Saturday, February 27, 2010

Second Sunday of Lent: "The righteous will shine like the sun"

Genesis 15, 5-12. 17-18; Psalm 27; Philippians 3, 17-4, 1; St. Luke 9, 28-36

The Lord "took with him Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. And as he was praying, the appearance of his countenance was altered, and his raiment became dazzling white." (Lk 9. 28-29) Why does the Lord reveal his glory to the Apostles in this way?

St. Thomas Aquinas teaches that this grace was given to strengthen the Apostles for the Cross to come by giving them a glimpse of the Resurrection which would be purchased only by the blood shed upon the Cross. "For a person to go straight along the road, he must have some knowledge of the end--just as an archer will not shoot an arrow straight unless he first sees the target....This is particularly necessary if the road is hard and rough, the going heavy, and the end delightful" (Summa theologiae, III, q. 45, a. 1).

We savor in the Lord's Transfiguration a foretaste of the heavenly glory which awaits the faithful. Our bodies will share in his brightness, "by which the bodies of the saints shall shine like the sun, according to the words of our Lord recorded in the Gospel of St. Matthew: 'The righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father' (Mt 13:43). To remove the possibility of doubt on the subject, he exemplifies this in his Transfiguration. This quality the Apostle sometimes calls glory, sometimes brightness: 'He will change our lowly body to be like his glorious body' (Phil 3:21); and again, 'It is sown in dishonour, it is raised in glory' (1 Cor 15:43). Of this glory the Israelites beheld some image in the desert, when the face of Moses, after he had enjoyed the presence and conversation of God, shone with such lustre that they could not look on it (Ex 34:29; 2 Cor 3:7). This brightness is a sort of radiance reflected on the body from the supreme happiness of the soul. It is a participation in that bliss which the soul enjoys....This quality is not common to all in the same degree. All the bodies of the saints will be equally impassible; but the brightness of all will not be the same for, according to the Apostle, 'There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory. So it is with the resurrection of the dead' (1 Cor 15:4f)" (Catechism of the Council of Trent, I, 12, 13).

The Father's command "Listen to him!" means that in Christ we find the fullest revelation of the Father's glory figured forth in the glorious Transfiguration on Mount Tabor.

Christ's whole earthly life -- his words and deeds, his silences and sufferings, indeed his manner of being and speaking --is Revelation of the Father. Jesus can say: "Whoever has seen me has seen the Father," and the Father can say: "This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!" (Jn 14:9; Lk 9:35; cf. Mt 17:5; Mk 9:7 ["my beloved Son"] ). (CCC 516)

There is no other name, or sign, given under heaven by which we may be saved.

"Therefore," according to Saint John of the Cross, "if any now should question God or desire a vision or revelation, not only would he be acting foolishly but he would be committing an offence against God, by not fixing his gaze on Christ with no desire for any new thing. For God could reply to him in this way: 'If I have spoken all things to you in my Word, which is my Son, and I have no other word, what answer can I give you now, or what can I reveal to you that is greater than this? Fix your eyes on him alone, for in him I have spoken and revealed to you all things, and in him you will find even more than what you ask for and desire....Hear him, for I have no more faith to reveal, nor have I any more things to declare' " (Ascent of Mount Carmel, book 2, chap. 22, 5).

Let's pray for each other until, together next week, we "meet Christ in the liturgy", Father Cusick

(See also nos. 516, 554, 556, 659, 697, 1151, 2583, 2600 in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.)

Meeting Christ in the Liturgy (Publish with permission.)

Saturday, Lent Wk 1: "love your enemies"

and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father

Christian prayer extends to the forgiveness of enemies, transfiguring the disciple by configuring him to his Master. Forgiveness is a high-point of Christian prayer; only hearts attuned to God's compassion can receive the gift of prayer. Forgiveness also bears witness that, in our world, love is stronger than sin. The martyrs of yesterday and today bear this witness to Jesus. Forgiveness is the fundamental condition of the reconciliation of the children of God with their Father and of men with one another.
-- CCC 2844

Photo by AP: Pope John Paul II meets his would-be assassin in Agca's prison cell in Rome in December 1983

Friday, February 26, 2010

Friday, Lent Wk 1: "be reconciled with your brother"

“I tell you,
unless your righteousness surpasses that
of the scribes and Pharisees,
you will not enter into the Kingdom of heaven.

