Saturday, October 31, 2009

Saturday, 30th Wk: "take the lowest place"

the one who humbles himself will be exalted.

To become a child in relation to God is the condition for entering the kingdom. For this, we must humble ourselves and become little. Even more: to become "children of God" we must be "born from above" or "born of God". Only when Christ is formed in us will the mystery of Christmas be fulfilled in us. Christmas is the mystery of this "marvelous exchange":

O marvelous exchange! Man's Creator has become man, born of the Virgin. We have been made sharers in the divinity of Christ who humbled himself to share our humanity.
-- CCC 526
Art: Lucas Cranach the Elder (German, 1472–1553), Christ Blessing the Children, 1540s. Metropolitan Museum of Art. Source: MetMuseum.Org

Friday, October 30, 2009

Friday, 30th Wk : “Is it lawful to cure on the sabbath?"

“Who among you, if your son or ox falls into a cistern, would not immediately pull him out on the sabbath day?”
-- Lk 14:1-6

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

Art: Giovanni Battista Pittoni, The Apotheosis of Saint Jerome with Saint Peter of Alcántara and an Unidentified Franciscan, about 1725, NATIONAL GALLERY OF SCOTLAND.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Thursday, 30th Wk: “Go away"

“Go and tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and I perform healings today and tomorrow, and on the third day I accomplish my purpose.
-- Lk 13:31-35

Christ's death was a real death in that it put an end to his earthly human existence. But because of the union which the person of the Son retained with his body, his was not a mortal corpse like others, for "it was not possible for death to hold him" and therefore "divine power preserved Christ's body from corruption." Both of these statements can be said of Christ: "He was cut off out of the land of the living", and "My flesh will dwell in hope. For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, nor let your Holy One see corruption." Jesus' Resurrection "on the third day" was the sign of this, also because bodily decay was held to begin on the fourth day after death.
-- CCC 627

Photo: "Il Cristo Velato", the veiled Christ, Chapel of San Severino in Napoli, Italia. Source: Photo Libero

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tuesday, 30th Wk: “What is the Kingdom of God like?"

It is like a mustard seed that a man took and planted in the garden. When it was fully grown, it became a large bush and the birds of the sky dwelt in its branches.
-- Lk 13:18-21

Everyone is called to enter the kingdom. First announced to the children of Israel, this messianic kingdom is intended to accept men of all nations. To enter it, one must first accept Jesus' word:

The word of the Lord is compared to a seed which is sown in a field; those who hear it with faith and are numbered among the little flock of Christ have truly received the kingdom. Then, by its own power, the seed sprouts and grows until the harvest.
-- CCC 543
Photo source: DG Hall. For more info about the seed and plant of the mustard tree visit here.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Monday, 30th Wk: "you are set free"

He laid his hands on her,
and she at once stood up straight and glorified God.
-- Lk 13:10-17

Freedom and grace. The grace of Christ is not in the slightest way a rival of our freedom when this freedom accords with the sense of the true and the good that God has put in the human heart. On the contrary, as Christian experience attests especially in prayer, the more docile we are to the promptings of grace, the more we grow in inner freedom and confidence during trials, such as those we face in the pressures and constraints of the outer world. By the working of grace the Holy Spirit educates us in spiritual freedom in order to make us free collaborators in his work in the Church and in the world:

Almighty and merciful God,
in your goodness take away from us all that is harmful,
so that, made ready both in mind and body,
we may freely accomplish your will.
-- CCC 1742

Saturday, October 24, 2009

30th Sunday: "have mercy on us"

Jeremiah 31, 7-9; Psalm 126; Hebrews 5, 1-6; St. Mark 10, 46-52

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Christ walks the streets of the ancient city of Jericho in our Gospel, already thousands of years old in his own day. With his disciples and a great crowd following him, as our Lord is departing the city, Bartimaeus the blind beggar calls out in dire need: "Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me!" His prayer, of abasement before the divine Goodness, teaches us to recognize our own utter neediness before almighty God.

