Archive for February, 2010

Sunday Compline 2/21/10

February 22, 2010

[This is a talk that I gave on the topic of the Liturgy of the Hours.  The talk was given in the form of a homily during Sunday Night Prayer.]

We come together this evening to celebrate Compline, or Night Prayer.  For those who may be unfamiliar with the Liturgy of the Hours, I thought I would offer an explanation of the Liturgy of the Hours.  First, let’s define the term.  “Liturgy” is the official public worship of the Church and it is distinguished from private devotion.  “Liturgy” is public worship which is given to us by the Church: it is the official prayer of the Church and is meant to be a prayed in public.

The Mass is the highest form of liturgy, but it is not the only form of liturgy.  Within the Mass, we have the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist.  All the Sacraments, even when not celebrated within the context of the Mass, are forms of liturgical prayer: they are public worship.  The Liturgy of the Hours is yet another form of liturgy, or public prayer of the Church.

Liturgy has a two-fold purpose: through the liturgy, we give honor and praise to God, which is to say that we worship God through the Liturgy.  Through liturgical prayer, we also obtain many blessings for ourselves and for others.  When we pray the Liturgy of the Hours, we approach God together with Christ through His Bride the Church.  The Catechism teaches us that the Liturgy of the Hours is the voice of the Bride, the Church, addressed to her Bridegroom: Christ.

The Liturgy of the Hours gets its name from the fact that it is prayed at certain ‘hours’ throughout each day.  Each prayer is called an “hour,” not because it takes an hour to pray, but because it is done at a particular hour or part of the day.  There are five “hours” total: Morning Prayer, Mid-day Prayer, Evening Prayer and Night Prayer and then another “hour” known as the Office of Readings, which may be prayed at anytime during the day.  The point of the Liturgy of the Hours is to consecrate the entire day to God by stopping at various times of the day and refocusing on God.  It is set up so that the whole course of the day is made holy by the praise of God.

The prayers of the Liturgy of the Hours are taken almost entirely from Scripture: most especially from the Psalms.  The Psalms were written as prayers that were meant to be sung.  The Psalms are Scripture and therefore inspired by God.  When we pray Scripture, we take the words that God has given to us and we offer them back to Him.  The Psalms express a whole range of human emotions and offer to God many different forms of prayer.  In the Psalms we find praise sung to God for His greatness and we find remorseful sorrow for sin.  Some Psalms communicate great confidence and trust in God and other Psalms cry out to God for help from the depths of distress.  The Psalms are beautiful and powerful prayers.

The Liturgy of the Hours is meant to be the prayer of all the people of God.  The Liturgy of the Hours leads us to a deeper understanding of the liturgy and a deeper understanding of the Bible, because the prayers are almost entirely composed of Scripture.  By spending time with Scripture, we allow God’s Word to speak to our hearts.  By breaking up the day with prayer, we gain God’s assistance and grow in our relationship with Him.

Even if you do not pray the Liturgy of the Hours, it is very helpful to stop at various times of the day and connect with the Lord in prayer.  It does not have to be a long prayer; we can just take a moment, from time to time, during the day and turn our minds toward God.  We can thank God for the good things that are happening in our life.  We might stop and ask God for help if we are facing difficulties.  If we connect with God regularly throughout the day, we will find that we have more peace in our lives.  When I say that we will have more peace, I do not mean that our lives will become perfect and worry-free; I mean that God will give us the grace to have inner-peace, even in the midst of trials.

Sometimes we can be tempted to think that we are too busy to stop and pray during the day.  It is precisely when we are too busy to pray that we most need to pray.  In the seminary, I noticed that there was often a temptation that would come at the end of semesters.  As things became more and more hectic, with term papers due and exams to study for, I found that I was tempted to pray less so that I could “get everything done.”  When I gave in to the temptation to pray less, I found that I was more stressed out and anxious.  When I resisted the temptation and took the time to pray, despite the busyness, I found that I had more peace and was less stressed out, and still managed to get everything done.  God will give us the grace and the strength that we need, if we ask Him for it.

Lord Jesus, help us to remember to turn our thoughts to You often throughout the day.  Help us, Lord, to do all that we do out of love for You.  May we put all our trust in You; draw us ever closer to Yourself.  Amen.

