Saturday, October 27, 2012

Holy Mary, Queen of the Kingdom of Christ, Queen of our hearts, pray for us.

Solemnity of Christ the King. October 28th, 2012 Extraordinary Form

Today, in the Extraordinary from of the Liturgy we celebrate the great feast of Christ the King. Our Lord is King and ruler of heaven and earth; and today, in this solemn Liturgy, we acknowledge this fact with our whole heart, mind, soul, strength, with our bodies and with our voices as we with great effort struggle to enter into full, actual, conscious and fruitful participation in this Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in which the King becomes present not only spiritual in our midst, but physically and sacramentally present.

Over the centuries devotion to Jesus has taken many forms. In the early centuries of the Church we see this devotion very much directed to Jesus as the King of Kings. With the revelations of Jesus to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque devotion to Christ became centered on the Sacred Heart… in practice it became more and more an individualistic pious devotion. With the Divine Mercy Revelations this trend continues, but with one could say a more universal emphasis on the individual begging God’s Mercy not just on himself but one the whole world. With these two beautiful devotions, the Sacred Heart and Divine Mercy, which are surely mutually enhancive of one another, one could argue that devotion to Jesus as King seems to have been set aside for a more personal devotion. However, when we look at the history of devotion to Jesus within the Sacred Liturgy we find it is always center on Christ the King, no matter the liturgical season. For instance our Gospel today from St. John for the Solemnity of Christ the King is also the Gospel used on Good Friday-“Are you a king?”

In the Gospel from John we hear Jesus telling Pilate: “My kingship is not of this world.” Jesus admits that He is indeed a King, but not the kind of king this world knows or even wants. Jesus is not a political King, He is not a Democrat or Republican nor is He an Independent; in fact, His Kingdom on Earth--the Catholic Church, from which He rules, is not a democracy at all; it is a strict monarchy with only one King, Jesus Himself with full dominion and power.

Jesus the King is not a military or revolutionary leader; He is not socialist. He is not a king of material wealth or worldly power. This, by the way, is the type of King that the Jews wanted; to them the King-Messiah was to be a politico-religious liberator who would obtain their freedom from Rome and restore the glory, power and prosperity of their nation of Israel, making it again the dominant world power. What they really wanted was to create the perfect image of a King according to their own designs.

So many in our world today, as well, are looking for a king like this-a king of their own design. Many like the ideal of Christ the King, but only Christ as a king that will fulfill their earthly desires, their materialistic hunger for the things of this world. And so, many will worship Jesus as a king that will bring them economic prosperity, financial security and blessings, and the ease and comfort of the good life. But they will not worship Jesus as a King who places demands on His subjects, demands which call them to renounce themselves for the sake of the Kingdom. Too many want the Holy Church that Jesus personally and intentionally founded to be, not the Kingdom of God on earth ruled by priests, but instead a democracy where the truth should be voted upon and accepted according to the recent gallop poll, or better yet, their own personal opinion.

A good example of this refusal of many to accept the demands of Christ the King has been seen in the past few elections. Most of the voters in the elections of the last few years, the majority of who claim to be Christian and a good percentage of them Catholic, put the economy at the top of the list of importance and put the truth about human life and its need for protection at the bottom; and as a consequence, their vote actually continues the destruction of our economy and our world peace—They voted against the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, but not against the war that is killing millions on our own soil through the weapons of mass destruction known as abortion, euthanasia, and embryonic stem cell research. How foolish, for without the protection of defenseless human life, and without the truth of the human person, there can be no economic stability and no justice and so absolutely no peace.

Many, by their vote also allowed the distortion of human sexuality by caving into the Homosexual agenda, thus denying Marriage and the family as God intended. By doing all of this they rejected the truth that Jesus, the God-Man, came to proclaim; and by doing so, by their vote, they rejected the life Jesus came to bring and placed their mortal soul in jeopardy. In their pride they again and again voted Christ out of the social sphere, bowing down instead to worship mammon instead of adoring and loving God before all else, in Spirit and in Truth. By this they repeated in their hearts and in their actions these words of Pilate that we didn’t read today, but that immediately follow today Gospel, “Quis et veritas…what is truth?

