Archive for “2014”

Taking Place in Our Parishes

THIS WEEK IS A SPECIAL FELLOWSHIP SUNDAY IN THE UNDERCROFT, 11:30 A.M.: This is an opportunity to meet our brothers and sisters in Christ from Holy Cross Church who will be joining the Cathedral Community for the next several weeks while the Church undergoes a major interior renovation. Please join us!

CATHEDRAL CHOIR ~ THE OFFICE OF COMPLINE ~ SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 2: On the first Sunday of the month, the men of the Cathedral Choir chant the Office of Compline. The Office lasts about 30 minutes and consists of psalms, short passages from scripture, an office hymn, a canticle (Nunc Dimittis), a responsory, collect and additional prayers. In keeping with the earliest practices of the monastic communities, Compline is offered when the work of the day is completed, and the quietness of evening settles over the hearts and minds of those who have come together in thankfulness for the blessings of the day which has passed and in anticipation of God’s gift of a new day. The Office begins at 9:00 p.m. on the First Sunday of the month. We hope you will join us for this unique spiritual experience.

FAMILY ROSARY DAY OCTOBER 12: The Diocese of Columbus’ annual Family Rosary Day is 3:00 p.m., Sunday, October 12, at Saint Joseph Cathedral. Bishop Frederick F. Campbell will preside at this event of prayer and devotion to Our Lady. All are welcome.

THE COLUMBUS MARATHON IS NEXT SUNDAY, OCTOBER 19: The Marathon begins at 7:30 a.m. from North Bank Park; the route of the Marathon includes East Broad Street, in front of the Cathedral, so getting to the Sunday 8:00 a.m. Mass on October 19 may take some extra effort. You may want to arrive at the Cathedral before the Marathon begins. During the Marathon the best way to get to the Cathedral is to approach from the north, coming down Third Street, and turning left (east) onto East Gay Street to park in the lot. There may be on-street parking restrictions during the Marathon, so please be attentive.

FIRST SATURDAY MASS – FILIPINO COMMUNITY, NOVEMBER 1: For a number of years the Catholic Filipino Community has gathered for a First Saturday Mass at Holy Cross Church. This will continue, but with Holy Cross Church currently undergoing interior renovations the upcoming First Saturday Mass will take place at the Cathedral on Saturday, November 1, 7:30 p.m., which is a Vigil Mass for All Souls. Fr. Lumpe will be the Mass celebrant as Fr. Ramon is out of town.

FEAST OF ALL SOULS – SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 2: The Feast of All Souls falls on Sunday this year.  On that day we will remember in a special way Holy Cross and Cathedral parishioners who have dined since the previous All Souls Day. This is a day when we also remember our family members, friends, co-workers, fellow parishioners, and special persons in our lives who have died. The Book of the Dead will be placed in the Cathedral during the month of November for all people to inscribe names; the names of those inscribed in the Book of the Dead will be part of the prayers of the faithful during all Masses in November. This is also a day to visit cemeteries to pray at the graves of our loved ones, and to tend to their graves, and to teach our children these faith practices.

FIRST FRIDAY MASS AND ALL-NIGHT EUCHARISTIC ADORATION – NOVEMBER 7: For years Holy Cross Parish has held an All-Night First Friday Eucharistic Adoration, beginning with Mass at 7:30 p.m., followed by Confessions for a period of time, concluding with Benediction at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday. This will continue, but with Holy Cross Church currently undergoing interior renovations the upcoming First Friday Mass, Confessions and Adoration will take place at the Cathedral on Friday, November 7. Fr. Lumpe will be the Mass celebrant, will hear confessions, and will do Benediction on Saturday morning. Spread the word, as we need people to pray before the Blessed Sacrament throughout the night. As Jesus asked Peter “Could you not spend one hour with me?” Jesus also asks us this same question. Please contact Carol in the Cathedral Office to sign up for one of the hours of Adoration by calling (614) 224-1295 during regular business hours, or via e-mail: cathedral@columbus.rr.com. Following Mass, access to the Cathedral for Adoration will be available through the Fifth Street side entrance only; please park on the Cathedral lot.

Organizations in our Parishes

Members of parish communities have a wealth of ways to serve and feel a part of the parish family.  Committees are formed to educate, enrich our faith, strengthen our parish and support Outreach organizations.

We welcome you to join us in the committee(s) of your choice!

 

SAINT LAWRENCE HAVEN OUTREACH COMMITTEE: Members of Holy Cross Church meet monthly to prepare sandwiches for the needy. If interested please contact Eileen or Ray Kiersh at rletkiersh@aol.com.

 

CATHEDRAL EVENTS COMMITTEE: The Events committee plans social and fund-raising events throughout the year to foster a sense of community within the Cathedral Community. Meetings are scheduled as needed for any particular event. Contact Ed Wojewodka at (614) 547-0055 or edsgot2much@yahoo.com.

 

I-T COMMITTEE: This committee advises the Webmaster and associated I-T computer services for the Cathedral and Holy Cross communities. Meetings are held on a regular basis as needed. Contact Chris Daly at chris@tbgmarketin.net.

KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS: The K of C is a fraternal organization of Catholic men engaged in charitable works. The Council 400 meets at 7:00 pm. on the 2nd and 4th Mondays of each month, September through May and the 2nd Monday of the month, June through August. The Chapter meetings are held at 7:30 p.m. on the 1st Thursdays of the month year-round. All meetings are in the Cathedral Undercroft. Contact Phil Renico at (614) 864-0223 or prrenico@yahoo.com.

LITURGICAL MINISTERS: Members of the Cathedral Community take part in the celebration of the Sacred Liturgy as Lectors, Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, Hospitality Ministers/Greeters and Altar Servers. Review and training sessions are scheduled routinely with advance notification. At Holy Cross, please contact Sister Anne Keenan, O.P., at sranne@columbus.rr.com or (614) 224-3416; at the Cathedral, contact Michael Elton at (614) 405-7770 or melton@columbus.rr.com.

