“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.

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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? 

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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!)

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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.

  

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