But the Kingdom of God does not mean food and drink, economic prosperity, but instead righteousness and true peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. This is what Jesus Kingship really is. By His answer to Pilate in today’s Gospel, Jesus makes it quite clear to us, as He as always done, that His mission is a spiritual one. His kingdom is “the kingdom of Truth and Life, the kingdom of holiness and Grace, the kingdom of Justice, love and Peace. The Kingdom of Jesus is a kingdom of a true love, the essence of which is a man laying down his life for his friends.

In this, we discover that true love must be through Jesus, in Him, and with Him or else it is not true, for Jesus is the Truth. Love apart from Jesus and His truth, results in our ideas quickly taking charge and then we end up creating our own version of the Kingdom of God, which is just our made up kingdom with a puppet on the throne—with a idiot king of our desire and making. This is the dictatorship of relativism which our Holy Father, the true Vicar of the true King, continually warns against, for in this pseudo kingdom, the false kings will turn against the very people who put them in power and in the end they themselves will be destroyed by their own ideology—but not until the good themselves will have much to suffer.

Christ for His part, only allows in His Kingdom to experience the peace and joy of His reign, those who accept and practice the Truth revealed by Him and proclaimed by His Holy Catholic Church which is His visible Kingdom on earth. This Kingdom is ruled by priests acting in Christ stead, or in persona Christi et capitis—in the person of Christ the head. By their obedience of faith to Christ’s leaders, the pope, bishops and priests, His loyal subjects, show their acceptance of Christ’s rule over them and His Father’s will for them and so accept God’s love and mercy for the world.
Jesus became man to make this truth about the Father's love for man known and to enable men to accept it and live it, through the grace He won through his death on the cross.

Those who recognize Christ’s kingship and sovereignty, accept his authority given to His Church, and so allow Jesus to reign over them in His eternal and universal Kingdom, these and these alone are his faithful Subjects. And these faithful subjects live their lives on this earth by following His Way, the only true way, which is the royal way of the cross, which is the way of self-denial and sacrificial love, loving God above all things and their neighbor as themselves for love of God.

The Solemnity of Christ the King, ends ordinary time and thus the liturgical year. We now enter into the Season of hope--advent. Our readings take on the tone of the last things, death, judgment, heaven and hell. The Holy Spirit wants us to be ready, not only for the coming of Christ at Christmas, but for His Second Coming in glory at the end of the world or at our death whichever comes first. “Behold Jesus is coming amid the clouds and every eye will see Him even those who pierced Him.”

But the Holy Spirit reminds today not to think this event as happening somewhere off in the distance future. Behold He is coming soon!!. This is the theme of Advent. For those souls who die this day, the second coming will happen today, and for each of us, our death is the second coming, for on that day we shall see the King face to face and He will question us about love, our love…our love based on the truth, and so our love for Him who is the truth, and our love for one another and He will judge us accordingly. On that day, He will exercise fully His Kingship and His Divine authority both on the righteous and the unrighteous. All people will serve him one way or another.

For those who refused to acknowledge Him as King in this life and did their own thing, and chose their own king, they will serve Christ by force in the everlasting torment, where they can sing eternally the theme song of hell, "I did it my way-I chose a king, but not the King of kings." But for those who acknowledged Jesus as true King in this life, allowing Him to reign over their hearts by adoring Him, following His commandments and the teaching of His Holy Catholic Church in loving obedience and loving God and neighbor more than themselves--these alone will serve Him in freedom and in love, they will bow down and prostrate before Him for all eternity, as they did in life, and they shall see Him as He is, for they shall become like Him and praise Him and the Father through Him in the Spirit, for ever and ever..

Beginning today, let us more deeply acknowledge Christ as our King; let us start by offering our Hearts to Him at this Holy Mass which makes the King Himself, His royal throne of the cross, His crucifixion, Resurrection and ascension and His Kingdom truly present on earth, right here in this Church and in every Catholic Church around the world.

As we prepare to receive the fruit of the Crucifixion and Resurrection at this Holy Mass--Jesus Christ our King in the Holy Eucharist, the Kingdom of God personified, let us ask Him for the grace to hear His voice and to heed his words in testimony that we are committed to the truth of His Kingdom with every fiber of our being. Let us ask Him through His Holy Mother to help us keep His Authority and the Will of His heavenly Father and our Father, as the driving force of our life. Holy Mary, Queen of the Kingdom of Christ, Queen of our hearts, pray for us.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

O Mary of the Rosary, keep me recollected when I say these prayers of yours; bind me forever, with your rosary, to Jesus of the Blessed Sacrament.

