Thursday, September 29, 2011

Adoration of God is Spiritual Warfare and the Glory of the Angles

Today is the Feast of the Glorious Archangels, Sts Michael, Rafael, Gabiel, and the other four unnamed that stand before the throne of God offering the prayers of the holy ones and who guard and guide the life of the Church on earth. In today's readings for Mass, we are taught that Christ is the King of Angels and that they help us to worship the Lord with humility and faith.

Listen to my homily for today delivered at the Marist convent Mass:

If you have trouble listening, click here.

Disciples should try to imitate the holy angels in different respects:

-Being Christ centered. Bringing all peoples to worship, adore, bless, and glorify Jesus Christ.

-Being invisible and desiring to be utterly forgotten, that they remember not my face, name, or presence but the Face of Christ, the Name of Jesus, the Presence of the Lord.

-Being innocent and pure in the sight of God, remaining sinless and holy in our conduct and behavior.

-Letting the victory of Jesus Christ be made present in spiritual warfare by humbling ourselves constantly before the majesty and glory of God.

May Our Lady, Queen of the angelic host, friend of St Michael and the Archangels, teach us how to worship and adore her divine Son.

VIDEO: Angelology or Angelolatry?

If you have trouble viewing this, click here.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Bringing All Peoples to Jerusalem

The King of Salem was a priest named Melchizedek. It was from him that the patriarch Abraham received a covenantal blessing. Salem means peace. Also David was instructed to settle his new capital at Jeru-Salem - the city of peace. Jerusalem has always been a sign of communion with God, a city of covenant, a place of encounter, a kind of earthly sign for heaven. Jerusalem is called by psalm 48, "true pole of the earth," and it can be said, especially from the first reading for Mass today, that there is a kind of gravitational pull, to bring all men to Jerusalem, to bring them into communion with the living God.

Listen to my homily for today:

If you have trouble listening, click here.

In the Gospel today, Jesus is headed toward Jerusalem, where he warned his disciples many times that he would suffer and die, and then rise on the third day. It is the place where he was going to bring about reconciliation and therefore communion of man with God the Father that had been broken by original sin. Because he is headed toward the city of God, toward the city of communion, some reject him.

Onc thing we must recognize is that God speaks to every heart, trying to pull them closer to himself. Figuratively speaking, everyone is a certain distance from Jerusalem. Our work is to try to bring them closer, and this is done by touching that conversation that he is already having with them and to try to move them a little bit closer to communion with him.

Our Lady helps us do this. She understands that this comes with a price, it comes with rejection, which happened to her and to her beloved Son. May her prayers and intercession aid us in bringing others closer to Jerusalem, to communion with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Jealous Love of God the Father

In today's readings for Mass we read:
Thus says the LORD of hosts:
I am intensely jealous for Zion,
stirred to jealous wrath for her.
Thus says the LORD:
I will return to Zion,
and I will dwell within Jerusalem;
Jerusalem shall be called the faithful city,
and the mountain of the LORD of hosts,
the holy mountain.
Listen to my homily for today:

If you have trouble listening, click here.

The Gospel, a teaching of Jesus on discipleship, is actually a description of Our Father: childlike, humble, placing himself last, lowest, and least of all, as he is above all, over all, and in all. We are called to be children of Our Father by letting him be zealous to remove all that is not Christ from our hearts. We are called to be beloved to him.

Pope Benedict XVI's describes this fatherly jealousy as divine eros, which is desparate to free man from sin, that it desires man with zealous love. This is taken from the papal Encyclical, Deus Caritas Est (God is Love):
We have seen that God's eros for man is also totally agape. This is not only because it is bestowed in a completely gratuitous manner, without any previous merit, but also because it is love which forgives. Hosea above all shows us that this agape dimension of God's love for man goes far beyond the aspect of gratuity. Israel has committed “adultery” and has broken the covenant; God should judge and repudiate her. It is precisely at this point that God is revealed to be God and not man: “How can I give you up, O Ephraim! How can I hand you over, O Israel! ... My heart recoils within me, my compassion grows warm and tender. I will not execute my fierce anger, I will not again destroy Ephraim; for I am God and not man, the Holy One in your midst” (Hos 11:8-9).
Our Lady experienced the zealous love of the Father with gracious docility as the dearly beloved Daughter of the Father. May her prayers and intercession help us to surrender totally to the Father and be his little children.

