Tuesday, August 31, 2010

“Some Of These I Will Take As Priests”

Here I share with APL readers my remarks upon the occasion of my installation by His Excellency, Archbishop Donald Wuerl, as pastor of St. Francis de Sales Church in Benedict, Md., on August 22, 2010.
+ + +

"Thus says the LORD: ... 'I come to gather nations of every language; they shall come and see my glory. I will set a sign among them; from them I will send fugitives to the nations: to Tarshish, Put and Lud, Mosoch, Tubal and Javan, to the distant coastlands that have never heard of my fame, or seen my glory; and they shall proclaim my glory among the nations. They shall bring all your brothers and sisters from all the nations as an offering to the LORD, on horses and in chariots, in carts, upon mules and dromedaries, to Jerusalem, my holy mountain, says the LORD, just as the Israelites bring their offering to the house of the LORD in clean vessels. Some of these I will take as priests and Levites, says the LORD.' "

Thank you, Your Excellency, for your presence among us today and for personally installing me as the pastor of this wonderful parish community of faith of St. Francis de Sales Church. I am grateful for the gift and privilege of collaborating with you in your role as shepherd of our Church of Washington. It is a grace in which I pray I will continue to grow with the help of your prayers
and the prayers of the holy People of God. I appreciate your kindness in delivering the homily for our Mass today. As there has already been one very good homily, please be assured that my remarks will not be similar in length.

My thanks must go above all to Almighty God, from whom all blessings come. In this beautiful gift of a share in the pastoral care of God’s people I see and experience the goodness of God and His infinite and merciful love. This comes through the holy Church, the Body of Christ, because of the gift of the Holy Spirit of divine Love.

My faith and trust in God have been renewed and strengthened in these days in which I receive as a gift what no one could hope to deserve. It is only in humility that God can use us in the service of the good and the salvation of His people. Acknowledging every good thing as a gift of God will help me, and all those who work together for the salvation of souls in this parish family, to remain humble and therefore useful for God’s holy will in imitation of Christ who served the rest by His death on the cross.

To the people of this parish community of St. Francis de Sales: You have all welcomed me among you with gentleness and kindness. Please know of my sincere gratitude for your goodness which speaks profoundly of the presence of the Lord. I look forward to growing with you in the spirit of reverence and love of God in our sacred worship together, especially on the Lord’s Day each week.

I thank my brother and sisters and nieces and nephews who have joined us today. I am one of six siblings and, for that reason if no other, family is very important. Thank you for showing your love and support by the gift of your presence. My parents, Richard and Mary, are not with us today because they are attending another family event in Michigan, but they are very much with us in spirit. They have already visited the parish when in July they made a voyage on their sailboat, The Irish Blessing, from Baltimore and made a port call here in Benedict on my second weekend here. They attended Mass and said hello to many of our parishioners after the weekend Masses. They have certainly bestowed their parental “benediction” and they look forward to visiting us again.

I wish to also acknowledge the presence of my brother priests, Fathers Roberto Cortes and Ted Hegnauer. Thank you for your fraternity, a gift to my own priesthood. My friend, Fr. Hegnauer, also represents the pastor and people of my home parish of St. Mary of the Mills in Laurel. Father, thanks for your kindness in coming today.

To all of you, friends old and new, God’s beloved faithful people, thank you for being present to celebrate this holy Mass of installation, for your prayers and your best wishes. God bless
you.

-- ((((..))))

Sunday, August 29, 2010

"... the one who humbles himself will be exalted": true greatness is with God, who only can raise us to the highest place in heaven


I took the opportunity Friday to run near the Tidal Basin in Washington. As I ran, I had the opportunity to reflect on all the great Americans who are memorialized in the grand and beautiful monuments that surround the visitor to the capital city. I thought about what makes people great, important, and worth remembering. Would we forget these human beings if there were no piles of marble and stone dedicated to their memory? And I realized that, yes, given all of the things that each of us learn, there are probably many more things that we forget, including other people and their heroic and exemplary deeds.