The blind, the handicapped, all those who labor under physical suffering are blessed, for these maladies serve as outward signs of their complete dependence upon God and His divine mercy. One's physical handicaps can be transformed into a spiritual advantage through faith which leads to sincere desire for the grace of forgiveness of sins and the promise of eternal life.

The gift of prayer is given so that we might respond with honesty to God, with unclouded recognition that every one of us is a Bartimaeus, suffering from blindness, physical or spiritual, and that we need the mercy of God to enlighten us, give us the true vision to see ourselves as we are and to accept the mercy and life of God to fill our emptiness. Our Christian love draws us in prayer and in life to make an effective offering of self, after the Lord's example. (CCC 459)

In the living tradition of prayer, each Church proposes to its faithful, according to its historic, social, and cultural context, a language for prayer: words, melodies, gestures, iconography. The Magisterium of the Church (Cf. DV 10) has the task of discerning the fidelity of these ways of praying to the tradition of apostolic faith; it is for pastors and catechists to explain their meaning, always in relation to Jesus Christ. (CCC 2663)

There is no other way of Christian prayer than Christ. Whether our prayer is communal or personal, vocal or interior, it has access to the Father only if we pray "in the name" of Jesus. The sacred humanity of Jesus is therefore the way by which the Holy Spirit teaches us to pray to God our Father. (CCC 2664)

But the one name that contains everything is the one that the Son of God received in his incarnation: JESUS. The divine name may not be spoken by human lips, but by assuming our humanity The Word of God hands it over to us and we can invoke it: "Jesus," "YHWH saves." (Cf. Ex 3: 14; 33: 19-23; Mt 1: 21) The name "Jesus" contains all: God and man and the whole economy of creation and salvation. To pray "Jesus" is to invoke him and to call him within us. His name is the only one that contains the presence it signifies. Jesus is the Risen One, and whoever invokes the name of Jesus is welcoming the Son of God who loved him and who gave himself up for him. (Rom 10:13; Acts 2:21; 3:15-16; Gal 2:20) (CCC 2666)

This simple invocation of faith developed in the tradition of prayer under many forms in East and West. The most usual formulation, transmitted by the spiritual writers of the Sinai, Syria, and Mt. Athos, is the invocation, "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on us sinners." It combines the Christological hymn of Philippians 2:6-11 with the cry of the publican and the blind men begging for light. (Cf. Mk 10: 46-52; Lk 18:13) By it the heart is opened to human wretchedness and the Savior's mercy. (CCC 2667)

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

(See also CCC 548, 2616.)

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Saturday, 29th Wk: "the spirit is alive"

If the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, the one who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also, through his Spirit that dwells in you.

The term "flesh" refers to man in his state of weakness and mortality. The "resurrection of the flesh" (the literal formulation of the Apostles' Creed) means not only that the immortal soul will live on after death, but that even our "mortal body" will come to life again.
-- CCC 990

Friday, October 23, 2009

Friday, 29th Wk: "I take delight in the law of God"

in my inner self, but I see in my members another principle at war with the law of my mind, taking me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members.

The Law entrusted to Israel never sufficed to justify those subject to it; it even became the instrument of "lust." (cf. Rom 7:7) The gap between wanting and doing points to the conflict between God's Law which is the "law of my mind," and another law "making me captive to the law of sin which dwells in my members."
-- CCC 2542

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Thursday, 29th Wk: "you presented the parts of your bodies as slaves to impurity"

and to lawlessness for lawlessness,
so now present them as slaves to righteousness for sanctification.

