Archive for June, 2010

12th Sunday in Ordinary Time

June 21, 2010

“Who do the crowds say that I am?”  Jesus asked a simple question and the Apostles gave a few interesting, but incorrect answers: John the Baptist, Elijah, one of the Prophets.  The crowds followed Jesus, the crowds listened to His teachings, they witnessed His great miracles: they knew that He was more than an ordinary human being and they had all sorts of theories about Him that all missed the mark.

Then Jesus turned His question on the Apostles: “Who do you say that I am?”  And the Apostles got it right: You are the Christ.  In other words: you are the one that has been promised from the beginning, from right after the Fall.  Jesus is the one that all of the Old Testament anticipated and all the People of Israel awaited for centuries.  Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of all that God promised to do for us through the Prophets.  God promised us a Redeemer that would conquer sin and death and Jesus fulfilled that promise by His death and Resurrection.

How is it that the Apostles were able to get it right when the crowds got it wrong?  The crowds listened to Jesus’ teaching, just like the Apostles did.  The crowds witnessed His miracles, just as the Apostles did.  What was the difference between the crowds and the Apostles?  The Apostles encountered Jesus in a personal way.  They had a personal relationship with Jesus and because of that personal encounter they had faith.

Who do you say that Jesus is?  We can all say a lot of things about Jesus.  He was born of the Virgin Mary; He grew up in Nazareth and went around teaching and healing people.  We might add that Jesus is our Savior: He suffered and died for you and for me.  We might also say that Jesus is God: He reigns in Heaven at the right hand of the Father.  All of that is true and it is important to know those things that we all learned in catechism class.  The real question, of course, is do you know Jesus?  Who is Jesus to you?  It is important to know things about Jesus, but it is essential to have a relationship with Jesus.  Do you know Him?  Can you say that Jesus is your friend?  Can you say that Jesus is the Lord of your life, can you say that is He the King of your heart; is your relationship with Jesus Christ the most important relationship in your life?

We are called to love God above all things.  Can we say that we love Him if we only think of Him once in a while, or go to Him only when we really need something that we are unable to obtain on our own?  Jesus is not a genie in a bottle, to be consulted only when we want something.  Jesus loves us.  And He wants us to love Him in return.  He wants us to come to Him and share with Him everything that is in our hearts.  He does want us to ask Him for things; but He wants us to come to Him all the time, not just when we have needs.  Jesus desires that we share everything in our lives with Him.  It is good to ask for things and to seek His forgiveness.  It is also important to thank Him for all the good things that we have, because they all ultimately come from Him.  Jesus wants us to spend time with Him, to adore Him, to praise Him, and to intercede with Him on behalf of others.

He is closer to us than anyone in the world.  He knows us better than we know ourselves.  He loves each one of us more than we love ourselves.  He wants us to love Him with our whole heart.  Give your heart to Him.  Give Him your whole self, not just part of yourself: give Him everything.  Give Him your sorrow; give Him your anxiety; give Him your stress, your frustration, you fears.  Give your heart to Jesus with all of the temptations that you struggle with, with all of your faults and failings and sins.  Give Him your suffering, give Him your hopes and your joys; give Him your desires and your thoughts and your feelings.  Ask Him to purify your mind and your heart of all that is not pleasing to Him.  Ask Him to reign in your heart.  Ask Jesus to be Lord of your life.  Turn everything over to Him.  Whenever you find yourself being tempted, renew that act of giving everything over to Him.  Ask Him to set you free.  Only by abandoning ourselves to Him can we find real freedom.

Giving yourself completely over to Jesus might sound like a loss of freedom, but quite the opposite is true.  When we abandon ourselves into the hands of Jesus, we become freer.  We were made to know and love God in freedom.  It is sin that enslaves us.  Once we have committed a sin, it becomes harder and harder to resist other sins.  Sins can easily become habits and habits are difficult to break free from.  If you think that sin is real freedom, try to stop sinning for a month.  You will soon realize that sin is really slavery because it will not easily let go of its hold on us.  Breaking free from sin is a struggle.

