Monthly Archives: June 2011

“Is Catholic ‘Communion’ sanctioned with ‘PETA’?!” – John 6:51-58 †


 

The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ

 

 

Today’s Content:

 

  • Dan’s Deliberations, Discoveries, & Declarations
  • Today in Catholic History
  • Quote or Joke of the Day
  • Today’s Gospel Reading
  • Reflection on Today’s Gospel
  • New Translation of the Mass
  • A Franciscan’s Saint of the Day
  • Franciscan Formation Reflection
  • Reflection on part of  the SFO Rule

 

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Dan’s Deliberations, Discoveries, & Declarations:

 

This weekend, I will be away at my fourth “ACTS” retreat weekend.  This is my third experience being “on team”: presenting the retreat to others.  ACTS is an acronym meaning: Adoration, Community, Theology, & Service.  With many retreat experiences under my belt, I honestly believe the ACTS Retreat movement is the most “Spirit Filled” encounter I have undergone.  I offer to each of you a personal invitation, if one ever becomes available in your area.  You can more information on the ACTS Retreat movement at the following website:

http://www.actsmissions.org/

 

 

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Today in Catholic History:

    

†   684 – St Benedict II begins his reign as Catholic Pope
†   1409 – Council of Pisa selects Petros Philargi as 3rd Pope: Alexander V
†   1870 – Christmas is declared a federal holiday in the United States
†   1936 – Birth of Jean-Claude Cardinal Turcotte, Archbishop of Montreal
†   1967 – Pope Paul VI names 27 new cardinals
†   1975 – Death of St. Josemaría Escrivá, Spanish Catholic priest (b. 1902)

(From the “On This Day” Blog Site
otday.wordpress.com &/OR
“Today in Catholic History”
http://www.historyorb.com)

 

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Joke of the Day:

 

 

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Today’s reflection is about Jesus saying, “I am the living bread.”

 

 (NAB John 6:51-58) 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.”  52 The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us (his) flesh to eat?” 53 Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.  54 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day.  55 For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.  56 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.  57 Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me.  58 This is the bread that came down from heaven.  Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever.”

 

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This Sunday we celebrate a second solemnity at this Second Sunday of Ordinary Time in the Roman Catholic liturgical calendar.  Today is the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ.  (Last week’s was the Solemnity of the Holy Trinity.)  This day was once called Corpus Christi (Latin for “Body of Christ”) in the Catholic Church.  In the revised Lectionary the name of this solemnity, “Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ”, is expanded to more completely reflect our unique and true Eucharistic theology.

 

Today’s reading is taken from the Gospel according to John.  The reading relates a discourse between Jesus and a crowd of Jews.  Today’s discourse comes shortly after the miracle of Jesus’ multiplication of the loaves and fishes.  In John’s Gospel, “miracles” are identified and mentioned as “signs” through which people come to believe that Jesus is truly the Son of God.  These signs are always followed by a dialogue, or discourse, that interprets and explains the miracle (“sign”).

In John’s Gospel, Jesus’ multiplication of the loaves is said to have occurred near the time of Passover.  Jesus chose the time of the Jewish Feast of Passover to fulfill what He had announced at Capernaum:

“So Jesus said to them, ‘Amen, amen, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave the bread from heaven; my Father gives you the true bread from heaven.  For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”  So they said to him, ‘Sir, give us this bread always.’  Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.’” (John 6:32-35)

In doing this, John links it to the Exodus story and God’s saving action toward the Israelites.  Even the representation of Jesus coming from heaven as a life giving bread is a manifestation and revelation of the “manna” stories of the Old Testament Exodus stories.

The recollection of the manna in the wilderness evokes to the Israelite people that they live – – not by earthly bread alone – – but by the “bread” of the Word of God:

“He therefore let you be afflicted with hunger, and then fed you with manna, a food unknown to you and your fathers, in order to show you that not by bread alone does man live, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of the LORD.  (Deuteronomy 8:3)

In the Old Covenant (Old Testament), bread and wine were offered in a Eucharistic (thanksgiving) sacrifice as a sign of grateful acknowledgment to God the Creator as being the true life giver and the true giver of life’s nourishment.  Melchizedek, both a priest and king, offered a sacrifice of bread and wine, as Christ also will:  

“Melchizedek, king of Salem, brought out bread and wine, and being a priest of God Most High, he blessed Abram with these words … “. (Genesis 14:18);

And,

Melchizedek, king of Salem and priest of God Most High, met Abraham as he returned from his defeat of the kings and ‘blessed him.’  And Abraham apportioned to him ‘a tenth of everything.’  His name first means righteous king, and he was also ‘king of Salem,’ that is, king of peace.  Without father, mother, or ancestry, without beginning of days or end of life, thus made to resemble the Son of God, he remains a priest forever.  See how great he is to whom the patriarch ‘Abraham (indeed) gave a tenth’ of his spoils.”  (Hebrews 7:1-4).

 

Melchizedek’s offering foreshadowed the offering made by Jesus Christ, our high priest and king in the “new” covenant of God’s everlasting kingdom.

“It was fitting that we should have such a high priest: holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners, higher than the heavens.  But when Christ came as high priest of the good things that have come to be, passing through the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made by hands, that is, not belonging to this creationBut this one offered one sacrifice for sins, and took his seat forever at the right hand of God.” (Hebrews 7:26; 9:11; 10:12).

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Having seen Jesus multiply the loaves and fishes, the crowd pursued him, perhaps to seek more food, but I believe also to look for other signs (miracles).  Jesus told the crowd that “He is the bread of life”.  He explains that just as God gave the Israelites manna to sustain them in the desert, so now God has sent “new manna” giving eternal life.  It is in this context that Jesus repeats those same words and tells all again (both then and now) that He is TRULY the living bread that came down from heaven.

At the last supper when Jesus blessed the cup of wine, he gave it to his disciples saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins”:

This is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins.” (Matthew 26:28).

Jesus, in blessing the cup of wine at the “last supper” was pointing to the sacrifice He was about to make on the cross, shedding His blood for us, pouring Himself out and giving Himself to us as a sacrificial atonement for our sins, and the sins of the world.  Jesus made Himself an offering and sacrifice; a gift that was (and is) truly pleasing to God the Father.  He “offered himself without blemish to God”

“How much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from dead works to worship the living God.” (Hebrews 9:14). 

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After witnessing the life and miracles of Jesus Christ, why did many Jewish followers get so upset?  Some even asked:

How can this man give us (His) flesh to eat?” (John 6:52)

Many left disappointed in Jesus’ words about eating flesh and drinking blood.  Probably because both are prohibited by Jewish law. 

“Many of His disciples who were listening said, ‘This saying is hard; who can accept it?’  As a result of this, many (of) His disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied Him.” (John 6:60, 66)

These individuals choose to return to their old lives, instead of “the Jewish sin” of consuming the body and blood of Jesus Christ.  They took the words on an absolutely literal basis!  These poor souls believed they had to actually eat the skin of Jesus.  They envisioned acts of cannibalism.

This literal concept of “cannibalism” is revolting, even to me.  But yet, we are eating the actual body and blood of our divine Jesus Christ at every Mass in the Catholic Church.  I am not being hypocritical in any way.  To non-Catholics (and even some Catholics), this concept of “transubstantiation” is hard to understand.  The bread (host) and wine does not change physically, or even molecularly; yet both change “substantially” into the body and blood of our Savior Jesus Christ.  Non-believers (including most Protestants) don’t understand or believe in this concept of “transubstantiation.”  How wrong they were (and are).  I will hope to offer proof in this reflection.

Jesus said to His disciples:

Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.” (John 6:53)

Another Amen, amen – – “YO, LISTEN TO ME” – – moment for the people He is talking to and teaching.  He goes on to say:

Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day.” (John 6:54)

Notice that Jesus did not say “eat a representation or simulation of my body.”  He also did not say “reminder of my body… ”.  Jesus said in no uncertain terms:

“… EATS my flesh and DRINKS my blood …” (John 6:54)

Jesus goes on to declare that only through Him, can one obtain salvation.  Only through Jesus Christ can we obtain the grace to overcome our sins and iniquities.  Only through Jesus can we obtain the grace of eternal life in paradise with the Holy Family, the angels, the Saints, and the entire celestial court.

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The verb “eat” used in verse 54 of today’s reading is not the classical Greek verb used for human eating, but rather that of animal eating.  A proper translation for this verb would be instead:

To “munch” and “gnaw.”  

John may have purposely used this verb in order to emphasize the true reality of the flesh and blood of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist (Body and Blood).  However, this same verb eventually did evolve to become the ordinary verb in Greek to mean “eat.”  

I believe John’s reference to the word “eat” is for the “Bread” of the Eucharist used in the celebration of the Mass.  Further proof is in verse 56:

“For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink..” (John 6:55) 

Did you notice that the word “eats” is plural?  Hmm, one may eat the “flesh” of Jesus multiple times!!  I love that as a Catholic Christian, I can do as Jesus Christ specifically wanted His follows to do: to come to Him daily.  In participating in the Holy Eucharistic celebration, I bring Him in me AND me in Him.  

Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.” (John 6:56)

And, I can encounter this celebratory event DAILY!!  I can renew my love for Him, and dedicate myself to Him anew each day.  WOW!!  The Franciscans call this daily conversion:

“United by their vocation as ‘brothers and sisters of penance’ and motivated by the dynamic power of the gospel, let them conform their thoughts and deeds to those of Christ by means of that radical interior change which the gospel calls ‘conversion.’  Human frailty makes it necessary that this conversion be carried out daily.” (Rule #7 of the Secu;lar Franciscan Order)

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Saying “the living Father” (verse 57), Jesus is referring to the “living bread” of the Holy Eucharist.  The little pad or morsel of dead flour becomes, – – through the grace and action of the Holy Spirit, – – the living body of Jesus Christ sent to give life to all who believe in and consumes (“eats”) it.

In a way, it is the true bread that came down from heaven in the form of Jesus Christ, and unlike our ancestors who ate the bread of life, “manna,” (cf., Exodus 16:12-36) in the desert, and still died.  Whoever eats Jesus’ “bread” will live forever.