The Holy Spirit is the master of the interior life. By giving birth to the "inner man," justification entails the sanctification of his whole being:

Just as you once yielded your members to impurity and to greater and greater iniquity, so now yield your members to righteousness for sanctification. . . . But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the return you get is sanctification and its end, eternal life.
-- CCC 1995

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Wednesday, 29th Week: "you have become obedient from the heart"

to the pattern of teaching to which you were entrusted. Freed from sin, you have become slaves of righteousness.
-- Rom 6:12-18

As on the day of our Baptism, when our whole life was entrusted to the "standard of teaching", let us embrace the Creed of our life-giving faith. To say the Credo with faith is to enter into communion with God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and also with the whole Church which transmits the faith to us and in whose midst we believe:

This Creed is the spiritual seal, our heart's meditation and an ever-present guardian; it is, unquestionably, the treasure of our soul.
-- CCC 197

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Tuesday, 29th Week: "be like servants"

who await their master’s return from a wedding, ready to open immediately when he comes and knocks.

Such a battle and such a victory become possible only through prayer. It is by his prayer that Jesus vanquishes the tempter, both at the outset of his public mission and in the ultimate struggle of his agony. In this petition to our heavenly Father, Christ unites us to his battle and his agony. He urges us to vigilance of the heart in communion with his own. Vigilance is "custody of the heart," and Jesus prayed for us to the Father: "Keep them in your name." The Holy Spirit constantly seeks to awaken us to keep watch. Finally, this petition takes on all its dramatic meaning in relation to the last temptation of our earthly battle; it asks for final perseverance. "Lo, I am coming like a thief! Blessed is he who is awake."
-- CCC 2849

Monday, 29th Wk: "Through one man sin entered the world"

and through sin, death,
and thus death came to all men, inasmuch as all sinned.

All men are implicated in Adam's sin, as St. Paul affirms: "By one man's disobedience many (that is, all men) were made sinners": "sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all men sinned." The Apostle contrasts the universality of sin and death with the universality of salvation in Christ. "Then as one man's trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one man's act of righteousness leads to acquittal and life for all men."
-- CCC 402

Saturday, October 17, 2009

29th Sunday: "we want you to do for us whatever we ask"

"Grant that in your glory we may sit one at your right and the other at your left."
-- Mk 10:35-45 or 10:42-45

"You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions." If we ask with a divided heart, we are "adulterers"; God cannot answer us, for he desires our well-being, our life. "Or do you suppose that it is in vain that the scripture says, 'He yearns jealously over the spirit which he has made to dwell in us?'" That our God is "jealous" for us is the sign of how true his love is. If we enter into the desire of his Spirit, we shall be heard.

Do not be troubled if you do not immediately receive from God what you ask him; for he desires to do something even greater for you, while you cling to him in prayer.

God wills that our desire should be exercised in prayer, that we may be able to receive what he is prepared to give.

-- CCC 2737
Meeting Christ in the Liturgy archived homily for today:

Isaiah 53, 10-11; Psalm 33, 4-5, 18-20, 22; Hebrews 4, 14-16; St. Mark 10, 35-45

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

When you pray, do you "ask for the world"? Don't stop there, ask for heaven as well!

James and John approach the Lord boldly: "Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you." Our Lord invites them, "What do you want me to do for you?" They have repeatedly experienced his supernatural powers and they have deep faith that he can grant their greatest wish: not only a place in the next world, but nothing less than seats at his right and his left in the kingdom!

St. Teresa of Avila teaches the proper attitude for us as we approach the Lord with our requests: "His Majesty knows best what is suitable for us; it is not for us to advise him what to give us, for he can rightly reply that we know not what we ask. "(Mansions, II, 8)

Our focus in prayer is properly the Kingdom, to seek the coming of the Kingdom as our Lord taught us. But the door to the heavenly reign is through suffering and service. The Lord will be glorified in heaven because he is the suffering Servant, whose suffering is the perfect offering which will take away the sin of the world. When we pray for a high place in heaven, how little we realize that we are also asking for a share in the cup of the Lord's suffering and baptism into his servanthood. Jesus is the Lamb of God and we are blessed to be worthy to receive him, to be"called to the Supper of the Lamb". (The Communion Rite in the Order of Mass.)

