Sunday, October 31, 2010

Consecration of the Human Race to Jesus Christ the King

MOST sweet Jesus, Redeemer of the human race, look down upon us humbly prostrate before Thee. We are Thine, and Thine we wish to be; but to be more surely united with Thee, behold each one of us freely consecrates himself today to Thy Most Sacred Heart. Many indeed have never known Thee; many, too, despising Thy precepts, have rejected Thee. Have mercy on them all, most merciful Jesus, and draw them to Thy Sacred Heart.

Be King, O Lord, not only of the faithful who have never forsaken Thee, but also of the prodigal children who have abandoned Thee; grant that they may quickly return to their Father's house, lest they die of wretchedness and hunger.

Grant, O Lord, to Thy Church assurance of freedom and immunity from harm; give tranquility of order to all nations; make the earth resound from pole to pole with one cry: Praise to the divine Heart that wrought our salvation; to It be glory and honor for ever! Amen.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Sunday 31C. On Reparation: "I shall give to the poor"

Wisdom 11,22-12,1; Psalm 145, 1-2.8-9.10-11.13.14; 2 Thessalonians 1, 11-2,2; St. Luke 19, 1-10

Zaccheus is filled with remorse for his sins, so much so that he promises publicly, before Jesus and other witnesses, to perform reparations for his crimes.

What moves Zaccheus to this sincere contrition for his sins and the vow to change his life, even to a willingness to endanger his livelihood? How does he find within himself such superhuman generosity? He has encountered the transforming supernatural power of Divine Love.

Conversion has a social component because it is a rejection of sin and its social consequences.

"Conversion is accomplished in daily life by gestures of reconciliation, concern for the poor, the exercise and defense of justice and right, (Cf. Am 5:24; Isa 1:17) by the admission of one's faults to one's brethren, fraternal correction, revision of life, examination of conscience, spiritual direction, acceptance of suffering, endurance of persecution for the sake of reightouesness. Taking up one's cross each day and following Jesus is the surest way of penance." (Cf. Lk 9:23) (CCC 1439)

Sorrow for sins, always necessary for receiving the grace of God's forgiveness, should always accompany one's works of reparation for sin.

"The movement of return to God, called conversion and repentance, entails sorrow for and abhorrence of sins committed, and the firm purpose of sinning no more in the future. Conversion touches the past and the future and is nourished by hope in God's mercy. (CCC 1490)

Sorrow for sin is always required when celebrating the sacrament of Confession in order that the penitent may indeed receive the graces of the sacrament. As well, one's sorrow and experience of God's healing love can and should move one to repair damage or replace what is taken away from others by one's sins.

Reparation, as seen in the example of Zaccheus, may under certain circumstances be a duty for the penitent.

"Every offense committed against justice and truth entails the duty of reparation, even if its author has been forgiven. When it is impossible publicly to make reparation for a wrong, it must be made secretly. If someone who has suffered harm cannot be directly compensated, he must be given moral satisfaction in the name of charity. This duty of reparation also concerns offenses against another's reputation. This reparation, moral and sometimes material, must be evaluated in terms of the extent of the damage inflicted. It obliges in conscience. (CCC 2487)

The Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation reconciles the repentant sinner both with God and with the communio, or community, of the Church.

"During his public life Jesus not only forgave sins, but also made plain the effect of this forgiveness: he reintegrated forgiven sinners into the community of the People of God from which sin had alienated or even excluded them. A remarkable sign of this is the fact that Jesus receives sinners at his table, a gesture that expresses in an astonishing way both God's forgiveness and the return to the bosom of the People of God. (Cf. Lk 15; 19:9.)"(CCC 1443)

Zaccheus was converted from an attraction to evil by his attraction to the love of Christ and a desire to share in it.

"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, (St. Augustine, Confessions 7,711:PL 32,739.) 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.'(2 Thess 2:7; 1 Tim 3:16.) The revelation of divine love in Christ manifested at the same time the extent of evil and the superabundance of grace.(Cf. Rom 5:20.) 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. (Cf. Lk 11:21-22; Jn 16:11; 1 Jn 3:8.) (CCC 385)

(See also Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph numbers 549, 1443, 1936, 2412, 2712.)
Publish with permission.

Saturday 30C: "When shall I go and behold the face of God?"

