Archive for “2014”

August 8, 2014 – Lectio Divina

Friday, August 8 ~ Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Saint Dominic, Priest; Founder of the Order of Preachers (Dominicans)

Holy Gospel: Matthew 16:24-28

Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? Or what can one give in exchange for his life? For the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father’s glory, and then he will repay each according to his conduct. Amen, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his Kingdom.”

Meditation 

Without God we are nothing.Everything we have is an outright gift from God. We owe him everything, including our very lives. Every gift, talent, and ability we have we owe to God. It’s possible to give God our money, but not ourselves; it’s possible to give God lip-service, but not our hearts. Many do this each and every day of their lives.  But a true disciple gladly gives up all that he or she has in exchange for an unending life of joy and happiness with God. God gives without measure. The joy he offers no sadness or loss can diminish. The cross of Christ leads to victory and freedom from sin, despair, and death. What is the cross which Jesus Christ commands me to take up each day? When my will crosses with his will, then his will must be done.

Prayer

May Saint Dominic come to the help of your Church by his merits and teaching, O Lord, and may he, who was an outstanding preacher of your truth, be a devoted intercessor on our behalf. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Contemplation

What is the most important investment you can make with your life? Jesus poses some probing questions to challenge our assumptions about what is most profitable and worthwhile. In every decision of life we are forming ourselves into a certain kind of person. The kind of person we are, our character, determines to a large extent the kind of future we will face and live. It is possible that some can gain all the things they set their heart on, only to wake up suddenly and discover that they missed the most important things of all in this earthly life. Of what value are material things if they don’t help you gain what truly lasts in eternity? Neither money nor possessions can buy heaven, mend a broken heart, or cheer a lonely person.  Which is why we need to give today’s Gospel some serious thought as to how we live our lives, and what is most important in our lives.  Perhaps this “prayer of surrender” composed by St. Ignatius of Loyola may be helpful: “Take, O Lord, and receive my entire liberty, my memory, my understanding and my whole will. All that I am and all that I possess You have given me: I surrender it all to You to be disposed of according to Your will. Give me only Your love and Your grace; with these I will be rich enough, and will desire nothing more.”

August 7, 2014 – Lectio Divina

Thursday, August 7 ~ Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Saints Sixtus II, Pope and Martyr and Companions, Martyrs; Saint Cajetan, Priest

Holy Gospel: Matthew 16:13-23

Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi and he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter said in reply, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus said to him in reply, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the Kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Then he strictly ordered his disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ. From that time on, Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer greatly from the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised. Then Peter took Jesus aside and began to rebuke him, “God forbid, Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to you.” He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle to me. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.”

Meditation 

When Jesus told his disciples that he must suffer many things, be rejected by the religious authorities in Jerusalem, and then be put to death, he also prophesied that he would be raised on the third day. Peter, always quick to respond, rejected the notion that the Messiah must suffer and be killed. This wasn’t the kind of Messiah that Peter and the Jews expected. They didn’t understand that the prophet Isaiah, some 700 hundred years before Christ’s birth, foretold that God’s Anointed One would come as the Suffering Servant who would be despised, rejected, and put to death to atone for the sins of the world [see Isaiah 52:13-15; Isaiah 53:1-12] . Jesus saw in Peter’s rejection a temptation to avoid the way of the cross which involved obedience and trust in God’s will, and voluntary suffering and sacrifice for the sake of others. Jesus rebuked not only Peter but Satan, the greatest of angels who disobeyed and refused to serve his Lord and Creator. Are you ready to follow the Lord Jesus, to suffer and die for him, that you may also share in his glory and resurrection?

Prayer 

By the power of the Holy Spirit, we pray, almighty God, make us docile in believing the faith and courageous in confessing it, just as you granted Saint Sixtus and his companions that they might lay down their lives for the sake of your word and in witness to Jesus. Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Prayer

O God, who endowed the Priest Saint Cajetan with the grace of imitating the apostolic way of life, grant us, through his example and intercession, to trust in you at all times and to seek unceasingly your Kingdom. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Contemplation

The question that Jesus asks his disciples is one that Jesus also asks each one of us: Who do YOU say that I am?  And so, who is Jesus for you? If you truly believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God, sent by God to redeem us, sent by God to show us the way, the truth and the life that we are to follow, how do we respond by our individual and collective actions to Jesus’ question “Who do YOU say that I am?” Actions speak louder than words; your response to this question is not only important

August 6, 2014 – Lectio Divina

Wednesday, August 6 ~ Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord

 

Holy Gospel: Matthew 17:1-9

Jesus took Peter, James, and his brother, John, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them; his face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, conversing with him. Then Peter said to Jesus in reply, “Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud cast a shadow over them, then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” When the disciples heard this, they fell prostrate and were very much afraid. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Rise, and do not be afraid.” And when the disciples raised their eyes, they saw no one else but Jesus alone. As they were coming down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, “Do not tell the vision to anyone until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”