St. John the Baptist hailed the Lord as the Lamb of God, the perfect sacrifice for sins. The priest does the same in the liturgy, as he holds the consecrated host aloft and repeats the proclamation of the Baptist, inviting all to adore the Eucharistic Lord.

After agreeing to baptize him along with the sinners, John the Baptist looked at Jesus and pointed him out as the "Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world." (Jn 1:29; cf. Lk 3:21; Mt 3:14-15; Jn 1:36) By doing so, he reveals that Jesus is at the same time the suffering Servant who silently allows himself to be led to the slaughter and who bears the sin of the multitudes, and also the Paschal Lamb, the symbol of Israel's redemption at the first Passover. (Isa 53:7, 12; cf. Jer 11:19; Ex 12:3-14; Jn 19:36; 1 Cor 5:7) Christ's whole life expresses his mission: "to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many." (Mk 10:45) (CCC 608)

If we share the desire of James and John for a high place in heaven, to be a great saint, perhaps our first prayer should be for the grace to accept our own share in the Lord's suffering, to accept the crosses that are given to us, not merely the ones we choose for ourselves. This is to be servants in imitation of the Lord and for his sake, not seeking a return but seeing in Christian dignity its own reward and the vocation to be "other Christs".

This dignity is expressed in readiness to serve, in keeping with the example of Christ, who 'came not to be served but to serve.' If, in the light of this attitude of Christ's, 'being a king' is truly possible only by 'being a servant', then 'being a servant' also demands so much spiritual maturity that it must really be described as 'being a king.' In order to be able to serve others worthily and effectively we must be able to master ourselves, possess the virtues that make this mastery possible. (John Paul II, Redemptor hominis, 21).

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

(See also paragraph 608 in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.)

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Wednesday, 28th Wk: “Woe also to you scholars of the law!"

You impose on people burdens hard to carry, but you yourselves do not lift one finger to touch them.”

Christ is the source of this grace. "Just as of old God encountered his people with a covenant of love and fidelity, so our Savior, the spouse of the Church, now encounters Christian spouses through the sacrament of Matrimony." Christ dwells with them, gives them the strength to take up their crosses and so follow him, to rise again after they have fallen, to forgive one another, to bear one another's burdens, to "be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ," and to love one another with supernatural, tender, and fruitful love. In the joys of their love and family life he gives them here on earth a foretaste of the wedding feast of the Lamb:

How can I ever express the happiness of a marriage joined by the Church, strengthened by an offering, sealed by a blessing, announced by angels, and ratified by the Father? . . . How wonderful the bond between two believers, now one in hope, one in desire, one in discipline, one in the same service! They are both children of one Father and servants of the same Master, undivided in spirit and flesh, truly two in one flesh. Where the flesh is one, one also is the spirit.
-- CCC 1642
Periodic continence, that is, the methods of birth regulation based on self-observation and the use of infertile periods, is in conformity with the objective criteria of morality. These methods respect the bodies of the spouses, encourage tenderness between them, and favor the education of an authentic freedom. In contrast, "every action which, whether in anticipation of the conjugal act, or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible" is intrinsically evil:

Thus the innate language that expresses the total reciprocal self-giving of husband and wife is overlaid, through contraception, by an objectively contradictory language, namely, that of not giving oneself totally to the other. This leads not only to a positive refusal to be open to life but also to a falsification of the inner truth of conjugal love, which is called upon to give itself in personal totality. . . . The difference, both anthropological and moral, between contraception and recourse to the rhythm of the cycle . . . involves in the final analysis two irreconcilable concepts of the human person and of human sexuality.
-- CCC 2370

The regulation of births represents one of the aspects of responsible fatherhood and motherhood. Legitimate intentions on the part of the spouses do not justify recourse to morally unacceptable means (for example, direct sterilization or contraception).
-- CCC 2399

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Tuesday, 28th Wk: "inside you are filled with plunder and evil"

But as to what is within, give alms, and behold, everything will be clean for you.”
-- Lk 11:37-41