Jesus acknowledged the Ten Commandments, but he also showed the power of the Spirit at work in their letter. He preached a "righteousness [which] exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees" as well as that of the Gentiles. He unfolded all the demands of the Commandments. "You have heard that it was said to the men of old, 'You shall not kill.' . . . But I say to you that every one who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment."
-- CCC 2054

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Thursday, Lent Wk 1: "Now help me, O LORD, my God"

“And now, come to help me, an orphan.
Put in my mouth persuasive words in the presence of the lion
and turn his heart to hatred for our enemy,
so that he and those who are in league with him may perish.
Save us from the hand of our enemies;
turn our mourning into gladness
and our sorrows into wholeness.”

Through the prophets, God forms his people in the hope of salvation, in the expectation of a new and everlasting Covenant intended for all, to be written on their hearts. The prophets proclaim a radical redemption of the People of God, purification from all their infidelities, a salvation which will include all the nations. Above all, the poor and humble of the Lord will bear this hope. Such holy women as Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, Miriam, Deborah, Hannah, Judith and Esther kept alive the hope of Israel's salvation. The purest figure among them is Mary.
-- CCC 64

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Wednesday, First Wk Lent: "an evil generation seeks a sign"

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

But there is more. Jesus links faith in the resurrection to his own person: "I am the Resurrection and the life." It is Jesus himself who on the last day will raise up those who have believed in him, who have eaten his body and drunk his blood. Already now in this present life he gives a sign and pledge of this by restoring some of the dead to life, announcing thereby his own Resurrection, though it was to be of another order. He speaks of this unique event as the "sign of Jonah," the sign of the temple: he announces that he will be put to death but rise thereafter on the third day.
-- CCC 994

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Tuesday, First Wk Lent: "do not babble like the pagans"

who think that they will be heard because of their many words.
Do not be like them.
Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

“This is how you are to pray: Our Father who art in heaven ...

-- Mt 6:7-15

The New Law practices the acts of religion: almsgiving, prayer and fasting, directing them to the "Father who sees in secret," in contrast with the desire to "be seen by men." Its prayer is the Our Father.
-- CCC 1969

Saturday, February 20, 2010

First Sunday of Lent: "Christ was led by the Spirit into the desert"

Deuteronomy 26, 4-10; Psalm 91; Romans 10, 8-13; St. Luke 4, 1-13

Why do we undertake this forty day period of abstinence from meat on Ash Wednesday and all the Fridays of Lent? Why do we fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday?

The Gospels speak of a time of solitude for Jesus in the desert immediately after his baptism by John. Driven by the Spirit into the desert, Jesus remains there for forty days without eating; he lives among wild beasts, and angels minister to him. (Cf. Mk 1:12-13.) At the end of this time Satan tempts him three times, seeking to compromise his filial attitude toward God. Jesus rebuffs these attacks, which recapitulate the temptations of Adam in Paradise and of Israel in the desert, and the devil leaves him "until an opportune time." (Lk 4:13) (CCC 538)

We recollect and meditate, by these forty days of fast, abstinence and prayer, upon Christ's victory over temptation. We grow in our faith that, by the graces of the sacramental life, our intellect and will is strengthened so that we may keep God's commandments in love for Him as Christ first did.

The evangelists indicate the salvific meaning of this mysterious event: Jesus is the new Adam who remained faithful just where the first Adam had given in to temptation. Jesus fulfills Israel's' vocation perfectly: in contrast to those who had once provoked God during forty years in the desert, Christ reveals himself as God's Servant, totally obedient to the divine will. In this, Jesus is the devil's conqueror: he "binds the strong man" to take back his plunder. (Cf. Ps 95:10; Mk 3:27) Jesus' victory over the tempter in the desert anticipates victory at the Passion, the supreme act of obedience of his filial love for the Father. (CCC 539)

In Christ's temptations are summed up every temptation which we might face. "Scripture would not have said", according to St. Thomas Aquinas, "that once all the temptation ended the devil departed from him, unless the matter of all sins were included in the three temptations already related. For the causes of temptation are the causes of desires -- namely, lust of the flesh, hope of glory, eagerness for power" (Summa theologiae, III, q. 41, a. 4 ad 4).