Meditation 

What is the significance of this glorious event? Jesus went to the mountain knowing full well what awaited him in Jerusalem – his betrayal, rejection and crucifixion. Jesus very likely discussed this momentous decision to go to the cross with Moses and Elijah. God the Father also spoke with Jesus and gave his approval: “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.” The Father glorified his son because he obeyed. The cloud which overshadowed Jesus and his apostles fulfilled the dream of the Jews that when the Messiah came the cloud of God’s presence would fill the temple again (ref. Exodus 16:10, 19:9, 33:9; 1 Kings 8:10; 2 Maccabees 2:8). The Lord Jesus not only wants us to see his glory – he wants to share this glory with us. And Jesus shows us the way to the Father’s glory – “follow me” Christ says to each of us, obey my words, take the path I have chosen for you and you will receive the blessings of my Father’s kingdom. Jesus succeeded in his mission because he went to Calvary so that Paradise would be restored to us once again. He embraced the cross to obtain the crown of glory that awaits each of us, if we will follow in his footsteps. Discovering God’s kingdom is like stumbling across hidden treasure or finding the one pearl of great price. When we discover the kingdom of God we receive the greatest possible treasure — the Lord himself. Selling all that we have to obtain this incomparable treasure could mean many things — our friends, job, our “style of life”, what we do with our free time. Treasure has a special connection to the heart, the place of desire and longing, the place of will and focus. The thing we most set our heart on is our highest treasure. Is the Lord the treasure and delight of your heart? If not, why not?

Prayer 

O God, who in the glorious Transfiguration of your Only Begotten Son confirmed the mysteries of faith by the witness of the Fathers and wonderfully prefigured our full adoption to sonship, grant, we pray, to your servants, that, listening to the voice of your beloved Son, we may merit to become co-heirs with him. Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Contemplation

Origen, the great third century scripture scholar, shows us how the transfiguration can change our lives: “When he is transfigured, his face also shines as the sun that he may be manifested to the children of light who have put off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light, and are no longer the children of darkness or night but have become the sons of day, and walk honestly as in the day. Being manifest, he will shine unto them not simply as the sun, but as demonstrated to be the sun of righteousness.”

August 5, 2014 – Lectio DIvina

Tuesday, August 5 ~ Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Dedication of Saint Mary Major

Holy Gospel: Luke 11:27-28

While Jesus was speaking, a woman from the crowd called out and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that carried you and the breasts at which you nursed.” He replied, “Rather, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.”

Meditation 

When an admirer wished to compliment Jesus by praising his mother, Jesus did not deny the truth of the blessing she pronounced. Her “beatitude” (which means “blessedness”) recalls Mary’s canticle: “All generations will call me blessed” (Luke 1:48). Jesus adds to her words by pointing to the source of all true blessedness – union with God in heart, mind, and will. Mary humbly submitted herself to the miraculous plan of God for the incarnation of His only begotten Son – the Word of God made flesh in her womb, by declaring: “I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38). Mary heard the word spoken to her by the angel and she believed it.

Prayer

Pardon the faults of your servants, we pray, O Lord, that we, who cannot please you by our own deeds, may be saved through the intercession of the Mother of your Son and our Lord. Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Contemplation

It is one thing to “hear” the word of God. But what happens next is entirely up to us.  Do we then find ourselves opening our minds and hearts to let the word of God inspire us to change our way of life? To align our minds and our hearts more closely to that of Jesus Christ? To enlighten us about the path that we are to take so that God’s plan unfolds in our lives? To teach us right living from sinful ways? To humbly submit to doing the will of God?  Or do we “hear” the word of God and find ourselves doing little or nothing about it – in one ear and out the other, perhaps.  As St. James reminds us, we are to “Become doers of the word and not hearers only.”  By hearing the word of God, and observing it – putting the word of God and the teachings of Christ into action – we become blessed in the eyes of the Lord.

About today’s feast

We celebrate today the dedication of one of the four most illustrious churches of Rome. While each diocese and parish keeps its own dedication anniversary, the Church universal commemorates the consecration of the four great Roman basilicas, the mother churches, we may call them, of Christendom, viz., St. John Lateran, St. Peter, St. Paul Outside the Walls, and St. Mary Major. By means of these feasts the Church seeks to link all Christians with the Holy See. This feast commemorates the miracle of the snowfall that occurred during the night of August 4-5 in the year 358 on the site where the basilica now stands. According to tradition, the Virgin Mary appeared in a dream to two faithful Roman Christians, the patrician John and his wife, as well as to Pope Liberius (352-366), asking that a church be built in her honor on the site where snow would fall on the night of August 4-5. Pope Liberius traced the outlines of the church in the snow and the first basilica was built on that site. It was completed about a century later by Pope Sixtus III (432-440), after the Council of Ephesus in 431 during which Mary was declared to be the Mother of God.

