Saturday, April 28, 2012

We have been given by Christ, his own visible representative to guard us and lead us safely to the eternal pasture.

This Sunday our liturgy shows us the perfect example of authentic love: the image of the Good Shepherd. Christ is the Good Shepherd who gives his life for the sake of the flock in the most perfect act of love…no greater love is there than this!

The earliest images of Christ that we have are those of Him as the Good Shepherd carrying a lost sheep safely on his shoulders; it is one of the most beloved of all the images of our Blessed Lord. This image reflects a perennial truth: that is there is a tender relationship between Jesus the Good Shepherd and His sheep; and this relationship is a refection of Jesus' own intimate relationship with the Father. It is also a reflection of an invitation, that through entering into this intimate relationship with the Good Shepherd-Jesus, we are invited as well to share in His own intimate relationship with His Father in the unity and love of the Holy Spirit.

And so, Jesus the Good Shepherd, who knows each member of his flock, also calls each one by name. He leads them; and the docile sheep follow because they know His voice and know that He is the one and only Shepherd who has only one flock, protected by the Father’s love. He is the chief Shepherd. The flock belongs to Jesus and He to them.

In his last appearance before he ascended into heaven and ended his visible stay on earth, the risen Christ made Peter the visible shepherd of His flock on earth in order to be the true guide of the members of the true Church of Jesus Christ; so that in Peter and his successor—the popes, the sheep would have a visible shepherd to follow and an audible voice to hear the voice of the Good Shepherd…as Jesus said, “He who hears you hears me.. and he who rejects you rejects me and the One who sent me.”

Peter continues our Lord’s own mission as His visible representative on earth. Peter is made the chief shepherd and guide for the whole Church. Peter’s mission is one of guarding Our Lord’s whole flock without limitations, even to the point of laying down his life for the sheep, as so many popes have done through the ages. His is also a teaching mission, passing on to the flock, with Jesus own authority, what he himself received from Christ, the deposit of faith, which includes all the teachings of the Catholic Church.

The Vatican Council points out, Jesus Christ put Peter at the head of the other Apostles, and in him he set up a lasting and visible source and foundation of the unity of both faith and Communion. And so, Ubi Petrus ibi Ecclesia – where Peter is, there is Christ’s Church. What a great gift, what a great relief, what hope! In this ocean of personal opinions, we have been given by Christ, his own visible representative to guard us and lead us safely to the eternal pasture. In union with Peter we know with certainty the truth that leads to salvation. For this reason the faithful of all ages have call the Pope, ‘the sweet Christ on earth’.

We have a chief shepherd, the successor of Peter, the current Holy Father, Benedict XVI, who in faith is truly the Vicar of Christ on earth. In the Pope we should see somebody who is in Christ’s place in the world. God Himself has chosen this Holy Father to lead the flock of Christ. Through his Petrine ministry, the Pope ensures the fidelity of our faith and preaches for all souls to hear (not just Catholics) that truth which is needed for our salvation, and he does so without distortion or error. It's not a human person that we are trusting but our Blessed Lord's promise to speak to us through this human person, the Pope.

So faithful obedience to the Vicar of Christ is how we listen to the voice of Jesus, the Shepherd of the flock and how we stay in communion with Christ and the whole flock. For our part, the flock, including each one of us, must be obedient to Peter’s voice, for it is the voice of Christ; obedience to the Pope is very simply obedience to Christ. Obedience to the unchanging teachings of the Catholic Church is very simply obedience to Christ. To believe this is to be Catholic to refuse to believe this is to cease to be Catholic. Obedience is nothing less than being willing humble sheep, docile sheep who let themselves be led, guided and yes, protected by the voice of the Good Shepherd, “my sheep know my voice.” This willingness to be led and guided results in a communion- a communion of truth and love with the

Blessed Trinity and with all the members of the Mystical Body of Christ, the Church.
The pope is however, given help in his mission of shepherding the flock of Christ by the faithful Bishops and priests. Pope Benedict recently wrote that the Bishops in union with him exercise and share fully in the office of Christ the shepherd. The Bishop’s flock is known as his diocese. Benedict went on to write that priests as well share fully in this office of shepherding, by the authority given to them by the pope through their bishop. Pope Benedict said that the priests in the name of the bishop gather the family of God together as a brotherhood enlivened by one Spirit. Through Christ they lead the faithful in the Holy Spirit to God the Father. The priest’s flock is known as his parish, and he shepherds it in the name of Jesus Christ and with Christ’s own authority.

