Saturday, April 30, 2011

Saturday in the Octave of Easter: "they did not believe"

When they heard that he was alive and had been seen by her

Given all these testimonies, Christ's Resurrection cannot be interpreted as something outside the physical order, and it is impossible not to acknowledge it as an historical fact. It is clear from the facts that the disciples' faith was drastically put to the test by their master's Passion and death on the cross, which he had foretold. The shock provoked by the Passion was so great that at least some of the disciples did not at once believe in the news of the Resurrection. Far from showing us a community seized by a mystical exaltation, the Gospels present us with disciples demoralized ("looking sad") and frightened. For they had not believed the holy women returning from the tomb and had regarded their words as an "idle tale". When Jesus reveals himself to the Eleven on Easter evening, "he upbraided them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen."
-- CCC 643

Friday, April 29, 2011

Friday in the Octave of Easter: “Children, have you caught anything to eat?”

“Come, have breakfast.”

By means of touch and the sharing of a meal, the risen Jesus establishes direct contact with his disciples. He invites them in this way to recognize that he is not a ghost and above all to verify that the risen body in which he appears to them is the same body that had been tortured and crucified, for it still bears the traces of his Passion. Yet at the same time this authentic, real body possesses the new properties of a glorious body: not limited by space and time but able to be present how and when he wills; for Christ's humanity can no longer be confined to earth, and belongs henceforth only to the Father's divine realm. For this reason too the risen Jesus enjoys the sovereign freedom of appearing as he wishes: in the guise of a gardener or in other forms familiar to his disciples, precisely to awaken their faith.
-- CCC 645

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Thursday in the Octave of Easter: "Touch me and see"

a ghost does not have flesh and bones
as you can see I have.
--Lk 24:35-48

Even when faced with the reality of the risen Jesus the disciples are still doubtful, so impossible did the thing seem: they thought they were seeing a ghost. "In their joy they were still disbelieving and still wondering." Thomas will also experience the test of doubt and St. Matthew relates that during the risen Lord's last appearance in Galilee "some doubted." Therefore the hypothesis that the Resurrection was produced by the apostles' faith (or credulity) will not hold up. On the contrary their faith in the Resurrection was born, under the action of divine grace, from their direct experience of the reality of the risen Jesus.
-- CCC 644

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter Vigil: "O Night truly blessed"

O truly blessed Night, sings the Exsultet of the Easter Vigil, which alone deserved to know the time and the hour when Christ rose from the realm of the dead! But no one was an eyewitness to Christ's Resurrection and no evangelist describes it. No one can say how it came about physically. Still less was its innermost essence, his passing over to another life, perceptible to the senses. Although the Resurrection was an historical event that could be verified by the sign of the empty tomb and by the reality of the apostles' encounters with the risen Christ, still it remains at the very heart of the mystery of faith as something that transcends and surpasses history. This is why the risen Christ does not reveal himself to the world, but to his disciples, "to those who came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are now his witnesses to the people."
-- CCC 647


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Wednesday of Holy Week: "I am not disgraced"

... the Lord GOD is my help
-- Is 50:4-9a

"This bath is called enlightenment, because those who receive this [catechetical] instruction are enlightened in their understanding . . . ." Having received in Baptism the Word, "the true light that enlightens every man," the person baptized has been "enlightened," he becomes a "son of light," indeed, he becomes "light" himself:
Baptism is God's most beautiful and magnificent gift. . . .We call it gift, grace, anointing, enlightenment, garment of immortality, bath of rebirth, seal, and most precious gift. It is called gift because it is conferred on those who bring nothing of their own; grace since it is given even to the guilty; Baptism because sin is buried in the water; anointing for it is priestly and royal as are those who are anointed; enlightenment because it radiates light; clothing since it veils our shame; bath because it washes; and seal as it is our guard and the sign of God's Lordship.
-- CCC 1216

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Tuesday of Holy Week: "I will make you a light to the nations"

... that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.
-- Is 49:1-6

The diverse liturgical traditions have arisen by very reason of the Church's mission. Churches of the same geographical and cultural area came to celebrate the mystery of Christ through particular expressions characterized by the culture: in the tradition of the "deposit of faith," in liturgical symbolism, in the organization of fraternal communion, in the theological understanding of the mysteries, and in various forms of holiness. Through the liturgical life of a local church, Christ, the light and salvation of all peoples, is made manifest to the particular people and culture to which that Church is sent and in which she is rooted. The Church is catholic, capable of integrating into her unity, while purifying them, all the authentic riches of cultures.
-- CCC 1202

Monday, April 18, 2011

Monday of Holy Week: "Here is my servant"

I, the LORD, have called you for the victory of justice
-- Is 42:1-7

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, April 16, 2011

Palm Sunday 2011 "Your will be done": the God-Man gives Himself on the Cross in commitment greater than which cannot be imagined

"Father, not as I will, but as you will".

