Saturday, March 29, 2014

Hail Mary full of Grace the Lord is with thee, Blessed is the fruit of thy womb--the Holy Eucharist.

Today, although we are in the very middle of the Lenten Season, we pause for a Sunday of anticipation- today we anticipate and look forward to the joy of the Celebration of the Resurrection-Easter. Like many things in life, today is a paradox- here we are in the midst of a penitential season, a season when we mediate on our personal sin and on the suffering and death of our Savior, and yet we are called to be filled with joy. And so we celebrate early- using the Rose vestments—rose the color of joy, instead of violet—the color of penitential sorrow.

Why this respite of joy in the midst of sorrow and suffering? Well one reason I think is that the Church knows that penance is difficult for us. And so we don’t become discouraged in our efforts to change, the Church desires for us to see the end, the goal—that is the joy of our celebration of the Risen Lord and His victory over sin and death. The Church knows that not only is our Lenten penance difficult but so too is our entire life as well…it so hard for us to change for the better. She wants us to know that the efforts we have put into Lent so far are not done in vain, even if sometimes, many times, we have failed. Even if our efforts don’t seem to be bearing much fruit, the Church wants us to know that our efforts, if they are sincere, can still lead us into a deeper relationship with our Lord, as we saw last week with the story of the Samaritan woman…

A reporter once asked our Pope Emeritus Benedict why life was filled with so many contradictions. Benedict responded by saying it isn’t, but it is full of many paradoxes that only seem to be contradictions. When we struggle during this season of Lent (and during our lives in general) to reform our lives, we often encounter lots of paradoxes. For instance, things seem to get worse before they get better; in order to learn to walk we have to fall a lot; the further we grow in faith, the darker things can seem to become and the more obstacles seem to appear in our path of holiness; the more we pray, sometimes the harder and dryer our prayer becomes.

We saw these types of paradoxes in the life of many of the saints such as St. Therese the little flower and Blessed Mother Therese of Calcutta. They both spent the last years of their lives devoid of any warm fuzzy spiritual feelings and consolations, and full of contradictions and oppositions from both friend and foe. Yet, they were intimate friends with our Lord; one could say even one with Him. They both had to suffer much interior and exterior oppositions; at points it even seemed God had all but abandoned them. But in their sufferings they paradoxically had at the same time, lives of heavenly joy. All the sufferings and contradictions were paradoxes because far from being signs of abandonment from God, or punishments from their sins, these struggles were instead proofs of the extreme closeness of God, or in spiritual terms, the spiritual espousal or mystical union of their soul with God. In other words, God actually used their spiritual struggles and the struggles of their lives to increase and purify their desire for Him alone, instead of desire only good feelings or spiritual consolations that come from Him. And so paradoxically they found that peace and joy that this world cannot give in the cross. In the very midst of their great sufferings and struggles their lives manifested the great goodness and mercy of God.

This life of paradox is also certainly true as well with the man born blind in our Gospel today. The poor blind man had to spend his days begging for alms-a tough, hard life, spent in darkness, loneliness and mostly in discomfort, hunger--suffering. And so he is sitting and begging on day, with his hand stretched out into the darkness, hoping for a just a few coins in order to buy some food, when Jesus passes by.

At first it would seem that Jesus ignores him since there is no mention of Jesus even noticing the man. This would seem to be a natural reaction as a “good” Jew believed that anyone suffering from physical illness was doing so as a result of their personal sin and so deserved their fate…so why bother to get “involved” they were suffering the just deserts of their sin, sleeping in the bed they made so to speak.

Seeing Jesus walk by, the disciples must have assumed that Jesus passed this blind man by because he was nothing but a poor sinner, who certainly had no faith; and again, was suffering justly from his sins, or at least from the sins of His parents. And so the disciples decided to take the opportunity to ask Jesus one of those nagging questions that we all can have in the back of our minds when someone, even ourselves suffers- who is at fault? Was it he or his parents who sinned and caused this man to be blind? Did he, or did they “do” something to deserve this? And subconsciously hidden in these questions, the following, “God what did I do to deserve this?” Why me?

Jesus, however, of course, didn’t ignore the man. As a divine Person Jesus had already peered into this man’s heart and saw that this poor blind soul had a heart open to see through the eyes of faith. Jesus also knew the question that was on the minds of his disciples; and so purposely, he appeared to pass this poor man by, but only so that He could use this occasion and the evil of this man’s blindness to show the power, the goodness and the mercy of God, and to do so through many paradoxes.

Paradoxically, Jesus uses evil, which is the absence of Good, like blindness is an absent of sight, in order to manifest and point to ultimate goodness. Jesus uses mud to cleanse; He heals an unlearned faithless blind man in order to show that the learned, the Pharisees, are really the unwise, blind leaders with no faith. They are truly the blind, because they are unable, unwilling, to see with the eyes of faith that Jesus really is God before them; and so they can’t lead God’s people because they don’t know the One to whom they should lead them to…they are truly blind guides, like so many in our own day.

Jesus however, doesn’t just use paradoxes to shame the Pharisees in order to show forth the goodness of God. He goes on to use the paradox that now this new man of faith, who once suffered in his blindness, now suffers in his sight by being interrogated by the blind Pharisees and even abandoned by his parents. Because of Jesus the poor man who was once an outcast because of His blindness is now again, it seems, an outcast- all alone, seemingly with no one around to help. On the surface this seems like a terrible blow- another very dark moment in the life of this man who had so much darkness in his life already. Yet paradoxically, it was the greatest moment of His life. Now that He had his faith, even with it being tested by obstacles, he discovered he was not alone at all, God was with Him; He shared in Christ own sufferings, in the cross of Christ and so he began to share in the victory of Christ. In this he had hope and so he could endure all that would come his way and do so with the joy and peace which surpasses feelings and emotions or lack there of, and which goes to the depth of one’s soul, one’s very being. And so the once blind man who could now truly see was able outwit his integrators and testify in his sufferings to Jesus, the one who not only healed him of His blindness but gave to Him the eyes of true faith and so true hope in the midst of the darkness and blindness of the world.

It is at this moment when Jesus again visits the blind man and reveals Himself to the man—the man who was blind now sees not just Jesus the man, but Jesus the God. He then immediately falls to his knees and makes an act of faith and worships Jesus. Suddenly, all the paradoxes are explained. Those who were able to see were really blind and the one who was blind really saw; or said in more plain terms, the ones who were supposed to have faith did not and the one who was supposed to be without faith has faith. And, this blind man with his new faith has it put to the test but only so that his faith may be strengthened even more and His love of God increased.

You see, for us it may be the same; our lives, especially our lives of faith are full of seemingly contradictions. The more we try to grow in faith, the more it seems to get worse. The better we try to become, even in the little things, the worst we seem to become. And when we begin to make our faith and our relationship with Jesus primary in our lives, the more we draw closer to Him, the more obstacles we can face and the more attacks we can experience, the more our families and even our dearest friends behave like the parents of the blind man and want to disown us.