I went with the throng and led them in procession to the house of God. Amid loud cries of joy and thanksgiving, with the multitude keeping festival.
-- Ps 42

This mystery of blessed communion with God and all who are in Christ is beyond all understanding and description. Scripture speaks of it in images: life, light, peace, wedding feast, wine of the kingdom, the Father's house, the heavenly Jerusalem, paradise: "no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him."
-- CCC 1027

Friday, October 29, 2010

Bl. Martyrs of Douai: "the one who began a good work in you"

... will continue to complete it
until the day of Christ Jesus.
It is right that I should think this way about all of you, because I hold you in my heart, you who are all partners with me in grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the Gospel.
-- Phil 1:1-11

The Church has painstakingly collected the records of those who persevered to the end in witnessing to their faith. These are the acts of the Martyrs. They form the archives of truth written in letters of blood:

Neither the pleasures of the world nor the kingdoms of this age will be of any use to me. It is better for me to die [in order to unite myself] to Christ Jesus than to reign over the ends of the earth. I seek him who died for us; I desire him who rose for us. My birth is approaching. . .

I bless you for having judged me worthy from this day and this hour to be counted among your martyrs. . . . You have kept your promise, God of faithfulness and truth. For this reason and for everything, I praise you, I bless you, I glorify you through the eternal and heavenly High Priest, Jesus Christ, your beloved Son. Through him, who is with you and the Holy Spirit, may glory be given to you, now and in the ages to come. Amen.

- -- CCC 2474

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Ss Simon and Jude: "You are no longer strangers"

... you are fellow citizens with the holy ones and members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the Apostles
-- Phil 1:1-11

Christ himself chose the apostles and gave them a share in his mission and authority. Raised to the Father's right hand, he has not forsaken his flock but he keeps it under his constant protection through the apostles, and guides it still through these same pastors who continue his work today. Thus, it is Christ whose gift it is that some be apostles, others pastors. He continues to act through the bishops.
-- CCC 1575

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

In Vigilia Ss. Simonis et Judae Apostolorum / Vigil of Ss Simon and Jude: "Fathers"

do not provoke your children to anger,
but bring them up with the training and instruction of the Lord.
-- Eph 6:1-9

By calling God "Father", the language of faith indicates two main things: that God is the first origin of everything and transcendent authority; and that he is at the same time goodness and loving care for all his children. God's parental tenderness can also be expressed by the image of motherhood, which emphasizes God's immanence, the intimacy between Creator and creature. The language of faith thus draws on the human experience of parents, who are in a way the first representatives of God for man. But this experience also tells us that human parents are fallible and can disfigure the face of fatherhood and motherhood. We ought therefore to recall that God transcends the human distinction between the sexes. He is neither man nor woman: he is God. He also transcends human fatherhood and motherhood, although he is their origin and standard: no one is father as God is Father.
-- CCC 239

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

S. Evaristi Papae et Martyri / S Evaristus: "Be subordinate to one another"

... out of reverence for Christ
-- Eph 5:21-33

The confessor is not the master of God's forgiveness, but its servant. The minister of this sacrament should unite himself to the intention and charity of Christ. He should have a proven knowledge of Christian behavior, experience of human affairs, respect and sensitivity toward the one who has fallen; he must love the truth, be faithful to the Magisterium of the Church, and lead the penitent with patience toward healing and full maturity. He must pray and do penance for his penitent, entrusting him to the Lord's mercy.
-- CCC 1466

Monday, October 25, 2010

Ss. Chrysanthi et Dariae Martyres / S Chrysanthe and Darius: "live in love"

... as Christ loved us and handed himself over for us as a sacrificial offering to God for a fragrant aroma.
-- Eph 4:32–5:8

To the offering of Christ are united not only the members still here on earth, but also those already in the glory of heaven. In communion with and commemorating the Blessed Virgin Mary and all the saints, the Church offers the Eucharistic sacrifice. In the Eucharist the Church is as it were at the foot of the cross with Mary, united with the offering and intercession of Christ.
-- CCC 1370

Friday, October 22, 2010

San Juan Capistrano / S John of Capistrano: “"Why do you not judge for yourselves what is right?"

If you are to go with your opponent before a magistrate,
make an effort to settle the matter on the way;
otherwise your opponent will turn you over to the judge,
and the judge hand you over to the constable,
and the constable throw you into prison.
I say to you, you will not be released
until you have paid the last penny.
-- Lk 12:54-59

When he comes at the end of time to judge the living and the dead, the glorious Christ will reveal the secret disposition of hearts and will render to each man according to his works, and according to his acceptance or refusal of grace.
-- CCC 682

Thursday, October 21, 2010

S Celine: "I kneel before the Father"

from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named
-- Eph 3:14-21

The family is the original cell of social life. It is the natural society in which husband and wife are called to give themselves in love and in the gift of life. Authority, stability, and a life of relationships within the family constitute the foundations for freedom, security, and fraternity within society. The family is the community in which, from childhood, one can learn moral values, begin to honor God, and make good use of freedom. Family life is an initiation into life in society.
-- CCC 2207