21st Sunday after Pentecost. October 21st, 2012 Extraordinary Form

This Sunday is World Mission Sunday. In his Message for World Mission Sunday last year, Pope Benedict XVI explained its theme, saying, “The universal mission involves everyone, everything and always. The Gospel is not an exclusive possession of those who have received it, but it is a gift to be shared, good news to be passed on to others.”
World Mission Sunday reminds us that “The very nature of the Church is missionary,” And so, each one of us in virtue of our baptism are called to missionaries. Each one of us is called to proclaim the Gospel, to proclaim the fullness of the Gospel to our families, to our neighbors, and to our country and our world.

We are called this Sunday, not only to this awareness of our mission, but to share more deeply in the broader mission of the Church to bring the light and love of Christ to the World. And as a consequence this World Mission Sunday should enkindle in us a love for evangelization, which is to bring Christ to the World and so to help others share in the fullness of life on this earth, a life in Christ; and so, help others reach finally the joy and eternal life of heaven.

There as been in recent years a great failure in the missionary activities of the Church on many levels. I think that this stems from a great loss of faith. So many members of the Church no longer see the necessity of working for the conversion of people of different faiths or even no faith. So many embrace the false idea that everyone is going to heaven they’re just taking different paths or different vehicles to get there. Some wrongly attribute this understanding to the teachings of Vatican II. Surely this mistaken notion comes from a misunderstanding of the Council, but not from its documents and decrees properly understood; for the Council was a great calling to all Catholics to become evangelistic, to become great missionaries. The teaching of the Council was a call to evangelize the world through its universal call of each Christian to holiness of life.

I remember before my ordination listening to a priest friend of my trying to encourage a missionary priest who had become despondent with his priesthood. The missionary could no longer see the need to continue his work in a foreign land. In fact, he spent most of his time, not baptizing souls but working a large garden on the Church property were he lived. He had lost his missionary spirit. He longer saw the need to work for the salvation of souls; before we judge him perhaps his failure came from not enough Catholic’s supporting him in sacrifice and prayer.

I encounter this loss of missionary spirit during my seminaries years as well. The ideal of mission that I was presented with was one of so-called “social justice and peace.” The missionary spirit was one that was socialistic and political in nature, working and even protesting against so-called unjust social structures in differing lands and even in our own country-it called for equal distribution of wealth and so saw all rich people as evil and all the poor as saints; it was an idea of all out class warfare. Sadly many times it was said that the Church Herself, the spotless bride of Christ was one of the worst of these unjust social structures because of its hierarchal and so non-egalitarian nature.

This Sunday’s call for us to be missionaries and to support the missionary work of the Church is particularly important in this “Year of Faith.” The growth in the mission of evangelization within the Church begins with us. And to enkindle our love for
evangelization we must grow in our faith. This is the year to commit to doing so with ever-greater vim and vigor; in other words, holy zeal, holy zeal to spread the light of Christ to our world and so to souls for the sake of their salvation and ours. And as I have said, this zeal for souls begins in our families and in our parish families. We must become zealous in our solicitude for the salvation the members of our family and parish family. Evangelization must begin with the re-evangelization of our families and parish families and then go out to our communities and our country.

And so, on this Mission Sunday within this great “Year of Faith,” we are called to grow in our faith in order to become true missionaries working for the salvation of souls. However, as today’s Epistle reminds us, the more we do so, the more we will come up against opposition; I don’t just say from the world around us, but even and most especially within our family and our parish families. But we must remember as St. Paul says, we don’t fight against flesh and blood but against principalities and spirits of this present age. Our true enemy is Lucifer. And he is not to be slighted; he is a mighty adversary. Jesus never dismissed the devil as of no account and neither can we. Satan is described in the book of the Apocalypse or Revelation as a mighty dragon; elsewhere as a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

In this “year of the faith” we must as St. Paul tells us; Put on the Divine Armor of God. It is not with human strength or by merely human means by with which are to fight but with God’s strength and with God’s weapons, which have already been given to us by our Baptism. We are call to now in a special way in this “Year of Faith” to come to understand more deeply these six implements of war, by which we are to fight the battle, not only for our own preservation, but for our work in the salvation of souls.
Let’s look quickly at these impressive and most effective weapons.