God wants us to be free from sin.  And He will help us, but we have to want to break free and we have to ask for His help.  Once we are free from sin, then we are free to love God and others the way that we were created to love.  We were made to love God and we will never be happy, content, or fulfilled until we love God with our whole heart.  Sin promises happiness, but always leaves us unhappy in the long run.  God gives us real freedom; God is the Source of all life and the Author of all true happiness.  God doesn’t want to restrict our freedom; He wants to give us life in abundance.  God wants to share His divine life with us.  He wants us to be happy, but in order for us to receive that divine life into our souls we have to be free from sin.

Let us renew our commitment to give Jesus our whole heart.  Let us aim at loving Him above all things as we are called to do, realizing that only by putting God first in our lives will we ever find peace and joy.  Lord Jesus Christ, we give our hearts to You today.  Take our hearts, Lord, and make them completely Yours.  Remove from our hearts everything that is not pleasing to You.  Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, on fire with love for us, ignite our hearts with the fire of Your love.  Amen.

June 20th

June 16, 2010

We were not made for this world.  We were made to know, love and serve God and be happy with Him forever in Heaven.  We are pilgrims in this world; our life in this world is a journey towards eternity.  Throughout this life, we should continually be preparing ourselves for the life of the world to come.

In our spiritual lives, we are never standing still.  We are either moving closer to God or we are moving farther away from Him.  Sin is when we choose some created thing over and above the Creator and this never makes us happy.  We cannot be happy apart from God: God is the source and author of all true happiness.  God alone is able to make us happy.  Saint Augustine’s famous quote says it much better than I can: “You have made us for yourself [O God] and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.”

We were made for God and we will always feel empty and incomplete until we arrive at union with God.  Perfect union with God takes place in Heaven, but even now we can move towards that union with Him by means of prayer and through prayer we can have peace and happiness in this world.

The prayer that I am now referring to is not merely asking God for things.  It is important to ask God for things and it is good to do so, but prayer is meant to be more than just a list of requests.  Prayer is meant to be a conversation, by which we come to know God in an intimate and personal way.

Prayer is meant to be an encounter with God.  We should take time for prayer every day.  Each day we should make time to set aside the distractions and busyness of our daily lives and turn our hearts toward God.  When we open our hearts to God, we are doing that for which we were made.

Prayer is the most important thing that we do during the day.  It may not seem like it sometimes.  Our prayer may not be full of consolations, our prayer time may not seem like anything great happened.  But by being faithful to daily prayer, we move closer to God and that truly is the most important thing, because union with God is the goal of our very existence.

We should be faithful to daily prayer, even when we do not feel like praying; we should continue to pray even when we do not think that we are getting anything out of it.  It is like being in a boat on a lake: it is often hard to gauge progress, yet if you keep paddling, you will eventually arrive at your destination.

We can be certain that as long as we are faithful to daily prayer, God will draw us ever closer to Himself.  God is most pleased by our day-to-day fidelity.  Prayer is a journey towards God that lasts a lifetime, but its rewards are eternal.

God bless,

Father White

11th Sunday in Ordinary Time

June 14, 2010

The woman in the Gospel, we are told, was forgiven her sins because of her great love.  She was forgiven much, because she loved much.  Then, after her sins have been forgiven, Jesus tells the woman to go in peace because her faith has saved her.  Faith led her to Jesus to seek the forgiveness of her sins and her great love, demonstrated by the outpouring of her tears, won that forgiveness for her.

Jesus rebuked the Pharisee because of his lack of faith.  The Pharisee did not believe in Jesus.  The Pharisee did not think that he had any need of forgiveness.  Several Gospel passages refer to the necessity of acknowledging our need for God’s mercy.  The Pharisees were often scandalized because Jesus associated with sinners: He ate with them, He taught them, He allowed them to touch Him and He healed them.  The Pharisees did not believe that they were sinners, they considered themselves to be righteous and therefore they would have nothing to do with people that they considered sinners.  The reality is that we are all sinners.  If we deny we are sinners, we close ourselves off to God’s forgiveness.  God is always willing to forgive us; there isn’t any sin that we can commit that God would not forgive: if we come to Him with some level of sorrow and ask for His mercy.