We live in a society that glorifies a lack of commitment. You might even say that there is an epidemic of commitment-phobia. The ideal life is one, we are told, in which all options remain open to us at all times despite any promises or choices we may have made in the past.

By necessity every choice we make eliminates other choices. I cannot stay up all night playing video games on Saturday and then get up refreshed and happy to attend holy Mass on Sunday in obedience to the commandment of God that thus I might remain in a state of grace. I cannot ask the person who is speaking to me to believe I am listening if I am texting while she talks. I cannot invest in real relationships if I spend my free time in the virtual world of the internet where I cannot even be sure someone has read my latest post on Facebook.

I cannot sign up for Sunday sports programs and at the same time present myself as a Catholic Christian for whom the laws of God come first, and with them an open-ended lifetime commitment to keeping the Lord's Day holy by attendance at Mass on Sundays or on Saturday evenings for reasonable convenience. I cannot present myself as a public person in the church, taking leadership roles in the celebration of the liturgy, for example, and then pick and choose when I will join the Catholic community for worship, making myself God's equal because I have decided upon my own laws which conflict with those of God when my convenience or caprice comes first.

And so upon reflection we can easily see that it is simply a matter of reason that some choices by necessity eliminate the possibility of other choices. Why, then, is it so often said, boastingly, "Well, I'm a Catholic but I decide what I will believe and what I will do."

In our gospel for this Palm Sunday, however, we are presented with the true example of what it means for the human person to "choose" something. Jesus Christ chooses to love His Father God. God is good and God is love. This means that, no matter how difficult or contrary to what Jesus might think of love, such as sparing Himself the horror of dying the bloody and shameful death on the Cross, Christ chooses to do what His Father asks Him to do. And not only that, Jesus wills to do, desires to do, what His Father asks of Him. This is because Jesus loves the Father and that is the definition of love: to not only do what is asked but also to love doing what is asked for the love of the one who asks that thing of us.

What kind of a world would we live in if every human being took out the trash, swept the floor, cooked the dinner, went to work each day, changed a diaper, fed the poor, talked to someone they didn't like, loved someone who hates them and loved doing it? And, even more stupendous, loved doing all these things and more not for their own sakes but for the sake of the other whom they serve as a privilege and not merely as a duty? It would be the kind of world in which everywhere around us we would see signs of God and signs of His love in the way that Christ showed love of His Father on the holy Cross.

"Father, thy will be done." Jesus Christ is the perfect example of love because He is the perfect example of commitment. Choosing the will of the Father means at the same time persevering in the lifelong rejection of everything that is incompatible with or contrary to the Father's holy will.

The Son, in order to choose the will of His Father, must reject everything else possible to him, including the very preservation of His own life, in the total sacrifice of Himself upon the Cross. This is the commitment greater than which it is not possible to imagine. This is the commitment which serves as the example and model for every other commitment and, in particular, the commitment of the Christian life to which we as Catholics were dedicated on our day of baptism and for which we renew our promises every time we recite the Creed each Sunday and also about which we pray in the "Our Father".

"The first series of petitions carries us toward him, for his own sake: thy name, thy kingdom, thy will! It is characteristic of love to think first of the one whom we love. In none of the three petitions do we mention ourselves; the burning desire, even anguish, of the beloved Son for his Father's glory seizes us: 'hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done. . . . ' These three supplications were already answered in the saving sacrifice of Christ, but they are henceforth directed in hope toward their final fulfillment, for God is not yet all in all." (CCC 2804)

To "think first of the one whom we love" is also to think first of doing as asked by the one we love even if it means a kind of death for ourselves in the rejection of our own will and our own desires. It also means rejection of the lie that we can choose some things which do not by necessity at the same time make certain other choices unavailable to us.

