The Eucharist: A Renewal of Being

Oh Father,

If the Spirit of the Lord were poured into me more than is now present

This being would burst into a flame of purgation and this body collapse onto the floor.

And, none could stir it into consciousness until that same Spirit revived it. 

No, I am not ready for such an encounter.

Let my lips be touched by a burning ember, as You touched Isaiah’s lips.

As you spoke to Peter at the washing of his feet, telling him ‘this is enough’,

let the tiny fire of the ember at my mouth fully cleanse and purge my being of sin and make my

being worthy of serving You.

     I found the above prayer while rummaging through my desk for insurance papers.  It’s not a leap or even a large step to perceive the inspiration of God in this.  Even secular coincidence cannot deny an intersection of thought in the universe.

            I have struggled for some time to reconcile the power of the Sacrament of the Eucharist with my observations of the faithful (myself included) returning from receiving the Sacrament during mass.  “How is it,” I’ve wondered, “That receiving the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of God in the host does not immediately heal all maladies; physical, mental, and spiritual?  Why are we not perfected in an instant? Why is there no miracle occurring routinely in the practice of the New Testament of Christianity?”  These questions vex me (I like the word vex here.  It’s discomforting).

            Recall Isaiah’s recount of his vision of heaven in Isaiah 6.  The thundering power of heaven and chorus of angelic praise shake him to fear.  He knows of his unworthiness.  He pleads to be cleansed.  A six-winged Seraphim takes a burning ember from the altar with tongs and touches his lips, “now that this has touched your lips , your wickedness is removed, your sin purged” (Isaiah 6:7).

            I’m a visual person.  Art enhances my thoughts.  A picture is worth a lot of words, whether a hundred, a thousand, or ten-thousand.  A simple Internet search brings up a few recorded religious artworks, one of Byzantine origin. A click brings up another option and another click and I’m ‘in’ Dr. Scott Hahn’s theology school reading an article by Curtis Mitch (https://stpaulcenter.com/the-burning-coal-eucharist-in-the-old-testament/) Mr. Mitch points out that notable others have contemplated the same question.  Mitch’s research brings the words of St. Cyril (5th Century Bishop of Alexandria) and St. John of Damascus (7th century monk).  St. Cyril states directly that the coal is Christ.  St. John says we must approach the Eucharist as if it is, in fact, a coal purging us as Isaiah implored.

            5th century, 7th century, now in the 21st century, the relation of a prophetic vision some seven hundred years before Jesus came to us all continues to bring Him to us and remind us of the intense encounter that awaits us at the altar at mass.  As we continue this year of Eucharistic renewal, let us proclaim the burning ember of God’s mercy that provides a renewal according to our frailty.

            Amen.

The Torch is Passing

The problem with a pure democracy is that the majority (us laborers) will vote in what we want as often as we want for our immediate needs. Society swings according to the popular vote until it doesn’t and then ‘mob rule’ (Summer of 2020) and the society struggles to provide/provide opportunity for all.

“We the People…” set up a Democratic-Republic, where we select our leaders. These leaders are supposed to meet in general assembly and decide on our laws for the benefit of all, and then execute and adjudicate those laws accordingly. Problems with the Republic come when those elected leaders begin working for their own benefit or their donors benefit instead of the benefit of the whole. 80*mil of you thought Mr. Trump wasn’t working for the ‘whole’. The decision wasn’t about his work, though, it was about how much his personality was hated. He lost* a popularity contest rather than an election.

It’s mid-term election time. What’s the plan now?

After the arrest of an anti-abortion protester by the FBI splashes in the news (after the case was adjudicated and dismissed in local courts; the man was defending his son from a belligerent) the question must be asked of the 80* mil….
1. You chose a dementia patient who didn’t campaign for Pres.
2. In Pennsylvania, your party is running a stroke victim for the U.S. Senate, who has demonstrated he cannot conduct business.
3. The Justice department has been lauded for its raids of private homes for political purposes.
4. Strategic oil reserved (meant for wartime use) have been reduced 30% in the last six months in a short-sighted attempt to cull your favor in gasoline prices.
5. The streets have become second and third world crime zones since 2020.

Is anarchy what you wanted? You’ve got it now…and it is easier to fall into chaos than it is to retain law and order.