Monday, October 18, 2010

S Luke, Evangelist: "Luke"

... is the only one with me
-- 2 Tm 4:10-17b

St. Luke in his gospel often expresses wonder and praise at the marvels of Christ and in his Acts of the Apostles stresses them as actions of the Holy Spirit: the community of Jerusalem, the invalid healed by Peter and John, the crowd that gives glory to God for that, and the pagans of Pisidia who "were glad and glorified the word of God."
-- CCC 2640

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Sunday 29C: "Moses kept his hands raised up"

Exodus 17, 8-13; Psalm 121, 1-2. 3-4.5-6.7-8; 2 Timothy 3, 14-4,2;St. Luke

For bodily weariness there is rest and upon arising from sleep one is able to rejoin the human race with renewed vigor. One may even go apart from work and home for an extended period. But in the task of prayer there can be no rest, for Christ commands us "Pray always". Prayer is the vigilance of one in battle, defending the stronghold of the soul against temptation and sin.

In the Book of Exodus Israel we read that Israel is under attack. Moses, his hands aloft, is the figure of intercession and prayer on behalf of the people in the life and death struggle against Amalek. Only as long as he is able to hold his hands thus will the chosen people gain the victory over their enemies. That he may continue to pray and not grow weary he is seated upon a stone and his hands are supported with the help of Aaron and Hur. Aided thus he is steadfast and the chosen people are victorious.

The prayer of Moses responds to the living God's initiative for the salvation of his people. It foreshadows the prayer of intercession of the unique mediator, Christ Jesus." (CCC 2593)

Moses’ prayer in the battle against Amalek is a sign only of the greatest warrior and the most awful struggle. Jesus Christ upon His cross holds his hands aloft with the help of the nails; His feet are supported not by a stone but by a piercing nail. His hands are held in place in the perfect prayer for the sake of victory over the most terrible enemy of death which entered the world through sin. Until the last drop of His blood is shed and until His last breath His hands are held thus. There is no rest; the battle is total. All must be given to defeat the enemy of all.

The holy Mass is the experience here and now of this most glorious battle of God over the most fearsome enemy of death. But in order that His victory may be in us and that we may find life unending in Him we must pray always this prayer of victory. We must not lose the heart of sacrifice so that our sins may not tear us from His grasp.

A superficial or trite celebration of the holy rites can mislead and deceive the faithful, lulling us into a lax and casual understanding. The liturgy can become a mere social gathering, an opportunity for friends to say hello or a venue for trotting forth the latest fashions. The crowding of the faithful into the sanctuary, making of it a mere stage, have undermined the truths of the Mass, displacing Christ as the actor who saves sinful man. The role of altar server is for many just another activity for the boys and girls to include on their list of social services in anticipation of applying for high school rather than an opportunity to encourage young men to associate with the work of the priest as an opening to a priestly vocation. These things most assuredly have nothing in common with the death of Christ on the cross, relived in each Mass and undermine what is most necessary in the life of the praying Church.

We have not been serious as a Church about what we say we believe about the Eucharistic Sacrifice. And we have paid the price. Attendance has fallen as uncatechised Catholics on the margins replace the Mass with sleep, shopping or other more satisfying social events. Young men have dropped out of service on the altar as young women, at such an age much more poised and socially at ease, have taken over their roles. Vestments, sacred vessels, and sanctuaries lack noble beauty. Lectors who have not practiced the reading of the Scriptures prior to Mass leave the people without a proper hearing of the Word. Priests replace prayer with banter and prescribed liturgical gestures are ignored.

The family is the unique school of prayer where the most lasting lessons are learned.

The Christian family is the first place of education in prayer. Based on the sacrament of marriage, the family is the "domestic church" where God's children learn to pray "as the Church" and to persevere in prayer. For young children in particular, daily family prayer is the first witness of the Church's living memory as awakened patiently by the Holy Spirit. (CCC 2685)

Family prayer leads to and flows from the perfect prayer of the Church which is every holy Mass.

At every moment, all over the world, the Body of Christ is at prayer. In churches, chapels, convents and monasteries, with soldiers in the field of battle or with the persecuted in hidden places, the hands of the faithful are raised aloft in union with the heart of the suffering and triumphant Lord. Our liturgy of the Mass is the upraising of the Lord’s hands on the Cross unto death, that He may then rise to give us life. We must never grow weary of a correct and dignified offering of the sacred rites. The Lord God has proved we are worth it with the payment of the most precious cost: His own Life Divine.