Saying and Keeping your YES to God

A priest was celebrating his 60th anniversary. I knelt down and said, "Father, I really need your blessing." When I opened my eyes after it was done he was kneeling next to me and said, "Now Father, I really need your blessing." I did not ask him how he stayed faithful for 60 years, for someone who humbled himself like that already gave the answer. To say Yes to God and to mean it all humility is the answer to faithful committed love.

Listen to my homily for today:

If you have trouble listening, click here.

Yet in the readings for today's Mass, the 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Jesus is not talking about those who say yes, mean yes, and keep it. He is talking about the terrible tendency we have from original sin to hide our sin, to cover it up.

Who is the one who prays, "Thank you God that I am faithful, that I am not like other men"? Do you recognize this prayer? Do you recognize it from your own heart? If you do it this parable from Jesus is taylor made for you. It is the prayer of the Pharisee who walked away from the temple unjustified before God, not pleasing in his sight, while the Publican, who prayed, "Have mercy on me Lord, a sinner," walked away justified in the sight of God.

God's answer to our unfaithful tendency is the Sacraments, especially the Most Holy Eucharist, the Sacrament of Sacraments. Sacramentum in Latin actually means a sworn covenant oath to say YES to God, while remembering that he never allows us to commit to something without him declaring to keep his promise to grant us the grace to be faithful.

People make these sacramental vows in Baptism, Confirmation, Marriage, and Holy Orders. We are surrounded by those who don't keep their promises. IN the Eucharist God washes us free of our tendency of unfaithfulness so that his blood reaches into the inner recesses of the roots of our infidelity to make us begin to be faithful. This is true spiritual worship, to offer our weakness and tendency to God so that by it he can cement us deeper into his mercy.

May the prayers of Our Lady help us to offer ourselves as pleasing sacrifices to God to make us faithful.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Authentic Piety is Not Good Intentions but Putting Your Money and Time Where Your Faith Is

I recently visited St Patrick's in Soho, London, which has undergone a massive renovation. Churches like this are a testimony to people putting their money where their faith is. Do you tithe? Do you have a certain amount of minutes you spend only with God a day? These are ways of truly showing piety, or giving God his due.Add Video

In today's readings for Mass we see that the Israelites did not do this. They returned from exile and let the house of the Lord be in shambles while they spent all their time and money on themselves:

Is it time for you to dwell in your own paneled houses, while this house lies in ruins?

Many small villages, poor farming communities, simple and humble peoples around the world have shown their piety by giving their first fruits, the best of their time and money to God by building him a beautiful house. Far from being a sign of the Church's temporal wealth it is a sign of the nobility of the poor of God, who give him their best.

Why do people spend three hours at a football match and then get upset if the homily is a few minutes longer? How can people criticize spending in the Church if they do not spend on the Church? People throw their spare change into the collection plate and then complain when there is difficulty balancing the budget.

The truth is that if you don't give your time and money to God you are deceiving yourselves. You may think you have faith but without works, without the fruit of this faith showing true piety of giving God his due, your faith is dead. It is like a metanoia (conversion) without an epistrefa (change of physical behavior). Good intentions pave the road to hell. Repent and change your behavior, not just your intentions! Do not be like Herod the Tetrarch who wanted to admit that Jesus was the Messiah but could not bring himself to accept the change his message would bring.

Listen to my homily for today:

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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Who's your Mommy? Mary is biblically the spiritual Mother of Jesus

You have heard it before. Perhaps from the guy at the local shop, or from your fundamentalist family member, or from someone who calls themselves a "bible Christian." They interpret this passage from Luke (8:21):
"My mother and my brothers
are those who hear the word of God and act on it."
as Jesus renouncing any human ties with his mother. Is that what he is doing? Or is he only announcing the spiritual ties with her. Catholics are the real "bible Christians" because of the way we interpret the bible - as a whole, never taking a passage out of context and using it against the rest of scripture. The truth is that we have to read this passage in light of the rest of the bible, especially with the rest of the Gospel of Luke. In another place Luke talks about Mary's faith as greater than any others (Luke 1:45):
"Blessed are you who believed* that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.”
This is the acclamation from St Elizabeth. She was the first of many saints to recognize a simple biblical truth, that Mary is not only the biological or physical mother of Jesus but the spiritual mother as well, one who did the will of the Lord more perfectly than all others. Also we say that she is the "first and greatest disciple" because of her close imitation of Jesus and putting his words into practice.

