Archive for the ‘Bulletin Articles’ Category

Corpus Christi Bulletin Article

June 27, 2011

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ; today we celebrate the greatest gift that has ever been given: the gift of Himself that Jesus Christ gives to us.  Speaking of the Most Holy Eucharist, Saint Augustine said that although God is infinitely wise, He does not know how to give more; although He is infinitely powerful, He is unable to give us anything greater; although vastly rich, God has not more to give.

In giving us His Son, the Father gives us that which He loves most.  Jesus Christ became a man like us in all things except for sin in order to save us from sin and death.  He poured Himself out completely for us upon the Cross and through the Most Holy Eucharist Our Lord gives Himself entirely to us.

In the Eucharist Our Lord gives to us all that He is and all that He has: He holds nothing back from us.  In Holy Communion we receive Jesus Christ; in Holy Communion Our Lord is Present Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity.  When we receive Holy Communion we receive the One through Whom the universe was created; in Holy Communion we receive the One Whom we rightly call Our Lord and Our God.  In Holy Communion we receive the One Who died and rose that we might have abundant life and when we receive Holy Communion worthily we receive a share in that abundant life: Jesus said “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood will have eternal life.”  (John 6:54)

The Eucharist is often called a “foretaste of Heaven” because in the Eucharist we are united with God in a most intimate way.  Under the appearances of bread and wine our God is really, truly, substantially Present.  When the crowds that followed Our Lord first heard Him say that His flesh was true food, many of them were scandalized.  Instead of correcting their understanding of what He was saying, Our Lord again and again emphasized that He, Himself, is the Bread come down from Heaven: that He would give Himself to us as Food.  He even let many of His disciples walk away because of this teaching and then asked the Apostles if they would leave as well.  (cf. John chapter 6)  Saint Peter, speaking on behalf of the Twelve, said “Master, to whom shall we go?  You have the words of eternal life.”  Our Lord was willing to even lose the Twelve Apostles over this teaching; yet they stuck with Him even though they may not have understood His teaching.

We can pray to God anywhere, yet nowhere on earth do we encounter God in the way that we do when we encounter Him truly Present in the Most Blessed Sacrament.  We are never so close to God on this earth as when we have just received Him in Holy Communion.  Let us be mindful of the great gift that our God gives to us in the Eucharist: may we never take Our Lord’s Presence in the Most Holy Eucharist for granted.  May we always receive Him in Holy Communion worthily, and with great love and devotion.

O Sacrament Most Holy, O Sacrament Divine, all praise and all thanksgiving be every moment Thine!

June 12th Bulletin Article

June 14, 2011

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of Pentecost.  On this day we commemorate the descent of the Holy Spirit upon Mary and the Apostles in the upper room.  Today’s Solemnity brings the Easter Season to a conclusion.  Today we celebrate the fulfillment of the promise that Our Lord made to send the Holy Spirit to lead the Church into all truth.

Last week, we celebrated Our Lord’s Ascension into Heaven.  Even though He returned to the right hand of the Father, Our Lord did not abandon us.  He remains with us in the Eucharist and He sent the Holy Spirit to guide us.

There are several ways in which the Holy Spirit leads us into truth.  On an individual level, the Holy Spirit is given to all the baptized: at our Baptism, each one of us became a temple of the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit dwells in our hearts and fills our hearts with His gifts.  It is the Holy Spirit that inspires faith, hope and love in our hearts.  The Holy Spirit also guides us through our conscience.

The Catechism teaches us that our conscience is the place in our souls where we hear the echo of the voice of God.  (cf. CCC 1776)  We have an obligation to follow our conscience, of course our conscience must be properly formed.  Forming our conscience is a life-long task.

In order to form our conscience, we must look to the Church.  Our Lord promised that the gates of Hell would never prevail against the Church.  Jesus gave the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven to Saint Peter.  The Lord gave the Apostles the authority to teach in His name, and so we look to the Church to assist us in forming our consciences for we know that the Holy Spirit guides the Church.

The Holy Spirit also speaks to us through the Scriptures.  The Holy Spirit inspired the writers of Sacred Scripture and the Holy Spirit continues to speak to us through them.  Reading Scripture regularly is important for our spiritual lives: through Scripture God reveals Himself to us.  Through meditating upon Scripture we gain insight into Who God Is and we also receive inspiration and strength to seek and follow Him more faithfully.

Let us ask the Holy Spirit to continue to guide us and inspire us, that we might be share ever more fully the divine life that God desire to give us: “Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful.  Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created.  And You shall renew the face of the earth.”

