Salt and light

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This morning’s online Mass yielded “spicy” enlightenment stemming from one of my all-time favorite Bible passages.

You are salt for the earth.  But if salt loses its taste, what can make it salty again?  It is good for nothing and can only be thrown out to be trampled under people’s feet.  You are light for the world.  A city built on a hill-top cannot be hidden.  No one lights a lamp to put it under a tub; they put it on the lamp-stand where it shines for everyone in the house.  In the same way, your light must shine in people’s sight so that, seeing your good works, they may give praise to your Father in heaven (Matthew 5:13-16).

Simply stated, “God is love and, whomever abides in love, abides in God, and God in him” (1 John 4:16).

(Today’s homily, recorded, transcribed, and lightly edited, was delivered by Fr. Arsene Dutunge, JCL, assistant priest at Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Cathedral and chaplain at Vancouver General Hospital in Canada.)

You are the salt of the earth.  You are the light of the world.  Brothers and sisters, today’s gospel is a reminder of our mission on earth: being salt and being light for our brothers and sisters, especially those who don’t believe yet.  The Lord says, “You are the salt of the earth.”  He did not say that you are the salt of the Church.

For salt to be effective, it has to get out of the shaker.  Many among us are bold in the few, but not courageous in the world.  They will speak of their faith in the relative security of the Church and among certain friends; but don’t ask them to preach to their spouse, to their co-workers, or even their children.  That’s too scary.  But, in reality, we are called to add spice to life, to bring beauty, joy, and hope to the world.

Joy is the sure sign of a Christian, of a Catholic, even while keeping the Commandments as a source of joy as we experience God’s power to put sin to death in us and bring forth other ordered self-discipline and holiness.  Hope, too, ought to distinguish us from the world that is often cynical and thinks sin is inevitable.  To this world, we are not only to declare that the Commandments are possible and bring joy, but to demonstrate it in our lives.

In our best periods of the history of the Church, our brothers and sisters contributed to this world with spicy things based on our faith— art, music, churches, hospitals, universities, the scholastic and scientific methods, et cetera.  Our tradition and scriptural teaching of justice, mercy, love, and the dignity of the human person as blessed in the world.

Are we doing the same nowadays?  Or, better, are you and I doing the same?

Brothers and sisters, salt preserves.  Before refrigeration people used salt to cure, or preserve, meat.  The salt killed bacteria and other microorganisms that cause rot and decay.  As Christians, as Catholics, we are called to prevent further decay in this insular world.  The truth that we proclaim is meant to preserve people from the decay of sin.  Chastity, justice, generosity, and the proclamation of the truth are like salt that preserves this world from decay: wars, jealousy, anger, bitterness, unfaithfulness, greed, et cetera.  We must be salt.  If we are not, nothing will be [changed].  Be the salt this world needs.

We are [called] to be a shining light for this world as well.  The light is to shine, but there is no shining without burning.  Shining causes us something.  It may be Christ’s light, but it shines through us.  This means sacrifice.  It means letting him use you.  It means not sleeping when you want to.  It means not just sitting at home.  It means getting out and getting involved.  It means getting out there and risking a few things.  It means being visible, targeted, and identified with someone— Jesus— who is hated by many nowadays.  And, in the world that prefers the darkness to light, it means being cold, harsh, out of touch, and hateful sometimes.  There is no shining without burning.

Brothers and sisters, shining involves concrete behavior.  Your light shines by the way you live, the choices you make, the behavior you exhibit.  It shines when Christians, when Catholics, get married and stay married, stay faithful to their commitments, and are people of their word.

Our light shines when we tell the truth instead of lying, when we choose chastity instead of fornication, when we are courteous and respectful instead of rude.  It shines when we respect life.  Our light shines when we clean up our language, give to the poor, and work for justice.  It shines when we refuse to purchase pornographic violence or other degrading materials.  Our light shines when we love instead of hate, seek reconciliation instead of revenge, and pray for our enemies instead of cursing them.

May the grace of the Lord make of us people who can talk to the world with our arts and behavior more than with our words.  May our lives be a blessing and an inspiration to those around us.  Amen.

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Links of interest…  Mass (world-wide listings)…  Matthew 5:14-16…  Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Cathedral: architecture / bells / crucifix / history / Mass (archives) / vespers (pdf) / website / windows…  This little light of mine (Odetta; song’s origin)…  We are the light of the world…  What does it mean that believers are to be salt & light / “light of the world” mean in the Bible (more)…

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WP posts…   Beloved joyful priest…  Call of service…  Gifts…  God’s master plan…  Home again…  Promise of hope…  Solano, Solanus, Solani…  St. Michael chaplet

Blessed blessing

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I accessed Holy Rosary Cathedral for morning Mass online and soon became greatly concerned for Fr. Stanley Galvon, the good-natured rector; but all I could do was jot down observations along with my notes on his homily.

Wow.  Before starting the offertory prayers, Fr. Stanley stood at the altar, looked straight ahead as if distracted and upset, trying to clear his mind, heart, and soul.  And he did what I’d never seen him do before: he let out a long breath before taking on the task at hand.  I’d noticed first off at the beginning of Mass that his voice was different, that he lacked his usual upbeat-but-peaceful expression.  Maybe he’d been crying?  Or maybe he had a bit of a cold?  His homily, too, was brief and less inspiring (in-depth).  And he blundered here and there, stumbling on words more than the norm so that I was concerned, and curious, running various scenarios in my head as I wondered why he was so troubled.

I wondered, too, if his other viewers had come away with similar thoughts because it’s funny and somewhat strange how we get to know, intuit, things about folks even when we’ve never met face-to-face.  But, since I couldn’t do anything to help Fr. Stanley, I simply asked God to please watch over him as I kept him in my thoughts and prayers.

Then, here today, because of Fr. Arsene’s homily, I googled to learn more about the remains of the two-hundred-fifteen Indigenous children discovered at the Kamloops Indian Residential School in Canada and found the article by Tracey Lindeman in Ottawa (The Guardian; May 28, 2021) from the same morning that Fr. Stanley had appeared so distraught during nine-fifteen Mass.  So, now I understand the great loss and trauma of the past two weeks.

(Today’s homily, recorded, transcribed, and lightly edited, was delivered by Fr. Arsene Dutunge, JCL, assistant priest at Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Cathedral and chaplain at Vancouver General Hospital in Canada.)

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercy and the God of all consolation who consoles us in all our affliction so that we may be able to console those who are [afflicted with the need for] consolation with which we, ourselves, are consoled by God.  I [can] summarize [this by] saying [that] you are consoled to become a counselor.  You are blessed to become a blessing for others.