Here we must make a clarification. The word "mother" does not mean that she is the beginning or origin of Jesus. The etymology of the word mother, its meaning, is "to care for" or "to bear a child." Did Mary care for and bear the God-child in her womb? Yes! Was she the origin of him? No. Actually the word father means origin, or beginning. Here we can see why father is not listed in the passage above, why Jesus didn't say, he who does the word of God is my father. We also see that the only real father, the only one worthy of the name is God.

The angels acclaim her as well. Just a few verses earlier the Archangel St Gabriel said of her something that was only said of Jesus, that she is full of grace, as it is said in John 1:14, "full of grace and truth." He said this when he appeared to her to announce the coming of the Savior. He greeted her thus (Luke 1:28)
“Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you”
In Greek this is
kecharitōmĕnē (full of grace)
Here is saying that like Jesus, she is full of grace. This is why she is capable of obeying the word of God like no other, why she was chosen to be the Mother of God, why she is an excellent spiritual mother not only to Jesus but to his body the Church.

Hail Virgin Mary! The angels and saints acclaim you. God himself took you as his mother as do we!

The Light of Tabor and Calvary Under a Bushel?

In the readings for today's Mass, Jesus warns us not to hide our light under a bushel basket. He is not simply saying that we shouldn't be afraid to show off, or to honk our own horn but he is simply saying that when God asks us to allow his light to shine through us that we not hinder him.

In following Jesus we will be led up both the mountain of Tabor, of transfiguration, glory and exaltation, and we will also be led to the mountain of Calvary, of suffering, sorrow and humiliation. He trod this path first and asks us also to follow him. To him these are just different expressions of following Abba and his direction.

Blessed Pope John Paul had said in a homily that the light from Tabor and Calvary is the same. St Faustina, the polish nun who had revealed the Divine Mercy said that the light from the Risen Christ in the image of Diving Mercy was the same that came from the light of his face while he hung upon the Cross - the light of diving Grace and Mercy.

May Our Lady help us to be faithful in following Christ through all the hills and valleys, highs and lows, exaltations and humiliations for the glory of God the Father.

Monday, September 19, 2011

4th of 4 Part Catechesis - For the Many

Before looking at the corrected translation let's look at the Gospel for today. Blessed Pope John Paul in his exhortation for the lay faithful, Christifidelis Laici, says that this Gospel is excellent for revealing the nature of the lay vocation.

God doesn't pay by the hour. Perhaps there could be no greater payment than simply being called, being uniquely, personally, and intimately chosen by him to work with him, or rather, to allow him to work through us. Those who labor longer with him are rewarded with being in his presence longer. You can't put an hourly wage or any other reward on that. He is the best reward.

Listen to my homily for today:

If you have trouble listening click here.

He sends us into different vineyards: to our family, our relationships, and our work. In order to bring a fruitful harvest we must first be equipped and sent. This happens at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

There are three different phrases which have been made more accurate in the corrected translation of the Mass. The first one we will will look at is the most important phrase, the consecration:
Accipite, et bibite ex eo omnes: hic est enim calix Sanguinis mei novi et aeterni testamenti, qui pro vobis et pro multis effundetur in remissionem peccatorum. Hoc facite in meam commemorationem.
Which translates:
Take this, all of you, and drink from it, for this is the chalice of my Blood, the Blood of the New and Eternal Covenant, which will be poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Do this in memory of me.
We notice that it is no longer translated as "cup" but "chalice." Fitting considering nothing else goes in the chalice except the precious Blood of the Lamb while a cup is what I drink water from the kitchen sink. We also notice that instead of "everlasting" the translation is "eternal." Amazing that God eternally has called us to partake of his very life.

However, the most drastic change her is the phrase, "MANY" instead of "ALL." First we have to notice that this is simply a translation. Those in the past falsely used the principle of equivalence and tried to make everyone think that many should mean all. Why? Well, it simply is not Christian to believe that Christ did not die for all. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church states in number 605:
The Church, following the apostles, teaches that Christ died for all men without exception: "There is not, never has been, and never will be a single human being for whom Christ did not suffer."
Yet do all accept the gift of his redemption? Well obviously not. "Many are called but few are chosen" (Mt 22:14). Even Origen was guilty of a heresy called αποκαταστασις (apokatastasis), which basically teaches against the 27 times Jesus mentions hell in the New Testament that the souls of those that go to hell may be purified and brought into heaven. Some people sitting in pews of Catholic churches probably ascribe to this heresy. Yet we have to follow the teachings of Jesus, not of the spirit of this age.

