Thursday, August 16, 2012

Mary, Assumed into Heaven, Show us How to Elevate our Minds to Christ

Listen to my homily for the Solemnity of the Assumption of Our Lady into heaven:

If you have trouble listening, click here.

Mass Readings for the day

Why do we celebrate this day?

Certainty - we are grateful God is perfect intelligibility who can neither deceive nor be deceived, that he clearly makes manifest those doctrines which ought to be believed in a more definite manner, which we call dogmas - aside from which we cannot claim to call ourselves Christian.  For the revelation of Christ is more certain even than the ground we stand on.  "Heaven and earth shall pass away but my words shall never pass away" (Mt 23:35).

For Pope Pius XII in 1950 declared this a dogma of the Christian faith, which all must hold with a divine and catholic faith:
"For which reason, after we have poured forth prayers of supplication again and again to God, and have invoked the light of the Spirit of Truth, for the glory of Almighty God who has lavished his special affection upon the Virgin Mary, for the honor of her Son, the immortal King of the Ages and the Victor over sin and death, for the increase of the glory of that same august Mother, and for the joy and exultation of the entire Church; by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and by our own authority, we pronounce, declare, and define it to be a divinely revealed dogma: that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory."  Apostolic Constitution defining the Dogma of the Assumption, Munificentissimus Deus
Why did the Holy Spirit wait until 1950 to make this Christian belief a dogma formally declared by the Vicar of Christ?  Perhaps because it wasn't needed to be made this clear until the 1950's.  Although such great Fathers of the Church as St John of Damascus clearly held that she was assumed body and soul into heaven, this doctrine was kept by the Holy Spirit to be a gift for modern times.  In the year 6957 A.D.  St John said:
It was fitting that the she, who had kept her virginity intact in childbirth, should keep her own body free from all corruption even after death. It was fitting that she, who had carried the Creator as a child at her breast, should dwell in the divine tabernacles. It was fitting that the spouse, whom the Father had taken to himself, should live in the divine mansions. It was fitting that she, who had seen her Son upon the cross and who had thereby received into her heart the sword of sorrow which she had escaped when giving birth to him, should look upon him as he sits with the Father, It was fitting that God's Mother should possess what belongs to her Son, and that she should be honored by every creature as the Mother and as the handmaid of God (Dormition of Mary
Why did the modern times need this dogma to be proclaimed?

Holiness and Purity -  As the first reading and second reading testify, Mary's assumption tell us that Christ's victory of the world, the flesh, the devil, sin, and even death, is a victory which will be realized in our very bodies, and that although our bodies may present us with unruly passions and base desires in this valley of sin here below, these passions and emotions were made not for the earth, but for our Eternal Father, for eternal worship of his divine Majesty in heaven.  Mary's assumption shows us how to offer our sufferings in the flesh boldly and happily to God, knowing confidently that we belong ultimately to him.

How do we live the grace of the Assumption of Our Lady?

By letting our minds be elevated with her in Christ in the heavenly places.  A very quick and easy way to see if your mind is truly elevated in Christ through Mary is asking the following questions:
-How easily do I esteem God's goodness in all creatures, persons, events, and life events?
-Am I fundamentally in a posture of gratitude when anything happens in my life?
-Do I praise and adore God in my heart of hearts in every moment throughout the day?
Theses are the interior dispositions of the Immaculate Virgin Mary.  Let us ask her to intercede for us that we too may follow her example.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

St Maximillian Mary Kolbe show us how to Become Children of God - from the W.O.M.A.N. Mary our Mother

Listen to my homily for the memorial of St Maximillian Mary Kolbe:

If you have trouble listening, click here.

St Maximillian Mary Kolbe teaches us that it is an excellent thing to use the modern media to reach the people of our time in a way that they can understand the Gospel.  He teaches us how to present the Gospel in an intelligent and understandable way.  He teaches us simplicity of life, faith, devotion to the Mother of God.  Most importantly, he teaches us the reason for all of these things: to gift ourselves totally and radically to Jesus Christ the Lord.