Brothers and sisters, these last few days our conscience and our society have been tormented by the discovery about the residential school in Kamloops.  I know it’s a very delicate matter because it is political, sociological, historical; and it continues to divide people until now.  I don’t want to look at that fact in those dimensions: political, historical, sociological.  I would like to look at that spiritually in this homily, since the first reading speaks about giving consolation to others, as well as God [giving] us consolation whenever we are afflicted.  And the gospel speaks about the Beatitudes, among which the blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called “children of God.”

Dear brothers, dear sisters— you and I— we can’t change the story of what happened.  We can’t change the past.  But you and I can bring consolation to those who suffer the most due to what happened.  We all felt sorrow and pain to hear about such a story, but I think of all those who are more connected to that story by their identity.  And I think that they need more consolation than me.

We can only imagine the pain, the sorrow, the trauma, that such a discovery can reawaken.  In the hearts, spirits, and personhood of our brothers and sisters indigenous, it can be horrible.  Do we have any power to change that?  The easy answer is no because we all like easy answers, easy thoughts.  It is easier to say that we are sorry and to continue our business.  Facing the reality alone could stop us from doing our business.  Facing the reality can bring us to the edge of the unknown.  And we are frightened by that when we don’t know what could be the outcome, or when we sense that outcome… would be a heavy burden for our conscience….  But we need to face it because we can’t hide from the reality, but the reality will always face us.  That’s why, in today’s gospel, Jesus is urging us to be peacemakers to demonstrate that we are children of God.

A peacemaker is not always at peace when they are actively holding to that identity.  Sometimes they are flawed.  Sometimes they are misunderstood even by those they are trying to help.  But a peacemaker needs to be patient with all.  A peacemaker needs to be courageous.  A peacemaker needs to be ready for hard times.  But the great secret of a peacemaker is to know that they will never lose the peace of their heart, and they can bring peace in the hearts of others.  The world can be against them; but God will always be their consolation.  And they will always have an infinite peace of mind and spirit.

Now, how can this be applied to the current situation?

Our brothers and sisters in need of us are children of God, and each one of us is just like me and you.  And each one of us has their own issues, that’s true.  But the issue of the discovery about the residential schools is an issue that questions our humanity, your humanity, my humanity.  As I said, we can’t change the past, but we can heal the present and prevent the future.

As individuals, this is the time to bring consolation to our brothers and sisters who are re-living their historical trauma.  Can we bring peace to their hearts?  Can we bring consolation in their lives?  We are not a system— we can’t change the system— but we can change the reality of individuals.  As children of God, we should try that.  It is morally mandatory.  But how?

I would say that each one of us has their own way to act, but the correct [way] is, at least, to interact with those we meet.  Each one of us would like to be heard whenever we go through sorrows.  Am I ready to sacrifice my time and spend it with a brother or a sister who is mourning in trauma?  Sometimes you don’t need to talk.  Sometimes you just need to show the other person that you’re present for them, that you’re listening to them, that you are a brother or a sister sharing the same humanity.

May the Holy Spirit give us the courage to take the initiation to interact with brothers and sisters in sorrow in this moment.  You may interact only with one person in a whole month, [but] the most important is not the quantity.  The most important is the quality of interaction.  If you can listen carefully and with empathy, if you can bring consolation, if you can cry with, if you can identify with the human being in front of you, then you will be a peacemaker.  Then you will bring peace in the heart of the brother or the sister, and you will demonstrate to be a child of God.

You are consoled to be a counselor.  You are blessed to be a blessing.  Don’t be passive.  Don’t be shy.  Don’t be scared.  God will show the way.

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Links of interest…  Canada: Remains of 215 children found at indigenous residential school site…  Eight beatitudes of Jesus (card)…  Fr. Stanley Galvon…  Mass (world-wide listings)…  Meaning outrage in The Review…  Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Cathedral: architecture / bells / crucifix / history / Mass (archives) / vespers (pdf) / website / windows…  Remains of 215 indigenous children have been found at a former school in Canada

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Corpus Christi

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I first happened upon St. Michael the Archangel Church quite by chance while waiting for online Mass to begin elsewhere on Mother’s Day, and I was so captivated by Fr. Kishore Babu Battu’s homily— an insightful, heartfelt tribute to his mom— that I returned a couple of times to replay the recorded video and soak in the love.  So, for the feast of Corpus Christi, I decided to tune in again but found, instead, a sweet priest with a boyish sense of humor and a memorable story just right for the whole family.

(Today’s homily, recorded, transcribed, and edited, was delivered by Fr. Alan Zobler, OSFS, visiting priest at St. Michael the Archangel Church in Monroe, MI.)

It’s once again very good to be back with all of you and to celebrate on this, the feast of Corpus Christi.  Please bear with me for the story that I’m going to tell.  I promise I’ll do my best to connect it to the feast.

Back in September I had two consecutive weekends in Cincinnati for weddings, [so] the very first weekend I was there— between rehearsals and the time in which I needed to be there for the actual wedding ceremony— I went to a park.

Gorgeous day, and… a really nice chance to be outside when such a strange part of our year was still unfolding.  I was sitting at a picnic table over this beautiful escarpment.  I can’t remember the valley that I was looking over, but it was just this wonderful summer-nearly-beginning-of-fall day.  And I was grading papers since the school year had just begun.

People were gathered but distanced from one another that afternoon and, as people passed, there was one individual who stood out from everyone else.  This man had his dog on a leash and, close behind, was a goose, like, on high-alert close proximity.

I said, “Sir!  Be careful there.  You’ve got a goose coming up on you.”  And he just looked back saying, “Ah, that’s fine.”  But I couldn’t take my eyes off them.

When the man went over to a spigot to get his dog some water, the goose was right behind.  The man splashed water in the goose’s face, too.  And they were in tandem, doing everything together until the man dropped the leash, stepped away, and walked about for a few minutes.

I was fixated.  What was going on?  I couldn’t imagine a man walking a goose along with his dog.

The man picked up the dog leash.  “Okay, let’s go!”  But the goose didn’t budge, so the man kept talking with passersby.

“How long have you had the goose?” someone asked.

“We’ve had Bobby five or six months now.  We taught the dog to ring a bell so that we know to let him out.  And Bobby does the same thing.  Wherever the dog goes, Bobby goes along with.”

My jaw dropped.  How does a goose think it’s a dog?

The man started to leave.  “Bobby!  Let’s go!”

The goose followed but, along the way back to the car, the goose got distracted.

“Bobby!” the man called out.  Nothing.  Then, about a hundred feet away, the man yelled one more time. “Bobby!  We’re leaving!  Let’s go!”  And off the goose waddled.