Meeting Christ in the Liturgy (See also Catechism of the Catholic Church paragraph number 695.) Publish with permission.

S Hedwig: "I do not cease giving thanks for you"

remembering you in my prayers
-- Eph 1:15-23

Prayer is both a gift of grace and a determined response on our part. It always presupposes effort. The great figures of prayer of the Old Covenant before Christ, as well as the Mother of God, the saints, and he himself, all teach us this: prayer is a battle. Against whom? Against ourselves and against the wiles of the tempter who does all he can to turn man away from prayer, away from union with God. We pray as we live, because we live as we pray. If we do not want to act habitually according to the Spirit of Christ, neither can we pray habitually in his name. The "spiritual battle" of the Christian's new life is inseparable from the battle of prayer.
-- CCC 2725

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

S Edward the Confessor: "Blessed the man who follows not the counsel of the wicked"

Nor walks in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the company of the insolent,
But delights in the law of the LORD
and meditates on his law day and night.
-- Ps 1

The duty of obedience requires all to give due honor to authority and to treat those who are charged to exercise it with respect, and, insofar as it is deserved, with gratitude and good-will.

Pope St. Clement of Rome provides the Church's most ancient prayer for political authorities: "Grant to them, Lord, health, peace, concord, and stability, so that they may exercise without offense the sovereignty that you have given them. Master, heavenly King of the ages, you give glory, honor, and power over the things of earth to the sons of men. Direct, Lord, their counsel, following what is pleasing and acceptable in your sight, so that by exercising with devotion and in peace and gentleness the power that you have given to them, they may find favor with you."
-- CCC 1900

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

S Wilfrid: "for freedom Christ set us free"

so stand firm and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery
-- Gal 5:1-6

1221 But above all, the crossing of the Red Sea, literally the liberation of Israel from the slavery of Egypt, announces the liberation wrought by Baptism:
You freed the children of Abraham from the slavery of Pharaoh,
bringing them dry-shod through the waters of the Red Sea,
to be an image of the people set free in Baptism.
-- CCC 1221

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Sunday 28C: "give glory to God"

2 Kings 5, 14-17; Psalm 98, 1.2-3.3-4; 2 Timothy 2, 8-13; Gospel: St. Luke 17. 11-19

Jesus cures ten, but only one returns to give thanks. "Were not all ten made clean? The other nine, where are they? No one, it seems, has come back to give glory to God but this foreigner." Perhaps this percentage of thankfulness continues among God's children today. All have abundant and infinite reason to give thanks yet very few turn to the Lord with words and hearts expressive of gratitude.

The teaching of Christ here is not about the healing of the flesh; it is of a far greater and more precious gift: the grace of God by faith in Christ Jesus. God's gift of faith in the Son of Man is poured out freely for all, regardless of race, language, or place. The working of his grace is seen here in the gratitude of the Samaritan. He who was thought to be socially repulsive, and an outcast even before he contracted leprosy, shows the dignity of faith in returning to give thanks to Christ. "Rise, and go your way, your faith has saved you."
How often do our prayers turn to the theme of thanksgiving to God? Does our concern for present needs and wants cloud our remembrance of past gifts and blessings? Do we forget that all we have and are is "gift" - what then should be our response to the Giver?

Giving thanks is at the heart, and gives its name to, the most important act of the Church: the offering of the holy Eucharist in the sacrifice of the Mass.

"Thanksgiving characterizes the prayer of the Church which, in celebrating the Eucharist, reveals and becomes more fully what she is. Indeed, in the work of salvation, Christ sets creation free from sin and death to consecrate it anew and make it return to the Father, for his glory. The thanksgiving of the members of the Body participates in that of their Head." (CCC 2637)

The Scriptures are our model of prayer and illustrate for us the many reasons and occasions on which we can and should render thanks to God "from whom all blessings flow."

"As in the prayer of petition, every event and need can become an offering of thanksgiving. The letters of St. Paul often begin and end with thanksgiving, and the Lord Jesus is always present in it: 'Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you'; 'Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.' (1 Thess 5:18; Col 4:2)" (CCC 2638)

Refusal to thank another may imply one deserves the gift. Entitlement is an illusion to which all humans can fall prey. This dishonors the generosity and virtue of the giver and shows sinful pride in the receiver. Failure to thank God makes the creature equal to the Creator. Reality is distorted and pride reaches even greater heights: the finite pretends to infinity.

Pride is to be shunned by the baptized believer as a sin against divine love which puts salvation at risk if unrepented.