RITE OF CHRISTIAN INITIATION OF ADULTS (RCIA): Interested in coming into the Catholic faith? RCIA sessions have already begun for this year. For more information about RCIA and the process of becoming a fully-initiated member of the Catholic Church, at Holy Cross please contact Sr. Anne at sranne@columbus.rr.com or (614) 224-3416; at the Cathedral please contact Mr. Jake Neal at jake.t.neal@gmail.com or (614) 224-1295; or Carol Keene at keene9@gmail.com or (614) 657-9528.

PARISH SCHOOL OF RELIGION (PSR) ~ CATECHESIS OF THE GOOD SHEPHERD: As parents you are the primary religious educators of your children. Our catechetical classes are here to support you. It is our goal to partner with you and your family along your faith journey. Saint Joseph Cathedral and Holy Cross Church provide a joint program using the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd model for students enrolled in Grades 1-8 who do not attend a Catholic School. Classes this year are held in the Cathedral Undercroft. For more information, please contact Deborah Matthews, Coordinator of Religious Education, at matthews9244@sbcglobal.net.

SAINT VINCENT DePAUL SOCIETY: For as little as 60 minutes a month, you can grow spiritually by offering service to those who are needy and suffering.   Participate in outreach programs for Saint Lawrence Haven, Bryden House Apartments and Joint Organization for Inner-city Needs (JOIN). If interested, please contact Kevin Dunleavy at (614) 436-3943 or e-mail kevin.dunleavy@abbott.com or come to our monthly meeting at 9:00 a.m. on the First Sunday of the month, year-round, in the Fulcher Room.

FINANCE COMMITTEE:   Holy Cross Finance Committee meets quarterly on the Second Tuesday of November, February, May and August. For more information contact Terry Creedon at terry.creedon@sbcglobal.net.

SOCIAL JUSTICE AND CONCERNS COMMITTEE: This committee dedicates its efforts to those who are in need due to hunger and poverty, domestic and family violence, capital punishment, health and bio-ethics issues. If you are interested in joining this group please contact Michael Elton at (614) 405-7770 or melton@columbus.rr.com.

VOCATIONS COMMITTEE: The Vocations Committee prays for vocations of Priests and Religious from our parishes and for the Holy Catholic Church throughout the world. Through programs, prayer, discussion, and the encouragement of young people, parishioners can make the whole community more “vocation conscious.” The committee meets at 9:00 a.m. on the Third Sunday of the month in the Fulcher Room. Contact Barbara Garick at (614) 877-0168 or barbaragarick@gmail.com.

YOUNG ADULTS GROUP – (Triple V) – Via, Veritas et Vita: Young adults between the ages of 18 and 40 gather to foster community among fellow parishioners. Meetings are held at least once a month. Contact us via: Facebook – St. Joseph Cathedral Young Adult Group (http://www.facebook.com/group.phpgid=194497085915) E-mail: yagroup.stjosephcathedral@gmail.com. If you would like to be included in the email distribution list. Web: http://stjosephcathedraltriplev.weebly.com

October 12, 2014 – From the Rector

ON THIS TWENTY-EIGHTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME we are treated to one of the most famous and profound Psalms in Sacred Scripture – Psalm 23. This Psalm is heard predominately at Funeral Masses, but the words of the Psalmist are worth pondering any time of the year. Years ago on EWTN I heard a parody of Psalm 23 which I would like to share with your today:

The TV is my shepherd I shall not want,
It makes me to lie down on the sofa.
It leads me away from the faith,
It destroys my soul.
It leads me to the path of sex and violence for the advertiser’s sake.
Even though I walk in the shadow of Christian responsibilities,
there will be no interruption, for the TV is with me.
Its cable and remote control, they comfort me.
It prepares a commercial for me in the midst of my worldliness
and anoints my head with secular humanism and consumerism.
My covetousness runs over;
Surely ignorance and laziness shall follow me all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of wretchedness watching TV forever.

Folks, I enjoy watching a good television program as much as the next person, although “good television” programs are increasingly harder to find. Interesting how when I was growing up we had four television channels – the three networks: ABC, CBS and NBC; PBS entered the scene a bit later – and there was always something “good” to watch; now we have over 100 channels and it seems like there is not much worth watching. But hour after hour, there many find themselves transfixed on watching “nothing,” filling our minds with a lot of nothingness and emptiness, and so much of what is on TV is dehumanizing, and some of what we watch we imitate – “life imitating art.” What an empty way to live. But there is another way to live, and it is conveyed to us in Psalm 23:

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
In verdant pastures he gives me repose;
beside restful waters he leads me;
he refreshes my soul.

He guides me in right paths for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk in the dark valley
I fear no evil; for you are at my side
with your rod and your staff
that give me courage.

You spread the table before me
in the sight of my foes;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.

Only goodness and kindness follow me all the days of my life;
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord for years to come.

This is a beautiful way to live. Pope Saint John Paul II encouraged people many times to find life to the full by following Jesus as he said words like this, “Do not be afraid to open the doors to Christ…” In Palestine the shepherd brought the sheep into the sheepfold every night. It was a circular stone wall with an opening or door where the sheep entered. Once the sheep were inside for the night the shepherd slept in that opening or door all night. The sheep could not get out without stepping over the shepherd’s body which meant they would not get out at all during the night. Jesus is the gate, anyone who enters through him will be safe, and will go freely in and out and be sure of finding pasture. Others steal and kill and destroy but Jesus is the Good Shepherd. As we contemplate Jesus as our Shepherd – the Good Shepherd – let us pray that many may listen to the voice of Jesus as He calls, that we may turn away from those things which distract us from following Jesus and living a life in Him, and instead nurture and nourish our minds and hearts with His words – the Living Word – so that we may have life and live it to the fullest.