The murder of Christ reminds us, by negative example, that we must be committed to life. God's command, "Thou shalt not kill" is absolute. There is no possibility of choosing murder for those who say they love God.

It is very common today, for example, for some to believe they can be at the same time a Catholic Christian and yet vote for candidates who, and laws that, violate the sacredness of human life by promoting and funding abortion, abortifacient contraception and embryonic stem cell research. Some have forgotten that it is God who founded the Church and it is for that reason the Church must teach, as God does, that never under any circumstances is it possible to choose finances, the economy, research, personal convenience or any other thing in preference to the sacredness of every human life. "Do not kill" means precisely that: do not ever willingly choose to take another human life. Abortion, abortifacient contraception such as the pill, and stem cell research make just this choice.

We cannot be Catholic and pro-abortion. We must commit either to the one or to the other. And if we receive communion after sinning against the sacredness of life we commit a sacrilege for the reason that this and every mortal sin must be forgiven in the sacrament of Confession before returning to sacramental Communion. Communion builds up the life of grace for a person in a state of grace after Baptism. Confession restores to the repentant soul a state of grace after serious, or mortal, sin.

On this Palm Sunday, when we commemorate liturgically with love the death of the Lord, we commend ourselves to Mary our Mother, the Mother of the Crucified One, asking her to help us to be obedient to the will of the Father as was her Son unto death so that we, like her Son, might share in the Father's life and love unending.

"Pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death: By asking Mary to pray for us, we acknowledge ourselves to be poor sinners and we address ourselves to the 'Mother of Mercy,' the All-Holy One. We give ourselves over to her now, in the Today of our lives. And our trust broadens further, already at the present moment, to surrender 'the hour of our death' wholly to her care. May she be there as she was at her son's death on the cross. May she welcome us as our mother at the hour of our passing to lead us to her son, Jesus, in paradise. (CCC 2677)


Philip Hermogenes Calderon, Lord, Thy Will Be Done, 1855

Saturday, Lent V: "Jesus was going to die"

to gather into one the dispersed children of God
-- Jn 11:45-56

The religious authorities in Jerusalem were not unanimous about what stance to take towards Jesus. The Pharisees threatened to excommunicate his followers. To those who feared that "everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and destroy both our holy place and our nation", the high priest Caiaphas replied by prophesying: "It is expedient for you that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation should not perish." The Sanhedrin, having declared Jesus deserving of death as a blasphemer but having lost the right to put anyone to death, hands him over to the Romans, accusing him of political revolt, a charge that puts him in the same category as Barabbas who had been accused of sedition. The chief priests also threatened Pilate politically so that he would condemn Jesus to death.
-- CCC 596

Friday, April 15, 2011

Friday, Lent V: "the Father is in me"

believe the works, so that you may realize and understand
-- Jn 10:31-42

Jesus asked the religious authorities of Jerusalem to believe in him because of the Father's works which he accomplished. But such an act of faith must go through a mysterious death to self, for a new "birth from above" under the influence of divine grace. Such a demand for conversion in the face of so surprising a fulfillment of the promises allows one to understand the Sanhedrin's tragic misunderstanding of Jesus: they judged that he deserved the death sentence as a blasphemer. The members of the Sanhedrin were thus acting at the same time out of "ignorance" and the "hardness" of their "unbelief".
-- CCC 591

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Thursday, Lent V: "whoever keeps my Word"

... will never see death

At once virgin and mother, Mary is the symbol and the most perfect realization of the Church: "the Church indeed. . . by receiving the word of God in faith becomes herself a mother. By preaching and Baptism she brings forth sons, who are conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of God, to a new and immortal life. She herself is a virgin, who keeps in its entirety and purity the faith she pledged to her spouse."
-- CCC 507

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Wednesday, Lent V: "remain in my word"

you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
-- Jn 8:31-42

In Jesus Christ, the whole of God's truth has been made manifest. "Full of grace and truth," he came as the "light of the world," he is the Truth. "Whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness." The disciple of Jesus continues in his word so as to know "the truth [that] will make you free" and that sanctifies. To follow Jesus is to live in "the Spirit of truth," whom the Father sends in his name and who leads "into all the truth." To his disciples Jesus teaches the unconditional love of truth: "Let what you say be simply 'Yes or No.'"
-- CCC 2466

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Tuesday, Lent V: "Patience"

... worn out by the journey, the people complained

From this unshakeable faith springs forth the hope that sustains each of the seven petitions, which express the groanings of the present age, this time of patience and expectation during which "it does not yet appear what we shall be." The Eucharist and the Lord's Prayer look eagerly for the Lord's return, "until he comes."
-- CCC 2772

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

Saturday, April 9, 2011

"I am the Resurrection": the raising of Lazarus a sign of the unique and unrepeatable event of Christ


The most beautiful things in the world, the most wonderful events in our lives are never really new: we have experienced the happy and contented feelings in very similar ways over and over again.