“This is the bread that came down from heaven.  Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever.”  (John 6:58)

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Jesus’ words were not well understood by the crowd; they argued that He was not from heaven but only born of human parents: Mary and Joseph (and not from God’s).  The crowd also had trouble understanding how Jesus could give them His flesh to “eat”.  He tells them that when they eat His flesh and drink His blood, they will remain forever connected to Him in a very intimate and personal way.  

Jesus’ words may be difficult words for some to hear, yet, they are important words because they seek to show us our intimate connection with Him.

 This is the “mystery” at the center of our unique and true Eucharistic theology.  In the elements of bread and wine, Jesus’ Body and Blood are truly present.  When we share in the Body and Blood of Christ, Jesus Himself comes to dwell within us and us in Him.  This “communion”, this personal and intimate contact with the Lord Jesus Christ makes us one body, brings us eternal life, and sends us forth to be Christ’s Body in the world.

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Our faith teaches us that when we gather to celebrate Mass, Jesus is present to us.  The bread and wine truly becomes the Body and Blood of Christ.  This is what we mean by the word “transubstantiation”.  Jesus truly makes himself present to all who receive the Body and Blood of Christ.

 

Do you have memories of your First Holy Communion?  Reflect on what Jesus meant when He called Himself the “living bread”.  Recall that every time we receive the Holy Eucharist, Jesus, Himself, keeps the promise He made in today’s Gospel:

Whoever eats this bread will live forever.”  (John 6:58)

 

Jesus’ passing over to His Father by His death, resurrection, and ascension – the new Passover – is anticipated in the Last Supper and still celebrated in the Holy Eucharist, thus fulfilling the Jewish Passover and anticipating a final Passover of the Catholic Church in the glory of God’s eternal kingdom.  When the Lord Jesus commanded His disciples to eat His flesh and drink His blood, He also invited us to take His life into the very center of our being.  The “life” He offers is the very life of God Himself.  I think I am hungry for some bread; How ‘bout you?

 

Jesus, I believe

 

“Jesus, I believe in the true body and blood of our Holy Eucharist. You gave up your life for us, and continue to give us life through the Holy Eucharist, and the actions of the Holy Spirit.  I love you forever.  Amen.”

 

 

Pax et Bonum
Dan Halley, SFO

 

 

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New Translation of the Mass

 

In November of 2011, with the start of the new Liturgical year and Advent, there will be a few noticeable changes in the Mass.  It will still be the same ritual for celebrating the Eucharist.  The Mass will still have the same parts, the same patterns, and the same flow as it has had for the past several decades.  It is only the translation of the Latin that is changing.

The new translation seeks to correspond much more closely to the exact words and sentence structure of the Latin text.  At times, this results in a good and faithful rendering of the original meaning.  At other times it produces a rather awkward text in English which is difficult to proclaim and difficult to understand.  Most of those problems affect the texts which priests will proclaim rather than the texts that belong to the congregation as a whole.  It is to the congregation’s texts that I will address with each blog, in a repetitive basis until the start of Advent.

In the words of Vatican II’s Lumen Gentium, #11, the Eucharist is the “source and summit” of Christian life. Anything we can do to understand our liturgy more deeply will draw us closer to God.

 

A second option for the “penitential rite” (the “Confiteor” being the first option) has been revised.  This second form had been little used in recent years.  The second option is presently:

Lord, we have sinned against you:|
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

Lord, show us your mercy and love.
And grant us your salvation.

May almighty God have mercy on us,
forgive us our sins,
and bring us to everlasting life.  Amen.

 

It will now read as follows:

The priest says, “Have mercy on us, O Lord.”
The people respond, “For we have sinned against you.
Then the priest says, “Show us, O Lord, your mercy,”
and the people respond, “And grant us your salvation.”

Material from “Changing How We Pray”, by Rev. Lawrence E. Mick

 

 

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A Franciscan’s Saint of the Day:  St. Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer (1902-1975)

 

An estimated 300,000 people filled St. Peter’s Square on October 6, 2002, for the canonization of Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer, the founder of Opus Dei. His canonization came only 27 years after his death, one of the shortest waiting periods in Church history.

Opus Dei, which means Work of God, emphasizes that men and women can become holy by performing their daily duties with a Christian spirit. In his homily, Pope John Paul II emphasized the importance of every believer following God’s will, as had the newly sainted founder of Opus Dei. “The Lord has a plan for each one of us. Saints cannot even conceive of themselves outside of God’s plan: They live only to fulfill it.”

Born in Barbastro, Spain, Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer sensed early in life that he had a vocation to the priesthood. Following his ordination in 1925, he briefly ministered in a rural parish. He moved to Madrid, where he obtained a doctorate in law. At the same time Father Escriva was beginning to envision a movement that would offer ordinary people help in seeking holiness through their everyday activities. It was officially founded in 1928.

As Opus Dei grew, Father Escriva continued his studies and his priestly work among the poor and sick. During the Civil War in Spain he had to exercise his ministry secretly and move from place to place. Only after the war did he return to Madrid and complete his doctoral studies. He later moved to Rome and obtained a doctorate in theology. Pope Pius XII named him an honorary prelate and a consultor to two Vatican congregations. All the while, Opus Dei grew in size and influence.

When Msgr. Escriva died in 1975, Opus Dei could be found in dozens of places around the globe. Today its membership includes approximately 83,000 laypersons and 1,800 priests in 60 countries. It is a “personal prelature,” a special jurisdictional entity within the Church.

Saint of the Day: Lives, Lessons and Feast
By Leonard Foley, O.F.M.;
revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.
(From http://www.americancatholic.org website)

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Franciscan Formation Reflection:

 

Creation & Ecology

 

What is the result when some individuals accumulate large amounts of wealth created from this world’s resources at our disposal, when at the same time there are other humans suffering a lack of the basic needs means to live humanely?

What balance is required in order to be Franciscan in regards to ecology issues?

Are all creatures of equal value — the inanimate, the plants, animals, human?  How does the Church prioritize them?

In SFO Rule #18, what is meant by “the Franciscan concept of universal kinship”?

What means do I use to show reverence for all creation?

What is the moral error in the economic principle that indicates the price of an item should be set by “what the market will bear”? (cf., CCC p.2424)

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Secular Franciscan Order (SFO)
Rule #’s 25 & 26 of 26:

25.  Regarding expenses necessary for the life of the fraternity and the needs of worship, of the apostolate, and of charity, all the brothers and sisters should offer a contribution according to their means. Local fraternities should contribute toward the expenses of the higher fraternity councils.

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26.  As a concrete sign of communion and co- responsibility, the councils on various levels, in keeping with the constitutions, shall ask for suitable and well prepared religious for spiritual assistance. They should make this request to the superiors of the four religious Franciscan families, to whom the Secular Fraternity has been united for centuries.

To promote fidelity to the charism as well as observance of the rule and to receive greater support in the life of the fraternity, the minister or president, with the consent of the council, should take care to ask for a regular pastoral visit by the competent religious superiors as well as for a fraternal visit from those of the higher fraternities, according to the norm of the constitutions.

 

What is all the CoRAPi about; and why did he “choose” to quit?!


 

Can we all say I am SOooo Confused?!”  Father, um – – I mean – – Soon-to-be Ex-Father John Corapi, has “chosen” to leave the priesthood, and continue his “ministry” of preaching the “truth” without consent of the Catholic Church, the Magisterium, and apparently anyone else getting in his way.  He made this somewhat surprising announcement on June 17th through his website.

I am torn apart in my feelings about this matter.  I truly loved Fr. (um, Mr.) Corapi’s sermons, lectures, and teachings.  However, I am a faith-strong Roman Catholic, and believe there are only two things one can do if one disagrees with the Magisterium of the Catholic Church:

1.                     Change your mind;

Or, as a last resort,

2.                     Change your mind!!!

 

So, what to do?  I have chosen to write down what I know and then go from there.  Let me review in this blog what I know about the events leading to this interesting, confusing, and turbulent turn of events in Fr. (Mr.) Corapi’s life (and thus, in ours).

 

  • In March, 2011, Ash Wednesday, He announced that he was accused of drug use and illicit sex, which occurred on or about January 24, 1987.

 

  • He exerts that ALL allegations in the three page complaint sent to the bishop(s) are false, and asked for all to pray for all concerned.

  

  • EWTN immediately removed his programs from their cable network.

 

  • Nowhere In all of John Corapi’s communications on this issue (that I know of) does he mention of Jesus, Mary, or anything else from Holy Scripture or Church Theology.  Instead, his “video” and other correspondence (apparently scripted by attorneys and public relations experts) is solely about Fr. John Corapi, and NOONE else!

 

  • There are two institutions/organizations/businesses involved directly with Fr. Corapi and his ministry:

S.O.L.T. – – the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity (his religious order), – – which is a community composed of all religious vocations: priests, deacons, brothers, sisters and single and married laity.

And,

His financially “profitable” company, “Santa Cruz Media”, with him identified as the CEO.  Santa Cruz Media, Inc. is also “the owner” of all of Fr. John Corapi’s intellectual property, DVDs, CDs, and books that flow from it.  I wonder (and I don’t believe we truly know), are the assets of his “for profit company solely his, or do the monies go to his religious order (as is written in S.O.L.T.’s Constitution)?

 

I am truly hurt, confused, and concerned.  In reflection, and in reading pages and pages of opinions (trying to keep abreast) on the “Fr. John Corapi” issue, I keep on thinking of the scene from the bible wherein Jesus teaches of the need for service to others, and on not leading others astray: 

“If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.”  (Mark 9:35).   

Though, out of respect for the man and his priesthood, I must say Father Corapi is hypocritical in saying that, on one hand, bishop(s) have a right to do what he/they are doing, and then on the other hand criticize them for infringing his “civil” rights.  I believe he is, in essence, challenging the bishop(s) to impose sanctions upon him.   I wonder if he is doing this purposely, making it easier to say he was “forced out”?

