Saturday, May 30, 2015

Our Lady, daughter of the Father, Mother of the Son, and spouse of the Holy Spirit, help us to offer ourselves in a sacrifice of love at this Holy Mass and at every Holy Mass, so that we, like you will live and lead others to live, in the Divine life and Love of the Most Blessed Trinity, beginning now, and fully in the life to come. Amen

Matthew 28;16-20 Solemnity of the Holy Trinity. Sunday May 31st, 2015

With today’s feast, the Solemnity of the Most Blessed Trinity, we discover the true goal of this short life on earth. The Goal in this short life is...“To know God, that in knowing Him we may love Him and in loving Him we may serve Him in order to be happy with Him in this life and forever in the life to come.” This goal in life is what today’s Solemnity of the Blessed Trinity is all about.

To love someone we must come to know Him. The more we know God the more we can love Him. God is not an isolated being; He is a Trinitarian of persons so united in love that they are one. Where this is love there is unity; where there is perfect love there is perfect unity! God is a divine family, Father, Son and Holy Spirit united in perfect Love.

This short life is then a preparation, a training ground if you will. Here we are to struggle, with the help of God’s grace, to learn to love God as God Himself loves and so become one with God Himself and through Him with one another. And how does God love? By giving a complete-total gift of Himself. We see this in Jesus.

In Jesus, God gives a complete sacrificial offering of Himself on the Cross, in order that He can give a complete gift of Himself to us in Holy Communion and pour the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God’s Love into our heart. You might not have thought of this, but in, through and with Jesus in Holy Communion, the Father and the Holy Spirit also offer a complete gift of Their self to us, for God is One. In Holy Communion the fullness of the Godhead, the Trinity, comes to us and makes His abode, makes one with Him those who receive Jesus worthily and with faith, trust and great love.

If we are ever to be able to enter into heaven to be with God forever, then we have to prepare ourselves for an eternity in His love now, by growing in and perfecting our love here while on earth. Actually, we are called to really and truly begin our life in heaven while we are still on earth. We don’t have to wait until we die to reach heaven; we can begin to obtain it and participate in it right here and now-our Baptism makes this possible…Heaven is to be One with God.

I think most Christian miss this aspect of our life here on earth. Too often Christianity is seen as a religion that calls us to merely, ‘do that, don’t do that, and ‘be good’ in order that we can enter into heaven. But Again, Christianity call us to be more than just “good”, even pagans can be “good.” Christianity calls us to be nothing less than perfect, perfect as our Heavenly Father is perfect.

This perfection doesn’t mean we become some kind of superhuman perfectionist in which everything we do is done with mathematical precision. But instead, it means that we are call to live this life on earth with perfect selfless love with and in God’s own love—for only God’s love can be perfect. We are called to live this life with Divine Love, with our human love elevated and united to Divine love, known as Charity. In other words, we are called to live our life united to God who is Love Itself. This is to live entirely for God alone, and to express this love by loving our neighbor as our self for love of God. This is to have life and to have it in abundance.

With God’s love alive in our hearts, (with God’s own life alive in our hearts) and living our lives in obedience to Jesus’ command of love, we are able to reach our goal, which is heaven. It is when we love with Jesus’ love alive in us, as I said before, it is then that we don’t have to wait until we die to begin to experience the life of heaven, we have already begun to live the life of heaven within us. This is known as living a life of grace, living in the state of sanctifying grace.

Perhaps, to help us better understand what I am saying, we need to a look at our understanding of heaven. We have all heard of heaven described as a place of perfect beauty. There are those who claim to have been taken up into heaven during a near death experience. They have described heaven as a place of perfect happiness, where the trees, the grass and flowers are even more beautiful than here on earth. The problem with these descriptions is that heaven can’t be described, it is that which eye has not seen, ear as not heard nor as it even entered into the mind of man what God as prepared for those who love Him, love Him not just with words but with deeds. And so heaven cannot possibly be described; in fact, heaven is not even a place, it is a Person. Heaven is actually living in, sharing in God’s own Divine nature and God’s own divine love. Imagine, Heaven is literally sharing in and participating in the very life of God Himself.

