Wednesday, October 31, 2012

"stop bullying"

 ... knowing that both they and you have a Master in heaven and that with him there is no partiality.

Threats to freedom. The exercise of freedom does not imply a right to say or do everything. It is false to maintain that man, "the subject of this freedom," is "an individual who is fully self-sufficient and whose finality is the satisfaction of his own interests in the enjoyment of earthly goods." Moreover, the economic, social, political, and cultural conditions that are needed for a just exercise of freedom are too often disregarded or violated. Such situations of blindness and injustice injure the moral life and involve the strong as well as the weak in the temptation to sin against charity. By deviating from the moral law man violates his own freedom, becomes imprisoned within himself, disrupts neighborly fellowship, and rebels against divine truth.
-- CCC 1740

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

"Live in love"

For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.
-- Eph 5:2a, 25-32

Holy Scripture affirms that man and woman were created for one another: "It is not good that the man should be alone." The woman, "flesh of his flesh," his equal, his nearest in all things, is given to him by God as a "helpmate"; she thus represents God from whom comes our help. "Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh." The Lord himself shows that this signifies an unbreakable union of their two lives by recalling what the plan of the Creator had been "in the beginning": "So they are no longer two, but one flesh."
-- CCC 1605

Tuesday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time

Monday, October 29, 2012

"Be imitators of God"

live in love

-- 1 Eph 4:32-5:8

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 

Monday of the Thirtieth Week of Ordinary Time

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

"... be like servants ... "

Blessed are those servants whom the master finds vigilant ...

The means of social communication (especially the mass media) can give rise to a certain passivity among users, making them less than vigilant consumers of what is said or shown. Users should practice moderation and discipline in their approach to the mass media. They will want to form enlightened and correct consciences the more easily to resist unwholesome influences.
-- CCC 2496

Tuesday, Week 29

Monday, October 22, 2012

Blessed Joun Paul II, Pope

"Be not afraid."

Scripture portrays the tragic consequences of this first disobedience. Adam and Eve immediately lose the grace of original holiness. They become afraid of the God of whom they have conceived a distorted image - that of a God jealous of his prerogatives.
-- CCC 399

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Sunday 29B: "let us hold fast to our confession of faith" through more generous expressions of devotional love

Many families endure the phenomenon of the child or family member who seems to come around only at mealtime, or for laundry or other physical necessities. Some see their children come home unexpectedly after college while facing unavailability of work. This certainly satisfies need for physical sustenance and, although a limited opportunity for interrelationships, is ultimately not enough to satisfy the need for human flourishing.

Why? Because relationships are about love and love is about growth and growth is about not being satisfied with the minimum. Love is about more, not less. In other words, love is generous.

So sooner or later something has to give: eventually persons drift out of relationships because the minimalistic approach is tolerated until it becomes merely an inconvenience to be avoided or the truth is faced and steps are taken to address the dysfunction and matters begin to improve as persons become more generous with their time.

It is true that the Church is a family, the family of God, and the Sacrifice of the Mass is a "meal", though a sacrificial one, and the Mass is the one essential thing: Christ present in Word proclaimed and really, truly and substantially in the Sacrament of the Eucharist.

But it is not the only thing.

In the Gospel the Apostles make demands upon Jesus: "Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you." Their relationship is tending toward the physical, the utilitarian, much like the family member, perhaps a son or daughter, whose actions tend to reduce the relationship with family members to the satisfaction of physical needs only.

Faith is about what God does for us. Faith begins with God's initiative take on our behalf in Jesus Christ who suffered, died and rose again. But it is also about what we do for God: "grace builds on nature". So God redirects our attention to the choices we make, to the way in which our lives are lived in preparation, in readiness for the grace we desire: “Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all.”

Thus, if we desire to have Him moving in our lives we must take the first step so that grace can build on nature: we attend Mass weekly in obedience to the Commandments but more so that we may grow in our relationship.

Holy Mass, although the greatest and necessary gift, remains a kind of "minimum" if considered only in isolation, as the "one thing we have to do every week for our Faith".  Yes, it is in conformity with His command but always while at the same time seeking to grow in our capacity to please God in other ways.

More is needed.

