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 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), 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 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 (more)… Love, joy, peaceMass (world-wide listings)… Power of witnessSt. Louis Cathedral: daily saints / history / photos / toursSt. Michael Church: live stream (archives) / mass onlineTen Commandments: The Decalogue

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WP posts… Beloved joyful priestCall of serviceGiftsGod’s master planHome againPromise of hopeSolano, Solanus, SolaniSt. 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 until June twenty-third, when he trades places with the pastor at St. Anthony’s in Fargo.)

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. Anthony of Padua: diocese / Mass / website…  St. Michael Church: live stream (archives) / Mass / website…  Tobit & Tobias? Their lives are just like ours

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WP posts… Beloved joyful priestCall of serviceGiftsGod’s master planHome againPromise of hopeSolano, Solanus, SolaniSt. Michael chaplet

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, Jr. (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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Stations

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you
because, by your holy cross, you have redeemed the world.

1st: Jesus is condemned to death

You suffered for us, O blessed Jesus.  It was our sins that condemned you to death.  Grant that we may obtain your mercy and pardon through repentance.

             

               

2nd: Jesus carries his cross

O Jesus, grant us the ability to embrace the difficulties of our life.
Make us ever ready to take up our cross and follow you.

               

               

3rd: Jesus falls the first time

O Jesus, you bore the heavy burden of the cross for our sins.
May your suffering make us watchful and keep us from sin.

               

             

4th: Jesus meets his mother

O Jesus, have compassion on us and give us a share in Mary’s intercession.
O Mary intercede for us that we may find our way back to God.

               

               

5th: Simon helps carry the cross

O Lord Jesus, may it be our privilege to bear our cross.
May we rejoice if we should be counted worthy to suffer for your name’s sake.

               

               

6th: Veronica wipes the face of Jesus

O Jesus, may the thought of your suffering move us with deep compassion.
Kindle in our hearts a more fervent love for you.
May your image be engraved in our minds until we are completely yours.

               

               

7th: Jesus falls the second time

O Jesus, how often have you mourned us by our repeated falls into sin.
May we choose not to offend you.

               

               

8th: Jesus consoles the women

O Jesus, we mourn for you and for ourselves
Teach us to be more like you.

               

               

9th: Jesus falls the third time

O Jesus, we ask that you pardon our frequent relapses into sin.
May the thought of your suffering help us be our best.

               

               

10th: Jesus is stripped of his garments

O Jesus, strip us of all false esteem, conceit, and pride and make us humble
so that we can share your glory in the life to come.

               

               

11th: Jesus is nailed to the cross

O Jesus, nailed to the cross, fasten our hearts to the cross
so that we may be united with you.

               

               

12th: Jesus dies on the cross

O Jesus, we devoutly embrace your saving cross on which you died
so that we may have eternal life.
We honor your cross and lovingly accept our own.

               

               

13th: Jesus is taken down from the cross

O Mary, your grief must have been great as your son was put to death.
By his death and resurrection we have become children in Christ.
Help us be like your son, Jesus.

               

               

14th: Jesus is laid in the tomb

Lord, your suffering is over.  Sin, death, and hell have been conquered.
Be the King of my heart.  I surrender myself to your holy will.
I am yours.  May your kingdom come.

               

               

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you
because, by your holy cross, you have redeemed the world.

Contact information

Stations prayers are based on Reflections on the Stations of the Cross (B-8/15) from the St. Jude Shrine, 512 West Saratoga Street, Baltimore, MD 21201-1805.

Pictured stations: (top) St. Cecilia (Los Fresnos, TX), Our Lady of Good Counsel (Brownsville, TX), St. Cecilia (Wisconsin Dells); (bottom) St. Joseph (Sunnyside, WA), St. Luke (Brownsville, TX), and St. Jude Thaddeus (Pharr, TX), respectively.