Some of you may not have thought of this, but St. Patrick’s parish is really a sheep-fold. The parish boundaries are the fence of the sheep pen. And I as your pastor and shepherd am responsible before the head shepherds, bishop Doran and soon to be bishop David Malloy, along with Pope Benedict, and ultimately, ultimately I am responsible before Christ himself, for the care of the sheep within my sheep pen. And by the way, responsible not only for the Catholics, all of you, but for the souls of all the sheep; for all the sheep, whether in full union with the Catholic Church or not, belong to Christ. This also includes those sheep that while still living in the pen no longer hear the shepherd’s voice or who sadly leave the pen; if they live in the St. Patrick’s sheep pen, they are still ultimately my sheep and I have responsibility for them and for all before Jesus Christ, a responsibility by the way that I take very seriously. By the way, not to diminish Fr. William in any way, He is a good priest and a good and faithful shepherd, but as associate pastor a main part of his duty is to assist me in my duty as your chief shepherd, (which by the way he does very very well). He does not have however, the same responsibility to Christ as I do…and so he does not have the same authority that I do to run the parish, that is the flock of Christ here at St. Patrick’s.

As for the sheep, for their part, they are entrusted by Christ in the ministry of helping the pastor to shepherd the flock. You do this by your support, both spiritually, through your prayer and the offering of your sufferings and sacrifices, and also through your material support by sacrificing your time, talent and especially your do this faithfully is to follow the good shepherd Christ, not to do this faithfully is to fail to listen to His voice
Communion among the flock of Christ is only possible when the sheep are in union with their local shepherd--the Pastor, by listening and obeying his voice, who is also joined to the Bishop by obedience to him, who in turn is in union with the Holy Father by obeying and listening to His voice. Only in this communion, which comes about through obedience, is the voice of the Good Shepherd Christ communicated clearly and authentically to all the sheep. Then Jesus himself is able to shepherd the flock in and through the shepherds that He has personally chosen, no matter how unworthy they may be. If the flock refuses to listen to, love, and support their pastor; if the pastor refuses to listen to, love, and support the bishop, if the bishop refuses to listen to, love, and support the pope then the communion of the flock of Christ is damaged or even completely fractured.

In this we see the damage that dissent does to the body of Christ. The false notion put forth by many, including by so-called Catholic politicians, media personalities, university professors and others, that one can be a “good Catholic” and yet reject the teachings of Christ, which come to us infallibly, without error in the teachings of the Church, is nothing less that an outright refusal to listen to the voice of the Good Shepherd; it is nothing less than apostasy from the true Church and they are nothing less than wolves in sheep clothing. And any bishop or priest that preaches the legitimacy of dissent are hirelings who do not care for the sheep and allow the sheep to be led astray or even consumed by the wolves.

Once we understand that the image of the Good Shepherd and His tending the flock is really an image for the model of the Church Herself, how can we not but more deeply desire to enter into the communion of the Church, which finds its source and summit in the Holy Eucharist? Pope Benedict says, that we commune with him and all the shepherds of the flock of Christ most perfectly in the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass-for the Holy Eucharist is the source of summit of the Church and of its communion and life with Christ and with Christ’s members. The Holy Mass makes present, truly and physically the Good Shepherd Himself- the Risen Christ, and our worthy reception of Him is truly a communion with Him and with all the members of His flock, shepherd and sheep alike.

Today let us remember in our prayers at this Mass, these intentions. First, for all the shepherds of the Church, that the bishops and the priests, in union the visible chief shepherd, Benedict, would shepherd the flock according to the heart and mind of Christ and so according to the teachings of Christ, willing to lay down their life for the sheep. Second, let us remember to pray for our flock here at St. Patrick’s, that any lost sheep and all sheep would find in our parish family the green pastures to nourish their spiritual life, especially in the celebration of the Holy Eucharist and Confession. Third, that we the flock would have the docility and humility to be obedient to the voice of Christ which comes to us through the Pope, and through our faithful bishops and priests. And finally, let us pray for holy vocations to the priesthood, that the flock of Christ would never be without Good Shepherds, Holy Shepherds willing to lay down their lives in imitation of the Good Shepherd in order to give the flock forgiveness of their sins and the Holy Eucharist, which is the Good Shepherd Himself, Jesus Christ among us who saves us from the wolves and hirelings and leads us to safe pastures.

Our lady, mother of the Good Shepherd, Mother of priests; mother of us all-your beloved sons and daughters, pray for us that we the sheep of the flock of Christ, may faithfully follow your Divine Son by faithfully following His Church and Her shepherds! Amen.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

We must be obedient to God before men.

Today we continue in our celebration of Easter. One commentator recently said that, “the only reason why Christianity exists is the fact that Jesus Christ truly rose from the gave.”