The monuments we build hold up for us the models of human greatness that have gone before us. But they can also serve to make us feel small and insignificant. There will be very little left behind to mark the passage of most of us through this life on earth.

But the Lord, who we know is the greatest One of all, who is God, holds up for us who know our littleness the way to be great: He says we must seek to be the last. Now, that doesn’t sound great at all, to be the last and the least. How will doing so enable us to leave a mark on the lives of others, and to make the world a better place?

Here we speak of the virtue, or good habit, of humility. Why is humility necessary? Why do we need to be humble in order to find the happiness that results from the fulfillment of living a truly worthy and good life?

History seems to be made by people who were important in the eyes of the world: kings, generals, writers, artists, geniuses of various kinds. These are the people who seem important to us because it is their stories that fill the pages of our history books and about whom films are made and who are memorialized in the great expressions of fine art in painting, sculpture and architecture that beautify the landscape and fill the great halls of our nation’s capital and museums.

Or was history made by these? Is it not rather true that none of these people could have become great or famous or successful without the untold many who worked with them, or were influenced by them, or were led by them to change the course of history for better or worse? When we stop to think about it, we realize that history is made by the many, and those who are designated as famous or great never did so on their own, but simply were pushed forward upon the tides of history as a symbol for the nameless multitudes that truly wrote the annals of history.

When we realize that everyone makes history, that greatness truly belongs to the many and that throughout history one was chosen to symbolize the rest, such as George Washington or Abraham Lincoln for America’s founding and struggle for unity and nationhood, Martin Luther King for the non-violent civil rights movement, or Mother Teresa for the vast army of tireless pro-life workers and advocates all over the world, we are able to understand the Lord’s teaching on greatness.

God never asks us to do what He has not already done, perfectly, himself. Jesus Christ teaches us most perfectly by his life and His death on the Cross, what his words communicate: the greatest is the one who serves all the rest. He humbled Himself to become a Man, and then, in an unthinkable act of turning against Himself, obeyed His Father’s will and submitted to the violence and destruction of the Cross in order to serve the salvation of the whole world. And, after that, He was raised above all the angels, principalities and powers, exalted to the right hand of His Father in heaven.

In the life of the Church we celebrate the saints as the greatest heroes of all; this is because they share the prize of everlasting glory with Christ, which the essence of true greatness: sharing the life and love and joy of God without end. But they won the crown of glory through the life of the Cross shared with Christ, through living the virtue of humility. They took the lower place, so that God could “lift them up high” – in salvation.

You and I will never be called to save the human race as was Jesus Christ our Lord. He has done the work of gaining for us the grace of Faith by which we are to be saved. But we are called to work, to pray, to cooperate with His grace in order to save our own souls by imitating Him. By serving others for His sake, out of love for Him, we work out our salvation by means of His grace.

When we listen to someone in pain who needs an ear, when we labor with a child over his or her homework, when we forgive someone who hates us, when we pray for someone who ignores us, when we love someone who shows us ingratitude, in these and in so many ways we serve others and thus, by grace, are exalted together with Christ to the holiness which is a foretaste of the Kingdom.

If through pride we exalt ourselves we will end in disaster. Only God can raise us up to that place where He raised Christ and from which we can never fall again, that place higher than which cannot be imagined: the kingdom of heaven.

True exaltation is inheriting everything from our rich and loving Father. Let us now, with Christ, seek to humble ourselves in love and service that we may be truly so exalted. World without end. Amen.

Praised be Jesus Christ. Now and forever.


((((..))))

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Called to Love Conference, Washington, DC, September 16-18, 2010


A Conference for Diocesan and Parish Leaders and Educators on John Paul II's Theology of the Body

The Center for Cultural and Pastoral Research is pleased to announce this upcoming seminar on John Paul II's "theology of the body." The conference will bring together an exciting group of speakers from around the country, all deeply engaged in scholarship or pastoral service, to lead an extended reflection and conversation on themes of direct relevance to marriage preparation and youth ministry, with broader application in all forms of Christian service. Topics include Christian identity and vocation, gender and sexuality, the meaning of self-gift and "saying forever," motherhood and fatherhood, the education of children, and the relationship between the Christian family and a post-Christian culture.