Now, I promised to relate this story to today’s gospel, so here’s the rest of the story.

In response to the question that the man was asked— “How did you get the goose?”— he replied, “Last March I was driving back to our ranch when I spotted a family of geese, along with the mother, on the side of the road.  I thought they were all dead but, when we got down, this little guy ran over and swooped up Bobby.  And he’s been with us ever since.”

So, on this feast of Corpus Christi, I think of families in distress: families that seem to have been abandoned on the side of the road; families that have been neglected, rejected, forgotten; family members that have been separated from each other because of their misdeeds.  Some are facing desperate times, like that baby goose on the side of the road; but there’s something greater than life’s circumstances.

We have God who swooped down and simply loved us; God who, in our darkness, brought light; God who, in our brokenness, brought healing, forgiveness, and grace.  God didn’t just take us in and say, “Come on into my home, come into my life;” but invited us in a very real way to take part in his divine life.

Born out of a place of love, bread and wine can become something truly redeeming when it comes from a place of love, sacrificing love, love that trusts, love that surrenders, love that journeys with others and is willing to take whatever dark moment and make heaven known.

Brothers and sisters, this feast that we celebrate today is absolutely born out of love.  And, the good news is that it’s here for us every day of our faith journey.  May we never take it for granted.  May we be continuously transformed by it.  May our hearts be focused on making sure that we become Christ-like for others.  And, through our efforts, may God be blessed.

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Links of interest…  Archdiocese of Detroit…  Corpus Christi: celebrating / feast / origins / sermons / story…  Mass (world-wide listings)…  Fr. Zobler’s sermons…  St. Michael the Archangel Church: archiveshistory / links / look inside / Mass / media / prayers / website

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Foundation

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Ever since discovering Mass-online.org, as well as the archdiocese sites for New Orleans and Detroit in May, I’ve been like a kid in the proverbial candy store: My eyes are bigger than my stomach, and I just can’t get enough.  It’s a veritable treasure trove out there!  So, I’ve been here and there— pre-planning, attending live, dropping in last minute, enjoying video recordings— and have taken lots of notes during the homilies.

I love words, messages, thoughts to ponder— and share!  And, I’m having so much fun that I can’t wait for the next day and the next and the next.  I can attend Mass anytime, anywhere, as many times as I want, though sometimes I’ve been disappointed, like the morning I tuned in (after working my schedule for days to listen in at this one particular church), only to hear the priest complain because his outdoor Mass had very low attendance compared to the day before.

My goodness!  The priest shouted, screamed, and was a total turn-off.  But, he did impart a worthy nugget that made me smile big time today, two weeks later.

Our examination of conscience should go beyond the Ten Commandments, the basic standard.  We should, instead, use the Beatitudes or the fruits of the Holy Spirit (Fr. Jeffrey Kirby, STD, PhD).

Imagine my surprise today when, on the feast day of St. Charles Lwanga and his companions, martyrs, the first homily I heard focused on commandments; the second, on the Beatitudes.  Two different gospels, two different messages; but both related to gold standards that set our foundation in faith.

(Today’s homilies, recorded and transcribed, were delivered by Deacon A. David Warriner at the St. Louis Cathedral in New Orleans and Fr. Jered Grossman, parochial vicar at St. Michael’s in Grand Forks, ND, respectively.)

Commandments

Just a little note of humor I shared with Father before we started Mass…  Years and years ago when I was a young deacon— and I was a young deacon at one time— I remember standing out in front of church, and this was the gospel reading on that Sunday.  Standing right beside Father, this little old lady comes out and she’s got this really perplexed and drawn look on her face.  And she looked at Father and says: “You know, Father, I always thought there were ten commandments.”

Today, we talk about foundation.  We talk about building on something.

Years ago I was working at an office building downtown.  They started to build behind there where I was working a hotel.  For those of you who are out of town, we have very unstable soil in this area— some of it built on decaying swamp, others on sand— so, in order to be stable with what we do, we put these huge pilings down in the ground.  And I can remember those huge pilings being delivered, and they would pick one up with the pile driver and— bam, bam, bam— drive it into the ground until they got right to the surface.  They would put a collar on it, and they’d pick up another and put it on there and continue until that one was almost buried.  And it is the pressure of the ground around it that forms that stable foundation.  That is the way we have to build here.

The essence of Christianity is based on the two great commandments.  The gospel passage we just heard is the teaching that Jesus gave us on those two commandments.  Jesus told the scribe, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.”  No one dared to ask him any other questions.  It started with the scribe asking him, “Which is the first of the commandments?”  And Jesus replied with those two great commandments: the first, we love God above everything else; the second, we love the neighbor as ourselves.

When Jesus replied with those two commandments, he gave us a perfect summary, a perfect understanding, of the Ten Commandments of the Decalogue because, what do they deal with?  They deal with our relationship with the Almighty, and they deal with our relationship with other people.  He also changed this from the negative— thou shalt not, thou shalt not, thou shalt not— to the positive.  You shall love, you shall love, okay?  Look at what he said.

St. John defines God for us as love.  God is love, St. John teaches us.  So Jesus has taken us out of this realm of our humanity and says that, if we really want to do a good job, we are to love as God loves.  And we are to love our neighbor as ourselves.

Those are some pretty tough standards, but we’re not alone in that.  We do have ways of dealing with this.  We are responding to the love that God has given us and, if we want to know about that, look around at creation.

Everywhere we look, we sit in a magnificent cathedral today.  This is part of God’s creation, so we are responding in kind to what God has given us.  And it is a firm response to the law and to the prophets that went before Jesus.

Now, how do we look at this?  What are we supposed to do with this now that we understand, or know, what those two commandments are?  The first: the word is commandment, not suggestion.  So, God has commanded us that we should love him above all else and commanded us to love our neighbor as ourselves.  Now, these are relational as we said before.  We have a relationship with God.  We have a relationship with those around us.  Jesus tells us we’re supposed to base those on love.  From this comes the basis of all order in society.  That is the moral structure of society and, as Christians, it is the foundation of our beliefs.

Years ago our Bishop Aymond, our current archbishop, was the auxiliary bishop of the archdiocese of New Orleans; and, right here from this pulpit, he posed the question: What do you worship?  He followed up with a statement: We can tell what a person worships by looking at where they spend their time and where they spend their money.

That is a good gauge for how we’re doing with this love of God and love of neighbor.  It is a standard that God has given us, and Jesus tells that scribe that it is far better than any other form of worshipping God than we could do.  So, building a firm foundation ensures the endurance of that building.  The foundation of our faith is these two great commandments: love of God, love of neighbor.

