Bishop Athanasius Schneider: Holy Communion on the tongue

Dominus est - it is the Lord In 2008, Bishop Athanasius Schneider penned a short book on his thoughts regarding the reception of Holy Communion in the hand while in a standing position and why this is a form of liturgical abuse. Dominus Est – It is the Lord! Reflections of a Bishop of Central Asia on Holy Communion, was published by the Vatican Press. He wrote the book in response to the widespread problem of “a gradual, growing weakening of the attitude of reverence toward the Sacred Eucharistic Species,” not to mention the abuses of dropping the Eucharistic Host, saving It for later use, or profaning the Blessed Sacrament as in a Satanic Mass.”

I invite you to read my article on this necessary and powerful book at Catholic Insight.

 

Schneider, A. (2008). Dominus Est – It is the Lord! Reflections of a Bishop of Central Asia on Holy  Communion. New Jersey: Newman House Press.

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Dear young family at Sunday Mass

Also posted at Catholic Insight

519px-Let_the_Little_Children_Come_unto_JesusTo the young family who sat in front of us at Sunday Mass, this is for you. You made me smile as I was reminded of what Mass with young children is all about.

How old are your three beautiful children: six, three, two? Yes, you do have your hands full. You arrived promptly and everyone was so beautifully dressed as you slid in to the pew in front of us. Mom, you had your bag of picture books and prayer cards to keep the little ones amused. Dad, you prodded and cajoled your angels into their seats as you held tight to your squirming toddler.

The kid shuffle began as you, mom and dad, traded off exuberant little children intent on keeping up their game of musical laps. Then things became intense so one of you picked up an active little one and headed for the vestibule, leaving the other parent at the mercy of the children in the pew. You traded places and toddlers as one returned to the pew and the other parent headed to the back of the church.

I’ll bet you were exhausted by the end of Mass. I’ll bet you wondered whether or not you actually attended Mass even though you were in the church. I’ll bet you wonder if the weekly juggling act (otherwise known as attending Mass with young children) is even worth it.

Well, I’d like to tell you that it is. We were just like you not so long ago. We balanced one child on the hip while holding on tightly to another child determined to torpedo himself down the aisle. We rushed out of the pew with a hungry baby, a squirming toddler, a crying infant, a full diaper. We brought our bag of tricks hoping that something would distract the children long enough so we could at least hear a bit of the homily.

We were the parents who persevered and before we knew it, the kids were too big to carry, the church bag was frayed and its contents ripped, stained, misplaced, and the children were beautifully behaved in the pew beside us. Then the children stopped sitting with us as they served Mass, lent their voices in the choir, and volunteered as lectors. Eventually, they started moving away, attending Mass in other parishes where they live or go to school, or at other times on Sunday.

It all happened so quickly and believe it or not, it’s starting to happen to you. Look at your handsome six – year old son who knows when to stand, when to kneel, and who didn’t have to be carried in or out of Mass. Appreciate that child and take comfort in the fact that you did something right with him and you are doing something right with your other children.

After Mass, when my husband and I complimented your lovely family and encouraged you to keep up the good work, we meant every word. When I pointed to my sons who were tidying up the sanctuary after serving Mass and my daughter who was listening to her choir director, my purpose was to show you that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Each time you bring your family to Mass, you are inching closer to that light.

I know it’s difficult. Some days you will choose to leave the cranky, uncooperative toddler or teething baby at home and you and your husband will go to Mass at different times with your older children. At times, that is the only way you will be able to manage. Don’t beat yourself up and think you are failing as a parent. You are not failing; that is just life.

In fact, by your steadfastness, you are teaching your children many important life lessons. You are showing them that Mass is important, that weekly Sunday Mass attendance is normal and non-negotiable, that a life of faith, while sometimes difficult, is worth the struggle and sacrifice.

Cherish this time, parents of young children, and remember it well. One day, when your children know when to sit, kneel, and stand, when they are assisting the priest or attending Mass at a different time or place, a young family with squirming, curious children will pile into the pew in front of you. When that day comes, you will know what to say to them. You will encourage them because you will understand how important it is to make them feel that their efforts and hardships are a valuable witness to love and faith. You will assure them that families with young children are necessary in the life of the parish Church.