As the title indicates, this event is given shape by the insights of the recently published book Called to Love: Approaching John Paul II's Theology of the Body (Doubleday, 2009) by Carl Anderson, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus, and Fr. José Granados, professor at the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family in Rome and Washington, D.C. This book offers an unparalleled introduction to the "theology of the body" on account of its depth and fidelity to its source, as well as its pastoral character, which sheds light on the deepest human questions in an engaging manner.

We are delighted that Mr. Anderson and Fr. Granados will be with us to open the conference, and that the theater troupe Theophany will present John Paul II's thought in a particularly vivid way: through a rendition of The Jeweler's Shop, the pope's play about marital love. It is our hope that this seminar will afford those in attendance a fruitful period of meditation and conversation about the mysteries at the root of our common work to build a "culture of life" and a "civilization of love" (Evangelium vitae, 21, 27).


Conference Schedule

Thursday, Sept. 16

Session 1
7:00 p.m. - Opening Addresses: Carl Anderson,
Fr. José Granados

8:30 p.m. - Reception

Friday, Sept. 17

Session 2
9:00-10:30 a.m. - Being First a Child
- Fr. José Granados

Session 3
10:45 - 12:00 - Love is forever: Indissolubility
and Freedom
- Sr. Maximilia Um

12:00 - 1:30 - Lunch

Session 4
1:30-2:45 - Love is for another: Sexual Difference
- David S. Crawford

Session 5
3:00-4:15 - The Child as Gift
- Jennifer Widhalm

6:00 - Dinner

7:00 - Speaker: Anthony Esolen

7:30 - Performance of The Jeweler's Shop

Jeweler's Shop Playbill



Saturday, Sept. 18

Session 6
8:45 -10:00 - Raising a Child: Motherhood and Fatherhood
- Agata Rottkamp and Bill Beckman

Session 7
10:15-11:30 - Education - Mo Woltering, Michael Hanby,
Fr. Joseph Fessio, S.J.

Session 8
11:45-12:45 - Body Ecology: A Human Environment
- Lisa Lickona

12:45-2:00 - Lunch

Session 9
2:00-3:15 - Does "the future of humanity pass by way of
the family"? - Jeanne Schindler

Session 10
3:15-4:15 - The Benedictine Heart: Benedict XVI on
Monasticism, the Family, and "Authentic
Human Culture" - David L. Schindler

4:30-5:15 - Closing Session - Panel with Q&A

5:30 - Vigil Mass


2010 Speakers' Biographies

REGISTRATION INFORMATION

To register, please select the appropriate form below and send to

Pontifical John Paul II Institute
ATTN: Meredith Rice
The Catholic University of America
620 Michigan Ave, NE
Washington, DC 20064
PLEASE REGISTER BY SEPTEMBER 3, 2010

For questions, please contact ccpr@johnpaulii.edu or 202-526-3799.

REGISTRATION

Registration for clergy and Institute alumni: Called to Love Registration Form

Registration for general public: Called to Love public

Friday, August 27, 2010

"Looking sharp, Father."

... the greeting of a young man as I walked in soutane to the post office today.

Have a God-day, and thanks for visiting APL.

God love you,

((((..))))

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Selling Catholic Witness for "a Mess of Pottage"?

Catholic Christians are not church pew furnishings or wedding decorations that are bought for a dinner and a few drinks.

There are some followers of a new paganism that refuses to recognize any force or authority higher than human claims or relationships. It's a kind of "I was nice to you so you have to be nice to me" mentality in which the speaker reserves the right to himself to define what "being nice" means. For these being nice means "you ate my food, you hung out with my friends, you have to come to my invalid wedding or marital-simulation ceremony. And if you don't you're wrong, it's personal, you've hurt me and you're responsible."

Except maybe there is someone more important than you and me. A higher authority who reserves to Himself the right to make claims upon the human race. A Being who reserves to Himself to decide what is right and what is wrong and demands that those who claim to love Him make choices that reflect such.