In heaven we will live in unimaginable intimacy and union with this triune God for we shall become a part of His Divine family. But to become part of His family means that we will actually share in His divinity, we will become God. Not that we will cease to be creatures, but that we will share in God’s very nature, in His very being. And so you see then, Heaven is not a somewhere it is a Someone, it is to be immersed in the very love of the God who is Love itself. And so if God is Love, then to have God’s love alive in us can only mean that we have God Himself, Father Son and Holy Spirit alive and dwelling within us—the indwelling Trinity. And if God is within in us that means we have already begun to live the intimate life of heaven on earth, to live the intimate life of heaven in our souls here on earth.

The Church places today’s Solemnity after Pentecost in order to show how much we need the help of the Holy Spirit to enlighten our minds ever deeper into the great mystery of the Blessed Trinity. We need His divine help to contemplate the Mystery of all mysteries, that God is a Divine Family of Persons so totally united in love that they are one. Assisted by His divine power, the more we worship and adore this great mystery the more we ourselves will learn to love in order to share more and more intimately in the love between the Divine Persons who make up this Divine Family. In sharing in this Divine Love we are already in union with the Trinity.

We are, each one of us, called to participate and grow in this Trinitarian love through our faithfulness to God, to His commandments and by following all of the teachings of Jesus found in the Scriptures and in His Holy Catholic Church. In other words, assisted by God’s Grace we must live out our belief and love for the Trinity with our deeds. And through our love of the Trinity, assisted by the grace we receive in the Sacraments, we can then grow ever deeper in His love and in union with Him.

The mystery of he Trinity is the starting point of all revealed truth, the fountain from which proceeds supernatural life, and the goal in which we are headed: we are children of the Father, brothers and co-heirs with the Son, and continually sanctified by the Holy Spirit to make us ever more and more resemble Christ. In living our lives according to this great truth, by the Holy Spirit which has been given to us, God’s love is poured into our hearts and we become living temples of the Blessed Trinity and so already here on earth begin to live the life of heaven. Here on earth we already become united to the Trinity and so participate in the inner life of the Three Persons of the Blessed Trinity. This is not pie-in-the-sky religion; this is the normal Christian life of intimacy with the Trinity in which every single man and woman is call to participate.

It is at the Holy Mass (after having receiving the capacity at our baptism) that we are able, and enabled to evermore deeply into the perfection of love, into God’s Love, into the Love between the three Persons of the Most Blessed Trinity, adoring the Father, through the Son in the unity, power and love of the Holy Spirit.

Let us pray: O my God, Trinity whom I adore, help me forget myself entirely so to establish myself in you, unmovable and peaceful as if my soul were already in eternity. May nothing be able to trouble my peace or make me leave you, O my unchanging God, but may each minute bring me more deeply into your mystery! Grant my soul peace. Make it your heaven, your beloved dwelling and the place of your rest. May I never abandon you there, but may I be there, whole and entire, completely vigilant in my faith, entirely adoring, and wholly given over to your creative action. Our Lady, daughter of the Father, Mother of the Son, and spouse of the Holy Spirit, help us to offer ourselves in a sacrifice of love at this Holy Mass and at every Holy Mass, so that we, like you will live and lead others to live, in the Divine life and Love of the Most Blessed Trinity, beginning now, and fully in the life to come. Amen

