Thursday, July 12, 2012

Beauty Ever Ancient Ever New: Holiness for the Third Christian Millennium

Today we celebrate the memorial of St Benedict, Abbot. 

Mass Readings for the Day

Listen to my homily for today:

If you have trouble listening, click here.

Bands of roving hoards swept across the lands as St Benedict saw the great city of Rome crumble before his eyes.  Knowing that there was a need for a new way of life in keeping with the holy Gospel, he retreated to a cave in the hills in Subiaco.  Here God gave him the gift of the Ora et Labor, the prayer and work, of Christ.  Monastic life based on St Benedict's rule of life swept across Europe and there grew up a new civilization.

After the first Christian millennium the Church was choked by riches, God sent Francis to teach us the gift of Christ's simplicity and poverty.  Everything in the Church became franciscan.  The cistercians came to renew monastic life again, this time with an emphasis on community living.  In 100 years there were 1100 new monasteries with 10,000 monks living this new way of life.

It could be said that holiness in the first Christian millennium could be typified by the words, "You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind" (Luke 10:27).  The holiness of the second Christian millennium, with all its charitable works of hospitals, schools, orphanages, hospices, universities, could be described by the words, "Love your neighbor as yourself" (Again Luke 10:27).  But the third Christian millennium how will it be described?  Blessed Pope John Paul in his apostolic letter Novo Millennio Ineunte at the close of the Jubilee celebration said we need the holiness, or "Spirituality of Communion."  This could be described by the words, "Love one another as I have loved you" (John 13:34).

We need a new kind of way of living the Gospel for our age.  This is a holiness of relationships.  Pope Benedict recently said that the Second Vatican Council could be reduced to one word: Communio.  This kind of holiness is desperately needed to heal the very deep and great wounds in broken relationships of our day.

May the Holy Mother of God, Mary, Queen of Saints, pray for us to obtain in our age many holy men and women who can preach the Gospel of Communion in the way that they love one another.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Priesthood Helps the People of God Worship in Spirit and Truth

Mass Readings for the Day
Listen to my homily for today:

If you have trouble listening click here.

St John Vianney said, "The Priesthood is the Love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus"

The priesthood helps the People of God be healed of idolatry we read about in the first reading.  It helps them become pleasing to the heart of our Eternal Father.  It is a gift of Jesus to lead them to "worship in spirit and truth."

Where do we get holy priests?  We ask.  "Ask and you shall receive."

The year that there was over 20 Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration chapels in the Archdiocese of St Paul and Minneapolis dedicated to praying for vocations was the same year the seminaries filled up.

Let us ask the Lord for more laborers for the harvest.  Please pray with me now:


Leader:  O God, we earnestly ask You to bless this archdiocese with many priests, Brothers, and Sisters who will love You with their whole strength and
gladly spend their entire lives  to serve your Church and  to make
You known and loved.

All:  Bless our families, bless our children. Choose from our homes those needed for your work.

Leader: Mary, Queen of the Clergy,

All: Pray for us, pray for our priests, Religious, and deacons. Obtain for us many more.  

~  Most Rev Harry J Flynn

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Mary our Refuge in Whose Heart we find Jesus our God

Every Saturday in the Church's year belongs to Our Lady.  The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy from Vatican II states:
103. In celebrating this annual cycle of Christ's mysteries, holy Church honors with especial love the Blessed Mary, Mother of God, who is joined by an inseparable bond to the saving work of her Son. In her the Church holds up and admires the most excellent fruit of the redemption, and joyfully contemplates, as in a faultless image, that which she herself desires and hopes wholly to be.
Listen to my homily for today:

If you have trouble listening, click here.

If Jesus lived with Mary, suffered, rejoiced, hoped, died, and rose with Mary, so we ought to feel that it is right and fitting for us to do so, for he gave her to the faithful to be a sure refuge and hope for divine blessings.  When he lived with her for 30 years, he invested in her as God all blessings, graces, merits, and fruits of redemption, so that we would find her Immaculate Heart to nourish, protect, guide, and nurture us.

