Saturday, July 27, 2013

Immaculate Heart of Mary help us to adore Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharists

Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary time July 28, 2013 Ordinary and Extraordinary Form of the Liturgy

Last we spoke of the importance of prayer; especially contemplative prayer-sitting, like Mary, at the feet of Jesus, looking lovingly at His face and listening attentively to every word He speaks. Both the readings from the Extraordinary and Ordinary Form of the liturgy today continue with the importance of prayer. In the Ordinary from readings we see Abraham praying and interceding to God about the fate of Sodom. And in the Gospel, we read Jesus teaching the apostles how to pray…for we know not how to pray as we ought; and so He gives them the Our Father. In the Extraordinary Form St. Paul tells us that we need the Spirit in order to pray well and to please God in our prayer; and the Gospel from St. Luke tells us about the Pharisees in his prideful prayer and the sinful Publican in his humble prayer.

All these readings remind us that we must approach God as our Father, better yet as our daddy. We are to speak to Him humbly, as a child speaks to its daddy whom the child loves with his whole heart; we are to speak to Him with the simplicity of a child that trusts that the Father always hears him and will answer him in a way and time that is best for the child; and finally, speak to Him with the purity of a child that respects the father so much that the child would never do anything to intentionally to upset the father but only strive to please the father. …”

Purity and childlikeness helps us to make sure that we never say the “Our Father,” or any other prayer to God, without the realization that it is God the Almighty that we are speaking to. Intimacy and reverence must always go together in addressing our prayer to God. And so our prayer must be reverent and said from the heart to a All Holy Father who Loves us so much.

Because God love us so much, Jesus instructs us that our prayer to the Father should also be a trusting prayer, one that realizes that the Father already knows what we need even before we ask, and so will only give us the good things we need; however, not necessarily the things we want. Along with the Father giving us only the good things that we need, He will also give it in a way, and at a time which is best for us. He answers all prayers, but according to His Holy Will, not to our own.

This brings up another point Jesus that teaches about prayer; and that is, for God to listen to our prayer we must, must first be reconciled both with Him and with our neighbor. In other words, for our prayer to be effective, for it to bear fruit in our life, we must be in a right relationship with God by regularly receiving forgiveness for our sins in the Sacrament of Confession; always remembering however, we will only be forgiven to the extent we forgive others. In order to receive forgiveness, we must forgive others who have sinned against us.

We must also never approach God with the heart of the Pharisee but always with the humble heart of the publican…for, “O God a humble heart of Lord you will not despise”…so God be merciful to me a miserable sinner….and have mercy on all mankind for we are all sinners in equal need of God’s mercy. Any good in us is not of ourselves; nor is it given to us because of what we done…it is from the Mercy and goodness of God. For our prayer to be heard we must be humble, “for every one that exalted himself will be humbled and he that humble himself shall be exalted.”

We must humble ourselves. The problem is however, that we can’t humble ourselves for we are naturally prideful; we need God’s grace. And where do we get that…from prayer yes, but also from the Sacraments, in particular frequent confession but most importantly from the Most blessed of all Sacraments the Most Holy Eucharist…not just receiving the Holy Eucharist but coming before the Holy Eucharist as a child, on our knees, adoring the God-Man present there.

And so, it is interesting that in St. Luke chapter 18(which is the Gospel for the Extraordinary Form) if you read the next verses which immediately follow this weeks Gospel verses…you will hear that little children where brought to Jesus, even infants that He might touch them. But when the disciples saw this, they rebuked those who brought the children. But Jesus calling them together said: “Suffer children to come to me and forbid them not; for of such is the Kingdom of God.”

These verses certainly imply that we must be as little children to come before Jesus, for else where Jesus tells us that unless we become as little children we will not enter the Kingdom of God. And how best do come before Jesus? We do so by coming before Him in His true physical presence in the Holy Eucharist. But again, we must do so humbly, trustfully and pure.