Jesus said to the scribe: “You are not far from the kingdom of God.”  If Jesus came in here today— and asked each one of us, “How are you doing?  How are you doing?  Are you loving God?  Are you loving your neighbor?”— how would he assess how close we are to God?

Beatitudes

At the end of this beautiful gospel, these Beatitudes, we encounter Jesus’s first indication that his teaching is intrinsic to his person.  He makes a very distinct claim: “Happy are you when people abuse you and persecute you on my account.”

Instead of only pointing to his teaching, as most of history’s great religious leaders did, he links his teaching to himself.  Buddha, Mohammed, Confucius, and even Moses, all said, “Look at this teaching.”  Christ, on the other hand, says, “Look to me.  Follow me.”  Many times throughout the gospels, he makes similar claims: “I am the vine,” “I am the living bread,” “I am the way, the truth, the life.”

Christ is a teacher who has to be accepted completely and, if not, we end up fully rejecting him.  With Jesus Christ, it’s all of him or the nothing we receive in many ways from the world.

This link between his teaching and his person is also a part of our vocation as his followers.  We are called to be witnesses to his truth, just like Charles Lwanga and his companions who, through their martyrdom, intimately linked his teaching to their person because Christ’s claims go beyond mere teaching of philosophical logic.

Our own efforts to spread his gospel must do so as well.

Pope Paul VI put it very beautifully: “Modern man must listen more willingly to witnesses than to teachers; and, if he does listen to teachers, it’s because they are witnesses.”

May we all be witnesses, all in for Jesus, knowing that he is the truth so that we might be drawn to his heavenly kingdom more perfectly and lead others to him as well.

God bless you.

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St. Louis Cathedral & St. Michael’s, respectively

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Links of interest…  Eight beatitudes of Jesus (card)…  Fruits & symbols of the Holy Spirit (fundamentals – more)…  Love, joy, peace…  Mass (world-wide listings)…  Power of witness…  St. Louis Cathedral: daily saints / history / Mass / photos / tours / website…  St. Michael Church: live stream (archives) / Mass / website…  Ten Commandments: The Decalogue

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WP posts…   Beloved joyful priest…  Call of service…  Gifts…  God’s master plan…  Home again…  Promise of hope…  Solano, Solanus, Solani…  St. Michael chaplet

Truth

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Listening to Tobit 2:9-14, I rebelled within. Why is this part of today’s readings? I wondered, rolling my eyes. He’s no Job! But, today’s online homily helped me look beyond Tobit to appreciate Anna, the unrelenting voice of reason, during— despite— her husband’s exasperation with life.

(Fr. Gerard Braun, whose homily was recorded, transcribed, and lightly edited, is pastor at St. Michael’s in Grand Forks, ND.)

One time a gentleman was very proud about how much he gave to the Lord. He said, “I take a thousand dollars in my hand every day, and I throw it up in the air. Whatever stays up is God’s; whatever comes down is mine.”

Obviously, it’s twisted logic; so, likewise, the logic of the Pharisees today. They miss the point that, you know, on the one hand, you give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, give to God what is God’s. Well, everything is God’s. Are their hearts given over to the Lord truly from the heart so that they could see God in their midst? In Jesus, could they recognize his holiness? Not if their hearts weren’t given to holiness, rather looking for self-concern and whatever it was that blinded them from seeing God’s presence in their midst. Pure love. So it is for all of us at times the failure to see the wonder of God’s mystery of love.

Justin Martyr, who was a martyr in the Church in 165 AD, found his way, first of all, through the study of philosophy. He was a philosopher [like those] of that time, Greek and Roman. But reason alone wasn’t giving him peace until someone introduced him to the prophets and, thus, Christianity. And then comes a far deeper wisdom than just what the mind can figure out— the wisdom of the heart; the wisdom of love; the wisdom of a God who would give himself on a cross for us to show us what love looks like and to not just show us, but to live it himself.

God gave his life for us, as love will do. No greater love than this than to lay down your life. And that, of course, led him to be this great apologist. That means one who teaches and defends the faith. And, as he stood before the Roman procurator [who asked] “Do you really believe that you’re going to some other place after we take your life from you? Do you really believe that?” before he beheaded him, [Justin Martyr] said, “I don’t believe it. I know it!”

That knowledge of faith, that knowledge of the heart, the truth that we begin to know— that we know that we know— because of a relationship. Just like you know a spouse, [just like] you know someone, we come to know God because we walk with him. And, thus, everything is God’s. It’s not like, well, I’ll give some to God and some— everything of my life is God’s. If he asks for it, then I must give it. I can’t hold back if the Lord requests and calls me to really empty myself as God did for us. To empty myself as God did for us. To be ready to give all.

One quick comment, too. Not to complicate the waters but, in the beautiful first reading, Tobit who got the bird droppings in his eyes, was a pretty righteous man. But now he’s in awful straits, and his wife has to challenge him. He’s filled with anger now, right? And for four years he’s angry [that he] lost his freedom [and] has to depend on his wife and her salary to feed them, so he’s just lashing out [like] when we get angry.

And, you know, when we have a bad day, whomever is in the way gets it sometimes. But this one person said, “We all need a truth teller in our life.” If you’re a leader and you put together a team, make sure one person on that team has the courage to tell you the truth about yourself so that you’re not always listening to the yes people. “Oh, yes, whatever you say”— pandering to you and whatever you want. Those aren’t the people you want on your team always. You want the one who’s going to tell you the truth, to help guide you.

Well, that’s who Tobit’s wife was. She said, “Look at the truth about yourself. You think you’re so righteous, and pretty soon you’re filled with anger and bitterness and resentment. Where’s your righteousness now?” She had to tell him the truth about himself.

Thus, with humility comes deeper conversion to realize we all need that truth to find our weaknesses and sins so that we can grow closer to the Lord through his mercy and forgiveness.

Links of interest…  Book of Tobit (lesson – more) / story / summary / wife (Anna)…  Justin Martyr: about / apologist / five lessons / quotes / saint (more)… Mass (world-wide listings)… St. Michael Church: live stream (archives) / Mass / website…  Tobit & Tobias? Their lives are just like ours

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Most Holy Trinity

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Saturday, we delighted in the online vigil service at St. Michael’s in Grand Forks, ND.  And, in my usual way, I recorded the Mass and took copious notes to revisit and share Fr. Jered Grossman’s beautiful heartfelt homily (and tuned in again Sunday morning).

As a seminarian of eight years, I can tell you that the most intense and complicated class I ever had in all my years in seminary was a class on the Most Holy Trinity.