Saint Francis de Sales counsels us: ""Every one of us needs half an hour of prayer each day, except when we are busy; then we need an hour."

1.Daily prayer.
2.Scripture reading / study of teachings (CCC)
3. Service of others in order to see and love Christ in them (family, co-workers, the other in distressing disguise)
4. Seeking more than the minimum: personal prayer through visits to the Blessed Sacrament, daily Mass, stations during Lent, special liturgies such as Corpus Christi procession and May devotions.
5.Regular confession, especially in case of mortal sin before receiving the Eucharist.

“… let us hold fast to our confession … ” with Sunday Mass as the source of our spiritual life throughout the week and the summit toward which all our activities tend (Vatican II, Sacrosanctum Concilium)

“So let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help.”

Wedding Homily 2012

When a child is born the mother and father dream of many things, and one of those is to witness the day their child accepts their vocation with happiness, in the will of God.

Parents of the bride and groom: thank you for saying yes to life. And thank you also for bringing your children up in our holy Catholic, through baptism, education, faithfulness to Sunday Mass and the entirety of Catholic sacramental life. Because of your faithfulness to God’s holy will, we all truly rejoice today that this young man and woman will be united in the sacrament of Holy Matrimony.

And, now to N. and N.: this is your wedding day. Congratulations. Here you are, in the house of God, surrounded by His people: your parents, family and friends. In just a few moments you will go a step beyond anything you have ever known before as you promise yourselves to each other in the sacrament of holy matrimony. It is only fitting that your lives, a sacred gift in God, become now a mutual gift in marriage here in this sacred house of God, Who alone is holy, and in the presence of his holy people.

You have discovered, with God’s help and within your families, that you have been created to love. But you have also learned through trial and error that love cannot be taken or possessed. No, only if love is a free gift is it truly worthy of the name. For that reason you have come today before the Lord on His Cross. Only His free act of self-giving, the only completely selfless gift the world has ever known, is perfect Love.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son.” Why is this? God is love, His very essence is Love, for He is the only one who is able to love simply by being who He is, without receiving love from someone else. His love is without beginning or end because He Himself is the Eternal source of love. Jesus is God Incarnate, and therefore His love is given on the Cross in the total gift of His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in His saving death. That is why you are here today, in the Lord’s house: only here can you truly possess the One who is the source of the love you wish to share now and always. Only in and through Christ can you learn to give love and thus truly receive the love you so ardently desire from one another. Learn well this authentic love from the Lord and your married love will never fail and will not merely satisfy but bring abundant joy.

And so, in just a few moments, by the grace of your baptism, you will consent to the truth about love. You will promise one another that you will strive every day of your married life to imitate the Lord, who teaches the truth about love from the Cross. Here, before God and His people, you will promise your lives, all that you have and are, to one another. You will accept from God the privilege of cooperating with Him in His “will that life should go on”, because you will promise that your love will be fundamentally open to new life. The marital act by which you bodily become one flesh will be a true source of love because you will fearlessly give yourselves to each other as Christ gives on the Cross: completely, without holding anything of yourselves back in a way unworthy of authentic love. Your openness to God's will means that you will accept children lovingly from Him and raise them in our holy Faith. You will promise an exclusive love, because you will be one flesh and thus will belong only to one another all the days of your lives.

To promise today, and every day, to love, honor and cherish. Is this not a stupendous promise to make? Does this not sound as if it is impossible? The world often scorns the idea that man and woman can remain as one through good times and bad, in sickness and in health, until death. And it is true: man and woman cannot do such an awesome thing on their own. No, they need the constant help of the divine source of Love Himself.

And this help you will have, for beginning today you will enjoy the particular graces of the sacrament of holy matrimony. By virtue of the grace of your baptism you will exchange your vows of marriage so that you will depend no longer only upon yourselves, with your poor human love, with your weaknesses and, yes, sadly and tragically also with your sins. No, your confidence and hope will be placed totally in God. In the total gift of Christ, in His Cross and Resurrection, you will have the inexhaustible means of daily growing in grace and more deeply in love. Your covenant love will find its source in God’s covenant love through your regular celebration of the Sunday Eucharist at Mass together with His people. The Body and Blood of Christ in communion will be the means of grace by which you will ever more deeply give yourselves to one another. And the Lord’s own forgiveness in confession will be your perfect source of forgiving one another should you ever need this grace, for this too is love.