Additionally these verses point two other important points. First, that we must help other “children come before Him by praying for all sinners, all of God’s children before His Eucharistic presences asking for the grace of God’s love and mercy to touch them as it has touched us; we must ask this for both those we love and for those who have trespassed against us. We must pray for the whole world.

And second we must bring the little ones, our children even our infants before His Eucharist presence. And to do so not only at Holy Mass, but also during times of Adoration outside of Mass. This is why I continue to push children’s adoration. We must suffer to bring the children before the Eucharist King…and not prevent them in any way….the world can be saved by little children being taught to adore their God truly present in His resurrected and glorified body in the little white Host. We need a Eucharist Crusade of Children. This also implies being open to life so that more children can come into the world in order to adore their God in the Holy Eucharist in order that they can adore him by the way they live their lives.

This brings up an additional point. We can’t live lives of righteousness without the grace that comes from the Eucharist. If we are going to be counted among the ten righteous needed to spare our modern age from God’s promised chastisements then we must spend more time humbly, trustfully and with purity in adoration of the Holy Eucharist begging God’s pardon and mercy on us and on our sinful world. This grace and mercy can transform us into other Christ so that everything we do, everything no matter how small becomes a prayer, a sacrifice, and act of penance, in order to merit grace for the conversion and salvation of souls.

Next week, August 4th, we celebrate the feast day of St. John Vinney, the patron saint of parish priest; St. John Vianney discovered the secret of moving and opening the Father’s heart to our humble prayer. That secret was humble, faithful, persistent and reverential prayer in front of the Blessed Sacrament. St Vianney spent hours on his knees before Jesus in the Eucharist, praying for the conversion of His parishioners and for the whole world.

Thankfully there are many people throughout the world today, both religious and lay faithfully alike, who like St John Vianney, make weekly, even daily Holy Hours before the Blessed Sacrament. "Thank God, there are those who pray each and every day with the faith of Abraham from the heart. It could be their persevering prayer before for the tabernacle that as so far saved our sinful world from God's divine justice. They are the modern day Abraham's dialoging with God, imploring his mercy and forgiveness for the sins of the modern cities of our world.

But are there enough praying before the Eucharist? Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed--there just weren't enough people--ten--reaching out to God. (If we compare the population of Sodom and Gomorrah with the United States, in ratio, we would need 300,000 righteous people). And so, will you also be one of them that will on your knees before the Blessed Sacrament, reach out to the Father through the Son on behalf of others, so that our world may be converted and so souls be saved? Speak to the Father today from your heart. Beg his mercy for our fallen Cities and country while the Father is still preserving in his mercy, beg His mercy for yourself and others. Persistence prayer to Our Father God will begin to end the persistent sin and un-forgiveness in our world and in our own life.

Let us at this Mass and every Mass, as we offer ourselves along with Jesus in loving sacrifice to the Father, ask our Blessed Mother to help us make this offering fully and completely, better yet let us make this offering through her Immaculate Heart so that she herself can place it in the Sacred Heart of her Son…Surely He will accept it from her hands!

Let us ask her to obtain for us the grace to live this offering so that every thing we do in our daily lives can become a sacrifice, an act of penance, for love of God and for love of neighbor. This is what the angel of Fatima meant when he cried out Penance! Penance! Penance! O most holy Trinity, Father Son and Holy Spirit I adore you profoundly. I offer to Thee the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, truly present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the sins, sacrileges and indifference for which He is truly offended. And through the intercession of the most Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary I beg of thee the conversion of poor sinners. Amen.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Let us ask the Blessed Virgin Mary to help us sit silently at the feet of Jesus and listen to His words in loving rapture.

July 21st, 2013 Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time.

In today’s Holy Gospel we are giving an incredible invitation by the Holy Spirit, who is speaking to each of us through the Evangelist St. Luke. Today you and I are invited to come and sit literally at the feet of Jesus and listen to His words. It’s an invitation to come into His Mysterious but True Presence, in order to experience for our selves His infinite Love and Mercy; allowing the power of this Love and Mercy into our daily lives and into our relationships with one another, sharing the Love of God alive in us with the whole world.