It is probable that suspensions can take over a year, or years, to resolve.  It’s only been three (or so) months for this matter!  I personally believe Fr. (Mr.) John Corapi should maintain a low public profile, enjoy his solitude and quiet for now, and allow the Holy Spirit to work in him and others to come to a conclusion for this situation.  He also needs to be quiet (at least publically) about his attitude toward the investigation process.  He should respectfully submit to the Magisterium and his superiors by fully participating with a truthful, humble, and obedient approach.  As for now, I believe John Corapi is truly and completely burning his bridges “big-time”! 

In my opinion (you may disagree), Fr. (Mr.) Corapi should have pursued his “canonical” rights in private, and away from the media.  After all, he has made it clear to all who listens to him regularly, that he “holds every Church degree that one can get”!  I ask, did Fr. (Mr.) Corapi appeal to the “Congregation for the Clergy” in Rome?  Also, did he even ask the bishop and/or his superiors what could be done to end this fiasco as soon as possible?  

For whatever (truly unknown) reason, he has decided not to pursue the matter through the Catholic Church, but instead, in the Secular and “materialistic” world.  His approach is an extremely dangerous process for him and his soul.  He made it perfectly clear that he is “quitting” the priesthood.  Yet, a “priest” he is and always will be!  Any public ministry without ecclesial (Church) approval IS A PROTESTANT MINISTRY, not Catholic.

 

His failure to remove himself from his public “for profit” well-paid business dealings should have been seen, by all of us, as a probable early signal that Fr. (Mr.) Corapi would not obey his superiors to suspend public ministry during the Church investigation.  

He paid his former employee (the accuser) for her signing a contract to not disclose anything that happened to her while employed by him, and had ALL his other employees sign a similar contract.  Fr. (Mr.) Corapi is now suing this person/accuser for “breach-of-contract”.  This “civil” lawsuit is hampering any investigation through the Church, and is in itself, a violation of procedures by directly interfering with any witnesses in the investigation.  Why did he not wait until Church proceedings were completed before filing any “civil” lawsuit?  It makes me wonder if this was done purposely, and for possible shady reasons!

 

Fame and fortune should mean nothing to a good and humble priest such as Fr. (Mr.) Corapi.  He might claim that the Catholic Church has pushed him to leaving the priesthood, but we need to remember and realize that nearly ALL we know is coming from one source, John Corapi himself.  And, with every release of information from him or his company, he always imparts a need for all to go to his website and buy something to support him.  My question to you: Would buying his products be offering material support to a suspended priest who is possibly in “schism”?  If so, the buyer of his materials could be making Fr. Corapi’s sin theirs as well.

I wonder, – – and I don’t believe we truly know all the facts in this matter, — are the assets of his “for profit” company fully completely his, or do any monies he makes go to his religious order (as is written in the orders Constitution)?

 

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I am now done with his business and financial holdings.  Let’s examine something I believe more important: his vow of obedience to his superiors and of his actions as a humble servant of God.

Priests are men under “the rule of obedience and authority”, a solemn vow he freely chose some 20 years ago.  Fr. Corapi, himself, has even said in the past that priests and religious cannot play games with their promise of obedience.

The “Catechism of the Catholic Church”, paragraph 1567, says:

“The priests, prudent cooperators of the episcopal college and its support and instrument, called to the service of the People of God, constitute, together with their bishop, a unique sacerdotal college (presbyterium) dedicated, it is true, to a variety of distinct duties.  In each local assembly of the faithful they represent, in a certain sense, the bishop, with whom they are associated in all trust and generosity; in part they take upon themselves his duties and solicitude and in their daily toils discharge them. “Priests can exercise their ministry only in dependence on the bishop and in communion with him. The promise of obedience they make to the bishop at the moment of ordination and the kiss of peace from him at the end of the ordination liturgy mean that the bishop considers them his co-workers, his sons, his brothers and his friends, and that they in return owe him love and obedience.

Fr. (Mr.) Corapi’s vow of obedience means that he should speak for the Catholic Church – – and not for himself – – in regards to matters of faith, morals, and theology.  Most of us do not want to hear what I am about to say, but I am going to anyway.  It also means that – – he should NOT speak – – if the Catholic Church so orders.  Sadly, he now is claiming that his promise of obedience conflicts with his “civil and human rights”, forgetting (or dumping) his “ecclesial” duty. 

 

True humility would have him submit and accept any sanctions placed upon him, even if it meant a hidden life in a monastery – – his personal Cross to bear.  His (at least recent) stubbornness, persistence, and inflexibility contends that NOONE will tell him what to do! 

Much more critical than any “true or false” claim to a lack of discretion with a woman and/or drug usage, Fr (Mr.) Corapi’s dodging and down-right betrayal of his vow, – – especially his vow of obedience, – – freely given by him to God and man is the greatest possible disappointment (and sin) for any religious, priest, or lay person. 

Fr. (Mr.) Corapi is a priest and cannot ever pretend to be anything or anyone else.  He knows that while on “administrative leave,” a suspended priest cannot preach or teach religion.  Fr. (Mr.) Corapi’s intention to continue lecturing and writing, at least for me, is a passage way toward Protestantism and away from the Catholic Church.  In effect, Fr. (Mr.) Corapi is plunging into a “schism” by possibly taking others with him (even unknowingly).

 

Fr. (Mr.) Corapi is not the first to be censured by the Catholic Church, rightly or wrongly.  He most certainly will not be the last either.  However, the censured people we remember in the Church are those that persisted in their faith WITHOUT leaving the Catholic Church.

Joan of Arc suffered greatly, – – physically, mentally, and spiritually – – during her trial and burning at the stake.  She never gave up or quit her obedience to the Catholic Church.

Saint Mother Theresa suffered through years of “darkness of the soul”, without giving into her depression.  She even took them as a sign of her success over Satan. 

Saint Padre Pio, that lovely and “fiery” (confrontational) Italian Franciscan Monk, was also stripped of his priestly faculties for years, and still obeyed his superiors with a humility no one can challenge.

 

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The “priesthood” is not simply a “job” that one can change or quit at whim.  Let us not forgot that there is a non-removable mark placed on the ordained priest at his ordination; a mark that makes him like no other creation of God.  Even if Fr. (Mr.) Corapi is laicized officially by the Catholic Church, he will be forever a priest in the line of Melchizedek, and always “configured” to Jesus Christ.

If a priest or religious is previously forbidden to engage in public ministry, then that same “EX-“ priest or religious cannot do so when he decides by removing himself from his “priestly title”, then choosing to go by a pseudonym reminiscent to a superhero’s secret identity.  There is no way possible for Fr. (Mr.) Corapi to have a “secret” identity.  I wonder if he will wear a mask in the future (only joking).  Fr. (Mr.) John Corapi is a “suspended” priest, and has no “faculties” (Ecclesial approval) for publicly teaching the faith, or for publically saying “anything” for that matter, at this time.

 

So what is he to do?  Fr. (Mr.) Corapi has chosen to use the pen name, “The Black Sheep Dog”, for future correspondence with “his” faithful.  In calling himself this, I think he is declaring a true caring for the “flock of sheep” he had been preaching, teaching, and ministering to all the past 20 years. 

As Steven Ray stated on his FB page today, it “seems he may have circumvented or avoided any authority other than his own.”  He goes on to ask: “Is he a ‘black sheep dog or Lone Ranger’?”

Let me tell you I haven’t told anyone before: I love sheep dogs.  My children’s babysitter had one at her home.  That darn dog would literally herd the kids, playing in the yard, into a group and move them to places around a tree in the yard.  It was absolutely hilarious to watch.  The kids weren’t too thrilled however.  BUT, in reality, a sheep dog has no livelihood except for that given from its shepherd (the bishop).  A sheep dog that chases after the flock’s sheep – – on its own – – is not a sheep dog, but rather, the potential to be another type of canine: the wolf.  (WOW!! Strong words, but necessary in this case.)

 

This present matter of his suspension has gone beyond “Father Corapi” himself.  His actions could literally harm the very souls of those he has declared a concern for, and that follow him “religiously”.  On blog sites, social network sites, and various websites, people are arbitrarily taking sides with him – – I am sure out of love, trust, faith, and hope.  Some “devout Catholics” are even attacking the Catholic Church because of how Fr. (Mr.) Corapi says he is being maligned.  We all have to remember; our faith is in Jesus Christ and the Catholic (universal) Church and NOT in priests and other speakers with extraordinary oratory skills and revolutionary, confrontational ways of thinking.

Fr. (Mr.) John Corapi did remarkable, ground-breaking, and absolutely incredible work in his priestly life.  For that, I am truly thankful.  I keep him and all fellow Catholics in my prayers daily.  I also pray that this situation concludes and that he can get back to his apostolate in union with the Magisterium.  My fear is that everything he had accomplished will be undone by his persistence to not obey his superiors.

 

Here is reality in a nutshell: If John Corapi does “leave the priesthood” of the Catholic Church, the Church will continue to live and proceed without him.  However, his actions and future endeavors make it absolutely possible that he may inadvertently expose other Catholics, and the Catholic Church as a whole, to great harm.  The consequences for some good Catholics could be their eternal salvation – – their souls.

 

In conclusion, I am pleading to Father (Mister) John Corapi – – Sir – -, I truly loved your inspiration and dedication to promoting the Good News in this secular, and oft times, evil world.  Please reconsider “quitting” the priesthood.  Please reconsider your actions that could possibly bringing spiritual harm and scandal to the Catholic Church.

You will be in my prayers for ever.  Pax et Bonum Sir.

 

****

 

Changing focus for a brief moment, in today’s various blogs, and on e-bay, I found out Fr. (Mr.) Corapi’s supposed accuser is selling a rosary given to her by him years ago.  This rosary was supposedly kissed by Saint Mother Theresa, and held and blessed by Blessed John Paul the Great.  The starting bid for this “relic” is $5000.00.

We need to be careful in regard to appropriation of any relics.  “Simony” is a sin that most Roman Catholics are unfamiliar.  The Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 2121, says:

Simony is defined as the buying or selling of spiritual things. … It is impossible to appropriate to oneself spiritual goods and behave toward them as their owner or master, for they have their source in God.  One can receive them only from him, without payment.”