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1st Sunday of Lent

February 22, 2010

In the Gospel today, we hear about Our Lord’s temptation in the desert.  Our Lord allowed Himself to be tempted for our benefit.  The fact that He was able to be tempted, is a proof that Jesus, Who is fully God, also really and truly did become man: God cannot be tempted, but because Jesus was a man like us in all things except sin, He was able to be tempted.

Our Lord’s temptation in the desert teaches us several things about temptation.  We should keep in mind, first of all, that temptation is a part of our fallen human condition: as long as we live in this world, we will experience temptations and so we need to be constantly vigilant.  Our Lord says often in the Gospels: “Watch and pray.”  The watchfulness that He commands is watchfulness over our own hearts, in order that we may not fall into sin.  We need to do all that we can to avoid sin; we may not be able to root temptation out of our lives, but we can root sin out of our lives by rejecting temptation as soon as it arises.

The fact that Our Lord was tempted also teaches us that temptations are not sinful in themselves.  Just because a sinful thought presents itself to our minds, does not mean that it is a sin; sin is in the will: we have to choose to sin.  In order for a thought to be a sin, one has to make a choice.  Each time that Our Lord was tempted, He immediately rejected the temptation.  We are to imitate His example: we are to reject temptation as soon as it arises in our minds.  Sin starts off as a thought.  If I do not reject the thought right away, it takes root and becomes harder to reject.  Saint John Vianney said that sin is like a tree: if we root it out right away, when it is a little sapling, it is easily removed.  A sapling can be uprooted with two fingers.  If we allow a sin to take root and grow, it becomes more and more difficult.  If a person has allowed a sin to grow for many years, it will only be removed with much difficulty, as a full-grown tree takes much effort to uproot.  It is important for us to root out temptation as soon as we are aware of it and not allow it time to take root.  Sinful thoughts lead to sinful actions and sinful actions lead to sinful habits and sinful habits can be very difficult to break free from; sinful habits enslave us to sin.

If we reject temptation immediately, we act virtuously.  If we repeatedly reject a temptation we grow in virtue.  Virtue is a good habit that has been developed through practice.  Virtue can only grow if it is exercised and we cannot exercise virtue unless we are tested by some temptation or trial.  That is not to say that we should seek out temptation: on the contrary, we should flee from temptation and its occasions.  We ought to call upon the Lord as soon as we are aware of a temptation.  We should also avoid places and situations that lead us into temptation.  Our fallen human nature is very weak, and we should not allow ourselves to become overconfident in our own virtue, but do all we can to avoid the occasions of sin.

Another thing that we learn from Our Lord’s temptation is the importance of prayer accompanied by fasting.  Regular prayer is indispensable, of course; but it is also essential to the spiritual life to practice self-denial.  Our Lord said that if we want to follow Him, we have to deny ourselves daily and take up our cross and follow Him.  Through self-denial, our will is strengthened.  Through self-denial we conform ourselves to our crucified Lord.  Through self-denial we win many graces for ourselves and for others.  Self-denial is also the best way to put our own pride to death.

Pride is one of the greatest enemies to our spiritual growth.  It was through pride that Satan fell from Heaven and it was through pride that our First Parents sinned and were cast out of the Garden.  Pride is that impulse that is within the human heart which causes us to want to put ourselves first.  We are called to love God above all things and our neighbor as ourselves, but pride tempts us to love ourselves before God and above others.  By denying ourselves, we let our actions show that we place God first: ahead of our own comfort.

The Church gives us this holy season of Lent to assist us in detaching our hearts from the things of this world.  This season is an opportunity for all of us to examine our hearts and root sin out of our lives, thereby making of our hearts a more acceptable dwelling place for Our Lord.  Let us take advantage of this opportunity to grow in love for God and in love for others.  Lord Jesus, help us to make the most of this Lenten season.  Purify our hearts through our Lenten observance, and make our hearts conform every more closely to Your own Sacred Heart.  Amen.

6th Sunday of Ordinary Time (C)

February 15, 2010

“Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose hope is the Lord.”

These are the words that we heard in our first reading.  In the first reading, Jeremiah the Prophet teaches us the same thing that Our Lord teaches us in today’s Gospel: We need to place all our trust in the Lord.  If we put our trust in the Lord, Jeremiah says, we will be like a tree planted near a stream.  Being like a tree planted near a stream does not sound like all that big of a deal to us here today, but it would have been quite a powerful image for his hearers: the people that Jeremiah was speaking to lived in a desert.  We all know that it does not rain in the desert very often, and therefore a tree that is not near a stream will not long survive.  Jeremiah is saying that if we put our trust in God, we will have nothing to worry about: God will provide for us, just like the stream provides for the tree that is in the desert even when there are long periods of drought.  If we put our trust in ourselves, on the other hand, Jeremiah says that we will be like a barren bush in the middle of a wasteland.