God bless,

Father White

June 5th

June 5, 2011

At this point of the liturgical year we are celebrating two mysteries of the Rosary in one week’s time.  This past week we celebrated an important Marian Feast day: the Feast of the Visitation.  As soon as the Blessed Virgin Mary heard that her elderly cousin was “in her sixth month,” Mary “went with haste” to offer her assistance and remained with her for three months.  Only after the Lord’s forerunner was born and Elizabeth’s needs were taken care of did Mary “return to her home in Nazareth.”  In this mystery, Our Lady is for us a model of true charity.  Charity does not hesitate nor does it count the cost: true charity puts the needs of others ahead of self.  Let us learn from our Mother’s example and serve others in charity.

The second mystery of the Rosary that we are celebrating this weekend is that of the Lord’s Ascension.  Before Our Lord ascended into Heaven, He told His Apostles that it was for their benefit that He was going to go to the Father.  That statement might seem counter-intuitive at first glance: wouldn’t it be better for them to have the Master with them?  Yet Our Lord told them that it is better for them (and for us) that He go, so that He can send the Holy Spirit to lead them into all truth.

In this world we walk by faith and not by sight.  We know that Our Lord has not abandoned us.  He continues to be Present to us in the Most Holy Eucharist: we continue to hear His voice when the Scriptures are proclaimed at Mass and through the Teachings of the Church (Jesus told His Apostles: “He who hears you hears Me.)  Jesus gave us the Church, the Sacraments and He has sent the Holy Spirit to guide and assist us in our journey towards Heaven.

Our Lord’s Ascension is a reminder to us of our ultimate goal: our destiny is to be forever with God in Heaven.  We live in this world only for a time; we are only here as pilgrims on a journey toward our heavenly promised land.  We can live very comfortably in this world: we can sometimes forget that this world is not our final goal.  We have to remind ourselves that we are not made to live in this world forever: we are made for more than this world offers.  We are made to live forever united with God.  Let us follow Our Lord faithfully, so that we might reach our goal: to one day be with Him forever in His Father’s House.

God bless,

Father White

 

May 29th

May 31, 2011

This is a very exciting time of the year and many special things are happening: summer is quickly approaching, graduations will be celebrated soon; school is almost over and excitement is in the air.

The month of May draws to a close and June will soon be upon us.  May is a month in which we honor the Blessed Virgin Mary in a particular way.  We had May Crownings at the school and at the Church.  May is a very appropriate time for us to focus on Mary for in May all of nature begins to bud forth in new life and Mary was the beginning of the new spiritual life that was to be ours through Jesus: through Mary our God came down from Heaven that we might have life in abundance.

June is a month dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  We often see Jesus and Mary depicted in art with their hearts exposed and on fire.  Mary’s Immaculate Heart is often pictured crowned with flowers and with a sword piercing it (the sword foretold by Simeon); Jesus’ Sacred Heart is usually depicted crowned with thorns with a Cross above it.

The heart is a metaphor for the whole person.  Sometimes when we want to poetically speak of love we say that we love someone with our “whole heart.”  The Sacred Heart of Our Lord is also a reminder to us that Jesus truly became a human being: in Christ God really becomes one of us.

The Hearts of Jesus and Mary are portrayed as on fire to show the great love that they have for each one of us.  Their love is not like the love that our hearts have: sometimes hot sometimes cold.  Their Hearts are furnaces of burning love: Jesus and Mary desire that we draw closer to them: that we become ever more fully united with God and conformed to Jesus Christ.

The Cross, the crown of thorns and the sword are reminders to us of all that Jesus and Mary suffered in order that we might be saved from the power of sin and death: they are the symbols of victory.

As we have honored Mary during this past month, let us now adore her Divine Son, in a particular way in His Most Sacred Heart during this up-coming month of June dedicated to His honor.  Most Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, on fire with love for us, enflame our hearts with love for You!

God bless,

Father White

March 20th

March 21, 2011

As we continue our journey through the forty days of Lent it is good for us to remind ourselves of why we have giving things up and why we have taken on extra spiritual practices.  The forty days of Lent are a reminder to us of the forty days that Our Lord spent in the desert after His baptism in the Jordan.  These forty days are meant to focus us on mastering our wills and overcoming temptation.

When we give up things that we could ordinarily enjoy, we strengthen our wills so that we might say “no” to temptation when it arises.  Our will is like a muscle: it is strengthened through exercise.  When we give up things, we exercise our free will.  When we give things up for Lent, we ought to give up things that will challenge us: if we give up something that we don’t care much about anyways, we aren’t really exercising our wills.

Offering things up to Our Lord as a spiritual sacrifice helps us to conform ourselves more and more to Him.  Jesus offered Himself up on the Cross for us and He told us that if we want to be His disciples, we must take up our cross and follow Him.  By foregoing things for Lent we, in some small way, unite ourselves to that offering that Jesus made of Himself.

Jesus offered everything that He had to the Father.  We are to imitate Him and offer our whole heart to God.  In order to make of ourselves a pleasing offering to the Father, we have to root sin out of our hearts.  Lent is a time to focus on strengthening our self-will so that we can overcome temptation and grow in virtue.  As we rid our hearts of sin, we make room for God.