The Pharisees justified themselves in their own eyes; they refused to admit that they were sinners and therefore they closed their hearts to God’s mercy.  If we refuse to acknowledge our sins and we refuse to ask God for mercy, we cannot be forgiven.  If we claim to be physically well, a doctor will not treat us even if we are sick; if we claim to be full, no one will give us any food.  It is only when we go to the doctor and tell him that we are not well that he can begin to treat us for our illness.  It is only when we acknowledge our hunger and do something about it that we get something to eat.  The same is true with God.  If we tell God that we do not need Him, if we refuse to admit our absolute dependence upon Him, He will leave us to our own.  And without Him, we can do nothing.  When we come to God, with humility and trust, He will do great things for us.  We should never be presumptuous with God; and yet we, at the same time, we can have great confidence in God’s mercy.  God loves us more than we can imagine and He waits for us to turn away from sin and come to Him.  When we repent from our sin and ask for mercy, God runs to meet us.  There is great rejoicing in Heaven over one repentant sinner.  When we come before God and admit that we need Him that we want Him in our hearts, He will fill us with Himself.  When we rely upon ourselves, our life is full of anxiety and stress.  When we surrender everything to God, then we can find the peace and joy that comes from following the Lord.  Laying our burdens at the feet of the Lord brings us great relief.

Once the woman was forgiven, Jesus told her to go in peace.  When we have been forgiven, there is a great peace that comes to our souls.  Sin drives us away from God; and apart from God, we can never be truly happy.  Sin makes us miserable.  The only way to find true peace and real fulfillment in this world as well as in the life of the world to come is to know, love and serve God.  Apart from God, we will never know true joy.  We were made to love God and to be happy.  True happiness comes from loving God for when we love God with all our hearts, we are not just fulfilling the greatest of all commandments we are doing what we were created by God to do.

How do we practically apply all that I have been saying to our lives?  First of all, it is important for all of us to go to confession regularly.  By going to confession on a regular basis, we root sin out of our lives and open our hearts to God’s mercy and love.  Second, we should pray everyday.  It doesn’t have to be for a long time everyday, but it should be every day.  Even if it is ten or fifteen minutes a day, we should make a commitment to daily prayer.  We cannot have a very good relationship with someone we never talk with.  Do not wait to “find” time to pray: make time for prayer.  Our days easily fill up with all sorts of things.  We need to make prayer a priority in our lives and not allow other things to crowd it out.  Our relationship with God is the most important thing in our lives.  The greatest of all commandments is to love God above all things.  Loving others is the second greatest commandment.  By faithfully fulfilling our vocation in life, we fulfill God’s will for us, to be sure; but that cannot take the place of prayer time.  Third, do not fill up your prayer time with your own words.  Prayer is meant to be a conversation with God, not a monologue.  It is good to tell God all that is on your heart; it is good to ask Him for things, for yourself and for others.  But we also need to spend time listening to what God wants to say to us.  God speaks in the silence; we need to allow Him time to speak to our hearts.

Finally, let us take the Blessed Virgin Mary as our model in this area.  Earlier today [Yesterday] we celebrated the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  Mary meditated upon the Lord in her heart constantly.  She is the patron of this parish and she is the Mother of each one of us.  Jesus gave her to us to be our Mother.  She wants us to love Jesus like she loved Jesus.  Mary leads us to Jesus.  She will help us to come to an ever-deeper relationship with Him, if only we ask for her help.  Mary, Mother of our Savior and our Mother, help us to love Jesus with all our hearts.  Draw us all ever nearer to Jesus; help us to pray to Him and help us to imitate Him in our lives.  Our Lady of Good Counsel, pray for us!

June 13th

June 9, 2010

The Sacraments are outward signs, instituted by Christ, which convey supernatural grace to our souls.  The Sacraments give us grace, and yet we need to receive them again and again.  This is true for two reasons.

The first reason is that while the Sacraments give us grace if they are performed properly, they give us grace insofar as we are open to receive it.

In order for a Sacrament to be valid, there needs to be a proper minister of the Sacrament, there needs to be proper matter and proper form.  Let us take the Eucharist as an example.  In order for the Eucharist to be validly consecrated at Mass, there needs to be a validly ordained priest (the proper minister, in this case), there has to be unleavened bread and wine, and the proper words must be pronounced over the matter: “This is my body; This is my blood.”  If any one of those things is missing, the Eucharist is not made present upon the altar.

The reverse is also true.  As long as there is the proper minister, the proper matter and form used, the Eucharist is truly made present regardless of the priest’s personal holiness.  This is the objective side of how the Sacraments work.