August 4, 2014 – Lectio Divina

Monday, August 4 ~ Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Saint John Vianney, Priest; The Curé of Ars

~ Patron Saint of Priests ~

Holy Gospel: Matthew 14:22-36

Jesus made the disciples get into a boat and precede him to the other side of the sea, while he dismissed the crowds. After doing so, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When it was evening he was there alone. Meanwhile the boat, already a few miles offshore, was being tossed about by the waves, for the wind was against it. During the fourth watch of the night, he came toward them, walking on the sea. When the disciples saw him walking on the sea they were terrified. “It is a ghost,” they said, and they cried out in fear. At once Jesus spoke to them, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.” Peter said to him in reply, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw how strong the wind was he became frightened; and, beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” After they got into the boat, the wind died down. Those who were in the boat did him homage, saying, “Truly, you are the Son of God.” After making the crossing, they came to land at Gennesaret. When the men of that place recognized him, they sent word to all the surrounding country. People brought to him all those who were sick and begged him that they might touch only the tassel on his cloak, and as many as touched it were healed.

Meditation

This dramatic incident on the sea of Galilee revealed Peter’s character more fully than others. Here we see Peter’s impulsivity — his tendency to act without thinking of what he was doing. He often failed and came to grief as a result of his impulsiveness. In contrast, Jesus always bade his disciples to see how difficult it was to follow him before they set out on the way he taught them. A great deal of failure in the Christian life is due to acting on impulse, feelings and emotions without counting the cost. Peter, fortunately in the moment of his failure clutched at Jesus and held him firmly. Every time Peter fell, he rose again. His failures only made him love the Lord more deeply and trust him more intently. The Lord keeps watch over us at all times, and especially in our moments of temptation and difficulty.

Prayer 

Almighty and merciful God, who made the Priest Saint John Vianney wonderful in his pastoral zeal, grant, we pray, that through his intercession and example we may in charity win brothers and sisters for Christ and attain with them eternal glory. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

A Prayer for Priests

O Almighty and Eternal God, look upon the Face of Thy Christ, and for love of Him Who is the eternal High-priest, have pity on Thy priests. Remember, O most compassionate God, that they are but weak and frail human beings. Stir up in them the grace of their vocation which is in them by the imposition of the Bishop’s hands. Keep them close to Thee, lest the enemy prevail against them, so that they may never do anything in the slightest degree unworthy of their sublime vocation. O Jesus, I pray Thee for Thy faithful and fervent priests; for Thy unfaithful and tepid priests; for Thy priests laboring at home or abroad in distant mission fields; for Thy tempted priests; for Thy lonely and desolate priests; for Thy young priests; for Thy aged priests; for Thy sick priests; for Thy dying priests; for the souls of Thy priests in Purgatory. But above all I commend to Thee the priests dearest to me: the priest who baptized me; the priests at whose Masses I assisted and who gave me Thy Body and Blood in Holy Communion; the priests who taught and instructed or helped me and encouraged me; all the priests to whom I am indebted in any other way, particularly (add priest’s name here). O Jesus, keep them all close to Thy heart, and bless them abundantly in time and in eternity. Amen. Mary, Queen of the clergy, pray for us; obtain for us many and holy priests. Amen.

Contemplation 

Does the Lord seem distant when trials or adversity come your way? Jesus assures us that we have no need of fear if we trust in Him and in his great love for us. When calamities or trials threaten to overwhelm you, do you respond with faith and hope in God’s love, and his care and presence with you? If not, you should!  True peace and divine direction can be ours only if we turn to Christ.

Lives of the Saints – Saint John Vianney

Saint John Vianney: Patron Saint of Priests

(Feast Day ~ August 4)

by Catherine Fournier

Young Families

The life of the Curé of Ars is a story that really shows that with God all things are possible. John Vianney was a famous confessor, and was loved and revered by his parishioners. People travelled for miles and stood for hours in the rain just to speak to him for a few minutes, or hear him preach.

Yet he almost didn’t become a priest at all. First his father was reluctant to let him leave the family farm. Then he was conscripted into Napoleon’s army, and by a series of mistakes was accused of deserting and had to hide for nearly two years. When he returned, he had terrible trouble with his studies, especially Latin. Then he failed the entrance exam for the seminary. When he was finally accepted into the seminary, he failed the final exams because he couldn’t write well enough and became confused and tongue-tied in the oral exams.

It took a special appeal to the vicar-general of France to get permission to be ordained. The vicar-general asked “Is he pious?” Yes, he was undoubtedly pious.
“Ordain him,” the vicar-general decided, “The grace of God will do the rest.”

Father John Vianney was sent to Ars, a remote French village of some 40 houses. There, the work of God began. He hadn’t been there long, when people heard about this new priest and began visiting from other parishes. He visited all the homes in Ars, performed penances for their souls, and helped the villagers with their everyday problems. Ars was soon transformed from a rough and rowdy place with four taverns and low church attendance to a pious and faithful village.