While we must do all that we can to root sin out of our hearts, we must also remember that we can do nothing without God’s grace.  Let us ask Our Lord for the graces that we need to be ever more faithful to Him.  May we cooperate with His grace and succeed in strengthening our wills during this holy season.

God bless,

Father White

March 6th

March 6, 2011

Lent begins this coming Wednesday (March 9th).  Hopefully we have all already been thinking about what we are going to do for Lent.  Notice that I did not write “give up” for Lent.  Lent isn’t only about “giving something up,” it is meant to be a time in which we take on extra spiritual practices (which can take the form of abstaining from things, but can also take other forms) in order to help us grow in self control, reject sin and ultimately make our hearts more open to receiving God’s grace that we might be transformed by it.

The idea behind giving things up for Lent is: if we are able to say no to things that we could legitimately enjoy, we strengthen our wills to reject temptation when it comes along.

When we give things up for Lent, we should give up something that will really challenge us.  We should make sure that it is something that we will actually be able to do without for forty days.  Sometimes the temptation can be to take on too much and then we can become discouraged because we cannot bear the burden that we have placed upon ourselves and end up not doing anything.  We need to avoid that extreme, but we also need to avoid being too easy on ourselves.  In order to really exercise my will, I need to give up something that will really be a sacrifice.

As I mentioned before, Lent isn’t only about giving things up, we can also take on extra spiritual practices.  There are many devotions that can help us to meditate upon the Passion of Our Lord.  Stations of the Cross, the Divine Mercy Chaplet, the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary are all beautiful devotions that can help us meditate upon all that Our Lord suffered in order to save us from sin and death.  Again, it is important not to overload ourselves, lest we become discouraged; yet Lent is a time when we make that extra effort to draw closer to Christ.

May this Lent be a time of great grace and spiritual renewal for our entire parish family!

God bless,

Father White

 

February 20th

February 20, 2011

In the last article, I began reflecting on the Sacrament of Reconciliation, or Confession.  I’d like to continue that reflection by focusing on some of the benefits (in addition to our sins being forgiven) that come from receiving the Sacrament.

In addition to receiving forgiveness of our sins we also receive assurance that our sins have been forgiven.  Once we have received the sacramental absolution of our sins from the priest we have certainty that our sins have been forgiven.  We know that God bestows His mercy through the Sacrament of Reconciliation and that knowledge can be very helpful if we are ever tempted to “beat ourselves up” over past sins that we have already confessed.  We can see in those feelings of guilt a temptation to not trust in God’s mercy.  If memories of previously confessed sins come back to haunt us, we can remind ourselves that God has forgiven us our sins and then thank Him for the mercy that He has bestowed upon us through the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Another great benefit that comes from confessing our sins (even our venial sins) out loud to a priest is that it helps us to grow in humility.  Pride has a way of pulling the wool over our eyes when it comes to looking at our own hearts.  It is very easy for us to justify ourselves and rationalize away our sins.  Through regularly confessing our sins we are able to have a more realistic picture of who we really are and it reminds us that we are always in need of God’s mercy.

While on the subject of humility, it is important that when we come to Confession that we confess all of our sins, but we should avoid two extremes (which both are rooted in pride).  We should avoid, on the one hand, exaggerating our sins and making them out to be more than they really are; and on the other hand, we should avoid excusing ourselves.  We should take our sins seriously, but real humility is grounded in truth.  When we come to Confession, we come to confess our sins and receive God’s mercy: not to justify ourselves or make excuses.

A final benefit that comes to mind is spiritual direction.  When we go to Confession the priest offers us advice that will help us in our struggle against sin.  When the lines are long (like they often are during our usually scheduled Confession times) the advice is usually short, just to keep the line moving.  If you are in need of more in-depth spiritual direction, it is better to call (or email) the office and make an appointment to see a priest for Confession and direction.  This is just a practical point of common courtesy for others who also want to go to Confession.

God bless,

Father White

February 13th

February 12, 2011

This is the time of year that our second-graders have made or will soon be making their first confessions.  The Sacrament of Confession, or Reconciliation, is a great opportunity to experience the mercy of God.

Christians who are outside the Catholic Church will sometimes say that they do not need to confess their sins to a priest; they say that they go directly to God.  This idea is based on a misunderstanding of the Sacrament.  In the Sacrament of Reconciliation it is not a matter of confessing one’s sins to a priest instead of confessing to God: in the Sacrament we confess our sins to God and receive forgiveness from God through the priest.  It is not a matter of having to confess my sins to a priest; it is a privilege that I get to encounter Christ’s mercy in a way that I can perceive with my senses.