He witnessed this in the concentration camp in which he gave his life in Auschwitz, Poland.  There was a married man and father, a Jew, who was sentenced to die.  He came forward and asked to be killed in his stead.  When the nazi officer asked him who he was, he simply replied, "I AM A CATHOLIC PRIEST."  He had identified himself so deeply with the self-sacrificing love of Christ that it was the right thing for him to offer his very life for the life of others.

The readings today reveal to us how St Maximillian Kolbe had become a child of God, not childish, but childlike.  How did he accomplish this and put the Word of God into practice?  He looked to the W.O.M.A.N.

W.  Word of God - Just as the first reading tells us, we need to be nourished and to devour the holy Word of the living God, to contemplate the Lord and seek to put his Word into practice in our lives.

O.  Openness - is what the Word of God makes us - it makes our hearts responsive, docile, soft, and suppliant to the holy Will of the Father.

M.  Mary - Jesus himself tells us to become like little children because this is exactly what he did.  If he became a child of Mary it wasn't just a fickle choice of a nice Jewish girl, but it was so that all the baptized might too make themselves children of Mary.  If she is good enough for Jesus she is good enough for us.  St Maximillian put this into daily, even hourly practice, especially by not trusting his own judgment, but continually emptying himself and asking Mary, what would you have me do?  To this the Mother of God always responds as she did at Cana with the only command she has for her children, "DO WHATEVER HE TELLS YOU," which helps us obey and follow our divine Master, Jesus Christ.

A.  Adoration - following Mary teaches us to worship and adore Jesus Christ as she does.  He is true God and true man, worthy of our adoration and worship, and through, with, and in him we come to worship the Father and the Holy Spirit.

N.  Newness - of life, of heart, mind, thoughts, and deeds for God.  Adoring Christ brings us to live as the new man of redemption, redeemed and renewed by the grace of God.  To a child of God, every moment, every encounter is a new gift from God to be accepted and to be lived out in joyful thanks.

Following THE WOMAN of redemption (John 2:5, Revelation 12:1) we may truly become children of our Father who loves us.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Paying the Taxes of this World that we Might Belong to the Kingdom of our Father

Listen to my homily for today:

If you have trouble listening, click here.

Mass Readings for the day

What a novel question Jesus asks Peter about taxes.  He asks it in such a way that we reply that we do not belong to this world.  We belong to the Kingdom of our Father.  It is to him that every human heart aches to belong.  We try to feel that we belong to God but because part of us still may belong to this world, which is still under the power of sin, we feel taxed and tried.  We suffer that we belong totally and radically to God.

Jesus payed the ultimate tax of his sufferings and death to not only pay for us but show us how to pay our dues.  We all must suffer to enter the kingdom of God.  We must be taxed so that those parts of us that don't yet belong to God may be subjected to the power of Christ.

The Most Holy Eucharist is the place where we join our payment, our sufferings to the sufferings of Christ.  From this perspective, it is interesting that a host looks like a coin of payment.  When the faithful participate devoutly in offering the sacrifice of the Mass, they offer to the Father the greatest possible treasure as payment for their own redemption, Jesus' own taxation for our sins.

Our Lady helps us in the awkward process of surrendering our hearts fully to God.  She was taxed with Jesus under the heavy weight of his sufferings.  She knows what we suffer and can help us offer it well in union with the holy sacrifice of the Mass.

Having an Elijah Moment? Turn to the Eucharistic Lord for Strength

Listen to my homily for the 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time:

If you have trouble listening, click here.

Mass readings for the day.

Elijah suffered terrible weariness through the prophetic vocation God gave him.  God strengthened him to do what he asked him.  God will strengthen weary hearts with the Bread of the strong, the Most Holy Eucharist, who is Jesus Christ himself, King of prophets and rest for the weary.  Those who draw near to the Savior who waits for us in holy communion will experience his fortification, strength, mercy, grace, and friendship.

Friday, August 10, 2012

St Theresa Benedicta of the Cross, Patroness of Europe, Shows in her own Person all the Blessings for the Continent's New Evangelization

Listen to my homily for today, the Feast of St Theresa Benedicta of the Cross, or Edith Stein, the Patroness of Europe:

If you have trouble listening, click here.