By the end of his life, Saint John Vianney was visited by people from all over the world. He spent from 16 to 18 hours in the confessional each day, and survived on a few pieces of bread and a few hours of sleep. He performed miracles of aid and healing.

No-one who knew him as a child or young man would ever have expected John Vianney to amount to much – except God.

Practiced Families

Two decades after the French Revolution inspired massacres of 300 priests in France, there was a desperate need for priests. But no-one seemed to want an admitted ‘blockhead’ and poor student such as John Vianney. Even when he obtained permission to be ordained, he had to walk to Austria for his ordination in 1815. Three years later he was made parish priest of Ars, a remote French hamlet.

He wasn’t wanted there either. In a village of 40 houses, there were 4 taverns. Church attendance was very low, the farmers worked on Sunday, everyone spend their time drinking and swearing. It was a ‘punishment parish’ and the people laid bets on how long this new priest would last. But the new Curé of Ars surprised them all.

Someone peeked in his window and saw that he prayed all night. Others noticed that he removed all the fine furniture from the rectory and turned the parlor into a woodshed. He gave his clothes away to the poor and ate only two potatoes a day. Others reported that though his voice seemed to hurt their ears, his sermons stirred their hearts. He became part of the village life as well, visiting all the homes, and helping the villagers with their daily lives. He helped a shop owner with his bookkeeping, prescribed remedies for whooping cough, and when a tavern closed for lack of business, raised money for the owner to buy a farm, then tore the tavern down.

Twelve years later, people would say “Ars is no longer Ars.” Everyone went to the three hour masses. The farmers prayed the rosary as they worked in the fields. When Father Vianney heard confessions, people would stand in line for hours.

It was as a confessor that his true talents lay. His spiritual directions and hearing of confessions was distinguished by common sense, remarkable insight, and supernatural knowledge. He would sometimes know what sins had been withheld in an imperfect confession. People travelled for miles and from around the world to make a confession to him. Sinners were converted at a few words from him. By the end of his life, he spend 16 to 18 hours a day in the confessional, and he was mobbed whenever he appeared. He heard 20,000 confessions a year, up to 300 a day.

In a country that had murdered great numbers of its priests, and discouraged the practicing of the Catholic faith John Vianney moved like a bright light, restoring faith and healing hearts.

Experienced Families

Universally known and loved as the Curé of Ars, Saint John Marie Vianney was ordained a priest in 1815. Three years later he was made parish priest of Ars, a remote French hamlet, where his reputation as a confessor and director of souls made him known through the Christian world.

The heroes of his youth were those priests who refused to submit to the French revolutionary government’s nationalization of the Church, and risked martyrdom to celebrate Mass in secret in houses and barns of the faithful. John began to practice mortifications in imitation of these priests and as sacrifice for sinners from an early age.

When he was ordained and sent to Ars, he continued these austerities. He disposed of the fine furniture in the rectory, and used the money to help the poor of the parish. He spend hours in prayer, hours in the confessional and more hours serving the day to day needs of his parishioners. Indifferent at first to their new priests, the people of Ars first came to listen to his sermons that ‘stirred their hearts’ and soon grew to love him.

Famous for his skill as a confessor, Saint John Vianney’s instructions were simple and clear. He used imagery drawn from daily life and country scenes to instruct and teach the penitents. It is recorded that even the staunchest of sinners were converted at his mere word. The miracles he performed fall into three categories: first, the obtaining of money for his charities and food for the orphans; secondly, supernatural knowledge of the past and future; thirdly, healing the sick, especially children. The greatest miracle of course is his life. Despite numerous obstacles, he fulfilled his heart’s desire and became a priest. In addition, in carrying out his duties for forty years his food and sleep were insufficient to maintain health.

It wasn’t all smooth and easy. Fellow priests envied his success and accused him of ‘ostentatious poverty.’ Parishioners, angered by the reform of the parish, vandalized his home and spread rumors about him. At nights, he was tormented by and wrestled with the devil. But he calmly, patiently and faithfully persisted in the life God had called him to and continued to serve his people.

Saint John Vianney remains to this day the living image of the priest after the heart of Christ. He died on August 4, 1859 and was canonized on May 31, 1925.

Prayer

Almighty and merciful God, in Saint John Vianney You have given us a Priest who was outstanding in pastoral zeal. Through his intercession help us to win men for Christ and together with them attain eternal glory. Amen.

 

This article is made available courtesy of the Domestic Church web site.

Having Confidence in God, Even in Difficulty

By Jessica Archuleta

Saying we have faith in God when life is going smooth is easy. When serious troubles are not a threat, confidence in God isn’t hard. The test is to check our faith when the waves of adversity are crashing against us.

From my own experience, as a wife of 15 years and mother of eight children living on one income, life has been a challenge in multiple ways. With the financial state of our national economy over the last eight plus years, we’ve had scary times. We’ve gone through a major job loss before and now, well, here we are again.