St Thomas Aquainas gives us his usual crystal clear clarity commenting on "the many". He says that Christ died for all and grants all sufficient grace to be saved, but only those who accept it have efficacious grace to save their souls. For a more lengthy treatment of this, read Pope Benedict's statement from his book that he wrote while still a Cardinal, God is Near Us: the Eucharist, the Heart of All Life.

The next phrase we will look at is:
Ecce Agnus Dei, ecce qui tollit peccata mundi. Beati qui ad cenam Agni vocati sunt.

Behold the Lamb of God, behold him who takes away the sins of the world. Blessed are those called to the supper of the Lamb.
This is much better than the previous translation simply because its reference to the book of revelation is much clearer. One day the Father will have gathered all, in heaven, on earth, and under the earth, all will bow down before the Lamb of God and all will know that he is Lord. How blessed are those who participate in the Eucharistic foretaste of that moment! It is such a grace to know who he is now. Our response is with faith and that is why the next phase is a biblical allusion to the faith of the centurion:
Domine, non sum dignus ut intres sub tectum meum: sed tantum dic verbo, et sanabitur anima mea.

Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.
Again, the corrected translation is far superior because it simply points to that encounter with Christ, the only one recorded in the Gospel where Jesus was "astonished" at his faith, of which he said,
"Greater faith I have not found in all of Israel" (Mt 8:10)
This shows us that we must receive the Eucharist with faith. Only then will we permit God to be God and transform us into himself.

May the corrected translation bring about a greater harvest of faith and fruitful participation not only in the Eucharistic Mystery but in the apostolate of the lay faithful.

Four Part Catechesis on the Corrected Translation

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Young People are Taught Chastity by Jesus Christ Himself in the Sacraments

There are many wonderful programmes for young people to teach them about living the Gospel in their human relationships. However, what the are yearning for is not powerpoint presentations, world-class musicians, speakers, venues, but the unfailing love of Jesus Christ.

This can only be given in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist. Here Jesus himself touches them, heals them, and reveals to them the glorious face of their Eternal Father, who is Love.

In the Sacrament of Confession, wounds are healed and bound up while the precious and life-giving wounds of Jesus are given to restore to our true dignity.

Here is the second talk I gave at the Wales Pure in Heart conference:

If you have trouble listening click here.

Theology of the Body in Wales

Blessed Pope John Paul said that Jesus Christ has a living dialogue with a person about their body. He called this "A Theology of the Body." In this dialogue God the Father reveals that he has made man in his image and likeness, creating him in Christ before the world began. Jesus shows that he accepts man exactly in his historical situation right now and loves him. The Holy Spirit, who is Love itself, shows that he is ready to bring us from where we are now to where we need to go.

Here is the teaching I gave at the Franciscan Friary Retreat Center in Pantasaph, Wales for the Pure in Heart conference.

If you have trouble listening click here.

Evangelical Poverty - A Counsel for All the Baptized

How blessed are the poor in spirit, the kingdom of heaven is theirs!

Pope Sts Cornelius and St Cyprian, two glorious martyrs in the ancient Church, are both listed on the Roman Canon, the first Eucharistic Prayer. They witnessed to Christ's faithfulness, even amidst great persecution.

The readings for today call us to be witnesses against materialism, which acts as a kind of poison against authentic faith. The lay faithful are called to practice the evangelical counsel of poverty in the precept that St Paul gives in (Cf. 1 Corinthans 7:29-31) to have all things as though they did not possess them. In other words, to not be attached to the things that are gifts from our Eternal Father so that we can exercise faithful stewardship of them and to bring the kingdom of God, "on earth as it is in heaven."

Listen to my homily for today:

If you have trouble listening click here.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

St Aenswythe and the Power of the Holy Name of Mary

St Aenswythe was the granddaughter of the first Christian King of Kent, St Aethelbert, who was baptized by St Augustine of Canterbury in 601. She was known for her life of prayer, study of the sacred Scriptures, for working miracles, and for founding the first monastic community of women in England. She died in 640, but her witness remains highly relevant today.

Listen to my homily for today:

If you have trouble listening click here.

She was part of a royal family and her conversion shows the importance that evangelization must involve the heads of state and of culture. It is not enough for just the people to be moved.