The most wonderful things we can say, such as "I love you" are a repetition: we use the same words each time to express the same emotions for, in many cases, the same people: spouses, parents, children.

Lazarus' resuscitation was greeted with astonishment by all who witnessed it. As wonderful an event as this surely was, as magnificent a display of divine power, it was a repetition: Lazarus was simply restored to the same earthly life he had been deprived of in death.

All of us know well the cycle of repetition: favorite songs that, no matter how many times we listen, remain exactly the same, the people and roles to which we are committed, the cycle of rising, work and play, meals and rest. There is much repetition in the lives of each one of us.

If this is true, why is repetition so often used as a negative critique of the prayer of holy Mass? It turns out that words in this case, no matter how seemingly repetitive, in fact put us in touch with the only new and un-repeatable reality in the world: Jesus Christ Risen. Jesus Christ's victory over the grave is the only new thing the world has ever seen. The power which restored earthly life to Lazarus is not a repetition of something else you or I have experienced before; it is an entirely new and different reality.

All begins with the birth of the Christ who grew up to become the friend of Lazarus.

"The unique and altogether singular event of the Incarnation of the Son of God does not mean that Jesus Christ is part God and part man, nor does it imply that he is the result of a confused mixture of the divine and the human. He became truly man while remaining truly God. Jesus Christ is true God and true man. During the first centuries, the Church had to defend and clarify this truth of faith against the heresies that falsified it." (CCC 464)

Christ Himself prayed to the Father as we do, using the same words as we. He prayed before raising Lazarus.

The second prayer, before the raising of Lazarus, is recorded by St. John. Thanksgiving precedes the event: "Father, I thank you for having heard me," which implies that the Father always hears his petitions. Jesus immediately adds: "I know that you always hear me," which implies that Jesus, on his part, constantly made such petitions. Jesus' prayer, characterized by thanksgiving, reveals to us how to ask: before the gift is given, Jesus commits himself to the One who in giving gives himself. The Giver is more precious than the gift; he is the "treasure"; in him abides his Son's heart; the gift is given "as well."

"The priestly prayer of Jesus holds a unique place in the economy of salvation. A meditation on it will conclude Section One. It reveals the ever present prayer of our High Priest and, at the same time, contains what he teaches us about our prayer to our Father, which will be developed in Section Two." (CCC 2604)
The Father always hears the Son. We have received His Spirit which makes us one with Him. The Father always hears us when we pray the perfect prayer of the Lord Jesus in holy Mass.

If we want more than this world offers, as was given to Lazarus a second time when Christ restored him to earthly existence, we must share in the person of the Son who alone grants access to the life of the Father which never ends.

"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)

True access to the Son and His eternal communion with the Father is shared most fully through the prayer of holy Mass.

"The liturgy is also a participation in Christ's own prayer addressed to the Father in the Holy Spirit. In the liturgy, all Christian prayer finds its source and goal. Through the liturgy the inner man is rooted and grounded in "the great love with which [the Father] loved us" in his beloved Son. It is the same "marvelous work of God" that is lived and internalized by all prayer, "at all times in the Spirit." (CCC 1073)

Art: Caravaggio, Raising of Lazarus

Saturday, Lent IV: “This is the Christ.”

“Never before has anyone spoken like this man.”
-- Jn 7:40-53

The word "Christ" comes from the Greek translation of the Hebrew Messiah, which means "anointed". It became the name proper to Jesus only because he accomplished perfectly the divine mission that "Christ" signifies. In effect, in Israel those consecrated to God for a mission that he gave were anointed in his name. This was the case for kings, for priests and, in rare instances, for prophets. This had to be the case all the more so for the Messiah whom God would send to inaugurate his kingdom definitively. It was necessary that the Messiah be anointed by the Spirit of the Lord at once as king and priest, and also as prophet. Jesus fulfilled the messianic hope of Israel in his threefold office of priest, prophet and king.
-- CCC 436

Friday, April 8, 2011

Friday, Lent IV: "God is his Father"

For if the just one be the son of God, he will defend him
and deliver him from the hand of his foes.