I am tempted to be worried, to despair even. The challenge my husband faces in finding a job that will support our large family close to the village we recently bought a home in, will be very hard. I could list many negatives against us, but I’m not going to. Honestly, the greatest temptation I have is to ask why I’m not worrying and freaking out.

I have confidence in God now because He has always helped us through hard times. I can look back and see how my worrying, anger, questioning and living without peace never helped a situation; it only made life for me and my family worse. Every time we have faced hardships or uncertainty, whether it be losing a job, finding a place to live, hoping for a home of our own, health problems, hard pregnancies, relationship issues, through everything that we all go through in life, God has been there, giving his grace and help. Often right at the last minute, but always just in time.

It also helps that this job loss happened at the end of Pascha (Easter) season. Having just witnessed the Resurrection of Christ after journeying through the terrible events of Holy Week, I cannot help but have joy, hope, and confidence that Christ has destroyed death and all will be well.

Of course I have temptations to anger, worry and despair. When I do, I ask myself, “‘When has God let you down before?’ ‘When have any of us gone hungry?’” I think of the birds and the lilies of the field, (Mt 6:25-34) and the ten heads of hair in my family, and how our Father in heaven knows just how many hairs there are on each (Mt 10:29-31). I know He will not abandon us or cease caring for us.

This doesn’t mean I believe in a health and wealth gospel. When reflecting on Jesus’s life and His mother’s, one can never imagine Jesus came to make us a rich church! I recently read Dorothy Day’s autobiography, The Long Loneliness. She made me ponder on Christ being poor, about Holy Poverty. Dorothy Day said, “When we meditate on our Lord’s life we are meditating on our own. God is to be found in what appears to be the little and the unimportant. Don’t look back 1900 years. Look around us today.” Any trials that I must endure are not done alone, but with Jesus Christ who has already born all suffering.

I’m sure it was providence that I read Dorothy Day just before my husband was laid off. Oh how funny God can be! Dorothy made me question the standards that I have, what I think is success, what I long for and trust in. Many times in my life, my measurements have been closer to the world’s standards then to our Lord’s who said, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Mt 6:19-21).

As Christians we cannot say we believe this life is passing quickly and is only a preparation for eternity and then live like this world is all we have. Or say we believe God is a loving Father who will provide for our needs and then worry when life is not going as we want. We cannot live in the moment with God and also in the future; in a state of worrisome doubt. We cannot pray for God’s will to be done and then, when our will isn’t done, freak out!

I pray for God’s will in my life and in my family’s life. I entrust my children to God and know they are His children before they are my husband’s; before they are mine. I ask Him to lead us according to His will. Now I am given the opportunity to mean what I pray, to have childlike confidence in my Father, to let Him lead us according to His will.

Learning to have confidence and peaceful surrender to God’s care and will hasn’t come easily and certainly I have moments of struggle but no longer days or weeks of despair, which I have felt in the past. I have learned that faith and hope are gifts of grace from God, gifts that begin to be opened to us with the act of our will. It’s all about synergy with God. We give our little mustard seed or widow’s mite of will and in turn He gives us the grace we need. Then we can say with St. Paul, “And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfected in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor. 12:9-10).

The Christian life isn’t easy. Jesus told us, “And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it (Mt 10:38-39).” I know these trials are part of the daily cross we must bear, and that means it is what is best for us and will lead to eternal life. I look back on life and see moments and trials that seemed devastating and hopeless as great times of growth, healing, and resurrection. Already I see God answering recent prayers (like the one for more faith)! I know this doesn’t mean everything will turn out like I hope (even Jesus didn’t want to endure crucifixion and the sorrow the Theotokos (the “God bearer,” the Blessed Virgin Mary) went through seeing her son tortured and killed was soul piercing (Lk 2:35). Yet, we know what seemed like Satan’s great triumph, what appeared to be a meaningless end to a short innocent life, was the greatest hour and victory, the last darkness before the true light would save us all. My favorite song during Pascha is the one to the Theotokos that says:

The angel exclaimed to her, full of grace: “Rejoice, 0 Pure Virgin; again I say, rejoice! Your Son is risen from the grave on the third day and has raised the dead. Let all nations rejoice!”

Shine in splendor, O new Jerusalem! For the glory of the Lord is risen upon you, O Sion; sing with joy and rejoice! And you, pure Mother of God, rejoice in the resurrection of your Son.

From these trials new life will come, one way or another. I have confidence that all will be well in Gods time and according to His will. I know Jesus Christ has made all things new and resurrection will follow each and every cross all the way to eternity.

When struggling with your own crosses and difficult times, I encourage you to pray for faith and hope and give God your will and see what He will do. When prayer doesn’t come, because you’re drowning in fears and cannot find the words, cry out and ask the Holy Spirit to teach you to pray and to pray within you. “But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it. In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God” (Rom 8:25-27).