Jesus' temptation reveals the way in which the Son of God is Messiah, contrary to the way Satan proposes to him and the way men wish to attribute to him. (Cf. Mt 16:21-23) This is why Christ vanquished the Tempter for us: "For we have not a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sinning." (Heb 4:15) By the solemn forty days of Lent the Church unites herself each year to the mystery of Jesus in the desert. (CCC 540)

St. Ambrose teaches that Christ battled temptation in his human nature to show us how, by the grace of his divine nature, our human nature is strengthened for victory in the same battle. "He did not act as God, bringing his power into play: if he had done so, how could we have availed of his example?; rather, as man he made use of the resources which he has in common with us" (St. Ambrose, Expositio Evangelii sec. Lucam, in loc.)
Let's pray for each other until, together next week, we "meet Christ in the liturgy", Father Cusick

(See also nos. 538, 695, 2096, 2119, 2855 in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.)

Meeting Christ in the Liturgy (Publish with permission.)

Saturday after Ash Wednesday: "If you hold back your foot on the sabbath"

... from following your own pursuits on my holy day; If you call the sabbath a delight,and the LORD’s holy day honorable; If you honor it by not following your ways, seeking your own interests, or speaking with malice -- Then you shall delight in the LORD, and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth;
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
God's action is the model for human action. If God "rested and was refreshed" on the seventh day, man too ought to "rest" and should let others, especially the poor, "be refreshed." The sabbath brings everyday work to a halt and provides a respite. It is a day of protest against the servitude of work and the worship of money.
-- CCC 2172

Image: Blesseds Jacinta and Francisco Marto, pray for us!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Friday after Ash Wednesday: "make your voice heard on high!"

... Is this the manner of fasting I wish, of keeping a day of penance: That a man bow his head like a reed, and lie in sackcloth and ashes? Do you call this a fast, a day acceptable to the LORD? This, rather, is the fasting that I wish: releasing those bound unjustly, untying the thongs of the yoke; Setting free the oppressed, breaking every yoke;

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
Photo: Atlantic Ocean (Feb. 6, 2008) Electronics Technician 3rd Class Leila Tardieu receives ashes from Father Wayne Haddad during an Ash Wednesday celebration aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1). U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Brian May (Wikipedia)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Thursday after Ash Wednesday: "Choose life"

... then,
that you and your descendants may live, by loving the LORD, your God,
heeding his voice, and holding fast to him.

The way of Christ "leads to life"; a contrary way "leads to destruction." The Gospel parable of the two ways remains ever present in the catechesis of the Church; it shows the importance of moral decisions for our salvation: "There are two ways, the one of life, the other of death; but between the two, there is a great difference."
-- CCC 1696

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Tuesday, Wk 6, C: "God is not subject to temptation"

... to evil,
and he himself tempts no one.

This petition goes to the root of the preceding one, for our sins result from our consenting to temptation; we therefore ask our Father not to "lead" us into temptation. It is difficult to translate the Greek verb used by a single English word: the Greek means both "do not allow us to enter into temptation" and "do not let us yield to temptation." "God cannot be tempted by evil and he himself tempts no one"; on the contrary, he wants to set us free from evil. We ask him not to allow us to take the way that leads to sin. We are engaged in the battle "between flesh and spirit"; this petition implores the Spirit of discernment and strength.
-- CCC 2846

Monday, February 15, 2010

Monday, Wk 6, C: "let perseverance be perfect"

... so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
But if any of you lacks wisdom, 4 he should ask God who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and he will be given it.
But he should ask in faith, not doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed about by the wind.
-- Jas 1:1-11
When we share in God's saving love, we understand that every need can become the object of petition. Christ, who assumed all things in order to redeem all things, is glorified by what we ask the Father in his name. It is with this confidence that St. James and St. Paul exhort us to pray at all times.
-- CCC 2633

Saturday, February 13, 2010

SIXTH Sunday, C: "Blessed are the poor"

Jeremiah 17. 5-8; Psalm 1. 1-4, 6; 1 Corinthians 15:12, 16-20; St. Luke 6. 17, 20-26

Some refuse to believe in God saying that the evil in the world, including the physical evils of hunger and thirst, would not be permitted by a good God or at least would be brought to an end by Him.