Painting: Christ with Children by Carl Heinrich Bloch (1834-1890). Wikimedia.org under a Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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St. Monica, pray for us

Assereto_Gioachino-Saint_Augustine_and_Saint_MonicaThe Antiphon for the Canticle of Zechariah, Morning Prayer for August 27, Memorial of St. Monica reads:

“You answered her prayer, O Lord, you did not disregard her tears which fell upon the earth wherever she prayed”

As a mom, I want the very best for my kids:  academic success, a healthy social life, reasonable financial comfort, good health, professional achievement.  While all those things are good, they are not enough.  What I desire most for my kids is spiritual success. I want them to be purpose-driven, generous, honest, humble, faith-filled and God-centered.  In our modern age, it’s easier and definitely more acceptable to achieve financial and professional success than spiritual success.

My husband’s and my ability to ensure that our kids put God first in their lives is limited by our personality flaws and human frailty.  As much as we try to model a faith-filled life for our kids, we aren’t perfect.  We know and they know when we fall short of our goal.

I hope our kids see how we persevere in attaining holiness despite ourselves.  I would like to think that they see us trying over and over, every day, to live the life of the gospels.  I hope they see the virtues of faith, hope and charity in the way we treat them and the way we treat our neighbours.

Teaching by example is a start but it isn’t enough.  Before we can even hope to live an exemplary life for our kids, we need to pray for it.  There’s just no way we can be good Christian parents if we don’t have the necessary graces from God.  Those graces help us to realize that we can’t realistically raise our children well without any help.

That’s where St. Monica comes in.  The long-suffering mother of St. Augustine, Monica prayed unceasingly for the conversion of her rambling husband and her wayward son.  She cried so much over the years that St. Ambrose famously said, “woman, the child of so many tears shall never perish.”

Monica didn’t care what other people thought or how hopeless the situation probably seemed at times.  She was a true prayer warrior, a wife and mother on a mission, and there’s no force in hell that can deter a mom and wife on the move.  The two people she loved the most were on a path to self-destruction at break-neck speed and she was determined to stop them.  What a wife!  What a mom!  What a saint!

It seems to me that if she could do that for the people that she loved more than her own life, she won’t mind helping me with the people that I love more than my own life.  She has the heart of an uber-mom and now that she’s counted among the greatest of saints, she’s everybody’s uber-mom.  She wouldn’t want anybody’s spouse or child to fall away from the Truth.

Thankfully, none of our kids are anything like the young, pre-Christian Augustine.  And we want to keep it that way.  So we’ll keep trying to model a faith-filled life and  keep asking St. Monica to help by praying for our kids, and praying for us.

St. Monica, pray for us.

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Islam, the Rosary, and the Battle of Lepanto

320px-The_Battle_of_Lepanto_of_1571_full_version_by_Juan_LunaThe Battle of Lepanto was a decisive conflict fought between the outnumbered European fleet and the advancing Islamic Ottoman Turks on October 7, 1571. Pope Pius V armed the entire European fleet with rosaries and named them the Holy League. The European victory became known as the Feast of Our Lady of Victory, later renamed Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary.

Read about the early history of Islamic terrorism and the victory of the Battle of Lepanto on my blog at Catholic Insight.

 

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I am Nazarene

I am NazareneI had not planned on writing a blog post for a couple of weeks since I am on vacation with my husband and some of our children. But after watching and reading the news coverage of the genocide in northern Iraq, and realizing that we whom Divine Providence has placed in safety and privilege have a responsibility to our persecuted brethren, I wrote an article at Catholic Insight. I invite you to read it here.

 

 

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Divine beauty and the providence of sin

Posted at Catholic Insight

800px-MAULBERTSCH,_Franz_Anton_-_Christ_and_God_the_Father Fr. Thomas Dubay, S.M. begins The Evidential Power of Beauty with this sentence: “Every human person is drawn to beauty.” We are stirred by all manifestations of beauty: a majestic piece of music, breathtaking scenery, a beautiful face, exquisite artwork. There is beauty in the order of creation as well as in the magnificence of nature.

There is also personal beauty which is reflected best by the saints. In them we see the beauty of “personal splendor” that is arrived at when a person lives the theological and moral virtues to the highest degree. These virtues are “the qualities, traits, and characteristics that make a man or woman true, good, and beautiful as a person.”

Finally, there is beauty which is the Creator – divine beauty – which Fr. Dubay describes this way:

“Divine beauty is so vastly superior to the very best of created splendors that we cannot come close to conceiving it. This is true of every divine perfection. God is not only the fullness of joy. He is the very essence of joy, purest ecstasy, delight without limit, supereminently. So also He is purest loveliness, purest wisdom, purest love, all with no end whatever. This is why seeing the Blessed Trinity face to face in the beatific vision casts the blessed into their eternal ecstasy, which is heaven.”