 

Jessica Archuleta is a Romanian Greek Catholic (Byzantine) and a Monastic Associate (oblate) and long time friend and extended community member of Holy Resurrection Monastery which is located within walking distance of her home.  She lives in St. Nazianz, Wisconsin – a small Catholic village in the middle of beautiful farm country where she enjoys being married to her best friend Manny, and is a homeschooling mother of eight fun loving children.  This article is made available courtesy of The Catholic Exchange.

August 3, 2014 – In, Around and Near the Diocese of Columbus

Connect with Bishop Campbell Tues, August 5th on AM 820

Tuesday, August 5th on AM 820 Bishop Frederick Campbell. This is a great opportunity to ask Bishop Campbell questions about Catholic teachings during his monthly call-in program, From the Chair, on St. Gabriel Catholic Radio. Calls begin at 5 p.m. Call (614) 459-4820.

CALLING ALL CATHOLIC YOUNG PROFESSIONALS!

The Catholic Foundation invites you to attend a free networking event for Catholic Young Professionals on August 21. We’ll meet at Dempsey’s Restaurant on August 21 from 4:30- 6:30 p.m., and then head over to the free Gin Blossoms concert at the Columbus Commons at 7:00 p.m.! Light drinks and appetizers will be provided. Visit www.catholic-foundation.org for more information. Reservations are encouraged, e-mail Craig Heppner or find our Catholic Young Professionals group on Meetup.com. We look forward to meeting you!

ANNUAL SAINT CHARLES ALUMNI GOLF OUTING

August 31st at Riviera Golf Club. Make special plans to attend this year’s annual St. Charles Alumni Golf Outing on Sunday, August 31st, at Riviera Golf Club in Dublin. This scramble event, sponsored by the St. Charles Alumni Association, begins with a shotgun start at 1:45 p.m. An $85 entry fee covers the round of golf, a cart, prizes, and a deluxe picnic dinner. We take reservations for both foursomes AND singles. Space is limited so don’t wait to sign up! You can also advertise your business or honor your class by sponsoring a hole for $100. For more information or to sign up, contact alumni director Louis J. Fabro ’83 (lfabro@cdeducation.org) or visit the event’s post on the school’s Homepage (www.stcharlesprep.org).

For Better…Forever, Living an Incredible Christian Marriage

A Retreat for Married Couples featuring celebration of the Mass and homily by Bishop Frederick F. Campbell and presentations by Dr. Greg and Lisa Popcak, hosts of More 2 Life Radio and authors of Parenting With Grace andA Marriage Made for Heaven: The Secrets of Heavenly Couplehood. The retreat will be held Saturday, September 13, 2014, from9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. at St. Agatha Church, Upper Arlington.  Cost is $75 per couple and includes a light breakfast and buffet lunch provided by Berwick Catering.  For more information and to download the registration form please visit http://familylife.colsdioc.org.

SENIOR or DISABLED IN NEED OF HOME REPAIR?

Service Saturday, sponsored by Catholic Social Services, will be held on October 11. Do you know of an older adult (60+) or a disabled individual living in Franklin County who needs help with a small home repair or special project?  If so, please contact Peggy Sirbaugh in the CSS office, 614-857-1251 or psirbaugh@colscss.org with the name, street address, zip code, phone number and project idea. Be sure you discuss the event with the individual before making the referral.  Please call by Tuesday, September 2. We can accept a maximum of 30 worksites, so please don’t delay!   (We are unable to accept plumbing, electrical, and second-floor exterior projects.)

MARYHAVEN RESTORES PEOPLE’S LIVES

Maryhaven provides integrated behavioral healthcare services, with a specialization in addiction recovery care, to help men, women, and adolescents restore their lives from addictive and mental illness. Our Mission: Maryhaven helps men, women, and children to restore their lives when those lives have been interrupted by addictive or mental illness. Our Vision:Maryhaven is a strong leader in behavioral healthcare, recognized and respected for the quality and effectiveness of its customer service and for its commitment to diversity. Our Values: As an organization, and as individuals working within it, Maryhaven and its staff are guided by the following values: ●Service: Our patients’ needs and well-being are our first concern. ●Respect: We honor the dignity of each person and treat all with consideration. ●Responsiveness:We respond in a timely and accountable manner to all of our stakeholders. ●Diversity: We respect and celebrate the culture of each person and endeavor to provide culturally competent care. ●Integrity: We adhere to ethical principles and our words and deeds are congruent. ●Loyalty: We are steadfast in our commitment to our mission, company, and community. ●Teamwork: We believe in the power of people working together in a common enterprise. ●Quality: We will meet or exceed industry standards, and offer nothing short of our best effort. For every $1 invested in treatment at Maryhaven, the community saves $11 in healthcare and justice system costs, according to an independent cost benefit study made possible by a grant from The Columbus Foundation. And because Maryhaven has low administrative costs, your donation goes directly to the mission of providing the highest quality behavioral healthcare and prevention services to men, women, and children. Please contact Maryhaven for more information, to make a referral, or to support their mission: Main Campus Phone: (614) 445-8131; web page: www.maryhaven.com.