In the last petition, "but deliver us from evil," Christians pray to God with the Church to show forth the victory, already won by Christ, over the "ruler of this world," Satan, the angel personally opposed to God and to his plan of salvation.
-- CCC 2864

Thursday, April 7, 2011

S John Baptist de la Salle: "My child"

... what you heard from me through many witnesses entrust to faithful people
-- 2 Timothy 1:13-14; 2:1-3

The witnesses who have preceded us into the kingdom, especially those whom the Church recognizes as saints, share in the living tradition of prayer by the example of their lives, the transmission of their writings, and their prayer today. They contemplate God, praise him and constantly care for those whom they have left on earth. When they entered into the joy of their Master, they were "put in charge of many things." Their intercession is their most exalted service to God's plan. We can and should ask them to intercede for us and for the whole world.
-- CCC 2683

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Wednesday, Lent IV: "He also called God his own father"

making himself equal to God

Jesus revealed that God is Father in an unheard-of sense: He is Father not only in being Creator; he is eternally Father in relation to his only Son, who is eternally Son only in relation to his Father: "No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him."
-- CCC 240

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Tuesday, Lent IV: "I saw water"

trickling from the right side

In his Passover Christ opened to all men the fountain of Baptism. He had already spoken of his Passion, which he was about to suffer in Jerusalem, as a "Baptism" with which he had to be baptized. The blood and water that flowed from the pierced side of the crucified Jesus are types of Baptism and the Eucharist, the sacraments of new life. From then on, it is possible "to be born of water and the Spirit" in order to enter the Kingdom of God.
See where you are baptized, see where Baptism comes from, if not from the cross of Christ, from his death. There is the whole mystery: he died for you. In him you are redeemed, in him you are saved.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Monday, Lent IV: "there shall always be rejoicing"

For I create Jerusalem to be a joy
and its people to be a delight

The practice of goodness is accompanied by spontaneous spiritual joy and moral beauty. Likewise, truth carries with it the joy and splendor of spiritual beauty. Truth is beautiful in itself. Truth in words, the rational expression of the knowledge of created and uncreated reality, is necessary to man, who is endowed with intellect. But truth can also find other complementary forms of human expression, above all when it is a matter of evoking what is beyond words: the depths of the human heart, the exaltations of the soul, the mystery of God. Even before revealing himself to man in words of truth, God reveals himself to him through the universal language of creation, the work of his Word, of his wisdom: the order and harmony of the cosmos-which both the child and the scientist discover-"from the greatness and beauty of created things comes a corresponding perception of their Creator," "for the author of beauty created them."

[Wisdom] is a breath of the power of God, and a pure emanation of the glory of the Almighty; therefore nothing defiled gains entrance into her. For she is a reflection of eternal light, a spotless mirror of the working of God, and an image of his goodness. For [wisdom] is more beautiful than the sun, and excels every constellation of the stars. Compared with the light she is found to be superior, for it is succeeded by the night, but against wisdom evil does not prevail. I became enamored of her beauty.
-- CCC 2500

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Laetare Sunday: He rose, giving Himself for mercy, and we rejoice

Some years ago, now a period of more than two generations, an earthquake rattled the 2000-year-old edifice of the Church. Some called this ground-shaking experience the "spirit of Vatican II" and others called it a very risky business, involving as it did in many places the sweeping away of many traditions and customs in the Church, like a tsunami which leaves the earth bare, denuded and unrecognizable to those who once called it home.

One of the customs that some thought it necessary to eliminate was the Church's expression of joy on this day which we call Laetare, or "Rejoice", Sunday in the use of rose-colored vestments, more elaborate music and flowers in the midst of the liturgical desert of Lent, bereft as it is of Alleluias and Glorias. Often, young priests found themselves in conflict with an older generation if they wished to explore the potential of this and other customs that help to explain and to make more tangible the mysteries of our Faith. Now this custom is reappearing in many places, embraced anew by a younger generation who are joyfully discovering for themselves the riches of our holy Faith.