There is also a subjective side to the Sacraments.  While a valid Sacrament really imparts grace to the soul, the disposition of the soul has much to do with how much grace is received.  Someone who receives the Eucharist with great attention and love will receive more grace than someone who receives the Eucharist without any preparation or thought as to Who it is that they are receiving.              The more we put into preparing ourselves to receive the Sacraments, the more that we will receive.  God works through the Sacraments, but we must be open to all that He wants to do in our souls.  We should do all that we can to prepare ourselves well to receive the Sacraments and make frequent use of them.  The Sacraments are a most powerful means to grow in holiness, if we receive them worthily and devoutly.

God bless,

Father White

Corpus Christi (Homily)

June 9, 2010

Today we celebrate the Feast of Corpus Christi [the Feast of the Body and Blood of Our Lord].  Saint Augustine once said of the Eucharist that: “Although God is all-powerful, He is unable to give more; though supremely wise, He knows not how to give more; though vastly rich, He has not more to give.”  The Church gives us this Feast day in order that we might meditate upon the greatest gift that God has ever given to us: the gift of Himself under the appearances of Bread and Wine.

This Feast gives us the chance to reflect upon the mysteries that were instituted by Our Lord at the Last Supper.  Jesus promised to remain with us always and He fulfilled that promise by giving us His real Presence in the Most Holy Eucharist.  At the Last Supper, Jesus took ordinary bread and wine and by His words, He changed them into His own Body and Blood.

In the Holy Eucharist, Our Lord is really, truly, wholly, substantially present.  On this Feast day, we take time to honor, in a special way, the fact that our God is really and truly present in our midst: through the Most Blessed Sacrament.  On this Feast, we take time to adore Our Lord and give Him thanks for His True Presence.  This Feast day should stir up love and gratitude in our hearts for this great gift that we receive.  This feast day also calls to our minds the fact that we are called to live the Eucharist.  When we eat ordinary food, we transform it into ourselves.  When we receive the Eucharist, Jesus transforms us into Himself.  The point of Holy Communion is to unite us with Our Lord and the more we are united to Him the more we should come to imitate Him, resemble Him.  He is the Light of the world and we too are called to be light.  In the Eucharist, Jesus unites us with Himself but He also transforms us into Himself.  We are given the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus so that He will truly reign in our hearts and change our lives.  In the Eucharist, Jesus Christ gives us the grace that we need to become the Saints that we are called to become: if only we have hearts that are open to receive that grace.  In Holy Communion, we receive God.  God doesn’t hold anything back from us.  The only reason that receiving Our Lord in Holy Communion does not instantly change our hearts and make us Saints is that we do not allow it to change us.  We are too attached to our sins.

Jesus completely sacrificed Himself so that He could be united to you.  He wants you to imitate Him.  He wants your whole heart: He doesn’t want you to hold anything back.  St. Paul says that we are to make of ourselves a spiritual sacrifice pleasing to God.  How can you make yourself a sacrifice?  Keep your eyes from looking at things that they should not be looking at and you will have offered your eyes in sacrifice; keep your tongue from speaking uncharitable words and you will make of it a pleasing offering to God; avoid sin and your life will be a spiritual sacrifice pleasing and acceptable to God.

When we love someone very much, we go out of our way to please that person.  We do not want to offend or upset them.  If you love God, put Him first in your life and root sin out of your hearts.  Of course we have a weak and fallen human nature which is inclined towards sin.  It is impossible to avoid sin by our own power.  But Jesus gives us Himself as food and He strengthens us that we might overcome sin and live in the freedom of the sons and daughters of God.  In the Eucharist, Jesus fulfills His promise: “Come to Me all of you who labor and are burdened . . . and I will refresh you.”  (Mt. 11:28)  Jn 15:5: “Apart from Me you can do nothing.”  The Saints were constantly eager to make visits to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament because it was there that they found the grace and strength that they needed to be Saints.

Love desires union.  God loves you.  He desires union with you so much that He gives Himself to you as food.  The Saints loved God; they wanted to be near Him in the Tabernacle.  They received Him in Holy Communion with utmost devotion and love.  Do you love Jesus?  Do you desire union with Him?  Is Holy Communion the high point of your week?  Do you think of Jesus often?  Do you try your best to prepare yourself for Holy Communion at Mass?  Do you spend time thanking God after Mass?  We are called to love God above all things.  Our Lord waits for you in the Tabernacle.  He wants you to love Him, to pray to Him, to adore Him.  Let us root sin out of our lives and strive to love Our Lord, Truly Present in the Most Holy Eucharist with all our hearts.  Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, truly present in the Most Blessed Sacrament, help us to love you with all our hearts and imitate you in our lives.  Amen.