There are different things Our Lady teaches us: unwavering faith, undying hope, fervent charity, virginal purity, childlike trust, and most especially the gift of humility.  Just as the Gospel for today speaks of accepting all things as a gift, i.e. placing new wine in new wineskins and not forcing new experiences to be placed in old expectations, humility allows us to bring forth the maximum glory of God in each new gift, new person, new day of our lives.

Friday, July 6, 2012

There is a Hunger for the Word of God: God's Hunger for Us

“Behold the Heart that so loved mankind and that has spared nothing in order to save them and show them my love,” Jesus told Saint Margaret Mary of Alacoque as He physically showed her His Heart in 1675.

Listen to my homily for today:

If you have trouble listening click here.

Mass Readings for the Day.

We acknowledge that there is a universal hunger for God, as it says in the first reading for today, "there is a hunger for the Word of God," however, do we recognize that God insatiably hungers for man, seeks him out, desires his company, wants to dwell with him?

This is the Good news we read in the Gospel for today, the calling of St Matthew. God seeks man out, calls him, desires his intimate friendship, even though he may think of himself as a sinner, as someone unworthy of divine goodness. This is the novelty of the Love of God, that we may experience newly every time we receive him in holy communion.

The Eucharistic Heart of Jesus is consumed with fire for love of us. St Maria Goretti was consumed with this fire of love, and the courage of this love helped her to accept the crown of martyrdom, even though she was very young and her perpetrator was very cruel.

May Our Lady, Queen of martyrs help us to be set afire with God's love that we may have the courage and wisdom to witness this love to our generation

Thursday, July 5, 2012

We Must Be Witnesses to the Sacrament of Reconciliation by Freeing Ourselves from Sin

"Courage, child, your sins are forgiven."

Listen to my homily for today:

If you have trouble listening click here.

Mass Readings for the Day

"Only God can forgive sins," said the scribes.  The Catechism of the Catholic Church reaffirms this, yet continues to explain that Jesus has entrusted this sacred power to his priests:

1441 Only God forgives sins. Since he is the Son of God, Jesus says of himself, "The Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins" and exercises this divine power: "Your sins are forgiven." Further, by virtue of his divine authority he gives this power to men to exercise in his name.

Why do not more people avail themselves of the forgiveness that God himself gives in this sacrament of healing, reconciliation, and peace?  They have no one to show them.  We must be witnesses of the Mercy of God by bearing forth that royal seal of freedom from sin.  If we are very serious of being free of sin we will, as St Teresa of Avila says, "have a hatred of our venial faults," and confess our sins weekly.  Though scripture says, "the just fall seven times" a day (Proverbs 24:16), it is possible to be a witness to Jesus' mercy by falling onto Christ sacramentally.

May Our Lady help us to be witnesses of this great sacrament.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

4th of July Homily- More Minnesotans Have Died from our Freedom Gone Awry than those who Died Defending Freedom in War

This homily was given at St Timothy's Catholic Church in Maple Lake, Minnesota at Holy Mass on the 4th of July , 2012, when Americans celebrate Independence Day.

On the 4th of July Americans celebrate the gift of freedom which we believe is a gift from God, a gift which many Americans have died to protect.  Many countries around the world like to speak of rights and freedoms, but perhaps only in the USA is it truly, in actual fact, a land of opportunity.  I have lived all over the world and the more I travel the more I realize the Untied States of America must be a gift from God where anyone can come and seek life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness in a singularly unique way.  Freedom cannot but be a gift by which we are endowed by our Creator.

We therefore owe the Lord Jesus Christ our gratitude, who died on the cross that we might be set free from sin.  The most holy Eucharist is not only a sacrifice of expiation but one of gratitude, and how appropriate we should thank God for our country through the sacred liturgy.

We should be grateful to all our troops who have served and some have even given the very high cost of their lives, dying to protect our freedom.  Minnesota and Maple Lake itself has an excellent legacy of   veterans in wars.  

