Wednesday, April 29, 2015

HWP: de Montfort's Prayer to Mary

Yesterday was the feast of St. Louis Marie Grignon de Montfort, whose book "True Devotion to Mary" is one of the classics on Marian spirituality. This words have had a profound impact on the Church affecting millions of people from the top (Pope St. John Paul II) all the way down (me). His profound theology of the Blessed Virgin shows in his prayers, but even more apparent is his devotion. So though it might be a bit long, it is worth praying St. Louis' own pray...

A Prayer to Mary
Hail Mary, beloved Daughter of the Eternal Father. Hail Mary, admirable Mother of the Son. Hail Mary, faithful Spouse of the Holy Ghost. Hail Mary, my Mother, my loving Mistress, my powerful sovereign. Hail, my joy, my glory, my heart and my soul. Thou art all mine by mercy, and I am thine by justice. But I am not yet sufficiently thine. I now give myself wholly to thee without keeping anything back for myself or others. If thou seest anything in me which does not belong to thee, I beseech thee to take it and make thyself the absolute Mistress of all that is mine. 
Destroy in me all that may displease God; root it up and bring it to nought. Place and cultivate in me everything that is pleasing to thee. May the light of thy faith dispel the darkness of my mind. May thy profound humility take the place of my pride; may thy sublime contemplation check the distractions of my wandering imagination. May the continuous sight of God fill my memory with His Presence; may the burning love of thy heart inflame the lukewarmness of mine. May thy virtues take the place of my sins; may thy merits be my only adornment in the sight of God and make up for all that is wanting in me. Finally, dearly beloved Mother, grant, if it be possible, that I may have no other spirit but thine to know Jesus, and His Divine Will; that I may have no other soul but thinke to praise and glorify God; that I may have no other heart but thine to love God with a love as pure and ardent as thine. 
I do not ask thee for visions, revelations, sensible devotions, or spiritual pleasures. It is thy privilege to see God clearly, it is thy privilege to enjoy heavenly bliss; it is thy privilege to triumph gloriously in heaven at the right hand of thy Son and to hold absolute sway over angels, men, and demons. 
It is thy privilege to dispose of all the gifts of God, just as thou willest. Such, O heavenly Mary, the 'best part', which the Lord has given thee, and which shall never be taken away from thee--and this thought fills my heart with joy. As for my part here below, I wish for no other than that which was thine, to believe sincerely without spiritual pleasures, to suffer joyfully without human consolation, to die continually to myself without respite, and to work zealously and unselfishly for thee until death, as the humblest of thy servants. The only grace I beg thee, for me, is that every moment of the day, and every moment of my life, I may say, "Amen, so be it, to all that thou art doing in heaven. Amen, so be it, to all thou didst do while on earth. Amen, so be it, to all thou art doing in my soul," so that thou alone mayest fully glorify Jesus in me for time and eternity. Amen.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Just Trust Us

Readings for Sunday, April 26/ 4th Sunday of Easter:
Acts 4:8-12
Psalm 118
1 John 3:1-2
John 10:11-18

Growing up, I was a bit of a picky eater. Generally it was poptarts, meats, cheese, bread, ketchup, and french fries. So basically, poptarts, cheeseburgers, french fries. Thankfully as I’ve grown in age, I’ve also grown in my tastes and willingness to branch out. In recent years I’ve gotten into the habit that if I’m looking over a menu and find an item with the description including the phrase ‘just trust us.’ I usually get that thing. Saturday morning I went to Denham Springs to celebrate my nephew’s baptism. Afterward we went to a local restaurant, Big Mike’s, for a bit to eat. Looking through the menu there were several things that sounded good when I came across the Peanut Butter Bacon Cheeseburger. “8oz black angus hamburger topped with peanut butter and bacon. Served on a sweet sourdough bun with a side of french fries. Just trust us.” So... I got. And it was delicious!

The thing about it is that most of the items that have the ‘just trust us’ statement are either too good to be true or too weird to be good. Either way, customers might need that extra encouragement to be willing to take the plunge.