-Fr. Mike Lumpe

October 14, 2014 – Lectio Divina

Tuesday, October 14 ~ Twenty-Eighth Week in Ordinary Time

Saint Callistus, I: Pope and Martyr

Holy Gospel: Luke 11:37-41 After Jesus had spoken, a Pharisee invited him to dine at his home. He entered and reclined at table to eat. The Pharisee was amazed to see that he did not observe the prescribed washing before the meal. The Lord said to him, “Oh you Pharisees! Although you cleanse the outside of the cup and the dish, inside you are filled with plunder and evil. You fools! Did not the maker of the outside also make the inside? But as to what is within, give alms, and behold, everything will be clean for you.”

Meditation: Is the Lord welcomed at your table and are you ready to feast at his table? A Pharisee, after hearing Jesus preach, invited him to dinner, no doubt, because he wanted to hear more from this extraordinary man who spoke the word of God as no one else had done before. It was not unusual for a rabbi to give a teaching over dinner. Jesus, however, did something which offended his host. He did not perform the ceremonial washing of hands before beginning the meal. Did Jesus forget or was he deliberately performing a sign to reveal something to his host? Jesus turned the table on his host by chiding him for uncleanness of heart.

Prayer: O God, who raised up Pope Saint Callistus the First to serve the Church and attend devoutly to Christ’s faithful departed, strengthen us, we pray, by his witness to the faith, so that, rescued from the slavery of corruption, we may merit an incorruptible inheritance. 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: Which is more important to God — clean hands, or a clean mind and a clean heart? Jesus chided the Pharisees for harboring evil thoughts that make us unclean spiritually — such as greed, pride, bitterness, envy, arrogance, and the like. Why does he urge them, and us, to give alms? When we give freely and generously to those in need we express love, compassion, kindness, and mercy. And if the heart is full of love and compassion, then there is no room for envy, greed, bitterness, and the like.  Do you allow God’s love to transform your heart and mind? If not, why not?

The Fruits of the Mysteries of the Rosary

The Fruits of the Mysteries of the Rosary

By Patrice Fragnant-McArthur

When I was growing up, my mother and I would say the rosary every day together. Before each decade, she would announce the mystery and the fruit, or virtue, associated with it. I have continued the practice of saying the rosary in my adult life. Indeed, it is one of my favorite devotions and can’t imagine life without it. I do remember all the mysteries of the original Joyful, Sorrowful, and Glorious sets of five decades. It took me a while, but I even managed to memorize the Luminous Mysteries established by Pope Saint John Paul II. My memory had long since forgotten the fruits of the mysteries, however.

In talking to some friends recently, we realized we were all in the same boat. No one knew the fruits of the mysteries of the rosary — only that there were some! To rectify that ignorance, here are the mysteries of the rosary and their corresponding fruits along with a brief reflection on each one. They offer yet one more good reason to pray the rosary.

The Joyful Mysteries

  1. The Annunciation – Humility

It is appropriate to begin the rosary with the virtue of humility. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that “humility is the foundation of prayer. Only when we humbly acknowledge that ‘we do not know how to pray as we ought,’ are we ready to receive freely the gift of prayer. ‘Man is a beggar before God.’ ” (CCC 2559)

  1. The Visitation – Love of Neighbor

Mary hastened to her cousin’s Elizabeth’s house to help her in her time of need. In what ways can we be of service to our own neighbor’s today, whether we find that neighbor in our own home, in our community, at work, or on the internet?

  1. The Nativity of the Lord – Poverty of Spirit, Detachment from the Things of the World

We live in a very consumerist culture. This mystery invites us to detach ourselves from our many possessions. What do we truly need and what is excess? What can we share with others?

  1. Presentation – Obedience

Mary and Joseph humbly brought Jesus to the temple in accord with Jewish law. Obedience to God and to others can be very difficult, but offers us the opportunity to subjugate our own will to that of our heavenly Father. Not my will, but God’s will be done.

  1. Finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple – Piety

Piety is dedication to the Church’s sacramental life and devotions. Mary and Joseph were surprised to find Jesus in the temple. We, too, should be dedicated to our Church and the sacraments.

The Luminous Mysteries

  1. The Baptism of Jesus – Openness to the Holy Spirit

We each receive the Holy Spirit in a special way in Baptism and again at Confirmation. The gifts of the Holy Spirit are wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord. We need only ask the Holy Spirit for help and help will be provided.

  1. The Miracle at Cana – To Jesus through Mary

Mary encouraged her Son to perform his first miracle at the Wedding at Cana. She simply told the servants to “do whatever he tells you.” She helps us in a similar way — always pointing us to her Son and interceding on our behalf. We need only to turn to her and ask for help.

  1. Proclamation of the Kingdom of God – Repentance, Trust in God

Jesus spent the active years of his ministry preaching and performing miracles to proclaim the Kingdom of God. He asks us to express sorrow from our sin, turn away from sin, and trust in God.

  1. Transfiguration – Desire for Holiness

Jesus gave three of his closest friends a glimpse of His glory at the Transfiguration. We, too, are called to holiness, and to ultimately live in glory in heaven. But, we need to want it and we need to want it more than what the world and the devil attempts to offer us.

  1. Institution of the Eucharist – Eucharistic Adoration, Active Participation at Mass

Jesus gave us the greatest gift in the Eucharist. He gave us His very self. This mystery invites us to appreciate that gift fully and to participate at Mass often

Sorrowful Mysteries

  1. Agony in the Garden – Contrition, Conformity to the Will of God

Jesus, both fully human and fully divine, suffered immensely in the garden. He knew what was coming and he was terrified. He begged His Father to spare him, but submitted Himself fully to His will. We, too, are called to do this.