The mystery of evil and in particular the senseless suffering of the poor, the rejected, the excluded, and the persecuted, must be understood within the whole context of God's plan, which is for our happiness. God does offer the eternal communion of His life and love to all. But this promise cannot be consummated in this world which began at a point in time and someday will end. As Mary told Bernadette at Lourdes,"I cannot promise you happiness in this life, only in the next."

The happiness of the new heavens and the new earth which God will reveal at the end of the world is offered to all through Jesus Christ our Lord. No man or woman is excluded from the redeeming embrace of God's love. For this reason the Christian message is truly good news for all, including the poor and downtrodden. But this truth does not dispense anyone, and in particular Christians, from the demands of charity and justice for the relief and care of the poor here and now. We are commanded not simply to tolerate or accommodate the poor, not simply to feed and clothe them. Rather we are commanded to love them as we love ourselves.

"The Church's love for the part of her constant tradition." This love is inspired by the Gospel of the Beatitudes, of the poverty of Jesus, and of his concern for the poor. (CA 57; cf. Lk 6: 20-22, Mt 8: 20; Mk 12:41-44) Love for the poor is even one of the motives for the duty of working so as to "be able to give to those in need." (Eph 4:28) It extends not only to material poverty but also to the many forms of cultural and religious poverty. (Cf CA 57) (CCC 2444)

Hunger, thirst, nakedness and homelessness are physical evils and sources of suffering. But these things are not the worst conditions that the human person can experience. The lack of love manifested by cultural and religious poverty, as Mother Teresa taught, is the greatest poverty today: "It is poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish." A profound poverty of the heart underlies the many attacks against innocent, defenseless human life today in abortion, partial-birth infanticide, embryonic stem-call research and contraception.

The greatest poverty afflicting the human race today is the "cult of death" which, through abortion and abortifacient contraception, denies a child the right to live, laugh and love. Those who promote the "cult of death" suffer a most insidious poverty, a silent killer, which eclipses that love for even the smallest and weakest of human persons without which no one can enter into eternal joy.

Defenders of human life rejoice, on the other hand, in the promise of the Lord for those who feed, clothe, shelter and otherwise defend the lives of the "least of these little ones": "Enter into the joy of your Lord. Enter into the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world."

Let's pray for each other until, together next week, we "meet Christ in the liturgy", Father Cusick

(See also nos. 2546, 2547 in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.)
Meeting Christ in the Liturgy (Publish with permission.)

Saturday, Wk 5, C: "taking the seven loaves he gave thanks"

... broke them, and gave them to his disciples to distribute,and they distributed them to the crowd.
The Sacrament of the Eucharist is called:

"The Lord's Supper", because of its connection with the supper which the Lord took with his disciples on the eve of his Passion and because it anticipates the wedding feast of the Lamb in the heavenly Jerusalem.
The Breaking of Bread, because Jesus used this rite, part of a Jewish meal when as master of the table he blessed and distributed the bread, above all at the Last Supper. It is by this action that his disciples will recognize him after his Resurrection, and it is this expression that the first Christians will use to designate their Eucharistic assemblies; by doing so they signified that all who eat the one broken bread, Christ, enter into communion with him and form but one body in him.
-- CCC 1329

Friday, February 12, 2010

Friday, Wk 5, C: "people brought to Him a deaf man"

... who had a speech impediment and begged him to lay his hand on him.
He took him off by himself away from the crowd.
He put his finger into the man’s ears and, spitting, touched his tongue;
then he looked up to heaven and groaned, and said to him,
Ephphatha!” (that is, “Be opened!”)
And immediately the man’s ears were opened,
his speech impediment was removed, and he spoke plainly.

Signs taken up by Christ. In his preaching the Lord Jesus often makes use of the signs of creation to make known the mysteries of the Kingdom of God. He performs healings and illustrates his preaching with physical signs or symbolic gestures. He gives new meaning to the deeds and signs of the Old Covenant, above all to the Exodus and the Passover, for he himself is the meaning of all these signs.
-- CCC 1151

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Our Lady of Lourdes: “Let the children be fed first."