 

“One, Two, Three; I Have All ‘One’ Of Them!” – (John 3:16-18) †


 

The Solemnity of the
Most Holy Trinity

 

 

Today’s Content:

 

  • Dan’s Deliberations, Discoveries, & Declarations
  • Today in Catholic History
  • Quote of the Day
  • Today’s Gospel Reading
  • Reflection on Today’s Gospel
  • New Translation of the Mass
  • A Franciscan’s Saint of the Day
  • Franciscan Formation Reflection
  • Reflection on part of  the SFO Rule

 

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Dan’s Deliberations, Discoveries, & Declarations:

 

Not only is today Father’s Day, it is also “Juneteenth”, celebrating the Emancipation Proclamation.  Juneteenth celebrates the liberation of black American slaves in Texas on June 19, 1865.  On this day, Union General Gordon Granger rode into Galveston, Tex., to inform inhabitants of the Civil War’s end two months earlier (and 2 ½ years after Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation).  June 19th was soon shortened to “Juneteenth” among celebrants.

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Happy Father’s Day!  The 4th Commandment says to “Honor your Father and Mother”.  Sirach, Chapter 3: 1-14, goes into even greater detail.  I am the father of four teenage boys.  I want to bring attention to portions of this bible passage, and comment on its reality (at least presently in my family).:

1 Children, pay heed to a father’s right; do so that you may live. (Wow!  I have a “right”?)

2 For the LORD sets a father in honor over his children; a mother’s authority he confirms over her sons.  (I wear the pants in my family.  My wife just tells me which ones to put on!)

3 He who honors his father atones for sins; (There needs to be a lot of atoning done in my family.)

4 he stores up riches who reveres his mother. (No problem here.  Mom rules!)

5 He who honors his father is gladdened by children, and when he prays he is heard.  (Pay backs are a bummer.  My children have had the parental curse placed on them already: “I pray you have children JUST LIKE YOU!”)

6 He who reveres his father will live a long life; he obeys the LORD who brings comfort to his mother.  (I pray I out-live all my children – – seriously.)

7 He who fears the LORD honors his father, and serves his parents as rulers.  (My kids are not afraid of anyone – – except Mom’s rath!)

8 In word and deed honor your father that his blessing may come upon you; (Is this why teenagers either don’t talk to their dad, or only grunt in answer?)

9 For a father’s blessing gives a family firm roots, but a mother’s curse uproots the  growing plant.  (NO JOKE.  Mom ain’t happy, Ain’t no one happy!)

10 Glory not in your father’s shame, for his shame is no glory to you! (They take any advantage given to them.)

11 His father’s honor is a man’s glory; disgrace for her children, a mother’s shame. (SOoo true.)

12 My son, take care of your father when he is old; grieve him not as long as he lives.  (In other words: Get a good job, and get rich boy.  I want to live in florida and ride a big three-wheel bicycle!!)

13 Even if his mind fail, be considerate with him; revile him not in the fullness of your strength.  (Already started; as hair disappears, so does neurons.)

14 For kindness to a father will not be forgotten, it will serve as a sin offering–it will take lasting root.  (Grunting and evil stares is NOT kindness)

 

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Today in Catholic History:

    

†   1205 – Pope Innocent III fires Adolf I as archbishop of Cologne
†   1341 – Death of Juliana van Falconieri, Italian saint/Swedish tenor, dies
†   1782 – Birth of Hugues F R de Lamennais, French priest/writer (L’avenir) (d.1854)
†   1878 – Birth of James M Kilroe, priest of St Mary Star of the Sea, in the Bronx (d. 1945)
†   1898 – Birth of James Joseph Sweeney, American Catholic prelate (d. 1968)
†   1914 – Birth of Anthony Bloom, Metropolitan of the Russian Orthodox Church (d. 2003)
†   1968 – Death of James Joseph Sweeney, American Catholic prelate (b. 1898)
†   1977 – Pope Paul VI makes 19th-century bishop John Neumann the first US male saint

(From the “On This Day” Blog Site
otday.wordpress.com &/OR
“Today in Catholic History”
http://www.historyorb.com)

 

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Quote of the Day:

 

 

“God is an experience of supreme love.” ~ Quote from book, “Eat, Pray, Love

 

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Today’s reflection is about God sending His Son into the world – – to save the world.

 

 

 

(NAB John 3:16-18)  16 For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.  17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.  18 Whoever believes in him will not be condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

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With today’s reading, the Easter Season is over.  We return to the liturgical season of “Ordinary Time”.  I don’t like the term, “ordinary”.  For me, there is nothing ordinary about God and His supreme love for each of us, no matter how bad we may be to others in our lives.

This Sunday, and next, are designated by the Catholic Church as “solemnities”: special days calling our focus and attention to fundamental – – and essential – – “mysteries” of our faith.  Today, “Trinity Sunday”, we celebrate the “mystery” of the Holy Trinity: one God in three persons.

 

Throughout the Lenten and Easter Seasons, we read from the ending chapters of John’s Gospel.  Today, we return to the beginning of his book.  The passage we read today follows Jesus’ conversation with a Pharisee named “Nicodemus” about what it means to be born of both water and the spirit.  Nicodemus approached Jesus at night (otherwise: in secret) and acknowledged Him as a “teacher” from God.  Jesus tells Nicodemus:

Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.” (John 3:3)

Nicodemus misunderstands what Jesus said, and questions how a person can be born more than once.  Jesus tells Nicodemus that no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit.  Jesus is essentially explaining a Sacrament of the Catholic Church – – “Baptism”.

Yet Nicodemus still does not understand what Jesus is saying.  So, He continues teaching and testifying (for a third time) to the need to be born from above so that one might have eternal life.  After telling of Jesus’ dialogue with Nicodemus, John the Evangelist offers his own explanation of Jesus’ words in today’s Gospel.

These words are so charged with meaning for those who reflect and meditate on them.  This passage summarizes how Jesus Christ’s death is the supreme sign of God’s love for His creations.  All our faith is a sum of our belief in the revelation found in God’s kindness, mercy, and love for us.  After all:

God is love” (1 John 4:16).

 

God’s love pours forth unsparingly and without end!  This ultimate “truth” sums up ALL concerning God, and this same truth explains and illuminates everything regarding God!  Perfect love holds nothing back – – but gives all.  Jesus gave Himself completely out of love for His Father and for us sinners.  Can you?

 

The story of Jesus Christ, our Savior and “Messiah”, needs to be seen in the following “truthful” light:

“I live by faith in the Son of God who has loved me and given himself up for me.”  (Galatians 2:20)

 

John tells us that God’s love is without boundaries.  His love is not limited to a few individuals, or to a single nation.  His love is for ALL mankind, and ALL God’s creations.  His love both embraces the whole world and is personally directed to every person created in “his image and likeness“. God is truly a loving Father who cannot rest until His “lost” children have returned home to Him.

Saint Augustine once said:

God loves each one of us as if there were only one of us to love.” (Unknown source) 

In turn, God gives us the freedom (free-will) to choose whom and what we will love.  Through Jesus Christ, we are shown the paradox between love and judgment.  We can love the darkness of sin’s unbelief, evil, and depravity, OR, we can love the light of God’s truth, beauty, and goodness.  When our love is guided by truth, beauty, and goodness, then we will choose God and love Him over anything else in our lives.  Sit back and reflect on this last paragraph.  Do you love God above all else?  Does God take first place in your life, in your thoughts, and in your actions?

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What does it mean when today’s Gospel reading says that God “gave” His only Son?  Well, I see Jesus Christ as a “gift”, given to each of us – – still today – – in His Incarnation and birth to a young virgin girl; and as a gift to each of us “over death” in Jesus’ crucifixion on the cross of redemption.  With this gift of such divine and immense “pure”, unrestrictive love from our divine Creator, how can anyone say that God will not supply us with all we need?  I believe a quote from the book of Romans says so well what I am trying to say:

He who did not spare his own Son but handed him over for us all, how will he not also give us everything else along with him?” (Romans 8:32).

Someone sent me a quote, by an unknown (to me) person, that fits so well here:

“Life is a Gift… Unwrap It!”

We have to choose to allow God’s gift “unwrap” in our lives.  And, we also need to choose not to re-wrap His gift on a daily basis; keeping His Gift – – Jesus Christ – – exposed for all to see.

Т

 

Condemn”, from verse 17, is such a strong and negative world for me. The Greek root for the word “condemn” means both judgment and condemnation.   It would only make sense (at least to me) that God:

“… did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world …” (John 3:17).

God can only “perform” things out of pure love since He, Himself, IS PURE LOVE!  Jesus’ purpose was (and still is) to save mankind.  However, His “coming” did provoke judgment in non-believers then, still does today, and will certainly provoke judgment by others in the future.  Some who find it easier to live a secular and materialistic life are condemning themselves to eternal darkness by turning from the light of Christ.

 

Jesus’ self-surrender is an urgent call to respond to His profound and unrelenting love for, and towards, us.  He waits for us – – every day (nay, every moment) – – as eagerly as the father of the prodigal son did (cf., Luke 15:11-32).  How can anyone doubt that He wants us to respond to Him with all OUR love? 

Т

 

We cannot live without love in our lives.  If love is not revealed to us, if we do not encounter and experience love and make it our own, and if we do not participate in love intimately, we become obscure and meaningless to ourselves and others.

I believe this is why Jesus Christ revealed Himself to us.  Through our nature of weakness, sinfulness, and uncertainty, we are drawn ever closer to Jesus Christ for his gift of salvation and redemption.  Due to our nature, we have to accept His Incarnation and Redemption in order to find ourselves in the loving embrace of God.  How precious and wonderful we must be in His eyes, to be given a great “Redeemer” as Jesus Christ by our Creator in heaven.

 

Jesus (God’s Son) revealed God the Father, and is inseparable with God the Father.  The Holy Spirit (our “Advocate”), is likewise is inseparable with God the Father and God the Son.  The mission, – – the reasons for being, – – of Jesus Christ and of the Holy Spirit are the same: to bring all to the love and light of God.  I believe this is why Jesus tells His disciples that the Holy Spirit will reveal the “glory” of God the Father and God the Son. 