My time is passing. This is not what I wanted for you. It is what 80*mil voters chose for their leadership. The torch is being passed. It’s your turn now… What do you choose?

https://www.kennedy-center.org/video/center/history/jfk-inauguration-speech/

*I dispute the validity of the 2020 Presidential election. The anomalous simultaneous halt of ballot counting in six States across two time zones, the failure of the Pennsylvania Courts to back the State election law, and the refusal of the Supreme Court of the United States to intervene in the case in Pennsylvania are all issues that were never resolved adequately. The treatment of those hundreds arrested at the Capitol on January 6th who remain in custody without charge, representation, or bail hearings is the first offense of the current repressive government our countries Constitution and Bill of Rights is intended to protect us against.

The Eucharist as Commitment and Reparation

Fatima Angel’s Prayer / Divine Mercy lead prayer: Opening a discussion

Fatima

Most Holy Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit- I adore Thee profoundly. I offer Thee the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges, and indifferences whereby He is offended. And through the infinite merits of His Most Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg of Thee the conversion of poor sinners.

Divine Mercy

Eternal Father, I offer you the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your Dearly Beloved Son, Our Lord, Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world.

Background

The events in Fatima occurred over the course of the years of 1914 through 1917, focused on three shepherd children in Portugal.  One of their preliminary visions included an angel teaching them the prayer above.  These visions and the events of 1917 coincide with the years of the First World War.  The Miracle of the Sun is reported in ‘O Secular’(Portuguese newspaper) on Oct 13th, 1917, just 13 months before the Armistice is signed.

The Divine Mercy related visions begin in May 1933 and continue through Sister Faustina’s death in 1938. These dates coincide with the rise of the Nazi Party in Germany, the Spanish Civil War where Germany rehearses the Blitzkrieg, and Japan’s military actions in China.  All these events are prelude to the start of the Second World War in September 1939.

     The events appear to bookend the historical pause in a Divine punishment of humankind.  Fatima’s message includes a message of hope in the end of the first war and continued peace if the people turn back towards God in their hearts.  Sister Faustina’s visions include an almost pleading message that it is still not too late for the world to receive the Divine Mercy of God and avoid the promised punishment of the Fatima message. The display of the Aurora Borealis January 25th/26th 1938 was a signal that the punishment was about to begin, according to Sister Lucia, the only surviving Seer of Fatima.  This was occurring at the same time Sister Faustina’s health was deteriorating.

     There is one additional event worth considering, a precursor vision to both of these prayers being given to the Seers and subsequently to the Faithful.  Pope Leo XIII was given a vision of terrible consequence in 1884, after which he immediately wrote the Prayer to St. Michael.  A vision of terrible events, of a conversation between God and Satan, where God would allow the world to be tested prompted a lengthy prayer of exorcism to be recorded by the Pope.  Leo promptly directed this prayer to be added to the end of every mass so the Faithful could pray for deliverance.  The events of Fatima and visions of Sister Faustina were aids and reminders given to the Church to avoid and subsequently endure these trials.

Prayer Comparison

The two prayers have immediate similarities.  Both prayers offer “the body, blood, soul, and divinity” of Jesus, and both prayers make the offering “…in atonement…” or “…in reparation…”.  The like offering of the sacrifice of Calvary celebrated in Catholic masses for the two preceding millennium presents a clear catechetical moment on the Eucharist as Sacrament. Offering the sacrifice in atonement invokes the Sacrament of Reconciliation, professing sorrow and invoking the penitential requirement of a change of heart.  One prayer, two Sacraments, both recognizing the sacrificial nature of the Lamb of God.

The Fatima Angel’s prayer is more detailed.  The offering of the sacrifice is made to the Trinity, which seems appropriate to the number of Seers; three Persons of the Godhead, three Seers.  Also, with Faustina, the offering to the Father solely; one Godhead, one Seer.

Also with Fatima, the great tribulation of the world war is in progress. Emphasis on the “outrages, sacrileges, and indifferences” seems more intimate with the immanent horrors of war in progress. The Divine Mercy is offered in what appears to most to be a time of peace between nations, though the shortness of the prayer intimates a sense of urgency.

Next, the Fatima Angel’s prayer invokes visions in the history of the Church.  The devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus began with visions in 1690. Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary traces back to the 12th century. Again, the imminent nature of the war seems to require the need for the fullness of the Church over centuries to quell the horrors of war.

Consider the geographical context of the common prayers also.  Fatima is in Portugal on the Western side of Europe.  Sister Faustina’s visions are in Krakow Poland and Vilnius Lithuania on the Eastern border of Europe.  It seems Christian Europe is being cradled in the hands of God.

Afterward

     Fatima was recognized as a miraculous event and the secrets relayed to Sister Lucia still create conversation in the third decade of the 21st Century.  A cathedral was dedicated to Mary in 1956 and two of the Seers’ remains were reinterred within.  Sister Lucia dos Santos lived until 2005 and joined her cousins there. With the advent of a Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Pope Francis formally dedicated Russian to Mary’s Immaculate Heart in plain words.