Catholics do not simulate sacraments and not participate in such simulations. God has spoken: a valid marriage is between one man-husband and one woman-wife. This means they cannot be of the same sex and cannot have been previously validly married to anyone else. Period.

God does not change. He is Truth and thus also His teaching on marriage is Truth. Truth cannot both be true and arbitrarily changeable at some possible future date.

Sometimes witnessing to one's Catholic Christian Faith entails getting kicked out of someone's house when all you intended was simply to wish the person a "happy birthday" over lunch.


Praised be Jesus Christ, now and forever. Amen.



Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Multiculturalism is "juvenile"?

"Accepting the proposition that a culture that has brought freedom of conscience, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, equal rights for women, and free enterprise to the world is of equal (or lesser) value than cultures that have done nothing of the kind (or worse) is accepting a fairy tale. Living by such theory is living in a world of pretend. And to abide by such a suspension of disbelief -- and we do, from left to right, across the political spectrum -- requires us to suppress our faculties of logic and reason. This strikes me as the very definition of infantilization. What's more, as the "bringing down Western civilization" part of the subtitle indicates, it strikes me as a perilous threat to our existence -- greater, even, than the spread of Islam, because it is our infantilism that is making us accept it."

-- Diana West, Preface, "The Death of the Grown-Up. How America's Arrested Development is Bringing Down Western Civilization"

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

God created your weakness

... offer that to His Grace.

-- ((((..))))

Monday, August 23, 2010

Suffering

... is the "ladder" of the Cross to glory.

- Saint Rose of Lima

Saturday, August 21, 2010

"I come to gather nations of every language"

Installation Mass of Father Kevin M. Cusick

as pastor of

Saint Francis de Sales Catholic Church

Benedict, Maryland

will take place during holy Mass on

Sunday, 22 August

9 am


Friday, August 20, 2010

JEB Chapel at Little Creek, Virginia: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself"


The Church is the Body of Christ. When we do what the Church does, we act in the love of the Lord Jesus, whose Holy Spirit of divine Love fills the Church and all her members.

In the holy Sacrifice of the Mass we do what the Church does, as commanded by the Lord, and enjoy His perfect and saving love in His Word of Sacred Scripture and True Presence in the Eucharist. Our love for others is the grace of His abiding Presence in action.

In photo: your blogger with some of the nearly forty members of the faithful people of God at JEB Little Creek gathered for daily Mass on the feast of St Bernard.

Thank you for visiting APL today. God love you.

-- ((((..))))

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Mangiamo

Frittata with basil and zucchini.  Recipe by Marcella Hazan in "Marcella Says" pp. 106-107.

Buon appetito!

Frittata batter

In a bowl combine contents of skillet, three extra-large eggs, generous grindings of pepper and about 15 fresh basil leaves cut into fine shreds.

Pour contents into skillet prepared with one tbspn olive oil on high heat until hot.  Level frittata batter and cook until the edges of the batter become firm.
Slip skillet into oven pre-heated to 400.  When top of frittata has firmed up, remove skillet from oven using oven mitt or thick pot holder, and slide onto serving plate.

Zucchini

Add 3 zucchini sliced into very thin disks, sprinkle with salt, turn over to coat well with oil, and cook over low heat until fully tender and lightly browned.

Prezzemolo

Add 3 tbspns chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley and stir once or twice.

Frittata with Zucchini and Basil

In a skillet, on low heat, 2 tbspns virgin olive oil, 1 cup thinly sliced onions and salt. After onion is partly done mix in 1 garlic clove thinly sliced. Cook until onion is very soft and colored a pale blond.

Birth control pills are deadly

... they are a factor, with smoking, in causing sudden death by a pulmonary embolism.

Did your doctor who prescribes them happen to mention this fact?  If not, you may want to change doctors ... just a thought.

((((..))))



(Nota bene: this in addition to the fact that pills are deadly for the soul because their use, as with all forms of artificial contraception, are a moral evil contrary to the truth and meaning of marital love. (Pope Paul VI, Humanae Vitae)

Jesus Christ

... the possession Who makes rich those who give Him away in love.