There are many theologians who have spent their entire lives trying to explain what the Trinity is, just as many who say they’re wrong.  The truth is that the Most Holy Trinity is a great mystery to us in many ways.  It’s difficult for our human brains to process something that has no beginning and no end.  We think of our lives through the constructs of certain times and events.

Through the lens of time we look forward to things, forward to future events; and we remember events all within the aspect of human relationship.  But there is one word which I think might help us to understand the relationship of the Trinity— the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit— and how that relationship involves all of us.  That word is perichoresis.  It’s a fun word to say.  Don’t worry.  I’m not gonna make you remember it.  It’s a tough one.  But it is, I think, one that encompasses the true relationship of the Trinity.

The word, perichoresis, is a Greek term which simply means around dancing.  How many of you like to dance or enjoy dancing in your life?  Raise your hands.  Okay, most of you, right?  Maybe some of you don’t.  Maybe fear has gripped you on the dance floor at a school dance.  You’re afraid to ask someone to dance with you.  But that, too, involves relationship, doesn’t it?  That’s why we enjoy dancing.  We’re celebrating together, right?

When we think about the three persons of the Trinity, this aspect of around dancing helps us to understand a little bit because, when thinking about the Trinity, we have to put something that is eternal into some kind of box so that we can look at it a little bit, right?  We know that God the Father, along with his Son and the Holy Spirit, created the heavens and the earth at some point, right?  We know he created man in his own image to share in the life with this Trinitarian union.  We know that man fell.  And we know that God sent his only Son into the world for the salvation of man.  We also know— as we just celebrated Pentecost— that the Son gave us his life-giving breath of the Holy Spirit to draw us into this eternal relationship, this dance with the Trinity.  Relationship is the key here, and it’s what helps us to understand in our limitedness what we can about the Trinity.

Let’s look at today’s gospel.  Jesus Christ has received all power in heaven and on earth, and what does he do with it?  He shares it.  He delegates his apostles to extend his kingdom to all nations, promising to be present and act through them.  Jesus makes it abundantly clear that he is the Lord but that his lordship differs profoundly from any other.  Instead of constricting the lives of his subjects through oppression and arrogance, he expands their horizons, giving them a meaning and purpose far beyond anything they could comprehend for themselves.

Through obedience to Christ, these eleven Galileans have become collaborators with the blessed Trinity, ambassadors of God himself.  God’s generosity shows itself so beautifully through this relationship.  Now, this dance in direct contrast to the chief priest and Pharisees who could never move past speculation of who God was, completely rejecting the relationship that Christ was offering.  How ironic is it that they, so eager for glory and influence, passed up the chance to be given such an exalted role.

The irony doesn’t escape St. Matthew.  He tells us exactly what happened.  Having closed their eyes to Christ’s light over and over again, they ended up blinding themselves completely to the truth of God.  And their self-absorbed world ended up becoming very small just at this moment when the apostles receive their commission to conquer the entire globe with the truth of Christ, participating in the life of the Trinity on earth while they waited for perfect inclusion in that life for eternity.

Christ comes to us focused on building his kingdom, which consists of human hearts united to God through him.  And where human hearts are united to God, they will also be united to one another.  The inexpressible unity of the three divine persons will spread through those hearts and bring unity among men as well.  It has to because it’s from God.  It’s from his unity.  It’s what we pray for every Mass.

Building that kingdom was, and is, Christ’s primary concern.  It needs to be ours, too.  And that, scary as it can be, requires relationship.  God is always being with us because he’s always within us.  We have become temples of the holy Trinity.  St. Paul puts it, “Through the blessed waters of Baptism, the triune God has taken up his dwelling at the very core of our being, calling us always to a more perfect participation in the life of the Trinity.”  This perichoresis, this eternal dance of love, enjoy.  A dance without beginning or end.  This was always the plan from the moment of creation.

God made Adam and Eve with the explicit desire for them to enter into this eternal dance with him.  And then, when they fell into sin, this plan was destructed; but it was not ended.  God, in his great love and mercy for us, gave us the Church to remind us that he still, and will always be, calling us and reaching out to us.  He gave us a road back to the dance he created for us to participate in, the road back home.  He fills us with his grace to give us the courage and hope that we need to freely, lovingly, together extend our hands to him.

So, for the sake of our lives and our souls as they dwell here on this earth and for the glory of the Most Holy Trinity, beloved— let’s dance!

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Links of interest…  Mass (world-wide listings)…  Perichoresis…  St. Michael Church: live stream (archives) / Mass / website

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Sunset

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Ever since Zoom Masses ended at our local church, we’ve enjoyed online services in other places— some familiar, some new— in the U.S. and Vancouver, too.  And some, like the St. Louis Cathedral in New Orleans, we visit for noontime inspiration, like today’s uplifting homily from Deacon A. David Warriner (recorded and transcribed).

I recall to this day an occurrence that happened in the, I guess the early- to mid-seventies.  I was making a trip from Shreveport, LA to Jackson, MS; and it was evening time.  It was sunset.  And, the sun sets in the west; so I’m driving east.  Out of my rear-view mirror and my side mirrors I see this gorgeous-gorgeous glow.  Can’t describe it.  Just this gorgeous glow.

I drove on and, as I drove, I saw people sitting up on the sides of the interstate.  It was a little bit hilly there— not like New Orleans— but they had moved up the hills and they were just sitting there and looking.  So, I pulled over and got out and looked.

That sunset was the most gorgeous sunset that I have ever seen in my life.  There were hues of gold and yellow and just brilliant light everywhere you could see.  Everything took on that bright-bright glow.  It was definitely something that has left an impression on me.

God’s glory is seen in his creation.  That’s a good example.  As the rising sun is clear to all, yet even God’s holy ones must fail in recounting the wonders of the Lord.  We don’t fully understand our God.  These words come from the book of Sirach.

Sirach is characterized by scripture scholars as wisdom literature.  For us to understand that wisdom literature— what it is— it’s to think with the mind of God and to see with the eye of God.  So, Sirach in that book goes through this great effort to try to explain God; and, even he admits that he is failing in his attempt to do that.  So, what is the passage telling us?  What is Jesus’s Sirach trying to tell us as he recorded these inspiring words?

First of all, God is all-powerful.  Secondly, God is majestic.  And, third, God and his creation are filled with his splendor.  God’s glory fills every bit of the works of his creation.

Bartimaeus said to Jesus, “Master, I want to see.”

Now, as the gospel passage tells us, Bartimaeus was a blind beggar on the roadside; and Jesus and his disciples were making their way down that road.  When he heard that Jesus of Nazareth was coming, something sparked that blind beggar to cry out.  He called for the help of Jesus.  There was something special about Jesus, and he recognized that.