We have to remember that the disciples never expected the resurrection. Their witness of the crucifixion and death of Jesus dashed all their hope. Jesus message and their hope were, at the same time, placed in the grave; He was dead-end of story. Even though they loved Jesus and saw His miracles, his death made it all seem for nothing. And now they face the awful prospect of their own impending arrest and even torture and death. At this point they really were frightened and pathetic figures. But, would we be any different?

But then the Resurrected Jesus appeared in their midst. Even as they saw Him standing before them in his body with the wounds of His passion it still seemed all too unbelievable; their psychic couldn’t handle it. Only very slowly could they begin comprehend the reality of it all. But yet He was truly there; He was truly Risen; He was truly alive before them in reality, in a physical resurrected body.

The reality of the Risen Christ was every bit as real as His crucifixion. And the reality of it confirmed that before them was the living God in the flesh, along with His invincible unfathomable unlimited and divine power. The resurrection confirmed everything that Jesus taught, all that He said and did; it confirmed that He was God; and so it also confirms all that His Catholic Church, teaches, all it says and does-It is His Church, She is guided by His Holy Spirit.

One bishop recently said, “There is no other explanation for Christianity. It should have died out and entirely disappeared when Christ died and was buried, except for the fact that Christ was truly risen, and that during the 40 days before the ascension, he interacted with his Apostles and disciples, and on one occasion even with hundreds of his followers.”

This realistic experience with the Christ in His resurrected body, once the Holy Spirit strengthened them, gave them the courage to go before magistrates unafraid, to face unbelievable persecution and even to die, but not before experiencing untold tortures in body, mind and soul, and to do so with great out of this world joy. They, and all true believers since, became bold witnesses to the truth Jesus came to give us, which is found and proclaimed only in its fullness in the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church—no wonder She and her faithful ones are so persecuted. Jesus told us very clearly, they hated me, they will certainly hate you.

The early persecution and the continued persecution of the Church even to our own time show us that it has never been easy to be Christian! Christ Himself told us it would entail nothing less than a sharing in His own passion and crucifixion. Faithfulness to Christ, shown by faithfulness to His Church, lived by accepting and struggling to live the teachings of the Church which are the teachings of Christ, this is the steep, uphill, hard narrow, thorn-strewn, but joyful way to life. This is in stark contrast to unfaithfulness to the Church and her teachings, which is the easy, wide, smooth but slowly downhill despairing way that leads to eternal perdition.

Following Jesus fully by following His Catholic Church fully is hard; however, Jesus has promised us His yoke is easy and His burden light. Faith, hope and love in Him and His Church make even the seemingly impossible possible. Faith, hope and love in the Resurrected Jesus still in our midst through the sacraments of the Church, especially the Holy Eucharist is the source of the divine power of the Resurrection in our own lives, so we too can share in the victory of Christ over our own battle against the world, the flesh and the devil.

Jesus’ resurrection, Jesus’ victory also teaches us that our faith, when it is fully lived, is a fighting faith and a fearless faith. Grounded in the resurrection, in this power of the Sacraments, which is the power of the resurrection, there is nothing in this world and nothing in hell that can ultimately defeat the One, True, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

But the enemies of the Church throughout history have nevertheless in vain tried to destroy her. She survived those early intense persecutions of the Romans. She survived the great heresies that attacked her teachings as well. She survived invasion after invasion of the barbarians and the Jihads; She has survived the age of revolution and the great evils of Nazism and Communism.

And by the power of the Resurrected Christ truly present in Her, she will also survive the current attacks against her, attacks which are becoming more and more bold and aggressive. It appears in all certainty we are now again standing at the precipice of another major attack and persecution, one that has already begun in earnest.

One of our local bishops, Bishop Jenky of Peoria, last week gave a stunning homily in this regard. Bishop Jenky warned that with the Obama administration’s mandate for forcing religious employers to fund contraceptives, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs, America is now on the path leading to a state of past dictatorships when Christians were forced to “huddle and hide,” such as Bismark’s Kulturkampf, Hitler’s Nazis, and Stalin’s Communists.

The bishop said, “Hitler and Stalin, at their better moments, would just barely tolerate some churches remaining open, but would not tolerate any competition with the state in education, social services, and health care.” It was the same by the way, in Mexico when the Masonic Marxist lead revolution expelled all the religious turn the hospitals into soldier barracks and confiscated all church property. The bishop went on to say, “In clear violation of our First Amendment rights, Barack Obama-with his radical, pro-abortion and extreme secularist agenda, now seems intent on following a similar path.”

Bishop Jenky acknowledged that Christians could lose the battle against Obama’s mandate, but insisted that, “before the awesome judgment seat of Almighty God, this is not a war where any believing Catholic may remain neutral.” His words echo today’s first reading in which the Apostles, having been drug before magistrates, declared, “We must be obedient to God before men!” Well with all do respect, Mr. President we Catholics today declare as well, we must be faithful to God before you and your minions.