-- ((((..))))

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Whistleblower Documents Uncover Botched Abortion Epidemic

Whistleblower Documents Uncover Botched Abortion Epidemic

August 17, 2010
Columbus, OH - Documents and information provided by an abortion whistleblower indicate that botched abortions occur much more often than the public is led to believe. Transcripts provided to Operation Rescue show disturbing information about two botched abortions that took place at different abortion clinics in Columbus, Ohio, within the past month.
"It is our understanding from conversations with our confidential sources in Ohio that abortion patients in Columbus end up in the local emergency rooms with alarming frequency. Our whistleblower says that these two incidents are just the tip of the iceberg. The true number of abortion complications is hidden from the public and it now appears that complications requiring emergency hospitalization have reached epidemic proportions," said Newman.
Operation Rescue is demanding that the Medical Board of Ohio conduct inspections and close the dangerous abortion clinics in Columbus and around the state.
This is the latest of many tips that has come to Operation Rescue since it announced its Abortion Whistleblower Program.
Whistleblowers have been rocking the abortion cartel by coming forward with evidence of abortion abuses, including the following:
· Former employees of late-term abortionist LeRoy Carhart submitted affidavits detailing illegal abortions, unlicensed staff dispensing drugs and performing medical tasks for which they were not qualified, and other offenses. This launched investigations by the Nebraska Attorney General and Health Department.
·
A whistleblower confirmed abortion abuses that have been occurring at Planned Parenthood of the Heartland in Iowa where dangerous abortion pills are being administered through a remote-controlled push-button scheme known as "telemed abortion." A medical board investigation is ongoing.
·
Whistleblowers in California helped expose the fact that abortionist Andrew Rutland was violating the terms of his probation by doing abortions without the required supervision of another physician. He faces almost certain license revocation at a hearing scheduled for early next year.
·
Operation Rescue blew the whistle on illegal late-term abortion referrals provided by abortionist Ann Kristin Neuhaus in Kansas. Neuhaus now faces disciplinary action after Kansas authorities filed an 11-count petition against her based on OR's complaint.
·
Two victims of forced abortions done by Michigan abortionist Alberto Hodari came forward to tell of their horrific ordeals. Both women filed medical board complaints and one has sued. Currently, all seven of Hodari's Detroit area abortion mills are up for sale.
________________________________

About Operation Rescue®

Operation Rescue is one of the leading pro-life Christian activist organizations in the nation and has become a strong voice for the pro-life movement in America. Operation Rescue is now headquartered in a former abortion clinic that it bought and closed in 2006. From there, Operation Rescue launches its innovative new strategies across the nation, exposing and closing abortion clinics through peaceful, legal means. Its activities are on the cutting edge of the abortion issue, taking direct action to stop abortion and ultimately restore legal personhood to the pre-born in obedience to biblical mandates. Click here to support Operation Rescue.

________________________________
Web site:
www.operationrescue.org

E-mail: info@operationrescue.org
Find us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter
Operation Rescue
Troy Newman
President
316-841-1700
Operation Rescue
Cheryl Sullenger
Senior Policy Advisor
316-516-3034
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Operation Rescue | P.O. Box 782888 | Wichita | KS | 67278

Sunday, August 15, 2010

"Mary the Rose Tree ...

Christ the Rose blood red."

Saturday, August 14, 2010

"I shall go up to the altar of God"

... to God who restores the joy of my youth.

Altarboys, from left, Corey, Sean and Sam, served holy Mass for the vigil of the Assumption at JEB Little Creek chapel in Virginia Beach, Va.

“Lord, go up to the place of your rest, you and the ark of your holiness”: No “escape hatch” from life or “Eat, Pray, Love” evasion. Rather, Glory

... faithfully upward with Mary in Christ for our place in the Kingdom of Heaven.

