From the Rector: Keeping Sunday-All Day
Sep15

From the Rector: Keeping Sunday-All Day

KEEPING SUNDAY—ALL DAY Celebrating the Sunday Eucharist—though central and essential—does not complete our observance of Sunday. In addition to attending Mass each Sunday, we should also refrain “from those activities which impede the worship of God and disturb the joy proper to the day of the Lord or the necessary relaxation of mind and body” (Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 453). Sunday has traditionally been a day of rest. However, the concept of a day of rest may seem odd in a world that runs 24/7, where we are tethered to our jobs by a variety of electronic gadgets, where businesses run as normal no matter what the day of the week, and where silence seems to be an endangered species. By taking a day each week to rest in the Lord, we provide a living example to the culture that all time belongs to God and that people are more important than things. As Pope John Paul II said in Dies Domini (The Day of the Lord), his apostolic letter on Sunday: Through Sunday rest, daily concerns and tasks can find their proper perspective: the material things about which we worry give way to spiritual values; in a moment of encounter and less pressured exchange, we see the true face of the people with whom we live. Even the beauties of nature—too often marred by the desire to exploit, which turns against man him- self—can be rediscovered and enjoyed to the full. (Dies Domini, no. 67) Not everyone has the freedom to take Sundays away from work. Some people, including medical professionals and public safety workers, must work on Sundays to keep the rest of us safe and healthy. Others must work for economic reasons beyond their control. Resting on Sunday does not mean that we are inactive. Instead, Sunday is traditionally consecrated by Christian piety to good works and humble service of the sick, the infirm, and the elderly. Christians will also sanctify Sunday by devoting time and care to their families and relatives, often difficult to do on other days of the week. Sunday is a time for reflection, silence, cultivation of the mind, and meditation which furthers the growth of the Christian interior life. (CCC, no. 2186) To celebrate the Lord’s Day more fully, consider trying the following: ✠ Don’t use Sunday as your catch-all day for errands and household chores. ✠ Share a family dinner after Mass. Have the whole family join in the preparation and cleanup. ✠ Go for a walk or bike ride and give thanks to God for the beauty of nature. ✠ Spend time reading the Bible or a spiritual book. ✠ Pray the...

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From the Rector: A Plan of Life: Part II
Sep08

From the Rector: A Plan of Life: Part II

A Plan of Life: Part II The weekly plan: In the course of the week, designate one day in which to emphasize each one of the pillars. On that day include an item from a particular category that might not be done as frequently: Examples: Spiritual formation day: A special day for fasting, lectoring or serving a at a weekday Mass. Human formation day: A once a week choir practice; an extended hike; House cleaning day. Intellectual formation day: A once a week class or conference. Pastoral formation day: A Special visit to nursing home or teaching a CCD class. The weekly plan takes into consideration absolute essentials like Sunday Mass. The Monthly Plan: The monthly plan reminds one not to neglect certain practices that should engage in at least monthly. Examples: Spiritual formation: Spiritual direction and Confession. Human Formation: Letters, calls or visits to family members, Bookkeeping. Intellectual Formation: Finishing a book that has been lingering. Pastoral Formation: Pro- Life activities, promoting vocations. The yearly plan: This plan is used to set goals for the coming year and evaluate the past year. It also reminds us about special days we should plan for throughout the year. Examples: Spiritual Formation: Plan an annual retreat, Celebrate the Anniversary of one’s Baptism Day. Human Formation: Plan when and how to spend Vacation time; plan to learn more chant. Intellectual Formation: Commit to learning improving language skills in the coming year. Plan to contribute an article to the diocesan paper, or to learn a new language. Pastoral Formation: Decide which apostolate will be undertaken in the following year....

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From the Rector: A Plan of Life-Part I
Aug31