The works of mercy are charitable actions by which we come to the aid of our neighbor in his spiritual and bodily necessities. Instructing, advising, consoling, comforting are spiritual works of mercy, as are forgiving and bearing wrongs patiently. The corporal works of mercy consist especially in feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and imprisoned, and burying the dead. Among all these, giving alms to the poor is one of the chief witnesses to fraternal charity: it is also a work of justice pleasing to God:

He who has two coats, let him share with him who has none and he who has food must do likewise. But give for alms those things which are within; and behold, everything is clean for you. If a brother or sister is ill-clad and in lack of daily food, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and filled," without giving them the things needed for the body, what does it profit?
-- CCC 2447

Monday, October 12, 2009

Monday, 28th Wk: "an evil generation...seeks a sign"

no sign will be given it, except the sign of Jonah.

Finally, the People of God shares in the royal office of Christ. He exercises his kingship by drawing all men to himself through his death and Resurrection. Christ, King and Lord of the universe, made himself the servant of all, for he came "not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." For the Christian, "to reign is to serve him," particularly when serving "the poor and the suffering, in whom the Church recognizes the image of her poor and suffering founder." The People of God fulfills its royal dignity by a life in keeping with its vocation to serve with Christ.

The sign of the cross makes kings of all those reborn in Christ and the anointing of the Holy Spirit consecrates them as priests, so that, apart from the particular service of our ministry, all spiritual and rational Christians are recognized as members of this royal race and sharers in Christ's priestly office. What, indeed, is as royal for a soul as to govern the body in obedience to God? And what is as priestly as to dedicate a pure conscience to the Lord and to offer the spotless offerings of devotion on the altar of the heart?
-- CCC 786

Saturday, October 10, 2009

27th Sunday: "you will have treasure in heaven"

Wisdom 7, 7-11; Psalm 90, 12-17; Hebrews 4, 12-13; St. Mark 10, 17-30

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Called away from the world and all it holds and called to God. These are detachment and vocation, constants in each of our lives.

We are called away from some things in our world, as the Lord called the rich young man away from his possessions. We are called toward the Lord Jesus, to follow him unreservedly, as the young man was unable to do when he walked away in sadness from the Lord who beheld him with love.

Our vocations differ, whether to be priests and religious or laity, single or married. In order to respond wholeheartedly to each of these callings some things must be left behind so that one can make room for God in one's heart and mind.

"Jesus enjoins his disciples to prefer him to everything and everyone, and bids them "renounce all that [they have]" for his sake and that of the Gospel. (Lk 14:33; cf. Mk 8:35.) Shortly before his passion he gave them the example of the poor widow of Jerusalem who, out of her poverty, gave all that she had to live on. (Cf. Lk 21:4) The precept of detachment from riches is obligatory for entrance into the Kingdom of heaven." (CCC 2544)

The gift of vocation is both for one's own sanctity and for others, that all may see God. All are to practice some form of detachment in their use of the things of this world, for the God who gave this world and all it holds calls us to himself by means of these things.

"All Christ's faithful are to 'direct their affections rightly, lest they be hindered in their pursuit of perfect charity by the use of worldly things and by an adherence to riches which is contrary to the spirit of evangelical poverty.' " (LG 42, art. 3) (CCC 2545)

" 'How hard it will be for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God.' (Mk 10, 23)
The Lord grieves over the rich, because they find their consolation in the abundance of goods. (Lk 6, 24) 'Let the proud seek and love earthly kingdoms, but blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.' (St. Augustine, De serm. Dom. in monte.) Abandonment to the providence of the Father in heaven frees us from anxiety about tomorrow. (Cf. Mt 6:25-34) Trust in God is a preparation for the blessedness of the poor. They shall see God." (CCC 2547)

"Peter began to say to him, 'Lo, we have left everything to follow you.' Jesus said, 'Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life.' " (Mk 10, 28-30)

Married men and women leave behind the pursuit of wealth and material things to love and support the gift of children should God so bless them. Priests leave behind wife and family to work singleheartedly for the Kingdom in the Church. Men and women religious renounce all personal money and property as well as marriage in order to follow Christ most perfectly in this life.