The Holy Spirit will speak only what is “true”.  For this reason, Jesus revealed the Holy Spirit as the “Paraclete” and “Helper” who will be with Jesus’ disciples forever, to teach and guide them “into all the truth

“The Advocate, the Holy Spirit that the Father will send in my name–he will teach you everything and remind you of all that (I) told you.  But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth.  He will not speak on his own, but he will speak what he hears, and will declare to you the things that are coming.” (John 14:26; 16:13) 

 

Vatican II says of the need for God’s love, and for Christ’s surrender for our Redemption:

The words of Christ are at once words of judgment and of grace, of death and of life.  For it is only by putting to death what is old that we are able to approach the newness of life.  This is true first of all about persons, but it holds also for the various goods of this world which bear the mark both of man’s sin and of God’s blessing: ‘For all have sinned and have need of the glory of God’ (Rom. 3:23).  No one is freed from sin by himself and by his own power, no one is raised above himself, no one is completely rid of his sickness or his solitude or his servitude.  On the contrary, all stand in need of Christ, their model, their mentor, their liberator, their Savior, their source of life.”  (Vatican II, Ad gentes, 8)

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With today’s focus being on the “mystery” of the Holy Trinity, we are called to be attentive to the “action” of God, who reveals Himself in three distinct “persons”: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.  God the Father, out of love for the world and His creations, sent His Son into the world in order to save and redeem them.  Through the death and resurrection of Jesus, the only begotten Son of God, we have been given the gift of God the Holy Spirit.  As three individual and distinct “persons”, God acts always as a God of love; he does not condemn the world but acts to save it.

 

Today’s Gospel calls attention to the response that is required of us as Catholic followers, His disciples.  God’s love for us calls us to respond — in trust, love, faith, and hope — by professing our belief in God’s son, Jesus Christ, and the salvation that He won for us through His Human Sacrifice.  Our profession of faith and belief – – our trust and love for the Holy Trinity – – is a sign of the Holy Spirit truly working in, and through, our lives.

Because of God’s great love for us, He sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ.  In turn, Jesus sent the Holy Spirit so that our faith in God, and His love, would be continued and strengthened.  Our experiences from encouraging and nurturing others, such as in family life, help us to understand, trust, and have faith in God’s tremendous and awe-inspiring love for each of us.

In what ways have you experienced God’s love?  How have you seen God at work in your life, your family life, and in others?  Thank God for His gift of love.  Return His love by loving Him and loving all His creations, especially the ones difficult or impossible to love.  (AS He still does!)

 Т

Glory Be

Glory be to the Father,
and to the Son,
and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning,
is now,
and ever shall be,
world without end.  Amen.

 

 

 

Pax et Bonum
Dan Halley, SFO

 

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New Translation of the Mass

 

In November of 2011, with the start of the new Liturgical year and Advent, there will be a few noticeable changes in the Mass.  It will still be the same ritual for celebrating the Eucharist.  The Mass will still have the same parts, the same patterns, and the same flow as it has had for the past several decades.  It is only the translation of the Latin that is changing.

The new translation seeks to correspond much more closely to the exact words and sentence structure of the Latin text.  At times, this results in a good and faithful rendering of the original meaning.  At other times it produces a rather awkward text in English which is difficult to proclaim and difficult to understand.  Most of those problems affect the texts which priests will proclaim rather than the texts that belong to the congregation as a whole.  It is to the congregation’s texts that I will address with each blog, in a repetitive basis until the start of Advent.

In the words of Vatican II’s Lumen Gentium, #11, the Eucharist is the “source and summit” of Christian life. Anything we can do to understand our liturgy more deeply will draw us closer to God.

 

The “Confiteor” (I Confess prayer) has been revised, again to match the Latin texts more closely.  More stress is once again placed on our unworthiness more so than in the current missal.  It will now say, “I have greatly sinned” and later adds “through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault.

“I confess to almighty God
and to you, my brothers and sisters,
that
I have greatly sinned
in my thoughts and in my words,
in what I have done and in what I have failed to do,
through my fault, through my fault,
through my most grievous fault
;
therefore I ask blessed Mary ever-Virgin,
all the Angels and Saints,
and you, my brothers and sisters,
to pray for me to the Lord our God.”

Material from “Changing How We Pray”, by Rev. Lawrence E. Mick

 

 

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A Franciscan’s Saint of the Day:  Venerable Matt Talbot (1856-1925)

 

Matt can be considered the patron of men and women struggling with alcoholism.

Matt was born in Dublin, where his father worked on the docks and had a difficult time supporting his family.  After a few years of schooling, Matt obtained work as a messenger for some liquor merchants; there he began to drink excessively.  For 15 years—until he was almost 30—Matt was an active alcoholic.

One day he decided to take “the pledge” for three months, make a general confession and begin to attend daily Mass.  There is evidence that Matt’s first seven years after taking the pledge were especially difficult.  Avoiding his former drinking places was hard.  He began to pray as intensely as he used to drink.  He also tried to pay back people from whom he had borrowed or stolen money while he was drinking.

Most of his life Matt worked as a builder’s laborer.  He joined the Secular Franciscan Order and began a life of strict penance; he abstained from meat nine months a year.  Matt spent hours every night avidly reading Scripture and the lives of the saints. He prayed the rosary conscientiously.  Though his job did not make him rich, Matt contributed generously to the missions.

After 1923 his health failed, and Matt was forced to quit work.  He died on his way to church on Trinity Sunday.  Fifty years later Pope Paul VI gave him the title venerable.

Comment:

In looking at the life of Matt Talbot, we may easily focus on the later years when he had stopped drinking for some time and was leading a penitential life.  Only alcoholic men and women who have stopped drinking can fully appreciate how difficult the earliest years of sobriety were for Matt.

He had to take one day at a time.  So do the rest of us.

Quote:

On an otherwise blank page in one of Matt’s books, the following is written: “God console thee and make thee a saint.  To arrive at the perfection of humility four things are necessary: to despise the world, to despise no one, to despise self, to despise being despised by others.”

Patron Saint of: Alcoholics & Sobriety

Saint of the Day: Lives, Lessons and Feast
By Leonard Foley, O.F.M.;
revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.
(From http://www.americancatholic.org website)

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Franciscan Formation Reflection:

 

Church Documents

 

Pope John Paul II appealed to the laity to read and practice the teachings of the Vatican Council II (11/26/2000).  Do you follow his pastoral advice and request?

Do you read the Catechism of the Catholic Church?

Do you read and reflect on the Catholic Church’s teaching documents?  Or, have you chosen to ignore such documents?

Do you agree with Pope John Paul II who said: “The Second Vatican Council was the greatest gift of the Holy Spirit in the 20th century”?

 

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Secular Franciscan Order (SFO)
Rule #’s 19 & 20 of 26:

19.  Mindful that they are bearers of peace which must be built up unceasingly, they should seek out ways of unity and fraternal harmony through dialogue, trusting in the presence of the divine seed in everyone and in the transforming power of love and pardon.  Messengers of perfect joy in every circumstance, they should strive to bring joy and hope to others.  Since they are immersed in the resurrection of Christ, which gives true meaning to Sister Death, let them serenely tend toward the ultimate encounter with the Father.

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20. The Secular Franciscan Order is divided into fraternities of various levels — local, regional, national, and international.  Each one has its own moral personality in the Church.  These various fraternities are coordinated and united according to the norm of this rule and of the constitutions.

  


“The World is trying to experiment with attempting to form a civilized but non-Christian mentality. The experiment will fail; but we must be very patient in awaiting its collapse; meanwhile redeeming the time: so that the Faith may be preserved alive through the dark ages before us; to renew and rebuild civilization, and save the World from suicide.” ~ T.S. Eliot

***

Today is the National Day of Prayer for Law Enforcement Officers.  As of June 7th, 80 law enforcement officers have been killed in the line of duty this year.  There are 80 sets of families, friends, and coworkers who have been left in grief and sadness.  To honor these heroes, people of all faiths and all walks of life are being asked to come together and pray for the officers still working the streets.

Please pray every day that our officers return to their homes safely.  Make a commitment to support your law enforcement officers and their families.  Please set aside some time today in prayer for our men and women in blue.  Please spread word of this special day to your family, friends, coworkers, and places of worship.

Show our officers that you appreciate the sacrifices they make to protect and serve you and your family.

Simple but true…


Simple but true…

Hi Lord, its me.
We are getting older and things are getting bad here.
Gas prices are too high, no jobs, food and heating costs too high.
I know some have taken you out of our schools, government & even
Christmas, but Lord I’m asking you to come back and re-bless America .
We really need you!
There are more of us who want you than those who don’t!
Thank You Lord,
I Love you.

“Happy Birthday to the ‘Boo-Man’!”


 

Pentecost Sunday

 

 

Today’s Content:

 

  • Dan’s Deliberations, Discoveries, & Declarations
  • Today in Catholic History
  • Quote of the Day
  • Reflection on Today’s Gospel

 

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Dan’s Deliberations, Discoveries, & Declarations:

 

Today is a Feast day marking the birth of the Catholic Church through the power of the Holy Spirit.  Pentecost means “fiftieth day” and is celebrated fifty days after Easter.  Red is the liturgical color worn by the priest at mass today.  The color red recalls the tongues of flame in which the Holy Spirit descended to the disciples of Jesus on that first Pentecost.  The color red also reminds us of the blood of martyrs; those believers who [by the power of the Holy Spirit] held firm to their faith, even at the cost of their lives.

 

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I, and the whole family, had a great time on vacation.  We spent the week in Mississippi.  Went to the beach several days, saw some military and historical “stuff” (Mine and two of my four sons favorite parts of our trips), and ended our vacation with a trip to New Orleans.

The kid’s exposure to the eclectic personalities of New Orleans was a rather humorous event.  Their eyes sometimes looked as those of deer in headlights.  It led to some fairly deep discussions on the car ride home.

I am presenting a short reflection today, for lack of time to go into as much detail as I have been.  Hopefully, next week I will be able to go into more detail of the Gospel reading than here.  I pray you still enjoy what I have written. 