In that short little passage, we see this encounter come to its fulfillment.  Jesus calls him over and says, “What would you have me do for you?”

Those beautiful words.  “Master, I want to see.  Master, I want to see.”

Now, let’s be real about this.  All of us— each and every one of us, no matter where we are or where we come from— are blind in some way.  Each one of us needs in some way to be able to see.  So, what is it that we need to see?  Maybe it is asking for strength in times of trial.  Maybe it is asking for faith in times of unbelief.  Maybe it is an asking for what will be coming to us— that hope that our faith tells us to be so true to.  Maybe it’s a healing, a job, a place to live, help for a family member, relief from the stress of life, food to eat, clothes to wear.  All of us, in some way, need to see.  So, what do we do about this?  And what lessons can we learn from what holy Mother Church has given us in scripture today?

First of all, faith.  Turn to God; turn to God with our needs.  Ask for what we need.  Whatever it is, there’s nothing too small, nothing too large, for Jesus.  And, if it is the impossible that we seek, do as Bartimaeus did: Ask for a miracle!  God is full of miracles.  And, if we take the time to look around, we see those every day.  This occurs in our interchanges with the Lord.  We more commonly call that prayer.

God listens!  We know that God listens.  God grants what we really need.  It may not be exactly what we ask for, but God certainly knows better than us what it is that we need.

So, Sirach tells us that God is all-powerful, that God is majestic, and that God is filled with splendor.  And the Lord’s glory fills all of his work.

I saw the Lord’s glory in that sunset driving to Jackson, MS that day.  It left me with a lasting impression: If we are the pinnacle of God’s creation, which sacred scripture tells us over and over and over, should he not listen?  Should God not be attentive to what we need?  After all, God knows better than we do.

Faith saved Bartimaeus.  Is our faith enough to save us?

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Links of interest…  Archdiocese of New Orleans…  Mass (world-wide listings)…  St. Louis Cathedral: daily saints / history / Mass / photos / tours / website...  What can we learn from blind Bartimaeus

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Unsmiling disbelief

main altar in church

Sunday evening (bilingual) Mass at St. Cecilia’s in Los Fresnos, TX was— how do I put this delicately— interesting and unlike anything Steven and I had ever experienced before.  While the setting was lovely and inviting with lots of concrete benches in the churchyard and parishioners were cordial and glad to see visitors, the pastor was such an outlier that we didn’t know whether to be amused or concerned.

After Mass, I googled the priest on my tablet the moment we got back to our vehicle.  I wanted to understand why we’d been subjected to such unorthodox behavior during Mass.  The man had read the day’s written gospel interspersed with his own personal statements!  Who does that?

To make matters worse, the homily was tasteless and totally bizarre.  Was the priest having an off day?  Was he drunk?  Was he high?  Was this his usual comportment— or just theatrics for effect?  We’d never seen or heard anything like it!

Sitting on the fifth pew on the left before the ambo I sat there in unsmiling disbelief as my mind wandered momentarily.  What would Bishop Danny say?  Does he know?  Has anyone checked on the parish?  Don’t priests get evaluated the way teachers do?  Or is any priest better than none?  I missed Fr. George’s power-packed homily back home, but I’d appreciate him that much more soon enough.

Having visited a plethora of sacred spaces in my lifetime, I’ve seen and heard things that make me wonder how good people put up with what they face day in and day out within their parishes.  And, while I’ve never asked about church dynamics (because it’s not my place to do so), I’ve been told by some that they’ve “prayed for years” for a down-to-earth, welcoming priest instead of one who resents his assignment.  But we’ve also delighted in beautiful celebrations that make us want to belong.

So, except for mentally preparing for the photo opportunities— statues, stained-glass windows, stations of the cross— preconceived notions and expectations aren’t really part of the plan.  We’re usually so eager to experience a new church community that we count the days until our first visit.

Like crushing on a first love, we look ahead to that wonderful, memorable experience— the church, the people, the priest— that will remain with us going forward.  That said, St. Cecilia’s facebook page has positive comments.  Some parishioners love their church, so we’ll keep an open mind when we attend Mass in English next time.

          

                 

                 

                 

       

   

          

          

          

   

           

Prayer

Light of the World, enlighten our minds with wisdom and enkindle our hearts with compassion.  Let our moments of blindness be brief and instructive, so that we may never truly lose vision but, rather, gain insight as we seek to serve you in our brothers and sisters.  We ask this in your most holy name.  Amen (Larry Livingston from Unbound).

O glorious St. Cecilia, virgin and martyr, you won the martyr’s crown without renouncing your love for Jesus, the delight of your soul.  We ask that you help us to be faithful in our love for Jesus so that, in the communion of the saints, we may praise him twice in our song of rejoicing for the blood that he shed which gave us the grace to accomplish his will on earth.  Amen.

Quote

Arise, soldiers of Christ!  Throw away the works of darkness and put on the armor of light (St. Cecilia)

Links of interest…  St. Cecilia: life / miracles / Nov 22 / novena (more) / patron of music / prayers (more) / quotes / story…  Help my unbelief…  St. Cecilia Church: facebook / Mass times

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Niño de Cebú

What a glorious evening in honor of the Santo Niño de Cebú!  Mass at seven was concelebrated by Bishop Mulvey, Fr. Paul, and Fr. Kisito at St. Pius X in Corpus Christi.

          

Bishop’s homily

It’s good to be with you again this year.  I can’t believe another year has gone by.  Seems like only yesterday— or at least a few weeks ago— that we were here for this beautiful celebration of Santo Niño.  So I’m very happy to be here with you again this evening.

Three epiphanies

You may have noticed in the feast of Epiphany which was two weeks ago that there we spoke of three epiphanies.

The Church has proclaimed that Jesus is made known, revealed in three ways.  So, the first is the Magi that come from afar, meaning that people from everywhere are called to come and adore Christ.  And there they saw the newborn son, the word God come in the flesh.  Last week we celebrated the baptism of the Lord where Jesus reveals— the Holy Spirit reveals— the relationship with God the Father and his son when it is heard, “This is my beloved son.  Listen to him.”  An epiphany.  And, today, as we read the gospel of St. John with Jesus at the wedding feast of Cana, again his glory is shown in his first miracle.  Another epiphany.

And so these three epiphanies surround this time of the year as we celebrate the birth of the son of God, his gift to us.