  1. Scourging at the Pillar – Purity, Mortification

Mortification isn’t popular these days, but making small sacrifices and offering them up can be a great help to one’s spiritual life. There is an opportunity every day to sacrifice and to suffer in some small way.

  1. Crowning with Thorns – Moral Courage

Jesus remained resolute even as he was being made fun of. Do we have the courage to stand up for our convictions even when we are being laughed at? Whose opinion matters more – God’s or those who surround us?

  1. Carrying of the Cross – Patience

Patience is something we all seem to have difficulty with. Jesus patiently carried his cross through the streets of Jerusalem on the way to his Crucifixion. We can look to him for help when we are tempted to lose our patience.

  1. Crucifixion – Salvation, Self-Denial

Jesus gave up everything for us on the cross. His took on the sins of the world, past, present, and future, and died for our salvation. We need to be so thankful for that gift. At the same time, when we are asked to die to ourselves and put others first, we can look to the cross for the example of total self-giving.

Glorious Mysteries

  1. The Resurrection – Faith It takes great faith to believe that Jesus rose from the dead and that we, too, shall rise. As Jesus told his apostles, “Blessed are that who have not seen, and yet believe.” This mystery offers us help in maintaining that faith. “Lord, I believe. Please help my unbelief!”
  2. The Ascension – Hope, Desire for Heaven

We hope for a world that is better than this one. We desire to live forever with Jesus in heaven. May that hope help shape our lives here on Earth.

  1. The Descent of the Holy Spirit – Wisdom, Love of God

The disciples were scared. They huddled together in that upper room not sure of what to do. Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon them and they were ready to go out and give their very lives in service to God. May the Holy Spirit also grant us that wisdom and love of God.

  1. The Assumption of Mary – Devotion to Mary

Mary was brought up to heaven body and soul. We are devoted to her because of her relationship to her Son and because God saw fit to raise her up. “Blessed are you among women and Blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.”

  1. The Coronation of the Blessed Virgin Mary – Eternal Happiness

Mary is the Queen of Heaven, enjoying forever her rightful place next to her Son. May we one day share in her happiness.

 

This article is made available courtesy of The Catholic Exchange.

Let it Go

Let It Go

By Randy Hain

 I grew up in a home where both my parents worked to make ends meet. There were years that my dad worked two jobs to help support our family. We had few extras, but we had what we needed. If I wanted spending money I worked a number of jobs to earn it. What our family did have in abundance was love, encouragement, and a focus on the importance of values. My parents always made time for my sister and me, and family dinner time was sacred. They were genuinely interested in what we were doing at school. As tired as my father was after work, he would play catch with me every evening and on weekends. My mother was our emotional bedrock and I always admired what a great team she and my father formed. We had rules in our house and I knew the boundaries that I could not cross. Faith was very important to my parents and church and prayer were staples in our household. My childhood was by no means perfect, but I am grateful for my experience and how it has shaped me today.

I suspect that many of us have similar fond memories and “Norman Rockwell moments” in our past. I would suggest that a bond that connects most of our various childhood experiences is simplicity. We didn’t have as many distractions. Technology was still under our control (versus the pervasive influence it has on us today) and values and character still mattered. You probably found fewer obstacles back then to your relationship with Christ. I am a realist in my forties and understand very well the technology-driven world in which we live, but as I grow older I am hardening against a neo-modernist “everything goes” version of the future and looking more to the lessons of the past for guidance.

I am increasingly alarmed by the obsession and addiction to consumerism and materialism that seems to drive so many families today. The media and retail advertisers have insinuated themselves into every electronic device or print product we own, use, and see every day. We have been sold for decades on the idea of a lifestyle that is filled with fun, convenience and, dare I say, guilt, if we don’t pursue this artificial paradise. The push is to buy, buy, buy, and then buy some more!

The focus on acquiring material goods drives many of us to work harder and harder to make more money to buy bigger houses, nicer cars, and cooler gadgets. This obsession often pulls both parents into the work force to support their lifestyle, keep up with the neighbors, or satisfy some deep inner emptiness. There is nothing wrong with a nice lifestyle, but how much is enough? And more importantly, can we take it with us at the end of our lives?

In Matthew 6:19–21 our Lord said, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal. But store up treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor decay destroys, nor thieves break in and steal. . . . For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” This clear direction from Jesus means we need to take better inventory of our lives. We need to make sure that God is not just one of our priorities, but instead He must be the top priority. Jesus again addressed this subject in Matthew 6:24, 33–34: “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. . . . But seek first his kingdom (of God) and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well. Do not be anxious about tomorrow; tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the day’s own trouble be sufficient for the day.”

This focus on acquiring the things of this world takes our focus away from God. Again, please don’t misunderstand me. Supporting ourselves and our family comfortably is not in itself wrong. I am talking about the excessive pursuit of material goods that takes our focus away from Him. There is a word that squarely addresses this problem: detachment. As Francis Fernandez wrote in his excellent book series, In Conversation with God: “Effective detachment from things demands sacrifice. Any detachment which is not hard is not real. Christian life is such that it calls for a radical change in attitude towards earthly goods. We must acquire them and use them not as an end to themselves, but as a means of serving God, the family and society. The objective of a Christian is not to accumulate more and more but to love Christ more and more through his work and his family as well as through material goods” (Vol. 3, 109–110).

Think about the key words we place before the material things we desire during the course of a day: “I want,” “I need,” or “I love.” Now, replace these material things with Christ and use the same key words. We should all want, need, and love Christ, and our thoughts should always be of Him.