 

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Quote of the Day:

 

 

Sainthood is not reserved for monks living cloistered lives of private prayer, or for martyrs who gave up their bodies to the cruelest forms of brutality. Sainthood is a state of grace for all who avail themselves of God’s holy fire of heart, allowing it to burn, burn, burn, right through to the core.” – Liz Kelly May Crowning, Mass and Merton: 50 Reasons I Love Being Catholic, Loyola Press

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Today’s reflection is about the Holy Spirit entering our lives as Jesus’ Advocate

 

The Easter season concludes with today’s liturgical celebration.  Today is the “Birth” of the Catholic Church.  As a seed dies to be reborn as a tree or flower, so to did Jesus Christ die to be reborn in each of us.

Pentecost was the beginning of the Church: its birthday.  When I was little, and saw all those different famous paintings and icons of the Holy Spirit coming down on the Apostles as flames (tongues of fire), I thought, “Why would God do this?  It would burn their heads!”  I now know that the Apostles, – – with those tongues of fire on top of their heads, – – represent the candles at the Church’s birthday party.  (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.)

Seriously, what is Pentecost all about; what is all the fuss?  For me, the answer is simple.  Pentecost allows us to see Jesus in an entirely new and exciting way.  When we pray, or when we are together at Mass, Eucharistic Adoration, and any other liturgical event, the Holy Spirit – -His Advocate – – wants to reveal Jesus in our hearts.  The Holy Spirit wants to show us Jesus’ love, majesty, divinity, mercy, and power.  Through the power of fire that represents the Holy Spirit, sins and iniquities keeping us from Jesus’ embrace are burned away.

Jesus defeated sin and death.  He was (and sill is) declared “Lord over heaven and earth!”  By sending the Holy Spirit, He fulfilled His promise to send an “Advocate”, (a helper also known as the “Paraclete”) who would enable Christ’s believers to be witnesses to His “good news”, and to be a reconciling presence in the world.  There is an important connection between the gifts of peace and forgiveness, and the actions of the Holy Spirit working in, with, and through you.

In today’s reading, it is written, “… there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind …” (Acts 2:2).  The words “wind and spirit” are also mentioned in John:

“The wind blows where it wills, and you can hear the sound it makes, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes; so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:8)

The word “wind” is translated from the Greek word “pneuma” (and the Hebrew word “ruah”) meaning both “windandspirit.”  Could it be that the sound of a great rush of wind is a sign of a new action from God in regards to salvation history?  With this in mind, I may look at spring storms a little different in the future.

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The tongues of fire have always been a curiosity of mine.  This type of “fire” is also mentioned in Exodus:

“Mount Sinai was all wrapped in smoke, for the LORD came down upon it in fire …” (Exodus 19:18).

Fire symbolized the presence of God initiating the “covenant” on Mount Sinai.  The Holy Spirit, the third “person” of the Trinitarian God, acted upon the Apostles and disciples by preparing them to proclaim the “new covenant”.  Jesus previously commissioned His disciples to continue the work that He had begun: to teach, to forgive sins, and to baptize.  The Holy Spirit gives them the power to complete His work. 

Jesus wants all His followers to be instruments and means of peace and harmony among all peoples, and in all places of the world.  So, He gave us the same tool to do His work as well – – the Holy Spirit working through us, in us, and with us.

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To speak in different tongues (languages) is a form of ecstatic prayer.  This type of prayer is sometimes also called “charismatic” prayer.  Interpreted in the book of Acts as speaking in foreign languages:

“… both Jews and converts to Judaism, Cretans and Arabs, yet we hear them speaking in our own tongues of the mighty acts of God.” (Acts 2:11).

This speaking in “tongues” symbolizes the worldwide mission of the church.  Everyone speaking differently wasn’t to confuse the masses of people.  Instead, “speaking in tongues” actually helps bring all peoples of the world together under one large umbrella: the Catholic, or universal Church.

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To live as a disciple of God – – through, with, and in the Holy Spirit, – – is a gigantic privilege.  The Advocate (or Paraclete) brings us peace and works through us to teach Christ’s message.  Along with this privilege comes a huge responsibility.  As the Apostles and early disciples had done centuries ago, we are still expected to spread the “good news” of Christ’s life, death, resurrection, and of His coming again soon.  Are we willing to surrender our lives to the Holy Spirit?  Are we eager and willing to bring His “good news” to this oft-times violent and secularist world?

Today is the perfect day to allow the Holy Spirit to work through you, and to share the gift of forgiveness and reconciliation with others in your life.  Reflect on your need to forgive, and upon concerns you may have with giving and accepting forgiveness.  Then ask the Holy Spirit to help bring you peace through the act of forgiveness and reconciliation.  Ask the Holy Spirit to burn away everything that keeps you from Jesus.  After all, in this case, heart burn is a good thing!

The following prayer may help in finding the Holy Spirit, and in kindling that fire inside you.

 

“Prayer for the Help of the Holy Spirit”

“O God, send forth your Holy Spirit into my heart that I may perceive; into my mind, that I may remember; and into my soul, that I may meditate. Inspire me to speak with piety, holiness, tenderness and mercy.  Teach, guide and direct my thoughts and senses from beginning to end.  May your grace ever help and correct me, and may I be strengthened now with wisdom from on high, for the sake of your infinite mercy.  Amen.”

Saint Anthony of Padua

 

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Pax et Bonum
Dan Halley, SFO

 

 

 

 


 

“The TRUE ‘Lord’s Prayer’!” – John 17:1-11a †


 

Seventh Week of Easter

 

 

Today’s Content:

 

  • Dan’s Deliberations, Discoveries, & Declarations
  • Today in Catholic History
  • Quote or Joke of the Day
  • Today’s Gospel Reading
  • Reflection on Today’s Gospel
  • New Translation of the Mass
  • A Franciscan’s Saint of the Day
  • Franciscan Formation Reflection
  • Reflection on part of  the SFO Rule

 

 

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Dan’s Deliberations, Discoveries, & Declarations:

 

It is less than six months (175 days) till the start of Advent, and the new Missal is to be used throughout the English speaking world for Mass.  Are you ready?  There are only a few changes for the “congregation” part, and I am rotating through each, one at a time, with every reflection blog.

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I am not sure if I will be able to post a reflection next Sunday.  I’ll be on vacation.  Hopefully I can get one done, but my wife has told me I need a break.  I don’t think she understands how much I enjoy writing.

 

 

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Today in Catholic History:

†   754 – Death of Boniface, [Winfrid], English saint/archbishop (Dokkum), at age 79
†   1099 – The First Crusade: The Siege of Jerusalem begins
†   1305 – Bordeaux’s archbishop Bertrand the Got elected Pope Clement V
†   1443 – Death of Ferdinand, Portuguese saint/slave 1654 – Louis XIV is crowned King of France
†   1855 – Anti-foreign anti-Roman Catholic “Know-Nothing Party’s” 1st convention
†   1954 – Pope Pius XII publishes encyclical Ecclesiae fastos (History of the Church), the story of the life of the English Benedictine, St. Boniface
†   1988 – Russian orthodox church celebrates 1,000th anniversary
†   Feasts/Memeorials: Liturgical feasts: Corpus Christi; Colman, bishop of Dromore; Saint Maximinus, bishop of Aix, confessor; Blessed Robert, abbot of Newminster, Northumberland; Saint Servatius, bishop, confessor or martyr (Translation day); Saint Wulstan, bishop of Worcester, confessor (Translation day); Blessed Meriadec, bishop of Vannes

(From the “On This Day” Blog Site
otday.wordpress.com &/OR
“Today in Catholic History”
http://www.historyorb.com)

 

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Quote or Joke of the Day:

 

After watching sales falling off for three straight months at Kentucky Fried Chicken, the Colonel calls up the Pope to ask for a favor.

The Pope says, “What can I do?”

The Colonel says, “I need you to change the daily prayer from, ‘Give us this day our daily bread’ to ‘Give us this day our daily chicken’.  If you do it, I’ll donate 10 Million Dollars to the Vatican.”

The Pope replies, “I am sorry.  That is the Lord’s Prayer and I cannot change the words.”

So the Colonel hangs up.  After another month of dismal sales, the Colonel panics, and calls again.

“Listen your Excellency; I really need your help.  I’ll give you $50 million dollars if you change the words of the daily prayer from ‘Give us this day our daily bread’ to ‘Give us this day our daily chicken.'”

And the Pope responds, “It is very tempting, Colonel Sanders.  The church could do a lot of good with that much money.  It would help us support many charities.  But, again, I must decline.  It is the Lord’s Prayer, and I can’t change the words.”  So the Colonel gives up again.

After two more months of terrible sales the Colonel gets desperate.

“This is my final offer, your Excellency.  If you change the words of the daily prayer I will donate $100 million to the Vatican.”

“Let me get back to you” says the Pope.

So the next day, the Pope calls together all of his bishops and he says, “I have some good news and I have some bad news.  The good news is that KFC is going to donate $100 million to the Vatican.”  The bishops rejoice at the news.  Then one asks about the bad news.

The Pope replies, “The bad news is that we lost the Wonder Bread account.”

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Today’s reflection is about Jesus praying for His disciples.

(NAB John 17:1-11a) 1 Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come. Give glory to your son, so that your son may glorify you, 2 just as you gave him authority over all people, so that he may give eternal life to all you gave him.  3 Now this is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ.  4 I glorified you on earth by accomplishing the work that you gave me to do.  5 Now glorify me, Father, with you, with the glory that I had with you before the world began.  6 “I revealed your name to those whom you gave me out of the world.  They belonged to you, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word.  7 Now they know that everything you gave me is from you, 8 because the words you gave to me I have given to them, and they accepted them and truly understood that I came from you, and they have believed that you sent me.  9 I pray for them.  I do not pray for the world but for the ones you have given me, because they are yours, 10 and everything of mine is yours and everything of yours is mine, and I have been glorified in them.  11 And now I will no longer be in the world, but they are in the world, while I am coming to you.