Canticum Quicumque...Symbolum Athanasium

Whosoever willeth to be saved, * before all things it is necessary that he hold the Catholic faith.
Which faith except every one do keep whole and undefiled, * without doubt he shall perish eternally.
Now the Catholic faith is this, * that we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity.
Neither confounding the Persons, * nor dividing the substance.
For there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son, * and another of the Holy Ghost.
But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost is one, * the Glory Equal, the Majesty Co-Eternal.
Such as the Father is, such is the Son, * and such is the Holy Ghost.
The Father Uncreated, the Son Uncreated, * and the Holy Ghost Uncreated.
The Father Infinite, the Son Infinite, * and the Holy Ghost Infinite. * The Father Eternal, the Son Eternal, * and the Holy Ghost Eternal.
And yet they are not three Eternals, * but one Eternal.
As also they are not three Uncreated, nor three Infinites, * but One Uncreated, and One Infinite.
So likewise the Father is Almighty, the Son Almighty, * and the Holy Ghost Almighty.
And yet they are not three Almighties, * but One Almighty.
So the Father is God, the Son God, * and the Holy Ghost God.
And yet they are not three Gods, * but One God.
So the Father is Lord, the Son Lord, * and the Holy Ghost Lord.
And yet they are not three Lords, * but One Lord.
For, like as we are compelled by Christian truth to acknowledge every Person by Himself to be God and Lord, * so are we forbidden by the Catholic Religion to say, there be three Gods or three Lords.
The Father is made of none, * neither created, nor begotten.
The Son is of the Father alone: * not made, nor created, but begotten.
The Holy Ghost is of the Father, and the Son: * not made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding.
So there is One Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons; * one Holy Ghost, not three Holy Ghosts.
And in this Trinity is nothing afore or after, nothing is greater or less; * but the whole three Persons are Co-Eternal together, and Co-Equal.
So that in all things, as is aforesaid, * the Unity in Trinity, and the Trinity in Unity is to be worshipped.
He therefore that willeth to be safe, * let him thus think of the Trinity.
But it is necessary to eternal salvation, * that he also believe faithfully the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The right Faith therefore is, that we believe and confess, * that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and man.
God, of the Substance of the Father, Begotten before the worlds: * and Man, of the substance of His mother, born in the world.
Perfect God, Perfect Man, * of a reasoning soul and human flesh subsisting.
Equal to the Father as touching His Godhead, * inferior to the Father as touching His Manhood.
Who, although He be God and Man, * yet He is not two, but One Christ.
One, however, not by conversion of the Godhead into Flesh, * but by taking of the Manhood into God.
One altogether, not by confusion of Substance, * but by Unity of Person.
For as the reasoning soul and flesh is one man, * so God and man is One Christ.
Who suffered for our salvation, descended into hell, * rose again the third day from the dead.
He ascended into heaven, He sitteth on the right hand of the Father, God Almighty, * from whence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
At whose coming all men shall rise again with their bodies, * and shall give account for their own works.
And they that have done good shall go into life eternal, * but they that have done evil into eternal fire.
This is the Catholic Faith, * which except a man believe faithfully and firmly, he cannot be safe.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. As it was in the beginning, is now, * and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Holy Mary, Mother of our hope, Mother of the Holy Eucharist, lead us to Jesus truly present in the Holy Eucharist,He who is our Hope. Help us to give our hearts totally to Him in adoration, trust and love. Obtain for us the grace to live out this gift of self in our daily lives, showing our love for God for the entire world to see, thus becoming instruments of hope for the hopeless. Amen.

The Ascension of Our Blessed Lord. Sunday May 17th, 2015

Today we celebrate the Feast of the Ascension of the Risen Lord Jesus, to the right hand of His Father in Glory. Yet, if you think about it, this seems to be a contradiction. After all, didn’t Jesus just say in the Gospel we just heard, “And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” So, if Jesus ascends into heaven, how can He be with us until the end of time? If Jesus wanted to be with us until the end of the world, how come he didn’t just stay in Jerusalem and be available to everyone there? If he truly loved us, why didn’t He stay in person so that we could encounter Him, experience Him in person just like his disciples, and see Him, touch Him--hear Him? These are good questions. How can we answer them?

In our own lives, we can certainly feel as if Jesus has left us alone, especially when we experience bad things, like an physical or mental illness, addiction, the death of a loved one, or a personal tragedy. But as well, we can seem abandoned by Jesus, our God, even in the everyday struggles of life. In just ordinary life we can often experience sadness or loneliness, or sometimes even incredible anguish. I believe the apostles and disciples of Jesus felt many of these things, especially after Jesus was cruelly crucified, leaving them alone both through the stark reality of his death and then later apparently, through His bodily ascension into heaven.
So how did the disciples overcome their anguish, and how do we overcome our own? Where lies our hope in this life? Well, the answer is simple, yet hard; but the Ascension of our Blessed Lord gives us the answer. The Ascension points to our hope. This is why during the Holy Rosary, we pray for an increase of the Virtue of Theological Hope as the fruit of the second Glorious Mystery—He ascended into Heaven.

After the Ascension, the Disciples trusted in Jesus’ words, in His promise. They believed in faith that even though Jesus was with the Father in heaven He was at same time still truly with them. And not just spiritually with them, or with them in their memory or in their heart, but they believed without a doubt that Jesus was still on earth personally, physically with them, in His resurrected albeit now glorified human body (that’s right, physically). This brings up one of the grave mistakes that I think many Christians can make in their understanding about Christ’s ascension into heaven.