In The Beauty of Holiness and the Holiness of Beauty, John Saward writes that “Christ is beauty, and His style, the way He acts in His human nature, is beautiful…. At the beginning of His earthly life as at the end, He preserves integrity, the wholeness which is the hallmark of beauty.”

Truth, goodness, beauty, which is God exists, but by God’s Providence, He has allowed the ugliness of sin which is Satan.  In the parable of the wheat and the weeds, our Lord told us that beauty and evil will co-exist until the final judgment. The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man; the field is the world, and the good seed are the children of the kingdom. The weeds are the children of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the Angels.(Mt. 13: 37-39)

In his homily, a friend who is a priest explained that our sinfulness, which originates from original sin, is in God’s plan for salvation. “The fall of our first parents occasioned the coming of God in human form to suffer and to die for the redemption of a sinful world. The sin of our first parents was the providential foundation for the Incarnation. God  became man because man had sinned. Sin then, must have a most important place in the Providence of God.”

At times, the ugliness of sin can be overwhelming and beauty seems to be lost, the weeds choking the wheat. Where is beauty in Mosul and other parts of the world where Christians are being persecuted and killed? Where is the beauty in a passenger airline that is shot down and innocent lives are destroyed? Where is it in an abortion mill or when someone decides that euthanasia and assisted suicide are preferable to living? How do we find beauty when the ugliness and horror of sin are everywhere?

Bombarded by a constant stream of evil news in recent days, I felt a profound sadness. I craved beauty and the goodness and simplicity of life lived harmoniously and with love. Reaching for Fr. Dubay’s book, I reread the sections that would calm my soul and help me to glimpse the beauty that I could not see. At one point, I wondered if I was running away from the harsh reality of life but upon reflection, I realized I was actually going towards the source of life.

In yearning for beauty, what I really desired was God who is Beauty and Truth. I wasn’t reading Fr. Dubay’s book so much as praying for grace and mercy which Divine Beauty wishes to give us. With God’s Providential care, I responded to the sinfulness around me and to my own sins by going to the Father in heartfelt, simple, imperfect prayer and it was the existence of sin that drove me to do it. I realized that there is much beauty in the simple act of turning to God when the darkness overwhelms.

We may not be able to physically help the people of Mosul or the victims and families of the airplane tragedy but we can pray for them and for all those responsible. We can pray for all who are persecuted and for their persecutors. We can pray to end abortion and euthanasia and for the conversion of souls, including our own. We can pray because we know that by the providence of God, even our imperfect prayer will lead ourselves and many others to Truth and Beauty who is  God.

Dubay, T. (1999). The Evidential Power of Beauty: Science and Theology Meet. San Francisco: Ignatius Press.

Saward, J. (1997). The Beauty of Holiness and the Holiness of Beauty. San Francisco: Ignatius Press.

Frescoe: Christ and God the Father  by Franz Anton Mualbertsch. This work is in the public domain.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Short shorts and midriffs: dressing our daughters

Posted at Catholic Insight

Brigit 2According to webmed.com, girls begin a growth spurt around the age of 9 or 10, with the fastest growth at around 11 or 12 years of age. Typically, girls grow about three inches per year during this period. That’s what happened to my youngest child this past year.

At the beginning of summer, it became obvious that my daughter needed new clothing. At the age of eleven, she is at the tail end of a long line of six brothers and a sister who is thirteen years older. She isn’t familiar with the time-honoured tradition of hand-me-downs. For her, a trip to the mall is a necessary, sometimes expensive occasion.

Have you shopped for an eleven year old girl lately? Have you, like I, wondered why it has become acceptable to dress our daughters in clothing that is too short, too tight, too revealing, too adult? Our daughters (and sons)  are constantly subjected to overtly sexualized images and ideas and clothing selections reinforce this disturbing way of thinking.

Brigit 3In the spirit of turning of all things into good, what could have been a disastrous shopping experience became a lesson in modesty and self-respect, thanks to a reasonable eleven-year old girl and maternal determination. As we rejected more and more pieces of barely there clothing, we talked about how our clothing choices can convey the wrong message of who we are and the type of people we want to attract. We discussed how clothing can enhance our appearance in a dignified, modest way and how our over-all appearance is important to our self-image.