... it is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs.”
She replied and said to him, “Lord, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s scraps.”
Then he said to her, “For saying this, you may go. The demon has gone out of your daughter.”
-- Mk 7:24-30

Prayer to Jesus is answered by him already during his ministry, through signs that anticipate the power of his death and Resurrection: Jesus hears the prayer of faith, expressed in words (the leper, Jairus, the Canaanite woman, the good thief) or in silence (the bearers of the paralytic, the woman with a hemorrhage who touches his clothes, the tears and ointment of the sinful woman). The urgent request of the blind men, "Have mercy on us, Son of David" or "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" has-been renewed in the traditional prayer to Jesus known as the Jesus Prayer: "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner!" Healing infirmities or forgiving sins, Jesus always responds to a prayer offered in faith: "Your faith has made you well; go in peace."

St. Augustine wonderfully summarizes the three dimensions of Jesus' prayer: "He prays for us as our priest, prays in us as our Head, and is prayed to by us as our God. Therefore let us acknowledge our voice in him and his in us."
-- CCC 2616

The Immaculate Conception

Through the centuries the Church has become ever more aware that Mary, 'full of grace' through God, was redeemed from the moment of her conception. That is what the dogma of the Immaculate Conception confesses, as Pope Pius IX proclaimed in 1854:

"The most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin."
(CCC 491)

Images: Holy card commemorating the apparition of Our Lady to Bernadette at Lourdes and pilgrims on the esplanade of the sanctuary at Lourdes.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Tuesday, Wk 5, C: "Honor your father and your mother"

‘If someone says to father or mother,
“Any support you might have had from me is qorban”’
(meaning, dedicated to God),
you allow him to do nothing more for his father or mother.
You nullify the word of God
in favor of your tradition that you have handed on.
And you do many such things.”
-- Mark 7:1-13

Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land which the Lord your God gives you.

He was obedient to them.

The Lord Jesus himself recalled the force of this "commandment of God." The Apostle teaches: "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 'Honor your father and mother,' (This is the first commandment with a promise.) 'that it may be well with you and that you may live long on the earth."’

The fourth commandment opens the second table of the Decalogue. It shows us the order of charity. God has willed that, after him, we should honor our parents to whom we owe life and who have handed on to us the knowledge of God. We are obliged to honor and respect all those whom God, for our good, has vested with his authority.
-- CCC 2197

(See also CCC 2214-2220.)

Art: Decalogue, St. Mary's Church, Gdansk.

Monday, February 8, 2010

S. Josephine Bakhita: "the cloud filled the temple of the LORD"

... so that the priests could no longer minister because of the cloud, since the LORD’s glory had filled the temple of the LORD.
Then Solomon said, “The LORD intends to dwell in the dark cloud;
I have truly built you a princely house, a dwelling where you may abide forever.”

Cloud and light. These two images occur together in the manifestations of the Holy Spirit. In the theophanies of the Old Testament, the cloud, now obscure, now luminous, reveals the living and saving God, while veiling the transcendence of his glory - with Moses on Mount Sinai, at the tent of meeting, and during the wandering in the desert, and with Solomon at the dedication of the Temple. In the Holy Spirit, Christ fulfills these figures. The Spirit comes upon the Virgin Mary and "overshadows" her, so that she might conceive and give birth to Jesus. On the mountain of Transfiguration, the Spirit in the "cloud came and overshadowed" Jesus, Moses and Elijah, Peter, James and John, and "a voice came out of the cloud, saying, 'This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!'" Finally, the cloud took Jesus out of the sight of the disciples on the day of his ascension and will reveal him as Son of man in glory on the day of his final coming.
-- CCC 697

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Fifth Sunday, C: "Put out into the deep"

Isaiah 6. 1-2a,3-8; Psalm 138. 1-5, 7-8; 1 Corinthians 15:1-11; St. Luke 5. 1-11

Our lives in Christ depend upon an unlimited trust in the Lord, following his words with energy and hope even when his will for us leads into uncharted waters, when he commands that we "put out into the deep", even those well-plumbed depths which have in the past yielded up for us only empty nets.

Simon Peter responded with weariness, "Master, we toiled all night and took nothing", when our Lord commanded him "Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch." (Lk 5, 4-5) He had good reason to believe that after all of his valiant efforts he would come up empty again.