Wedding at Cana

In that wedding feast of Cana, if I were to ask you or you were to ask each other what that feast was about, you could probably recount some of the details of the jars that were there— that were empty, that were filled with water, that Jesus changed them into wine, that Mary asked him to do it— those kinds of things of details.

St. John’s account

Many stories, of course, in forms of jokes, unfortunately, use this particular scene of Jesus’s life for humor.  Yet St. John not only recounts the details, but the beauty of the gospel.  You know, we have Matthew, Mark, and Luke, the synoptics.  They kind of line up with each other, but St. John takes it to another level.  His is the contemplative gospel that recounts events that have happened, but he goes much deeper into the symbolism of what was happening.

From the Jewish culture of which he was a part, he can also see the similarities that Jesus brings by the newness that Jesus adds to it.  So what do we find for our edification tonight at this particular scene of the wedding feast of Cana?

Six, not seven

Number six is one of the significant symbolisms, which you probably have heard if you’ve studied any kind of a Bible course or you’ve attended a class or maybe you’ve heard it in a homily.  But the number seven is the perfect number.  God rested on the seventh day.  So many other increments of seven— forty-nine et cetera— speak of the perfection of God’s work.  And so it’s interesting for St. John that there were six jars, not seven.

Being that there was an insufficiency there, that in this particular wedding feast which, for the Jewish people a wedding feast in a small town or any town was a monumental moment that went all week long, the bride and the groom had to remain dressed in their wedding garments all week.  The doors were open.  People came in and out to visit them and to greet them all week long.  So the wedding feast was extremely important to society, just as for us tonight Santo Niño is a part of the culture of the Philippines, is part of your culture.  And so, when St. John points out that there were only six jars, he’s saying that what is about to happen is the completion of what is insufficient, that Jesus brings something new.

Filling the jars

The stewards were asked to fill those jars with water.  Again, absurd for the wedding feast because, of course, wine was to be there and, as St. John reports, the best wine was to be served first.  And so, to use water meant that something was lacking.

Not knowing what was to happen the stewards, probably with huge questions in their minds, filled the jars with water.  They were instructed by the Blessed Mother— by Mary— to fill them with water.

Today in our sufficiency we would, say, go out to— I won’t name any of the stores around here.  I don’t want to offend anybody.  If you were to go to another one, then I would know.  But we’d just go down the street.  Get some more.  But water?  Water?

The greatest gift

When they did so, Jesus at that moment then changed it not into just regular wine, but to the best of wine which, again, is saying he’s there at that feast, at that important moment.

Some say the bridegroom was a relative of Mary’s somewhere in her family tree, so they were well known there.  But he brings in the best.  And St. John can easily see that it refers to himself and his own ministry that, when Jesus comes to us— when he has come to us— he comes as God’s greatest gift: the best, not just the ordinary, but the very best.

Relationship

We see that, in the book of the prophet Isaiah tonight, when the prophecy of Isaiah speaks of God marrying his people, coming into relationship with his people, which means us, these symbolisms, these realities of marriage, covenant, of wine that we celebrate now in the sacrament here at the altar— all of these are mediums by which God is among us.

Jesus wants to announce in this epiphany at the wedding feast of Cana that, in his person, God is now here with you.  The number six is no longer imperfect.  The water is no longer water, but wine.  And, he is there in their midst, to bring joy to their hearts.  This is the message for you and me tonight.

We can ask in our own lives, have we invited Jesus into our homes?  Do we invite Jesus into our families?  Do we invite Jesus into our difficulties?  Or do we just sit and complain and complain and write letter after letter of anger et cetera?

Inviting Jesus into our lives is what brings something new to any situation or to any relationship.  Without Jesus in our relationship, there is no peace.  And our relationships remain mundane.  We use them, but Jesus wants to be part of our life.  And what is the relationship that Jesus brings?

Love and sacrifice

As we continue on in the gospel of St. John, or if we continue looking there, what is that wine that Jesus brought us?  What is that newness that Jesus brought to the wedding feast where friends were gathered?

It is the wine of the new commandment.  I give you a new commandment: Love one another.

Even if the wedding feast in Jesus takes just human love— just human relationships, a human marriage— and changes it into something new, into something that is vital, something that is life-giving, that couple hopefully one day recalled or heard the words of Jesus.

Love one another.  Sacrifice your life for one another.  That’s what brings joy and peace to people’s lives, not taking away from one another, not extracting life out of others, not commanding others but being there in true harmony as God is harmony himself.  That’s the newness that St. John understands, that Jesus brought to that wedding feast: to be introduced into that couple’s life as he was about to, in the next years, sacrifice for you and for me.

Jesus was meaning to say, then, “Sacrifice your life for one another.”

Sacrifice your life for the good of your brothers and sisters.  Don’t keep Jesus out of your life.  Don’t keep his commandment to love as some abstract suggestion.  It’s at the heart of our lives to love one another as God has loved us in Jesus Christ.

At the end of the gospel reading of the wedding feast at Cana, St. John tells us that Jesus did this as the beginning of his signs at Cana in Galilee.  And so he revealed his glory.  He revealed that something new is here.

So, you want to go along with the crowd?  That’s fine.  But you’ll find nothing new.  Jesus is what’s new even today.  And, St. John says, “His disciples began to believe in him” (John 2:11).

Welcoming heart

The question for us tonight is: Do we believe in him?  Do we believe that he is what’s new?  Do we believe that in our broken Church, our broken world, we need him at our wedding feast?  Do we need him in our lives?  The disciples obviously thought so.  They believed in him.

What does it take to believe, sisters and brothers?  It’s not believing just a bunch of rules and morals and doctrines.  It means believing in the person of Jesus Christ.  And what do we need to do that?  Jesus told us.  “You will not enter the kingdom of God unless you become like a little child.”  There we have the meaning of this night.  Many would say to you probably, “Well, Jesus is not a baby anymore.  He’s a grown up.”  That’s true.  But Santo Niño reminds us that he wants us to have the same humility, the same dependence in our life as a child— as a child.

The role of a child in our Christian faith is not insignificant.  It is extremely important.  So, as we celebrate tonight, as we pray for those who are in harm’s way, perhaps in any way, in the Philippines and beyond, let us remember that it’s being children that we can be open to the newness of God in our life.  It’s a child that throws open the door to friends when they come to the door.  It’s a child who wants to serve.  Let’s have that childlike— not childish, but childlike— heart in our lives that we can welcome the new things that God wants to bring into our lives every day when we say, “Welcome to our feast.  Welcome to my house” (Bishop Michael Mulvey; January 19, 2019; transcribed audio recording, edited).

