Monday, July 28, 2014

Marianist Monday

As Marianists, consecration to Mary consists in offering ourself entirely to Mary in order, through her, to belong totally to Jesus. All consecrations therefore are ultimately through and with Mary to Jesus. This is in imitation of the Son of God who offered Himself entirely to Mary not only in her womb but as a Son to a Mother so as to come to earth and become one with all humanity. The Son of God's giving of Himself to Mary therefore did not end at His birth but continues forever as the bond between a Mother and a Son is eternal.

Following the entrustment of John to the Virgin Mary at the foot of the Cross, Pope John Paul II teaches that by entrusting oneself to Mary, each Christian, like John the Apostle, welcomes the Mother of Christ into his own home and heart. He continues by saying, As Mary gave birth to Christ, the Head of the Mystical Body, she also had to have given birth to all of the members of that same body.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Consecration

Our Lady of Good Counsel
Consecration to the Virgin Mary began at the foot of the Cross, whereby Our Lord entrusted John and, symbolically through him, all Christians to the Virgin Mary.

From the foot of the Cross to the earliest known prayer to Mary, the Sub Tuum Praesidium (c.300), to St. John Damascene (d.750) to St. Louis de Monfort (d.1716),  to Blessed William Joseph Chaminade(d. 1850), devotion to Mary and consecration to her has been part of the Christian tradition and faith. Marian consecration therefore is not an "old fashioned" devotion, but a historical, theological, and spiritual act whereby one grows in the holiness of one's Baptism and becomes a more perfect disciple of Christ. Consecration to the Virgin Mary therefore should not be undertaken lightly, for it is a life changing, faith building act.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Grace


 I read today of the death of Fr. Pat Malone, S.J.—a man my own age, lost to leukemia.

His obituary tells of a life well-lived, one that touched so many, especially workers at Ground Zero in the weeks after 9/11.

He maintained a blog. Shortly after Easter, probably knowing that his life was drawing to a close, he had this to say:
Here’s one: nothing seems to stop the force of compassion. In a world long drenched in inequity and soreness, it stays. It stays with a ferocious resiliency. Nothing is able to keep it down. There is no weariness or bloodshed or sorrow that can come close to destroy it. The reverse is true: the more ridiculous it is to show acts of compassion, the more it endures. It is abundantly wasteful, being thrown about sometimes in futile or harsh settings. It refuses to fade away even when brutality and greed get their way in the world. They have not and can not extinguish the force of compassion. 
Another tenacious grace: hope. It is far more than wishing for better tomorrows. It is having gracious awareness of what is going on right now. It is seeing this life as a bewildering tapestry of miracles, and not doubting that this is the way it will continue. This sort of hope breeds patience. We do not expect a particular outcome. We find it more reasonable and easy to to know that whatever is ahead is completely unknown. But what is next will be sparkled with hints of the extraordinary gift just be a part of God’s fabric.
This sort of hope allows us greater permission to acknowledge when the present has darkness or awkwardness. Having this deep hope allows us to better settle into the messiness and frayed parts of our lives, remembering it has all, and will be all, weaved into a sacred journey. It does not remove from us any torment or confusion. It helps us know what to do: surrender the troubles of our lives to this God who seeks closeness. 
These graces that abide hover about as I move forward with rehab. I continue to mend in a place that makes it obvious I am in good hands. There is the slow work that comes with any recovery, yet simple joy is never too far. It happens, after five weeks inside, of getting outside and feeling a gentle breeze for the first time. Or holding a fork again. Or walking (wobbly) about in this strengthening place. Like your ongoing prayers, each of these small signs gives me a to chance to offer a hearty “alleluia”. 
May we be open to these abiding graces. May the one who gives us passage–the gate–guide us tenaciously to base our lives on the things that cannot die.

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him…

Friday, July 25, 2014

The Sunday Word

There are more images of the kingdom in this Sunday's Gospel where Jesus offers three parables on images of God's reign coming among us. Those three images: a wheat field in which an enemy has sown weeds; as a mustard seed (the "smallest of all") that grows into a bush large enough for birds to nest in; and as the leaven, the yeast, a baker mixes with her flour to bake bread.

To help you understand these images, you might spend a little time "translating" the three Jesus offers into contemporary circumstances... what will you come up with?

The first reading of the day, from Wisdom, seems to have been chosen to complement the Gospel to reinforce the notion of God’s forbearance: "For your might is the source of justice, your mastery over all things makes you lenient to all." Just the thought that "God is lenient to all" is something all of us might spend some time pondering.