Mass Readings for the day


"O my God, fill my soul with holy joy, courage and strength to serve You. Enkindle Your love in me and then walk with me along the next stretch of road before me. I do not see very far ahead, but when I have arrived where the horizon now closes down, a new prospect will open before me, and I shall meet it with peace." 
"When night comes, and retrospect shows that everything was patchwork and much that one had planned left undone, when so many things rouse shame and regret, then take all as is, lay it in God's hands, and offer it up to Him. In this way we will be able to rest in Him, actually to rest and to begin the new day like a new life."

Love is a Gift and Responsibility: Wedding Homily for Paul and Daniela

Listen to my homily for Paul and Daniela:

If you have trouble listening, click here.

Marital spirituality is both encountering Christ in your spouse and seeking to answer his call to holiness in their needs.

Marriage requires us to defend the one-man, one-woman covenanted union.

May Our Lady obtain for married couples the courage and love to live their vows and us the courage to defend them.

Monday, August 6, 2012

The Light of Tabor and Calvary Prepare us for the LIght of Glory

Listen to my homily for the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord:

If you have trouble listening, click here.

As St Thomas Aquinas says,

Therefore it was fitting that He should show His disciples the glory of His clarity (which is to be transfigured), to which He will configure those who are His; according to Philippians 3:21: "(Who) will reform the body of our lowness configured [Douay: 'made like'] to the body of His glory." Hence Bede says on Mark 8:39: "By His loving foresight He allowed them to taste for a short time the contemplation of eternal joy, so that they might bear persecution bravely." (Summa Theologiae III.Q45.A1)
Mount Tabor helps us to endure Mount Calvary, yet the glory of Tabor is a foretaste of the lumen gloriae, the light of glory that we will have in heaven.

The world today needs witnesses who know where they are going i.e. heaven.  The best way to know this preeminently is to go to the mystical calvary, which is also the mystical tabor, the holy sacrifice of the Mass, to receive Jesus with frequency and intensity.

The Mother of God knows Tabor and Calvary well.  She was perhaps the only one aware of the first time God the Father permitted the beatific vision to overflow from Christ's divinity from his body, at his birth.  She was at Calvary.  She can help us to be transfigured witnesses of the Lamb of God and bring his light to this dark world.  May her prayers help us to do this well.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

The Eucharist is the Sacred Manna - What is it - for you?

Listen to my homily for the 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time:

If you have trouble listening, click here.

Like the Israelites in the desert, the angels beholding the Eucharist ask, "What is it?" or in Hebrew, Manna?  There are many who may know the truth of our faith of the Most Holy Eucharist, who have been catechized and know that the Eucharist is:

-The true Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ, true God and true Man. 
-No longer bread and wine but the very substance of the bread and wine have been changed by which we call this change most appropriately transubstantiation. 
-Every crumb of the host or drop in the chalice contains the whole Christ, that is, his entire Body, Blood, Soul, Divinity, all his graces, merits, blessings, and life.
-The host and chalice have been changed completely and this change is permanent and therefore the sacred species that is left over must, in the case of the chalice, be consumed, or, in the case of the hosts, be kept in a worthy tabernacle in a prominent place for veneration by the faithful and for the needs of the sick and dying. 
-Because the Eucharist contains the very divinity of the God man it can and ought to be rightly adored and worshiped by the faithful as our living God made present on our altars. 
-A person must have the proper dispositions to receive the true Body and Blood of the Savior and therefore besides having a lively faith, authentic humility, and approach the mystery with a spirit of prayer, must not be in conscious mortal sin, for as the apostle says, "For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself." 1 Corinthians 11:29
 However, it is one thing to know the truths of our faith, and another to live them.  This is the real challenge.  Living our faith well comes especially in the hour of suffering.  It is here when we truly experience a transformation of our minds and hearts that the second reading for today spoke about.  Here we decide not only what the Eucharist is, but what it is personally.  We decide to truly worship God in spirit and truth, to offer in union with the Eucharistic Mystery, the very mystery of the Cross and Resurrection of Christ in our own crosses and pains.  For it is here we are permitted deeper to enter into the life of Christ that is truly present in the host and chalice.

May Our Lady, Mother of the Eucharist, the most zealous defender of the Eucharistic Mystery, obtain for us a deep and true conversion of heart that our faith may be real and that we may appropriate our sufferings to Christ's and that we may offer them in union with his, for the glory of his Name.