Thankfully, many of these generational conflicts are now a thing of the past and there is more concern about crucial issues: how to bring lapsed and alienated Catholics back into the fold through the New Evangelization, how to encourage families to use the sacraments properly, attending Mass on Sundays and celebrating confession for the forgiveness of mortal sins before reception of the Eucharist, for example. There are new movements in the Church that are very effective in promoting and safeguarding the sacrament of marriage and a plethora of orthodox programs to attract our young people to more deeply and authentically living and celebrating our Faith.

Which brings us to right here and right now. We are a people who celebrate, who have cause for rejoicing even in Lent. Every Sunday throughout the year is a little Easter and we remember this fact more powerfully today.

In only three weeks we will make this ancient cry of joy in the Church our own once again: "This is the day which the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it"

"Jesus rose from the dead 'on the first day of the week.' Because it is the 'first day,' the day of Christ's Resurrection recalls the first creation. Because it is the "eighth day" following the sabbath, it symbolizes the new creation ushered in by Christ's Resurrection. For Christians it has become the first of all days, the first of all feasts, the Lord's Day (he kuriake hemera, dies dominica) Sunday: "We all gather on the day of the sun, for it is the first day [after the Jewish sabbath, but also the first day] when God, separating matter from darkness, made the world; and on this same day Jesus Christ our Savior rose from the dead." (CCC 2174)

Some of us might be lagging a little bit in our Lenten journey of fast, abstinence and almsgiving at this point of the fourth Sunday in our forty-day observance. As with any journey, it is the goal we seek which makes all of the suffering worthwhile along the way. I recently ran in the National Marathon. I am unable to count the number of times during that often painful trek that I thought of and imagined in my mind what the finish line must look like, where my parents had promised they would be waiting for me. I did reach that goal, and the hugs I received from my mother and father were among the most beautiful I can remember in my life.

All of us have been given the Faith so that the goal of life eternal will be real and tangible for us. We touch the goal every time we receive Christ worthily and lovingly in the Eucharist, every time we fully and honestly confess our mortal sins in confession, every time we reach out in love, without judgment and with compassion, to the others that God has placed in our lives.

" 'Let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice.' Although man can forget God or reject him, He never ceases to call every man to seek him, so as to find life and happiness. But this search for God demands of man every effort of intellect, a sound will, 'an upright heart', as well as the witness of others who teach him to seek God.
"You are great, O Lord, and greatly to be praised: great is your power and your wisdom is without measure. And man, so small a part of your creation, wants to praise you: this man, though clothed with mortality and bearing the evidence of sin and the proof that you withstand the proud. Despite everything, man, though but a small a part of your creation, wants to praise you. You yourself encourage him to delight in your praise, for you have made us for yourself, and our heart is restless until it rests in you. (St Augustine) (CCC 30)

Jesus rose. We remember Him in this way every Sunday, as we do today through the bright rose color which the Church wears in the midst of penitential violet in the Lenten season. He truly goes before us to show us the way and promises us a share in His life eternal which we touch and which we receive already through His holy Church in Word and sacrament.

Jesus gives Himself for mercy. He "for-gives" us each time we approach Him in sorrow, he gives Himself back to we who have rejected Him in the evil we have done through the sacrament which restores the joy of our youth and enables us to approach His holy altar, receiving Communion worthily, attentively and devoutly.

And we "re-joy", we receive in Christ once again the gift of joy because through this inestimable gift of the holy Mass we are able to give ourselves to Him in love who first gave Himself for us.

He rose, giving Himself for mercy, and we rejoice.


S Francis of Paola: "he will raise us up"

to live in his presence.
-- Hos 6:1-6

Christ will raise us up "on the last day"; but it is also true that, in a certain way, we have already risen with Christ. For, by virtue of the Holy Spirit, Christian life is already now on earth a participation in the death and Resurrection of Christ:

And you were buried with him in Baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead. . . . If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.
-- CCC 1002

Friday, April 1, 2011

Friday, Lent III: "You shall love the Lord"

to love him with all your heart,
with all your understanding,
with all your strength,
and to love your neighbor as yourself
is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.

By charity, we love God above all things and our neighbor as ourselves for love of God. Charity, the form of all the virtues, "binds everything together in perfect harmony" (Col 3:14).
-- CCC 1844