Is life like a plane full of obnoxious and ungrateful passengers from whom we must escape by pulling the emergency door and sliding down the inflatable chute in an irresponsible crash landing with two beers in hand? No, this response does not end our problems but simply creates more as we face the consequences of a rash and ill-considered impulse. Are our life and family problems dealt with best by “eating, praying and loving” our way through exotic locations around the world, in order to sample other people’s lives as though we can “shop” for answers? When the vacation is over we still have to go home and work to pay our debts and take care of our families.

Through Mary, the Mother of God whom our Lord has given to us with His dying words on the Cross, we see an answer to this and other questions about our lives, our problems and sorrows, and the way through the world and all it holds to the place of promise where all our dreams are more than fulfilled. Mary’s glorious assumption, body and soul into heaven, is God’s reward for her faithful love through the sorrows, disappointments, tragedies and sins of this world.

For the full text of the homily for the Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, please visit Meeting Christ in the Liturgy by clicking here.

Friday, August 13, 2010

City Officials: Planned Parenthood Lied

If "Banned Parenthood" can't tell the truth about a sidewalk, how can they be trusted to tell pregnant women that the life in the womb is a human being? PP doesn't want to plan anything but abortions because they can't make any money from births...
((((..))))

City Officials Agree That Planned Parenthood Lied About Ownership of Disputed Sidewalk 
 
August 13, 2010
Washington, D.C. - City officials in Washington D.C. have backed off their threats to arrest Christians praying on a sidewalk outside a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic after they determined that the sidewalk is indeed a public one.
 
Rev. Patrick Mahoney, Director of the Christian Defense Coalition, was arrested for peacefully praying and reading the Bible on the disputed sidewalk on June 8, 2010, after Planned Parenthood erected a fence and posted "no trespassing signs" and their company logo on it earlier this year.
 
In 1999, when Operation Rescue was involved in litigation with the Justice Department, it was discovered that the property in front of the Planned Parenthood building, including the sidewalk leading up to the door, was public. Since then, for over a decade, pro-lifers have peacefully offered help to abortion bound women on the public sidewalk leading to the door of the abortion clinic.
 
The illegal fence on public property interfered with the ability of sidewalk counselors to reach abortion-bound women with offers of practical help, and prevented the free exercise of First Amendment rights such as praying and picketing.
 
The City's decision acknowledging that the property is public came on the eve of a project called "A Time to Stand," in which pro-life activists from around the country were coming to challenge the ban on free speech and were willing to risk arrest for public prayer.
 
Activists will still gather in front of Planned Parenthood on Saturday, August 14, at 10:00 A.M. to pray, worship and counsel on the public sidewalk and embrace the First Amendment and religious freedom.
 
Planned Parenthood is located at 1108 16th Street NW in Washington D.C.
 
"This episode shows the lack of integrity and commitment that Planned Parenthood has to the First Amendment and the truth. They constantly lied about the nature of that sidewalk saying it was 'private' when they knew it was public. It should remind every American if an organization has no respect for the dignity and sanctity of life why would they respect the dignity of free speech?" said Rev. Mahoney.
 
"Now that Planned Parenthood's lie has been exposed, it is time for the City to demand that the signs that falsely claim the public land as private property be removed and that the illegal fence be torn down," said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman.
 
"We encourage everyone that can to attend tomorrow's gathering in front of the Planned Parenthood in Washington, D.C. to exercise their legal right to pray and offer help to abortion-bound women there. If we ignore our rights, you can bet that Planned Parenthood will be more than happy to try to take them away again so that they can continue the unabated abortion innocent babies. We must assert our rights not for ourselves, but on behalf of the babies that would surly perish if we were not allowed to make a public stand against the killing."
Follow us on Twitter  Find us on Facebook

________________________________

About Operation Rescue®

Operation Rescue is one of the leading pro-life Christian activist organizations in the nation and has become a strong voice for the pro-life movement in America. Operation Rescue is now headquartered in a former abortion clinic that it bought and closed in 2006.  From there, Operation Rescue launches its innovative new strategies across the nation, exposing and closing abortion clinics through peaceful, legal means. Its activities are on the cutting edge of the abortion issue, taking direct action to stop abortion and ultimately restore legal personhood to the pre-born in obedience to biblical mandates. Click here to support Operation Rescue.   Click here to make a secure donation online.
________________________________
Web site: www.operationrescue.org
E-mail: info@operationrescue.org
Safe Unsubscribe
Operation Rescue | P.O. Box 782888 | Wichita | KS | 67278

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

"Lord, what will there be for us?": When the believer must regretfully decline an invitation for reasons of faith and morals

"We have given up everything and followed you."