From the Rector: A Plan of Life-Part I

A Plan of Life: Part I Why a plan of life? A personal plan of life is a way of keeping the various aspects of one’s life and formation in balance.   There are certain advantages to following a plan of life: -A plan gives constancy and regularity to one’s efforts in developing and deepening the spiritual life. -With a plan, there is less danger of being lazy and of wasting time. -With a plan one is less likely to fall away from spiritual practices. -A plan of life causes one to be attentive to the duty of the moment. -With a plan it is easier to see God in the ordinary activities of the Day. (adapted from Arlington Diocese QV days)   Without a plan: (adapted from Arlington Diocese QV days) -one’s progress may suffer. -one might altogether neglect some important aspects of formation. -one might suffer from indecision about what to do. -one might neglect his duties. -we might move too hastily or too slowly from one thing to the next.   How to develop a plan of life. The Daily plan: Using the four pillars of formation, Select the elements from each area which ought to be done daily if at all possible. Categorize the things you already do in the course of the day including your duties. If you are a student, you are already doing a lot of intellectual formation! Try to plan out a time and place for accomplishing as many of these as is feasible. If it is not practical to accomplish all of the items in a category, cut down some aspects from different areas but do not completely eliminate any one of the four areas or any absolutely necessary item. Spiritual Formation Human Formation Intellectual Formation Pastoral Formation -Morning Offering -Exercise -Study -The Spiritual and Corporal works of mercy -Daily Examen -Recreation -Library research -Some form of penance or mortification -Daily Mass -Service -Discussion   -The Liturgy of the hours (some part) -Fraternity -Reading   -A holy hour (some time of prayer and adoration) -Daily Duties     -Meditation       -The Rosary       Try to keep a balance. Vary the items in the daily plan throughout the week to try to cover a wider range so that nothing is altogether left out. Saturday for example is traditionally a day of devotion to Our Lady, Thursday is the day of devotion to Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, and Friday a day of devotion to penance....

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From the Rector: “Five Silences”
Aug25

From the Rector: “Five Silences”

Mother Teresa talked about “five silences”: Silence of the eyes Silence of the ears Silence of the mouth Silence of the mind Silence of the heart Those five silences are a mystical path open to all.  Her life is not only “admirable” but highly “imitable”.   -Missionaries of Charity Fr. Brian Kolodiejchuk In Blessed Teresa’s own words: “To make possible true inner silence, practice: Silence of the eyes, by seeking always the beauty and goodness of God everywhere, and closing them to the faults of others and to all that is sinful and disturbing to the soul. Silence of the ears, by listening always to the voice of God and to the cry of the poor and the needy, and closing them to all other voices that come from fallen human nature, such as gossip, tale bearing, and uncharitable words. Silence of the tongue, by praising God and speaking the life-giving Word of God that is the truth, that enlightens and inspires, brings peace, hope, and joy; and by refraining from self-defense and every word that causes darkness, turmoil, pain, and death. Silence of the mind, by opening it to the truth and knowledge of God in prayer and contemplation, like Mary who pondered the marvels of the Lord in her heart, and by closing it to all untruths, distractions, destructive thoughts, rash judgments, false suspicions of others, vengeful thoughts, and desires. Silence of the heart, by loving God with our heart, soul, mind, and strength; loving one another as God loves; and avoiding all selfishness, hatred, envy, jealousy, and greed.”...

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From the Rector: Divine Speech Therapy
Aug18

From the Rector: Divine Speech Therapy

Divine Speech Therapy The second commandment, You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain,  forbids the abuse of God’s name. Blasphemy Blasphemy:  uttering against God, inwardly or outwardly words of hatred, reproach or defiance. Speaking ill of God, failing in respect toward him.  Attempting to degrade God through speech. Blasphemy extends to language against the Blessed Virgin Mary, Christ’s Church , the angels and saints, and sacred things.  Blasphemy is a grave offense. Sacrilege:  Speech is sacrilegious when the Holy Names or holy things are spoken about in an irreverent, irreligious, or silly way . Taking the Lord’s Name in vain refers to the vain, pointless or trivial invocation of God’s name. Swearing. A related type of unworthy speech which we will categorize as swearing,  involves calling God as a witness to an oath. Swearing:  Promises made to others in God’s name should only be made out of necessity.  Jesus said “ let your yes mean yes and your no mean no”  (Mt 5:33-34). Rash oaths: swearing to God without a prudent reason is an abuse of God’s name. False oaths:  Invoking God as the witness to a false oath is to call on God to be witness to a lie.  –perjury. Evil oaths: Pledging oneself by oath to commit an evil deed is contrary to the holiness of the divine name. III. Cursing Cursing:  A  third category of speech which is displeasing to God is cursing, that is expressing the desire for evil, or even eternal damnation to come upon our neighbor or any part of God’s creation.  This offense is compounded when God ‘s name is invoked.  As Christians we are called upon to bless those who curse us. Profanity Profanity:   This type of speech involves coarse references to the human body.  Sexual relations or personal matters of the bodily elimination system that should be private are used to degrade persons, places or things.   This type of speech tends to degrade ones attitude toward the sacredness of the sexual union in the Marriage Covenant.  It uncovers what should remain veiled. Lewd or suggestive speech.   Engaging in this type of language can tempt people against the 6th or 9th commandment. Prescription: Confess your sins of speech. Negative incentive-  do penance and penalize yourself. Make reparation.  Pray the Our Father “Hallowed be thy Name”. Say the Divine praises. . The Divine Praises Blessed be God. Blessed be His Holy Name. Blessed be Jesus Christ, true God and true man. Blessed be the name of Jesus. Blessed be His Most Sacred Heart. Blessed be Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar. Blessed be...