Our Lord is telling us the same thing in the Beatitudes.  The Beatitudes are extreme: you are blessed, Our Lord says, if you are poor and hungry and weeping and hated.  These do not sound like blessings at all.  Let’s take a brief look at these four things and try to get to the bottom of what Our Lord is trying to teach us.

First of all, let us examine the poverty that Our Lord spoke about.  Mere lack of material things is not at the heart of what Our Lord is referring to: it is not simply a matter of whether we have or do not have material goods.  This first Beatitude goes much deeper: it refers to our heart and to our soul.  Our Lord says that wherever our treasure is, there also will our heart be.  Our Lord is calling us to be detached from the things of this world.  It is not wrong to have things and to use them, of course.  The danger is that material possessions can weigh us down: we can easily become attached to material things and allow ourselves to become preoccupied with them.  Material things become a problem if I put them ahead of my relationship with God.

Second, we look at what Our Lord meant by ‘hunger.’  Again, Our Lord did not mean for us to be hungry for hunger’s sake.  God is not happy because people are hungry.  God wants us to be hungry for Him, ultimately.  God desires that we desire Him.  He wants us to love Him with all our hearts.  He wants to feed our hearts with Himself in the Eucharist.

This coming Wednesday is Ash Wednesday.  It is a day that the Church asks us to fast and abstain from meat.  Ash Wednesday kicks off the Season of Lent.  During Lent, many of us will, undoubtedly, give some things up.  It is important to remind ourselves of why it is that we are making sacrifices.  We give things up during Lent in order to grow in self-discipline and offer up the sacrifice to God.  That is true, but what we are really saying to God, when we give something up, is that we love Him more than we love chocolate, or whatever it is that we have decided to give up.  When I fast, I should offer it up to God whenever hunger pangs strike; but I should also recall that this sacrifice that I am making is supposed to remind me that I am to love God more than whatever I have given up.  I am to love God above all things and giving something that I enjoy up for love of Him shows Him, in my actions, that I love Him more than whatever it is that I have given up for Lent.

Third, let us consider the weeping that Our Lord called ‘blessed.’  We can shed tears for all sorts of different reasons: we can shed tears of sorrow, we can have tears of anger, and we can shed tears on account of being hurt.  The weeping that Jesus refers to is weeping over our sins.  On Ash Wednesday, all who come to Mass will receive ashes on their forehead.  Those ashes are meant to be a sign of repentance: a sign that we detest and regret our sins.  We should have sorrow for our sins because they offend God, Who is all good and deserving of all our love: that is perfect sorrow or contrition.  This weeping, mentioned by Our Lord, is weeping for our sins, but weeping for our sins on account of great love in our hearts for God.  Whenever we come to confession, we ought to have at least some level of sorrow for our sins: even if the only reason that I am sorry for my sin is because I know that what I did was wrong.

Fourth and finally, Our Lord called blessed those who are hated because they follow Him.  Jesus said that if the world hates us, that we should remember that it first hated Him.  Jesus did not just give us the Beatitudes He lived them out Himself.  Jesus also told us that we are to take up our cross and follow Him.  Our faith is meant to put into practice: not just on Sunday mornings, but all week long.  As Christians, we ought to stand up for what we know is right.  We are called to bear witness to our Catholic Faith in the midst of a culture which is hostile towards our Church.  We are to bear witness to our Faith by our actions and by our words.  We should be prepared to give a reason for the hope that is within us.  (cf. 1 Peter 3:15)  Part of being a good Catholic Christian includes being a witness to others.

Through the Beatitudes the Lord calls us to follow Him with our whole heart.  The Beatitudes are a call to love God and follow the example of Jesus in a radical, and selfless way.  The Beatitudes are not easy but if we live them, Our Lord tells us that we will be satisfied and our reward will be great in Heaven.