The "everything" that one might be called upon to "give up" in order to follow the Lord may be a relationship or peaceful co-existence with a brother or sister, father or mother. Broken or lost relationships, shunning or silence between family members results in a kind of mourning, a state of bereavement in which one feels as though one has "given up everything" with the loss of happiness God intended through the blessing of family life and relationships.

When a relative or friend invites the believer to attend an event which purports to be a marriage but which in fact is invalid or is the enshrining of an unnatural and sinful relationship constructed around the act of sodomy and therefore a mockery of marriage, the believer is faced with a choice. When the believer must do as God demands and witness to his or her faith by refusing to join in the feasting, the suffering which can result is always a mourning upon the loss of or damage to a natural familial relationship given by God and therefore good and deserving of our care and fostering.

Sometimes, also, this suffering which results from the "giving up of a person" in the relationship at risk because the believer has made a decision displeasing to the other in order to be faithful in witness to God who comes first, is increased by a demonic verbal assault of obscenities on the part of the one who experiences such witness as a personal rejection or social embarrassment.

Such a reaction tragically exposes a lack of authentic love for the believer as a person, in that the one demanding that the believer betray God for the sake of human respect is capable of treating another human being in an abusive and degrading manner, ironically in the name of demanding what they insist is necessary for their own dignity.

When we choose God over persons it is not personal, rather it is an act of integrity consistent with our choice to love God and to put his demands first, before the demands of other loves and other persons. To reject anything contrary to or incompatible with this Divine Love who is also Eternal Truth reflects the demands love imposes that what we do reflects who we are and the love of God which informs our lives. The Giver of love and marriage has the authority to both establish what love and marriage is and also what it is not.

And what will there be for us?

"Amen, I say to you that you who have followed me, in the new age, when the Son of Man is seated on His throne of glory, will yourselves sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands for the sake of my name will receive a hundred times more, and will inherit eternal life." (Matthew 19: 21-27)

Praised be Jesus Christ!

((((..))))

Monday, August 9, 2010

Live Jesus

... today and, if it's your last, you will live Jesus forever.

-- ((((..))))

Saturday, August 7, 2010

"Do Not Be Afraid, Little Flock": the courage of the Church and the gift of the Kingdom in Jesus Christ


Everyone experiences the fear of suffering.

What is the fear of death or disease, the fear of the loss of security financial or physical, of the unknown future but a fear of suffering? We call these physical evils because they diminish or destroy the body, mind or spirit. But there are also spiritual evils, such as sin, and these are far more to be feared, as our Lord teaches us, because they can "cast both body and soul in Gehenna". To fear these is "salutary", a help to our salvation. This kind of fear is not about what the Lord speaks in today's Gospel: "fear of the Lord" is a gift of the Holy Spirit.

And why do we fear suffering and evil? Because we were made by God, for Himself, who is love and life and light without beginning or end, and with whom there is never fear or suffering or death, but only abundant, infinite holiness and joy. And when we lack what God intended for us to have, then we are unhappy. Except the holy fear of God and of offending him by sin, all other fears prevent the life of joyful and hopeful faith and the freedom to love. It was in order to restore these things to the human race after they were lost through the sin of our first parents that Jesus Christ came to suffer, die and rise again.

"It was the Son's task to accomplish the Father's plan of salvation in the fullness of time. Its accomplishment was the reason for his being sent. 'The Lord Jesus inaugurated his Church by preaching the Good News, that is, the coming of the Reign of God, promised over the ages in the scriptures.' To fulfill the Father's will, Christ ushered in the Kingdom of heaven on earth. The Church 'is the Reign of Christ already present in mystery.' " (CCC 763)

Fear is a darkness at the margins of our lives, something we do many things, some unconsciously, to avoid. Some turn to alcohol, drugs, the misuse of their bodies and minds, all in a vain attempt to escape from the suffering which is brought on by fear of people, places or things in our world.