Above and beyond all of this, you have been called in Christ to eternal salvation. See in your sacramental love the means of daily praying for, working toward and serving each other’s salvation in Christ. Remain close to the Lord through this life of prayer and service of Him and His people. And never forget that true hope always finds its source in the sure and certain knowledge that we have been called to life with God forever in heaven and thus can find here no lasting city, as beautiful as is this world and all that God has made.

N. and N., you begin well today your life of married love. Continue well each day this love in Christ through His Church and in the sacramental life she offers to you and to all of God’s people. Never fail to generously share with all those around you the abundant joy of knowing God’s love that, through you, He may continue to call the world to salvation only in and through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

S Paul of the Cross: "the mystery was made known to me"

... by revelation

The Paschal mystery of Christ's cross and Resurrection stands at the center of the Good News that the apostles, and the Church following them, are to proclaim to the world. God's saving plan was accomplished "once for all" by the redemptive death of his Son Jesus Christ.
-- CCC 571

Thursday, October 18, 2012

S Luke: "Luke"

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

"It was by the apostolic Tradition that the Church discerned which writings are to be included in the list of the sacred books. This complete list is called the canon of Scripture. It includes 46 books for the Old Testament (45 if we count Jeremiah and Lamentations as one) and 27 for the New. The Old Testament: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings, 1 and 2 Chronicles, Ezra and Nehemiah, Tobit, Judith, Esther, 1 and 2 Maccabees, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, the Song of Songs, the Wisdom of Solomon, Sirach (Ecclesiasticus), Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Baruch, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zachariah and Malachi.

"The New Testament: the Gospels according to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, the Acts of the Apostles, the Letters of St. Paul to the Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, the Letter to the Hebrews, the Letters of James, 1 and 2 Peter, 1, 2 and 3 John, and Jude, and Revelation (the Apocalypse)."

-- CCC 120

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Saint Ignatius of Antioch: "I have made you father"

He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into being what does not exist.
-- Rom 4:13, 16-18

"Christ, sent by the Father, is the source of the Church's whole apostolate"; thus the fruitfulness of apostolate for ordained ministers as well as for lay people clearly depends on their vital union with Christ. In keeping with their vocations, the demands of the times and the various gifts of the Holy Spirit, the apostolate assumes the most varied forms. But charity, drawn from the Eucharist above all, is always "as it were, the soul of the whole apostolate."
-- CCC 864

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Saint Margaret Mary: "Do not be afraid"

... You are worth more than many sparrows.

The hierarchy of creatures is expressed by the order of the "six days", from the less perfect to the more perfect. God loves all his creatures and takes care of each one, even the sparrow. Nevertheless, Jesus said: "You are of more value than many sparrows", or again: "Of how much more value is a man than a sheep!"

Monday, October 15, 2012

Saint Teresa of Jesus: "justified freely by his grace"

... through the redemption in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as an expiation, through faith

Since it belongs to the supernatural order, grace escapes our experience and cannot be known except by faith. We cannot therefore rely on our feelings or our works to conclude that we are justified and saved. However, according to the Lord's words "Thus you will know them by their fruits"- reflection on God's blessings in our life and in the lives of the saints offers us a guarantee that grace is at work in us and spurs us on to an ever greater faith and an attitude of trustful poverty.

A pleasing illustration of this attitude is found in the reply of St. Joan of Arc to a question posed as a trap by her ecclesiastical judges: "Asked if she knew that she was in God's grace, she replied: 'If I am not, may it please God to put me in it; if I am, may it please God to keep me there.'"
-- CCC 2005
Photo: Bernini, The Ecstasy of Saint Teresa, Church of Santa Maria della Vittoria, Roma.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

"He went away sad": conversion to Jesus Christ as the absolute value brings authentic and lasting joy to our lives

"He went away sad."