Two days and two malls later, we had enough outfits to satisfy her budding, tasteful fashion sense and my always vigilant mom-meter. Thanks to the availability of young women’s size zero and extra small in some of the retail chains, we bought stylish skirts that end at a decent but fashionable length, shorts that don’t look like underwear, jeans that don’t cut off circulation, and tops that actually cover her midriff. Admittedly, she hasn’t yet reached adult height and that’s why the clothing fit her appropriately. I’m not looking forward to clothes shopping when she’s a fully grown teenager.

Brigit 4It seems to me that sending letters of complaint to clothing manufacturers and retail stores will not change what they sell, and learning how to sew an entire wardrobe isn’t realistic for most of us. But with some common sense and determination, we can use a potentially bad shopping incident to teach our young daughters that their self-worth isn’t measured by how much skin they flaunt. It isn’t determined by how closely they resemble the clothing and actions of barely clad women in music videos; nor is it measured by an undue focus on physical appearance.

Along with training them to develop an eye for stylish yet appropriate clothing, a day at the mall can teach our daughters that dignity and attractiveness starts inside of themselves and that the charitable disposition of  their heart and mind is the most important element of beauty. We can explain that people will discover how beautiful they are if they aren’t focused on an overly sexualized appearance. We can urge them to treat themselves well because they are loved and valued. And we can remind them that the gift of being a cherished daughter of God is mirrored in the beautifully appropriate way they present themselves to the world.

 

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The Carmelite Martyrs of Compiegne

Carmelite martyrs of compeigneToday marks the 220th anniversary of the martyrdom of sixteen French Carmelite Sisters who were executed because they would not renounce the Catholic Church during the French Revolution. They remain powerful witnesses and models of  heroic virtue and faith as Christians all over the world are increasingly persecuted and killed for steadfast belief in a Triune God.

Last year, I wrote an article about the heroic martyrs of Compeigne. I invite you to read it at Catholic Insight – Remembering the Martyrs of Compiegne.

 

 

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Soils and Grounds

parable of soils and grounds“The parable of the sower or of the soils and grounds in essence, affirms the truth that it is possible to say either yes or no to the gift of salvation, or even to be indifferent to it” Fr. Marco Testa is a priest of the Archdiocese of Toronto. Here is his homily for the Fifteenth Sunday Per Annum (A).

Then the disciples came and asked Jesus, ‘Why do you speak to them in parables?’ He answered, ‘To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given’ (Mt. 13:11).

Our Lord’s answer to the disciples’ question may seem harsh and perhaps even unfair at first hearing. They are evidently concerned that many in the crowd do not understand what He is saying. Our Lord however, quotes the Prophet Isiah and asserts that this prophecy is fulfilled in those listening as it was in Isiah’s own day: You will indeed listen, but never understand, and you will indeed look, but never perceive. For this people’s heart has grown dull and their ears are hard of hearing, and they have shut their eyes. (Mt. 13:14-15) What we are given here is an image of persons completely opposed or indifferent to what is being said. Sadly, this prophecy will continue to be fulfilled while people only listen to what they want to hear or what they think Jesus should be saying.

In the Gospels the word mystery is found precisely three times (Mt. 13:11; Mk. 4:11; Lk. 8:10), one of which is in our Gospel text today; and in each instance it refers to the mystery of the kingdom which is only revealed to the disciples. Our text translates the Greek for mysteries (μυστήριά) as secrets but the meaning is obvious. Though undefined, the mystery of the kingdom is generally understood to refer to the present reality of the kingdom in the person of Jesus, which is recognized only by divine revelation (J. McKenzie, s. j., Dictionary of the Bible, p. 597). Simply expressed, Jesus is the Kingdom. But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. Truly I tell you, many Prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see… and to hear what you hear (Mt. 13:16-17). We share in this blessedness because we recognise the present reality of the kingdom in the person of Jesus and we have opened our hearts to the truth of His word. This blessedness is the consequence of the act of faith that we have made and continue to make in Christ our Lord. The Epistle to the Hebrews defines faith as the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen (11:1). The parable that we have just heard invites us to see and hear beyond the obvious meaning of the text and perceive in these words the hidden Reality that is God Himself.

the-four-soilsThe parable of the sower is no less the parable of the soils or grounds since in the explanation of the parable our Lord seems to focus on four different soils. Evidently, the dispositions or attitudes of those who receive God’s word bring about different results. This speaks to the reality of our free will and to the absolute necessity of the act of faith that each one us can only make himself or herself. It is always a personal act: I believe in One God….We who have undertaken the path of discipleship and who recognise in Jesus the reality of God’s kingdom understand that whatever fruits we may bear, it is only God who gives the growth (1Cor. 3:7).

