)

The Gospels are filled with the evidence of the sacramental system initiated by Christ. As incarnate God he uses physical reality, the gifts of God's creation, as signs to bear the grace of supernatural life. All of creation is wrapped up in the proclamation of redemption.

In his preaching the Lord Jesus often makes use of the signs of creation to make known the mysteries of the Kingdom of God. (Cf. St. Luke 8. 10.) He performs healings and illustrates his preaching with physical signs or symbolic gestures. (Cf. St. John 9:6; St. Mark 7:33 ff.; 8:22 ff.) He gives new meaning to the deeds and signs of the Old Covenant, above all to the Exodus and the Passover, (Cf. St. Luke 9:31; 22:7-20.) for he himself is the meaning of all these signs. (CCC 1151)

In the Baptismal ritual the priest continues this ordering of creation as a sign of salvation when he repeats the blessing "Ephphatha! Be opened!" over the ears and mouth of the newly baptized child. May the Lord open our ears to truly hear the Gospel and our mouths to proclaim our faith to the glory of God the Father.

I look forward to meeting you here again next week as, together, we "meet Christ in the liturgy"---Father Cusick

(See also paragraphs 1151 and 1504 in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.)

Saturday, 22d Wk: “The Son of Man is lord of the sabbath.”

Some Pharisees said,
“Why are you doing what is unlawful on the sabbath?”
Jesus said to them in reply,
“Have you not read what David did
when he and those who were with him were hungry?
How he went into the house of God, took the bread of offering,
which only the priests could lawfully eat,
ate of it, and shared it with his companions?”
-- Lk 6:1-5

Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work; but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work.

The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath; so the Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath.

The third commandment of the Decalogue recalls the holiness of the sabbath: "The seventh day is a sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the LORD."
-- CCC 2168

The Gospel reports many incidents when Jesus was accused of violating the sabbath law. But Jesus never fails to respect the holiness of this day. He gives this law its authentic and authoritative interpretation: "The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath." With compassion, Christ declares the sabbath for doing good rather than harm, for saving life rather than killing. The sabbath is the day of the Lord of mercies and a day to honor God. "The Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath."
-- CCC 2173

Sunday is expressly distinguished from the sabbath which it follows chronologically every week; for Christians its ceremonial observance replaces that of the sabbath. In Christ's Passover, Sunday fulfills the spiritual truth of the Jewish sabbath and announces man's eternal rest in God. For worship under the Law prepared for the mystery of Christ, and what was done there prefigured some aspects of Christ:

Those who lived according to the old order of things have come to a new hope, no longer keeping the sabbath, but the Lord's Day, in which our life is blessed by him and by his death.
-- CCC 2175

Friday, September 4, 2009

Friday, 22d Wk: “Can you make the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them?"

But the days will come, and when the bridegroom is taken away from them, then they will fast in those days.”

To prepare for worthy reception of this sacrament (of the Eucharist), the faithful should observe the fast required in their Church. Bodily demeanor (gestures, clothing) ought to convey the respect, solemnity, and joy of this moment when Christ becomes our guest.
-- CCC 1387

Art: Paolo Veronese, The Wedding at Cana. Musée du Louvre, Paris.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Saint Gregory the Great: “Put out into deep water"

... and lower your nets for a catch.” Simon said in reply, “Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing, but at your command I will lower the nets.” When they had done this, they caught a great number of fish and their nets were tearing.
-- Lk 5:1-11

All religious, whether exempt or not, take their place among the collaborators of the diocesan bishop in his pastoral duty. From the outset of the work of evangelization, the missionary "planting" and expansion of the Church require the presence of the religious life in all its forms. "History witnesses to the outstanding service rendered by religious families in the propagation of the faith and in the formation of new Churches: from the ancient monastic institutions to the medieval orders, all the way to the more recent congregations."
-- CCC 927

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Wednesday, 22d Wk: "demons also came out from many, shouting, 'You are the Son of God.' ”

demons also came out from many, shouting, “You are the Son of God.”
But he rebuked them and did not allow them to speak
because they knew that he was the Christ.

Satan or the devil and the other demons are fallen angels who have freely refused to serve God and his plan. Their choice against God is definitive. They try to associate man in their revolt against God.
-- CCC 414

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Tuesday, 22d Wk: "there was a man with the spirit of an unclean demon"

and he cried out in a loud voice, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are–the Holy One of God!” Jesus rebuked him and said, “Be quiet! Come out of him!”
-- Lk 4:31-37

When the Church asks publicly and authoritatively in the name of Jesus Christ that a person or object be protected against the power of the Evil One and withdrawn from his dominion, it is called exorcism. Jesus performed exorcisms and from him the Church has received the power and office of exorcizing. In a simple form, exorcism is performed at the celebration of Baptism. The solemn exorcism, called "a major exorcism," can be performed only by a priest and with the permission of the bishop. The priest must proceed with prudence, strictly observing the rules established by the Church. Exorcism is directed at the expulsion of demons or to the liberation from demonic possession through the spiritual authority which Jesus entrusted to his Church. Illness, especially psychological illness, is a very different matter; treating this is the concern of medical science. Therefore, before an exorcism is performed, it is important to ascertain that one is dealing with the presence of the Evil One, and not an illness.
-- CCC 1673