Seeking more insight into the need for “detachment,” I sought out the input from a man who left behind what the world holds most dear in order to fully serve God and the Church is Tom Peterson, president and founder of Catholics Come Home. Following twenty-five years as an award-winning advertising executive, Tom Peterson’s life would radically change forever after receiving a transforming spiritual conversion while on a Catholic men’s retreat. Soon afterward he founded VirtueMedia (pro-life) and CatholicsComeHome.org. In the first six years, Catholics Come Home has aired Catholic evangelization commercials in thirty-six dioceses and nationally, helping lead nearly five hundred thousand souls home to the Catholic Church.  Tom is also the author of Catholics Come Home: God’s Extraordinary Plan for Your Life and the creator of the original EWTN TV series, Catholics Come Home.  Tom is passionate about our Catholic faith and devoted to his wife, three daughters, and first grandson.

Tom, I have long appreciated the story of your faith journey and the reconversion to the Catholic Church you experienced many years ago. One aspect of your story that has always intrigued me was your decision to downsize and simplify your life and shed what you described as your “idols.” Can you elaborate?

“Absolutely! When many of us think of the word idol, we may think of a statue of a pagan god. That’s accurate, but idols also take the form of career, money, beauty, a large home, a nice car, exotic vacations, or even the admiration of our friends and peers. The Church teaches that even if one of these things takes primacy in our lives, then we are worshipping an idol.

“This observation comes from my own experience as well because there was a period in my life which was filled with idols. God was relegated to a small corner of my heart as I pursued a lifestyle and lived a life devoid of the things which truly matter. It took time, but I began to realize that these worldly idols had to vanish for God to be first in my life. That decision and the painful process that followed has made all the difference for me and my family, and I am truly blessed to have been given a second chance and to have experienced God’s love and mercy.”

Do you see our Catholic men and women of today experiencing the same issues with idols and the right priorities?

“I do, and it is getting worse. I think we need to start by recognizing that God wants us to be happy, truly happy. He is our loving heavenly Father and He made us for a great purpose. He wants to reveal His love to us and have that love with everyone we encounter. But there are obstacles that keep us from doing this. We are working harder and longer to buy things which do not make us happy. We are often trying to maintain a lifestyle that requires both husband and wife to work full time, instead of more modest lifestyle which allows for a happy and well-adjusted family focused on loving and serving God.

“This is not only about lifestyle, but also about how we are living. Society is demanding more and more from our young people and the competition factor can be overwhelming for our kids. Many families I know are racing from sporting event to recitals to various other activities without making time to just be together. We have forgotten how to relax and hang out in each other’s company. Families need to pray together and go to Mass together and do Eucharistic Adoration together. They can and should serve the least of our brothers and sisters in the community. So, chasing idols and the wrong priorities are hurting so many families today, and Catholic men must rise to the challenge of saying no when appropriate and being leaders in their homes.”

Tom, I know your walk back to a fully active practice of your Catholic faith and your roles as founder of Catholics Come Home and Virtue Media were greatly aided by prayer and the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Can you share how these catalysts helped you?

“Without prayer we cease to communicate with God. We simply can’t know His will without an active prayer life throughout every day. Reconciliation is the most underutilized sacrament in the Church, yet provides us with sacramental graces and forgiveness to start fresh and begin anew. God is merciful and wants to shower us with His love, yet we need to accept His gift. If you haven’t been to Confession in the last two months, make the commitment to go this week. It changed my life and countless others and will bless you and your family too.”

Tom, one last question. When you think about how much of your energy and time was devoted to supporting a materialistic worldly lifestyle years ago versus the way you spend your energy and time today, can you describe in simple terms the difference in your life, your family’s life, and the lives of those you encounter each day?

“When we take the focus off ourselves and focus on God’s will for our life, we begin to experience the adventure of the new evangelization—God’s true plan and purpose for each of our lives. Nothing will make us happier or more fulfilled than doing and living God’s perfect will. He customizes this for each of us. With a sincere heart, ask the Holy Spirit to guide your path, live the Commandments, pray and help others, and watch the miracles begin!”

As we venture out into the world today, let’s be thoughtful about our priorities.  Is Christ truly first in our lives?  If not, what is getting between us and Him?  I challenge all of us to reflect and pray about the unhealthy attachments we may have formed over the years and ask ourselves if we really and truly need “it”, whatever “it” is.  If there is something negatively affecting our relationship with Him and a deeper practice of our Catholic faith, it is time to let it go.

 

Randy Hain is the Senior Editor for the Integrated Catholic Life™ which he co-founded with Deacon Mike Bickerstaff in 2010. Randy is a co-founder of the Annual Atlanta Catholic Business Conference, the Catholic Business Cafe and leads the St. Peter Chanel Faith at Work Ministry. He is a prolific writer and frequent presenter on a number of topics including faith, family, Catholic men’s issues, fatherhood, faith/work integration, careers, authenticity, leadership and human capital.

To Walk Humbly: Seeking the Will of God

To Walk Humbly: Seeking the Will of God

by Fr. Bernard Häring, C.SS.R.

As Christians, we are, by grace and faith, God’s offspring, born to a new life in Jesus Christ. The seed of holiness lies within each and every one of us. Therefore, it should be our hope to enrich the life of Christ’s holy Church here and now and to persevere in being faithful to God’s sanctifying action. We all come from different backgrounds, and thus have lived through different experiences that shape our faith. But the common thread that binds us is our ability to be holy. We are called to this holiness by divine grace because God’s love is gracious and appealing.

The wealth of the present moment depends on the treasures of the past, brought to light by a grateful memory, and on the strength of our hope which determines the direction and provides the power for resolute action. But the past cannot be of profit, and hope cannot be attained, unless we remain alert to present opportunities and prepare to make use of them. This is the appeal of the apostle redeemed: “Be careful, then, how you live…making the most of the time” (Ephesians 5:15a,16a). Thos who do not try to “understand what the will of the Lord is” (Ephesians 5:17b), miss the mark completely. In our day-to-day living, there is no better way to both manifest our gratitude for all the past events, and our hope for the future, than by a faithful use of the present moment. In order to cherish the present moment, with all its opportunities and even all its hardships, we must learn to seek God’s will under all circumstances.