The mistake is to think that Jesus is no longer physically with us here on earth. When we think of the ascension, we can wrongly picture Jesus standing before the apostles and then floating up into the clouds disappearing from their sight, leaving earth until His second coming. But this is not what the language of the Gospel means. We have to understand the words of today's Gospel mystically because they are speaking of great mysteries.

Mystically speaking what does it mean, as we are told in today's Gospel, "and He was taken up into heaven."? Well first of all Heaven is not a place up in the sky somewhere beyond the clouds or beyond the stars at the edge of the universe; nor is heaven some type of other dimension or parallel universe; heaven is not the stuff of science fiction. Heaven is all around us because God is all around us.

There is however, a veil that separates heaven from us. Heaven goes beyond our senses; even though it is all around, it transcends our ability to see it, touch it, taste it, hear it or smell it. Yet is more a reality around us than that which we can sense…Remember, we believe in what is invisible!

To be taken up into heaven means then to enter through that veil that separates heaven and earth; it is to go beyond our sense perception and behold that which we can only see now through the eyes of faith and experience through faith. To be taken up into heaven is to behold that reality above all other realities which no eye as seen, no ear has heard nor has never even entered into the mind of man. It is to experience that God who in His divinity is all around us, to behold Him and see Him, see Him face to face. It is to become one with Him in an eternal union of unending Love. Heaven is then, the ultimate reality all around us, more real than what we can experience with our senses.

At His ascension then, Jesus in His human resurrected body enters through that veil and becomes the way, in fact the only way, for us to enter through as well. And so Jesus' humanity has become a type of doorway, if you will, between heaven and earth. And so where He has gone in His human nature we can also now hope to go with Him, in Him and through Him. He is, in His human nature, human body, the Way. And by the way, we can enter into heaven with Jesus, in Him and through Him not only at our death but through faith beginning already here on earth; this is our hope that we already possess.

Because of the ascension, and the sending of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost to the Apostles, who were the first priests (which we will celebrated liturgically next week), Jesus' Human nature, human body can now be present both on earth and in heaven at the very same time. And so, in His Human nature, in His human Body, Blood, and Soul, still united to His Divinity--heaven and earth become one for us.

The fact of the matter is, and this is very, very important to understand....the fact of the matter is, Jesus is still on earth as He is in heaven. And where do we experience Jesus on earth as He is in heaven? In the Holy Eucharist of course. The Eucharist is truly our Resurrected and Ascended Lord in the flesh; and so, in the Holy Eucharist, heaven and earth literally unite. Where Jesus is there is heaven, and the Holy Eucharist is Jesus; hence where the Holy Eucharist is there is heaven!!! And so, when we are in the presence of the Holy Eucharist we are at the same time both on earth and in heaven; in fact we are more in heaven than we are on earth—this is the great feast, the great truth and the great reality we celebrate today!

Because Jesus is still with us on earth, physically and personally present in the Holy Eucharist, we discover that this is our hope in the present life of struggle and fear. But we must believe with our whole hearts and minds that He is really there in the tabernacle and on our altars after the words of consecration are spoken. And we must, we must, if we are to possess hope, practice that belief by adoring Him in the Holy Eucharist, falling on our knees and crying out in love, "Oh my God I believe, please help my unbelief and begging pardon for those who don’t believe, so don’t adore, hope and trust and so don’t love.

We must also allow our encounter with the Eucharist, Jesus, to transform us in Love, to change us. For this to happen, we must struggle to trustingly and lovingly give our hearts, ourselves totally to Jesus, He who gives His Sacred Heart totally to us in the Holy Eucharist. We must lift up our hearts; in other words, offer our hearts to Jesus with total trust. Jesus I trust in you, now please help me to trust you in order to give myself and all that I am to you in love, so as to be united to you in love and through you to the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit…for this union is really what heaven is all about, a union for which each one of us has been created to partake.

