Archive for May, 2010

Sixth Sunday of Easter (Mother’s Day)

May 17, 2010

Once again I would like to wish all mothers a happy Mother’s Day.  May the Lord pour His grace upon all mothers on this day dedicated to honoring them.  It is good for us also to remember to honor Our Lady in some way today.  Jesus gave her to us all to be our Mother.  As we honor our biological mothers this day, we should not forget to honor our spiritual mother.  It is quite fitting that Mother’s Day falls within the month of May, a month dedicated in a special way to the Mother of Our Lord, and the Mother of us all, the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Like many converts, I personally had a difficult time figuring out Marian devotion as I was coming into the Catholic Faith.  Protestants are taught that honoring Mary somehow diminishes the honor that we show Jesus.  Of course we know that that is simply not true.  Mary and Jesus are not in competition with one another.  The Son is not found apart from His Mother.  The Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary beat in perfect union.  Our Lord gave us His Mother to be our Mother; He wants us to honor her.  Mary doesn’t keep anything for herself, besides, any honor that we give to Mary, ultimately is given to God, Who has done great things for her.

Marian devotion doesn’t take away from the honor given to Jesus.  All the greatness of Mary, she received from God.  When we praise her, we praise what God has done in her and through her.  Mary always brings us to Jesus.  Her greatest desire is that we be ever more closely united to her Son, that we come to imitate Him ever more perfectly.  She wants to see each one of our hearts come to perfectly resemble the Heart of her Son.  She obtains many graces for us, in order that we may grow closer to God.  Yet many more graces are available to us if we would only ask for them.

Mary is, for us, a most powerful intercessor with the Lord.  No one was ever closer to Jesus, than His Mother.  She carried Him in her womb for nine months.  Mary wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, she fed Him, she carried Him in her arms.  Mary took Him to the Temple, she protected Him and she taught Him.  She was there when He learned to walk; she was there when He said His first words.  She poured upon Him all the tenderness of the best of mothers as He grew up.  She was there when He performed His first public miracle, in fact, it was at her request that He performed it and His disciples began to believe in Him.  She was there at the foot of the Cross, when all the Apostles save Saint John abandoned Him.  She was near her Son as He was lifted up upon the Cross and died in order to win our Salvation.  Now, in Heaven, Mary sits at Jesus’ right hand.  Jesus loves His Mother.  She was perfectly obedient to Him at every moment of her life.  Jesus loves her and He refuses her nothing.

As I mentioned, Mary was a difficult thing for me to grasp as I was coming into the Church.  There were two things that really opened my heart.  They weren’t theological arguments, or Biblical proofs, although there are plenty of those available, to be sure.  The first point that forced me to examine the question more closely was John Paul the Second’s great Marian devotion.  The thing drew me to the Catholic Church, was the fact that it was able to teach with the Authority of Christ.  Once I learned that Jesus Christ only founded One Church, and that He entrusted His Authority to that Church, that the Church could teach in the name of Jesus, and was guided by the Holy Spirit, I knew that I had to belong to that Church.  I knew that the way that the Catholic Church today is connected back to Jesus is through an unbroken succession of bishops and Popes that extends back to the Apostles and ultimately to Jesus Himself.  I knew that John Paul II was the successor of Saint Peter, who had been given the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven.  I knew that the Pope was the Vicar of Christ on earth and that because Our Lord promised the Holy Spirit to Saint Peter and the Apostles, the Pope could not teach error in area of Faith and morals.  I also knew that John Paul II had a profound devotion to Mary.  That fact forced me to keep an open mind.

The thing that ultimately changed my heart, of course, was God’s grace.  There was one moment that I remember very clearly, when I realized that Mary’s whole mission is to draw people closer to God.  I remember watching a movie about Fatima.  As I began watching the movie, I was highly skeptical.  Even though it was not a very high quality movie, and the graphics were poorly done, when the movie portrayed the great miracle of the sun my heart was moved.  It is estimated that one hundred thousand people witnessed that miracle in Fatima and many hundreds of thousands of people have been drawn closer to God because of Fatima since.  Mary isn’t an obstacle to union with God: she helps people grow closer to God.  That is when I began to ask Our Lady to pray for me, that she would help me in my journey through this valley of tears.