As bishop Jenky said, “No Catholic ministry-and yes, Mr. President, for Catholics our schools and hospitals are ministries—can remain faithful to the Lordship of the Risen Christ and to his glorious Gospel of Life if they are forced to pay for abortions,”

Speaking to us Catholics the brave bishop went on to say, “The faithful can no longer be Catholics by accident, but instead must be Catholics by conviction. The days in which we live now require heroic Catholicism, not casual Catholicism. In our own families, in our parishes, where we live and where we work – like that very first apostolic generation – we must be bold witnesses to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. We must be a fearless army of Catholic’s, ready to give everything we have for the Lord, who gave everything for our salvation.”

Let us pray to be more faithful to the Risen Lord. Yes, we must love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us, but if we are truly followers of the Lord we must also stand up for what we believe and always be ready to fight for the Faith, for the rights of Our Holy Mother Church…if we do this we are on the winning side, God’s side and we are fighting against the tyranny of Satan.

“The power of the Resurrection will ensure the Church survives, as Bishop Jenky said, “the hatred of Hollywood, the malice of the media, and the mendacious wickedness of the abortion industry. The Church will survive the entrenched corruption and sheer incompetence of our Illinois state government, and even the calculated disdain of the President of the United States, his appointed bureaucrats in Health and Human Services, and the current majority of the federal Senate.”

Continuing in the words of Bishop Jenky, and I quote, “May God have mercy on the souls of those politicians who pretend to be Catholic in church, but in their public lives, rather like Judas Iscariot, betray Jesus Christ by how they vote and how they willingly cooperate with intrinsic evil.”

Every faithful soul is needed in this fight; no soul is insignificant in this battle or in the Eyes of the Lord. We need everyone to contact their elected officials and tell them that we are watching them, and we WILL vote against any of them that do not support us in this just fight for our religious rights as, not only Catholics and Christians and Americans, but as human persons made and created in the image and likeness of God Almighty Himself.

In the end, this is not a political fight; it is not about Democrat or Republican, nor conservative or liberal; we don't hate the President; For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (Ephesians 6:12). But, nevertheless, WE MUST BE OBEDIENT TO GOD BEFORE MEN…AND SO WE MUST VOTE OBEDIENT TO GOD BEFORE MEN with regard to ANY ISSUE, INCLUDING THE ECONOMY OR IMMIGRATION!!!

Let us always remember that the roots of this current attack on our Faith are not in this current administration or any other power in this world, nor do they ultimately have their origin in Satan, but they come from our own infidelity to the Lord. Ultimately we are facing a crisis of faith, a crisis of saints. However we don’t need more Mother Theresa’s of Calcutta or Francis’ of Assisi; no, we need more St. You!

In the face of this current persecution let us imitate the first Christians and turn to intense prayer before the Risen One who is truly present in our midst, not only spiritually, but physically in His resurrected body in the Holy Eucharist; If we believe, adore, hope and love Him there and beg pardon for all of those who do not adore, hope and love Him there, this Eucharistic Lord will grant to each of us the victory of faith, which is a share in the victory of the Resurrection! God bless you all and may God bless the United States of America!

Immaculate Mary your praises we sing, we pray for the Church our true Mother on earth, and beg you to watch over the land of our birth. Ave Maria…totus tuus…totally yours!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Today we celebrate the Feast of Divine Mercy.

Today we celebrate the Feast of Divine Mercy.  It was Our Lord's explicit desire, given to us through St. Faustina, that this feast be celebrated on the first Sunday after Easter. Pope John Paul II in his homily given at the canonization of St. Faustina on April 30, 2000, declared: "It is important then that we accept the whole message that comes to us from the word of God on this Second Sunday of Easter, which from now on throughout the Church, will be called ‘Divine Mercy Sunday.' "

Clearly, Divine Mercy Sunday is not a new feast established to celebrate St. Faustina's revelations. Indeed, it is not primarily about St. Faustina at all — nor is it altogether a new feast! As many commentators have pointed out, The Second Sunday of Easter was already a solemnity as the Octave Day of Easter; nevertheless, the title "Divine Mercy Sunday" does highlight and amplify the meaning of the day. In this way, it recovers an ancient liturgical tradition, reflected in a teaching attributed to St. Augustine about the Easter Octave, those 8 days of solemn celebration of Easter, which he called "the days of mercy and pardon;" and the Octave Day itself, the 8th day, this Sunday, he called "the compendium of the days of mercy."