The greatest authority is Our Lady, Queen and Mistress of the heavenly
court of angels, no name other than the Name of Jesus is greater. Under the power of the Name of Mary, which is really a special way of proclaiming the Holy Name of Jesus Christ with greater reverence, confidence and love than we may ever be able to utter, the New Evangelization must also be made pertinent to the current heads of state and of culture. However the first thing that must happen is that we must rid ourselves of the doubt that this is truly possible or the plan of God. For if the heads of society are converted the body will follow.

May the holy Name of Mary bring forth a harvest of evangelization of the Nation of England and of all the nations under heaven.

Wedding Homily for Paul and Tamara Picket

In a wedding, a priest stands in the place of God who witnesses man gift himself to woman and woman offer herself to man. Just as Christ says, "This is my body which will be given up for you," so man and woman exchange vows. At that glorious moment the Holy Spirit takes a portion of the eternal bond and covenant of communion of the Blessed Trinity and interlaces man and woman's heart in a covenant of life, truth, and love.

Here is my homily for the wedding of Paul and Tamara Picket:

If you have trouble listening click here.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Verbum Domini - 3rd in 4 Part Catechesis on the Corrected Translation

Verbum Domini. The Word of the Lord.

Deo Gratias. Thanks be to God.

These are the corrected translations that we will now use in the Mass. We used to say, "This is the Word of the Lord." This is actually not only not a correct translation but also incorrect theology. Only the Eucharistic species, the consecrated host, can we say
Hoc est enim Corpus Meum. For this is my Body.
Listen to my homily for this Sunday:

If you have trouble listening, click here.

Only in the Eucharist can we point to this sacred thing, this holy object and say, "This IS God." The only other place we say this is in heaven. St Thomas Aquainas points this out when he says that we point to anywhere in the created order and say, "God is here." We say that about beautiful landscapes, about a loving family, about the Word of God proclaimed in the Church, and even, he says, you can say that about hell concerning the justice of God, for even God is present even to those who have rejected him. This why we cannot say "This is God," when we point to the book with pages of the words of the Gospel written on it, or even the proclamation of that same Gospel. God is here, but you can even reject the message. He is proclaimed and made present only as much as he is received in faith. Yet in the Eucharist his presence has been localized and objectified so that we may approach him.

So it is very important for us to recognize that faith is necessary to make Jesus present in his proclaimed Word. We know the Word is not a thing, but a person, Jesus Christ. For in John 1:1 we hear:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
So the Word, Jesus, must be accepted in faith by those to whom he has been given. In the proclamation of the Word of God, we believe that the living Jesus Christ is being proclaimed, or in other words, He is speaking directly to us. He has a personal and unique and intimate message for me, for us.

What is he saying today, in today's readings for Sunday Mass? Forgive. Your eternal life depends on it. His mercy is infinite, but not infinitely given to me unless I permit it. For I pray the Our Father in which I say, "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us." That part of it, the "AS" is quite frightening because Jesus tells us that we will be forgiven only in as much as we are ready to forgive others.

A woman died and was on the way to meet God. She saw another woman being dragged by demons to hell and heard a voice say, "She is being sent to the fiery pit because she would not forgive her family members." After the woman met the Lord who told her that she still had some work left to do on the earth she was resuscitated and told this story. Are we surprised? Jesus said this in the Gospel. Let us have faith in his words and let them save us and direct our hearts to forgive all.

Pray with me now:

Lord Jesus Christ, Lamb of God who was slain for my offenses and suffered for my sins, if there is anyone I have not forgiven in my life, any lurking grudge, animosity, unforgiveness, hatred, contempt, resentment, bitterness, or anger, I ask you to wash it from my heart by the flood of your holy mercy. My heart, O Lord, is small and cannot forgive on its own, but by your grace, and by your example, as I see you forgive all with courageous generosity, I too wish to forgive as I have been forgiven. I promise to try to forgive anyone who has ever offended me. Please enlighten me if there are any whom I hold bound, any prisoners I keep, and thus become imprisoned myself. Show me, O Lord, your mercy, and grant me your salvation. Mary, Mother of Jesus, be a Mother to me now. Amen.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Proclaiming the Gospel of Healing through Suffering

In today's readings for Mass, we see that Jesus healed the man with the withered hand, yet had to pay the price for it by drawing down the scorn and contempt of the Pharisees. In the first reading, we see that suffering always accompanies redemption, even to the point where St Paul would embrace the sufferings of those that failed to anser the call to suffer with Christ.

Listen to my homily for today:

If you have trouble hearing this homily, click here.