In our present situation in which so many are losing hope, in which suicide is literally epidemic, let us turn to Our Lady for help…Holy Mary, Mother of our hope, Mother of the Holy Eucharist, lead us to Jesus truly present in the Holy Eucharist,He who is our Hope. Help us to give our hearts totally to Him in adoration, trust and love. Obtain for us the grace to live out this gift of self in our daily lives, showing our love for God for the entire world to see, thus becoming instruments of hope for the hopeless. Amen.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Hemlock Model
St Joseph's builds portable altars for catholic priests. Most of these altars contain altar stones.
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Sunday, May 10, 2015

May God bless each one of you mothers. Happy mothers day to all of you.

John 15; 9-7. Sixth Sunday in Easter. May 10th, 2015 Mother's Day.

"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: even as I have loved you..." In today's Gospel, We hear Jesus give this new command to his disciples during the Last Supper. But what does this New Commandment to love one another as I have loved you mean? Obviously, Love was not a new concept to the disciples. They were Jews who were raised on the Law, the Ten Commandments, which already commanded one to Love God with your whole heart and your whole soul and your neighbor as yourself. So, what was different about this new commandment to Love one another?

Let's take a look at the word Love. The word LOVE, in our society today can be a very cheap word. It is used to cover a wide variety of meanings, every thing from erotic love, to the love between a husband and a wife, to the love of a mother for her child. The Greeks had four words for love: Storge, which meant an attractive love. Eros—physical love, which our society as turned into erotic love, that is physically love devoid of any real intimacy at all. Philos, or brotherly love, which meant love for another as a brother. And finally, Agape which was a sacrificial type of love in which one loved the other for the sake of the other and not oneself.

It is this last type of love, AGAPE, that the early Christians borrowed from the Greek in order to try and describe the type of love to which God is calling His followers. This is the type of love in which one lays down one's life for his friend. We are told in the Gospel's, "No greater love is there this, than he who would lay down his life for his friend. Now this laying down of one's life does not merely mean laying down one's life in a physical sense as in death, but it also means laying down one's own interests or desires for the good of one's friend, for his or sake alone and not one’s own.

Today is a perfect day to illustrate the type of love that I am speaking of, because today is Mother's day. A day when we recognize those who have put their interest and desires aside for their children. Mother's are those special people whom I believe have been given to us by God to help us to learn what it means to love. Mother's give totally of themselves for the good of their children. They bear the child for nine months and suffer the pains of childbirth. They stay up at night with an ill child and nourish the child throughout its life. And nobody, but nobody gets in between a mother's love for her child and fails to face the consequences.

In the early part of the last century, the Mother of God appeared to three shepherd children in Fatima Portugual. It was said that the Blessed Mother took the eldest of these children named Lucia to the Highest levels of heaven and then returned her back to earth. Upon her return some bishops and theologians questioned this child about this heavenly experience She was asked by them, "who was up there? "Was it popes, was it bishops, priests, or was it theologians?" Lucia who is now a 90 year old sister who is still living in Spain, look at her questioners with a smile and responded to their question with the answer ...."It was almost entirely mothers."

Mothers are the very heart of the family. It is with their example of their sacrificial love that children learn to follow this New commandment of Jesus. It is our mother’s who really lay down their lives every day. It is the mothers who help nourish not only the physical needs of the child but also the spiritual faith of the Child and the whole family. They teach us most about love. The vocation of a mother is to love.

The Holy Father wrote a beautiful letter on the Dignity and vocation of women. It this letter he said, “the highest vocation is love and it is women who teach us how to love.” He said the dignity of women is measured by the order of love.” And this love is shown to us in the love of a mother for her children, a love that bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things… for the sake of her family.

It is in the family nourished especially by the love of their mother, that children are prepared to love as one should as a child of God. And it is this type of love that the world is so desperately searching for, a world where the family is becoming ever weaker and weaker. And it is the family that Pope John Paul II calls the domestic church. And society and the church herself, are only as strong as the family is strong.

The world needs this love, a love that is like a mother's love for her children. A love that will sacrifice anything and everything for the sake of her children. This is at the very nature of what Love is, that is, the very nature of love is sacrifice. One cannot say that they love someone unless they are willing to sacrifice anything and everything for the sake of that person.

But even this is not enough. The early Christians borrowed the word Agape from the Greek but like all words they used to describe the reality of God they imbued it with a higher meaning, supernaturally higher. Jesus' commandment to love one another even as he has loved us, goes even one step further than just laying down one’s life for a friend. He calls us to a love in which we lay down our life even for our enemies. But even beyond that, to love God and one another with a divine love, a supernatural love known as Charity. This is why St. Paul says that if I give my life and do not have love…no!, he doesn’t say love, he says CHARITY.