June 6th (Corpus Christi Article)

June 9, 2010

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of Corpus Christi.  This Feast is given to us as an opportunity to reflect upon the reality of what was instituted at the Last Supper.  At the Last Supper, Our Lord gave His Apostles (and their successors) the power to change ordinary bread and wine into His very Body and Blood.

In the Holy Eucharist, the Lord gives Himself to us as food.  Through the True Presence of Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament, Our Lord remains with us.  He is really, truly, substantially present in the Eucharist.  Through our reception of Holy Communion, we are intimately united with God.  We are never as close to God on this earth as when we have just received Him in Holy Communion.

Due to the reality of Who it is that we receive in Holy Communion, we should always be sure that we are in a proper state when we approach to receive Him.  We are all sinners, but we should do all that we can to prepare our hearts to receive Our Lord.  It is necessary that we go to Confession before we go to Communion, if we have fallen into mortal sin.  (Quick refresher: a sin is mortal if there is grave matter involved and we knowingly and freely choose to commit the sin.)

Our God loves each one of us so much that He wants to be united with us.  Love desires union.  God sent His own Beloved Son to die for us in order to save us from sin.  Jesus gives Himself to us under the appearances of bread and wine, just so that He can be united to our hearts.  Jesus loves us with all that He is and all that He has: Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity.  He holds nothing back from us.  He asks us to love Him in return in like manner: with all our hearts.

May the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus be praised and adored, loved and thanked at every moment in all the tabernacles of the world, even to the end of time.  Amen.

God bless,

Father White

May 30th

June 9, 2010

With the Feast of Pentecost, the Easter Season has drawn to a close and we have entered Ordinary Time.  The Church’s liturgical calendar is meant to help us walk with Our Lord throughout the year, day by day.  At various times of the year, the Church puts different mysteries of the life of the Lord before our eyes.  What is accomplished throughout the year in the liturgical calendar, continuously takes place within the context of every week.

For example, every Friday is a day in which Catholics have traditionally recalled the Lord’s Passion. Many Catholics remember when Catholics were not to eat meat on Friday.  Fridays are still a day of penance in the Church, by the way.  Canon Law states that all Fridays are penitential days.  (cf. Canon 1250)  Canon Law gives local bishop conferences the authority to determine the penance required on Fridays, but we are suppose to have some penitential observance on all Fridays throughout the year.  (cf. Canon 1251)  The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has stated that Catholics in the U.S. are not required to refrain from eating meat on Fridays throughout the year, we are allowed to substitute some other form of penance on Fridays outside of Lent.  (cf. “On Penance and Abstinence” issued by the USCCB)

Another example of the liturgical year being present to us every week is the way that we commemorate the Lord’s Resurrection every Sunday.  From the times of the early Church, Christians have always gathered on Sundays in order to celebrate the day that the Lord rose from the dead.  Every Sunday is, as it were, a little Easter.  The Church asks us to celebrate the Lord’s Resurrection on Sundays by attending Mass and by refraining from unnecessary work on that day.

The reason that the Church asks us to refrain from servile work on Sundays is so that we can be free to truly worship the Lord.  Sunday should be a day of joy and relaxation.  It is a day to be spent with the Lord and with one’s family.  (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church # 2185)

Our culture tends to like an abundance of activity and noise.  If we do not take time to slow down, we will not be able to really recollect ourselves and connect with Our Lord, which is the ultimate goal of our lives.

There are legitimate necessities which require some people to work on Sundays.  That is not what the Church is referring to here.  We are asked to refrain from unnecessary labor on Sundays in order to truly make them a day dedicated to God, to our family and to rest.

The Church gives us these days in order to help us to keep the mysteries of the death and Resurrection of Our Lord always before our eyes.  The more effort we make to really enter into those days, the more they will draw us into union with Our Lord.

God bless,

Father White

Trinity Sunday

June 9, 2010

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity.  The Trinity is the central mystery of our Faith.  It is the most important mystery of our Faith because it is the mystery of Who God IS in Himself.  From all eternity, God exists as Three Persons in One God.  That is what we mean when we use the word Trinity.  We believe that God is Three Divine Persons in One God because that is how He has revealed Himself to us.