As we come this weekend to celebrate Good Shepherd Sunday, we recall the fact that God is ever-watchful of us, the flock. As members of the flock, it is our role to follow the shepherd which means first and foremost being able to trust the shepherd; and this is the hard part for most of us. I don’t know about you, but if I were to look at the Lord Jesus’ life as a menu, nearly every item on it would require that extra push to ‘just trust us’. Think about it: God became a human person, bearing our own flesh and enduring every trial and temptation we do. Eh…that sounds weird. “Just trust us.” A virgin gave birth to a baby boy? That doesn’t sound right. “Just trust us.” The same baby boy, who is also God, grew up and walked around almost unnoticed for 30 years. Really? “Just trust us.” After 30 years He up and becomes one of the most famous people of his day? That just sounds made up. “Just trust us.” At the end of His 33 years, He willing climbed a hill with His cross in order to be killed? Whoa. That’s just crazy. “Just trust us.” Then the dead man came back to life three days later. Seriously. That’s just not even possible. “Just trust us.” Then that dead man who came back to life ascended up to Heaven and opened Heaven for us follow after Him and be united to God forever. This madness has to stop! “Just trust us.” Over an over again the life of Jesus Christ challenges us trust in God that things are what He says they are, despite the fact that those things just don’t happen…and yet they did.

This past week we celebrated the feast of St. Anselm, who was a great philosopher and theologian. One of the great axioms he gave to the Church was his little phrase ‘credo ut intelligam’ – I believe so that I might understand. Often times in our world today we have to seek to make sense of something before we place our trust in it. And if you’re waiting to fully understand the life of Jesus Christ before you put your trust in Him, then good luck with that! St. Anselm shows us that in the ways of faith, the first step isn’t understanding but rather the step of faith. We take a step out in faith first and trust that God will help to unveil things and bring us to a deeper understanding as time goes on.

Celebrating First Holy Communion this weekend, it strikes me that one of the best places to start with this ‘credo ut intelligam’ approach of faith is right here in the Eucharist. We can seek to understand all sorts of things, but the life of God only comes alive when we first make that act of faith and let the Lord Jesus and His grace come alive within us. And so I want to reflect for a brief moment on how we are able to act in faith first and let the Lord open up the gift of the Eucharist to us in the time that follows.

The first question that came to mind was ‘How do I show my belief that the Eucharist is really Jesus Christ?’ The little actions we do – genuflecting, praying on our knees, visiting the church when it’s open, making the sign of the Cross as we drive past – are all ways that our body speaks something to our soul. By actually going through the motions, we help to inform our soul that something special is happening.

The second question is ‘How often do I receive Jesus in the Eucharist?’ If we don’t come often, it tends to lessen the value we place on the Most Blessed Sacrament. But if we came each weekend and made it a point to come each weekend, or even during the week, our actions show that what we’re here for is more important than all the other things on our schedule. How often do we receive Jesus?

And lastly, ‘How do I prepare to receive Holy Communion?’ It’s easy to get caught up in so many concerns and worries that when we get to Mass we’re not even there. Or to listen t
o music on the way and the only thing that’s in your head after Communion is that catchy beat (guilty!). Or are we even spiritually ready to receive the Lord at all? Maybe I have things on my heart that I really need to seek forgiveness for first before going up to the altar. How do I prepare?

In all the times I’ve gotten the ‘Just trust us’ special at a restaurant, not once have I been disappointed. And if it’s true of burgers and strange foods, it is even more so about our God. Today He comes once more and invites us to come and follow more closely. It’s a strange invitation and sometimes we shrink back from giving Him everything. But there’s no need to fear. Just trust me.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Valuing Easter

Readings for Sunday, April 19/ 3rd Sunday of Easter:
Acts 3:13-15, 17-19
Psalm 4:2, 4, 7-9
1 John 2:1-5
Luke 24:35-48

The other day I sat down and watched the movie Matchstick Men, which is about conmen and their work. One of the conmen goes in to speak with a therapist and tells him he’s an antique furniture salesman. At one point the therapist asks if it’s okay that he prop his feet up on a footstool on account of his back trouble. The supposed antique furniture salesman agrees without batting an eye. This goes on for a couple of visits when the therapist finally says, ‘This footstool is an antique of great and for weeks you don’t even seem to mind me propping my feet up, when normal people usually balk at such an idea. So what do you really do?’