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Today, we get a glimpse of how Jesus prayed for His disciples, those who believed in Him.  Sometimes it is hard for us to believe He prayed for them personally and frequently.  He does for each of us, personally and frequently, still today. 

Please let me describe the “setting” for today’s Gospel reading.  Jesus has just left the “last supper”.  Along with His closest disciples [Peter, James, and John], He goes to the garden of Gethsemane to pray:

“Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, ‘Sit here while I go over there and pray.’  He took along Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to feel sorrow and distress.  Then he said to them, “My soul is sorrowful even to death. Remain here and keep watch with me.’  He advanced a little and fell prostrate in prayer, saying, ‘My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet, not as I will, but as you will.’” (Matthew 26:36-39)

 

If you would read further on in this chapter of today’s reading, you would find that Jesus prayed for His disciples’ protection from the “evil one”, Satan.  Jesus also prayed for all those who would gain a faith in Him due to His disciples’ teachings (then, now, and in the future).  That means that Jesus prayed for us as well, – – even before His death on the cross.  Our faith tells us that Jesus Christ continues to intercede for us at God the Father’s right hand.

 

Since the sixteenth century, this chapter of John’s Gospel (John 17) has been called the “high priestly prayer” of Jesus.  The prayer He prays today starts with His final commendation of Himself to the Father. He then expresses care and concern for His disciples as He prays to His Father in heaven.  He speaks to His Father as OUR intercessor (meaning “on our behalf”).  Through His prayer life, with words addressed directly to God the Father – – and not to the nearby disciples, who overhear His words, – – He is truly communicating with God the Father.  I believe Jesus Christ wanted His disciples to hear His prayer, and to use this event for a further lesson on the necessity for our praying, as we learn from what He said in His prayer.

Jesus’ prayer today reaffirms the “complete and full” union between Jesus Christ and God the Father.  Throughout John’s Gospel, Jesus has been presented as the “Word”, who pre-existed with God the Father and was sent to do the Father’s work on earth.  In this prayer we learn that Jesus’ life and ministry had been directed toward one purpose: revealing God the Father and His love for each of us personally.

 

With His prayer continuing in the next verses, Jesus’ prayer becomes one of petition for His devoted disciples then, and for His future disciples as well (cf., John 17:12-21).  Many of the phrases in Jesus’ prayer are reminiscent of phrases found in the “Our Father Prayer”, also known by most people (I believe incorrectly) as the “Lord’s Prayer”.   The prayer found in Matthew’s Gospel, the “Our Father”, is a “template or model” on how to pray to God the Father.  Here is the “Our Father” prayer, taught to us by Jesus, and as recorded in Matthews Gospel:

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done, on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread;
and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors;
and do not subject us to the final test,
but deliver us from the evil one.
If you forgive others their transgressions,
your heavenly Father will forgive you.
But if you do not forgive others,
neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.” (Matthew 6:9-15)

Today, in this particular reading, we are actually hearing Jesus’ “Lord’s Prayerto His Father, on our behalf.

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Jesus, as Priest, is offering Himself in the imminent “sacrifice”, looming in His soon-to-be Passion and death by crucifixion.  In witnessing to Jesus’ prayer addressed to His Father, we are being shown a vital component of Jesus’ redemptive and saving mission; and it also teaches us a further model for our personal and communal prayer lives, directed by Jesus and our Father in heaven..

He easily could have prayed silently; yet He desired to show Himself to His (and our) Father as petitioner, as requester.  For His disciples, the way Jesus Christ is verbally praying today (just mere moments before His arrest), taught those present with Him physically their need for prayer in their lives; AND teaches us who read His prayer today, the very same need for prayer in our lives; and will continue to teach a need for prayer for all who come in the future. This reveals the great potential of God’s love growing in us as we allow Him in our lives.

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I love to imagine Jesus at prayer; it is so comforting for me.  He knows all the right things to say; yet He still asks for direction and help.  He doesn’t have to stumble along in His prayer life, trying to figure out exactly what type of prayer works for Him in order to gain an intimate “connection” with God the Father.  He doesn’t have to struggle with the constant repetition needed to learn “rote” memory prayers.  He did not have Catholic Nuns breathing down His back, with ruler in hand, like I did! (- – Um, Sorry Sister.).

Jesus Christ, looking up to heaven and addressing God the Father, is the “typical” image of Jesus at prayer for me.  The strength and determination of His prayer life is, in itself, awe-inspiring for me.  I pray that I can get as deep into the moment in “connecting” with God in my prayer life as Jesus does; and as deep as such Saints like Padre Pio, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Theresa, and many other Christians of the Catholic Church who have succeeded, in theirs. 

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I found it revealing when Jesus said:

“Now glorify me, Father, with you, with the glory that I had with you before the world began.”  (John 17:5)

It made me wonder: what is glory?  How does the Holy Cross reveal His glory?  I finally realized that, in the Cross of human death, God reveals, and is still revealing, the depth and immensity of His enduring and unending “love” for us sinners (not worthy of His love).  His glory is the power of a saving redemption which cancels our debts by His power and mercy, and draws into union with Him.  Jesus gave His Father a supreme honor and glory through His obedience and willingness to go to the Holy Cross, giving up His human life through suffering.  The greatest honor, trust, and love any person can give another is through his obedience, even to the point of sacrificing his own life:

No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13).

The word, “glory” and “glorify” found in verses 1-5, refer to the splendor, power, and honor truly belonging to God the Father.  The Son of God [Jesus] IS GOD equal to God the Father.  From the time Jesus Christ was incarnated in Mary’s womb, and was born, and throughout His entire life ending with His Passion, death and Resurrection, His divinity was made visible and apparent to those who had a heart for God.. 

 

God’s “glorification” has four dimensions which I can see.  The first dimension supports the glory of God the Father.  In obedience to His Father’s redemptive and saving action, Jesus makes God the Father known and brings the Father’s saving work to completion.

The second dimension is Jesus then being glorified.  His divinity was manifested through His human nature seen after the Resurrection, endowed in the very authority God has over ALL creation:

“Just as you gave Him authority over all people, so that He may give eternal life to all you gave Him.  Now glorify me, Father, with you, with the glory that I had with you before the world began.” (John 17: 2,5).

The third dimension, I see, is Christ, through His glorification, giving US the opportunity to participate in eternal life, to truly know God as Father and God the Son as “Messiah” Jesus.

The fourth dimension is the result: Our glorifying God the Father and Jesus Christ, through faith, involves OUR very participating in divine glory, divine eternal life:

“Now this is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ.”  (John 17: 3).

To summarize the four dimensions of God’s glorification: The Son glorifies the Father, making Him known to all who believe in the Son (Dimensions 1&2).  Building on this platform of faith, since the knowledge of God is life eternal, then it follows, the more we nurture life, the more we advance in His living knowledge, and vice- versa (Dimensions 3&4).

Where will we gain an ultimate and completely full knowledge of God?  I believe only in heaven, where we will glorify Him in the “most” high!  (Whoa; Heavy Stuff – – But Absolutely Awesome!!! … and true!!!)

 

When His work on earth was accomplished, Jesus returned to His Father in heaven to be glorified.  Regardless of what happened to Jesus while on earth (ie., scourging, humiliation, crucifixion), He and God the Father were (and are) in charge.  Think about this aspect of His nature for a second.  Even in the details and description of Jesus’ death, Jesus does not “simply die”.  He instead, “hands over His spirit”.

When Jesus had taken the wine, he said, ‘It is finished.’  And bowing his head, he handed over the spirit.” (John 19:30)

Today, Jesus speaks of God the Father bringing glory to God the Son through the great “mystery” of His incarnation and Holy Cross.  God the Father gave us His only begotten Son for our saving redemption from the slavery of sin and death.  There can be no greater proof of God’s love for each and every person on the face of the earth than Jesus Christ’s scourging, suffering, and death on the Holy Cross.  In the Cross we see a new way of loving — a loving that is unconditional, sacrificial and generous beyond ALL comprehension.  This is why the “Crucifix” is the perfect symbol of the Catholic Church; we don’t see death in it – – We see ETERNAL LIFE!!

 

Also in today’s Gospel, Jesus speaks of this “eternal life”. 

“Just as you gave him authority over all people, so that he may give eternal life to all you gave him.  Now this is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ.”  (John 17:2-3)

What does eternal life mean?  What IS eternal life?  I believe it is more than simply an “endless time”, for this would be quite boring to me at least.  Scientists and Researchers today look for ways to extend the duration of life; but that doesn’t necessarily make the quality of life better for us here.  They can only make our duration on earth slightly longer.

For me, a truly magnificent and perfect “eternal life” is qualitative more than quantitative.  To have eternal life is to have “the life of God” within us always.  Eternal Life can be ours NOW!  When we possess eternal life, we experience – – here and now – – a portion of God’s splendor, His peace, His joy, His love, and a holiness which illustrates the life of God.  I believe we experience this “eternal life” (maybe only a little bit, maybe more), with reception of the Holy Eucharist.

 

Jesus, today, speaks of the knowledge of God – – i.e., the personal knowing of God:

Now this is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ.  Now they know that everything you gave me is from you.” (John 17: 3,7).

Jesus Christ tells His disciples that they can know the “one” true God.  Knowledge of God is not simply limited to knowing something about God.  We can know God individually, personally, and intimately via the Holy Spirit working with, in, and through us.  The spirit, soul, and fundamental nature of Catholicism, – – what makes our faith distinct from Judaism and other religions, – – is this personal knowing of God as OUR Father.  Jesus made it possible for each and every one of us to individually and personally know God as our Father in a very uniquely intimate way.

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John the evangelist starts verse six of today’s reading with, “I revealed your name”.  In my opinion, John is relating Jesus’ own reference to the nameI AM”.  Further proof can be found in other verses from John’s Gospel:

“That is why I told you that you will die in your sins.  For if you do not believe that I AM, you will die in your sins.  So Jesus said (to them), ‘When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I AM, and that I do nothing on my own, but I say only what the Father taught me.’” (John 8:24, 28);

And again in John,

“Jesus said to them, ‘Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham came to be, I AM.’” John 8:58);

And finally,

“From now on I am telling you before it happens, so that when it happens you may believe that I AM.” (John 13:19).

