Saturday, January 26, 2013

Ss. Timothy and Titus: "to Timothy, my dear child"

stir into flame the gift of God that you have through the imposition of my hands.
-- 2 Tm 1:1-8

Thus the risen Christ, by giving the Holy Spirit to the apostles, entrusted to them his power of sanctifying: they became sacramental signs of Christ. By the power of the same Holy Spirit they entrusted this power to their successors. This "apostolic succession" structures the whole liturgical life of the Church and is itself sacramental, handed on by the sacrament of Holy Orders.

-- CCC 1087

Art: St. Timothy, 5th century, Fresco, Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls, Roma

Friday, January 25, 2013

Conversion of Saint Paul: "I persecuted this Way"

‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’
I replied, ‘Who are you, sir?’
And he said to me,
‘I am Jesus the Nazorean whom you are persecuting.’

-- Acts 22:3-16

As St. Paul affirms, "Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more." But to do its work grace must uncover sin so as to convert our hearts and bestow on us "righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." Like a physician who probes the wound before treating it, God, by his Word and by his Spirit, casts a living light on sin:

Conversion requires convincing of sin; it includes the interior judgment of conscience, and this, being a proof of the action of the Spirit of truth in man's inmost being, becomes at the same time the start of a new grant of grace and love: "Receive the Holy Spirit." Thus in this "convincing concerning sin" we discover a double gift: the gift of the truth of conscience and the gift of the certainty of redemption. The Spirit of truth is the Consoler.

-- CCC 1848
Art: Caravaggio, The Conversion of Saint Paul

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Patronal Feast of Saint Francis de Sales: Sanctity in Christ fulfills the gift of human life

With every breath we take we enjoy the gift of life. With every breath He bestows, God invites us to the fulness of life in heaven through personal holiness in Christ. "This poor life is only a journey to the happy life to come" as Saint Francis de Sales, our parish patron reminds us.

On this occasion we celebrate the way in which our patron, Saint Francis, used his gift of life to the fullest by pursuing his vocation to holiness as we observe his memorial on the Sunday closest to his feast day of January 24th. We also observe the March for Life on Friday, January 25th, when Catholics, other Christians and men and women of good will witness together by marching in Washington and numerous other places all over this nation on the anniversary of the legalization of murder of the unborn through the Roe v. Wade decision of 1973.

Respect and love for the right to life of every human being is a requirement of the law of Christ and necessary for our salvation.

"Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person - among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life.

'Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you.'
'My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately wrought in the depths of the earth.' " (CCC2270)
These themes come together for us as we ponder the gift of human life, acknowledge God as the Giver, and seek through Christ to understand the beauty of this gift and the ways in which we grow in the life and love of Christ through holiness of life.

Our parish "is named for a man who lived more than 400 years ago, but whose lessons are still timely and practical for today's world. St. Francis de Sales is admired throughout the Church for his great sanctity, learning, missionary zeal, gentleness, and understanding of the human heart. Scholar, writer, pastor, spiritual guide for souls, diplomat, bishop, and Doctor of the Church, he is best described as a Christian Humanist, a potent spiritual force for creating a spirituality admirably suited to those in every walk of life, especially the laity, the common person. No one could have imagined at the time of his death that the wisdom and teachings of this amazing human being would live on to touch the lives of countless people today. Known as "The Gentleman Saint," his spirit of optimism, hope, freedom and confidence in God's love prompts others to please God by doing everything - big or small enthusiastically and well." (Source: DeSales University)

The human heart, emblematic of the gift of life, beats in the chest of every human person. The ways of the heart, then, can teach us love and compassion for every human person. Understanding that heart gave Saint Francis de Sales a wisdom which enabled him to live his vocation as priest and bishop to a heroic degree. He gave of himself for others as he sought to understand them in order to both love them and serve their salvation by preaching the Faith and helping others to love it and live it in all walks of life.