This week offers still another reading from Romans 8 and speaks boldly, if briefly, of the Spirit's role in our prayer and in interceding for us with God.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Boring Mass?

Boring Mass?

“Mass is so boring!”

How often have you parents heard that from your kids on Sunday morning? How often have our teachers and catechists heard it as they prepare our children for Mass? And, let’s admit it, how often have we said it to ourselves?

What do we say to that unfortunate and almost sacrilegious statement?

Well, for one, we simply reply, No, it’s not! You may find the Mass boring, but, that’s more your problem than the fault of the Mass.

We may find a lot of very important activities in life “boring”: visits to the dentist can be that way; kidney patients tell me dialysis three times a week is hardly a thrill; voting is no barrel of laughs. But, all three of them are very significant to our wellbeing, and their value hardly depends on us being ecstatic while doing them. The Mass is even more important for the health of our soul than those examples.

Boredom is our problem, and social commentators tell us we today, so used to thirty-second sound bites, or flipping the channel when we yawn at a program, are susceptible to it.

Thank God, a person’s or an event’s value does not depend on its tendency to sometimes “bore” us. People and significant events exist not to thrill us, unless we are the most narcissistic and spoiled of brats!

This is especially true of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. We believe that every Mass is the renewal of the most important, critical event that ever occurred: the eternal, infinite sacrifice of praise of God the Son, Jesus, to God the Father, on a cross on Calvary on a Friday called “good.”

Come to think of it, the Roman soldiers were “bored” there, too, as they mocked Jesus and rolled dice for his tunic, the only property He had.

Two, we hardly go to Mass to be entertained, but to pray. If the flowers on the altar are pretty; if the music is good; if the air conditioning is working; if the sermon is short and meaningful; if the folks are friendly . . . all that sure helps.

But, the Mass works even when all of the above may be missing – - and, sadly, they often are!

Because, the Mass is not about us, but about God. And the value of the Mass comes from our simple yet profound conviction, based on faith, that , for an hour on Sunday, we’re part of the beyond, lifted up to the eternal, a participant in a mystery, as we unite with Jesus in the thanks, love, atonement, and sacrifice He eternally offers His Father. What Jesus does always works, and is never boring. The Mass is not some tedious chore we do for God, but a miracle Jesus does with and for us.

A gentleman was just telling me about his family Sunday dinner, the heart of the week when he was growing up. The food was so good because his mom cooked it so well, and the table so happy because his dad was always there!

Even after he got married and had his own kids, they’d all go to his mom and dad’s for that Sunday dinner. When his kids got a bit older they asked if they “had to go,” because, yes, at times they found it “boring.” Yes, you, do, he would reply, because we don’t just go for the food, but because of love, because mom and dad are there!

He teared-up as he recalled that, as mom and dad got old, the food wasn’t as good and the company not as sparkling, but he’d never miss, because that Sunday event had a depth of meaning even when mom burned the lasagna and dad nodded off.

And now, he concluded, he’d give anything to be there again, because mom’s gone, and dad’s in a home.

So now he and his wife host it, and he hopes his three kids will one day bring their spouses and children to their Sunday table.

See, the value of that Sunday dinner doesn’t depend on how good the food is; how expensive the wine; how interesting the conversation. All that sure helps, but it’s the event that has the real value.

Same with the Sunday dinner of our spiritual family: Mass.

Some folks think a game at Yankee Stadium is boring; some consider country music the same; some people tell me that values such as friendship, volunteer work, family, loyalty, generosity, and patriotism are “passe,” no longer “exciting.”

I’d say they got a problem!

And some tell me “Mass is so boring…

- Timothy Cardinal Dolan

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A place to meet the Lord

Help me a find a place to meet you, Lord:
a shady place, a grove of grace,
where you and I might meet and sit
together in the silence, in the shade, away
from all the noise that fills my mind...

Help me find a summer refuge at the shore
or in the fields or on some mountain top:
a grotto of your presence, Lord, a haven
where I'll find with you the peace
my heart desires...

This summer, Lord,
help find a place to meet you
down the road or out of town
or even close to home:
a place where we might meet and sit
together in the silence, in the shade
and in the prayer that makes us one...

You need not travel far to find a summer place
to meet the Lord and spend some time with him:
tt might be your back yard, your porch or deck
or just a favorite chair close by an open window...

Wherever you are, he's with you;
wherever you travel, he's by your side;
wherever you go, he'll be there to meet you
whenever you arrive...

H/T A Concord Pastor