Yet, if we desire to follow Jesus and are obedient to His requests, given to us through His Church, we can know in faith that if we experience these paradoxes and “contradictions” from the world, we are in the right place. It may be dark and difficult for us now or in the future; however, we must know that our faith is merely being tested but only so that it can grow stronger, so that we can grow in deeper love with our Lord-God has not abandoned us, we are not alone. With this truth in mind, we see that the obstacles, contradictions and even our failures are really paradoxes, in which, if we let Him, Jesus will reveal and manifest to us the mercy and goodness of God. And in these sufferings, we will also find in the depths of our souls that peace and joy that we long for and that only God can give—this is the power of the resurrection working in our lives.

We will also better understand the great paradoxes of the faith; it is in our weakness that we are strong; the harder it is to pray the more powerful and pleasing to God our power is; to save our live we must lose it; He who has much grace, more will be given to him, the one who has little even what he has will be taken away from him; the more we give the more receive; the more we give up our freedom to our Lord, the more we are truly free; the way to happiness, joy and eternal life is the way of the cross, bitterness and self defeat; and finally, it is dying that we are born to eternal life.

Let us ask our Lord today, as we celebrate with joy the half way point of this Lenten season, that we might have our faith strengthened and trust deepened in order to truly see in our lives the goodness and mercy of God. But first, we must recognize that we are the blind man in today’s Gospel and so in humility and poverty turn to the Lord in Confession that we may healed of our blindness and be open to spiritual sight. Then, if we are to see, if we are not to remain in our blindness, we must have frequent intimate contact with the One, the only one, who can heal us. And this One is Jesus truly present in the Holy Eucharist. Another paradox, the more our blind eyes behold His glory hidden behind the veil of the Whiteness of the Host, the more clearly we can see the God hidden there. Like the eye is blind without the light of the sun s-u-n, so the eyes of faith are blind without the Light of the Son S-O-N; And the true Son is the Holy Eucharist, the Light of the World!

Let us ask our Holy Mother Mary to lead us to more closely to Jesus in the Eucharist so that we might be heal of our blindness in order to see through the eyes of faith, that He is really there; in the Eucharist our God is really with us in our struggles and in the darkness, leading us always to the light of His truth and the freedom of His love.

The Center of the prayer “The Hail Mary” is Jesus and Jesus is the Eucharist. Mother of God, Blessed is the fruit of thy womb—the Holy Eucharist. In this you are the cause of our Joy, so pray for us and help us keep our eyes on the fruit of your womb Jesus, truly, really, physically, personally, present in the Holy Eucharist; He is our true Hope and our true Joy; He is literally our Heaven and so our true happiness both in this life and in the life to come! Amen.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Immaculate Heart of Mary, St. Joseph pray for us poor thirsty sinners, open our hearts more fully to Jesus love, the living water, which comes to us through the Holy Eucharist, help us to confess our sins, and adore Him so we can receive Him worthily.

Matthew 4; 5-42 Third Sunday in Lent. March 23rd, 2014

“Give me a drink.” This simple statement begins the encounter of Jesus with the Samaritan woman in our Gospel today. This simple statement, “Give me a drink,” reveals a lot about Jesus, and how He draws this woman into a new and profound relationship with God. Conversely, the way in which Jesus deals with this woman can also teach us a lot about how Jesus deals with us. Specifically, it can teach us how He constantly tries to draw us into a deeper friendship, love and deeper union with Him, and with His Father in the Holy Spirit. As we begin the encounter, it is important to note a couple of important details.

St. John tells us it was midday- the start of the heat of the day. “Respectable” people just didn’t go to the well at the midday. For one thing, it was too hot. So you’d always go first thing in the morning or closer to sundown; it was cooler then. You’d only go at midday if you wanted to avoid others; that is, if you had a reason to hide, which is another reason why respectable people only went in the morning.

The fact that the Samaritan woman comes at this time reveals to us a lot about her. It reveals that she definitely has something to hide, has a reason to hide. First, she was a Samaritan, hated by the Jews, living in the midst of Jews; second, she was a woman, and as such considered beneath a slave; and third, she was living in sin and so committing public scandal. With all this being the case, how does Jesus deal with the situation…deal with her?

To begin with, Jesus takes a bold step here even speaking to a Samaritan woman, not to mention one who is trying to hide. A Jewish man would certainly not address a woman in public and certainly would not address a Samaritan woman; not even to mention, a Samaritan woman living in public sin! No wonder why the Samaritan woman is totally surprised by Jesus mere presence; but she was about to be surprised even more.

Jesus then says to her, “Give me a drink.” Unthinkable! If he accepts a drink from her a sinner, a Samaritan, and worse a woman, he will surely become unclean according to Jewish law. Yet, Jesus is poor; He has no bucket. He has no vessel to drink with, but He’s really thirsty- it is noon and he has been walking in the heat of the day; He is tired (Imagine, God is tired!). But is his thirst really just for water, or is it a thirst for something more, much more?

And so, Jesus asks her for water; yet, paradoxically, He will say that He Himself is the source of a new type of water—“Living Water” that will satisfy unlike anything she might have drunk before. Jesus uses this simple request of water to get at something much deeper- a much deeper thirst that He Himself has. He doesn’t so much thirst for water but He thirsts for her love, for Her heart, for her soul, FOR HER;

And so Jesus asks her for water. Yet as he does so, his request reveals something else to this sinful woman. She begins to see her profound poverty, her profound need as she comes into contact with and experiences the Divine Person of Jesus Christ, the very source of the living water, of new life – She realizes that she is the one who is really thirsty and so she ends up asking Jesus for this "living water." And then this woman begins to taste, to drink in the gift of faith that is being offered to her by the One who thirsts not for water, but for her. She begins to experience the waters of His divine grace, life and love.

The encounter continues with another request from Jesus to the woman- “go and call your husband.” This seems to be quite a jump; yet, in the way Jesus was leading her,” it was the perfect next question. Once Jesus had made a personal contact with her, his divine presence and His thirst opened up in her, her desire for the love of God, her thirst for the love of God. However, Jesus saw the big obstacle in her life, which was keeping her from true happiness, keeping her from intimacy with God and His love, keeping her thirst from being quenched—that obstacle was her sin and the consequences of her sin. This woman was living in adultery as a result of being married before five times.

Through grace, Jesus gently brings her to acknowledge truthfully her sin, yet it was not a condemning way, but very gently in order to heal her soul and begin to quench its thirst for holiness, for union with God. No doubt, she knew what sin was and she certainly knew the consequences of sin, for she had been deeply wounded by the failed marriages. And her current situation surely couldn’t be called love, by living together with a man who was not her husband, she was basically being used-for true love only comes from a life-long commitment of love within the sacred bond of marriage which is an exchange of persons who give themselves totally to each other, as a visible sign of God’s desire for a heavenly marital union with us.

And so,as a result of her situation the woman was full of guilt and was so ashamed that she did not want to even show herself in public. She came to the well at midday because she had really lost all self-respect; she had lost hope because she had lost her trust in love. She had been looking for love in all the wrong places; she had given up true love for pleasure; and so, for “feeling good.”

But now she realized Jesus loved her…God loved Her! So she went to confession. We don’t know all of what she confessed to Jesus, but she told the people- “He told me everything I have done.” Jesus told her the truth, and the truth set her free. He read her soul and forgave her of all of her sins. He healed the shame she felt, healed her heart and soul.