Ten Reasons to Rejoice

By Fr. Ed Broom, OMV

St. Paul exhorts us in his letter to the Philippians to rejoice, not just once but twice:  “Rejoice in the Lord; I say it again: rejoice in the Lord.” (Phil. 4:4).  Pope Francis’ Apostolic exhortation reiterates the same theme — “The Joy of the Gospel.”  St. Francis de Sales remarks on spiritual progress commenting that after sin the worse thing is sadness.  St. Ignatius agrees, warning us that when we are in a state of desolation—that is to say sadness and discouragement—that is the moment that we are a prime target for the fiery arrows of the devil.

Why then should we be constantly living in a state of joy? There are many reasons, but we would like to offer ten simple reasons to be rejoicing constantly and exultantly.

1. Baptismal Graces. Once baptized we receive so many graces that we can barely count them. However of primary importance is that through Baptism we establish a deep Friendship with three Divine Persons—the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. In Baptism God becomes our Father; Jesus becomes our elder Brother; the Holy Spirit becomes both the Sweet Guest of our soul and our best Friend. Rejoice in God’s Friendship!

2. Sanctifying Grace. If we can strive to live in the state of sanctifying grace then the Friendship with God is constant. We are never alone; loneliness becomes alien to our lifestyle. We can close our eyes and seek the God within the depths of our souls. How happy this should make us!

3. Mercy! Even if we fall one hundred times a day, we know that our God is slow to anger and rich in mercy. As soon as our heart beats with the words “Jesus mercy, Jesus forgive me; Jesus I love you”—then once again this treasure of His Friendship is restored and it is sealed in the sacrament of Confession.  “Give thanks to the Lord for He is good; His mercy endures forever.”

4. The Blessed Sacrament. What overflowing and immense joy we should experience in knowing that Jesus said that He would be with us even until the end of the world. Where is He? Response: in the Church. However, most especially He is truly Present (The Real Presence) in the consecrated Host present in all of the Tabernacles of the world. Let us rejoice and come let us adore Him.

5. St Raphael. An invitation: Why not delve into your Bible and go to the Old Testament where you will find a short but truly inspiring book from the Wisdom literature with the title of the Book of Tobit.  In this spiritual masterpiece you will find a heart-warming Friend; he is actually one of the three Archangels mentioned in the Bible.  His name is Raphael, meaning God heals.   One of his special gifts is to befriend us and to fill us with joy. Why not invoke this holy angel every day for nine days (a novena) and you will notice that your sadness will melt as the snow exposed to the midday sun.

6. Saints. Not only should we walk and talk with the Archangel Raphael but we should be in constant contact and communion with the saints.  While on earth the saints were the most joyful men and women. However in heaven their joy is boundless.  Still they so earnestly long to share their joy, which is their Friendship with God, with us on earth. Call out to them now! By the way, who are your three favorite saints? Beg them to share the joy they experience with you now. Your joy will abound.

7. Heaven. The reality of the existence of Heaven and the knowledge that Jesus has already gone there to prepare a place for you should cause an explosion of joy in your soul right now. Listen to Jesus’ words: “I go now to prepare a place for you so that where I am you also might be. In my Father’s house there are many mansions.”  Wow!  Jesus has not only prepared a place for you, but a huge, beautiful, spacious, ineffable mansion for you for all eternity.  No cracks, dust, ants, cockroaches, leaks, mildew—none of these, but the best of resting places, all this is yours if you simply persevere in grace. Mary, full of grace pray for us!

8. Prayer. If you wanted to talk to some celebrity, President, star, hero, high-class dignitary most likely it would take a year and a day to possibly set up a short meeting.  How extraordinary is God’s love for us that in any time, any place, any circumstance that we want to we can talk to God and He is ready to listen and respond.   Too often people are too busy and simply do not have time for us—sad to say, even those who should be closest to us! Not so with God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. They are always at our beck and call. How humble and loving our God is! Rejoice exultantly in the reality of prayer. Why not make a proposal right now to augment your joy: strive to pray a little bit more and a little bit better every day. Your joy will be like the fireworks of the fourth of July.

9. God, the Most Generous Giver. In all honesty, and with the most profound humility and deepest sincerity, we should all admit that everything that we have—except the sins that we willfully choose to commit—is a pure gratuitous gift from God.  As the Apostle Paul reminds us, quoting one of the Greek poets, “In Him we live and move and have our being.” Thank God constantly for His abundant and ceaseless gifts to you.  Have you ever noticed this fact: when you exercise gratitude towards God joy surges in your heart? Try it!

10. Our Lady. Our life, our sweetness and our hope!  One of the titles of Mary in her Litany is Cause of our joy.  After his death, St. Dominic Savio returned appearing to St. John Bosco and told the great saint of the youth that his greatest joy in the short 14 years and 11 months of his life was his great love and affection towards Our Lady. Savio exhorted St. John Bosco to follow that path of promoting love and devotion to Mary.  In your life get to know Mary, love Mary, invoke Mary, pray to Mary, consecrate your life to Jesus through Mary and spread devotion to Mary. If you do, then undoubtedly you will experience in the depths of your soul an ineffable joy which will overflow in your life to all those you meet.