Our Lord opens this subject of fear for our discussion in today's Gospel: "Do not be afraid, little flock". But then he goes further and proposes a remedy: "Your Father has been pleased to give you the Kingdom".

Now, what is the Kingdom? And how does this gift of the Kingdom given by the Father promise to eradicate fear from our lives?

"The kingdom of heaven was inaugurated on earth by Christ. 'This kingdom shone out before men in the word, in the works and in the presence of Christ' (LG 5). The Church is the seed and beginning of this kingdom. Its keys are entrusted to Peter." (CCC 567)

We the members of His Body, the Church, participate because of Christ in the life of the Kingdom already, here and now. Jesus Himself is the Father's gift so that we may be "branches on the vine" of Christ our Source of Life, united with our Holy Father, Pope Benedict, in Rome and with the holy body of millions of members all over the world.

"Christ, high priest and unique mediator, has made of the Church 'a kingdom, priests for his God and Father.' The whole community of believers is, as such, priestly. The faithful exercise their baptismal priesthood through their participation, each according to his own vocation, in Christ's mission as priest, prophet, and king. Through the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation the faithful are 'consecrated to be . . . a holy priesthood.' " (CCC 1546)

So, the life of the Church is the means for us of gaining access to the Kingdom and thus eradicating the darkness of fears, named and unnamed, from our hearts and minds

Some, however, fear the Church. Some say that institutional religion is a source only of conflict because of her claim to the truth. Some say that the rules of the Church are man-made and a cause of suffering in the world. Some fear that the Church is only a group of hypocrites who do one thing on Sunday and another, very different, thing during the week. And so there are many who stand aloof and apart from the Church and refuse to be a part of her life.

A famous author made a very public reversion to the Catholic Faith of her youth a few years ago and even wrote a couple of books about Jesus Christ to the edification of many. Recently, however, she was quoted as saying to the effect, "In the name of Christ, I renounce a Christianity that makes rules about marriage, about contraception, about divorce" and with these words very publicly left the Church again. This sad story illustrates very well the common error that people make: that the Faith and morals taught by the Church do not come from Christ. In fact they do. And the hard teachings of Christ, faithfully taught by the Church about marriage between one man and one woman for the whole of life, the gift of the marital act, the necessity of openness to new human life through every act of the marriage, and all the other moral teachings, in fact put us into intimate contact with the living, teaching, loving and redeeming Christ of the Gospels and of history.

And the Church which he founded: one, holy, Catholic and apostolic, of which we are members here and now, today in this place, continues in living continuity with the one Christ, in the living Holy Spirit, to bring us into contact with the Father who has promised us the Kingdom. And His promise of the Kingdom is realized in precisely this way of life that is so very publicly rejected by so many who have refused to commit themselves with courage and perseverance to the way of the Church, handed on by the Apostles, to which we dedicate ourselves today.

And if we fear commitment to the celebration of Sunday Mass, the sacramental life, the teachings of the Magisterium or the authority given by Christ to the Church to "lead us into all the truth", the person of the Pope, the forgiveness of our sins, the life of the Eucharist, the Scriptures and tradition as our rule of faith and life, then we fail to accept the invitation to the gift of the Kingdom made by the Father through Christ together with the Holy Spirit of their infinite love. If we remain aloof in order to avoid risk or in the cynical spirit of the world then we loose an opportunity for the security of joy-filled knowledge that we are indeed the beloved "little flock" of the Lord, His Church, confidently and with courage persevering in the way of the Kingdom marked out for us.

What do you fear? And will you risk letting it go in exchange for the Father's gift of the Kingdom? Answering that question is the first step of your new life in Jesus Christ, the Kingdom already in our midst through the little flock of the Church, His Body in the world.

Praised be Jesus Christ!

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