Prayers

Accept today, Lord, my humble and contrite heart.  Forgive my actions that have caused pain to others.  Show me the way forward that I might act in accordance with your divine and awesome love in all things great and small.  To the praise and glory of your name always, now, and forever.  Amen (Pittsburg Theological Seminary [PTS]).

Almighty God, soften my heart and let me see the extent to which I have sinned against your holiness and the creatures you love.  Though I can only see pain ahead for now, I accept your judgment and pray that, in your wrath, you will remember mercy.  Amen (PTS).

Dear God, as we follow Jesus and commit ourselves afresh to living for him in the world, we pray not only for ourselves and others who trust in Jesus— we ask that you will also hear our prayers in behalf of people who do not yet know him.  May we share and show God’s love to all whom you bring our way.  Amen (PTS).

God, devoted companion, grace us with prayerful resolve so that this might be a fruitful time for each of us, a time of true repentance, reflection, and self-discipline.  May these forty days be for us a pilgrimage into your heart and into deeper solidarity with our sisters and brothers within the human family.  We ask this in your most holy name.  Amen (Larry Livingston from Unbound).

God, your love for us is deep and mysterious.  In this time of anxiety, bless us with the strength and the wisdom to place our trust in you.  As your son, Jesus, prayed for resolve in the garden, so may we have the resolve to endure our current trials.  As he sacrificed his life out of love for us, may we dedicate our own sacrifices, big and small, to the care of our world, especially those most in need.  We ask this in your holy name.  Amen (Livingston).

God, help us to know that you do not forsake us, that your steadfast love, grace, and mercy are always present in our lives.  Let us rejoice and say “God is good” even when to our prayer we do not get the answer we so desperately want.  Amen (PTS).

God of hope, guide us to look closer, so that we may see the potential of marginalized people.  Strengthen us to walk with those dismissed because of gender, ethnicity, race, religion, age, disability, poverty, or other circumstances.  Help us love, cherish, and believe in them the way you love, cherish, and believe in all your children.  We ask this in your holy name.  Amen (Loretta Shea Kline).

Gracious and compassionate God, be with us in our lament.  Turn our hearts and our most inmost parts toward seeing anew, toward the suffering that we ourselves experience in this moment, and toward the suffering that others experience because of our shared rebellion.  Bring us this day into the grace of knowing that our suffering is that of others also, that our lament is their lament.  And bring us into the grace of praying that our understanding may become full and of praying for a fullness of understanding that all may share.  Amen (PTS).

Gracious God, in the midst of busy contemporary life, we pause to listen prayerfully and expectantly to the ancient voice of the psalmist, as across the centuries it speaks to us of your gift of spiritual assurance in our times of uncertainty.  We offer our profound gratitude for your promises given.  In Christ’s name we pray.  Amen (PTS).

Holy God, at times we feel as though your face is hidden from us.  Speak love to us.  Gather us back.  Show us your face. Remind us that your love carries us, no matter how interesting the times in which we are living.  Amen (PTS).

Jesus, help us to follow you as you walk the way of the cross.  May we not lose heart in the face of suffering.  Amen (Franciscan Media [FM]).

Jesus, keep us faithful to you. When our faith is tested, may we not betray your trust.  May we always be your servants, even in times of suffering.  Amen (FM).

Jesus, may we put faith in you and in the works you do in fulfillment of the Father’s will.  May we help others come to believe in you.  Amen (FM).

Jesus, lifted up on the cross, draw us to yourself.  As we sign ourselves with your cross, remind us that we belong to you.  Amen (FM).

Jesus, may our attitude be yours.  Help us to let go of all that keeps us from life with you.  May today for us be a day of salvation.  Amen (FM).

Jesus, we stand with Mary at the foot of your cross.  Entrust us to her care.  May she ever lead us to you in the heart of the church.  Amen (FM).