In conclusion, friends in Jesus and Mary, let us strive to spread the joy of the Gospel right now and live out a life of constant joy. We might as well get into the habit of rejoicing now in the Lord because we will be rejoicing with exultant joy in heaven for all eternity!

 

Father Ed Broom is an Oblate of the Virgin Mary.

This article is made available courtesy of The Catholic Exchange.

August 3, 2014 – From the Rector

ON THIS EIGHTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME we might ask ourselves how many times we have been in a situation where we literally have nothing to eat. That’s what happened in today’s Gospel (Matthew 14:13-21). The people with Jesus had practically nothing, nothing to eat, “All we have with us is five loaves and two fish” (Matthew 14:17). It essence five loaves and two fish was practically nothing for such a large crowd, five thousand men to say nothing of the women and children also present. And so it was up to Jesus to provide them with something, and he did, so much that they had twelve baskets of scraps remaining. Perhaps it is only when you have nothing that you can see Jesus providing you with something. When you have everything perhaps it is more difficult to see Jesus at work. In one sense you could say that now we have everything. Because we have everything we don’t see the value of anything. We don’t see that everything is a gift from God. In a sense because we have everything there is less room for Jesus to work a miracle of the loaves and fish for us. In a sense because we have everything it is more difficult for Jesus to speak his word to us. Maybe because we have everything we might sometimes forget about God, forget about the Eucharist, forget about the Sacraments, forget to pray every day, forget to read and learn the Bible. That would be sad because then we would have everything but it would mean nothing because the only one to give meaning to life is Jesus. Only Jesus is the one who can open our eyes, minds and hearts to see, experience and enjoy a life in Him. Everything passes as does everyone, but Jesus remains. Our first reading today had a beautiful invitation to God’s feast:

All you who are thirsty, come to the water!
You who have no money, come, buy grain and eat;
come, buy grain without money, wine and milk without cost!
Why spend your money for what is not bread; your wages for what does not satisfy?
Only listen to me, and you shall eat well, you shall delight in rich fare. (Isaiah 55:1,2)

Folks, we often forget that we can enjoy this feast everyday. Living everyday with God in our lives is enjoying a feast every day. There is so much energy when we feast with God. If we are so caught up in life we might not even realize that we are missing out on a feast with God every day. In our first reading God said through the prophet Isaiah: “Why spend money for what is not bread; your wages for what fails to satisfy (Isaiah 55:2)? Have each of us yet to discover in so many ways that we expend time, energy and effort, and spend our hard-earned money on what is not bread and on what fails to satisfy? Once we do discover this, each of our lives will be changed and our lives will become so much more fulfilling. In little ways God communicates with us from time to time inviting us to closer union with Him and we hear and better understand the words:

All you who are thirsty, come to the water!
You who have no money, come, buy grain and eat;
come, buy grain without money, wine and milk without cost!
Why spend your money for what is not bread; your wages for what does not satisfy?
Only listen to me, and you shall eat well, you shall delight in rich fare. (Isaiah 55:1,2)

The words from God in the readings today are invitations to us now also. Feast with God every day. A day without God in it is a day wasted. We do not want to wait for a disaster to make us realize that we have been spending our money on what is not bread and our wages on what fails to satisfy. It is God who has gifted us with life and everything. Because we have everything let it not be the cause of preventing Jesus from working the miracle of the loaves and fish in our life. May the gifts God has given us not be a source of distraction from the God, the Giver of those gifts. Let Jesus feast with you!

ON A PERSONAL NOTE… I want to thank Fr. Paul Noble, who served as Administrator pro tem of the Cathedral for the past six-plus weeks while I had colon cancer surgery and was recuperating, along with Fr. Hilary for stepping up to the plate as well covering additional Masses and rearranging his schedule during my medical leave. I also thank Fr. Jordan Lenaghan, O.P., for volunteering during his summer vacation to help out during this time as well. And of course I cannot thank enough the Cathedral staff who also took on added responsibilities during this time to make sure everything ran smoothly. My thanks as well to Bishop Campbell who, while on vacation, also took on added Masses at the Cathedral while I was recuperating, and to Msgr. Stephan Moloney and Deacon Tom Berg who picked up the slack in the Chancery while I was gone. I cannot thank enough my parents (God love ‘em!) for taking care of me at home during the past several weeks and seeing to my every need, and to my family members who have been so supportive and helpful. So many friends, clergy, colleagues and parishioners have been at my side in one way or another as well for which I am grateful. While my cancer journey is far from over (24 weeks of chemotherapy begin soon), it is good to know that out of genuine love, care and concern we are there to help one another in our various times of need.

Fr. Mike Lumpe