Let us pray that all may follow their vocations with generosity and joy, and for ourselves that we may hear the Lord when he calls us and be prepared to generously follow him.

I look forward to meeting you here again next week as, together, we "meet Christ in the liturgy" -Fr. Cusick (See also CCC 1618, 1858, 2728. )

Meeting Christ in the Liturgy (Publish with permission.)

Art: George Frederic Watts`For he had great possessions', 1894, Tate Collection.

Saturday, 27th Wk: "blessed are those who hear the word of God"

... and observe it.
-- Lk 11:27-28

The Holy Spirit gives a spiritual understanding of the Word of God to those who read or hear it, according to the dispositions of their hearts. By means of the words, actions, and symbols that form the structure of a celebration, the Spirit puts both the faithful and the ministers into a living relationship with Christ, the Word and Image of the Father, so that they can live out the meaning of what they hear, contemplate, and do in the celebration.
-- CCC 1101

Friday, October 9, 2009

Friday, 27th Wk: "if it is by the finger of God that I drive out demons"

... then the Kingdom of God has come upon you.

The finger
. "It is by the finger of God that [Jesus] cast out demons." If God's law was written on tablets of stone "by the finger of God," then the "letter from Christ" entrusted to the care of the apostles, is written "with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of human hearts." The hymn Veni Creator Spiritus invokes the Holy Spirit as the "finger of the Father's right hand."
-- CCC 700

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Thursday, 27th Wk: "knock"

For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
-- Lk 11:5-13

Three principal parables on prayer are transmitted to us by St. Luke:

- The first, "the importunate friend," invites us to urgent prayer: "Knock, and it will be opened to you." To the one who prays like this, the heavenly Father will "give whatever he needs," and above all the Holy Spirit who contains all gifts.

- The second, "the importunate widow," is centered on one of the qualities of prayer: it is necessary to pray always without ceasing and with the patience of faith. "And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?"

- The third parable, "the Pharisee and the tax collector," concerns the humility of the heart that prays. "God, be merciful to me a sinner!" The Church continues to make this prayer its own: Kyrie eleison!

-- CCC 2613

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary: "to you I call all the day"

For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving,
abounding in kindness to all who call upon you.
Hearken, O LORD, to my prayer
and attend to the sound of my pleading.

Meditation engages thought, imagination, emotion, and desire. This mobilization of faculties is necessary in order to deepen our convictions of faith, prompt the conversion of our heart, and strengthen our will to follow Christ. Christian prayer tries above all to meditate on the mysteries of Christ, as in lectio divina or the rosary. This form of prayerful reflection is of great value, but Christian prayer should go further: to the knowledge of the love of the Lord Jesus, to union with him.
-- CCC 2708

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Tuesday, 27th Wk: "you are anxious and worried"

"There is need of only one thing."

When we ask to be delivered from the Evil One, we pray as well to be freed from all evils, present, past, and future, of which he is the author or instigator. In this final petition, the Church brings before the Father all the distress of the world. Along with deliverance from the evils that overwhelm humanity, she implores the precious gift of peace and the grace of perseverance in expectation of Christ's return By praying in this way, she anticipates in humility of faith the gathering together of everyone and everything in him who has "the keys of Death and Hades," who "is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty."

Deliver us, Lord, we beseech you, from every evil and grant us peace in our day, so that aided by your mercy we might be ever free from sin and protected from all anxiety, as we await the blessed hope and the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
-- CCC 2854

Saturday, October 3, 2009

27th Sunday: "What God has joined, man must not divide."

Genesis 2, 18-24; Psalm 128; Hebrews 2, 9-11; St. Mark 10, 2-16

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The Church in the United States grants more annulments each year than are granted in the rest of the world combined.