     Sister Faustina’s diary and the Divine Mercy prayers would be passed through the Church and grow in use. She and her visions would find a champion in a young priest who served in her ‘neighborhood’ in Poland. Karol Wojtyla would become Pope John Paul II in 1978 and serve as Pontiff for 25 years. He dedicated the Second Sunday of Easter as Divine Mercy Sunday in the Liturgical calendar and promoted the continued practice of the meditation.

Additional Considerations

     I consider it evident from social and psychological studies that social upheaval, disagreements, and wars between peoples occur continually. “These are the times that try Men’s souls…” is a constant in the history of humankind. This ebbs and flows continuously through history.

     Yet the events of the 20th century engulfed the entire planet in war-time atrocities nearly continuously. Following the world wars were local wars in four continents.  Terror was and continues to be used to oppress peoples around the world involving nation-states as world police forces with great civilian casualties.  Meanwhile, political fights concerning life and death cover the western nations in arguments over abortion, euthanasia, and legalizing suicide.  Politicians continue to use race and wealth to incite rioting and disregard for the rule of law. Philosophers promote the possibility that what we see in ourselves physically is not what we necessarily are.  What God made ‘in the beginning’ isn’t what we have to abide by.

     Pope Leo XIII never revealed openly the events of his vision leading to his authoring of the St. Michael Prayer.  It seems the testing allowed by Satan went far beyond the wars of the last hundred years. Perhaps the wars were only a fog that unleased even more terrible events now becoming manifest. The need for recognizing the sacrifice of Jesus in the Eucharist and our personal and collective atonement remains. The prayers given us through the Seers of Fatima’s Angel and the angelic Sister Faustina remain a divine gift to us today.

Resources:

Cesanek, A. “A Night Illumined by an Unknown Light”, The Fatima Center, Copyright © 2021 The National Committee for the National Pilgrim Virgin of Canada. On-line. Downloaded 8-30-22 from https://fatima.org/news-views/a-night-illumined-by-an-unknown-light/

Divine Mercy Decade lead prayer – The Divine Mercy. Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception of the B.V.M. 2022. On-line. Downloaded 8-30-22 from https://www.usccb.org/prayers/divine-mercy-chaplet

Fatima Prayer – https://www.catholiccompany.com/magazine/five-prayers-taught-at-fatima-by-mary-the-angels-6057#

This Date in History: September 1 “Germany invades Poland”. Editors, History.com; A&E Television Network. 2009. On-line. Downloaded 8-30-22 from https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/germany-invades-poland

Timeline: Events in the life and mission of St. Faustina. The Divine Mercy. ibid. Downloaded 8-30-22 from https://www.thedivinemercy.org/message/history/timeline

The Rosary – Becoming A Friend of Jesus

The Atlantic Magazine article warning of extremists co-opting the Rosary meditation practiced by Catholics (https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/08/radical-traditionalist-catholic-christian-rosary-weapon/671122/) was also co-opted by the media in an apparent attempt to stir controversy. What the media attempt has done is offer those of us familiar with the meditation an opportunity to share the Rosary with all of you. This is how a sword of faith operates to penetrate the hearts of others. Peace be with you.

How do we get to be friends with someone?  I don’t mean Facebook friends, I mean really friends, someone on whom we can depend and who can depend upon us reliably.  What is that break point when we decide that person is worth our time and energy to stay close to?  I think we make that decision when we get to know their story.

So, if I ask you the question, “Are you friends with the man called Jesus, the God-Man called Jesus Christ?” and you say “Yes, I am,” can you tell me His story?  Can you tell me when and where he was born, where he grew up, how did he earn his living, and what was his life’s mission?  Can you tell me how the man died?  Can you tell me why so many billions of people call Him the Son of God?

And why do I ask this question at all?  Well, it arises from a conversation I had with my wife over our grandchildren’s understanding and comprehension of the God-Man and whether they would accept or reject faith in Him as they move through their teen-aged years.  I was talking about Sacraments and rituals that point to Him.   She brought me back to reality, a practical reality I’m going to school for so I can teach this theology to teens.  She said, “They have to form a relationship with Him.”  If my premise is correct, then our grandchildren, and all our children raised in the Christian faith have to learn the story of His life and purpose.