This scene struck me because it showed that the conman was exposed because he failed to recognize something that was of great importance, and which he should have known about. Looking around the world today, I see a world full of people – including many Christians – who celebrate Easter but who have no idea of the inherent value of the Resurrection of Christ from the dead. Easter is the day (and season) when we focus especially on the fact that Christ died and rose again, that He conquered death, that He is victorious over sin, that He has opened the gates of Heaven and all humanity is able to enter into the Eternal Heavenly Banquet. But does the value of that really touch our hearts?

In the world today there are two major issues that tend to veil the importance of Easter and make it difficult for us to see the necessity of it in our individual lives. The first is presumption of salvation. I have been to funerals and heard ‘they’re in a better place’ and I wondered in my heart if those speaking actually knew the deceased. The fact is that most of the world today presumes that the nature course of things is that we die and then we immediately go to Heaven. But the Gospel tells us another story. It tells us, instead, that the natural course is that we die and go to Hell if we don’t at least try to follow the commands of the Lord. And yet, every person who dies, whether they’ve ever said a prayer in their life is automatically canonized as a saint in heaven. When we think in such a way, we first rob the individual of prayers that might be helpful for them to get to Heaven if they are in purgatory. And secondly, it harms us because if I know for myself that I don’t have to do anything special to get to Heaven, I very likely wont. I’ll settle for what’s comfortable and coast in. But again, this is not compatible with the Gospel invitation to enter the narrow gate and walk the way of the cross to find glory in eternity.

Connected to this is a loss of a sense of sin. Things that we do routinely today would have been thought unimaginable 75 years ago. And things that are sinful but not ‘major sins’ aren’t even concerns for the majority of the world. ‘It’s just who I am’ is the common response. And yet, if we fail to see the impact that sin has upon our lives – disconnecting us from God, grace, and salvation – then we fail to recognize the gift that Jesus Christ has given us in conquering sin. I find it interesting that so much of the Easter season talks about sin. St. Peter today said, “Repent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be wiped away.”  St. John told us, “I am writing this to you that you may not commit sin.” And Jesus trumps them both, describing how the Christ was to come, suffer, die, and be raised so that repentance for the forgiveness of sins would be preached. Sin is at the foundation of the Resurrection. If sin didn’t exist, Christ wouldn’t have had to take on our flesh, suffer His Passion, die and rise from the dead. But sin does exist and so we need a savior.

 This is the Good News of the Easter season: that although all of humanity is undeserving of eternal life, but rather deserving of eternal death on account of our sins, the Lord Jesus has come among us and died in our place and opened the gates of Heaven for us to be able to enter in with Him and reign forever with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  St. Augustine once beautifully noted, “God created us without us, but He cannot save us without us.” He invites us to take part in the plan He has made. Basically, it’s like hitting jackpot at the casino. If you just kept the printout saying how much you won it won’t do you any good; you have to cash it in. In much the same way, the Lord has purchased our souls for eternal life. We simply have to walk the way with Him and because of the Resurrection we can do so. May God grant us the grace this day to cast out sin from our lives and rejoice in the gift of freedom that Christ has won for us.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

HWP: Prayer for Courage

Monday was the feast of Pope St. Martin I, who reigned as Supreme Pontiff in the 7th Century. The imperial powers of the day began to enforce policies that were not in keeping with the Christian faith and made such known. In standing up for the faith, Pope Martin put himself in great danger. Soon after making his stance known and defying the government, he was arrested and exiled, where he suffered great pains during imprisonment and abandonment by those closest to him, who wouldn't even answer his letters or send any food for him to survive, ultimately leading to his death several years later. In the footsteps of the first Apostles who boldly preached the Gospel in a world opposed to it, Pope St. Martin I won the martyr's crown and remains a witness for us to take courage in the face of even the strongest of worldly oppositions. With that in mind, we pray today:

Dear God, give me courage,
for perhaps I lack it more than anything else.
I need courage before men against their threats
and against their seductions.
I need courage to bear unkindness,
mockery, contradiction.
I need courage to fight against the devil,
against terrors and troubles, temptations,
attractions, darkness and false lights,
against tears, depression, and above all fear.
I need Your help, dear God.
Strengthen me with Your love and Your grace.
Console me with Your blessed Presence
and grant me the courage to persevere
until I am with You forever in heaven.