Charity is the type of love that is impossible for man except that the very Love of Jesus Christ is implanted into our hearts. With God all things are possible. This love is the grace of God implanted into the hearts of those who love him. IN other words, implanted in the hearts of those who love Him to the degree they love Him. We must love God first. In other words we must loving sacrifice ourselves first to God before we can sacrifice ourselves for others so that our sacrifice for others may bear the fruit of bringing souls, bearing souls, saving souls, dare I say, birthing souls for God. According to St. Augustine, we are all called to be mothers in this sense, birthing souls to God through our lives of holiness; that is, through our lives united with God and with our love elevated to the supernatural love of God; this love is known as Charity. (This is also why all women all called to be mothers and can truly be mothers, even if they can not have biological children).

This grace, to love as God as loved us, is given to those who love God by another Mother, which is our Holy Mother Church. She is the Mother who births us at the Sacramental font of baptism, who nourishes us by the sacraments and is there for us during our whole life in good times and in bad. And those who are nourished by the Most Blessed of all Sacraments- the Holy Eucharist, which substantially contains, the very Body and Blood of God’s only Son Jesus Christ who gave up his life in sacrifice for his friends and his enemies, can be elevated by this same Jesus and have their love elevated to the divine level. In the Holy Eucharist Jesus literally offers His own Sacred Heart so we can love God and others which Jesus’ own love, which is Divine love. This is how we receive the power to love with Christ’s own love.

But we can only receive this love, Jesus’ Heart to the extent in which we open our hearts, that is give our hearts completely, fully to Him. To do this we need the help of another mother, Jesus own mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary. She is the one who can help us offer our hearts totally to Jesus, and to do so with great trust and no fear. She can obtain for us from her Son the grace to cut the strings which hold us from giving out hearts totally to God, and to obtain for us the grace to live this self offering in all areas of our lives. Our lives then become Jesus’ life, we begin to live for Him and Him alone, and He begins to live in us, love in us and heal and save others in us, through us and with us.

Today let us all thank our mothers for their love for us. The Blessed Virgin Mary is the model of all mothers; it is she who mothers, with the help of the grace of prayer and the sacraments, must try to imitate. A mother can do no better thing for her children than to have a strong devotion herself to the mother of God, and to cultivate this devotion in her children. Of course, the best way is for mothers to pray the rosary daily for her children and especially with her children, teaching her children, through the prays of the rosary, to meditate on the life of Christ. She truly is the heavenly mother of us all. It is she who tells us to do what ever her Son Jesus tells us to do. And that is to love one another even as I have loved you. May God bless each one of you mothers. Happy mothers day to all of you.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

As we prepare to meet our Risen Lord in the Holy Eucharist let us turn to Jesus’ Mother and our Mother in prayer, so our adoration of Him and reception of Him might bear fruit in our lives, in our families and in our world.

John 15; 1-8. Fifth Sunday in Easter. May 3rd, 2015

In our Gospel today, we continue our celebration of Easter and are invited to mediate on the beautiful image of the vine and the branches. Jesus tells us that He is the vine and we are the branches. Grafted onto Christ we are called to bear great fruit in our lives. Incorporated into the, through the gift of our baptism, we are all grafted onto the Vine—Jesus Himself.

This grafting to the vine occurs through the gift of our baptism. Through it, we are incorporated into the mystery of the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus, and given already a share, through grace, in His victory. From this gift of grace, which flows through us from the Vine, it is possible for us to bear great fruit in our lives.

Our baptismal grace, which has it source in the pierced Heart of Christ, is kept alive, strengthens and grows through all the Sacraments. If we are properly disposed to receive them, this Sacramental grace, keep us safely attached to the Vine. If we become separated, this Sacramental grace can heal our attachment, and it can strengthen and perfect our union with Jesus and with one another. We in fact, actually meet the risen Christ, the True Vine, intimately in all the Sacraments, but uniquely, substantially, physically we come in contact with Him in the most Blessed of Sacraments--the Holy Eucharist, in which He is present to us in His Resurrected and now glorified body.