The Sash: St. Paul says: “Be gird with the sash of truth.” In St. Paul’s day soldiers used a sash or cincture as a kind of carry-all-to carry all the items he needed in battle; it was most especially use as kind of scabbard to slip their swords into. Truth is an incomparable good. IN fact, Christ is the Truth, and He promised the truth would make us free. Consequently the consciousness of possessing Christian truth in its fullness-the full teaching of the Church-is a tremendous strength for us. WE must as St. Paul carry the sword of truth!

Our breastplate is one of Justice and holiness and they may be regarded in equal terms. St. Paul says: “Let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.” We must as the scriptures tells us, “put a the new man; that is Christ. We must become as Jesus by deeper conversion and so growth in holiness-we must become other Christs for the world, for our families and parish families. WE must not only possess the truth but we must live It in Charity!

Our shoes. “Have your feet shod with the readiness which the Gospel of peace brings.” By these words the Apostle refers to the instant cooperation with which we are to respond to the occasions we are presented with to preach and spread the Gospel, doing so not only with words but most especially with actions. A well-equipped soldier must always be well shod. He must have good shoes. By the way one of the reasons Napoleon was so successfully was not just in his military tactic but because we made sure his soldiers had good shoes. Patton made sure his troops had not just enough socks but fresh socks—so important are the feet in the battle. We too must have good shoes—that is; great zeal for the Gospel. Zeal is a consequence of love; it lightens the step. A Christian soldier sure of his step will preach the Gospel of peace; He will be ever ready and prepare to do so when and however the opportunity presents it self; He will do so not just for friends but for His enemies, that is even to those who oppose him!

The Shield. Our shield is faith. Ancient soldiers always carried a shield. For the Roman soldier it was made of hardened leather and was carried on his left forearm and measured 4 by 2 and half feet. It covered a man from the tip of his nose down to his knees. It deflected the arrows and blows of his enemies that would otherwise have seriously injured or killed the warrior. But like all man-made defenses there comes new weapons to defeat them and with new weapons comes of course new defenses. For the romans the new weapon that answered the shield was the flaming arrow that when embedded in the leather shield quickly rendered it useless and so exposed the soldier to direct attack.

There is one shield, St Paul tells us, that never fails to ward off even the fiery arrows of the enemy and fend off even the fiercest onslaughts of the devil and his minions. This is the shield of faith in God. IN all temptations, faith serves to protect the Christian soldiers. The eternal truths of faith cannot be destroyed by the malicious attacks of the enemy. But faith must be a living faith…the truths of our Catholic must not just believed, but lived in charity!

Our helmet for us is the helmet of salvation. A soldier’s helmet is designed to protect his head, which is the principal target of the enemy. Modern helmets have proved their usefulness in countless engagements. They protect the head from all kind of shrapnel coming from explosion of the bombs of the enemy. No fighting man can afford to be without it. We the Christian soldier have at our disposal the helmet of salvation; which in Christian hope, we already possess. In fact, St. Paul calls this hope of salvation our helmet (1 Thes 5:8). It comes from the knowledge that Jesus has come and has won the price of our salvation and so has already defeated the enemy. Jesus has already won the war and was and is the Victor; this fills the true soldier with confidence and great, great Hope.

These are our defensive weapons, but we are not to engage in a merely defensive war against the enemy. No we are missionaries; we take the light of the Gospel to the world. We cannot build a castle surround with a mote and hide from the world. Vatican II reminded us that we must engage the world; we must take Christ out to the world not just protect ourselves from the world…WE must be in the world but not of the world.
And so we have, at our baptism been given powerful offensive weapons. It is not a soldier’s job merely to deflect the blows rained upon him by his enemy; he must also fight back. He must take up the sword. We too must take up the Sword.

Our sword is the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. We have the scriptures the Word of God and we have its correct interpretation contained in the deposit of faith and presented to us infallibly by the Magisterium of the Church—the Pope and the bishops in union with Him. Like the flaming sword of the Cherubim who guarded the entrance into paradise, the sword puts to naught the powers of sin and of error. Remember, Jesus Himself, by his use of Scriptures against the devil (Mt 4:4,7,10 etc), proved how powerful a weapon the Word of God is when used along with the Magisterium and Sacred Tradition.