Sunday, April 12, 2015


Acts 4:32-35
Psalm 118
1 John 5:1-6
John 20:19-31

In 1931, entertainers: James Dean and Leonard Nemoy were born. So too were Raul Castor, Mickey Mantle, and Willie Mays. The Star-Spangled Banner was adopted as the National Anthem, Alka Seltzer was introduced and began to be distributed. Spain’s monarchy was overthrown and a republic put in place. Austria’s largest bank failed, signaling the financial collapse of central Europe during the Great Depression. The 1st cartoon of Donald Duck was show and rear-projected movies began to be shown. The Scottsboro Case in Alabama exposed the injustices present in the American legal system and Jane Addams won the Nobel Peace Prize, the first American woman to do so. Also that year, Al Capone was indicted on 5000 counts of perjury and prohibition. 5000; that’s just impressive.

In the midst of those and many other events in 1931 there is one that has probably an even greater effect upon the world as we know it today, though many are unaware of the fact. That event took place on February 22 in Poland, when a simple religious sister, Sr. Faustina, was spending her regular time before the Blessed Sacrament in the convent chapel. Though the time in prayer was a well-established part of her routine, this day was unique in that during her time of prayer the Lord Jesus appeared to her in a vision. He stood before her with a hand raised in blessing, the other pointing to His heart, which was not hidden but plainly visible. From his heart shown forth two rays, one red and one white. Seeing this vision, the Lord Jesus then spoke to Sr. Faustina, saying: “Paint an image according to the model you see, with the motto below: Jesus I trust in You. I desire that this image be venerated, first in your chapel, and then throughout the world. I promise that the soul that venerates this image will not perish.

That image, as you may recognize, hangs prominently in our church – as it does in many churches these days – a sign that the desire of the Lord Jesus has been fulfilled to some extent. The image that began in the little chapel has made itself known in churches all across the world, but this is not the main point. The message of Jesus to Sr. Faustina was not simply for people to come honor an image, but ultimately to receive what the image shows: Divine Mercy. The two rays, Jesus later explained, symbolized the complete washing away of sin (white ray) and the life of Christ that comes to live in us (red ray). The simple invitation that Jesus desired was that Sr. Faustina spread the good news of the immensity of the Mercy of God and the desire of God to pour it out upon us.

In a later vision, as they lasted in all for 7 years, Jesus would also express a desire for a feast of Mercy. He told her: “I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and a shelter for all souls, especially poor sinners. On that day, the very depths of My tender mercy will be opened. I will pour out an entire ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the Fount of My Mercy. The soul that goes to Confession and receives Holy Communion will obtain complete forgiveness of sins and a remission of all punishment. (...) Let no soul fear to approach Me, even though its sins be as scarlet. (...) Humanity will not enjoy peace until it turns to the Fount of My Mercy.

Humanity will not enjoy peace until it turns to the Fount of My Mercy. In the Gospel we just heard, the Lord shows us where the Fount of Mercy is: His glorious wounds. When He appears to the Apostles they are filled with fear, anxiety, and surely many other things in their hearts. And coming to them, He shows them His hands and feet and says, “Peace be with you.” The wounds themselves bring peace because they are the sure signs that Christ, who had been crucified, has been raised up. They are signs to the Apostles that the most terrible thing that life brings at us is trampled underfoot by their Lord. They need not worry about sin or death, but simply trust in the Lord. Thomas misses this first appearance and, upon seeing and touching the wounds of Jesus, is also granted the gift of peace and the certainty of knowing Christ’s victory. In witnessing the wounds of Christ, the disciples are then sent out to proclaim the Good News, they go out to proclaim the Mercy of God for humanity, calling all to seek forgiveness of sins and be baptized in Christ Jesus. They are even given the gift of forgiving sins themselves when the Lord breathed upon them the gift of the Spirit. Peace begins with the encounter with the Resurrected Lord, but then it must necessarily go out to others, that they too might experience peace.

