Friday, May 31, 2013

Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary: "how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?"

Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth.

"There was a man sent from God, whose name was John." John was "filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother's womb" by Christ himself, whom the Virgin Mary had just conceived by the Holy Spirit. Mary's visitation to Elizabeth thus became a visit from God to his people.
-- CCC 717

Thursday, May 30, 2013

"I want to see": the vision of faith opens us to love the One we need

Much of life is seeking what we want, what we think we need. Sometimes we can form our lives so much around what we want that we can forget other people and other things and, in so doing, forget something very important about loving ourselves: we also need other people and the love that they can give to us. This too is necessary for our happiness.

Sometimes people who love us very much will tolerate selfishness perhaps even for a very long time because of their love for us.

The Lord's relationship with us is different: it is always about Him, not us. The blind man wants his sight and is persistent in demanding a miracle. He is very clear about exactly what he wants from Jesus: "I want to see". But the reason he is able to make this demand for the restoration of the sight that he wants is because he has received from God what he needs: faith. He believes that Jesus has the power of God to heal him. he has put his faith in Jesus as God.

"Go, your faith has saved you". The sight of his eyes that the blind man wanted restored was merely a physical, worldly confirmation that he had the one thing necessary: Jesus through faith.

Our relationship with Christ is different than all other relationships because it is about Him and what He wants and not about us and what we want. It is about Him because He is what we truly need.

Let us pray for ourselves that we may always truly want through love the One we truly need, and can only possess, through faith.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

"Rely not on your strength"

“Anyone who gives you a cup of water to drink
because you belong to Christ,
amen, I say to you, will surely not lose his reward.

The gift of faith remains in one who has not sinned against it. But "faith apart from works is dead": when it is deprived of hope and love, faith does not fully unite the believer to Christ and does not make him a living member of his Body.
-- CCC 1815 

Thursday of the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

" ... serve the LORD ... "

“If anyone wishes to be first,
he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.”

The very differences which the Lord has willed to put between the members of his body serve its unity and mission. For "in the Church there is diversity of ministry but unity of mission. To the apostles and their successors Christ has entrusted the office of teaching, sanctifying and governing in his name and by his power. But the laity are made to share in the priestly, prophetical, and kingly office of Christ; they have therefore, in the Church and in the world, their own assignment in the mission of the whole People of God." Finally, "from both groups [hierarchy and laity] there exist Christian faithful who are consecrated to God in their own special manner and serve the salvific mission of the Church through the profession of the evangelical counsels."
-- CCC 873 

Monday, May 20, 2013

"All wisdom comes from the LORD"

“Why could we not drive the spirit out?”
He said to them, “This kind can only come out through prayer.”
"When the Church asks publicly and authoritatively in the name of Jesus Christ that a person or object be protected against the power of the Evil One and withdrawn from his dominion, it is called exorcism. Jesus performed exorcisms and from him the Church has received the power and office of exorcizing. In a simple form, exorcism is performed at the celebration of Baptism. The solemn exorcism, called "a major exorcism," can be performed only by a priest and with the permission of the bishop. The priest must proceed with prudence, strictly observing the rules established by the Church. Exorcism is directed at the expulsion of demons or to the liberation from demonic possession through the spiritual authority which Jesus entrusted to his Church. Illness, especially psychological illness, is a very different matter; treating this is the concern of medical science. Therefore, before an exorcism is performed, it is important to ascertain that one is dealing with the presence of the Evil One, and not an illness."
-- CCC 1673

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Pentecost: "they were all filled with the Holy Spirit"

... they were all in one place together. And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were. Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them.
-- Acts 2:1-11

On the day of Pentecost, the Spirit of the Promise was poured out on the disciples, gathered "together in one place." While awaiting the Spirit, "all these with one accord devoted themselves to prayer." The Spirit who teaches the Church and recalls for her everything that Jesus said was also to form her in the life of prayer.
-- CCC 2623

"Holy Spirit" is the proper name of the one whom we adore and glorify with the Father and the Son. The Church has received this name from the Lord and professes it in the Baptism of her new children.