I have come to an understanding.  I would call it an inspired understanding of what it can mean to come to Jesus through dedication to his mother, Mary.  I’ve been struggling with this concept as many of my friends and many more acquaintances through my life have held that veneration of Mary is sacrilege. It breaks the First Commandment forbidding any other ‘gods’ be worshipped.  Without going into a full discussion of Marian theology, let me suffice to state that veneration is not worship, and that all of us who have trusted our mothers through our lives have asked them for favors, intercessions, if you will, so as to get our fathers to do something for us we wanted.  This is the essence of approaching Mary.

Among our Catholic ways to approach Jesus is through Mary and the recitation of the Rosary.  This meditation revolves around a ‘garland’ of fifty-five beads in the Catholic Church. (many other faiths around the world use a similar type of garland (See http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/13184b.htm). The garland is divided into five ‘decades’, five larger beads separated by ten smaller ones.  The Lord’s Prayer is prayed on the larger beads while scripture of Luke 1:42 is recited followed by an invocation asking for Mary’s prayers for us at the hour of our death.  This is the “Hail Mary” prayer.  The Rosary is typically begun with the Profession of Faith, reciting the Apostle’s or other catholic Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, and introductory Hail Mary’s.  These are the rudiments of the meditation.

The focus of the meditation is the story of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.  Each of the larger beads is used to recall a specific moment in the life of the Christ.  Reciting the Lord’s Prayer commits us to ‘Thy will be done’ as we begin the decade.  These moments we call ‘mysteries’ give us milestones around which to recall the Gospels and which, when taught to our children, give them a simple outline of the Good News upon which they can begin to build their own relationship with Him.  These mysteries were expanded by St. Pope John Paul II in 2002 to include five mysteries in the three-year teaching mission carried out by Jesus, called the Luminous Mysteries.

Teaching our children to pray the rosary is teaching them the story of the Lord.  Learning the story lets them come to know Him in a more intimate way, allowing them to become friends with Him, coming closer to Him, and holding onto Him as they grow into their adult lives.  Will they hold fast to Him throughout?  We’d like to think so.  However, for many of us moving through independence and into an interdependent understanding of life, we had to learn for ourselves like the Prodigal Son the importance of coming home to the Father and our Brother.  We can hope and pray the Rosary will bring them home sooner.

There are twenty such mysteries to help us learn about Jesus.  They are as follows;

The Joyful MysteriesThe Luminous MysteriesThe Sorrowful MysteriesThe Glorious Mysteries
The Annunciation Mary meets the angel Gabriel and submits to being the mother of JesusThe Baptism of the Lord The story of His submission to a Jewish rite and His forty-day journey into the desertThe Agony in the Garden The story of how Jesus wept in fear, yet submitted to the Father’s will.The Resurrection The story of the third day, Jesus rising from death.  The tomb is empty.  Why we believe.
The Visitation Recalled in Luke 1, Mary visits her cousin Elizabeth, six months along herself with John the BaptistThe Wedding Feast in Cana The story of Jesus’ submission to his mother, resulting in his first public miracle.The Scourging at the Pillar The remembrance of the physical suffering endured.The Ascension The story of Jesus’s final hour on earth and the promise of the help of the Holy Spirit.
The Nativity The story of the birth of Jesus in BethlehemThe Proclamation of the Kingdom A reminder of the work He accomplished in teaching the Apostles and the People of the nearness of the Kingdom of HeavenThe Crowning with Thorns The remembrance of the humiliation suffered at the hands of the Roman SoldiersPentecost The story of the coming of the Holy Spirit to the Apostles, Mary, and other disciples, the revelation of the Christ to the Jewish Diaspora.
The Presentation The story of the fulfillment of Jewish Law to offer the first born to YHWH GodThe Transfiguration The story of when Jesus was presented in His glory with Moses and Elijah, with Peter, James, and John present.The Carrying of the Cross The remembrance of the weight of carrying His own means of execution, and its relation to carrying the timeless sins of the world.The Assumption The recollection that Mary, because of her commitment to Jesus, is also assumed body and soul into Heaven.
The Finding of the Child in the Temple The story of a Passover trip to Jerusalem, where the boy Jesus is found teaching the elders in the TempleThe Institution of the Eucharist The story of the Last Supper, the transformation of the Passover to a New CovenantThe Crucifixion The story of the humiliating death of His body, and the salvation act that redeemed all Humankind.The Coronation The recollection of the crowning of Mary as Queen of heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, in Revelation.

Look for my book Meditations on the Holy Rosary from St. Dominic’s Media in November 2022.

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/13184b.htm

http://www.how-to-pray-the-rosary-everyday.com/luminous-mystery-rosary.html

https://w2.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en/apost_letters/2002/documents/hf_jp-ii_apl_20021016_rosarium-virginis-mariae.html

http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/prayers-and-devotions/rosaries/how-to-pray-the-rosary.cfm

Psalm – Response Praying the Rosary

The Lord’s Prayer

Side one – Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come. thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.