So we stand here on this Divine Mercy Sunday, the feast desired by the Lord, and hear the invitation to come seek peace in Him. Come to confession. Come experience the peace that the wounds of Jesus won for us. And receiving that peace, show it to others.

Here, I think, is an important point. Mercy doesn’t just come to me and stop. It requires that I show it to others. Two instances this week really gave me pause about how I do that. We all know that the Boston Marathon Bomber was found guilty on all 30 charges this past week. What struck me was looking at facebook later only to find that many people who are ‘strong, traditional Catholics’ were calling for his death, posting how he needs to get what’s coming to him, and all sorts of mean-spirited reactions. And the first thought in my mind was ‘What about mercy?’ In no way am I defending his actions, but what in us causes the occasional joy of seeing someone else suffer? Why not pray for conversion of heart and a powerful witness to the Gospel, much like St. Paul and many others? Another thing, much more practical and of lesser importance, was as I was walking into the market. I overheard someone saying ‘why are you putting the buggy behind that person’s car?’ to which the other person said, ‘It’s not my car. I’m not gonna hit it.’ This little thing also spoke to me of the need to show mercy to others, as I had bad thoughts come to mind myself, but also the question of how are we showing mercy and love to others? How are we manifesting God’s concern for us by showing concern for others? They are necessarily connected, as Jesus reminds us in the scriptures.

To these events we can also add the events last night in Rome, as Pope Francis officially announced a Jubilee Year of Mercy for the Church starting in December on the feast of the Immaculate Conception. Mercy, he says, is what the world needs most right now and we must spend a special time to focus upon it. Let’s not wait until December, though. Let it begin today in our hearts as we come to honor this feast of Divine Mercy. Let us turn to the Lord and find peace.

Jesus, I Trust In You.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Easter Sunday

Readings for the Easter Vigil
Readings for Easter Sunday

If you’ve never been to the Easter Vigil before, do yourself a favor and attend it next year. It’s the single most beautiful liturgy of the entire Church Year and with good reason.

It begins in darkness, the crowd of people arriving and making their way to their places. It begins with a simple spark and a small flame. The flame builds into a fire. The people gather around the fire and from the fire comes forth a single flame to light the Paschal Candle, a symbol of Christ the Light of the World. The candle moves to the door and a word is proclaimed: the Light of Christ! All respond: Thanks be to God! And the light spreads to a few, the servers of the Mass. The Candle proceeds into the midpoint of the church and the people fall in behind. Again the proclamation: the Light of Christ! Thanks be to God! The servers share the light with those around them and it begins to spread. The candle proceeds once more, now to the sanctuary and all file into the seats and again the proclamation: the Light of Christ! Thanks be to God! Now the light has spread to the candle of every person in the church and the light has begun to cast out the darkness.

Now the Exsultet is sung, an ancient hymn of blessing upon the candle. At its conclusion, a little light is added to the church as the Old Testament readings are read and responses sung. These tell us the ancient stories of our faith and the ways that God worked to bring about our salvation. At the end of the readings the Gloria is sung and the light come up in the church and the altar candles are lit; more light. After a New Testament reading we sing the Alleluia and the lights are all turned on full strength; more light. After the Gospel and homily, baptisms are celebrated and baptismal candles are lit. But there still remains one light that is dimmed: the sanctuary lamp. After the Consecration of the Blessed Sacrament, the lamp is lit indicating the Eucharistic Presence in the tabernacle. 

The beauty of the Easter Vigil is that while it is primarily the triumph of Jesus Christ over the darkness of death by virtue of His Resurrection to Life, it also is a recounting of the whole story of salvation history, as well as the story of God working in each individual soul.