With her heart now opened through confession and repentance, He flooded her soul with the waters of his grace-the Spirit of Love, which cleansed her of her guilt; her thirst began to be quenched. The joy of repentance and forgiveness was so strong, that she went and told everyone in her village about Jesus, her new love, and her one true love. With her burden lifted and her hope renewed, they believed her; and so, she evangelized them to the forgiveness and healing of Christ and to His love for which they too were thirsting; they too began to be aware of their great thirst.

Jesus brought to this woman the great gift of faith. He healed her by forgiving her sins and placing His love, which is His Spirit, in her thirsting heart. And then He renews her hope by showing her in what or better yet, in Whom to place her hope in, by showing her the Source of all love, human and divine. In other words, Jesus showed her that seeking human love alone, apart from God, only leads to thirst, deep unquenchable thirst that effects the soul. The reality is Humans thirst for the God who remarkably thirsts for them.

Today we realize that we are so often in the same position as the woman at the well. We are burdened by the struggles, trials of life; this life is so full of struggles and we’re sometimes so tired. Through out our Lenten practices, if we have really been doing them, we can see ever more clearly the degree of our defects and our sins in this life. It can seem that we’re not making any real progress; we may even want to imitate the woman at the well and just hide.

Like the woman, we can be discouraged and so begin to lose hope. So often and in so many ways, we have in our lives placed our hope in the wrong things, instead of in Jesus and His love for us. So often we have sought only human love alone, and failed to seek the love that is above every other love--God’s love. So often, we have failed to seek out, with every fiber of our being, The God who is Love! We must love God first!!!!

To help us and to show us His love for us, today at this Holy Mass Jesus comes to us as well. From the cross he looks down on each of us and cries out to us that He thirsts; He thirst for our souls; He thirst for our love; He thirst for you and for me. And then he points us, as He pointed the woman at the well, to the source of living water and how we can come in contact with it. And how we come in contact with the Living Waters of God’s love is adoration of God. Adoration of God is where faith and hope opens itself to love; adoration is how we love God first in our lives.

We adore God by adoring Jesus who is still on earth in the Holy Eucharist. The Holy Eucharist is Jesus; and so, the Holy Eucharist is God on earth for us to adore. The Holy Eucharist, which is Jesus, is the primary source of this living water, which is the Holy Spirit. Through our faith, hope and love in the Holy Eucharist, Jesus sends us this Living Water, the Holy Spirit deep into our heart and soul. We only lose hope and become discouraged when we don’t look at Jesus in the Holy Eucharist; in other words, when we don’t adore Jesus as God in the Holy Eucharist and place our trust in Him first and foremost above all else-we begin to die of thirst. Jesus I trust in You (the Divine Mercy image is really a picture of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist)

To come in faith before the Holy Eucharist is then to encounter Jesus, as did the woman at the well; to spend time with Jesus at the well spring of the living water of God’s love. We can only experience Christ in the Holy Eucharist if we have faith that He is really and truly there, if we believe that the Holy Eucharist is Christ and so that the Holy Eucharist is God. And if we believe it then our actions in trust and with love must correspond with what we believe.

If we confess all of our sins as did the woman at the well, we then open our hearts to Jesus. By our sin we ourselves block Jesus’ love from coming into our hearts. But confessing our sins removes this self-imposed block and opens our hearts to Jesus Love. And adoring Jesus in the Holy Eucharist then put us touch in the living water of God’s love, the Holy Spirit, so our hearts can be filled more fully with God Himself. Yes we must receive Jesus in the Holy Eucharist at Holy Communion every Sunday, even every day if we can, but we must first adore Him in the Holy Eucharist, not only at Holy Mass but whenever we can outside of Holy Mass. Saint Augustine once said, “Let no one eat Christ's flesh, except he first adore it.” (Augustine on Psalm 99:5).

We must drink deeply from the only well that can quench our thirst and that well is the Heart of Christ. Drinking from any other well will leave us dying of thirst. Yes, we must seek human love, human love is good, (we’re not angels), but we cannot seek human love apart from Divine love, the love of God, we cannot in other words put human loves before God. And we must drink always from the well of divine love, which is the Heart of Christ, and the Heart of Christ is the Holy Eucharist.

And so to sum things up; only when we adore God in Spirit and in truth by believing the Eucharist is really Jesus, our lives cleansed by His forgiveness in confession, and entrusting ourselves totally to Him by offering ourselves and all our love to Him at Holy Mass, only then will we begin to experience and quench our thirst for love….both authentic human love and even more importantly, God’s infinite love, God Himself, Our Heavenly Father through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior through the living waters of the Holy Spirit. When we discover Jesus’ thirst for our love and we try to quench this thirst by offering our love to Him, we discover that he fills our thirst for love of Him, he sends us His Holy Spirit who leads us to a deeper union with God, the Most Blessed Trinity—Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Let us Pray, Oh Heart of Jesus, from which Blood and Water gushed forth as the source of the Sacramental life of the Church- as a fount of love and mercy for us and for the whole world, I trust in Thee. Immaculate Heart of Mary, St. Joseph pray for us poor thirsty sinners, open our hearts more fully to Jesus love, the living water, which comes to us through the Holy Eucharist, help us to confess our sins, and adore Him so we can receive Him worthily.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Our Lady, Mother of the Holy Eucharist and so Mother of our Hope, help us to be people of hope, by seeing all things through the eyes of faith

Matthew 17; 1-9. Second Sunday in Lent. March 16th, 2014

As you know our readings for Sunday Mass are on a three year cycle, so every three years the same readings come around. In preparing for this homily today I decided to take a look back three years ago to the homily I gave during this Second Sunday of Lent in Cycle A and again for this particular Gospel. There I found out that the homily I gave was given just after the incomprehensible tragedy of the Earthquake and Tsunami that occurred in Japan back in March 11, of 2011. I began my homily back then by mentioning this terrible event, the tens of thousand killed or missing; that it was an humanitarian crisis of epic proportions, one that sent shock waves around the world, affect the entire world, even the global markets; and that it almost brought the collapse of the country Japan.

After this I took a look at the Homily I gave three years prior to that; the second Sunday of Lent Cycle A, 2008. There I found that in the homily I gave then, I began by addressing the horrible shooting, that resulted in the terrible loss of human lives along with many serious injuries and so much resulting suffering, that occurred February 14, 2008, right here in DeKalb at Northern Illinois University. And along with Bishop Doran, I prayed for the victims and for their families.

After addressing both of these terrible tragedies and the terrible suffering that resulted, I began both of these homilies by reminding everyone that for us as Christians, who are people of Hope, we must see all things through the eyes of faith. This same reminder goes for us today that have been witness to so many other terrible tragedies during these last three years including the loss of the Malaysian airplane with 239 souls on board, we have yet to hear what happen to them-crash-hijacking?. So today, this is also the message I want to begin with again today; it is the message of today’s Gospel. Again the message is this; for us as Christians, who are people of Hope, we must see all things through the eyes of faith.