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In the first five verses of today’s prayer we hear Jesus pray – – for Himself.  He begins praying for His “chosen” disciples: the “Apostles [to-be]”, starting with verse six. 

These “Eleven” men (plus many others then, and in the future) will continue Jesus’ redemptive and saving work in the world.  In praying for them (and us), Jesus describes some of the prerogatives of those who will form the apostolic college.

First, there are the “privileges” of being “chosen” by God:

 “I do not pray for the world but for the ones you have given me, because they are yours, and everything of mine is yours and everything of yours is mine.” (John 17:9-10).

God the Father choose these men from all eternity (past, present, and future):

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens, as he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blemish before him.“ (Ephesians 1:3-4).

In due course, Jesus revealed this “choosing” to His close disciples.  He first prayed at length to His heavenly Father, then called to Himself those whom He “willed”, and lastly appointed “Twelve” to be with Him, and whom He sent to preach the kingdom of God (cf., Mark 3:12-19; Matthew 10:1-42). 

Jesus’ “chosen” men made up a model of a “permanent assembly” (aka, a “college”).  Their names were:

“Simon, whom he named Peter, and his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called a Zealot, and Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.” (Luke 6:14-16)

Jesus placed at the head of this assembly or “college” Peter, chosen from among the “Twelve”:

“When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?’  He said to him, ‘Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.’  He said to him, ‘Feed my lambs.’  He then said to him a second time, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love me?’  He said to him, ‘Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.’  He said to him, ‘Tend my sheep.’  He said to him the third time, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love me?’  Peter was distressed that he had said to him a third time, ‘Do you love me?’ and he said to him, ‘Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.’  (Jesus) said to him, ‘Feed my sheep.” (John 21:15-17).

And Vatican II also teaches about the “college”, with Peter being its head:

“The Lord Jesus, after praying to the Father, calling to Himself those whom He desired, appointed twelve to be with Him, and whom He would send to preach the Kingdom of God; and these apostles He formed after the manner of a college or a stable group, over which He placed Peter chosen from among them.” (Vatican II, Lumen gentium, 19).

 

The “Apostles” [to-be] enjoyed the privilege of hearing God’s teaching direct from Jesus Christ (God the Son) Himself.  From His teachings, which they accepted with a pure and simple obedience, they learned that Jesus truly came from God the Father, and that therefore, He is God’s emissary on earth:

The words you gave to me I have given to them, and they accepted them and truly understood that I came from you. (John 17:8).

These “Eleven” grew to know the true relationship that exists between God the Father and God the Son: Jesus Christ.

 

Catholics, who are also disciples of our Savior Jesus Christ, gradually acquire knowledge of God and of the divinity in His “word” by living a life of faith and by maintaining a personal relationship with Him through prayer.

St. Josemaria Escriva says of this relationship:

“Recalling this human refinement of Christ, who spent his life in the service of others, we are doing much more than describing a pattern of human behaviour; we are discovering God.  Everything Christ did has a transcendental valueIt shows us the nature of God and beckons us to believe in the love of God who created us and wants us to share his intimate life.” (St. Josemaria Escriva, Christ Is Passing By, 109).

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In summary, we become aware, in today’s Gospel, of the distinction found between the world and the disciples.  The disciples are in the world, but they are separate from the world because they have been given to Jesus by God the Father.  His disciples are chosen from the world to be in service to the world for its salvation (A very Franciscan statement, if I say so myself.)  Salvation is accomplished in and through Jesus Christ because He revealed God the Father to the world.  With this revelation, disciples are sent by Jesus to make both God the Father and Jesus Christ (God the Son) known to the entire world.

Jesus’ prayer today is ultimately for the disciples’ work in the world.  Think about the tradition of praying for other people.  Who do you pray for in your communications with God?  What do you ask for in your prayers?  

In today’s Gospel we find an example of Jesus’ prayer to the Father.  Reread today’s Gospel again.  Then, think about Jesus’ prayer for His disciples.  We know that Jesus, positioned at His Father’s right hand, continues to intercede for us.  What might Jesus’ prayer be for YOU if you could overhear His words?  

 

Let us all remember to see Jesus Christ in ourselves and others we meet throughout our lives.  In doing so, we will see what God the Father is truly like.  In Jesus Christ, we see the “perfect” love of God – – who cares intensely and unendingly – – for each of us.  In Jesus, we see a God who yearns for each of us to come into His kingdom with His full heart, soul, body, and being.  In Jesus, we see a God who loved us to the point of laying down His own life on the Holy Cross.  Jesus reveals in today’s Gospel that He is the revelation of God!!  Jesus reveals a God who loves each of us totally, fully, completely, unconditionally, and perfectly – – without exception – – for eternity!  WOW!!

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St. Augustine’s Prayer to the Holy Spirit

 

“Breathe in me, O Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy.  Act in me, O Holy Spirit, that my work, too, may be holy.  Draw my heart, O Holy Spirit, that I love but what is holy.  Strengthen me, O Holy Spirit, to defend all that is holy.  Guard me, then, O Holy Spirit, that I always may be holy.  Amen.”

 

 

Pax et Bonum
Dan Halley, SFO

 

 

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New Translation of the Mass

 

In November of 2011, with the start of the new Liturgical year and Advent, there will be a few noticeable changes in the Mass.  It will still be the same ritual for celebrating the Eucharist.  The Mass will still have the same parts, the same patterns, and the same flow as it has had for the past several decades.  It is only the translation of the Latin that is changing.

The new translation seeks to correspond much more closely to the exact words and sentence structure of the Latin text.  At times, this results in a good and faithful rendering of the original meaning.  At other times it produces a rather awkward text in English which is difficult to proclaim and difficult to understand.  Most of those problems affect the texts which priests will proclaim rather than the texts that belong to the congregation as a whole.  It is to the congregation’s texts that I will address with each blog, in a repetitive basis until the start of Advent.

In the words of Vatican II’s Lumen Gentium, #11, the Eucharist is the “source and summit” of Christian life. Anything we can do to understand our liturgy more deeply will draw us closer to God.

 

Currently, the priest says, “The Lord be with you” five times: at the Entrance Rite, before the Gospel, when the Eucharistic Prayer starts, at “the sign of peace”, and finally at the dismissal. The new response from the congregation will be:

“And with your spirit

instead of “And also with you”.

This is a more direct translation of the Latin and matches what many other language groups have been using for years.  It will obviously take some adjustment, since we have been used to saying, “And also with you,” for so long.

Material from “Changing How We Pray”, by Rev. Lawrence E. Mick

 

 

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A Franciscan’s Saint of the Day:  St. Boniface (672?-754)

 

Boniface, known as the apostle of the Germans, was an English Benedictine monk who gave up being elected abbot to devote his life to the conversion of the Germanic tribes.  Two characteristics stand out: his Christian orthodoxy and his fidelity to the pope of Rome.

How absolutely necessary this orthodoxy and fidelity were is borne out by the conditions he found on his first missionary journey in 719 at the request of Pope Gregory II.  Paganism was a way of life.  What Christianity he did find had either lapsed into paganism or was mixed with error.  The clergy were mainly responsible for these latter conditions since they were in many instances uneducated, lax and questionably obedient to their bishops.  In particular instances their very ordination was questionable.

These are the conditions that Boniface was to report in 722 on his first return visit to Rome.  The Holy Father instructed him to reform the German Church.  The pope sent letters of recommendation to religious and civil leaders.  Boniface later admitted that his work would have been unsuccessful, from a human viewpoint, without a letter of safe-conduct from Charles Martel, the powerful Frankish ruler, grandfather of Charlemagne.  Boniface was finally made a regional bishop and authorized to organize the whole German Church.  He was eminently successful.

In the Frankish kingdom, he met great problems because of lay interference in bishops’ elections, the worldliness of the clergy and lack of papal control.

During a final mission to the Frisians, he and 53 companions were massacred while he was preparing converts for Confirmation.

In order to restore the Germanic Church to its fidelity to Rome and to convert the pagans, he had been guided by two principles.  The first was to restore the obedience of the clergy to their bishops in union with the pope of Rome.  The second was the establishment of many houses of prayer which took the form of Benedictine monasteries.  A great number of Anglo-Saxon monks and nuns followed him to the continent.  He introduced Benedictine nuns to the active apostolate of education.

Comment:

Boniface bears out the Christian rule: To follow Christ is to follow the way of the cross.  For Boniface, it was not only physical suffering or death, but the painful, thankless, bewildering task of Church reform.  Missionary glory is often thought of in terms of bringing new persons to Christ.  It seems—but is not—less glorious to heal the household of the faith.

Patron Saint of: Germany

Saint of the Day: Lives, Lessons and Feast
By Leonard Foley, O.F.M.;
revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.
(From http://www.americancatholic.org website)

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Franciscan Formation Reflection:

 

Faith

 

Do you actively respect the teaching Church as Sts. Francis and Clare?  Or do you disagree with what the Church has been teaching us?

Do I believe the Holy Spirit speaks through the Church today?  Give examples….

Which do you prefer?

  • a) What the Church teaches, or
  • b) What individuals prefer to teach and hold, contrary to the Church?

Do you take out time to figure out this difference?  Which would Sts. Francis and Clare choose?

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Secular Franciscan Order (SFO)
Rule #’s 5 & 6 of 26:

05.  Secular Franciscans, therefore, should seek to encounter the living and active person of Christ in their brothers and sisters, in Sacred Scripture, in the Church, and in liturgical activity. The faith of St. Francis, who often said, “I see nothing bodily of the Most High Son of God in this world except His most holy body and blood,” should be the inspiration and pattern of their Eucharistic life.

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06.  They have been made living members of the Church by being buried and raised with Christ in baptism; they have been united more intimately with the Church by profession. Therefore, they should go forth as witnesses and instruments of her mission among all people, proclaiming Christ by their life and words.

Called like Saint Francis to rebuild the Church and inspired by his example, let them devote themselves energetically to living in full communion with the pope, bishops, and priests, fostering an open and trusting dialog of apostolic effectiveness and creativity.