Wishful Thinking

One of the great enemies of our call to holiness is the escape into wishful thinking. This syndrome wastes as much of our spiritual energies as bitter complaints undermine them. Our vocation is to be holy here and now. Our only response should be: “Lord, here I am, call me; Lord, here I am, send me!”

People gifted and graced by grateful memories and farseeing hope have the best opportunity to discover what each present moment offers. Our expectations of the Lord, both at the end of time and at the end of life, are reasonable only if we listen to God’s call at the present moment and remain alert to God’s coming in the future. The more ready we are for a grateful response, the more mindful we will be of present opportunities.

The most graced and holy among women – Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ – expresses her readiness with the words, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord.” (Luke 1:38b). “Here am I” is a timely theme for all who have made the fundamental option to follow the call to holiness. Each moment confirms it, and deepens its roots in our mort inmost being and in our life’s history.

We do not really live in the presence of the living God, the Lord of history, if we only remember that God is in history. The presence of the living God is dynamic, active, creative. When we live on that level, we will be alert to God’s call, attentive to the Lord’s coming, and prepared to respond to the Spirit of God, faithfully and wisely, in the here and now. When our whole being cries our, “Here am I, call me!” we will be graced to discover what pleases God.

Heedful of Others’ Needs

Being alert and ready for God’s coming, for God’s call to us, also means being ever heedful of our neighbors’ needs and just expectations. We continually see examples of how our neighbors – by their temperaments, needs and deeds – alert us to signs of God’s grace and call.

If those around us are kind, friendly, and helpful, they provide and environment that invites us to render thanks to God, the source of all goodness. They remind us, that through their goodness, that we are called to grow in God’s own image and likeness, according to Jesus’ words: “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48).

If those close to us are unhappy, unfriendly, or even hostile, let us remember Jesus’ words: “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful” (Luke 6:36). Jesus calls us to show mercy now, and to help others to overcome their unhappy moods.

If someone misinterprets our good intentions and blames us unjustly, we need only recall that the Lord has forgiven us a thousand times. Can we truly imitate the One who lets His sun shine on the just and unjust?

If others – in their time of need – disrupt our plans and threaten our comfort, then we pray, “Lord, here am I,” to keep us aware of how far we can – and must – allow others to impose upon us and seek our help.

If some people have the bad habit of revealing the faults of others, our readiness to “be perfect” will help us to discover how to let these persons know that we see the good, both in them and in those whose “faults” they are reporting. Choosing what we consider the “best” tactic, we may remain silent, showing by our expression that we are not interested in their carping; or we may interrupt, and mention something “good” about the maligned ones; or we may smoothly change the subject; or perhaps we have found some others means to successfully quell gossip.

Confronting Our Own Faults

If, through our forgetfulness of others’ needs, we have to “work overtime,” we must learn to be patient with ourselves – to accept the commonness of “the human condition.” We can apologize quietly to those whom our forgetfulness disturbed, and work on training our memories to respond better. What matters is that we do not “waste” the present moment in useless regret, frustration, or impatience.

But when we have personally failed to respond to the present opportunity and God’s grace, then let us trust that God both forgives us and calls us to ask for forgiveness. And while doing so, we should not lose our peace of mind, for we need all our strength and serenity in order to better use the next moment.

Many people forestall their readiness to seek the will of God, and exhaust their strength through useless regrets. These are the “if only” people; those who constantly imagine that their lives could and would be happier and more fruitful “if only” their [circumstances, spouses, children, friends, environment, et cetera] were different. “If only” is only an evasion of the present moment, an evasion of life.

All such faults hold us back in our quest for holiness. When we spend time complaining about the “bad times” we miss many opportunities to work for “better times.” Better times can be ours only when we seek the will of God and welcome it wholeheartedly.

Prayer to Welcome the Will of God

Lord Jesus, You told us that we do not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God. And it was, indeed, Your “bread” to do at all times the will of God. At each moment of Your life, You were alert and ready to please God the Father by serving the poor, healing the sick, forgiving offenders, seeking those who had gone astray. Each moment was important to You, for You saw in it the light of the great hour in which You would say Your final, “Yes, Father, here am I.” Help us to learn from You, and from Your beloved mother, a like alertness and readiness. Help us to recognize Your presence even in our darkest nights, and to listen to Your call under all circumstances. Amen.

 

Fr. Bernard Häring, C.SS.R., is the author of more than 80 books and some 1,000 articles. This chapter – “Seeking the Will of God” – is an excerpt from the book To Walk Humbly: The Way of Holiness, part of the “Liguori Celebration Series” from Liguori Publications, and is available in many Catholic bookstores or through the internet.

October 16, 2014 – Lectio Divina

Thursday, October 16 ~ Twenty-Eighth Week in Ordinary Time

Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, Virgin; Saint Gerard Majella, Priest

Holy Gospel: Luke 11:47-54 The Lord said: “Woe to you who build the memorials of the prophets whom your fathers killed. Consequently, you bear witness and give consent to the deeds of your ancestors, for they killed them and you do the building. Therefore, the wisdom of God said, ‘I will send to them prophets and Apostles; some of them they will kill and persecute’ in order that this generation might be charged with the blood of all the prophets shed since the foundation of the world, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah who died between the altar and the temple building. Yes, I tell you, this generation will be charged with their blood! Woe to you, scholars of the law! You have taken away the key of knowledge. You yourselves did not enter and you stopped those trying to enter.” When Jesus left, the scribes and Pharisees began to act with hostility toward him and to interrogate him about many things, for they were plotting to catch him at something he might say.