Today, we hear Peter, James and John witness the great moment of the Transfiguration of Jesus on Mount Tabor. The disciples hear God the Father Himself proclaim, with thunderous power, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to Him.” By these words we have God the Father Himself witnessing that Jesus is God the Son. And since we have the testimony of the Father, who is God who can neither deceive nor be deceived, we should never doubt the divinity of Jesus and so never doubt the divine power of Jesus and His divine love.

At the same time they hear the voice of the Father, the disciples see a hint, just a tiny hint of the glory of Jesus’ Divinity shining through His humanity. Yet even that tiny glimpse made the disciples speechless. They had seen a peek at that which eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor has it even enter into the mind of man… Is it any wonder that Peter did not want this moment to end—he was content to stay on that mountain forever? I am sure he felt he was in heaven itself; no wonder, for he had peered into heaven itself, the Heart of Jesus; they had gotten a glimpse of the unveiled face of God.

But Peter and the other disciples had to eventually come down from that mountain—led by Jesus they descended to what was waiting for them—a time when their faith would be tested as never before; a time when their hearts would be pulled asunder, a tragedy, greater and more horrible than any the world had ever seen, or will ever see—they would witness the terrible passion and death of Christ— deicide-the killing of God. And if that wasn’t enough they would experience their own weakness and sinfulness in their failure to remain faithful to Jesus even, even when they now knew Him to be the true and living God made visible in the flesh.

For His part, by His divine foreknowledge, Jesus knew only too well, how badly His disciples’ faith was about to be tested and their hope shaken as Jesus embarked on His journey to Jerusalem to be condemned, mocked, scourged and crucified. Jesus knew that in their fear and weakness they would abandon Him in His hour of need. And so Jesus wanted to give them a reason not fall into despair when this happened, so they would be able to eventually repent and turn to Him for pardon and strength-this reason was the experience of the Transfiguration in which they got a chance to see a glimpse of the ultimate Goal, for when one knows the goal he can endure with hope the journey.

In their future struggles as well, and even in their own future passion and death, Jesus wanted them to know that in His love for them, He would always be with them supporting them with the power of His divinity, with the power of His divine love. And if they would but remain faithful by relying on His divine power, and not their own, they would share one day in the fullness of Jesus’ glory in heaven, that glory on which they glimpsed on that mountain. They would become one with Jesus and through Him one with the Father forever! This would help to maintain their hope throughout their life so that they could persevere to the end. And so they did persevere, in spite of their own great trials, persecutions, sufferings, in spite of their human weaknesses, and eventually even in spite their own passion and death.

The Transfiguration informs us as well, that in our own struggle, in our own battle with sin, in our own daily crosses and in our own heavy crosses, present or to come, we should never forget that the Jesus whom the three Apostles were with on Mount Tabor is the same Jesus who is daily at our side. Jesus knows how much we are going to be tested by the struggle and the crosses in our lives, the ones we may be carrying now or the crosses to come. Jesus knows how strong is our sinfulness and selfishness and how weak we are to overcome them; He knows how weak is our hope; that is, He knows how weak is our trust in Him, and how strong is our fear. In His compassion, He desires to give us grace and strengthen our hope even in the midst of sinfulness, in the midst of our profound weakness, even in the midst of our darkest fears and sorrows.

The truth is, is that we like the disciples have so many times abandon Jesus and failed to faithfully follow him; nevertheless, He doesn’t want us to fall into despair but instead to turn to Him for pardon and strength. And in our future struggles, failures and even in own future passion and death, Jesus wants us to know that in His love for us, He will always be with us to support us with the power of His divinity. And if we but call upon His help, through intimate daily prayer and the Sacraments, and remain in His love by following His Commandments, we too will come to share in the fullness of Jesus’ own glory in heaven, a glory that even now we can get a glimpse of, but only through the eyes of faith. It is a glimpse in faith which surpasses all feelings and emotions or lack there of.

It is here at the Holy Mass that we, like the apostles, are able to get our own glimpse into that which eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor has it even enter into the mind of man. And so, we need to desperately ask for the grace to be like St. Peter and not want this incredible moment to end, being content to stay on this mountain of the Holy Mass forever, even if feelings and emotions are lacking. We need an increase of faith to realize that time as no place at the Holy Mass, just as time as no place in heaven. We need an increase of faith as well to convince us, whose lives are so often dominated by feelings, that faith has nothing whatever to do with emotion. That “…it doesn’t have anything to do with "feeling good," because very often faith recommends something that is very difficult, such as taking up a cross." - (Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen)

At the transfiguration, Peter only got a tiny glimpse of heaven; but, at the holy Mass where heaven and earth unite, we get more than glimpse, for we are actually more in heaven than we are on earth. Jesus’ gift of allowing the apostles to be present at the transfiguration doesn’t compare to His gift to us of allowing us to be able to present at Holy Mass—Our gift is much greater, infinitely greater. Here at Mass, Jesus transforms in front of our eyes with a greater glory than even at the transfiguration. This is why we can’t see look upon Him with our human eyes but must see Him with our eyes of faith, for no one can see the face of God and live. However, by seeing Jesus’ glory through the eyes of faith, we can be strengthened just as were the disciples, even more so because “blessed are those who believe without seeing.” (John 20;29)

The transfigured, glorified Jesus in all of His glory and with all of the power of His divinity becomes present to us in the Holy Eucharist as the priest pronounces the words of consecration. His sacrifice on Calvary becomes present as well along with its power to save us and save the world. This power is offered to us and we can receive it into our lives if we but in thanksgiving offer our lives in return, by dying to sin and selfishness and turning to and living totally for Jesus. The Eucharist is our strength, because it is our goal, it is heaven on Earth already, because it is the Human Heart of Jesus, God Himself still on Earth; and where Jesus is there is heaven too.

As the priest raises Jesus up for us to adore, we too, if we listen, can hear the words of the Father, “Behold this is my beloved Son, listen to Him.” Like the apostles, if we look at the Jesus in the Holy Eucharist with the eyes of faith, we too can get a glimpse of the face of God. Like the apostles, this is what gives us the strength we need to face our own trials and sufferings that await us; this what will help us to get back up when we fail in our efforts to follow Jesus; this is what will help us see that the struggle and what ever we have to sacrifice or endure in this life for love of Jesus, to console His Heart, is worth it, by far.

The glory of Jesus in the Eucharist has the power to renew us, if we let it by turning our lives to Him and offer our lives to Him. It is good for us to be here at this Holy Mass and every Mass where we can ourselves come to Mt Tabor. It is good for us to be able to come anytime to sit before the glory of Jesus hidden in the little white host contained in the "Tabor-nacle". The more we behold Jesus in the Eucharist and the more we believe, adore, hope and love Him there, the more our faith is strengthened, our hope renewed and our charity increased. It is in the Eucharist that Jesus comes to us, touches us and say, “Rise, and do not be afraid.” (Matthew 17;7)

In a few moments, we come to the altar to receive Christ, not only transfigured, but also truly risen and glorified. Like the apostles had to eventually come down from that Mountain of Tabor, we too will have to come down from the mountain of this Holy Mass and so go out and face the events and crosses of our daily lives; but, as the remembrance of the Transfiguration strengthened the apostles to face the struggles and fears of the rest of their lives, the Holy Mass is that principle source of divine grace that will provide us what we need to face the struggles and fears that lie ahead in our own lives.