Our other offensive weapon is Prayer. This is the weapon par excellence.. With this most powerful weapon the Christian warrior can strike anywhere and anytime, from close or afar, with greater rapidity and precision than any laser guided weapon, in fact; more so than any weapon yet devised or that will be devised. The Romans legions had the most advanced weapons of their day, but yet the Apostles armed only with the power of prayer, conquered Rome itself. Paul recommends prayer in all its forms; whether adoration, petition, thanksgiving, vocal or silent.

This brings us to the most effective prayer—prayer in faith before the Blessed Sacrament. The Word of God is most effective offensive weapon but the Word of God is not just the written Word of God. No, the Word of God became flesh and dwelt and now still dwells among us truly in the Holy Eucharist. Prayer, with faith in His true Present is most effective because it is faith in His Incarnation; and so, it is faith that the Eucharist is Jesus in His resurrected body, the only way to victory, the only way to the Father.

Faith in the Eucharist and prayer before the Eucharist is our most effective weapon; in fact, it is the weapon of our salvation and the Weapon that will ensure our share in the victory of Christ not only for ourselves but for countless souls as well. For our Faith in the Holy Eucharist will make us true missionaries-true soldiers of God.

O Mary of the Rosary, keep me recollected when I say these prayers of yours; bind me forever, with your rosary, to Jesus of the Blessed Sacrament. Blessed be Jesus, my love, blessed be the Immaculate Virgin Mary.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

"Mother of the 'yes,' you who heard Jesus, speak to us of Him;

Twentieth Sunday After Pentecost-Extraordinary Form of the Liturgy. October 14th, 2012

This past week as been an very important week in our lives. On this past Thursday, October 11th, our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI at Mass in Saint Peter’s Square, Rome inaugurated the "Year of Faith" for the Catholic Church and so for each one of us. This Year of Faith is more important for us than the upcoming election! Not the election isn't important, but the Year of Faith and how we make use of its graces in our lives is even more important, much more important!

If you remember, it was one year ago that Pope Benedict announced the Year of Faith in a letter entitled Porta Fidei. In this letter Benedict reminded all of us that ‘The Door of Faith’, Porta Fidei, is always open for us. The ‘Door’ is never closed. Passing through that door means embarking on a journey that lasts a lifetime. It is a journey that begins with baptism and ends with the passage through death to eternal life. In his letter, and throughout his pontificate, Pope Benedict has recalled the need to discover again and again this all-important journey so as to experience the joy and enthusiasm of meeting Christ, Christ who leads people out of the desert into the fullness of life.

Porta Fidei also mentioned that The Year of Faith would mark the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council. And so at the Holy Mass this past Thursday Pope Benedict reminded us that, Pope John XXIII--“Blessed John,” in his opening address fifty years ago, presented the principal purpose of the Council in this way: “What above all concerns the Ecumenical Council is this: that the sacred deposit of Christian doctrine be safeguarded and taught more effectively. … Therefore, the principal purpose of this Council is not the discussion of this or that doctrinal theme, a Council is not required for that, ... [but] this certain and immutable doctrine, which is to be faithfully respected, needs to be explored and presented in a way which responds to the needs of our time.”

Pope Benedict went on to recalled how his predecessor Bl. John XXIII affirmed that the purpose of the council was "to spread ever wider the beneficial impact of the Incarnation and Redemption in all spheres of life." This goal, Pope Benedict said, "resounds today with particular urgency." In other words with regards to the Council and its proper and full implementation there is much more work to be done so as to be able to share ever more fully in its, the council’s, great riches and abundant fruits and graces.

As the faithful people of God, we need with great urgency and diligence to return again to the documents of the great Second Vatican Council. And to do so, not only to see more clearly the continuity of the documents with the Deposit of Faith that remains unchangeable, but because these fourteen documents contain, when properly understood, contain what we need to proclaim the fullness of the Deposit of Faith to our ever-unbelieving world, which grows daily in its self imposed separation from God. And as Benedict urged, "Without God, man ultimately chooses selfishness over solidarity and love, material things over values, having over being. We must return to God, so that man may return to being man,"

In the letter For the Year of Faith, Porta Fidei, Benedict also said, “In some respects, my venerable predecessor saw this Year as a “consequence and a necessity of the post conciliar period”, fully conscious of the grave difficulties of the time, especially with regard to the profession of the true faith and its correct interpretation. It seemed to me that timing the launch of the Year of Faith to coincide with the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council would provide a good opportunity to help people understand that the texts bequeathed by the Council Fathers, in the words of Blessed John Paul II, “have lost nothing of their value or brilliance.