Most gracious and loving God, on the night of Jesus’s birth, his cry burst into song and changed history.  As he grew, his teachings became life-changing songs of love.  When he was tried, crucified, and then died, the world thought his song was silenced.  His resurrection brought forth a glorious song of unending love.  Help us never to forget that, if Christ’s song is to continue, we must do the singing.  May we sing a jubilant song of faith, hope, love, and justice on earth as it is in heaven.  In Christ we pray, amen (PTS).

O Lord Jesus Christ, you died to save us.  You stretched your arms on the cross to embrace the world and gather us as your people in the church.  We rejoice!  May we share our lives with others who love you— and with the world you love so deeply.  Amen (PTS).

O Lord of infinite forgiveness and love, rouse our hearts to see the holy in the hustle and bustle, to feel the peace in the noise and chaos, and to experience your grace anew.  Amen (PTS).

Our heavenly Father, you have ordered the universe with physical laws that control the stars above and the world below.  You have given us life and the freedom to choose our path.  Help us to avoid the modern-day plagues that tempt us daily; help us discover the life-giving universal laws found in your word.  Light the way with your love….  Amen (PTS).

Suffering Lord, may we walk with you on the way of the cross.  Strengthen us to let go of selfish ambition and join you in serving others.  Amen (FM).

When our enemies surround us and plot against us, Lord, rescue us from their clutches and defend us from harm.  Be our strength and our salvation.  Amen (FM).

March 4, 2020

Lent opens with a piercing sound, that of a trumpet that does not please the ears, but instead proclaims a fast.  It is a loud sound that seeks to slow down our life, which is so fast-paced yet often directionless.  It is a summons to stop— a halt!— to focus on what is essential, to fast from the unnecessary things that distract us.  It is a wake-up call for the soul (Pope Francis).

March 5, 2020

“We could not go to Calvary to offer ourselves with him and thus share in the fruits of his sacrifice, so Jesus brought Calvary to us” (Fr. Lawrence G. Lovasik in The Basic Book of the Eucharist).

March 8, 2020

“Faith isn’t primarily about rituals and rules, but about walking with God” (Alice Camille in We Journey Together, 2020, p. 13).

March 22, 2020

In times such as these, O God, we wait in Lenten apprehension and hope, longing for the preservation of humanity, the restoration of your creation, and the redemption of both through the sustaining and transforming presence of your Holy Spirit in our hearts and in our world (PTS).

March 26, 2020

We are not to be without pain.  Pain is Jesus suffering in us, but we are to look to him for strength and courage.  We are to learn this ability to shoulder our cross by gazing at him and being gentle and humble in heart (Mother Angelica in Suffering and Burnout).

March 27, 2020

Love and sacrifice are not the same thing, but they are inseparable.  To think of Christ and to think of the cross is not the same thing, but the association is so close that the implication is immediate.  Where love has been preached without sacrifice, it has not led to love but to license (Hubert Van Zeller in How to Find God).

April 12, 2020

Our Lord and our God, on this day when we celebrate your resurrection, help us to come to understand that Easter is much more than a one-day celebration each year.  Help all of us to know and understand ourselves as an “image of You.”  And empower us to live out our daily lives as your image to our family, friends, neighbors, strangers, and yes, even, our enemies.  Amen (PTS).

May 14, 2020

By dying on the cross for us, Jesus showed to what lengths God would go in his love for man; by dying for the glory of the Father, he expressed the depth of the love of man for God.  The cross is the supreme symbol of this love (Luis M. Martinez in True Devotion to the Holy Spirit).

June 22, 2020

“The great secret of a fervent life is to take as our ideal the maxim: Act on all occasions as our Lord would have acted had he been in our place” (Raoul Plus, SJ, in How To Pray Always).

July 28, 2020

“If the Passion of Christ is a way of pain, it is also a path of hope leading to certain victory” (Blessed Alvaro del Portillo).

September 14, 2020

“Glory be to you who laid your cross as a bridge over death, that souls might pass over it from the dwelling of the dead to the dwelling of life” (St. Ephrem).