Meditation: What does Jesus mean when he says they have taken away the key of knowledge? The religious lawyers and scribes held the “office of the keys” since they were the official interpreters of the scriptures. Unfortunately their interpretation of the scriptures became so distorted and difficult to understand that others were “shut off” to the scriptures. They not only shut themselves to heaven; they also hindered others from understanding God’s word. Through pride and envy, they rejected not only the prophets of old, but God’s final prophet, the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus is the “key of David” (see Isaiah 22:22; Revelations 3:7) who opens heaven to those who accept him as Lord and Savior. He is the “Wisdom of God” and source of everlasting life. Only the humble of heart – those who thirst for God and acknowledge his word as true – can truly understand this wisdom.

Prayer (Saint Margaret Mary): Pour out on us, we pray, O Lord, the spirit with which you so remarkably endowed Saint Margaret Mary, so that we may come to know that love of Christ which surpasses all understanding and be utterly filled with your fullness. 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.

Prayer (Saint Gerard Majella): O good Saint Gerard, powerful intercessor before God and wonder worker of our day, confidently I call upon you and seek your aid. On Earth you always fulfilled God’s designs, help me now to do the holy will of God. Implore the Master of Life, from whom all paternity proceeds, to render me fruitful in offspring, that I may raise up children to God in this life, and in the world to come heirs to the Kingdom of His Glory. Amen.

Contemplation: Do you revere God’s word and submit to it as true and authoritative for your life? Or does God’s word make for a good phrase on a t-shirt or coffee mug, and that’s about as far as it goes? God sent his prophets to open the ears of his people to hear and understand God’s word and intention for their lives. God’s wisdom is personified in the voice of the prophets, a voice that usually brought rejection and martyrdom because they spoke for God rather than for human approval and favor. Jesus chastised many of the religious leaders of his day for being double-minded and for demanding from others standards which they refused to satisfy. They professed admiration for the prophets by building their tombs while at the same time they opposed their message and closed their ears to the word of God. Are your ears open to God’s word – enough to transform your mind and heart?

The Twelve Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque (Feast: October 16): The Twelve Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

By Steven Jonathan Rummelsburg

 Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, 1647-1690, had heavy burdens from her earliest years. She lost her father to pneumonia when she was only eight years old. After her father died she was sent to the Urbanist sisters where the order and peace of soul ushered in by the convent life swept her up into her devotions. From early on she took great comfort and consolation in the Blessed Sacrament. She impressed her order of nuns by her faithfulness so much that she was invited to make her First Holy Communion when she was nine years old.

When Saint Mary Margaret was eleven years old she suffered paralysis from rheumatic fever. She embraced her suffering by way of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. She began to be gifted with visions for her faithful devotion. She was healed from her rheumatic fever and the accompanying infirmities by a vision of Holy Mother Mary, who impelled her to devote her life to God, which she did with unusual fervor.

As an additional consolation for her devotion to Christ’s Sacred Heart, Saint Mary Margret received visions from the Savior, one of which was of His scourging. This prompted her to her final vows in 1672. Christ revealed more to Mary Margaret during her devotions by saying to her: “Look at this heart which has loved people so much, and yet they do not want to love me in return. Through you, My divine Heart wishes to spread its love everywhere on earth.” Jesus proceeded to make many promises to her and to those who honor His Sacred Heart as she had. We have passed onto us from the writings of St. Mary Margaret Alocoque twelve of the most powerful promises Christ reveals to her in consequence of a particular devotion to which we are all invited.

The devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus consists primarily of attending Holy Mass for nine consecutive first Fridays for nine consecutive months. This devotion must be carried out with great love for Jesus and in reparation for those souls who reject Him. Friday is a day chosen by Christ Himself and those committed to this holy devotion must partake of the Blessed Sacrament. All those choosing to partake in the devotion are reminded that Christ does not release us from our holy obligations and that we must practice our devotions with an increased vigilance.  Christ’s sacred promises grant abundant graces to His faithful to overcome the temptations hindering the efforts to persevere to the final end in a state of grace.

This list of twelve promises does not comprise all of the promises Christ made to Saint Mary Margaret concerning the devotion to His Sacred Heart. These are the twelve promises most likely to draw faithful souls to this most worthy devotion. But still, they are only a few of the many graces promised to those willing to offer up their broken hearts to the Sacred Heart of Jesus for nine consecutive first Fridays.

