Thursday, July 23, 2015

Shedding Light on Greater Truths

"Yet no sinner should ever despair of God's mercy as long as he lives. For there is  hardly a tree so thorny and knotted that men cannot make smooth and beautiful. So likewise there is no sinner in this world so bad that God cannot adorn him in many ways with grace and virtue."
    
-from The Little Flowers of St. Francis, Part 5: Sayings of Brother Giles
the book is by Raphael Brown; copy-write 1962


See how this quote uses the truth revealed in nature to speak in a way so we can understand God's immense power and generosity? I hope there will not come a day when these types of living analogies will be incomprehensible to the young. They will forget, or never know, if we do not teach them.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Are you Jacob or Esau?



Yesterdays Old Testament reading was about how Rebekha dressed Jacob in Esau's clothing: she added goat skin to Jacob's neck and hands to mimic Esau's hairiness, and then she helped prepare a special meal for Isaac on behalf of Jacob. See, Isaac wanted to give Esau his blessing and this blessing was very important, for it carried on God's blessing which began which his father, Abraham, had given him. Isaac was eager to give this blessing before he died, so he asked Esau to go hunt some wild game and prepare him a meal with it so he can give him his blessing. Rebekha knew of this plan and was convinced that Jacob was the one God wanted his blessing to lay upon, so she took matters in her own hands.

Many times if we look at this single section of the story, we think Jacob and his mother were going against God: lying, cheating, stealing. However, we cannot forget another important event. At an earlier time, Esau was so hungry from his work, he desired the food which Jacob had with him. Asking for it, Jacob told Esau he may have it in exchange for His birthright. Ravished with hunger, Esau sold his birthright of the first born, which assumed with it Isaac's blessing, to Jacob for the food. So you see, Jacob and Rebekha were actually acting out of justice when she disguised him as Esau. Since Esau had treated his birthright blessing as unimportant by selling it for mere pleasure, and was now about to steal it back, Rebekha took the initiative to make sure Jacob got what was due to him.

Since the Old Testament always points to the New, what can we learn?  Lets look back first with Adam and Eve. They sold their birthright for the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. They had been protected by living in God's grace but now had been stripped of it, and left to the world. But God gave a promise of the future crushing of the evil that entered humanity through them.

In this part of scripture we see many coverings being undone. The serpant hid itself as good, then revealed as truly evil, Adam and Eve were covered with Grace, but then that was removed since they exchanged it for lesser desires. Then God comes and covers them properly with animal skins, showing them how to cover themselves with chastity. Then He tells them of the Woman who will be covered with Virginity (perfectly chaste, full of grace) that will crush the head of the serpant by means of Her Son. Then they are told of the labors they must endure meanwhile.

Jumping foward, we enter the New Testament. In Luke, we see how Mary clothed with Grace, accepts the Motherhood of God's Son and accepts giving Him his humanity. But what does this have to do with Rebekha and Jacob? Well, let me see if I can summarize what St. Louis de Montfort teaches us sbout this: First, Gabriel came to announce to Mary that she was going to be the Mother of God's Son; she believed. The Incarnation occurred when the Holy Spirit overshadowed her and she conceived of the Holy Spirit. In this she gave the full, graced humanity to God the Son. He was disguised to sinful man, but not to those who believed. Like Jacob, but better, He became took on full humanity to obtain God's blessing on behalf of all humanity. What was once uncovered and traded in for sin and pleasure was now "recovered" by faith and sacrifice by Jesus through Mary, which was foreshadowed in Jacob through Rebekha.

So what does this teach us? It teaches us to ask Mary to cloth us with God's grace and for us to live lives covering ourselves with the Life of Christ. 

The Holy Spirit teaches us that we are One Body in Christ. If we are One Body, then we too should be "re-covered" with all His truly human qualities.....we need to "live and breathe and have our being" in Him. Let me explain one more way, when Jesus took upon Himself the suffering and death of the cross, He allowed Himself to be covered with all sin, humiliation, pain, suffering, and disgrace. Then He revealed His true Nature...that of God, by rising from the dead. See, by taking on our flesh and being covered in our sin, He decieved the devil and took back what is rightfully ours....Eternal Blessing in Life with God...a life of Grace. 

Therefore, I do not see Rebekha as stealing the blessing for Jacob, rather I see her preparing the means for her son, Jacob, to recover the blessing he was promised beforehand so it was not taken away and squandered. She acted to preserve the blessing. Mary did the same thing, but with true humility and grace, she prepared a place and means for her Son to recover the blessing God had promised beforehand to all humanity. It was time to give what was promised, and Jesus and Mary accepted and carried out God's Will in order to do so for us all then, and cntinues to do for us all now.