The world was created in darkness, as we heard in Genesis, and light was created. This can be viewed as God revealing things that otherwise would be unknown to us and it happens continually over the centuries. It begins with a man. Then a couple. Then a family. Pretty soon the family turns into a tribe of people and then into a whole nation. This nation is blessed by God with a leader to become a Kingdom. That Kingdom endured much for a thousand years until the Lord took flesh and came among us to build His Church. Generation after generation came to know the Lord a little bit more than those before them. The light continued to grow and increase until the Light itself came.

The same can be said of the unfolding of the Resurrection story. Mary goes first and witnesses it, then she tells Peter and John, they tell the other disciples, and the flame spreads and grows through the earth and throughout the centuries down to us, to you and me. And should we expect it to be any different after us?

The little flame of faith, symbolized by the baptismal candle we each received, took root in our hearts and began to grow and spread and the Lord Jesus wants to make that little light into a raging fire filled with the Holy Spirit. But we have to be willing to help Him! We have to be willing to share the Light with others and let them know the good news. At St. Joseph Abbey there was an venerable tradition that followed the Easter Vigil. The seminarians had all been fasting and praying while on retreat during the Triduum and were free to go home after the Vigil ended, so inevitably it would let out and a whole slew of famished young seminarians would immediately head home. But before hitting the interstate we would stop at the Wendy’s, which was right at the end of the road to the seminary. Sinking our teeth into a greasy cheeseburger and fries never tasted so good as on that night! Well, confession time: I like to keep that tradition alive. So after the Vigil I went out to McDonalds and got a big cheeseburger and feasted. As I was leaving with my food I thanked the young lady at the window and said, “Happy Easter!” She just looked at me dumbfounded and probably though ‘this poor pastor doesn’t even know it’s only Saturday’.

That’s my invitation to each of you – to share the good news that Jesus Christ has Risen from the dead with everyone you meet this week. It can be by telling everyone “Happy Easter”, which might confused the mess out of people come Thursday or Friday. It can be by acts of kindness, gift of prayers, or any number of things. But the simple point is that we have to share the light. Jesus Christ has conquered the darkness of sin, death, despair, and everything else that this world tries to use to quench our hope. Some people don’t yet know that, and sometimes we still struggle to accept it ourselves. Let the light spread. Help the Lord cast out the darkness. Christ is Risen! Alleluia, alleluia! He is truly Risen! Alleluia, alleluia!

Good Friday

Readings for Good Friday - The Lord's Passion

“Do not let hope die! Stake your lives on it. We are not the sum of our weaknesses and failures, we are the sum of the Father’s love for us and our real capacity to become the image of His Son.”

Do not let hope die. These words of St. John Paul II are the trumpet call to our hearts in the midst of Good Friday to remember the truth of the event of the Cross that we have entered into this afternoon.

Love and sweetness itself was mocked and cursed.
He Who hung the earth on the waters is hung on a Tree.
The King of Angels is crowned with piercing thorns.
He Who wrapped the Heavens in clouds is wrapped in the cloak of mockery.
He Who freed Adam from sin is bound in chains.
The Bridegroom of the Church is fixed to the Cross with nails.

To the eyes of the world, the crucifixion of Jesus Christ is foolishness, a stumbling block for belief, the unfortunate end of a promising leader. But to those with the eyes of faith: Christ, the power of God and the Wisdom of God. The Wisdom of God! Who among us would consider this wisdom? And yet it is.

The Cross is our only hope because in it we see the truth that Christ is stronger than everything, even death itself. The victory of Jesus on the Cross means that there is absolutely nothing that cannot be conquered by Christ is we let Him in. Nothing. The hardest of hearts are as butter pierced by a warm knife. The darkest of souls becomes radiant with Divine Grace.

St. Leo the Great reminds us of this reality as he writes, “No one, however weak, is denied a share in the victory of the Cross. No one is beyond the help of the prayer of Christ. His prayer brought benefit to the multitude that raged against Him. How much more does it bring to whose who turn to Him in repentance.”

“Do you realize what I have done for you?”