Liturgically the Easter Octave has always been centered on the theme of Divine Mercy and forgiveness.  Divine Mercy Sunday therefore, point us to the merciful love of God that lies behind the whole Paschal Mystery —that is, that lies behind the mystery of the death, burial, resurrection, ascension of Christ and the sending of the Holy Spirit.  And Divine Mercy Sunday points us to the fact that these events are not just past events but are truly made present for us in the Holy Eucharist along with their living giving Power. In this way, Divine Mercy Sunday also sums up the whole Easter Octave. As Pope John Paul II pointed out in his Regina Caeli address on Divine Mercy Sunday, 1995: "the whole octave of Easter is like a single day," and the Octave Sunday is meant to be the day of "thanksgiving for the goodness God has shown to man in the whole Easter mystery."  This whole Easter mystery, which is available to us here and now through the Sacred Liturgy on this Sunday and every Sunday which is a “Divine Mercy Sunday.”  

Divine Mercy Sunday, the Octave Day of Easter, is a day then that celebrates the merciful love of God shining through the whole Easter Triduum and the whole Easter mystery.  And so, it is also a day of declaration of repentance from and reparation for all sin; thus it is the Day of Atonement in which we beg God’s Mercy on us and on the whole world by participating in the Holy Mass more fully, consciously and actually, offering the Body, blood soul and divinity, along with ourselves, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world.  We do this so that our whole world would receive the grace of repentance and so open itself up to the paschal mystery, each soul becoming reconciled with God and so become one with God, and in the love of this divine union live lives of holiness to repair the damage cause by sin, in to heal our world so that all would have life and have to the full.  Not just eternal life, but life itself…the fullness of life, to be truly alive, which is to live in union with God who is Life Itself.    

These are surely trying times; perhaps, some of the most troubling times our world has ever seen.  Never before has our faith been so important and so needed to see us through to the other side.  When will the world see that our current crises has at its root the loss of faith in God and in His One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, and a loss of morality based on God’s commandments and teachings given to us through that same Church.   The message of Divine Mercy is the answer to our trouble times, and the only key to overcome them.

The Divine Mercy message is really the same solution Our Blessed Mother has given us in her many modern apparitions, especially at Fatima and continuing through her message at Akita Japan.  This solution, was presented as a “Message of Hope”, and it not only gives us the solution for weathering the storm that is upon us but also for reversing the ills of our age, all caused by sin, and bringing about the Era of Peace also promised by Our Lady at Fatima.  This “Message of Hope” was by the way summed up doing the pontificate of John Paul II.

The message of Divine Mercy and the Message of Fatima are one in the same message; it is a message of Hope through trust in God’s mercy and forgiveness available to us through the faithful, trustful and reverential and loving reception of the Sacraments, and especially the most blessed of all Sacraments, the Holy Eucharist, in which we are called to adore the very Person of the Divine Mercy of the Father, because it Jesus, the Son of the Father, God Himself sent to heal and save us in order to make us one with the Father.  

And so what is this “Message of Hope” given to us from heaven itself through Our Lady and Our Mother at her apparitions and continued through to the message of Divine Mercy?  How do we live it and make it operative in our life.  The Message of Hope can be basically summed up with the four following themes: Sin; Grace; Personal Holiness; and Consecration

First; Sin:  This May not readily come to mind, but sin—whether personal sin, or the unfortunate consequences of Original Sin—is the root cause of all pain, death, wars, disease, and even natural disasters (cf: Romans 8:20-22); in short, all suffering and unhappiness.  Sin is the real problem in our world today, better yet, unrepentant sin is the real problem in our world today; is that which keeps us and others from an intimate relationship and so oneness with our Loving God. And so we need to repent of our sin and turn back to God in trust. But in order to do so we need Grace:

Grace:  The Redemption won by Jesus at Easter is far greater than the Fall of Man.  However, man experiences a constant battle between choosing the high road of grace and the low road of sin, which all of us experience in our own lives.  God’s grace is a stronger force—by far—than the evil and the allure of sin; and more, it repairs the damage caused by our own sin as well as the sin of others.  This is commonly referred to as reparation.  And reparation is the only lasting answer for poverty, war, economic woes and all the terrible effects of the damage caused by sin.  This brings us to personal holiness.  

Personal Holiness is essential: Personal holiness is achieved by fulfilling God’s Will for us.  Holiness is growing in our love for God and neighbor, particularly by making use of the means of obtaining grace; that is, through through prayer, formation ( that is continually learning more our faith and our to live it; i.e. the teachings of the Church and how to live them), faithful reception of the sacraments, especially confession and the Holy Mass.