In the Sundays to come we will continue to read this collection of parables of our Lord and so deepen our understanding of God who has revealed Himself in Christ Jesus, our Lord. The Gospel of St. Matthew which we are reading this year, contains two collections of parables: eight parables depicting the present character of the Kingdom of God (13:1-52), and an equal number of end-time Kingdom parables (24:32-25:46). Our Lord’s method of preaching was such that His parables are meant to lead gradually to the hidden reality that can be truly discovered only through discipleship (Pope Benedict XVI). As such, we might say of this approach that it was akin to inductive reasoning, where we begin with specific observations, begin to detect patterns and finally end up developing some general conclusions or theories. The lesson of this parable is very clear: But what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit (Mt. 13: 23). Yet, chances are that at different times in our lives most of us have stood on or perhaps even lived of these different kinds of soil in relation to God and the things of God: perhaps we have been as a person who has no root or distracted by the cares of the world and the lure of wealth or because of our inability to understand we allowed the evil
one to come and snatch away what was sown in our heart. It may also be that people who are very close to us and whom we love very much stand on such soil.

Though I know very little of farming, I well understand that the farmer must be patient. There are times when a field is fallow; while ploughed, it remains unseeded not that it may be abandoned but that it may regain fertility. Our Lord does not speak of such soil in our Gospel but this metaphor also allows us to understand that there are times in life when all we can do is prepare and wait and imitate the patience of God. St. Peter reminds us that our Lord’s patience means salvation (2 Pt. 3:15). Though we may have resolved long ago to follow our Lord along the path of discipleship, the path of devout humility, the truth is that always we begin again. Today we have listened to this familiar parable, this saving word in a time like no other. Perhaps more than at any other time in human history, in this world of ours we face a barrage of words from a variety of sources: television, radio, internet, phones, texts, tweets – exhausting! All these words can in fact compete and even drown out the word of the kingdom. The world is filled with noises and many words but we have come to know and to believe that the word of the Lord abides forever (1 Pt. 1:25). It is in the firm foundation of the Word of God [that] is living and active (Heb. 4:12) that we seek to be grounded so that we may hear the Word, understand it and bear its fruit.

The parable of the sower or of the soils and grounds in essence, affirms the truth that it is possible to say either yes or no to the gift of salvation, or even to be indifferent to it. The parable however also helps us to understand that in the response we give to the word of God the mercy of God is such that it allows for our imperfect response and even our indifference. The parables of our Lord affirm and reveal that God is rich in mercy (Eph. 2:4). Mercy is love coping with evil. Mercy is love that loves though it has not been loved. Mercy is love given to those who have stolen love from us. The fruit that we must all bear is mercy. God wants from us what we want from Him. So as we begin again and listen to and receive the Word of Christ our Saviour, we do well to heed the opening words of the Rule of St. Benedict (one of the most influential books in history): Listen carefully, my son, to the Master’s instructions, and attend to them with the ear of your heart. Many are the lessons that can be drawn from our Lord’s parables. If we offer Him a welcome in our mind he will reveal to us the mysteries of the kingdom. However, if we wish to dwell in the tent of His kingdom, we will never arrive unless we run there by doing good deeds (The Rule of St. Benedict, Prologue, v. 22).

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Journey to the Heart of God

To lead every individual with Mary to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. Fr. Marco Testa is a priest of the Archdiocese of Toronto. Here is his homily for the Fourteenth Sunday per annum.

To Jesus through MaryCome to me, all you that are weary and carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light (Mt. 11:30).

With these words our Lord is inviting us to conform ourselves to His Sacred Heart and in so doing, this simple invitation tells us everything we need to know about God and about ourselves. Our Lord reveals Himself as a Teacher whom we can imitate; and by consequence, we are disciples who can indeed learn from Him. This divine initiative, since it comes from God, affirms our human nature for at the natural level, it is necessary for us to learn skills to survive and prosper. This is a self-evident truth. At the supernatural level, that is to say, in relation to the soul or what we commonly term the spiritual life, the very same is true. We learn to pray, to practice the virtues; we grow in the spiritual life just as we endeavour to grow and mature intellectually and morally. Having just celebrated the end of the academic year and perhaps attended the graduation of a relative or friend, it is always so uplifting to celebrate these achievements. If we have known these graduates as
children, there is a particular joy in seeing how they have grown and become so accomplished. It certainly engenders hope and in some cases, real surprise. Those whom we knew as sworn enemies of school when they first went to school are now preparing to enter university or college.