The term "Spirit" translates the Hebrew word ruah, which, in its primary sense, means breath, air, wind. Jesus indeed uses the sensory image of the wind to suggest to Nicodemus the transcendent newness of him who is personally God's breath, the divine Spirit. On the other hand, "Spirit" and "Holy" are divine attributes common to the three divine persons. By joining the two terms, Scripture, liturgy, and theological language designate the inexpressible person of the Holy Spirit, without any possible equivocation with other uses of the terms "spirit" and "holy."
-- CCC 691
In every liturgical action the Holy Spirit is sent in order to bring us into communion with Christ and so to form his Body. The Holy Spirit is like the sap of the Father's vine which bears fruit on its branches. The most intimate cooperation of the Holy Spirit and the Church is achieved in the liturgy. The Spirit who is the Spirit of communion, abides indefectibly in the Church. For this reason the Church is the great sacrament of divine communion which gathers God's scattered children together. Communion with the Holy Trinity and fraternal communion are inseparably the fruit of the Spirit in the liturgy.
-- CCC 1108

Friday, May 17, 2013

"do you love me more?"

“Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.”

St. Peter's conversion after he had denied his master three times bears witness to this. Jesus' look of infinite mercy drew tears of repentance from Peter and, after the Lord's resurrection, a threefold affirmation of love for him. The second conversion also has a communitarian dimension, as is clear in the Lord's call to a whole Church: "Repent!"
St. Ambrose says of the two conversions that, in the Church, "there are water and tears: the water of Baptism and the tears of repentance."  
-- CCC 1429

Thursday, May 16, 2013

" ... you must also bear witness ... "

Lifting up his eyes to heaven, Jesus prayed saying:
“I pray not only for these,
but also for those who will believe in me through their word"
-- Jn 17:20-26 

"We know that in everything God works for good for those who love him." The constant witness of the saints
confirms this truth: 

"St. Catherine of Siena said to 'those who are scandalized and rebel against what happens to them': "Everything comes from love, all is ordained for the salvation of man, God does nothing without this goal in mind." 
"St. Thomas More, shortly before his martyrdom, consoled his daughter: 'Nothing can come but that that God wills. And I make me very sure that whatsoever that be, seem it never so bad in sight, it shall indeed be the best.'
"Dame Julian of Norwich: 'Here I was taught by the grace of God that I should steadfastly keep me in the faith... and that at the same time I should take my stand on and earnestly believe in what our Lord shewed in this time - that 'all manner [of] thing shall be well.' "

-CCC 313

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

“Keep watch over yourselves"

I know that after my departure savage wolves will come among you, and they will not spare the flock.  And from your own group, men will come forward perverting the truth to draw the disciples away after them.

Scandal takes on a particular gravity by reason of the authority of those who cause it or the weakness of those who are scandalized. It prompted our Lord to utter this curse: "Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened round his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea." Scandal is grave when given by those who by nature or office are obliged to teach and educate others. Jesus reproaches the scribes and Pharisees on this account: he likens them to wolves in sheep's clothing.
-- CCC 2285

Wednesday of the Sevent Week of Easter 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Solemnity of the Ascension: "The Lord Jesus was taken up"

Acts of the Apostles 1, 1-11; Psalm 47; Ephesians 1, 17-23; Mark 16, 15-20

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

" 'So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God.' (Mk 16,19)

"Christ's body was glorified at the moment of his Resurrection, as proved by the new and supernatural properties it subsequently and permanently enjoys. (Cf. Lk 24:31; Jn 20:19, 26) But during the forty days when he eats and drinks familiarly with his disciples and teaches them about the kingdom, his glory remains veiled under the appearance of ordinary humanity. (Cf. Acts 1:3; 10:41; Mk 16:12; Lk 24:15; Jn 20:14-15; 21:4)

"Jesus' final apparition ends with the irreversible entry of his humanity into divine glory, symbolized by the cloud and by heaven, where he is seated from that time forward at God's right hand. (Cf. Acts 1:9; 2:33; 7:56; Lk 9:34-35; 24:51; Ex 13:22; Mk 16:19; Ps 110:1) Only in a wholly exceptional and unique way would Jesus show himself to Paul 'as to one untimely born,' in a last apparition that established him as an apostle. (1 Cor 15:8; cf. 9:1; Gal 1:16).

Christ is seated at God's right hand, from whence he shall come to judge the living and the dead. And how shall we live while separated from the Lord of glory by this earthly life? By faith.