Today, we see Jesus at the home of Lazarus, where his two sisters are doing apparently very different actions. It would seem a very familiar scene in any household especially at the holidays- one person is stuck doing all of the work, while others sit and visit and do nothing to help. In our account, Martha for her part does what is customary; she is so absorbed in making sure everything is perfect- actively attending to so many details- is there enough bread? Have we prepared enough meat? (On and on).

Mary, on the other hand, it would seem, sits passively in silence doing nothing at the master’s feet. Mary is not helping Martha with all the chores. Now, out of justice, we might think that Jesus should say to her- “Mary please help your sister-Martha, she is anxious and worried about so many things;” but he does not. Jesus instead turns to her sister and says, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about so many things and yet few are needed, indeed only one. It is Mary who has chosen the better part; it is not to be taken from her.”

After we recover from our natural shock from Jesus apparent failure to act in justice, we have to consider what all of this means. For the Fathers of the Church this passage has been seen as showing the two essential aspects of Christian life-prayer and service; Mary representing prayer; and Martha-service to others. Now often, these two aspects are seen in opposition to one another; however, nothing can be further from the case; they are intricately bound.

Every Christian, even the most recluse hermit, even the pope, must live these two aspects of the Christian life- prayer and service; both are needed to authentically follow the Master. Now most of us understand the need for service. But the prayer dimension, and in particular the silent contemplative prayer type, is often put in second place or even omitted in our world today. For many, prayer, especially silent contemplative prayer is seen as being merely passive-doing nothing, accomplishing nothing. But the fact is, we can only live lives of faithful service to our brothers and sisters when we first come to Jesus in prayer, listen and seek a loving Union with the Creator. Contemplative prayer then is primary; it is the best part. We must first come before we go, we must first be filled with God’s love before we can share that love with others.

Why is that prayer, and again especially contemplative prayer, which could be defined as sitting silently at the feet of Jesus in order to listen to His words, why is prayer so undervalued in our world today and dare I say in our Church today? Why has it become secondary to so call active service, or even omitted. I believe one of the main reasons prayer is undervalued or left out of the Christian life is time. We all have such packed calendars. Modern technology may make the organization of our packed calendars easier, but all we have accomplished is to just put more things into our day. We become absorbed by the clock. We have a clock on our wrist, on our cell phone, Blackberry, or IPhone. Clocks are everywhere to remind us that time is short, so we must get busy, busy, busy. As we sit in the traffic jams, we are scheduling and checking email, multitasking, frustrated because we are late to a meeting-(the person in the other vehicle can be seen not as a human being but merely as an obstacle getting in our way). We have to finish everything in order to pick up the children from school and get them to soccer practice and then on to their music lesson. Somewhere in there, we’ll try to grab some fast food and chow it down as we drive. We have been trained to think that we only have a good day when we accomplish a great deal. I think this is a pretty accurate description of our hectic life these days.

We have the temptation as well, to bring this busyness into our spiritual life. We are rushed for time, so when we look at where time will be spent in the presence of our God in intimate prayer, we say to ourselves, “I Only have a couple of minutes to pray today- I’ll try to get some more time later, but today, I need to accomplish something.” The ‘more time later’ however, never seems to come, and eventually we become too busy for even a couple of minutes, prayer can be omitted altogether. And if we do find time for prayer, our minds can be filled with so many anxious concerns that our prayer life too, becomes just a matter of getting things done instead of a matter of intimate love with the divine Lover-Jesus—we can end up saying many things but never really sit at the feet of Jesus and listen to His words; we do all the talking.

And so what are we to do? The fact is we can never really be too busy for prayer, never too busy to sit at the feet of Jesus and look at His face, never to busy to sit silently as well in order to hear his voice. So first, our minds have to undergo a conversion about time. Love never counts time when together, only when apart, for those in love can’t wait to be together again and when they are together they never want time to end.