Side two – Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us;

and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

All –Amen.

Hail Mary

Side one – Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.  Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.


Side two – Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.

All –Amen.

Copied from the US Catholic Conference of Bishops’ website  https://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/prayers-and-devotions/prayers/basic-prayers

Link to The Atlantic Magazine article: https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/08/radical-traditionalist-catholic-christian-rosary-weapon/671122/

The Fathers/Founders: Did They Believe and Practice Faith in God?

An argumentative question brought forth by those of modern philosophies who attempt to force those of us so dedicated out of the public square. Be of stout heart! Speak! For it is those bringing the argument who lack the virtues needed to sustain this nation.

The Mayflower Compact

In the name of God, Amen. We, whose names are underwritten, the loyal subjects of our dread Sovereigne Lord, King James, by the grace of God, of Great Britaine, France and Ireland king, defender of the faith, etc. having undertaken, for the glory of God, and advancement of the Christian faith, and honour of our king and country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the Northerne parts of Virginia, doe by these presents solemnly and mutually in the presence of God and one of another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civill body politick, for our better ordering and preservation, and furtherance of the ends aforesaid; and by virtue hereof to enacte, constitute, and frame such just and equall laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions and offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meete and convenient for the generall good of the Colonie unto which we promise all due submission and obedience. In witness whereof we have hereunder subscribed our names at Cape-Codd the 11. of November, in the year of the raigne of our sovereigne lord, King James, of England, France and Ireland, the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fiftie-fourth. Anno Dom. 1620.”

Closing paragraph of the Declaration of Independence

We, therefore, the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. —And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.” (Closing paragraph of the Declaration of Independence)

First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America

Amendment I

Freedoms, Petitions, Assembly

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Final paragraph of the Articles of Confederation; 1777

And Whereas it hath pleased the Great Governor of the World to incline the hearts of the legislatures we respectively represent in congress, to approve of, and to authorize us to ratify the said articles of confederation and perpetual union. Know Ye that we the undersigned delegates, by virtue of the power and authority to us given for that pur pose, do by these presents, in the name and in behalf of our respective constituents, fully and entirely ratify and confirm each and every of the said articles of confederation and perpetual union, and all and singular the matters and things therein contained: And we do further solemnly plight and engage the faith of our respective constituents, that they shall abide by the determinations of the united states in congress assembled, on all questions, which by the said confederation are submitted to them. And that the articles thereof shall be inviolably observed by the states we respectively represent, and that the union shall be perpetual.”

Excerpts from Washington’s Farewell Address: 1796

With slight shades of difference, you have the same religion, manners, habits, and political principles. You have in a common cause fought and triumphed together; the independence and liberty you possess are the work of joint counsels, and joint efforts of common dangers, sufferings, and successes.”

“Though, in reviewing the incidents of my administration, I am unconscious of intentional error, I am nevertheless too sensible of my defects not to think it probable that I may have committed many errors. Whatever they may be, I fervently beseech the Almighty to avert or mitigate the evils to which they may tend. ”

Fourth stanza, The Star-Spangled Banner

Thirty-years later, a young lawyer would include this prayer in a poem commemorating the defense of his home town…

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved homes and the war’s desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heaven-rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation
.
Then conquer we must, for our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust.”
And the star-spangled banner forever shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Too easy is it to thwart the argument of those who choose Humanism and point out their error in virtue. It is our responsibility to point out these errors and quell the falsehoods, so when the question is asked, the Virtue of Truth may prevail.

“Oh, say, does that Star-Spangled Banner yet wave, o’re the land of the free and the home of the brave?”

Celebrate Christianity with us!  The Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary

It is the Salvation Act, the suffering, crucifixion, and resurrection that is the affirming act of God’s renewal of the covenant with all His people.  Yes, Jesus of Nazareth was executed by the Romans at the bequest of the Sanhedrin, the leadership of the Jewish people.  The historian Flavius Josephus, a Jewish general and later Roman citizen, records the secular confirmation of the Gospel narrative.  Jesus was executed and his followers claim He rose from the dead.  It is to our divine gift of free Will the choice is given to believe or not, to celebrate or to scoff.

The Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary complete the story of the Gospel and recalling the faith of the early Church.  Jesus, the Son of the Creator God, was raised from the dead by the power of God.  He later ascended into heaven, witnessed by the Apostles who spent three years of their lives witnessing His work and absorbing His teaching. At His command, they stayed together until they received His advocate, the fire and wisdom of the Holy Spirit of God.  These eleven men and other disciples professed the Gospel and continued to hold His mother in honor and esteem.  They buried her in Jewish Tradition, waiting a year for her body to decay.  St Thomas, the doubter, went to collect her bones and found her tomb empty.  From then through the history of the Church, it was believed she was assumed into heaven, body and soul, and as in Jewish Tradition, became Queen Mother in heaven.

These complete the twenty mysteries, the contemplations that recall the Gospel of Jesus.  Here we have the fundamental method of recalling the Gospel and allowing every person to proclaim it to those around them.  Here we have an opportunity to daily meditate on that Gospel so we might better understand and then relay the story of salvation to those we meet in our daily lives.

Will you pray with us?  Will you join us in celebrating the Gospel of Jesus Christ?

The Dogma of the Assumption of Mary

https://www.vatican.va/content/pius-xii/en/apost_constitutions/documents/hf_p-xii_apc_19501101_munificentissimus-deus.html

“St. Juvenal, Bishop of Jerusalem, at the Council of Chalcedon (451), made known to the Emperor Marcian and Pulcheria, who wished to possess the body of the Mother of God, that Mary died in the presence of all the Apostles, but that her tomb, when opened, upon the request of St. Thomas, was found empty; wherefrom the Apostles concluded that the body was taken up to heaven.”

https://www.newadvent.org/cathen/02006b.htm

(painting credit: Van Dyke; Catholicviral.com)

Consider PAIN… An Invitation

Consider PAIN…

Not a pleasant topic at all.  Much of our time and money is spent avoiding it.  And yet, some embrace it.  You’ve heard the athletic mantra, of course; “No pain, no gain.”  There’s a religious one you might have heard as well; “Offer it up.”  In the name of God, what can that possibly mean?

Again, I ask you to consider ‘pain’ and what you will do with it when it comes into your life.  This exercise is too difficult when the pain comes, in whatever form it comes.

There is a story from Bishop Fulton Sheen’s life and one of his hospital calls.  Seems there was a man suffering loudly and being a difficult patient and there was little anyone could do to appease this man.  Down the hall from this man was a child suffering from severe illness.  Bishop Sheen suggested to the man on his next visit that the man offer his own pain for the relief of the child’s pain.  From then on the man was silent and cooperative with the nursing staff until his death.

To “offer it up” is redemptive.  It is the meaning of the Cross, and the intent of the cross we are each called to carry daily.

One way to begin to prepare ourselves to carry this cross is to pray and meditate on the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary.  The Gospel tells us even Jesus wanted to avoid the pain of the Cross.  This is the recollection of the Agony in the Garden.  It begins in fear and ends with resolve, the acceptance of the pain to come.  The Scourging at the Pillar begins the tearing away of life from His body.  The Crowing with Thorns and mockery that it represents tears at the heart of the Gospel message.  Bled, weakened, scorned, The Carrying of the Cross requires help from a stranger call Simon of Cyrene and the witness of his Mother, our Mother.  The Crucifixion hangs Him on the road next to the main gate of the city, where all the world would see what happens to those who would oppose the world.

Are you afraid of your suffering?  Will you let it become redemptive, joining your pain with His for the salvation of His Church?  Begin to prepare yourself mentally, physically, and spiritually by praying the Rosary.

Carey, OH is the home of a place of miracles of healing pain, and a place where one can witness the bearing of pain.  Crutches, braces, bandages, and even a paralytic’s basket can be viewed there along with letters of testimony of the healings that have occurred since 1875.  It is a place of celebration and contemplation.

And, for those living in the area, consider joining in the Rosary and Mass for the August 15th Feast of the Assumption, when the procession walks from the church to the park and outdoor celebration of the Eucharist.

https://www.olcshrine.com/about/history

Colossians 1:24-29

Christ in Us.[m]24 Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking[n] in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the church, 25 of which I am a minister in accordance with God’s stewardship given to me to bring to completion for you the word of God, 26 the mystery hidden from ages and from generations past. But now it has been manifested to his holy ones, 27 to whom God chose to make known the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; it is Christ in you, the hope for glory. 28 It is he whom we proclaim, admonishing everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. 29 For this I labor and struggle, in accord with the exercise of his power working within me.

(featured image is from The Passion of the Christ, Director; Mel Gibson: Jim Cavezal as Jesus. 2004. New Market Films.)

An Invitation from Our Mother

The following is written as an invitation for an event during a family reunion celebrating the 90th birthday of our father, who passed in May of 1998.  It seems appropriate I share a portion of it more widely.

Consider…

If you saw your father kneel down each night and pray,…   would you?