February 14th

February 15, 2010

In the final part of the first Eucharistic prayer, there is a prayer in which the priest acknowledges his own sinfulness.  The priest proclaims himself a sinner and that proclamation is accompanied by an action: he strikes his breast.  The striking of the breast is a sign of acknowledging one’s own sinfulness and is also a sign of repentance.  It is an action that is taken directly from Scripture.  (Luke 18:13)

It is certainly a good thing to call to mind the fact that we are sinners in need of God’s mercy, but this might seem like a strange part of the Mass to be pointing out one’s sinfulness.  If we remember, however, Saint Peter himself had a similar reaction to Our Lord’s presence when the Lord manifested His power by enabling Peter to catch a miraculous super-abundance of fish.  At recognizing Who Jesus is, Saint Peter fell to his knees and asked the Lord to depart from him because of his own unworthiness.  (cf. Luke 5: 1-11)  The priest, in the Presence of the same Jesus Christ, acknowledges his sinfulness and instead of asking the Lord to depart, asks for forgiveness.

The priest then recalls that God gives us all good gifts, especially the gifts of the body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ present before him upon the altar, which God has blessed and made holy.  The priest then takes the host and the chalice and lifts them up and offers them to the Father.  While doing so he says (or sings) the “doxology.”  At the doxology, the priest prays that all honor and glory forever be to God, through Christ, with Him and in Him.

This doxology is a good reminder that the bread and wine that were presented at the offertory exist no longer.  They have been wholly and completely transformed into Christ.  That is why the priest does not pray “through it” but “through Him”.

The doxology and the “Great Amen” conclude the Eucharistic prayer.  Next week we will continue by looking at the Rite of Communion.

God bless,

Father White

5th Sunday of Ordinary Time (C)

February 7, 2010

Today, as I mentioned earlier, we have the special joy of welcoming a new member into the mystical body of Christ, the Church.  In just a few moments, when Ashley Jordyn is baptized, she will begin to share in the divine life of God.  She will become a Temple of the Holy Spirit.  Today is the beginning of Ashley‘s walk with the Lord.  It is a journey that will last throughout her life and for all eternity.  For the rest of her life, she will go on walking with the Lord, day by day; each day drawing nearer to her eternal destiny, which is to be forever with God in Heaven.

The Lord commanded His Apostles to go out and baptize all nations, and teach them all that He has commanded them.  Today we fulfill the first part of the Lord’s command for Ashley.   Teaching her all the Jesus commanded will be a process that will be on-going for the next several years.  Dear parents, today you are promising to teach Ashley the faith.  You are the first teachers of the faith for your children.  Children learn by watching and imitating their parents.  And you, Godparents, today you are promising to assist the parents in their duty.  The whole community is here to assist in that duty, of course, but the family is the first and most important place where children learn about God.

Whenever we witness a Baptism, we should call to mind our own baptism.  We were all incorporated into the mystical body of Christ on the day of our Baptism.  Promises were made on our behalf, or if we were old enough, we ourselves made those promises.  We promised to reject sin and evil and follow the Lord.  As we call those promises to mind, we can examine ourselves and ask if we have lived up to those promises.  We all fall short of the glory of God, of course.  Scripture reminds us that even the just person falls seven times a day.

Baptism is a good reminder of how much God wants to wash away our sins and pour His grace, His very life, into our souls.  And make no mistake about it: it is not an accident that we are Catholics.  The Lord has called each and every one of us here.  It is not merely because we were born and raised in the Faith; for converts, it is not that they simply decided to become Catholic: The Lord calls each one of us just like He called Saint Peter in the Gospel today.

Saint Peter was a fisherman.  He was not a rabbi; he worked a regular job.  Jesus came to him while he was doing his day-to-day work: washing and mending his nets.  When the Lord revealed Himself to Peter, through the miraculous catch of fish, Peter immediately recognized his own unworthiness to even be in the presence of the Lord.  He fell down on his knees and told the Lord to leave him for he was a sinful man.  Jesus knew Peter, better than Peter even knew himself, and Jesus chose him.  Jesus called Peter and he responded.  When Jesus called, Peter left everything and followed Him; and as a result, God did great things through him.

Jesus Christ calls each and every one of us here.  We are not here by accident.  The Lord is working in the lives of each and every one here.  It is not we who have chosen the Lord: He has chosen us.  He wants us to follow Him; He wants us to put Him first in our lives.  He wants each one of us to love Him with our whole heart.  It doesn’t matter what obstacles to personal holiness you may think exist in your life.  Jesus Christ is calling each and every one of us to love Him with all that we are and with all our strength.  Each and every one of us is called to be a Saint.