Many of us locally will March for Life in Washington, DC, on Friday for others who cannot yet do anything for themselves because their hearts still beat within the wombs of their mothers. These unborn boys and girls have no one to speak for them and depend entirely upon us, we who walk in the footsteps of Saint Francis de Sales and all the saints, those who loved and served the least among us according to the teachings of Christ. And there is no one who can better be described as "least" among us than the unborn boy or girl.

With the recent "imperial edict" handed down from Washington, which gives Catholics a year to prepare to violate their consciences in regard to funding abortion, contraception and sterilization in health insurance plans, the cause for human life affects us all in a more urgent way. Our religious freedom, the God-given right to do what is right and good at all times according to our consciences formed by the truth, is under attack like never before.

As we walk the path of our life let us pray and fast for and serve the cause of all who are the last and least or our brethren whatever our vocation in Christ. In this way the breath we take and the actions we make will both serve our vocation to holiness and our salvation in imitation of Saint Francis de Sales, our holy patron, and the good of all of our brothers and sisters, both those known and unknown to us.

Praise be Jesus Christ, now and forever. Amen.


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Wednesday, Wk 2: "You are a priest forever"

“Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath rather than to do evil,
to save life rather than to destroy it?”
It is in keeping with the very meaning of the Eucharist that the faithful, if they have the required dispositions, receive communion when they participate in the Mass. As the Second Vatican Council says: "That more perfect form of participation in the Mass whereby the faithful, after the priest's communion, receive the Lord's Body from the same sacrifice, is warmly recommended."
-- CCC 1388


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children: "continuing to serve the holy ones"

God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love you have demonstrated for his name
-- Heb 6:
By a discernment according to the Spirit, Christians have to distinguish between the growth of the Reign of God and the progress of the culture and society in which they are involved. This distinction is not a separation. Man's vocation to eternal life does not suppress, but actually reinforces, his duty to put into action in this world the energies and means received from the Creator to serve justice and peace.
-- CCC 2820

Friday, January 18, 2013

Friday, Week 1: "Let us be on our guard"

Therefore, let us strive to enter into that rest,
so that no one may fall after the same example of disobedience.

Those Christians who have leisure should be mindful of their brethren who have the same needs and the same rights, yet cannot rest from work because of poverty and misery. Sunday is traditionally consecrated by Christian piety to good works and humble service of the sick, the infirm, and the elderly. Christians will also sanctify Sunday by devoting time and care to their families and relatives, often difficult to do on other days of the week. Sunday is a time for reflection, silence, cultivation of the mind, and meditation which furthers the growth of the Christian interior life.
-- CCC 2186 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

S Anthony, abbot: "you can make me clean"

“I do will it. Be made clean.”--

Going even further, Jesus perfects the dietary law, so important in Jewish daily life, by revealing its pedagogical meaning through a divine interpretation: "Whatever goes into a man from outside cannot defile him. . . (Thus he declared all foods clean.). . . What comes out of a man is what defiles a man. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts. . ." In presenting with divine authority the definitive interpretation of the Law, Jesus found himself confronted by certain teachers of the Law who did not accept his interpretation of the Law, guaranteed though it was by the divine signs that accompanied it. This was the case especially with the sabbath laws, for he recalls, often with rabbinical arguments, that the sabbath rest is not violated by serving God and neighbor, which his own healings did.
-- CCC 582 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Wednesday, Week 1: "the children share in blood and Flesh"

Jesus likewise shared in them -- Heb 2:14-18 Taking up St. John's expression, "The Word became flesh",the Church calls "Incarnation" the fact that the Son of God assumed a human nature in order to accomplish our salvation in it. In a hymn cited by St. Paul, the Church sings the mystery of the Incarnation: Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. -- CCC 461

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Tuesday, Week 1: "he taught them as one having authority"

In their synagogue was a man with an unclean spirit;
he cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth?
Have you come to destroy us?
I know who you are–the Holy One of God!”
Jesus rebuked him and said, “Quiet! Come out of him!”
The unclean spirit convulsed him and with a loud cry came out of him.

-- Mk 1:21-28

1899 The authority required by the moral order derives from God: "Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore he who resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment."

-- CCC 1899