Holiness is cooperating with God’s grace, by faithfully fulfilling our daily religious and worldly duties.  In this we becomes a means of grace for others.  Our lives help others to turn away from sin and accept the fullness of the Gospel message and so turn to God.  
A powerful spiritual reality that comes out of holiness, is that just as the sin of one person harms other people, so also, one person’s holiness can help others tremendously, and offset the effects of others people’s sin.  Unfortunately, there seems to be a lot more people sinning in the world than there are sincerely trying to do God’s Will.  So, it’s obvious that the small number of us that are trying, that our own merits are not enough, in these crucial times, to turn things around.  THAT’S WHY WE all NEED

Consecration:  Consecration means to entrust our self to another in a loving gift of our self to another (An example is marriage).  In this case we are speaking of total Consecration to Jesus through Mary, in union with St. Joseph!  Since our personal holiness is not enough to offset the terrible evils of our day, we need to give ourselves, our good works and merits to Mary, God’s perfect creature, so that she can increase their value before giving them to her Son on our behalf.  Her merits are greater than those of all the saints combined!  Our meager merits, multiplied by hers, magnified by hers, will offset the effects of sin, thus giving the forces of evil less power in our world.  

By giving our merits, our good works and works of mercy, to Mary, she can generate far more “reparative power” than we could ever do on our own.  Devotion to Mary is the surest and safest way to humbly obtain God’s mercy from her Divine Son Jesus.  And St. Joseph is our model, showing us how to best live out our consecration to Jesus through Mary in every thing we do.  This consecration to Jesus through Mary in union with St. Joseph is shown by the wearing of the Holy Scapular of the Blessed Mary; it is the wedding ring, if you will, a sign of our total consecration.  

As part of our consecration we pray the rosary daily as way to ask our Lady to help us live out daily and practically our consecration to Her and so become one with Her Son, and to the Father and the Holy Spirit through Him.  She is the mediatrix of all grace.  Souls and families who entrust themselves by consecrating themselves to the Immaculate Heart of Mary will survive these crucial and decisive times; consecration to our Lady is equivalent to getting on the ark before the flood, spiritually speaking.    

To further help you understand Consecration to Jesus through Mary and the message of hope I would recommend the books on Total Consecration by St. Louis De Montfort or by St. Maximilian Kolbe.  And To help your whole family understand, and live the Message of Hope I would highly recommend the website:

I want to end by praying a prayer of consecration to Mary and to Her Immaculate heart.  As I do so, I ask that you please join me in your hearts, by making an act of your will in which you give yourself and entrust yourself to Jesus through Mary in union with St. Joseph.  

Prayer of Consecration to Our Lady: 

Virgin of Fatima, Mother of Mercy, Queen of Heaven and Earth, Refuge of Sinners, we consecrate ourselves in a very special way to your Immaculate Heart.

By this act of consecration we intend to live, with you and through you, all the obligations assumed by our baptismal consecration. We further pledge to bring about in ourselves that interior conversion so urgently demanded by the Gospel, a conversion that will free us of every attachment to ourselves and to easy compromises with the world so that, like you, we may be available only to do always the Will of the Father.

And as we resolve to entrust to you, O Mother most sweet and merciful, our life and vocation as Christians, that you may dispose of it according to your designs of salvation in this hour of decision that weighs upon the world, we pledge to live it according to your desires, especially as it pertains to a renewed spirit of prayer and penance, the fervent participation in the celebration of the Eucharist and in the works of the apostolate, the daily recitation of the holy rosary, and an austere manner of life in keeping with the Gospel, that shall be to all a good example of the observance of the Law of God and the practice of the Christian virtues, especially that of purity.

We further promise you to be united with the Holy Father, with the hierarchy and with our priests, in order thus to set up a barrier to the growing confrontation directed against the Magisterium, that threatens the very foundation of the Church.
Under your protection, we want moreover to be apostles of this sorely needed unity of prayer and love for the Pope, on whom we invoke your special protection. And lastly, insofar as is possible, we promise to lead those souls with whom we come in contact to a renewed devotion to you.

Mindful that atheism has caused shipwreck in the faith to a great number of the faithful, that desecration has entered into the holy temple of God, and that evil and sin are spreading more and more throughout the world, we make so bold as to lift our eyes trustingly to you, O Mother of Jesus and our merciful and powerful Mother, and we invoke again today and await from you the salvation of all your children, O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary. 
(with ecclesiastical approval) 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Easter 2012 St. Patrick's Rochelle Il.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Tonight/ today, we celebrate that fact that Christus resurrexit! Resurrexit vere! -Christ is Risen! He is truly risen from the dead; He is alive.