If your mother asked you to pray with her,…    would you take time to pray with her?

If your grandmother asked you to kneel and pray with her,…   would you?

Some believe in prayer when life gives them trouble.  Is this when you pray?

What, then, is your answer when the Mother of God asks you to pray with her?  The ‘theotokos’, the new Ark of the Covenant, the teen who found herself pregnant, who’s fiancé’ needed spiritual guidance to follow through with his own commitment, the woman who watched her Son nailed to a cross in execution…

Would you pray with her?

This is the essence of the meditation that is the Rosary since Our Lady appeared to St. Dominic around 1200 A.D.  The Rosary ‘mysteries’ focus on the life of Christ.  Each prayer with Our Lady, our Mother, exclaims the name of Jesus as the greeting of her cousin Elizabeth is recited from Luke.  Six times in one group of mysteries we rededicate our lives to God in recitation of the Lord’s Prayer.

The Luminous Mysteries are a modern addition by St. Pope John Paul II.  These focus on the Gospel proclamation by Jesus and his Apostles.  His baptism in the Jordan follows the Jewish ritual washing rites before his contemplation in the desert.  The Wedding Feast at Cana is where He first reveals his power, and illustrates His support of the primal sacrament of marriage.  The Proclamation of the Kingdom invokes all the scriptures of the Gospels.  The Transfiguration reveals to His trusted three leaders, Peter, James, and John, that He is indeed the Son of God, present on earth to fulfill the Genesis promise of salvation.  And, the Institution of the Eucharist is the introduction of the New Testament ritual of continual dedication of His followers by receiving the transformation of bread and wine into His sacred body and blood.

To pray and meditate with the Rosary is to focus one’s mind on the life of Jesus Christ and the culmination of Salvation history, to build within each one’s mind the framework of the Gospel by which we work to live our lives.  To pray in concert with others is to build the community that is the Church, that community in which we find support and courage to stand for that same Gospel and to bring it to the world.

Will you answer the question affirmatively?  Will you pray with us?  Our Mother is inviting you.  Your father/grandfather is inviting you.

St. Dominic

St. Pope John Paul II adds Mysteries of Light

Mysteries of Light: Pope John Paul II on the Luminous Mysteries

Theotokos

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theotokos

A Truth in Poetry and Song

A Song to Sing1

The New Folk – circa 1977 – Pettie’s Alpine Village, Findlay OH

I’ve learned that love can give, and love can take away.

I’ve learned that it’s not easy to be happy every day.

Xxxx xxxx xxxx xxxx

Xxxx xxxx xxxx xxxx xxxx xxxx

Chorus

I’ll leave you this song to sing and a new hope for tomorrow,

Leave you the birds in spring, and a day that’s filled with joy.

And should we meet again, you will know me by my smile.

And we can laugh together for a while (yes we can),

We can laugh together for a while.

So much in life is sadness, there’s sorrow, there is cold.

Sometimes it’s hard to realize there’s no path paved with gold.

But even through the hard times when things are goin’ wrong

I find a simple comfort in this song.

Chorus

I’ve traveled through this land, and people that I meet.

Some are kind, some are wise, others can’t be beat.

No matter where life leaves me, it’s easy to get along,

When everybody helps me sing this song.

Chorus

We’ll leave you a song to sing, and a new hope for tomorrow.

Leave you the birds in spring, and a day that’s filled with joy.

And should we meet again, you will know me by my smile.

And we can laugh together for a while (yes we can),

We can laugh together for a while.

  1. I don’t know what the composers titled the song.  I selected one of the verses as a header only.

Commentary

            I was coming of age in the mid-1970’s.  One of my mentors at the time, Andy Okapal and his wife Mary were (and are) a decade ahead of me in life.  They were in college in the 1960’s and learned the guitar as many did in that era.  They were leaders of the parish folk guitar music group for one of the Sunday morning masses in Findlay Ohio.  Going out to Pettie’s restaurant was one of my first forays into the adult world and they were suitable guardians for the times, meaning my parents trusted them.

            The New Folk group was steady entertainment in the lounge at Pettie’s and the Okapal’s invited me out one evening.  One evening turned into several and the three (or were their others?) of us did a spot in the show once or twice.  It was a heady time for this eighteen-year-old soon heading off to college.  The group’s show always ended with this song and always the patrons were invited to join in.

            Such an impression it made on me; I chose it for my final solo at the year-end high school choral concert.  Andy played the guitar and I sang harmony on a recording prior to the concert.  I did not do what was expected.  I’d been singing for eight years and studying voice for two with the intention of going to college and becoming a musician.  I had a major supporting role in the musical Showboat! only a month earlier.  At the winter concert I sang Impossible Dream from Camelot and Impossible Dream was my audition song at The Ohio State University. A soaring baritone voice in full inspiring tones must have been expected.