You and I, too, have tried again and again to keep the Lord's commands, and sometimes have failed. We also respond sometimes with weariness when he reminds us to keep all the things that he has commanded. We too wish sometimes to persuade him to release us from the burdens of commitment, of thankless labor, of frightening and overwhelming situations. Peter, though wearied with trying, says a remarkable thing for, even after complaining hesitation, he responds with the divine power of faith: "But at your word I will let down the nets." (Lk 5, 5) He responds in obedience and trust, though he had no earthly reason to believe his efforts would be crowned with success.

Peter's faith and trust is rewarded with the miraculous draught of fishes. In awe at his encounter with the mysterious presence of the living God, he falls down in worship before Jesus, exclaiming, "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord." (Lk 5, 8) He is unworthy before the thrice-holy God perfectly revealed in Jesus Christ.

Faced with God's fascinating and mysterious presence, man discovers his own insignificance. Before the burning bush, Moses takes off his sandals and veils his face in the presence of God's holiness. (Cf. Ex 3:5-6) Before the glory of the thrice-holy God, Isaiah cries out: "Woe is me! I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips." (Isa 6:5) Before the divine signs wrought by Jesus, Peter exclaims: "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord." (Lk 5:8) But because God is holy, he can forgive the man who realizes that he is a sinner before him: "I will not execute my fierce anger...for I am God and not man, the Holy One in your midst." (Hos 11:9) The apostle John says likewise: "We shall reassure our hearts before him whenever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything." (1 Jn 3: 19-20) (CCC 208)

Though we never refuse the grace of Confession and absolution when conscious of serious sin, we are yet aware that we must ever depend upon regular reception of the Lord's Body and Blood for the forgiveness of our venial sins.

Face to face with the glorious presence of our divine Lord in the Eucharist, we too are in awe before his majesty, and can approach him only with these words: "Domine, non sum dignus ut intres sub tectum meum. Sed tantum dic verbo, et sanabitur anima mea. O Lord, I am not worthy that Thou should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed." (Response to the "Ecce, Agnus Dei", Liturgy of the Mass of the Roman Rite.)

Let's pray for each other until, together next week, we "meet Christ in the liturgy", Father Cusick

Meeting Christ in the Liturgy (Publish with permission.)

Art: Rafael, Miraculous Draft of Fishes, tapestry.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Thursday, 4th Wk, C: "the way of all flesh"

Take courage and be a man.
-- Kgs 2:1-4, 10-12

From this fact, Confirmation brings an increase and deepening of baptismal grace:
- it roots us more deeply in the divine filiation which makes us cry, "Abba! Father!";
- it unites us more firmly to Christ;
- it increases the gifts of the Holy Spirit in us;
- it renders our bond with the Church more perfect;
- it gives us a special strength of the Holy Spirit to spread and defend the faith by word and action as true witnesses of Christ, to confess the name of Christ boldly, and never to be ashamed of the Cross:

Recall then that you have received the spiritual seal, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of right judgment and courage, the spirit of knowledge and reverence, the spirit of holy fear in God's presence. Guard what you have received. God the Father has marked you with his sign; Christ the Lord has confirmed you and has placed his pledge, the Spirit, in your hearts.

-- CCC 1303

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

S Blase: “A prophet is not without honor except in his native place"

he was not able to perform any mighty deed there,
apart from curing a few sick people by laying his hands on them.
He was amazed at their lack of faith.

The most common yet most hidden temptation is our lack of faith. It expresses itself less by declared incredulity than by our actual preferences. When we begin to pray, a thousand labors or cares thought to be urgent vie for priority; once again, it is the moment of truth for the heart: what is its real love? Sometimes we turn to the Lord as a last resort, but do we really believe he is? Sometimes we enlist the Lord as an ally, but our heart remains presumptuous. In each case, our lack of faith reveals that we do not yet share in the disposition of a humble heart: "Apart from me, you can do nothing."
-- CCC 2732

Monday, February 1, 2010

Monday, 4th Wk, C: “Legion is my name"

they caught sight of the man who had been possessed by Legion,
sitting there clothed and in his right mind.
And they were seized with fear.

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

Art: Ivory pyxis with the Healing of the Demoniac, Carolingian, early 9th century AD. From Aix-la-Chapelle (Aachen, Germany), court school of Charlemagne, British Museum.