In the Holy Mass alone…in it, and present at it alone, we discover that the sufferings of this present life are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed in us, and so the Mass also strengthens us in the midst of all the horrors and fears found in our world today. The Holy Mass is very the source of our hope and all hope in this valley of tears, for it alone, through the Holy Spirit working through the Sacred Priesthood, makes present Jesus Who is our Hope; and Jesus is the Hope that never disappoints.

As we continue with our Lenten disciplines, hopefully we have discovered more deeply our deep sinfulness and our profound weakness. If we have haven’t discovered our great misery, maybe we are looking at our neighbor ‘s misery and sinfulness more than our own. In light of our profound sinfulness, weakness, misery, suffering, let us not despair nor become despondent but with great confidence confess our sins in the Sacrament of confession, so our spiritual view can be purified in order to be able to look in faith, hope and trust to the Transfigured and Resurrected Jesus, who with all the Glory and power of His Divinity shining through His humanity is truly and really present in the Holy Eucharist. The strength of His divinity will shine then through the weakness of our own humanity so that we may be transformed by His love and His Mercy and bring this same love and mercy to others so they too can be transformed by them.

Let us then, acknowledge and confess our sins, but not become fixated on them, but instead look at Jesus in the Holy Eucharist, He who is the Divine Mercy of the Father in Person. Let us do this practically by placing everything on the paten at this Holy mass through the hands of the Virgin, everything, even our sins, fear and weakness, so that along with the bread and the wine they, by the power of the Holy Spirit working through the Sacred Priesthood, they may be transformed into Love, the most powerful force on this earth.

Our Lady, Mother of the Holy Eucharist and so Mother of our Hope, help us to be people of hope, by seeing all things through the eyes of faith; And to do so help us to see that this begins by seeing Jesus in the Holy Eucharist through the eyes of Faith—we long to see God’s face. Help us to “see” Jesus transfigured, risen and glorified in the Holy Mass, in the Holy Eucharist so that we may share in His glory both now and at the hour of our death and so through thy powerful intercession, preserve to the very end and help others to do the same. This is our hope! Amen! St. Joseph pray for us.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Mother of the Eucharist, Our Lady of sorrows, pray for us, lead us closer the Lent to Your Son Jesus who is really and truly present, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, in the Holy Eucharist.

First Sunday in Lent. March 9th, 2014

As we begin our Lenten observance, we read about the temptation of Christ at the end of his forty-day fast in the desert. We are told at the end of the fast He was hungry and the tempter came. The ashes we received on Wednesday signify our deep desire to enter into our own forty-day period of preparation in order to purify ourselves for the great feast of Easter, so we can enter it with great joy. We too should grow in our hunger during our Forty-day fast, not just for what we have given up, but at the end of our fast more hungry for that Bread which can only satisfy our deepest hunger. You may have not thought about it, but the temptations we face are much like those that Jesus faced and conquered.

The devil, who by the way exists and is a real person, the devil in today’s Gospel presents Jesus with a shortcut from the cross away from the Father’s Holy Will. It is a temptation to do away with the cross, by giving us what we want instead of what we need- in short to take the easy way out and win us over by feeding us at the emotional level, feeding the hunger of our passions instead of our soul, letting us do what we want instead of helping us do what we should, better yet helping us do and live the Holy Will of God instead of our own unholy will (which is really what sin is, doing our own will in opposition to God’s Will). In the temptations, satan basically told Jesus, “you can win them over with these things, but not with the cross, no, definitely not with the cross. They will never follow you by being obedient to the Father’s will even to the cross; that is, even to the point of denying their own wills in order to fulfill the Will of God in their lives.”

So,1st, Satan told Jesus that he could win us over by filling our bellies with the bread of earthly desires and riches, the things of this world. For us if we give into this temptation, we no longer look to God to feel our deepest hunger, we fail to see that only the Word of God, especially the Word of God become flesh, is that which can satisfy our deepest hunger, our hunger for God’s Will.

2nd, Satan said Jesus; you can win them over by amazing them with great feats and unbelievable technological marvels…wow them with great shows of your power. For us, giving into this temptation, we begin to believe we don’t need God any more, our technology can save us—we use own lives to fulfill our own will instead of the God’s Will.

3rd, Satan said you can make them love you not by worshiping and adoring God in order to do the Holy Will of the Father, but instead by giving them power to solve their own problems through politics so they can be released from being dependant on a tyrannical Father God who wants to steal away their freedom and remind them that true love is about self-sacrifice. Giving into this temptation we begin to think that man can save man—that politics alone can save man; then we attempt to build a kingdom of man and his will without any reference to the Kingdom of God and His Will.

The devil likes to give half-truths, and so Jesus was tempted to change the stones into bread. The fact is, Jesus does desires to give us what the devil said would win us over, but not in the way the devil suggests. Jesus wants to give us bread, but not earthly bread, not the things of this world which never totally satisfy our hunger; but instead, Jesus wants to give us not only the Word of God, but the Word of God become flesh; that is, the Bread of Life, His very self, his whole self in the Holy Eucharist--the bread that a man may eat of, and never die by doing his own will-sin, because it is JESUS who is our Life.

Jesus was tempted to reveal his divinity in a spectacular way. Jesus does indeed want to give us great marvels and feats, but again not the kind Satan suggests. Jesus wants to give us the greatest feat and marvel of all, that God would humble Himself, putting His divine power aside and become one of us, so he could die for us. In this, he’d shows us the greatest feat and marvel of love the world has ever seen—The Holy Mass. And because of this feast, this sacrifice, which makes present as well Jesus and His love, this living and ever-new sacrifice allows Jesus to come into each one of us at the Holy Mass during Holy Communion and shows us the Will of the Father.

Jesus was tempted to have all the power of this earth so He could give it to us, in order to make this world into a utopia. Jesus does wants to give us power, but not earthly power which corrupts and fades away, but the power of his divine life, a share in the very nature of God—who is Love itself—the power of the Holy Spirit, the living water that quenches all thirst--True power and all of which comes to us in and through adoration of the Holy Eucharist as the true and Living God. From this comes the power to do not our own will, but the Will of the Father, for as Jesus said…. “my food is to do the Will of the Father…From this comes the is the Kingdom of the Divine Will…that is, the Kingdom whose subjects live in the safety and comfort, and freedom of God’s will.

The temptation in the desert we hear about today was only a prelude leading up to the greatest temptation in the life of Christ, which was during the agony in the garden. This greater temptation was shown very well in the movie The Passion of the Christ, which came out a few years back if you remember. You know, I think, out of all the movies ever made about Jesus’ life, this movie is perhaps one of the most intense and compelling. I don’t believe that any one could watch this movie without feeling profound sadness for the sufferings that Jesus went through in order to gain our salvation by dying for our sins. The jeers and the insults, the numerous beatings and the brutal scourging, these all show us the unfathomable love that our God has for each and every one of us. It should not only move us to profound sadness for our sins, but incredible gratitude for such a loving God to suffer so much to take them away, to forgive them.