And a Saint is not just someone who kneels in a monastery all day.  Saints are those who love God with their whole hearts, and God fills their hearts with His life and His love and His joy and they, then, take that joy and that life and that love out into the world and share it with others.  When I say that we are all called to be Saints, I am not saying that we are all called to run away from the world and hide; I am saying that we are all called to live our lives for God.  And God wants us all to be happy.  God created us to be happy.  Ultimately, He wants us to be happy with Him forever in Heaven, yes, but He wants us to be happy even in this life even now.

True happiness is only found by giving our whole heart to God and by doing His will.  It sounds contradictory to our ears, our culture tells us the opposite.  Our culture says that happiness is being able to do whatever I want.  But those who do whatever they want and have everything they want still, in the long run, find that they are unhappy.  The more selfish, and greedy, and sinful we are the less happy we will be.  Sin can give immediate gratification, but it cannot ever satisfy our hearts.  Our hearts can be only be satisfied by God alone.

How do we do God’s will?  What is His will for me?  God’s will for you is for you to live your vocation faithfully and with love.  Do everything to the best of your ability and do everything for love of God.  Live out the promises made at your Baptism: reject Satan and all his works and empty promises and do all you can to be a faithful son or daughter of God.  Pascal once said that if you want to be a good Christian, do what good Christians do and you will become one.  We should do everything in our power to rid ourselves of sin; we should make frequent use of the Sacraments, and strive to do everything that we do out of love.  We also need to ask God for the grace to be faithful and to love as we ought, and trust that He will give us the grace if only we ask for it.

Lord Jesus Christ, help us as we renew our baptismal promises, to truly reject sin and live in the freedom of the children of God.  Make of our hearts an acceptable dwelling place for Your Holy Spirit.  Fill us with Your life, Your love, and Your joy.  Help us to bear witness to you in the world.  Help us to love You above all things and help us to love others as You want us to.  Amen.

February 7th

February 7, 2010

Following the prayer that we looked at last week, there follows a prayer which has a pause in the middle of it.  This prayer is known as the “Commemoration of the Dead.”  In this prayer, the priest commends the faithful departed to the Lord and then pauses for a moment in order to call to mind those for whom he wishes to pray.  This pause in the Eucharistic prayer is an opportunity for all of us to call to mind our departed loved ones and commend them to the loving mercy of God.

After this short pause for silent prayer, the priest prays that all those who sleep in Christ may enjoy the presence of Christ in Heaven.  This prayer beautifully asks that those who sleep in Christ find “light, happiness, and peace.”

The next prayer asks that all of us have some share in the communion of Saints and another group of Saints is invoked.  All of these Saints are martyrs of the early Church.  After Saint John the Baptist is named, there are seven male Saints and seven female Saints: some of them are well known, some of them we know very little about.

The point of this list is not to list the most popular Saints, or the most recent, for then this list of Saints would be constantly changing.  This list of martyrs is meant to connect us with the early Church.  It is said that the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.  Those early martyrs shed their blood and thus gave witness to their faith.

By calling upon these Saints who died so long ago, we are reminded of the unity of the Church: not just the unity of the Church in the present day, but the unity of the Church throughout the ages.  We belong to the same Church as those martyrs of the first century.  Through their example and sacrifice the Christian faith flourished.  We honor them because they were early witnesses to the Faith; and they continue to pray for us from Heaven.

This prayer concludes by asking all the Saints in Heaven to pray for us.  Let us not forget to seek often the assistance of the Saints, for their intercession can gain for us many graces from the Lord.  All holy men and women, pray for us!

God bless,

Father White

4th Sunday of Ordinary Time (C)

February 1, 2010

“Brothers and sisters: Strive eagerly for the greatest spiritual gifts.”

The greatest gift, St. Paul says, is love. Love is the goal of our lives. The purpose of all the commandments is to bring us to live our lives with love, as we were created to do. Our second reading is a reading that is often chosen by couples for their wedding and I think it is a very appropriate reading for a wedding. As the couple makes their promises to love one another for the rest of their lives: in sickness and in health; in good times and in bad; this reading is a good reminder of what true love is really like. This passage about love can make a good examination of conscience. I can read through the passage and ask myself if I can apply each description of real love to myself. If not, then I know what I need to work on.