         

          

                

        

                  

Prayer

Santo Niño, holy child Jesus, we adore you, we hope in you, we love you.  Have mercy on us.  Listen to our prayers, especially to those who are suffering, dying, and grieving.  Help us imitate your humility, simplicity, compassion, total self-giving, and love.  Illumine our minds, purify our hearts, and cleanse our souls, for we wish to glorify you in all that we do so that at the end of our life, we may see you face to face with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit.

Mother Mary and St. Joseph, through your intercession, may we grow in our love for Our Lord, Jesus Christ.  Amen.

January 20, 2019

“It is our humble conviction that the divine and the human meet in the slightest detail in the seamless garment of God’s creation, in the last speck of dust of our planet” (Pope Francis in Laudato Si).

Our Lady of Sorrows – McAllen, TX

Links of interest…  Child Jesus: coloring pages (more) / devotion / infancy & childhood / just who wasmeditations / miracles (books) / photos / questions & answers / reverence / solemnity / St. Anthonyvisions…  Divine Child: devotion / prayersanctuary…  Holy Infant of Prague: about / brief history / chaplet / feast / history / league / novena / of good health (more) / petitions / prayers in Spanish…  Santo Niño de Atocha: about (more) / chapel / history / miracles (more) / origin / prayers / story…  Santo Niño de Cebú: basilica / devotionfeast (more) / history / homily / novena / origin (more) / perpetual novena / song (YouTube)…  St. John the Baptist Church: facebook / website…  St. Pius X: facebook / Santo Niño devotionwebsite

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Welcoming spirit

The last weekend in September we attended the Angels and Demons Fullness of Truth conference at Holy Vietnamese Martyrs in Austin but, instead of returning there for Saturday evening Mass, we opted for Sunday morning Mass at St. Albert the Great.

Ten o’clock Mass

We arrived half an hour early to take photos as quietly as possible without disturbing anyone, and I did fine— until an older couple noticed me nearby.

The woman stood to speak.  “Are we going to be in your photos?”  And, before I even had the chance to answer, she added, “Because we don’t want our pictures taken.”

“Oh, no,” I said, trying to calm her.  “I’m only photographing the stations of the cross.  Aren’t they beautiful?”

I moved along to the Blessed Mother’s side altar and basked in her presence.  I was so grateful for her understanding that I couldn’t stop smiling.

Welcoming spirit

Then, out of nowhere, a crystalline voice called out to me!  Our Lady!  A child?  The Holy Infant filled me with so much love, joy, and peace that I wanted to cry!  My mind, heart, and soul scrambled to make meaning.  Was anyone even there?

I turned around and quickly surmised that, in wanting to console me, Our Lady had sent a child— a beautiful, precocious little emissary with a welcoming spirit— to help me see that everything was fine.

“Why are you taking all those pictures?” the youngster asked with great confidence and an even bigger grin.

Memories rushed my senses as I was transported to the familiar: the many fun lively discussions with my students over the years.  I felt totally at ease, wholly immersed in the teachable moment.  So, maintaining a respectful distance three chairs away from where the little boy sat, I bent forward slightly to chat from where I stood in the aisle as, no doubt, Our Lady listened in on the animated tête-à-tête she’d so graciously arranged.

          

          

          

          

          

          

          

      

      

         

Prayers

God, you made St. Albert great by enabling him to combine human wisdom and divine faith.  Help us to adhere to his teaching that we may progress in the sciences and… come to a deeper understanding and love of you.  Amen.

When I feel rejected…  Loving God, you made me who I am.  I praise you and love you, for I am wonderfully made in your own image.  But, when people make fun of me, I feel hurt, embarrassed, and even ashamed.  So, please, God, help me remember my own goodness which lies in you.

Help me remember my dignity, which you gave me when I was conceived.  Help me remember that I can live a life of love because you created my heart.  Be with me, loving God, when people hate me.  Help me to respond how you would want me to— with a love that respects others but also respects me.  Help me find friends who love me for who I am.  Help me, most of all, to be a loving person.

And, God, help me remember that Jesus loves me; for he was seen as an outcast.  He was misunderstood.  He was beaten and spat upon.

Jesus understands me and loves me with a special love because of the way you made me.  And, when I am feeling lonely, help me to remember that Jesus welcomed everyone as a friend.  Jesus reminded everyone that God loved them.  He encouraged everyone to embrace their dignity, even when others were blind to seeing that dignity.  Jesus loved everyone with the boundless love that you gave him.  And he loves me, too.

One more thing, God.  Help me remember that nothing is impossible with you, that you have a way of making things better, that you can find a way of love for me even if I can’t see it right now.

Help me remember all these things in the heart you created, loving God.  Amen (James Martin, SJ; edited).

St. Albert quotes

“I have never gone out to mingle with the world without losing something of myself.”

“It is by the path of love, which is charity, that God draws near to man and man to God.”

Woman is a misbegotten man and has a faulty and defective nature in comparison to his.  Therefore she is unsure in herself.  What she cannot get, she seeks to obtain through lying and diabolical deceptions.  And so, to put it briefly, one must be on one’s guard with every woman, as if she were a poisonous snake and the horned devil….  Thus in evil and perverse doings woman is cleverer, that is, slyer, than man.  Her feelings drive woman toward every evil, just as reason impels man toward all good.  [Poppycock!  And we wonder why Church (big C) is the way it is?!!]

November 6, 2018

To discover that you are loved is the center of all existence.  And, when we are filled with this total and delirious love, little by little, we grow and love in turn.  That gradualness in our journeys is a sign of the infinite tenderness of God (Simone Troisi & Cristiana Paccini in Chiara Corbella Petrillo).

November 14, 2018

When does God speak to us?  He speaks at all times, especially in prayer.  Prayer is a conversation with God.  But it is not a monologue.  When we pray, then, we should also listen (Fr. Kilian J. Healy in Awakening Your Soul to Presence of God).

November 28, 2018

We do not define ourselves as men or as women through our work, our house, our health, or our reputation.  We define ourselves as men and women through the way we love (Simone Troisi & Cristiana Paccini).

Links of interest…  Albertus Magnus quotes (more)…  Church & science are not at war…  Good science/bad science…  Mary’s intercession speeds up the hour of grace…  Meditation vs. reflection…  Statements on women by church doctors, fathers, & saints…  St. Albert the Great: about / champion of faith & reasonchurch (bulletins) / doctor of the church / litanyMarian prayerNov 15 / novenaoptional memorial / prayer chainscientist (more)…  Tune into silence

WP posts…  Holy Vietnamese Martyrs…  Marian devotions…  Mary’s seven joys…  May flowers…  St. Austin…  St. Jude chapel…  St. Mary Cathedral…  St. Mary revisited