One of the most diabolical scenes that this movie portrayed is this greatest temptation of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. Here, the devil tries to tempt Jesus, by telling Him, that the burden of the sins of humanity is too much to carry for one man. Why suffer for the salvation of man, when so many would respond with ingratitude—It’s just not worth it. It’s very important and if you think about it, the temptation in the Garden is connected to the temptation in the desert that we hear about today. Both are temptations presented to Jesus to abandon His mission to save us by dying in order that He could give us the Eucharist, the bread of eternal life so that we could first in faith adore and then eat of it and be saved by entering into a Holy Communion of love with Him and the Father through Him. Jesus didn’t just die to save us, but He died in order to give us Himself in the Holy Eucharist…The Eucharist is the very source of our strength to fulfill the Father’s Holy Will in our lives; and so, it is through our Faith, Hope and Love in the Holy Eucharist that God saves us and can save others through us.

This connection between the temptations of Christ and the Eucharist is also brought out powerfully in the meditations of Bl. Anna Catherine Emmerich. She was a German Mystic who was only recently Beatified. She was shown the entire life of Christ. According to Blessed Anna, the way the devil tempted our Lord to give up was by showing Him the ingratitude of so many men. This ingratitude was actually the cause of some of our Lords most severe agony—But, this ingratitude of men, according to Bl. Anna Catherine, was shown primarily by those persons who in so many ways insult and outrage Jesus really and truly present in the Holy Eucharist.

According to Bl. Anna this was the worst indifference of men--that Jesus would die in order to save men by giving to them the great gift of His entire self in the Holy Eucharist, and yet some, many in fact, would reject this gift as shown by their unbelief, or failure to appreciate It, through a lack of love, devotion and reverence. They would show it by a lack of participating in the Holy Eucharist through full, active, conscious and fruitful participation, as shown by their interior offering, the offering of themselves and their own wills to God in return for such an outpouring of love, the outpouring of Himself.

In other words, in the Garden Jesus actually saw those souls who would reject and ignore this act of His love shown by their indifferent hearts. And this indifference was most especially shown by their neglect of and profanation of His true presence in the Holy Eucharist. So many would refuse to believe, adore, hope and love Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar, that gift of His total self in which he died in order to be our food so that we could become one with Him and the Father in Communion of love lived out in the Father’s Will.

I would like to give you a short excerpt from Bl. Anna Catherine Emmerich’s book called “The Dolores (sorrowful) Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ,” which brings this all out very beautifully. In this excerpt, she writes of how she was shown some of what caused our Lord the most pain in the Garden:

“I say that often the poorest of men were better lodged in their cottages than the Master of heaven and earth in his churches. (explain) Ah, how deeply did the inhospitality of men grieve Jesus, who had given himself to them to be their food? Truly, there is no need to be rich in order to receive Him who rewards a hundred-fold the glass of cold water given to the thirsty; but how shameful is not our conduct when in giving drink to the Divine Lord who thirsts for our souls, we give him corrupted water in a filthy glass! In consequence of all this neglect, I saw the weak scandalized, the Adorable Sacrament profaned, the Churches deserted, and the priests despised. This state of impurity and negligence extended even to the souls of the faithful who left the tabernacle of their hearts unprepared and uncleansed when Jesus was about to enter them…”

This sorrow of our Blessed Lord was also expressed to St. Faustina when Jesus said to her:

“Oh, how painful it is to Me that souls so seldom unite themselves to Me in Holy Communion. I wait for souls, and they are indifferent to Me in Holy Communion. I love them tenderly and sincerely, and they distrust Me. I want to lavish My graces on them, and they do not want to accept them. They treat Me (in the Holy Eucharist) as a dead object…” (Dairy #1447).

It was in fact, the lack of faith, the outrages, sacrileges and indifference of souls, toward His true presence in the Holy Eucharist that caused Jesus to sweat blood in the Garden.
This Lent temptations will come for us all. Hidden behind all of these temptations is really a temptation to deny the true present of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. It is temptation to deny that the Word of God become Man and is still Man in the Holy Eucharist and so is the true food to fill our deepest hunger, a hunger for the Will of the Father. It is a temptation which tries to makes us not believe, adore, hope and trust, and love the Living God truly present there, thus failing to offering ourselves, in order that we can come in contact with the Divine Power of God-Jesus, so that we can not only resist the temptations of the Devil and our own sins, but grow in our love and union with the Father through the Son in the unity of the Holy Spirit and fulfill the will of God in our lives.

One writer wrote the following: “In the Eucharist we have the power of God at our fingertips—accessed only through Faith. We must “see” Jesus in the Eucharist. When I look at the Eucharist do I really believe It is God…Do I really?—if I do, then I should believe that nothing is impossible, if I believe that it is Jesus; that the Eucharist is God.” (author unknown).

In this Lent, let us ask our Lord for the grace of a deeper repentance, a deeper turning back to Him. Lent is a time where we take a serious look at our lives and simply place our dirty dishes, so to speak, in other words our souls, in the cleansing waters of the sacrament of penance. We all have many resolutions in Lent, let us pray that our repentance be one that will change our lives. Let us ask him for the grace to believe, adore, hope and love our Lord even more than we do, He who waits patiently in Love for us in the Eucharist. Let us not neglect Him but with great faith and great reverence, adore Him and receive Him worthily by confessing our sins, doing penance and amending our lives. IN this we console the Heart of Jesus who loves us so very much because the Holy Eucharist is the Heart of Jesus.

Mother of the Eucharist, Mother of the Heart of Jesus, Our Lady of sorrows, pray for us, lead us closer this Lent to Your Son Jesus who is really and truly present, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, in the Holy Eucharist. Venite adoremus Dominum….come let us adore the Lord…Amen

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

This Lent, Remember God loves you the way you are; but... He loves you too much to let you stay the way you are!!!

Homily for Ash Wednesday March 5th, 2014

“Even now, says the Lord, return to me with your whole heart.” “Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.” “Behold, now is a very acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” Our readings today call us to this time of repentance- a forty-day call to conversion to prepare ourselves for the joyful celebration of Easter in spiritual and bodily purity.

I remember as child giving up sweets during Lent. I made the sacrifice, in fact I was quite proud about my success; but as I think back, my success didn’t really change me much. I didn’t save the money I would have spent on candy and given to the St. Vincent de Paul Society nor did I take extra time to prayer in order to grow closer to God. I can’t really say I ever really got anything out of Lent- it was just a time where I didn’t eat candy and got ashes and then went on with my same sinful selfish habits. I don’t think this is the type of Lent we are called to. Lent must be about more than just receiving ashes and then going on living our lives just like before; we have to make an effort with the help of God’s grace to change for the better..

The Lent our Lord calls us to today, is one of conversion, which is a change of heart. Our hearts need to turn back to God in love and our lives must change to reflect that love. We might not think we are so bad; after all, we may say to ourselves I try to go to Mass every week. Maybe I don’t make it every week, but after all I’m a good person. The problem is, is that God doesn’t want us only to be good, He wants us to be holy, that is to be His intimate friends. He wants us to love Him; not like we love chocolate or coffee or anything else in this world, but to love Him fully completely, more than anything else in this world and to show that love by becoming a better Christian. And we can’t do this without adoring the Holy Eucharist both at Mass and outside of Mass.