It is legitimate to question these numbers and many are doing so. Human error, misjudgment and insincerity are constant factors in such a sensitive area. But aside from this, Christ's teaching on the indissolubility of marriage, that it is exclusive and for life, stands upon the truth that there is no such thing as marriage without the entire and sincere gift of self, man for woman and woman for man.

The married couple forms "the intimate partnership of life and love established by the Creator and governed by his laws; it is rooted in the conjugal covenant, that is, in their irrevocable personal consent." (Second Vatican Council, Gaudium et spes 48, 1) Both give themselves definitively and totally to one another. They are no longer two; from now on they form one flesh. The covenant they freely contracted imposes on the spouses the obligation to preserve it as unique and indissoluble. (Cf. Code of Canon Law, 1056) "What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder." (Mk 10:9; cf. Mt 19:1-12; 1 Cor 7:10-11) (CCC 2364)

It is because of this truth, that God has made marriage the total gift of self at each moment and unto death, that Pope Paul VI spoke for Christ when he taught in the document Humanae Vitae, (HV), that every use of artificial contraception is a moral evil.

By safeguarding both these essential aspects, the unitive and the procreative, the conjugal act preserves in its fullness the sense of true mutual love and its orientation toward man's exalted vocation to parenthood." (Cf. Humanae Vitae 12) (CCC 2369) Periodic continence, that is, the methods of birth regulation based on self-observation and the use of infertile periods, is in conformity with the objective criteria of morality. (HV 16) These methods respect the bodies of the spouses, encourage tenderness between them, and favor the education of an authentic freedom. In contrast, "every action which, whether in anticipation of the conjugal act, or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible" is intrinsically evil." (HV 14) (CCC 2370)

There can be no total gift of self without the mutual giving of fertility.

Called to give life, spouses share in the creative power and fatherhood of God, (Cf. Eph 3:14; Mt 23:9) (CCC 2367) A particular aspect of this responsibility concerns the regulation of births. For just reasons, spouses may wish to space the births of their children. It is their duty to make certain that their desire is not motivated by selfishness but is in conformity with the generosity appropriate to responsible parenthood. Moreover, they should conform their behavior to the objective criteria of morality: When it is a question of harmonizing married love with the responsible transmission of life, the morality of the behavior does not depend on sincere intention and evaluation of motives alone; but it must be determined by objective criteria, criteria drawn from the nature of the person and his acts, criteria that respect the total meaning of mutual self-giving and human procreation in the context of true love; this is possible only if the virtue of married chastity is practiced with sincerity of heart. (GS 50, 2) (CCC 2368)

Marriage "until death do us part" begins with the total giving of spouses in each marital act. Only such love is open to the grace of God by which marriage is made faithful, generous and life-long.

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

(See also CCC 699, 1244, 1261, 1627, 1639, 1650, 2380, 2382)

(Publish with permission.)

Saturday 26th Wk: "even the demons are subject to us"

“I have observed Satan fall like lightning from the sky. Behold, I have given you the power ‘to tread upon serpents’ and scorpions and upon the full force of the enemy and nothing will harm you.
Nevertheless, do not rejoice because the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”

The coming of God's kingdom means the defeat of Satan's: "If it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you." Jesus' exorcisms free some individuals from the domination of demons. They anticipate Jesus' great victory over "the ruler of this world". The kingdom of God will be definitively established through Christ's cross: "God reigned from the wood."
-- CCC 550

Art: Mary Meets Jesus and Is Healed of Seven Demons, 1376-78, Giusto de Menabuoi.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Gaurdian Angels: “their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father.”

“Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven. See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father.”
-- Mt 18:1-5, 10

The Church venerates the angels who help her on her earthly pilgrimage and protect every human being.
-- CCC 352

(See also CCC 2785, 2285, 329.)

Art: Titian, St. John the Evangelist on Patmos, 1544, oil painting on canvas.