We should all fly to Our Blessed Mother with great confidence for all of our needs.  She is a most powerful intercessor for us.  Just as at the Wedding Feast of Cana, she continually intercedes for us with her Son, even though we may not be aware of it.  We should actively seek out her assistance.  She is a Mother ready at every moment to come to our aid if we will only ask for her help.  She is your Mother, she loves you and she wants you to be think of her; she wants to help you grow closer to Jesus.  Let us all entrust ourselves to her motherly care today: Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known, that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thine intercession was ever left unaided.  Inspired by this confidence, we fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, our mother; to thee do we come, before thee we stand, sinful and sorrowful.  O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not our petitions, but in the clemency hear and answer them.  Amen.

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May 16th

May 17, 2010

As I mentioned in the last article, May is a month that is dedicated to Mary, Our Mother.  The best way to honor Our Lady is to imitate her.  Mary is a model of all virtue.  She lived her life for God alone.  No one has ever loved Jesus as perfectly as she did.  She completely surrendered herself to God.  She had total confidence and trust in Him.  In order to honor her, we should strive to give our hearts completely to her and through her to God.  Mary’s greatest desire for us is that the perfect image of the heart of Christ, her Son, would be reproduced in our hearts.

During her life Mary continually contemplated Christ in her heart.  (cf. Luke 2:19, ff.)  In imitation of Our Lady, we should always have our eyes fixed on Christ; we should continually contemplate His life, death and Resurrection.  The Rosary is a wonderful tool which we have been given to do just that: meditate upon Our Lord.

The Rosary is a prayer which is meant to help us contemplate Christ.  It is clearly Marian in nature, and yet all the mysteries attempt to help us focus on some aspect of Christ’s life.  The Rosary offers us the opportunity to contemplate the mysteries of Christ so that we can more perfectly imitate Christ in our lives.

The Rosary is also a great way to honor Our Lady and obtain her powerful intercession for ourselves as well as for others.  John Paul II said: “To pray the Rosary is to hand over our burdens to the merciful hearts of Christ and His Mother.”  (Rosarium Virginis Mariae # 25)

During this month dedicated to Our Lady, let us imitate her and meditate upon Our Lord through the frequent recitation of the Rosary.  Let us also entrust ourselves, our families as well as all our cares, burdens and worries to her through it.  Have confidence that she will safely and swiftly unite us ever more closely to Jesus if we but entrust ourselves to her maternal care.  Mary, Our Queen and Our Mother, pray for us!

God bless,

Father White

First Communion Mass

May 17, 2010

My dear children, today is a very special day for you who are about to make your First Holy Communion but it is also a special joy for all of us here celebrating with you.  Today, you will receive Jesus into your souls for the very first time.  Your faith and the joy and excitement that you have as you receive the Most Blessed Sacrament for the first time inspires us all.  The occasion of your First Holy Communion should be a reminder for all of us of the joy that we had at our first Communion and your joy and excitement is also a reminder of the attitude that we should all have in our hearts when we receive Jesus in the Holy Eucharist.  Holy Communion is a very special grace because in Holy Communion we receive God into our hearts.  God loves us so much that He wants to be with us always.  When we love someone, we want to spend time with that person.  God loves each one of us so much that He wants to be with us all the time.  Of course God is present everywhere, He is never absent from us; the problem is that we are not always present to Him.  God wants us to be aware of that He is always near us and He wants us to think of Him often and love Him with our whole heart.  He wants us to spend time with Him in prayer.  He wants to join Himself to our souls in Holy Communion.

When we receive Holy Communion, we are joined with Jesus in a very special way.  We are never so close to God in this world as we right after we have received Him in the Eucharist.  After we receive Jesus in Holy Communion, we should spend time with Him in prayer and thank Him for giving Himself to us.  After we have received Holy Communion it is good to tell Jesus whatever is on your heart.  It is good to talk to Jesus while He is so closely united with your soul.  We are never so close to God in this world as when we have just received Him in Holy Communion.