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From the Rector: Discernment of God’s Will and Abandonment to God’s Will
Aug10

From the Rector: Discernment of God’s Will and Abandonment to God’s Will

Discernment of God’s Will and Abandonment to God’s Will. The Catechism of the Catholic Church on discernment and the Will of God. 2826 By prayer we can discern “what is the will of God” and obtain the endurance to do it. Jesus teaches us that one enters the kingdom of heaven not by speaking words, but by doing “the will of my Father in heaven.” 1835 Prudence disposes the practical reason to discern, in every circumstance, our true good and to choose the right means for achieving it. 2706 To meditate on what we read helps us to make it our own by confronting it with ourselves. Here, another book is opened: the book of life. We pass from thoughts to reality. To the extent that we are humble and faithful, we discover in meditation the movements that stir the heart and we are able to discern them. It is a question of acting truthfully in order to come into the light: “Lord, what do you want me to do?” 2677 Holy Mary, Mother of God: With Elizabeth we marvel, “And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” Because she gives us Jesus, her son, Mary is Mother of God and our mother; we can entrust all our cares and petitions to her: she prays for us as she prayed for herself: “Let it be to me according to your word.” By entrusting ourselves to her prayer, we abandon ourselves to the will of God together with her: “Thy will be done.” Helps to discernment: Looking for God’s Will in the needs of our neighbors Looking for God’s Will in the needs of the Church Looking for God’s Will in our current obligations Looking for God’s Will in His expressed Commands Looking for God’s Will through the events that He permits to occur for the greater good. Asking in a given situation what would seem to be more pleasing to God.   Helps to abandonment: Desiring to do God’s Will in all things big and small Accepting that God’s Will may not be to our liking Loving God’s Will even when we don’t understand it Believing Jesus’ words that only the one who does the Will of His Father will enter the Kingdom. Promptly and cheerfully doing what we know to be God’s Will.   Pitfalls which keep us from abandonment: Wanting to serve God on our own terms Attachment to sin, worldly things, or our own plans Letting fear keep us from accepting God’s Will Demanding signs Wanting exhaustive knowledge of God’s plan and His timing Insisting on knowing why something is God’s Will Imagining that we...

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From the Rector: The Transfiguration
Aug04

From the Rector: The Transfiguration

If we look to the Old Testament, we can see numerous instances when the Lord instructs Israel to hold a memorial of some significant event God’s plan to restore fallen man. The most famous example is the Passover, the Paschal Sacrifice and Feast. The Passover, the memorial of the Israelites’ being freed from Egypt, was to be observed every year. But the remembrance was not as simple as mentally recalling that the event happened many centuries ago. The act of calling it to mind, in some way, made it a present reality. It is not that Israel was once again enslaved and needed to be freed by the Lord, but rather that the actual event was being applied to the present. The same liturgical principle is applied to the Mass, in which Christ’s sacrifice is made present through all the ages. Solemn Benediction is a memorial of another mysterious event in the saving work of Christ — the Transfiguration. The rites that surround it memorialize scene on Mount Tabor. The Church employs ritual in order to expose what is hidden. Our Lord is so very humble, and He shows none of His glory in the Blessed Sacrament. However, because the whole Church worships our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, in which He has the same Glory as in heaven, She makes manifest His majesty and Glory. Our Lord humbles himself to appear to be no more than bread and wine, but the Church practices Her belief in His Real Presence, His divinity, and the adoration and honor we owe Him through acts of reverence and worship. THE MONSTRANCE Most monstrances have several beams streaming forth from the Blessed Sacrament. This symbolism is taken from the Gospel account, that His face became radiant as the sun. It is no coincidence that the monstrance, too, looks like a large sun upon a stand. Christ is the true Sun, and the radiance of His face is depicted in the monstrance. THE CANDLES The Church requires four to six candles during Adoration. There was not only light streaming from the face of our Savior, but light surrounding them all. The candles evoke the light that filled the whole mountain, and those two lights, Moses and Elijah, that conversed with Him. THE STAND or “TABOR” The platform upon which the monstrance sometimes rests has a name, a “tabor.” At the Cathedral the Tabernacle itself was designed for this purpose. This is taken directly from the Transfiguration, for the mountain upon which it happened was Mount Tabor. Our Lord shows forth His glory upon Mount Tabor in every Adoration chapel and at every Benediction. THE INCENSE Incense is...

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