Tonight/today we celebrate the most solemn feast of Our Holy Mother Church’s liturgical year-Easter. (And the Easter Vigil is known as the mother of all vigils). It is the most solemn of all Feasts because we celebrate the fact that Jesus Christ has truly risen from the dead. And so, the Resurrection of Christ as truly changed the whole world.

Tonight, however, at this Holy Mass, we don’t just remember the Resurrection as something that occurred in the past-the Resurrection of Jesus becomes truly present in our midst now, because the Resurrected One becomes truly present in our midst now. He is truly and really with us-spiritually, sacramentally, and substantially, physically, bodily and personally. And Jesus comes with His Divine Power to change us, to save us, to transform us; so that, through us He can change, transform and save our fallen and falling world. The Resurrection of Christ can truly change the whole world.

The Resurrected Jesus is truly present tonight/today, no matter the level or the strength of our faith. But is the level of our faith, along with our level of hope, an especially the level of our love that opens up for us…open us up to, the Divine Power of Jesus the Resurrected One.

Faith, hope and love are divine gifts from God. They cannot be earned by merely being “good.” They must be given from above, from God, and increased through our merit which comes from our striving with all our might to live our lives in holiness; that is, live our lives in conformity to God’s Holy Will, and so, in conformity to His Commandments and to the teachings of His One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

Let us this most Holy of all nights, beg our Lord for an increase of faith, so we can listen more fully to His Word with the determination to live it out more faithfully in our lives; so we can live the obedience of faith, faithful to Jesus by being faithful to His Church and to her Sacred Priesthood, persevering to the end, no matter what that end may be or when and how it may come.

Let us beg Him for an increase of Hope, so we can trust that He is really with us here in this Holy place, so He can always be with us throughout our life in order to strengthen and sustains us, comfort and console us, and heal and save us. Hoping and trusting as well, in His Divine Mercy and forgiveness which comes to us through the Sacraments of Confession and the Holy Eucharist.

And let us beg Him most of all for an increase of the gift of love; so we can love Him more. In fact, love Him above all things in order to love our neighbor as ourselves. In other words, so that we can offer ourselves totally in love to the God who offers Himself totally in love to us at this and every Holy Mass, for true love is always an exchange of persons.

Finally, with this being said, it is important in our Faith of the true Historical and bodily Resurrection of Jesus that we understand that Jesus died and Resurrected in order to be able to give us Himself; in order to give us Himself in His True, Resurrected Body, Blood, Soul, along with the Power of His Divinity in the Holy Eucharist, the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar…For to believe, to have faith in the Resurrection, in order to receive it’s divine power in our lives and in our world, it is first necessary first to believe, to adore, to hope and to love, the Resurrected Jesus Christ truly present in the Most Holy Eucharist.

The Power of the Resurrection is contained fully in the little white host, because it is the Resurrected One. And faith is the key that opens us up to this Divine Power, our adoration is what puts us in contact with It, our trust is what endears the Heart of Jesus to us, and receiving His Love and loving Him in return is what makes us one with Him in love.

So let us today/tonight let us rejoice, and open our hearts more fully to the Divine Power of God, which is the Power of His Divine Love. Let today/tonight be the first day of a new intense life with Christ. Here at the Holy Mass and only at the Holy Mass can we truly participate in this life giving, suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus. The Holy Mass makes these events truly present before us, not just at Easter but at every Sunday Mass which is a miniature Easter, so that we in faith can be present at them and actively draw from them their transforming and live giving power, which is the power of God’s Love for us.

Tonight/ today, we celebrate that fact that Christus resurrexit! Resurrexit vere! -Christ is Risen! He is truly risen from the dead; He is alive. They have not taken our Lord from the tomb, our Lord has taken Himself from the tomb; and we who have the true faith know where He is; He is truly with us in His Resurrected body in the Holy Eucharist about to made truly present at this Mass and every Mass. And He so desires to give Himself and His love fully to us in Holy Communion so that we can share more intensely in the victory and the Divine Power of His Resurrection in our lives and share it with our world. The Eucharist is the God who is Love; only in the Resurrection One, Jesus, can we be victorious. Alleluia!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The great gifts of the Sacred Priesthood and the Holy Eucharist

Holy Thursday John 13: 1-15

Tonight we begin the solemn celebration of the Triduum- the greatest Feasts of our faith. We recall tonight two great sacraments, which our Lord instituted just before He would suffer and be crucified: the Sacrament of Holy Orders and the Holy Eucharist.

The two Sacraments are linked so very closely to the Passion and death of Christ. It was at the last supper that Jesus instituted these two Sacraments- He first gave his body and blood and then ordained his apostles to do the same- “do this in memory of me.” It was the next day that in His Passion He poured out all of His precious blood for our salvation.