Holy Thursday

“Do you realize what I have done for you?”

Have you ever noticed that often the most important things of life are the things that take the most time to really sink in?

How many years I lived as a baptized Christian, unaware of the meaning of that baptism. How many times did I receive Holy Communion unaware of the gift God had given of Himself? How many times had I gone to Confession and been offered forgiveness but not actually realized it? Many times indeed.

After my ordination to the priesthood, I distinctly remember sitting in the Adoration Chapel at Our Lady of Mercy just staring at my hands. I would look at my hands and look at the Eucharist, over and over again wondering ‘God, what did you do to me?’ I had been preparing for years for ordination and understood intellectually the meaning of every ritual action and the abilities and responsibilities of the priest, but actually living it was different. Staring at my hands, I wondered at how I was able to bless people and objects in the name of God Himself. How my hands would be used to brings about forgiveness of sins, the Eucharistic Presence, the Anointing of Sick, and much more. To this day I still find myself from time to time staring at my hands wondering what God did to me on that day.

The Gospel we just heard told of the Twelve sitting around the table of the Passover Meal with the Lord Jesus and having Him come around to each of them to wash their feet. Doing so, He tells them, “What I am doing, you do not understand now, but you will understand later.” As He performed this humble act of service to His chosen leaders of the future Church, the disciples surely could not have expected what came next. They couldn’t have expected the Lord to ordain them His priests. They couldn’t’ have expected Him to give them His Body and Blood, commissioning them to do them same in the future. They couldn’t have expected the brutality their humble shepherd would soon receive from their religious and secular leaders. They didn’t understand, but later they would. It took time to grasp what the Lord really did in their midst and it is true of us today.

So we come here each and every year to this most Holy of Weeks and listen to the account once more, permitting us not just to hear it but to enter into it. Tonight we sit around the table with Jesus and receive the Eucharist as at that Blessed Night and watch the Twelve have their feet washed once more by one acting in the Person of Christ the Head. Tomorrow we will honor the Holy Cross and the death of Jesus for us. Saturday we will wit in sacred silence anticipating the Resurrection and at the Vigil will proclaim it with every light, bell, and voice in the house. We don’t come expecting a new story. We come expecting to hear the same story, trusting that our God wants to draw us deeper into it, helping us to understand better the gifts we are to receive.

“Do you realize what I have done for you?’

HWP: Easter Wednesday

Today we find ourselves midway into the Easter Octave, that 8-day festival honoring the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead. I was intrigued to find a page (here) with a series of prayers for each day of the octave, so in celebration of Christ's Resurrection, we offer our HWP for the week:

A Prayer for Easter Wednesday 
Let us commend ourselves and all people
to the love and protection of the Mother of God. 
Holy Mother of God, Mary ever Virgin,
intercede for us with the Lord our God. 
God who is mighty has done great things for us.
And holy is His name. 
Let us pray:

In the brilliant light of Easter,
Teach us, too, that nothing is impossible with God.
All our struggles with self and others,
All our disappointments and shames,
All our failures and sinfulness
Are as nothing in this healing, life-giving light.
Accept, then, our all.
May God look upon it,
As once did the Mighty One upon your lowliness,
So that we might be gifted with that blessedness
Promised to all sons and daughters of the Resurrection.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Papal Intentions for April

Prayer for the Pope

V. Let us pray for Francis, our Pope.
R. May the Lord preserve him, give him life, 
and make him blessed upon the earth, 
and deliver him not up to the will of his enemies.
Our Father... Hail Mary...
O God, Shepherd and Ruler of all Thy faithful people, look mercifully upon Thy servant Francis, whom Thou hast chosen as shepherd to preside over Thy Church. Grant him, we beseech Thee, that by his word and example, he may edify those over whom he hath charge, so that together with the flock committed to him, may he attain everlasting life. 
Through Christ our Lord. 

Papal Intentions for April 2015

Universal Intention: That people may learn to respect creation and care for it as a gift of God.

Mission Intention: That persecuted Christians may feel the consoling presence of the Risen Lord and the solidarity of all the Church.