Lent is not a time to beat ourselves up, but it is a time of honesty, a time to admit we can do better—to become better, holier; that is, if we care to make an effort and turn to God for help. Lent is then a time for reflection and self-examination, a time to admit the truth about ourselves in the light of God’s grace, and so to admit our sinfulness, and make a commitment to God to do something about it. Lent is a time snap out of our indifference and lukewarmness and admit truthfully that none of us love God enough…but from this point on we are going to ask God at Holy Mass and through daily prayer, to increase our love by helping us to have a deeper conversion of heart in order to live our lives more deeply in union with Him through His Holy Church.

Lent is also a time of hopefulness, of looking forward to the joy of Easter; not only to Christ victory over death, but our own victory over selfishness, self-centeredness, egotism and sin, which is always a failure to Love God and neighbor for love of Him. Lent is time to say yes, that even though it is going to cost us some effort, we can, with the help of God grace, love Him more and love our neighbor more for love of Him. And so, today is the first day we, in a deeper way, put God and His will first, in order to show Him we love Him; we show this by, our fasting, our almsgiving and our prayer, especially at Holy Mass. We want to love God more, and love those we love more, and God for His part wants to help us this very Lent grow in our love. And it is at Holy Mass that we are giving the grace of a deeper love; and so God will send us His Holy Spirit so we can attend Holy Mass with a deeper more active, full, conscious and fruitful participate and so grow in our love for God and neighbor.

And so, instead of just giving up candy or coffee maybe we can do the following this Lent:

*First of all Give up something that you are probably going to fail at.
Lent is not about being successful (for that can increase our pride) but
in growing stronger in our control over our human appetites, both
bodily and spiritually. Remember, we have to fall before we can

*maybe instead of giving up candy or coffee we could give up being
grouchy or cranky, or being quick tempered, especially to members
of our family, being kind and generous instead.

*If we are not already doing so, devote time each day to talk to God in
Intimate prayer: every morning and evening for sure; and how about
the daily rosary as a prayer to Jesus through His mother.

*If we already pray, increase the time we converse with God. Spend
some time in silence (or in the silence of your heart) and there shut
out the noise of the world and listen to the small still voice of the

*Pray together with the family- even it be for five minutes; or better
yet, pray the rosary together as a family allowing each member of the
family to offer out loud their own intentions before beginning the
rosary. Pray before meals, even in public, using the sign of the cross
like you wear the ashes on the forehead.

*Attend Holy Mass each Sunday, for sure; and every day in Lent if you’re

*Give up that television show, which probably isn’t really good to
watch anyway and instead read a good spiritual book one that will enrich
your knowledge and love of our Lord and of His One, Holy,Catholic and
Apostolic Church.

*Come to Holy Hour and adore Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament during
times of adoration or make regular stops in the Church to spend some
time with Him, He who is truly present the tabernacle night and day
for love of you.

*Make a commitment to come to Stations of the Cross on Friday
night; better yet, bring the whole family along.

*Work on acts of charity; Such as:
*Devote more time or money or both to help the work of the
Parish’s St. Vincent de Paul Society.
*Work on my patience and kindness to others such as drivers I
meet on the road; say a blessing, or Hail Mary for them instead
of getting angry.
*Give alms by beginning or increasing my yearly financial
gift to the Church and to the poor.

*And finally, For sure, spend quality time making a good examination
of conscience in order to make a good confession so that your heart
will pure, and so a pleasing offering to the Lord. In order to receive
Jesus in Holy Communion worthily we need to be in a state of grace.
So don’t forget to make a good confession before you receive Him in
Holy Communion.

So this Lent is meant to be a sober reminder of life itself.

In a few moments, you will receive blessed ashes on your foreheads. The Ashes aren’t magic…they aren’t superstitious. They aren’t even meant to be more that just a sign of repentance; they are meant to be a sign of the grace of conversion God desires, wants to give us. We recall that we are dust and to dust we shall return. Our time here on earth is short and so it is urgent that we remove all those things that will keep us from heaven- all of those sinful patterns of our lives, and we remove them now.

You have no idea what sort of life you will have tomorrow...We may not even make it to tomorrow.Time is short, someday which is really not all that far away, we will die and our bodies will turn to the dust from which we came; what will remain is our love for God or lack there of. And so NOW is the acceptable time; now is the day of salvation. There is nothing more important in our lives to be always in the state of grace with God; for we know not the day nor the hour.

Let us pray for one another that we may have a good Lent. May we entrust to the Virgin all of our desires to have a great season of Lent, filled with graces for our conversion ever closer to her Son. Be not AFRAID!!! God loves you the way you are; but remember, He loves you too much to let you stay the way you are!!!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

The Sacrament of the Present Moment. Dear Mother of our Hope, let us know your smile! With your smile upon us we will have no worries, no fear, no anxiety….Amen.

Matthew 6; 24-34. Eight Sunday in Ordinary Time. March 2nd, 2014

Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself.
Sufficient for a day is its own evil.” So ends the Gospel we just heard. In our world today, it’s so very easy to worry about tomorrow, there is so much that we can be anxious about. But today Jesus gives us advice on how to handle our worry. And if we put these words into action with the help of the grace of His Holy Sacraments, we will be able to cry out in the words of today’s entrance antiphon: “The Lord has been my strength; He has led me into freedom. He saved me because He loves me.”

Jesus teaching to us today can be summed up in this way: Learn to live in the “Sacrament of the Present moment.” The words and the lives of the saints teach us how important is to learn to live in the present moment, that God and His voice can be found only in the present moment and that His grace is always available to us in the present moment. The “Sacrament of the Present Moment” reminds us that the most important moment in our life is the right here and now. Yesterday is over, and tomorrow is not yet come.

We can in fact do nothing about yesterday. We can only give God thanks and beg his mercy. We can Give Him thanks for the many blessings that He has given us yesterday and all the days before it; especially for those people that He has put into our lives, asking God to bless them for their goodness toward us and to forgive and help us to forgive, those who did us any wrong. We can beg for God’s Mercy for yesterday and all the days before it, by seeking His forgiveness for for our sins, errors and omissions and the sins of others, asking for His Divine help, that is His Divine grace, to live trying to make amends for them in what ever time we have remaining.

With regards to the future, the future doesn’t exist and if we try to imagine it, our imagination can go wild. The dangers in the future we create in our minds make us live our lives in fear, out of touch with reality, not living in the joy of the present moment, even if the present moment contains a cross. We then fear the cross instead of accepting it and carrying it with great joy, seeing in it a chance to carry it in imitation of Jesus in order to grow in love and charity. We then begin to distrust the Father’s great love for us, saying, “what’s He going to allow to happen to me next?

Recently I read a blog by Mark Mallet that was about the Present Moment. Mark wrote:

“I define the present moment as the “the only point where reality exists. I say this because too many of us spend most of our time living in the past, which no longer exists; or we live in the future, which hasn’t happened yet.” “By not living in the present moment,” he goes onto write, “we are living in realms that that we have little or no control over. To live in the future or the past, is to live in an illusion, for none of us knows if we will even be alive tomorrow.” Mark then used a very simple analogy for understanding the Sacrament of the present moment:
It’s like riding on a merry-go-round like you played on as a child. The faster it went the harder it was to hang on. But if you remember the closer you came to the center of the merry-go-round the easier it was to hang on. In fact, at the very center you could just sit there-hands free—watching all the other kids, limbs flailing in the wind, bodies flying through the air crashing to the ground, rolling in the dust. (my additions).