The First Minnesota Volunteer Infantry Regiment was the first in the nation to answer President Abraham Lincoln's call for troops in 1861, and they courageously served with great distinction. The 262 men of the First Minnesota played a heroic but tragic role at the Battle of Gettysburg. 1st Minnesota Volunteer Infantry Regiment
Over 2500 Minnesotans died answering President Lincoln's call to end slavery.  Slavery was the key issue of the day.  Looking back, perhaps those who lived at the time might not have understood that it was worth fighting and dying to end such an evil.  Slavery might have appeared to them to be "just another political issue" but we can say for sure that it was THE issue, aside from which a person could not be said to be fighting for freedom unless he was working to end this abomination.

Here are a total number of Minnesotans who died in wars:

Total Number of Minnesotans Killed in Combat
Total Killed in All Wars

*For these wars I couldn’t find a number only for Minnesotans, but I had to average out the number of states in the conflict with the total losses of those who died in combat.

As we can see from these numbers, more Minnesotans have died in the year of 2011 in the sanctuary of their mother's womb's than the total number of Minnesotans who have been killed in combat, and as we have not mentioned the number of those wounded in wars, the number that abortion wounds is also much greater, for a mother, a father, and those who have been deprived of a loved one.

How can we possibly say that we honor the memory of those who have died to protect our freedoms if we do not mention those who have died because of our "freedom" gone awry?  Do we believe as the Declaration of Independence says, which was published 236 years ago today,
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
LIFE!  What has happened to the right to Life?  Let us not say that we celebrate freedom if we do not hold the self-evident truth, that all men are created equal, when unborn persons in this country are, like the slaves in civil war era, not considered yet to be citizens and therefore considered not worthy of all the rights and protections which we hold so dear, most especially the unalienable right to life which is endowed by our Creator!

No woman ought to be free to kill her baby and wound herself so deeply by abortion.  No woman - even in cases of rape, cases which many pro-aborts would claim is an exception.  Most of these people have never talked to rape victims and do not know them, what is on their heart and what they suffer.  After working in women's shelters on different continents, I know from experience what happens when a woman adds to the trauma of rape the horror of taking her own child's life.  One Minnesotan woman said that the child she aborted is the first thing she thinks of when she wakes up and the last thing that she thinks of when she sleeps, and that she has long since forgotten being raped because the psychological and emotional wounds from abortion are by far much deeper.  Another Minnesotan woman told me that giving birth to the child that was conceived by rape was for her the most beautiful experience of her life.  She even said she wanted to name the child "Sky" because she felt she could almost see the sky open up when she was being born!  She was so happy to give this child life and then gave the child up for adoption to a couple who couldn't conceive on their own.

If we are truly to celebrate this day we must celebrate authentic freedom, freedom that Jesus Christ gave us on the Cross by freeing us from sin.  Freedom is not the ability to do whatever you want, for this is license that leads to licentiousness, permissiveness, and all sorts of evils. Freedom is the ability to choose the good so that you are free to love God above all things and love your neighbor as yourself.  We must recognize, like those in the era when slavery was still decriminalized, that THE issue of our day, the political and moral issue that must hold pride of place is the end to Abortion and the to its decriminalization in legislation.  Killing in the name of Freedom is the deepest wound on our capacity to be truly free.  We must recognize our responsibility to let freedom ring in our legislatures and courts by enacting laws that will not attack but defend our capacity to do good.

Allow me to close with the momentous words of a great American, Martin Luther King, Jr.

"And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, [let us add here born and unborn] will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Monday, July 2, 2012

The Lay Vocation: Sanctifying the Temporal Order to on Earth as it is in Heaven

This talk, the first of three, was given on the grounds of a palace in Jelena Gora, Poland, as part of a 40 Days for Life Retreat for young adults from the London area. 

Sunday, July 1, 2012

St John the Baptist is a Witness of Life and of Marriage

This homily was given at the shrine of the Infant of Prague, in the Czech Republic as part of a 40 Days for Life Retreat for young adults from the London area.