When we receive Jesus in the Eucharist, He gives many gifts to our hearts.  When we receive the Eucharist grace is poured into our souls.  Grace is the very life of God.  When we say that God gives us His grace, we mean that He shares His divine life with us.  When God gives us grace, He shares with us His life, His love, His strength, His peace and His joy.  We need to be open to receive all the gifts that God wants to give to us in Holy Communion.  The more we open our hearts are to receive His graces, the more graces we will receive.  The best way to open our hearts is to make sure that there isn’t any sin on our souls.  Sin clutters up our hearts and gets in the way of our friendship with Jesus.  We need to clear sin out of our hearts in order to make room for God.

We should do everything we can to be aware of what we are doing whenever we receive Holy Communion.  We should always try to always remember Who it is that we are encountering in the Holy Eucharist.  It is good to receive Communion with all the attention and devotion and love that we possibly can.  That means that we should try to focus our attention on God as we come forward for Communion.  We should be aware that it is Almighty God Who is gives Himself to us in Communion.

We should also remember that God gives us Himself to us for a reason: He loves us and He wants to be with us and He also wants to make us more like Himself.  God is love and through giving Himself to us in the Eucharist, He wants to make us more loving.  God is love and through Holy Communion, God fills our hearts with Himself: that means that He fills our hearts with love.  Through Holy Communion, God wants to give us all the spiritual help and strength that we need to faithfully follow Jesus.

In order to follow Jesus, we have to live the way that He taught us that we should live.  All of Jesus’ teachings, in fact the whole Bible, are summed up in the two most important commandments that Jesus gave to us: Love God above everything else and love your neighbor as yourself.  We are all called to faithfully follow Jesus by loving God and by loving others.  And how does Jesus call us to love others?  Jesus calls us to love others as He has loved them.  That is a pretty high standard that we are called to live up to.  Jesus always put other people first.  Jesus said that He came not to be served, but to serve.  Jesus laid down His life for those He loved.

In order to live the love that we are called to, we need God’s help, and one of the most powerful ways that God helps us is through the Sacraments.  The Sacraments are different ways that God gives His divine grace, His life, to our souls.  By ourselves Jesus says that we can do nothing, but with God’s help we can do everything.  Through the Eucharist God shares His life with us; He communicates Himself to our souls and more and more closely unites us with Himself every time we receive Him in Holy Communion.  If we regularly receive the Eucharist, with hearts that are open to all that God wants to do in our souls, we will grow in love.  Even if we don’t feel any different after receiving Holy Communion, we know that God is working on our hearts to make them more like the Heart of His Son.

Another Sacrament that is very important for us is the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  We need the Sacrament of Reconciliation for all the times that we fail to love God and others as Jesus calls us to love them.  If we receive those two Sacraments, Communion and Reconciliation, regularly with hearts that are open to all the gifts that God wants to give to us, then God will fill our hearts with His love and we will become channels of His grace and His love for others.

May God bless all of you boys and girls who are about to receive Jesus today for the first time in Holy Communion.  May Jesus draw you and all of us ever closer to Himself.  May God fill all our hearts with His life and His love and make us more like His Son, Jesus Christ.  Amen.

May 9th

May 6, 2010

We are now well into the month of May, which has traditionally been and continues to be a month dedicated in a special way to the Blessed Virgin Mary.  It would be good for us to spend extra time during this month to meditate upon all the extraordinary graces that God bestowed upon Our Lady, and ask for her to intercede for us, for our families, for our Country and for our Church.

Mary is a most powerful intercessor with Our Lord.  Saint James tells us that: “the fervent prayer of a righteous person is very powerful.”  (James 5:16)  Our Lady’s prayers are very powerful because, after Our Lord, there isn’t anyone holier than she.

Furthermore, no one was closer to Our Lord than Our Lady.  How much Jesus loves His Mother!  There is not anything that Jesus would refuse her, and therefore her prayers are most powerful.

If we still need further proof of the importance of beseeching Mary’s powerful intercession, we can see in the lives of all the Saints great devotion and love for Mary.