Hence, I end with a reminder that we are like Esau, wanting God's blessing when we have already exchanged it for lesser pleasures. We want without the work, however I also desire to motivate you, and myself, to live like Jacob, allowing our Mother, Mary and the Church to "re-cover" us with grace, virute, and blessing. Because of Christ's work of redemption, we have the Sacraments for exchanging sin with Grace, our life for His. We have centuries of holy instruction on how to do good by being obedient after Christ's example. We can now confidently avoid evil knowing that when we fight the temptation to trade what God says is holy (you) for lesser pleasures, we are choosing the better Way of life. We need to spend the rest of our lives practicing these things while learning who Jesus really is through Scripture and studying how the saints have lived their lives after the example of Christ. And doing so will be much more efficient and effective if we do it under the prayers, guidance and help of Mary, the Mother of God.  All this will aid us in "re-covering" our lives with Christ, becoming "other Christ's" in the world, which is only possible through Mary and His Church.

God bless you and mine. Amen.


Tuesday, June 30, 2015

A Call to Families: Raise your Kids Clinging to the Teachings of Christ

The following was posted by Courageous Priest.com about the resent Supreme Court ruling on marriage. I wanted to share some of it becuase of Archbishop Chaput's statement on what we must now do, even more so than ever...one family and one marriage at a time. God have mercy on us and bless our children, and help us have the courage to live the faith entirely, always.

"Following the Supreme Court’s ruling Friday that declared so-called same-sex “marriage” a constitutional right, multiple bishops have since voiced their opinions. While many have been forthright in their condemnation of the Supreme Court’s defenseless ruling, some have offered highly ambiguous statements, painting a strange moral equivalency between the faithful and faithless.

Immediately after the ruling, the USCCB issued its strongest statement yet, calling it a “tragic error that harms the common good and most vulnerable among us.” They also exclaimed that the definition of marriage will never change, regardless of what nine elected justices on the Supreme Court tell us.

Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia offered no concessions, saying that “the mistakes of the Court change nothing about the nature of men and women, and the truth of God’s Word. The task now for believers is to form our own families even more deeply in the love of God, and to rebuild a healthy marriage culture, one marriage at a time, from the debris of today’s decision.”

Monday, June 29, 2015

CrissCross

Our dear priest reminded us in his homily yesterday that everyone has some affliction, some concern, some suffering of one sort or another. And Jesus says to each of us, "Do not be afraid, just have faith." 

From one day to the next we each have a cross to carry. The one concern of mine that continued to come to my mind was my son. For those that know me, my son is all good things, almost. But moms still desire things for their children that are deeper. And we try to do much to get them to seek the deeper life with Christ. We want them to live for God and follow Him, no matter what. But how far do we carry our motherly role? When do they walk the road themselves? Do any of us?

I wish I had the answer. But answers usually do not come until after you lived through the situation, and since I am in it now, I can only share what I have only reflected. And once again it happens on the Way of the Cross: At the eighth station.

Approaching the eighth station, look at where you have been. With Christ you have tried to pick up your cross and dropped it; you have been misunderstood and wrongly understood; you've fallen yet rose again; you choose to stick by your children and have been encouraged by trusted friends; you have helped carry burdens, added budrens, and your burdens have been lightened by others; you tried to forgive and clean off the weary; you have gotten tripped up again, only to stand up stronger. Then one day you realize that all the while you have been carrying your cross, needing healing, and seeking to do right, your children have been at your side. They have learned from it all, whether they realize it or not. Now together you are face to face with Christ. Placing them before Christ, you beg for His blessing on them...that they will choose to follow Him, not as you do or did, but better, more lovingly, more prayerfully, more trustingly.  And then, silent waiting. You watch and wait to see what they do, and what you will do.

Then you realize, this is the station you leave them. If they are to go further, they need to choose Christ's Way on their own. And you? Questions arise: Is this what is meant by "do not be afraid. Just have faith"?  But did I do enough? Did I do too much wrong? Did I miss anything?  You need to go on and follow your set path marked by Him, if you still choose to. As you prepare your decision, you glance back again, "Did they learn what they needed to?" You now glance forward and see that what you must finish is for them, too. You will always pray for them, always stick by them, always try to comfort and guide them, but life has brought in a crossroad and your longing for Christ leads you on. You never can stop loving them, nor should you. Your role is just changing, as it should. And you repeat to them the blessed priests words of today, "To seek God is life's greatest adventure; To find Him, life's greatest achievement." May each of us live such lives.

Dear God, may I always be a witness to my children to seek and love You above all things. May you guide us so we are open to follow you and find you along the Way together. Spending eternity in union with You. Amen.


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Keep Persevering

At the Eighth Station the women are given their mission. It requires of them to persevere in adversity and continue to seek Christ in their lives. In doing so we shepherd our children toward Him. But what if we try and we seem to be getting no where? No closer to Him?