  1. Christ promises: “I will give them all the graces necessary for their state in life.” Our particular gifts and challenges carry with them different needs for different graces. Our individual particular state in life will be met with the requisite graces to strengthen the bond of sanctity to His Sacred Heart and thus prepare our way to salvation.
  2. Christ promises: “I will give peace in their families.” In these troubled times when the family is under such immense attack from the powers and principalities seeking to destroy our bond with God, the consolation of peace in the family is devoutly to be wished. Who would not greatly prize bringing the graces of peace to his family that they may draw closer to the imitation of the Holy Family?
  3. Christ promises: “I will console them in all their troubles.” Surely troubles abound in this vale of tears, let us devote ourselves to the Sacred Heart and enjoy the comfort only the Lord can give. Though our troubles will never vanish on this side of Paradise. Christ’s consolations make all things bearable. Further, by Christ’s abundant graces, our troubles become the means to the further conversion of our hearts by the fruits of redemptive suffering.
  4. Christ promises: “They shall find in my heart an assured refuge during life and especially at the hour of death.” At what precise moment are we in the greatest need of Christ’s graces? At the hour of our death. Most welcome is this promise to be with us at that hour that signals our departure from this mortal world as we either ascend or descend to our final destination. With Christ present to us at our final hour, we are assured the most efficacious means of salvation.
  5. Christ promises: “I will pour abundant blessings on all their undertakings.” In the great and small things we undertake, may God sanctify our every action so that we may amass treasure in heaven while we live in this world, all the while trying not to be of it. Our final disposition may require a cost of reserves not available here on earth. Certainly it is wise to invest in our eternal future and with the help of God’s graces, all the more profitable.
  6. Christ promises: “Sinners shall find in my heart the source and infinite Ocean of mercy.” As Holy Mother Church is a hospital for sinners and no man is capable of nearing perfection without the grace of God, let us accept the gift of infinite mercy offered to the faithful by this devotion. To benefit from this extraordinary offer of mercy we must accept it by the submission of our broken hearts to our Father in heaven.
  7. Christ promises: “Tepid souls shall become fervent.” The promise of a heart on fire for Christ saves the tepid soul from the slothful spiritual malaise that grips this mortal coil. The tepid will be spewed from His mouth with more violently than the rebellious will be rejected. Let God makes us pleasing to His sight by a fervent heart.
  8. Christ promises: “Fervent souls shall speedily rise to great perfection.” Once the tepid heart is imbued with fervency, the soul will be given further graces to advance towards the perfection required by the good citizen belonging to the City of God.
  9. Christ promises: “I will bless the homes in which the image of my Sacred Heart shall be exposed and honored.” As soon as is possible let us procure an image of Christ’s Sacred Heart for prominent display in our homes that we may be reminded daily to accept the abundant graces flowing towards us. Dare to house the family at peace by God’s grace in a peaceful home with the icon of Christ’s love, the image of His Sacred Heart.
  • Christ promises: “I will give to priests the power to touch the most hardened hearts.” Let us contribute to our communities by ushering graces onto our shepherds to draw more souls into the Body of Christ. Imagine what joy there will be in heaven at the conversion of each hardened heart!
  • Christ promises: “Those who propagate this devotion shall have their name written in my heart and it shall never be effaced.” The indelible imprint of our names on Christ’s own heart a consolation too precious to bear. Let it happen as He promises and let us be drawn into a permanent bond with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ by the ineffaceable imprint of our names on His Sacred Heart!
  • Christ Promises: “The all-powerful love of my Heart will grant to all those who shall receive communion on the first Friday of nine consecutive months the grace of final repentance; they shall not die under my displeasure, nor without receiving the sacraments; my heart shall be their assured refuge at the last hour.”

The grace of final repentance ends with a soul gazing on the face of God in beatitude for eternity. Let us follow the eternal wisdom of St. John the Baptist who commanded us to “Repent! For the Kingdom of God is at hand!” Let us begin to repent now and accept Christ’s offer of abundant graces by redoubling our efforts towards sanctity committing our whole hearts to the devotion to His Sacred Heart. Then let us cooperate as fully as is humanly possible in order that the divine graces promised by the embrace of this most Holy Devotion get properly used to their maximum effect.

It would take but one hundred good souls faithfully committed to the next nine months of first Friday devotions to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and we would have a spiritual revolution whose final end would be to colonize heaven. With one hundred faithful souls across the globe we could allow God to use us to weave a web of Faith unifying vast and disparate places by the divine wealth gained for the edification of the spiritual economy. We would amass enough graces to cleanse entire communities, to bring peace to abundant homes, and to soothe uncountable restless hearts, all the while gaining many new citizens for the City of God.

It is my most fervent wish and my most heartfelt prayer that some of those who read this missive may join me and many of my friends to begin a serious and solemn devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. I implore all of you to follow through with this devotion faithfully for the next consecutive nine months. We must allow the graces offered by the Sacred Heart of Jesus to work through us to make all things new by the delivery of and cooperation with the divine and sanctifying graces.

October 13, 2014 – Lectio Divina

Monday, October 13 ~ Twenty-Eighth Week in Ordinary Time

Holy Gospel: Luke 11:29-32 While still more people gathered in the crowd, Jesus said to them, “This generation is an evil generation; it seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it, except the sign of Jonah. Just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so will the Son of Man be to this generation. At the judgment the queen of the south will rise with the men of this generation and she will condemn them, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and there is something greater than Solomon here. At the judgment the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation and condemn it, because at the preaching of Jonah they repented, and there is something greater than Jonah here.”

Meditation: The Lord Jesus came to set us free from slavery to sin and hurtful desires. Through the gift of the Holy Spirit he pours his love into our hearts that we may understand his will for our lives and walk in his way of holiness. God searches our hearts, not to condemn us, but to show us where we need his saving grace and help. He calls us to seek him with true repentance, humility, and the honesty to see our sins for what they really are — a rejection of his love and will for our lives. God will transform us if we listen to his word and allow his Holy Spirit to work in our lives. Ask the Lord to renew your mind and to increase your thirst for his wisdom. James says that the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, without uncertainty or insincerity (James 3:17). A double-minded person cannot receive this kind of wisdom. The single of heart desire one thing alone — God’s pleasure. God wants us to delight in him and to know the freedom of his truth and love.

Prayer: May your grace, O Lord, we pray, at all times go before us and follow after and make us always determined to carry out good works. 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: Many fatalities could be avoided if people took the warning signs seriously. When the religious leaders demanded a sign from Jesus, he gave them a warning to avert spiritual disaster. It was characteristic of the Jews that they demanded “signs” from God’s messengers to authenticate their claims. When the religious leaders pressed Jesus to give proof for his claims he says in so many words that he is God’s sign and that they need no further evidence from heaven than his own person. The Ninevites recognized God’s warning when Jonah spoke to them, and they repented. Jonah was God’s sign and his message was the message of God for the people of Nineveh. Unfortunately the religious leaders were not content to accept the signs right before their eyes. They had rejected the message of John the Baptist and now they reject Jesus as God’s Anointed One (Messiah) and they fail to heed his message. Do you pay attention to warning signs?