Many people come to Mass, where Jesus looks upon us with love just as He looked upon the rich young man that we hear about again in today's Gospel reading, and go away sad just as the young man did.  Whether such persons come to Mass once a year at Christmas or at Easter, or once in a while as a convenience, such persons experience the same divided spirit between God and the world as did the rich young man.

We were made to be whole, to be one, to have all of the aspects of our lives integrated in order to be happy, to live lives without the sadness that so many experience today who lack nothing that the world can offer.  Review every area of human achievement: wealth, fame, beauty, talent, and in all of these you will find persons who seem to have all that the world can offer and yet they "go away sad".

Jesus Christ offers Himself as the absolute value of our existence.  And though some look to the prospect of conversion with trepidation, with fear to leave behind the comfort of the familiar, and go away sad as did the rich young man, we are always offered the horizon of faith which truly brings hope with the assurance of God's love.

On October 11 our Holy Father launched the Year of Faith, inviting the whole Church to join together to seek anew the face of Jesus Christ, offered to us as was offered to the young man.  Whether we are baptized and yet uncatechized, Catholics who have ceased practicing their Faith, or Catholics who fail to witness to Jesus Christ in their public lives, causing scandal as happened last week when millions watched as a man who described himself as Catholic voiced support for abortion on demand, all of us are called, invited and loved by God enough to cross the threshold of hope, and enter the "Porta Fidei", the door of faith, into a renewed and reinvigorated life of generous and courageous adherence to Jesus Christ, the absolute value, the supreme treasure who alone can promise eternal life.

Do not "go away sad" today. Or ever. Yes, while Jesus Christ in whom we believe and who is the Way and the Truth and the Life, makes clear that conversion, in light of the absolute value of Him and of His Kingdom, requires detachment from every worldly affiliation or association and can be daunting, we can say "yes" to Him today.

"I prayed, and prudence was given me;
I pleaded, and the spirit of wisdom came to me.

A life of sincere and heartfelt prayer which flows from His loving Words in the Scriptures and substantial Presence in the Eucharist, by which he truly looks upon us with love, seeks Him as its source every time we come together on the Lord's Day.  We can assent with the intellect and the will to His friendship and love through such prayer for wisdom, and promise now to begin to make such changes as detachment requires so that our hope is truly in His promise.  And we will receive:

"a hundred times more now in this present age:
houses and brothers and sisters
and mothers and children and lands,
with persecutions, and eternal life in the age to come."

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Thursday 27: "will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit"

to those who ask him?

The traditional form of petition to the Holy Spirit is to invoke the Father through Christ our Lord to give us the Consoler Spirit. Jesus insists on this petition to be made in his name at the very moment when he promises the gift of the Spirit of Truth. But the simplest and most direct prayer is also traditional, "Come, Holy Spirit," and every liturgical tradition has developed it in antiphons and hymns.
Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and enkindle in them the fire of your love. Heavenly King, Consoler Spirit, Spirit of Truth, present everywhere and filling all things, treasure of all good and source of all life, come dwell in us, cleanse and save us, you who are All Good.
-- CCC 2671

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Wednesday, 27: "Lord, teach us to pray

Father, hallowed be your name

"Pray constantly . . . always and for everything giving thanks in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father." St. Paul adds, "Pray at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance making supplication for all the saints." For "we have not been commanded to work, to keep watch and to fast constantly, but it has been laid down that we are to pray without ceasing." This tireless fervor can come only from love. Against our dullness and laziness, the battle of prayer is that of humble, trusting, and persevering love. This love opens our hearts to three enlightening and life-giving facts of faith about prayer.
-- CCC 2742 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Ss Denis & Companions, Martyrs: "blessed are those"

... who hear the word of God and observe it
-- Lk 11:27-28

When the Church keeps the memorials of martyrs and other saints during the annual cycle, she proclaims the Paschal mystery in those "who have suffered and have been glorified with Christ. She proposes them to the faithful as examples who draw all men to the Father through Christ, and through their merits she begs for God's favors."
-- CCC 1173

Monday, October 8, 2012

Monday 27: "there are some who ... wish to pervert the Gospel of Christ."

if anyone preaches to you a gospel other than the one that you received, let that one be accursed!