In the Gospel today, Jesus says that everything that the Father has belongs to Him.  By this statement, Our Lord’s is clearly claiming total equality with God.  Everything that the Father has, the Son has.  The Father possesses the fullness of divinity; therefore the Son also possesses the fullness of divinity.  In the Gospels, Jesus clearly claimed to be God and His hearers understood that that is what He was telling them when He made statements like the one we heard in today’s Gospel.  Jesus made many clear claims in the Gospel that He IS God.  If those claims were not true, then Jesus would be guilty of blasphemy, and according to Jewish law blasphemy was punishable by death.  That is why the Jewish leaders who heard Jesus’ teachings sometimes took up stones with which to kill Him because they understood that He was claiming that He was God and they did not believe in Him and they wanted to stone Him to death for blasphemy.  We, of course, know that Jesus Christ IS God.  He claimed to be God and He proved that claim by the many signs and miracles that He performed.  He proved His divinity by rising from the dead.

We profess our belief in the fact that Jesus Christ is truly God every Sunday in the Creed.  Every week we reaffirm our belief that Jesus Christ is the Eternal Son of God: “God from God, Light from Light, True God from True God, one in being with the Father.”  Jesus and the Father are one and yet they are not the same Person.  The Father is not the Son, the Son is not the Father and yet the Father and the Son are both one God: totally and perfectly one.  The same is true of the Holy Spirit.  The Spirit is not the Father or the Son, but nonetheless He is really and truly one God with the Father and with the Son.  This reality can be difficult to grasp; it is a mystery that we will go on contemplating for all eternity in Heaven.  God has revealed Himself to us as a Trinity, and we accept His revelation in humility, realizing that we will contemplate God for all eternity and never fully comprehend Him because He is Infinite, and we are limited creatures.  We believe and accept God as Three Persons in One God, because God has revealed this Truth to us.

God has revealed Himself as Three Persons in one God because He wants us to know Him as He is.  This is not merely an abstract fact that we learn in Catechism and then ignore it because it has no impact on our lives.  Knowing that God is a Trinity also reveals something to us about ourselves because we are made in God’s image and likeness.  The Truth that God is Three Persons in one God reveals to us that God is love.  If God were only one person, He could not be love; He could only be a lover: because love is a relationship between persons.  There has to be more than one person in order for there to be love.  If God were only one Person, He could only love Himself: He could only have selfish love.  But we know that God existed from all eternity as Three Persons: from all eternity the Trinity exists as a community of love.  From all eternity the Father loves the Son and the Son loves the Father.  From all eternity the Holy Spirit proceeds from them both as the love of the Father and the Son for each other.  The Truth that “God is love” depends on the Truth that “God is a Trinity.”

Because our God exists as a community of love, and we are made in His image and likeness, we know that love is the highest meaning of life.  We are made in the image of God and God is love: therefore we are made in the image of love.  That is why Jesus Christ taught us that the greatest commandment is to love God above all things and to love others as we love ourselves.  Jesus is not imposing some law upon us: He is trying to get us to live the way that we were created to live.  The whole purpose of our lives is to be in relationship with God.  Why did God create us?  He created us to know Him, to love Him and to serve Him.  Loving God is the whole point of our existence.  The purpose of life is to know, love and serve God.  God loves each one of us more than we can ever imagine.  God loves each and every one of us, and He wants us to love Him in return with our whole heart.  If we do not put God first in our lives, we are not fulfilling the purpose for which we were created.  If God is not first in our lives, we will always feel empty inside.  Nothing in this world will ever make us content; we will always want more: our hearts are restless until they rest in God.  Nothing can satisfy our hearts except God alone.

The perfect model of putting God first is the Blessed Virgin Mary.  Mary is the obedient daughter of God the Father; she is the perfect Mother of God the Son; she is the spotless spouse of the Holy Spirit.  Her heart was completely open to all that God wanted to do in her life and as a result she had true happiness: she is the most blessed among all women.  Let us all imitate Our Blessed Mother and have hearts that are open to all that God wants to do in us and through us.  Mother Mary, help us to love God above all things and others as ourselves out of love for Him.  O Mary Queen of all hearts, pray for us!  Amen.