Love is often misunderstood in our day and age. Saint Paul reminds us that love is not self-interested, but self-less. True love does not calculate: True love doesn’t ask how much it can get away with before it really offends the beloved. True love doesn’t try to figure out the minimum requirement. True love seeks the good of the other ahead of its own good. True love will do anything for the beloved: true love will even sacrifice itself for the good of the other.

If we meditate on Saint Paul’s description of love, we can see (in our mind’s eye) a portrait of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ revealed the nature of true love to us when He willingly laid down His life for each and every one of you and for me. It is important, when we meditate on the Passion of Our Lord, to keep in mind the fact that Jesus freely chose to lay down His life for us. In the Gospel today we hear that the crowd wanted to hurl Him down headlong over a cliff, but He majestically passed through their midst and went away.

Jesus did not die on the Cross because He couldn’t save Himself; He wasn’t crucified because He had no choice: He freely laid down His life on the Cross because of love. He loves you so much that He was willing to die in order to save you from sin and death. He was willing to die so that you might live forever with Him in Heaven. It is said that it was not the nails that held Jesus upon the Cross, but rather love; and not just a general love for all humanity: love for each one of you personally. Jesus is God; He knows everything. He had each one of you in mind as He died on Calvary. He knew that you would exist, He knew that you would need to be saved from your sins; He knew you and loved you and died for you. A Crucifix is a reminder and a proof of God’s love for you.

We are all called to respond to His love. He loved us so much that He willingly died for us: how do we respond to Him? He died to save us from sin. What do we do to free ourselves from sin? On the Cross Jesus said: “I thirst.” Many of the Saints tell us that that was not indicative of physical thirst as much as it was a manifestation of His thirst for souls. Saint Augustine said that God thirsts for us to thirst for Him. In other words: God desires that we desire Him.

When people first fall in love, they want to spend every minute of every day together. When they are apart, they think of one another constantly. Their whole world seems to revolve around the other person. That is like the way that God loves you. God has you constantly in His mind: if He ceased to think about you, you would cease to exist. God loves you with all of His being at every moment. He wants you to spend time with Him in prayer, He wants you to think about Him, He wants you to love Him with you whole heart the way that He loves you with all of His being.

We are called to love God with all our mind, heart, and strength. How often do we seek the minimum requirement? How often do we receive our God in Holy Communion without being aware of the great Gift that we are receiving? How often do we allow the cares and concerns of this world occupy our thoughts while we forget to think of God? Saint Francis wept at the indifference that he saw in those around him towards God. Saint Francis wept and cried out: “ Love is not loved.” Let us try to love God as we ought: let us love Him above all things. Let us try to think of Him often and give Him thanks for the great things that He has done for us. Amen.

January 31st

February 1, 2010

As we continue to look at the first Eucharistic Prayer, we come to a prayer which asks that God look favorably upon the gifts that we are offering and to accept them. We ask God to accept them just as He accepted other gifts that Scripture tells us that God was pleased to accept: that of Abel, of Abraham, and of Melchizedek. Another reason that these three Old Testament sacrifices are mentioned is because they foreshadowed the Sacrifice that Jesus would make of Himself upon Calvary.

The next prayer is rather mysterious: the priest asks that an Angel take the sacrifice to the altar that is in Heaven. This prayer reminds us that in Heaven all the Angels and Saints ceaselessly adore and worship God; our earthly liturgy is a participation in that Heavenly worship.

The priest then prays that we may be filled with every grace and blessing as we receive the Body and Blood of Christ from this altar. When we receive the Body and Blood of the Lord we receive “every grace” because we receive the Author of all grace. The priest makes the Sign of the Cross at this point to remind Himself that all grace comes through Christ, Who died upon the Cross in order that we may share in His divine life.

“Grace” can be difficult to comprehend: we talk about ‘grace’ in many different ways. Fundamentally, ‘grace’ is a participation in the very life of God. When we say that we are in a “state of grace” we mean that we are not in mortal sin, we mean that we continue to have that divine life, which we received at Baptism, within us.

It can be easy to think of grace as a thing, but grace is not a thing: it is a relationship. When we say that we share in the divine life of God, we really mean that we are in relationship with Him. When we are in a state of grace, He dwells within us. Could there be a more intimate relationship? God loves each one of us so much, He wants to be united to us; and He is communicates Himself to us ever more fully each time we receive Him in the Most Holy Eucharist.

God bless,
Father White