            The silence when I finished this simple folk song was immediate and louder than any applause might have been.  A polite round grew and faded.  I’m assured by the reaction described above of the truth of my memory.  As a performer, I know I disappointed.

            Thinking back I know I was on my way to my fated career as a teacher and instructor. I could have ‘wowed’ the crowd, but already I knew I wanted to leave a message that would resonate through the years.  The song is simple.  It is wistful.  I learned a decade sooner from the New Folk exactly what they were experiencing ten years after their own coming of age.  Life isn’t easy.  Peace, Love, and Flower Power were not the means that drive life in the world.  Nor was sadness and pain.  Life falls somewhere in between for most of us. Some suffer severely. Others suffer little. All have their own challenges.

            Forty-four years later I can look back over a life with my high-school sweetheart (The New Folk entertained at our wedding reception) and having been an instructor/teacher/speaker and know the wisdom of the simple poetry of the song.  I still sing with all the lessons and experience gathered through the years.  I haven’t played the guitar since I left the ships and Navy behind.  But every so often I find myself coming back to this song, understanding the simple, if sad wisdom realized by a youth that looked forward to so much.  I am not disappointed.  I do understand better that wisdom today.  And so, I’ll leave you a song to sing…

Timely…and Timeless

Timely when it was written and produced on stage.  Timely when it went to the screen from Hollywood.  Timely again on December 21, 2021.  Timely because it is timeless.  Disney and Spielberg show the current generations what ‘the Greatest’ generation did to work through the problems of race and ethnicity.

polygon.com, vanityfair.com

Arthur Laurents wrote an American Romeo and Juliet story in the streets of New York city.  It went to the stage in that same city, and to the silver screen twice now.  (www.imdb.com/title/tt3581652/) Spielberg’s direction brings a darker and yet brighter view of an eternal struggle each generation must face.  He and Laurents both switch up the conversation from the ‘black vs. white’ to which the news media and politics typically revert.

A new generation of Puerto Rican immigrants find themselves opposed by a second and third generation of Irish and Polish European immigrant families.  Neither is aware of the others’ past family struggles.  School is a point of intersection yet neither seems to learn there that America is a melting pot of both skill and opportunity.

And that is the lesson we all need to learn, the lesson of Emma Watson’s from 1883, the New Colossus. This country was built by the wretched refuse washing up on the teaming shores of our experiment in a democratic republic. The principles of this republic have taken time to develop and spread to all.  The persecuted from the old world made their way to the new.  Those displaced and many dragged over only began to get the full benefits of those principles in the last century.  Some mistakenly believe there is still no justice nor access, while others continue to work to deny anyone but their kind just access.  This will never change.

empire on-line.com

There will always be those who cling to being victims. There will always be those who believe they are better.  The lesson is plainly set to music in the American version of Shakespeare’s tragic love story. The puertoriquenio druggist, the Polish boy, and the Puerto Rican girl believe race doesn’t matter, only the dedication of one to the other.  The world around them believes differently.  Only the boy dies in this American version, while Shakespeare’s Juliet dies as well.

The key is what each character believes in.  The majority chooses not to believe until their beloved is gone.  Three murders, three deaths, then peace.

Every generation has to fight this fight.  Spielberg’s West Side Story shows the generations in the fight.  Since 2018 and before, the melting post boiled over again.  One provokes the other because they don’t believe, and people die, businesses are burned, lives and lively-hoods are lost.  Schools, designed for education are made to socialize instead, and the failure of learning leads to another generation of discontent.

I was only three when JFK was shot. I was five when the Civil Rights Bill was passes and signed.  I was nine when Bobby and MLK were shot and the race riots in Chicago.  I was thirteen when Russel Means and the American Indian Movement took over Wounded Knee.  My parents’ generation fought through the struggle.  I learned to live with everyone as Dr. King suggested, by the content of character.  Then, in the nineteen-nineties Rodney King was assaulted, the riots in South-Central LA pitted ethnic communities against each other.  A trucker was dragged from his vehicle and beaten; stores were burned.  We worked through it. We all used our guiding principles.

‘It’ never stops.  ‘It’ will happen again.  We didn’t handle the last three years well.  We’ll have to learn to do better before it all happens again.  Perhaps if the schools were allowed to teach our Republic’s guiding principles?…  Here’s one reminder to start:

The New Colossus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Emma Lazarus
November 2, 1883

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