"Believing in Jesus Christ and in the One who sent him for our salvation is necessary for obtaining that salvation. (Cf. Mk 16:16; Jn 3:36; 6:40) 'Since "without faith it is impossible to please [God]' and to attain to the fellowship of his sons, therefore without faith no one has ever attained justification, nor will anyone obtain eternal life "but he who endures unto the end" ' (Cf. Mt 10:22; 24:13 and Heb 11:6)" (CCC 161)

"God, infinitely perfect and blessed in himself, in a plan of sheer goodness freely created man to make him share in his own blessed life. For this reason, at every time and in every place, God draws close to man. He calls man to seek him, to know him, to love him with all his strength. He calls together all men, scattered and divided by sin, into the unity of his family, the Church." (CCC 1)

"So that this call should resound throughout the world, Christ sent forth the apostles he had chosen, commissioning them to proclaim the gospel: 'Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.' (Mt 28:18-20) Strengthened by this mission, the apostles 'went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that attended it.' (Mk 16:20)" (CCC 2)

The Lord continues today to "work with" the Apostles in their successors, the bishops, who proclaim in union with Peter the orthodox catholic faith that comes to us from the Apostles. We reach eternal salvation by this one orthodox faith. All of our thoughts, words and actions should be conformed to the holy faith, should draw life from it, and build it up. ( See also CCC 977, 183, 1507, 659)

I look forward to meeting you here again as, together, we "meet Christ in the liturgy", Father Cusick

Meeting Christ in the Liturgy (Publish with permission.)

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

" ... you unknowingly worship ... "

God has overlooked the times of ignorance,
but now he demands that all people everywhere repent
because he has established a day on which he will ‘judge the world
with justice’ through a man he has appointed,
and he has provided confirmation for all
by raising him from the dead.”

The Catholic Church recognizes in other religions that search, among shadows and images, for the God who is unknown yet near since he gives life and breath and all things and wants all men to be saved. Thus, the Church considers all goodness and truth found in these religions as "a preparation for the Gospel and given by him who enlightens all men that they may at length have life."
-- CCC 843

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

“Now I am going"

For if I do not go, the Advocate will not come to you.

All Christ's riches "are for every individual and are everybody's property." Christ did not live his life for himself but for us, from his Incarnation "for us men and for our salvation" to his death "for our sins" and Resurrection "for our justification". He is still "our advocate with the Father", who "always lives to make intercession" for us. He remains ever "in the presence of God on our behalf, bringing before him all that he lived and suffered for us."
-- CCC 519 

Tuesday of the Sixth Week of Easter

Saturday, May 4, 2013

" they handed on ... the decisions reached by the Apostles "

... to the people for observance

From the beginning, the apostolic Church expressed and handed on her faith in brief formula normative for all. But already very early on, the Church also wanted to gather the essential elements of her faith into organic and articulated summaries, intended especially for candidates for Baptism:
This synthesis of faith was not made to accord with human opinions, but rather what was of the greatest importance was gathered from all the Scriptures, to present the one teaching of the faith in its entirety. And just as the mustard seed contains a great number of branches in a tiny grain, so too this summary of faith encompassed in a few words the whole knowledge of the true religion contained in the Old and the New Testaments.
-- CCC 186

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Ss Philip and James: "I am reminding you, brothers and sisters, of the Gospel I preached to you"

I handed on to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures; that he was buried; in accordance with the Scriptures; that he appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve.

From the beginning, the apostolic Church expressed and handed on her faith in brief formula normative for all. But already very early on, the Church also wanted to gather the essential elements of her faith into organic and articulated summaries, intended especially for candidates for Baptism:
This synthesis of faith was not made to accord with human opinions, but rather what was of the greatest importance was gathered from all the Scriptures, to present the one teaching of the faith in its entirety. And just as the mustard seed contains a great number of branches in a tiny grain, so too this summary of faith encompassed in a few words the whole knowledge of the true religion contained in the Old and the New Testaments.
-- CCC 186

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

S Joseph the Worker: "The Father who dwells in me is doing his works."

"Have I been with you for so long a time and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father'? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own. The Father who dwells in me is doing his works.

Because "human nature was assumed, not absorbed", in the mysterious union of the Incarnation, the Church was led over the course of centuries to confess the full reality of Christ's human soul, with its operations of intellect and will, and of his human body. In parallel fashion, she had to recall on each occasion that Christ's human nature belongs, as his own, to the divine person of the Son of God, who assumed it. Everything that Christ is and does in this nature derives from "one of the Trinity". The Son of God therefore communicates to his humanity his own personal mode of existence in the Trinity. In his soul as in his body, Christ thus expresses humanly the divine ways of the Trinity:

"The Son of God. . . worked with human hands; he thought with a human mind. He acted with a human will, and with a human heart he loved. Born of the Virgin Mary, he has truly been made one of us, like to us in all things except sin." (GS 22 para. 2)
-- CCC 470