The present moment is like the center of that merry-go-round; it is the place of stillness where one can rest, even though life is raging all around. What do I mean by this, especially if in the present moment I am suffering? Since the past is gone and the future is not happened, the only place where God is—where eternity intersects with time—is right now, in the present moment. And God is our refuge, our place of rest. If we let go of what we cannot change, if we abandon ourselves to the permissive will of God, then we become like a little child who can do nothing but sit on his papa’s knee. And Jesus said, “to such as these little ones does the Kingdom of Heaven belong.” The Kingdom is found only where it is: in the present moment.

The kingdom of God is near (Matt 3:2).

The moment we begin to live in the past or the future, we leave the center and are pulled to the outside where suddenly great energy is demanded of us to “hang on” so to speak. The more we move to the outside, the more anxious we become. The more we give ourselves over to imagination, living and grieving over the past, or worrying and sweating about the future. The more we are likely to be tossed off the merry-go-round of life. Nervous breakdowns, temper flare-ups, drugs, drinking bouts, indulging in sex, pornography, or food and so on and so on..these become ways in which we try to cope with the nausea of worry consuming us.

And that’s over the big issues. But Jesus tells us, 'Even the smallest things are beyond your control' (luke 12:26)."

How truly senseless is to be anxious about anything, what matters is today, the present moment. It is today, right now, that we have in which to strive to grow in love for God and one another; to grow in holiness, that is intimacy with God through consoling the heart of Jesus, through those countless little occurrences that make up everyday life. Some will be annoying others pleasant. But all are allowed by Our Father in Heaven to help us grow in holiness and so get closer to Him.

Each thing that happens to us in the present moment can be made an offering of love to our God. The difficult tasks and the many daily annoyances that instead of making us loose patience or become angry can instead become for us, by offering them to God, the little pieces of sand that we can make into pearls of great worth. It is only the present moment that we have in order to live as beloved sons and daughters of the Living and true, almighty God, to not only accept little crosses but also to offer little acts of love done for love of Him and for love of those around us, so that these acts can become little gems of love stored for us in Heaven that produce great diamonds of grace on earth.

I also agree Mark Mallet the writer of the blog I just mentioned when He said, “Today God wants to open heaven’s treasures upon us in a way never seen before. God is pouring tremendous graces and blessings our day upon those who but ask for them. These are times of great change, but above all these are times of God’s Mercy. Jesus once lamented to St. Faustina (as recorded her in the Diary of Divine Mercy):”

The flames of mercy are burning Me—clamoring to be spent; I want to keep pouring them out upon souls; souls just don’t want to believe in My goodness. (Divine Mercy in My Soul, Dairy of St. Faustina, n.177).

It is only by living in the Sacrament of the present moment that we can receive these incredible graces from Jesus (cf. Mark Mallet). Through the Sacraments, especially the Holy Eucharist and Confession we can open our hearts to these graces, but they take effect in our lives only through our faithfulness lived out in the present moment of our daily lives and its duties.

In other words, God’s mercy is to be found in the present moment. To receive this Mercy we need not do great things, but only our daily duties for love of God and neighbor, and to accept all things as coming from the hand of the Father, to see all things as gifts of love, the good and the bad, the roses and the thorns, the consolations and the crosses, to be accepted and offered back to God in Love in order that they would become for us not only our treasure in Heaven but sources of grace and mercy for the salvation of countless souls.

It was Padre Pio who said Pray, hope and don’t worry!” We should worry about nothing. Because worry does nothing. But, it’s so hard for us not to worry. I know this myself with my recent serious illness. “I am going to get better: is the cancer going to come back; am I going to die? Worry, worry, worry…the problem is, worry is that which will make us sick again, not to mention make us lose our peace.

God knows it hard for us not to worry, so Jesus today reminds us that we also need to let go of our worry by giving it to Him, trusting Him. This begins now at this present moment, at this Holy Mass…give your worry now into the Hands the Blessed Virgin Mary and ask her to place all of it onto the paten next to the host so that it can be transformed at the consecration by the Holy Spirit from worry into trust….And then ask her to cut any strings remaining to your worry and obtain for you the grace to live from this point on in the comfort, security and the peace and joy of the present moment, with the Love of God that is in the present moment. Ask her then to let you know her smile.

And then, in the daily events of life when the worry tries coming back, simply stop what you are doing and recognize you are helpless to alter the past or the future—that the only thing in your dominion now is the present moment, that alone is reality for you. Right here and right now is where God is for you. And then talk to God who is truly present. Tell Him in prayer that you are struggling not to worry. Be honest with Him and give him again your worry by offering it in union with the Holy Masses being offered through out the world at the very moment. If needed repeat this prayer over and over every time the useless worry returns.

And along with this prayer, place your trust in Jesus is the Mercy of the Father, place your trust in Him for the past, and put your trust in His love for you for the future. This trust can also be expressed in that short but very beautiful prayer found at the bottom of the Divine Mercy Picture… “Jesus I trust in You.” By the way, implied in the prayer of trust is also a plea to ask Jesus in the Holy Eucharist to increase our trust in the Father’s mercy and love for us, in the Father’s Holy Will for us… “Jesus I trust in You, now please help me to trust in you more.” We should pray this pray often but most especially when ever we can before the very Heart of Divine Mercy, Jesus, physically present in the Holy Eucharist.

Speaking of this complete Trust in Jesus, St. Faustina wrote in her Dairy:

“O My God When I look into the future, I am frightened, But why plunge into the future? Only the present moment is precious to me, (my emphasis) As the future may never enter my soul at all. It is no longer in my power to change, correct or add to the past; For neither sages nor prophets could do that. And so what the past has embraced I must entrust to God.
“O present moment, you belong to me, whole and entire. I desire to use you as best I can. And although I am weak and small, You grant me the grace of Your omnipotence. And so, trusting in Your mercy, I walk through life like a little child, offering You each day this heart Burning with love for Your greater Glory.” -St. Faustina

Let us pray;(please join me if you know this ending prayer from the Divine Mercy Chaplet) Eternal God in Whom Mercy is endless and the treasury of compassion inexhaustible, look kindly upon us and increase Your mercy in us, so that in difficult moments we might not despair nor become despondent, but with great confidence submit ourselves to Your Holy Will which is Love and Mercy Itself.

Hail Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life our sweetness and our hope…to thee do come poor banished children of Eve, do thee do we send up sighs morning and weeping in this valley of tears. Turn then most gracious virgin thy eyes of mercy towards us and after this our exile show unto us the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O clement, Oh loving, Oh sweet Virgin Mary.
Pray for us O holy Mother of God…that we may be worthy of the promises of Christ. Dear Mother of our Hope, let us know your smile! With your smile upon us in the present moment we will have no worries, no fear, no anxiety….Amen.

(The Writing from Mark Mallet was entitled: The Sacrament of the Present Moment...found on his blog: Mark and dated January 21st, 2014.)