Time spend with Jesus is not wasted time. Time with our Lord is the most loving and indeed most effective and active way of living the Christian life; it is far from sitting before Jesus doing nothing—being with our beloved is never doing nothing. It is a matter of being, not doing; to sit in the presence of the one we love and attempting to united ourselves with them in love; yes, speaking to them but at times saying nothing just staring into their eyes. This, THIS is the most active activity—contemplative activity.

Second, we must make changes in our calendar. Personal prayer should be a scheduled event in our day, we should add it to our smart phone’s calendars. Our day should start firstly with prayer on our knees, even before we get dress and then we should end our day with a prayer. In between, we need to schedule time for prayer, perhaps a rosary walk, stopping into the church a few minutes, even attending daily Mass. We need to be still too whenever we can and know that He is God and listen to Him.

We also need to practice the awareness that God is with us all day long even as we work, play and relax; we should pause before each new activity of the day and place ourselves in the presence of God, that is realize that God is presence with us as we fulfill faithfully our daily tasks offering them to Him in love through the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Our ordinary daily tasks then become a prayer in of themselves, they then bear great spiritual fruit in our lives and in our world—they become a way to the Lord for us and for others, instead of getting in the way.

Next, speaking of the Holy Mass, we need to make Holy Mass the most important event of our lives, revolving our lives around it, not the Mass around our lives. In other words we need to put the Mass always first. To help us we should consider putting in extra time for Mass on Sunday- arrive early in order to properly prepare for Mass and spend a few minutes afterwards in Thanksgiving to God for being giving the awesome privilege and blessing to even have been able to be present at Mass, not to even mention receiving God Himself into our body and soul.

At Holy Mass we also must be careful not to be too much of a Martha, having to “do” something. The highest form of activity at Mass again is not doing something or even saying something, but in being… sitting at the feet of Jesus and silently allowing ourselves to bask in the rays of His love for us. We accept the offering of His love and then we try with the Virgin Mary’s help to offer our love in return. Holy Mass should be about the action between two hearts who are growing in love with one another-who seek union with one another; our heart and Jesus’ heart; cor ad cor loquitur--heart speaks silently to heart. We should look into His eyes by staring at the Eucharist and know that He too is looking into our eyes with unfathomable love.

By our loving unrushed presence at Mass we are like Martha and Mary welcoming into our home-Jesus, who is truly on the altar and in the Tabernacle. (To help us realize the infinite value of the Mass and the Eucharist, we could also come before the tabernacle outside of Holy Mass to sit at the feet of Jesus, to experience His loving Gaze and be filled with His Love and Mercy and in the silence hear His voice in our hearts. In doing this, we are choosing the better part.

The more you and I make time for Jesus by intimate prayer in our daily lives, the more we make time for Jesus by coming into His true physical presence in the Holy Eucharist at Holy Mass and whenever we can, at least one hour a week outside of Holy Mass, the more we are able to experience his tangible presence in our lives and in our everyday relationships, the more we experience his Divine love acting in our world. By being in His presence we experience the power of His Divine Love and receive the bliss that it promises and then the more we become transformed and empowered to in service share more fully that bliss with those in the world around us. Contemplative prayer must always be primary in our life. Jesus will reward the generosity of our time spend with Him in love, just has he rewarded Martha and Mary’s time with Him, by later raising their brother Lazarus from the dead. Jesus can never be outdone in generosity.

As we finish this time of prayer, let us ask the Blessed Virgin to grant us the diligence of Martha as well as the awareness of the true presence of God of Mary. Let us daily as individuals and families pray her Holy Rosary. The Rosary is a Eucharistic Prayer. In it we ask the Blessed Mother to help us in our busy and hectic lives make time to pray and to sit silently at the feet of Her Son in contemplative prayer. The Rosary is a prayer to lead us to the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus in order to allow the Power of Its Love to be active in our daily lives and in our World; This is the greatest service we can perform. Our Lady of the Rosary, Our Lady of Fatima, Pray for us. Amen.