But in order to bear fruit, Jesus says something sometimes difficult for us to hear. He says that we have to be pruned. Right now, it is springtime and we can see the results of our pruning from last fall. The roses bloom but only if and to the degree we prune them first. Without pruning we would not have the same amount of beautiful roses or maybe none at all.

What prunes us, first of all, is the word spoken to us by God- His Holy Word prunes us. When we obey the truth of the Word of God it corrects us and sets us on a right course. We then begin to produce the fruits of righteousness, which means we produce the works of God by doing and fulfilling His Holy Will.

Another way we are pruned is through our acceptance of daily trials and sufferings. These may be large or small; they be the suffering of an illness or loss of someone we love; but for the most part the are merely the little annoyances, the little snares and trips of everyday life. Nevertheless trials are another way we are pruned.

And through the example of our faithfulness during these trials, these prunings, we not only grow in love of Christ, but we grow in love of others and lead other souls to Christ—this is the fruit we desire—this is fruit of holiness which stems from a pure heart, pruned and fashioned into the image and likeness of the Pierced Sacred Heart of the Lord in the Holy Eucharist.

To deeper understand the fruitfulness that comes from pruning it is necessary look at the best example of fruitfulness found in the Sacred Scriptures- that is, the fruitfulness of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The word used in today’s text for “prune” can also be translated “made pure.” When we see purity in the Scripture, we should immediately think of the purity of the Virgin. The angel of the Lord, St. Gabriel spoke the word of God to her- “you will conceive and bear a Son.” The Virgin’s response, “fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum-- let it be done unto me according to Thy Word.”

These words of the Blessed Virgin Mary show immediately the fruit of her faith- the fruit of her hope and the fruit of her great charity or love. St. Elizabeth inspired by the Holy Spirit says of Mary, “Blessed are thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb…who am I that the mother of my Lord should come to me and blessed is she who believed of what was spoken to her from the Lord.” Her faithfulness brought forth the fruit of our Salvation, and the fruit of being the mother of all of God’s sons and daughters born at the baptismal font.

We see in light of the resurrection that we too now have the power available to us in the Sacraments to follow in the steps of the Virgin Mary and be fruitful, if we allow ourselves to be pruned, to be made pure. During Jesus’ public ministry someone said to Him, “Blessed is the womb that carried you and the breasts at which you nursed.” Jesus responded, “Rather, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.” Saint Augustine said, “The Blessed Virgin Mary conceived Jesus-the Word of God, in her soul before she ever conceived Him in her womb.” The Virgin Mary is the one who always listened to and faithfully obeyed the Word of God… the words of her divine Son, who is the Word of God made flesh. She observed the word of God faithfully in her every day life, it directed and animated everything she said and did.

Through Grace and by the power of the Holy Spirit we need to imitate The Blessed Virgin and allow Jesus to be conceived in our souls as well-This is what purity is all about. Purity is about so much more than just our bodies; it is about our whole life. Are we living our lives in purity to the truth, the truth that comes from God and spoken to us through the natural law and through the teachings of the Church, are we faithful to the cross?

By faith, believing in the Words Christ speaks to us, and putting them into effect in our own lives through the grace of the Sacraments, by faithfulness even in our trials, we too are made more and more pure. We are more deeply grafted onto Christ, who is the vine and we too are made fruitful as His grace courses through us out to others. With the help of the Blessed Virgin, we are able more fully to remain with Christ through the trials of life and even become filled with joy in the midst of sorrows bearing great fruit in our world.

As we prepare to meet our Risen Lord in the Holy Eucharist let us turn to Jesus’ Mother and our Mother in prayer, so our adoration of Him and reception of Him might bear fruit in our lives, in our families and in our world. Let us ask her to help us approach her Divine Son with faith and confidence, trusting in His Goodness and Love for us. Holy Mary, mother most pure. Help us to be pure, may our lives reflect the Word of God, may our actions be the actions of your Son alive in us…
May we be used as instruments of God’s grace and mercy in order to save souls and bring them into union with us and through us, with the Son and the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit…. At this and every Holy Mass, help us to offer our hearts totally to Jesus through you, so we may be faithful to the foot of the cross and birth Him anew to the world; may this be the fruit of our worthy reception of Him at this Holy Mass. Amen.