To live is to change and to be perfect is to have changed often. These are the wise words of Blessed John Henry Newman, whose own spiritual journey to the fullness of the truth and to the Heart of Jesus was like our own spiritual journey, a passage from shadows and images to the truth. Where do we learn these saving truths? Principally at the celebration of the sacred liturgy which is both the school and feast of faith. We understand this word liturgy in a very specific manner. In the New Testament the word ‘liturgy’ refers not only to the celebration of divine worship but also the proclamation of the Gospel and to active
charity. In all of these situations it is a question of the service of God and neighbour. In a liturgical celebration the Church is servant in the image of her Lord, the one ‘leitourgos’; she shares in Christ’s priesthood (worship), which is both prophetic (proclamation) and kingly (service of charity) (The Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1070). Year in and
year out we celebrate the Mystery of Christ; Sunday after Sunday and on the great Feasts of the Church we submit to the Mystery of God not in bondage but in a transformative communion that brings about our growth in holiness or Christian perfection. Our Lord assures us: No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you (Jn.15:15). It is here, in the encounter with the Living God that He reveals everything to us: the truth about Himself, the truth about the human person and our purpose. Our Lord also said, But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for such the Father seeks to worship Him (Jn.4:23). This is the eternal present in which we participate whenever we gather to worship in spirit in truth.

I am grateful to Divine Providence for having led me to this beautiful parish in such a beautiful part of our country. My role as your parish priest will be principally though not exclusively liturgical. For all of us, the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass on Sundays, on the great Feasts of our Faith and daily even, this is the source and summit of our Christian life. The unity of faith and life, or what may be termed integrity or integration of life is our goal, no matter how old or young. We reverence the elders among us for their example of perseverance and we encourage the young people in our midst to strive for the higher things. But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for such the Father seeks to worship Him (Jn.4:23). True theology, that is to say, a correct understanding of the nature of God, is both the cause and the sign of human sanity. If we contradict divine revelation and the Church’s tradition we end up in sheer insanity and risk losing our eternal salvation. Almost forty years ago, Pope, St. John Paul II, then Cardinal Archbishop of Krakow in Poland, spoke these words at the Eucharistic Congress held in Philadelphia (1976): We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has ever experienced. I do not think that the wide circle of the American Society, or the whole wide circle of the Christian Community realize this fully. We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-church, between the gospel and the anti-gospel, between Christ and the antichrist. The confrontation lies within the plans of Divine Providence. It is, therefore, in God’s Plan, and it must be a trial which the Church must take up, and face courageously…. For this reason, none of us can ever say that we can learn no more. The way of Christian discipleship which we have undertaken to follow individually and collectively with the support of the Christian community is a journey to the Heart of God.

Our Lord issues His invitation in the Gospel today: Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. In a treatise on Christian perfection St Gregory of Nyssa observes: Our life is stamped with the beauty of His thought….The mind of Christ is the controlling influence that inspires us to moderation and goodness in our behaviour. As I see it, Christian perfection consists in this: sharing in the titles which express the meaning of Christ’s name, we bring out this meaning in our minds, our prayers and our way of life (The Liturgy of the Hours, Vol. III, p. 396). We share in the titles which express the meaning of Christ’s name by receiving the gift of salvation which the Father lavishes on us in Christ. Anointed for service, and sharing in His mission as Priest, Prophet and King, we actively cooperate in the work of salvation, our own and that of the whole world. What a privilege it is for us to be one with Christ our Lord in His saving work. What a grace it is for us to enjoy the loving protection of the Mother of God; our Lady who is for us both a model for discipleship and our teacher of the spiritual life. St. Maximillian Kolbe, the priest and martyr so profoundly devoted
to the Immaculate Virgin and the Mystery of her Immaculate Conception summarizes for us what I hope will guide our every effort in our parish: To lead every individual with Mary to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.

May our devout and reverent reception of the Holy Eucharist draw us ever more intimately into our Lord’s Most Sacred Heart: that we may learn from Him who is gentle and humble in heart, and day by day bring our conduct closer to the life of heaven (Prayer over the Offerings, 14th Sunday Per Annum, The Roman Missal).

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