Jesus, Himself, gave her to us to be our mother.  We should also be aware that Mary wants us to become more and more like her Son.  Her greatest desire for us is that we would come to be formed into the image of her divine Son.  She obtains for us the graces that we need to imitate Jesus ever more faithfully.  She wants us to seek her intercession.  There are many graces which she desires to pour out upon the world, but we have to ask for those graces.

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

God bless,

Father White

Fifth Sunday of Easter

May 4, 2010

Today is a very special day: today we have one among us who will make their first Holy Communion today.  Today for the first time, Jenna, will receive Jesus into her soul.  Holy Communion is a very special grace because in Holy Communion we receive God into our hearts.  God loves us so much that He wants to be with us always.  Love desires union.  When we love someone, we want to spend time with that person.  God loves each one of us so much that He wants to be with us all the time.  Of course God is present everywhere, He is never absent from us; unfortunately, we are not always present to Him.  God wants us to be aware of His presence and He wants us to think of Him often and love Him.  He wants us to spend time with Him in prayer.

When we receive Holy Communion, we are joined with Jesus in a very special way.  After we receive Him in Holy Communion, we should spend time in prayer with Him and thank Him for giving Himself to us.  After we have received Holy Communion it is good to tell Jesus whatever is on our heart.  It is good to talk to Jesus while He is in your soul.  We are never so close to God in this world as when we have just received Him in Holy Communion.

When we receive Jesus in the Eucharist, He gives many gifts to our hearts.  When we receive the Eucharist grace is poured into our souls.  Grace is the very life of God.  When we say that God gives us grace, we mean that He shares His divine life with us.  When God gives us grace, He shares with us us His life, His love, His strength, and His joy.  We need to be open to receive all the gifts that God wants to give to us in Holy Communion.  The more open our hearts are to receive His graces, the more graces we will receive.  The best way to open our hearts is to make sure that there isn’t any sin in our hearts.  Sin clutters up our hearts and we need to clear sin out of our lives in order to make room for God.

It is also good to pay attention to what we are doing when we receive Holy Communion.  We should try to always be aware of what we are doing when we receive Holy Communion.  It is good to receive Communion with all the attention and devotion that we can.  That means that we should try to focus our attention on God as we come forward for Communion.  We should be aware that it is Almighty God Who is giving Himself to us in Communion.  We should also keep in mind that God gives us Himself for a reason: He loves us and He wants to be with us and He wants to make us more like Himself.  God is love and through giving Himself to us in the Eucharist, He wants to make us more loving.  Through the Holy Communion, God wants to give us all the spiritual help and strength that we need to follow Jesus.

In the Gospel today, we heard that Jesus gave His disciples a new commandment: “Love one another.”  We are all called to faithfully follow Jesus and we are all called to love others.  And how does Jesus call us to love others?  Jesus calls us to love others as He has loved them.  That is a pretty high standard which we are called to imitate.  Jesus always put other people first.  Jesus said that He came not to be served, but to serve.  Jesus laid down His life for those He loved.

In order to live the love that we are called to, we need the Sacraments.  The Sacraments are powerful ways that God gives His divine grace, His life, to our souls.  By ourselves Jesus says that we can do nothing, but with God’s help we can do everything.  Through the Eucharist, as I mentioned, God shares His life with us; He communicates Himself to our souls and more closely unites us with Himself.  If we regularly receive the Eucharist, with hearts that are open to all that God wants to do in our souls, we will grow in love.  Even if we don’t feel any different after receiving Holy Communion, we know that God is working on our hearts to make them more like the Heart of His Son.

Another Sacrament that is very important for us is the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  We need the Sacrament of Reconciliation for all the times that we fail to love others as Jesus calls us to love them.  If we receive those two Sacraments, Communion and Reconciliation, regularly with hearts that are open to all that God wants to give to us, then God will fill our hearts with His love and we will become channels of His grace and His love for others.

May God bless you, Jenna, as you receive Him today for the first time in Holy Communion.  May Jesus draw you and all of us ever closer to Himself every time that we receive Him in Holy Communion.  May God fill our hearts with His love and make us more like His Son.  Amen.