But Benedict went on to say however, that, They (the Council Documents) need to be read correctly, to be widely known and taken to heart as important and normative texts of the Magisterium, within the Church's Tradition ... He said, I feel more than ever in duty bound to point to the Council as the great grace bestowed on the Church in the twentieth century: there we find a sure compass by which to take our bearings in the century now beginning.” I would also like to emphasize strongly what I had occasion to say concerning the Council a few months after my election as Successor of Peter: “if we interpret and implement it guided by a right hermeneutic, it can be and can become increasingly powerful for the ever necessary renewal of the Church."

And so the Year of Faith presents us, your and me, the unique opportunity to return to that grace-filled Council and to study, read or re-read its sixteen documents in its Constitutions, Decrees and Declarations. But to do so with a correct hermeneutic; that is, study them with a “hermeneutic of continuity” which discovers that the Council changed nothing with regards to what we believe about and how we worship the One True God. In other words, Vatican II changed nothing but only showed us the way to proclaim the unchanging Truth of our faith, which comes from God Himself, to our modern atheistic, sinful, murderous and so sorrow laden age in order to restore its hope and so its joy.

Later on in the Evening on Thursday there was held a beautiful vigil procession to celebrate the opening of the Year of Faith. In the moonlight Pope Benedict address the crowd just as Pope John XIII did in the moonlight fifty years ago at the opening of the Second Vatican II. It is an address that deserves to be heard in full. Benedict said, We're happy today, too – (as those present in the moonlight vigil at the opening of the Second Vatican Council) we should carry joy in our hearts. I would say, however, that our joy is a more sober one, something more humble. Over these fifty years, we have learned and experienced that original sin exists, and that it translates itself into personal sins which can become structures of sin. We have seen that even in the Lord's field there is discord, that even in the net of Peter we find bad fish, that human weakness is present even in the church, that the ship of the church journeys in the face of an opposing wind, amid storms that threaten the ship. And sometimes we have thought that 'the Lord is asleep and has forgotten us.' But this is only one part of the experience of these fifty years. We've also been made to experience the presence of the Lord, the gifts of his goodness and strength.

The fire of the Holy Spirit, the fire of Christ is never one that devours nor a destructive one. It's a quiet fire, a small flame of goodness, of goodness and truth, that transforms with its light and warmth. We have seen that the Lord doesn't forget us – even today, his way is humble. The Lord is present, he gives warmth to our hearts, shows us life, creates charisms of goodness and charity that shine in our world, which are for us a guarantee of the goodness of God. 

Yes, Christ lives with us today and we can be happy because, even now, his goodness remains and is strong. And finally, I dare to make my own the unforgettable words of Pope John: 'When you go home, give your children a kiss and tell them that it's from the Pope.' 

With this sense from my whole heart, I give my blessing to you.

Yes, a lot as been done wrongly and even maliciously in the name of Vatican II according to it so called “spirit” but the Lord as not abandoned His Church, as not abandon us. He has been with us in these fifty years of sometimes, utter confusion and will continue to do so. So let us be not afraid!!! The Holy Spirit that guided the Second Vatican Council continues to guide the Church and will help us to realize fully the fruits of the ecumenical gathering that took place fifty years ago. But we have to do our part. We have to do the sometime hard work of studying the documents in order to understand them more correctly and fully. We can then take their truths out to the modern world and re-evangelize it; and, we can correct in Christian charity those who have fallen prey to the false “spirit” of Vatican II… We can give a reason for the joy in our hearts.

Benedict also pointed out that this Year of Faith, is also the twentieth anniversary of the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the Catechism too offers us a unique opportunity to reacquaint ourselves with the power and beauty of our faith. By the way, I just subscribed to a service that text or emails a portion of the Catechism each and every day so that by the end of the year of the faith you will have read the entire Catechism. I'll put the information on how you can do the same in next week's bulletin ( )

Last week we spoke about making the power of the prayer of the Rosary both as individuals and as families an important part of our celebrating this year of the faith. Our prayer of the Rosary should also include by the way the recitation of the Rosary in public. In The Secret of the Rosary, Saint Louis de Montfort said: “Public prayer is far more powerful than private prayer to appease the anger of God and call down His mercy, and Holy Mother Church, guided by the Holy Ghost, has always advocated public prayer in times of public tragedy and suffering.”