Well, one piece of advice I read this morning in a book I am slowly reading. It is called The Spiritual Combat by Dom Lorenzo Scupoli. It is published by TAN boks. The author points out on page 12 for us to remember that Jesus does not stop searching for the lost sheep. This is the sheep that does not seek Him, yet Christ will not give up on it. The author points out how desirous Christ is to "communicate Himself to us and heap continual blessings on us."  Therefore, those of us already searching for Him and already opening the door to Him, would not Christ "finding the door open, and hearing us beg to be honored by His presence," do anything but grant us our request!?" 

So, let us persevere in seeking Christ in all the aspects of our lives; for He is already seeking us and desires to shower continual blessings on each of us. He will not ignre those who seek Him. Do not dispair. You are His treasure. Seek Him and trust He is with you already.

God bless your Lent.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Altar Girls...investigation

Please read this article,  http://www.adoremus.org/0302Altargirls.html   It refers to the history of altar servers, how permitting girls came about, and what the Holy See has really said on the matter in recent years. After reading this and the letter Congregation's letter linked in the article, please consider asking your girls to offer up the role of altar server to God so one boy may serve more often and answer a call to the priesthood. But first read further on the subject and decide from there. This is a bigger issue than we have been aware of. Thank you.

Here are other related links on th subject:

The first is the USCCB guidelines on altar servers. The first line reads,  "Although institution into the ministry of acolyte is reserved to lay men, the diocesan bishop may permit the liturgical functions of the instituted acolyte to be carried out by altar servers, men and women, boys and girls." 


 The second link is an article about a program development for altar servers, preferably for boys, but possibly for boys and girls separate; and the need for a program for true faith formation in them. This too the Holy See has tried to encourage.


http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/the-mass/frequently-asked-questions/guidelines-for-altar-servers.cfm 

http://www.catholic.net/index.php?option=dedestaca&id=570 

God bless.



Saturday, September 6, 2014

Raising the Future

All mothers are extremely blessed with the opportunity to give children life, but also to continue giving Life to them as they grow and become their unique selves. None of us find this journey easy or perfectly followed, but we have a Guide that made a special stop to meet us on the Way. At the Eighth Station Jesus specifically recognized the sorrow of the women and children. Why I ask? Why is it that he stopped to encourage us and ask us to focus on the future generations? What is it that we have been given that makes us so graced with this encounter and invitation? And did the children weep for Christ like the women? No, they wept because they saw their mothers sad. Isn't that how children are? They react as their moms react. So it is with the faith. And Christ draws us from our sins and sorrows and tells us to rise above it, for the sake of the children and future generations.

When my son recently left for college I found myself behaving in different ways than I have noticed before. I began dreaming of reminding him of all those little things that I seemed to have forgotten to tell him, and looking for little minutes to open those important talks about choosing the right friends and the spiritual necessities of avoiding drinking and other bad behaviors. We have had an open conversation all his years, but suddenly I was reacting to an inner desire to help him remember God's Way is the only one to follow, no matter how difficult. I was worried that I had not shown him all I should have. I wanted to make sure nothing was forgotten in preparing him to live his generation of life well and in God's Light. Now, being 18, he got a little annoyed. But I have a son who understands mom needs to be mom. We laugh at it with respect for the facts.  I do on to regret saying any of it. It is avoiding the conversations that now frighten me. Why? 

Well, recently and unknowingly, my son has shown without words how important it is for me to be Fully Mom, and not apologize for it.  I think my behavior before he left may shed some light on the desire of the moms heart to prepare and guide not only the body, but the soul of her children, and the necessity for us to engage in this action with God. It is not by chance, but by a seed planted by Christ into our souls that we mother, whether we have our own children or not. Christ with my son's innocent help has shown me this is a gifted task indeed and one that must be carried out unreservedly if I believe and follow Christ.

God wants us to help Him by prayer and work for the betterment of the next generations. If we become overwhelmed with the sadness in front of us, so will the young. With this seed of mothering, He gives us the ability to move onward and not dwell on what is facing us or the world, but to put all our soul and heart and body into creating a holy generation. He wants us to Live Hope so the young will Hope, too. With the Holy Spirit in our souls and with the Cross upon our shoulders we gather the young ones, pressing onward in hope; witnessing the Way, after Christ, teaching them by our example and words to hope and live by God's grace. Then when they go off on their own, they choose who to follow, and by God's grace, they will follow Him. But never is our task complete, we must keep working with God for our young and all the young. 

Women, we have a serious job indeed! A blessed task! Together we raise the world. And if we do it with Him, in His Church, in His Sacraments; we raise it up to Him "in one accord." A planted song of praise brought to fruitfulness in future generations. And no longer will our children weep because we weep, but they will Live because we first Lived with Christ.