God heals. We must come to know him as a healer. That is the way the Father loves us his children, but we must be ready to pay the price. We must also remember that our redemption came through a cross and sometimes the deeper wounds are spiritual wounds that are only healed by bodily affliction, OR he is inviting us to suffer for the sake of others.

And With Your Spirit - 2nd in 4 Part Catechesis on the Corrected Translation

This is the second in a four part series to help the faithful transition to the corrected translation of the Mass.

Listen to my homily here:

If you have trouble listening, click here.

I said my first Mass as a priest in Latin. It is the same Mass of Vatican II, just in Latin. I just couldn't bring myself to use the translation, which I found, only with a rudimentary knowledge of Latin, to be deeply lacking in conveying the meaning of the original text.

On of the phrases that was deeply lacking in its translation is

Et cum spiritu tuo. And with your spirit.
This phrase is spoken by the faithful five times during the Mass: at the beginning when the priest greets the people in the trinitarian communion; at the Gospel before he is to proclaim the saving Word of truth; at the beginning of the Liturgy of the Eucharist before he will stand in the very place and person of Christ to consecrate the bread and wine to become the living Jesus Christ; at the peace of Christ given from the newly consecrated elements; finally at the sending of the people into their lives with the grace received at holy Mass.

What does it mean?

In the first few centuries of Christianity, it was a phrase only found in the Church. No where else did people use this interchange. St Paul used it in his epistles, but he took it from the early liturgy that was prayed in the first Christian homes of the faithful before there were even basilicas or churches.

The ordained minister is the only one to cry out, and when you hear it in Latin sung in a high pitched tone, it really pierces you and wakes you up:

Dominus vobiscum. The Lord be with You.
The reason why only an ordained priest would say this is because it is a priestly invocation, whereby the power of the Holy Spirit working through the prayers and gestures of the Liturgy makes himself present in a way he was not before, so that when he says, "The Lord be with you," the Lord becomes more present in the hearts of those who heart it with faith.

The faithful for their part, by responding, "and with your spirit," are referring to an ancient response that is singles out the spirit of the person, yet meaning the whole of the person. Blessed Pope John Paul II explained this Hebraism in his Encyclical, "Rich in Mercy." Although we speak of the heart, soul, mind, or even more obscurely in some scriptural passages to the liver or bowels of a person, we mean the whole person, yet in reference to that aspect of them signified by the part. If we say the Heart of Christ, we mean all of Jesus, yet in reference to his inmost core, which is pure and divine Love. Because it referred to the whole person, the translators of the Mass after Vatican II, took it upon themselves to translate it, "and also with you."

In the most ancient liturgies of Slovanic, Georgian, Syrian Armenian, and Arabic, it was never translated from Greek and Latin in any other way than, "and with your spirit." Also after Vatican II, all major languages of Italian, Spanish, French, and German, translated it as "and with your spirit." Why was English not translated that way? That is a very good question. Often times translators inappropriately overstep their authority to translate also the meaning, not just the words. At times there are good reasons for this, especially with euphemisms and cultural associations, but with Vatican II, there is no pretty way of saying it. We were robbed. They believed that referring to the whole person was better than referring to the spirit of the minister and so they took liberty, too much of it, to change the words.

Why is it important to refer to the spirit of the minister?

The minister stands in the place and person of Jesus Christ himself. He is a frail clay vessel holding the treasure of heaven. In the old covenant, the minister would enter the holy of holies once a year and if he had not been courageous in repenting fully of his sins before entering the sacred sanctuary, he would have been struck dead. They even used to tie a rope around his waste so that his corpse could be pulled out with little trouble. Yet in the new covenant, the minister enters the holy of holies, every time he confect the Most Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist.

Do priests need prayer? Yes. A lot of it. I would encourage you to really truly pray this from the heart, that you ask God to build up the spirit of the minister to make him holy, so that when you say, "And with your spirit", you truly are saying, may God sanctify your spirit, may he make your spirit holy, may the Holy Spirit sanctify your spirit.

Allow me to take this moment t0 speak personally to the hearts of those reading this. If you have been hurt, offended, or in any way scandalized by a priest, allow me to offer you a personal apology on behalf of my brother. I am sorry. He should not have hurt you. Please forgive us. Please also remember that he is merely a stand in, a substitute, an image, an icon for the real Father, the one who will not fail you, abandon you, or do anything to bring you unnecessary affliction or pain.