And so, one of the most important things we can do in this year of the faith along with studying the Council documents, the catechism of the Catholic Church and growing in our love and devotion to the Holy Rosary is to make a commitment to pray for one another more; to especially pray more for one another in the parish; Just think what would happen in this Year of Faith if we all really prayed for one another in this parish family. In fact, I think that this is the most important thing we can do in this Year of Faith, to make a renewed commitment to pray for one another-perhaps it can be the rosary daily or weekly for one another; or a Memorare daily for each other, perhaps praying an Our Father at meals for one another, or even a hour of adoration weekly for each other. (Hopefully in few weeks, I will have a little cards to help us make this commitment by putting it in writing as a pledge).

May we all, during this Year of Faith, take the opportunity to gain a new understanding and renewal of that faith. May it contribute to a renewed conversion to Jesus the Lord!

"Mother of the 'yes,' you who heard Jesus, speak to us of Him; tell us of your journey, that we may follow Him on the path of faith; help us to proclaim Him, that each person may welcome Him and become the dwelling place of God," (Pope Benedict.)

Saturday, October 6, 2012

“Blessed Rosary of Mary, sweet chain linking us to God”

Today in this Extra-ordinary form of the Liturgy we celebrate the Solemnity of “Our Lady of the Rosary." The original title of this feast day was, “Our Lady of Victory.” The feast celebrated the great and miraculous naval victory of the fleet of the Holy Roman Empire’s Victory over the vastly superior fleet of the Ottoman Empire’s. The Christian fleet was outnumbered three to one. The stakes couldn’t be higher as the Turkish leader boasted he would turn St. Peter’s Basilica into a mosque after they won the battle, just as his forebear’s had done with Hagia Sophia in Constantinople, present day Istanbul. If the battle had been lost, this boast would have most certainly become a reality.

At the time, a Dominican Pope, Pope Puis V, saw the seriousness of the situation clearly and so instructed all the Churches of Italy to pray the rosary as the battle began. Through the faithfulness of so many Christians praying, from their heart, the most powerful weapon of the Rosary, a miracle occurred which allowed the Christian fleet to win an absolutely impossible battle. After the victory of the Christians at Lepanto, the Holy Father designated October 7th, as the feast day of Our Lady of Victory to commemorate the miraculous victory brought forth through the intercession of Our Lady; it is now known as the Solemnity of Our Lady of the Rosary who is of course still Our Lady of Victory.

I think it is easy for us to underestimate the power of the Rosary. Surely none of us here, but many other Catholics dismiss the Rosary as some outdated pious devotion, which was to done away with by Vatican II. Obviously those with this erroneous idea never read Vatican II. For let us not forget with whom we are dealing when we pray the Rosary; we are dealing with the Mother of God Himself. In fact, the Virgin Mary is described in one biblical verse, “Who is she that cometh forth as the morning rising, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, terrible as an army set in array?”

At the onset of my recuperation shortly after my surgery, I again picked up the wonderful work by St. Louis de Montfort entitled, “The Secret of the Rosary.” In its pages St. Louis eloquently points out how important the Rosary is in our own lives and for our own times. How important a help, a necessary a help, the prayer of the Rosary is for us to obtain the grace we need to grow closer to Jesus through His Heavenly Mother-if prayed well and correctly, it opens us up to the graces available for us through the intercession of our Lady and in the Sacraments, especially the most Blessed Sacrament which is the Incarnate Son of Our Lady of the Rosary. St. Louis also reveals to us then how powerful a help the Rosary is toward our eternal salvation as well.

In the “Secret of the Rosary, “not only does St. Louis de Montfort teach us the importance of the Rosary, he also points out however that we need to understand the Rosary more deeply and learn to pray it correctly and more reverently and from the heart. He teaches us that the Rosary needs to be prayed with understanding, and it needs to be prayed well. We should ponder the meaning of each word, each phrase and not rush through it in order to get it prayed. Often I have heard the rosary prayed in churches in which the words are hardly distinguishable because it is be said, I don’t say prayed, in such a rush.

Praying the Rosary well is sometimes very, very hard. We have to work hard to try to overcome the many distractions that besiege us as we try to work hard on meditating and contemplating the mysteries of the Rosary which reveal to us the mysteries of the life of Jesus and so open to us a deeper inner life with Him. WE may not always be successful in overcoming the distractions but if we are making an intense effort calling on the Holy Spirit’s help we are pleasing Our Lady and so Pleasing God.