December 3, 2020

“I believe that I shall be saved… for your mercy is greater than the malice of my sins” (St. Francis Xavier).

Links of interest…  Aventine meditations…  Earthbeat…  Easter/Lent (meditations)…  Forty days at the foot of the cross…  Franciscan Media: Lent with the saints…  Holy Week: 1st four days / Triduum…  Lent’s reward…  Loving with all our being…  Meditations for Lent…  Pittsburgh Theological Seminary: Advent & Lent devotionals & archive…  Prayer before the crucifix…  Praying Lent…  Resurrection…  St. Jude Shrine…  Stations of the Cross: about / devotion / fish eaters / for families / for kids (downloadable) / how to do / origin / prayers / printables  / puppet show / significance / unique chant / way of the cross / what are…  Via Crucis at the Colosseum with Pope Francis

WP posts…  Bearing one’s crosses…  Capuchin church stations…  Christ’s passion…    Concrete abstraction…  For all time…  Full circle…  God’s lovely gifts…  Growing pains…  Lady of sorrows…  Lenten meditations…  Lenten reflections…  Lenten resources…  Lingering memory…  Pilgrim’s journey…  Prayerful ways…  Quiet prayer time…  Sioux chapel stations…  Simple yet profound…  Sorrowful redemption

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

WP posts…  Afternoon Mass…  Angels keeping watch…  Full circle…  Mary’s Immaculate Heart…  Our Lady Star…  St. Benedict’s

Afternoon Mass

Year before last we attended four o’clock Mass at Our Lady of Sorrows in McAllen, TX for the very first time and— were we ever surprised to find a smiling Santo Niño de Cebú waiting for us in the crying room as I took photos afterwards!

November 18, 2017

          

          

         

         

                 

           

          

     

October 20, 2018

          

          

          

               

     

December 15, 2018

          

          

     

          

       

January 26, 2019

          

              

July 14, 2019

     

December 8, 2019

          

       

         

Prayer from the Association of the Miraculous Medal

Our mother of sorrows, with strength from above you stood by the cross, sharing in the sufferings of Jesus, and with tender care you bore him in your arms, mourning and weeping.

We praise you for your faith, which accepted the life God planned for you.  We praise you for your hope, which trusted that God would do great things in you.  We praise you for your love in bearing with Jesus the sorrows of his passion.

Holy Mary, may we follow your example, and stand by all your children who need comfort and love.

Mother of God, stand by us in our trials and care for us in our many needs.  Pray for us now and at the hour of our death.  Amen.

Quote

“The saints assure us that turning to the Lord in our sorrows and placing our hopes in him can give us strength here and now and help prepare us for a future of new life and joy” (Fr. Joseph Esper in More Saintly Solutions).

Links of interest…  Beholding Our Mother…  Develop a devotion to Our Lady of Sorrows…  Finding comfort…  Jorrowful mysteries…  Mourning with the sorrowful mother…  OLS in McAllen: bulletins / homilies / website…  Our Lady of Sorrows: about / beautiful prayer / chaplet / devotion (more) / feast (Sept. 15) / meditations / mysteries / novena / prayers / quotes / rosary / scriptures / seven prayers…  Pietà: about (more) / chapel / lesson about unexpected grace / statueSeven sorrows rosary: Solace for suffering souls…  Seven sorrows, seven promises, & Fatima’s connection…  Stabat Mater: about / hymn / liturgical sequence / seven sorrows

WP posts…  At long last…  Bearing one’s crosses…  Christ’s sacred heart  Faces of Mary…  Fatima prayers…  God’s lovely gifts…  Lady of sorrows…  Lingering memory…  My Franciscan Crown…  Niño de Cebú…  Repeated prayers…  Santo Niño…  St. Jude chapel  St. Monica…  Sweet Jesus…  Unbounded joy