In keeping with the Lord's command, the Gospel was handed on in two ways:
- orally "by the apostles who handed on, by the spoken word of their preaching, by the example they gave, by the institutions they established, what they themselves had received - whether from the lips of Christ, from his way of life and his works, or whether they had learned it at the prompting of the Holy Spirit";
- in writing "by those apostles and other men associated with the apostles who, under the inspiration of the same Holy Spirit, committed the message of salvation to writing".
-- CCC 76

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Sunday 27B. "the two of them become one flesh": in Holy Matrimony man and woman are one in love for life

"It is not good for the man to be alone."

We all need some solitude, time to be alone.  But no matter what our vocation all of us need the company of others as a constant reality in our lives.  As a priest I always appreciate and grow to love more and more the horizon of the family, my best friends to this day and the people I will always have in my life as long as it endures.  Any of us can enjoy friendship.  It is one of the most beautiful gifts that God has given us although like all that is good it is also sometimes difficult to keep and to make grow and flourish.  Our family for may of us are the friends that stay with us throughout the changes of life.

There is one kind of friendship, however, that is so important that it is unique: the love between man and woman.  Man and woman in marriage stand apart from all other possible relationships because only these two are capable, with the sincere mutual gift of themselves, of becoming "one flesh".

"Holy Scripture affirms that man and woman were created for one another: "It is not good that the man should be alone." The woman, "flesh of his flesh," his equal, his nearest in all things, is given to him by God as a "helpmate"; she thus represents God from whom comes our help. "Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh." The Lord himself shows that this signifies an unbreakable union of their two lives by recalling what the plan of the Creator had been "in the beginning": "So they are no longer two, but one flesh." (CCC 1605)

No other relationship is capable, obviously under the right conditions, of bringing forth new lives.  Man and woman are capable, unlike other relationships, of becoming "one flesh", of enjoying a union of love so powerful as to cooperate with God in creation, to "co-create" with Him.

"Each of the two sexes is an image of the power and tenderness of God, with equal dignity though in a different way. The union of man and woman in marriage is a way of imitating in the flesh the Creator's generosity and fecundity: "Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh." All human generations proceed from this union." (CCC 2335)

But marriage was never meant by God only for the man and the woman who share the gift.  No, this gift of loving friendship is ordered toward the procreation of new life; unlike any other, it is a vocation fundamentally ordered toward others as well as unifying for the two who share it like all other friendships.  "Go forth, and multiply," said God when He gave the gift of the love of man and woman, "fill the earth and subdue it."

Thus we respect in every way this truth about marriage: that God has joined two things, the unitive love of the spouses and the procreative power of their love, in the one bond of holy matrimony.  And we defend this truth as lovers of God and His holy will and as lovers of persons and their highest good.

Friday, October 5, 2012

First Friday: "whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me"

Whoever listens to you listens to me.Whoever rejects you rejects me.

-- Lk 10:13-16

 "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.
-- CCC 30

Thursday, October 4, 2012

S Francesco d'Assisi: "I bear the marks of Jesus on my body"

... May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ."
-- Gal 6:14-18
The sign of the cross, on the threshold of the celebration, marks with the imprint of Christ the one who is going to belong to him and signifies the grace of the redemption Christ won for us by his cross.

-- CCC 1235

Photos by MCITL: View of the valley of Lago Trasimeno below the Tuscan city of Cortona from the complex of Le Celle, site of the cell of St Francis around which was later built a monastery of cells for his religious brothers. View of the entrance to the cell of St Francis and the stream which flows through the cataract in the mountain over which is built the monastery called "the cells".

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Wednesday Week 26: "how can a man be justified before God?"

"Let the dead bury their dead. But you, go and proclaim the Kingdom of God." "No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the Kingdom of God."

The Holy Spirit is "the principle of every vital and truly saving action in each part of the Body." He works in many ways to build up the whole Body in charity: by God's Word "which is able to build you up"; by Baptism, through which he forms Christ's Body; by the sacraments, which give growth and healing to Christ's members; by "the grace of the apostles, which holds first place among his gifts"; by the virtues, which make us act according to what is good; finally, by the many special graces (called "charisms"), by which he makes the faithful "fit and ready to undertake various tasks and offices for the renewal and building up of the Church."
-- CCC 798