It is not the priest that forgives the sin; it is Christ Who acts through the priest to forgive sin.  When the priest gives us absolution, he does not say: “Jesus absolves you,” he says: “I absolve you”; yet we know that God alone can forgive sins.  When the priest pronounces the words of absolution we are actually hearing Christ speak through the priest.  Christ acts through the Sacraments; in the Sacraments we encounter Christ, Himself.

When the priest was ordained, he was configured to Christ in a particular way.  Priests are consecrated to act in the very person of Christ our High Priest.  Ordained priests share in the ministerial Priesthood of Christ.  Jesus bestowed His divine authority to forgive sins upon the Apostles (cf. John 20:21-23) and the Apostles handed that sacred power on to their successors, the bishops, and the bishops bestow this power unto the priests at their ordination.

God knows very well how we are made . . . He, Himself, created us.  We are composed of both body and soul.  Our Lord gave us the Sacraments as outward signs that we can experience with our bodily senses; yet they are signs that communicate grace (divine life) to our souls.

When we hear the priest pronounce the words of absolution, we have assurance that God has forgiven us our sins.  What a blessing it is to hear with our own ears that our sins have, in fact, been forgiven!

God bless,

Father White

January 23rd

January 30, 2011

This coming Tuesday (the 25th) is the Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul.  The conversion of Saint Paul is, perhaps, one of the most famous conversion stories in the entire history of Christianity.  Paul, one of the most ardent persecutors of the early Christians, encountered the Lord on the road to Damascus and as a result of that encounter was completely transformed.  He went from trying to destroy the early Church to carrying the Gospel to the ends of the earth.

Our own personal faith is meant to be a journey with the Lord.  It is important to know our Faith and to learn about what the Church teaches and the reasons behind those teachings, but the real goal of our faith is to lead us to come in contact with the one in Whom we put our faith.  The Sacraments, the Church, the Scriptures, all devotions and prayers are meant to help draw us closer and closer to God; and whenever anyone truly encounters Christ they cannot help but be changed by the experience.

Conversion is not just a one- time experience: it is an on-going process.  Once we have encountered the Lord we have only just begun our journey.  Even after Saint Paul encountered Christ and began to proclaim the Gospel to the nations, he still spoke about the necessity of working out our faith with fear and trembling (cf. Philippians 2:12); even though he places all his confidence in Christ, he compares the spiritual life to a race and tells us that we have to strive so as to win the race.  (cf. 1 Corinthians 9:24)

We have to work at our relationship with the Lord just as we have to work at our other relationships.  Of course our relationship with God is a freely given gift and when we turn towards God it is only in response to His invitation.  Nevertheless the fact remains that we have to make our best effort to love as Christ has commanded us to love; and we still have to do all that is in our power to avoid offending Our Lord through sin.

Let us all resolve to renew our effort to respond to the graces that God offers to us.  Lord, help us to draw ever closer to You!

God bless,

Father White

November 28th

November 28, 2010

This weekend marks the beginning of a new liturgical.  The Church’s liturgical calendar starts with the first Sunday of Advent.  Advent is a season the Church gives to us to commemorates and renews our expectation; Advent is a season dedicated to expressing our longing for the Savior who is to come.

The focus of the season of Advent is twofold: we both recall the expectation of the Redeemer during all of salvation history leading up to Christ’s birth and we also renew our expectation and longing for Christ to come again.

Advent is a time to prepare our hearts to celebrate the coming of Christ at Christmas.  Advent is also a time to prepare our hearts and rid them of all that is not pleasing to God.  During Advent we recall in a particular way that Christ will come again to judge the living and the dead and we need to be ready to meet Him when He comes.

We were not made to live in this world forever.  This world and everything in it is passing away.  Our life in this world should be a preparation for the life of the world to come.  We ought to examine our hearts often and make sure that they are prepared to meet Our Lord.

One of the questions that we can ask ourselves during Advent is: “Do we desire Christ’s coming or are we afraid of it?”  The early Christians prayed longingly for the coming of Christ: “Come, Lord Jesus!”  Do we make that prayer our own?  Can we claim that we love Jesus Christ if we are fearful of His return in glory?  Let us use this holy season to rid our hearts of sin and all inordinate attachments that we may be ready to meet Our Lord when He comes.

An Advent Prayer: “Lord, help me to keep this holy season of Advent in my soul, that is, help me to keep a continual longing and waiting for this great Mystery wherein You, O Word, became flesh to show me the abyss of Your redeeming, sanctifying mercy.  O sweetest Jesus, You come to me with Your infinite love and the abundance of Your grace; You desire to engulf my soul in torrents of mercy and charity in order to draw it to You.  Come, O Lord, come!  I, too, wish to run to You with love, but alas! my love is so limited, weak, and imperfect!  Make it strong and generous; enable me to overcome myself, so that I can give myself entirely to You.  Amen.”

God bless,

Father White