The Rosary prayed well is the prayer to help us to daily live out our consecration to Jesus through Mary in union with St. Joseph. Through it, we begin to more and more walk, through each event of our daily lives, in union with Jesus, in Jesus and for Jesus with the help of His Mother and ours. The rosary is a Christo-centric prayer and so it is a Eucharistic centered prayer. The core of the Hail Mary, as shown by the middle word, is the Jesus, and Jesus is the Eucharist…Blessed is the fruit of thy womb, THE EUCHARIST.

And so, St. Louis in revealing to us the secret of the Rosary also reveals to us how much we need the Rosary in the great struggle we are facing in our world today. The battle we are facing is many times greater than the People of God and the world faced during the Battle of Lepanto. This is why Our Lady came to Fatima; she came to give us the secret to win the spiritual battle that is raging right now in our country and in our world. It is as Blessed Pope John Paul II said the, “final confrontation between the Church and the Anti Church, the Gospel and the anti-Gospel.”

These are decisive times and we and our families, and our world, need the Rosary now more than ever. Our Lady of Fatima remembered to asked us to pray the Rosary daily-she said it even had the power to end wars and so also to prevent them. She offered us the Rosary along with the Brown Scapular, worn as a sign of our total Consecration to her, as the essential spiritual weapons of our troubled times and which lead us to Eucharistic Adoration the source of all our strength and life and of course Love.

In this great Year of Faith as proclaimed by Pope Benedict, let us commit, if we are not doing so, to pray the rosary daily; and if we are doing so, to pray the Rosary more fervently and reverently-to pray the Rosary well. Let us become addicted to the Holy Rosary. Let us also commit, if we are not doing so, to daily pray the Rosary as a family, even if we begin by praying only a decade-the Rosary is the best family prayer beside the Sacred Liturgy. And let us try to do everything we can to not only increase our own devotion and our families devotion to the Most Holy Rosary but to spread this devotion to others in our parish family and among our acquaintances, even among our non-Catholic acquaintances, for the rosary is a biblical prayer that leads us to Jesus.

In the Rosary we truly enter into the School of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and are led through the heart of the mother closer to Her Son’s True Present in the Holy Eucharist, falling in love with Him three. In light of this, I have one other suggestion, and that is to read or reread the wonderful and important Apostolic Letter of Blessed John Paul II on the Rosary entitled, Rosarium Virginis Mariae; on the Most Holy Rosary (October 16, 2002) In its pages he tells us that the Rosary, “Simple yet profound, it still remains, at the dawn of this third millennium, a prayer of great significance, destined to bring forth a harvest of holiness.” When we pray the rosary through the eyes of our soul, we see the life of Christ through the eyes of His Mother. The Hail Mary’s become as background music as she takes us by the hand and walks with us leading us to a living communion with Jesus-the “Blessed Rosary of Mary, (is therefore a) sweet chain linking us to God”

John Paul said the Rosary is as well a prayer for peace and for the family. And responding to so many who after Vatican II objected that the Rosary is a distraction to the Sacred Liturgy, John Paul tells us that Pope Paul VI made clear, not only does this prayer not conflict with the Liturgy, it sustains it, since it serves as an excellent introduction and a faithful echo of the Liturgy, enabling people to participate fully and interiorly in it (the Liturgy) and to reap its fruits in their daily lives.

And so, again, in this Year of Faith, beginning in just a few days-October 11th, let us renew and even increase our efforts through Our Lady’s powerful intercession and through her Holy Rosary to grow in our Faith, Hope and Love in Jesus Truly Present in the Holy Eucharist the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar and in His Holy Catholic Church-this is the answer and solution to all of our modern day troubles.

So let us pray the Rosary with firm faith, hope and love as a way of actively partaking in the great battle of our day. In this great battle against Our Blessed Lord and His Catholic Church, our faithfulness and steadfastness will decide the outcome not only of the battle, but also, the outcome of our own eternal salvation, as well as the eternal salvation of millions of other souls. The stakes could not be higher, but we have hope for we have the secret to Victory-the Secret of the Most Holy Rosary.

Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary, Our Lady of Victory, pray for us sinners who have recourse to thee. Totus Tuus. Amen.