The priesthood is first and foremost a deeper conformity to Christ- to act In Persona Christi Capitus- in the person of Christ the head. Conformity first means to offer the supreme sacrifice- the sacrifice of the Mass. It is the priesthood that makes the life saving passion and death available to us; it is the priesthood that makes the fruit of Jesus life saving passion and death available to, and that Fruit is His own sacred Body and Blood which becomes our sacred Feast, the source of not only our eternal life, but the source of Love Itself.

Our faith infallibly tells us that Jesus ordained his twelve apostles at the Last Supper. He literally laid His hands on their head and gave them the capacity to receive the power of the Holy Spirit in order to be able to offer Jesus’ own self same sacrifice in which He offered himself to the Father for our sake and for our salvation. From the first twelve priests, the line of priests has remained unbroken from that time through ordination and the laying on of the hands.

At the priest’s ordination, his hands are anointed with Sacred Chrism showing that they are set aside now for God’s work, the work of offering the Holy Sacrifice. He then receives the chalice and paten from the people of God to offer that sacrifice in the Name and Person of Christ, to the Father on the people’s behalf.

When the priest offers the sacrifice of the Mass, it is Christ who says the words of consecration through the priest- it is Christ who gives himself, offers himself anew, through the priest, in a perfect act of adoration to the Father- “he loved his own in the world and he love them to the end.”

The priest Himself is call to follow Christ in his humble service- first and foremost by offering the Holy Sacrifice for the people. Offering the Holy Mass, the priest most perfectly follows the words of Jesus, “I have given you a model to follow, so that as have done for you, you should also do.” In offering the Holy Mass, the priest too is to offer himself along with Christ for the sake of the People of God.

This is the primary meaning of what Jesus meant when He said what I have done you must do for one another. The priest must offer His life not only in imitation of Christ, but with Christ, in Christ and through Christ, for the life of the world. He does this at the Holy Mass which makes truly present Christ once and for all sacrifice on Calvary; the priest is to allow Jesus who comes at the priest’s own bidding, the priest is to allow Jesus to lift up him up to his cross and resurrection as an offering, as an immolated victim who offers himself, to Father for the sake of the people of God.

And so, the Eucharist is the great mystery that relies on the priesthood- without the priesthood there would be no Eucharist, no direct link to the first Holy Thursday. And with the Eucharist there would be no source of grace for us and for our world; there would be no hope.
And so without the priesthood there would be no salvation, no way for each one of us to offer ourselves to the Father with Jesus, in Jesus and through Jesus.
The Eucharist, which becomes available to us through the Sacred Priesthood is where the all of the people of God find their Spiritual nourishment. At the Holy Mass, we recall the great gift that Jesus gives us, the gift of his own body and blood; we do more than just recall, we experience them in reality, pour out anew for us in the here and now.

This past Sunday we celebrated Palm Sunday and Jesus triumph procession into Jerusalem. And we heard shouted what is known as the Benedictus, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.” But this is not a coming which happened just in the past…It happens now as well. Just as the Lord entered the holy City that day on a donkey, so too the Church sees him now coming again and again in the humble form of bread and wine.

And so, this Benedictus which speaks primarily about Christ, also speaks about the one who is configured to Christ in a unique way, and who through Christ comes anew in this temple. This is why, for centuries the priest would sign himself as the those words were shouted out anew at the Mass in the Sanctus, The Holy, Holy, Holy, Benedictus qui venit in nomine domini, Hosanna in Excelsis…those words referring to the person of the Priest who is operating in the Person of the Head, Jesus Christ.

At the Holy Mass, through the gift of the sacred Priesthood, the Church does indeed greet the Lord in the Holy Eucharist as the one who is coming now, the one who has come from God and who enters into our midst. At the same time, the Church greets him as the One who continues to come, the one who leads us toward His coming. Each of the faithful are called to come to Him with faith, hope and love, as He comes to us in the Holy Eucharist. To are called to give themselves to Christ along with His Priest, and allow Jesus through our Communion with Him, to take us with him in His ascent to the Cross and Resurrection, so that can share already in the Love of the Father, and become one with him.
By becoming one with Jesus, they are thus empowered to take Jesus out into the world around them, so that it is not they who live but Jesus who now lives in them. They still, live but in such a way that those who come into contact with them, see Christ, experience Christ and begin themselves to be transformed by Christ’s love, so they too can become one with the Father now and for all eternity.
This is the mystery that we celebrate this evening. Through the intercession of the Mary, the mother of all priest may we experience these mysteries in a new way, may we fall in love with the great gifts of the Sacred Priesthood and the give that it bring to us, the Holy Eucharist-Jesus Himself. May we allow ourselves to be transformed into loving images of the Son for all the world to see.