So when you say, "And with your spirit," pray it from the heart for priests. Let it be a sincere act of love to the one for whom he unworthily stands in his place. Let it be an act of worship.

Marian-Trinitarian Wisdom Needed for Today

Pope St Gregory the Great faced bands of roving hoards of robbers and pagan tribes which sought to utterly destroy any order of society. What was clearly needed was a renewal of the enter known world. Pope St Gregory did this first with the renewal of man's interior in Christian holiness, and then in a new expression of music (gregorian chant), art, and architecture. This is a cycle that has happened continually in the history of the Church. Pope Benedict has spoken of great movements of the Holy Spirit in the Church's history where there have been paradigmatic shifts or renewals in Christian holiness.

Listen to my homily for today's Mass:

If you have trouble listening, click here.
"Today, the human race is involved in a new stage of history."
So said the Second Vatican Council (Gaudium et Spes, 4). What is needed for a new stage in human history is a new wisdom, and new way of ordering the world to Jesus Christ. In the New Evangelization, we are called to preach the ever ancient Gospel of salvation with an ever new ardor, methods, and expression.

A new wisdom is needed today, a new way of ordering the world to Christ. May I suggest that this new movement is two fold:

1. Marian

2. Trinitarian

We have entered the age of Mary. Now as in no other time in the Church's history are eccleisal movements and individuals turning to Our Lady to do all things through, with, in, for, by the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God so that they may do things radically through, with, in, for, by Jesus Christ. It is a very radical centering of the world on Christ.

Secondly, there is the need to build a spirituality of commuio, communion not only with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, but to see the Church and the kind of holiness needed for today as a holiness of relationships in the Church. This was testified to by Blessed Pope John Paul II in his aposolic letter, Novo Millennio Ineunte, especially the last chapter and the section called, "a spirituality of communion."

Friday, September 2, 2011

St Margaret Ward and St Margaret Clithero, Friends of Priests

St Margaret Ward was martyred on August 30th, and on this day we celebrate her feast day. Like, St Margaret Clithero, she was a faithful friend of priests. She teaches us how to take priests into our hearts and homes with generous love, experiencing the reward Jesus spoke of, "He who receives you, receives me." In the readings for Mass today, we hear:
the day of the Lord will come like a thief at night.
When people are saying, "Peace and security,"
then sudden disaster comes upon them,
like labor pains upon a pregnant woman,
and they will not escape.
Listen to my homily for today:

If you have trouble listening, click here.

We just don't know when we will be called to testify to the faith. May the prayers and merits of the holy martyrs help us to receive Jesus well, that we may bear fruitful witness to a world desperately in need of his divine Presence.

St John the Baptist, Teaches us to Stand up the Dictatorship of Relativism

On this feast of the beheading of St John the Baptist, the readings for Mass show us to stand up to the dictatorship of relativism, which has no tolerance of moral absolutes.

For I am the one who today

makes you a fortified city,

A pillar of iron, a wall of bronze,

against the whole land

Listent to my homily for today:

If you have trouble listening, click here.

The Corrected Translation of the Mass - Lift Up Your Hearts 1st in 4 Part Catechesis

This Sunday, we begin in our parish, a four-part catechesis on the corrected translation of the Mass. The Readings for Mass point out that we must elevate our hearts. The new translation helps us to be lifted up to the Lord.

Listent to my homily this Sunday.

If you have trouble listening, click here.

The Bishop of Leeds, Bishop Arthur Roche, who is the chairman of the International Commission for English in the Liturgy (ICEL) says this about the corrected translation of the Mass that we will begin using September 4th in England and Wales:

“In the new translation we find a text that is more faithful to the Latin text and therefore a text which is richer in its theological content and allusions to the scriptures but also a translation which, I believe, will move people’s hearts and minds in prayer.”
Why did they ever translate the mass in a way that was not accurate?  Good question.  To give them the benefit of the doubt, they thought they would be helping the people enter into the Liturgy more fruitfully, but time has taught us a lesson, that when we empty the riches of the mystery of Christ, we keep people from a more potent and inebriating contact with his divine Majesty, so necessary for elevating people beyond themselves.

The corrected translation says to us, BE ELEVATED! Lift up your hearts! Be transformed in the renewal of your mind. Do not be conformed to the spirit of this age.

May the prayers of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen of the Roman Liturgy, pray for us and the whole Church, that we may not fail to drink deeply of the riches of Christ.