"One can sin against God's love in various ways:

"- indifference neglects or refuses to reflect on divine charity; it fails to consider its prevenient goodness and denies its power.
"- ingratitude fails or refuses to acknowledge divine charity and to return him love for love.
"- lukewarmness is hesitation or negligence in responding to divine love; it can imply refusal to give oneself over to the prompting of charity.
"- acedia or spiritual sloth goes so far as to refuse the joy that comes from God and to be repelled by divine goodness.
"- hatred of God comes from pride. It is contrary to love of God, whose goodness it denies, and whom it presumes to curse as the one who forbids sins and inflicts punishments."
(CCC 2094)

Thankfulness is a necessary component and expression of our love for God who has loved us in Christ to His death on the Cross. What can we do but give thanks every day to God who has put to death our death by the death of His own Son and, by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, given us a share in His own life which never ends? If we open our hearts and minds to this perspective of faith, how could we fail to begin and end every prayer and offering in heartfelt and loving thanks to our heavenly Father? (Publish with permission. )

Friday, October 8, 2010

Friday, 27C: "those who have faith are blessed"

For all who depend on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, "Cursed be everyone who does not persevere in doing all the things written in the book of the law."
And that no one is justified before God by the law is clear, for "the one who is righteous by faith will live."
--- Gal 3:7-14

The perfect fulfillment of the Law could be the work of none but the divine legislator, born subject to the Law in the person of the Son. In Jesus, the Law no longer appears engraved on tables of stone but "upon the heart" of the Servant who becomes "a covenant to the people", because he will "faithfully bring forth justice". Jesus fulfills the Law to the point of taking upon himself "the curse of the Law" incurred by those who do not "abide by the things written in the book of the Law, and do them", for his death took place to redeem them "from the transgressions under the first covenant".
-- CCC 580

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Sunday, 27C. "Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving": the obligations of servanthood are the door to the love of God's friendship

"... do not be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord"
-- 2 Tm 1:6-8, 13-14

"Participation in the communal celebration of the Sunday Eucharist is a testimony of belonging and of being faithful to Christ and to his Church. The faithful give witness by this to their communion in faith and charity. Together they testify to God's holiness and their hope of salvation. They strengthen one another under the guidance of the Holy Spirit."
-- CCC 2182

" 'Sunday . . . is to be observed as the foremost holy day of obligation in the universal Church' (CIC, can. 1246 § 1). 'On Sundays and other holy days of obligation the faithful are bound to participate in the Mass' (CIC, can. 1247)."
-- CCC 2192

"The first precept ('You shall attend Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation and rest from servile labor') requires the faithful to sanctify the day commemorating the Resurrection of the Lord as well as the principal liturgical feasts honoring the Mysteries of the Lord, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the saints; in the first place, by participating in the Eucharistic celebration, in which the Christian community is gathered, and by resting from those works and activities which could impede such a sanctification of these days.

"The second precept ('You shall confess your sins at least once a year') ensures preparation for the Eucharist by the reception of the sacrament of reconciliation, which continues Baptism's work of conversion and forgiveness.

"The third precept ('You shall receive the sacrament of the Eucharist at least during the Easter season') guarantees as a minimum the reception of the Lord's Body and Blood in connection with the Paschal feasts, the origin and center of the Christian liturgy."

-- CCC 2042

" 'We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do.' "
-- Lk 17:5-10

"The affirmations of Sacred Scripture and the teachings of the Church on the subject of hell are a call to the responsibility incumbent upon man to make use of his freedom in view of his eternal destiny. They are at the same time an urgent call to conversion: 'Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few.'

"Since we know neither the day nor the hour, we should follow the advice of the Lord and watch constantly so that, when the single course of our earthly life is completed, we may merit to enter with him into the marriage feast and be numbered among the blessed, and not, like the wicked and slothful servants, be ordered to depart into the eternal fire, into the outer darkness where 'men will weep and gnash their teeth.' "
-- CCC 1036

"Faith in God's love encompasses the call and the obligation to respond with sincere love to divine charity. The first commandment enjoins us to love God above everything and all creatures for him and because of him."
-- CCC 2093

Friday, October 1, 2010

Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus, virgin and doctor of the Church: “The harvest is abundant"

... but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.
-- Lk 10:1-12

The origin and purpose of mission. The Lord's missionary mandate is ultimately grounded in the eternal love of the Most Holy Trinity: "The Church on earth is by her nature missionary since, according to the plan of the Father, she has as her origin the mission of the Son and the Holy Spirit." The ultimate purpose of mission is none other than to make men share in the communion between the Father and the Son in their Spirit of love.
-- CCC 850

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