Saturday, February 22, 2014

Sexagesima Sunday 23 February 2014


Sexagesima Sunday

23 February 2014

 

To you it is given to know the mystery of the Kingdom of God, but to the rest in parables, that ‘Seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.’”Lk. 8:10

 

As we learned last week, in these three  Sundays before Lent,  the texts of the Liturgy help us  recognize ourselves as weak sinners who need to repent in preparation for Lenten and Paschal mysteries.  With this in mind, we can understand   the explanation Jesus gave to the Apostles about why He spoke in parables.  It is not to confuse people, but to make them search more into their own hearts in order to understand what Jesus  teaches in His parables. Dom Gueranger in his book, The Liturgical Year Vol. 4, Septuagesima, comments on today’s liturgy:  “The Church offers to our consideration, during this week of Sexagesima, the history of Noah and the deluge... This awful chastisement of the human race by the deluge was a fresh consequence of sin.  This time, however, there was found just one man; and it was through him and his family that the world was restored. Having once more mercifully renewed His covenant with His creatures, God allows the earth to be repeopled, and makes the three sons of Noah become the fathers of the three great families of the human race....This is the mystery of the Divine Office during the week of Sexagesima. The mystery expressed in today’s Mass is full of greater importance.  The earth is deluged by sin and heresy. But the word of God, the seed of life, is ever producing a new generation: a race of men, who like Noah, fear God. It is the word of God that produces those happy children, of whom the beloved disciple speaks, saying: ‘They are born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.’ Jn. 1:13 ...What we have to do, during these days of Septuagesima, is to escape from the deluge of worldliness, and take shelter in the Ark of salvation; we have to become that good soil, which yields a hundredfold from the heavenly seed.  Let us flee from the wrath to come, lest we perish with the enemies of God: let us hunger after the word of God, which converteth and giveth life to souls” (cf. Ps. 18).  Gueranger, p. 148-150.  We can see how many fail to produce fruit from the word of God  in today’s Gospel (Luke 8:4-15) where Jesus tells the people the Parable of the Sower where three out of the four types of souls do not bear fruit. The fourth   type of soil is the good ground which will yield fruit “a hundredfold.” St. Paul in today’s Epistle (II Cor. 11: 19-33; 12:1-9) shows how he has yielded much fruit in all  the sufferings he underwent for the gospel.  

 

St. Paul, a true Apostle

Nowhere in all of the epistles of St. Paul do we find so many examples of what he had to endure to spread the gospel of  Jesus Christ.  St. Paul is not boasting, but he wants to show his followers what he has endured for them and the gospel. He first reminds them “For you gladly put up with fools, because you are wise yourselves! For you suffer it if a man enslaves you, if a man devours you, if a man takes from you, if a man is arrogant, if a man slaps your face!” I Cor. 11: 19-20.  These pseudo- apostles,” and “ministers of Satan” (II Cor. 11:13-5)--- “those brethren from Jerusalem ... had come to Corinth boasting of their pure-blooded Judaism  and casting suspicions on St. Paul’ Apostolic Mission. It is only the need of his Corinthian flock that drives the Apostle to that boasting of his origin and his work—which in other circumstances he would have despised, and even now in his heart regards as foolish. ”  Msgr. Patrick Boylan, “The Sunday Epistle and Gospels,” p. 135.    “Are they ministers of Christ?  I—to speak as a fool—am more: many labours, in prisons more frequently, in lashes above measure, often exposed to death. From the Jews five times I received forty lashes less one. Thrice I was scourged, once I was stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and day I was adrift on the sea, in journeyings often, in perils from floods, in perils from robbers, in perils from my own nation....” II Cor. 12:23-26  The litany of his sufferings continued as St. Paul wanted to prove how much he was a true apostle to refute his adversaries.  No one can read  the summary of his sufferings without being impressed  by the many  trials  he endured for preaching the gospel. Later, he mentions that the Lord sent him “a thorn in  the flesh, messenger from Satan, to buffet me.”  ( II Cor. 12:7) lest he puffed up with pride.  Like a true Apostle, he will suffer it for the Lord: “Gladly therefore I will glory in my infirmities, that the strength of Christ may dwell in me.” II Cor. 12: 9 St. Paul’s life  yielded fruit not just a hundredfold but a thousandfold and more than a thousandfold.

 

Souls without fruit

In today’s parable of  The Sower,” we see that those who do not bear fruit are represented by three of the four types of  ground in which the seed is sown.  The seed is good, but the fruit  it bears is dependent on the place where it is sown.  The hard ground: souls that are frivolous, dissipated, open to all distractions, rumors, and curiosity; admitting all kinds of creatures and earthly affections.  The word of God hardly reaches their heart when the enemy (the devil), having free access, carries it off, thus preventing it from taking root.  The stony ground: superficial souls with only a shallow layer of good earth, which will be rapidly blown away, along with the good seed, by the winds of passion. These souls easily grow enthusiastic, but do not persevere and ‘in time of temptation fall away.’ (Lk. 8:13) They are unstable, because they have not the courage to embrace renunciation and to make the sacrifices which are necessary if one wishes to remain faithful to the word of God and to put it into practice in all circumstances. Their fervor is a straw fire which dies down and goes out in the face of the slightest difficulty.  The ground covered with thorns:  souls that are preoccupied with worldly things, pleasures, material interests and affairs. The seed takes root, but the thorns soon choke it by depriving it of air and light. Excessive solicitude for temporal things eventually stifles the rights of the spirit.” Fr. Gabriel, OCD, Divine Intimacy, p. 249 

 

“And other seed fell upon good ground, and sprang up and yielded fruit a hundredfold.” Lk. 8:8

Lastly, the good ground is compared by Jesus to those who, ‘with a right and good heart, having heard  the word, hold it fast, and bear fruit in patience.’ Lk. 8:15  The good and upright heart is the one which always gives first place to God, which seeks before everything else the kingdom of God and His justice.  The seed of the divine word will bear abundant fruit in proportion to the good dispositions it finds in us: recollection, a serious and profound interior life, detachment, sincere seeing for the things of God above  and beyond all earthly things, and finally perseverance without which the word of God cannot bear its fruit in us.” Divine Intimacy, p. 249  Those “with a right and good heart” (Lk. 8:15) will yield fruit a hundredfold  as God’s grace is always fruitful: “And other seed fell upon good ground, and sprang up and yielded fruit a hundredfold.” Lk. 8: 8.   All we have to do is to look at the lives of the saints, like St. Paul in today’s II Epistle to the Corinthians, and we can see God’s grace bear fruit even beyond a hundredfold to a thousandfold and even more.  

         

Who are saved?

          If we apply the message of today’s Gospel to our world, we might not see a pretty picture.   Things have not changed with human nature.  Jesus knew what kind of men his listeners were.  So too today!  The vast majority of souls are those who are represented by the seed on the wayside path, the rocky ground, and thorny bushes.  They are not interested in God’s word.    If  they do have some interest, the cares of the world and pleasures of  riches distract them.  In his treatise, “The Little Number of Those Who Are Saved,”  St. Leonard of Port Maurice*** quotes St. Augustine: “The ark (Noah’s Ark)  was the figure of the Church. And these eight people who were saved signify that very few Christians are saved, because there are very few who sincerely renounce the world, and those who renounce it only in words do not belong to the mystery represented by that ark.” p. 5   Were it not for the grace of God which comes to us through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross and through the hands of our  Immaculate Mother, there would be little hope for all of humanity.  This is why Our Lady at  Fatima in 1917 asked us to pray and sacrifice because she said that “many souls go to hell because no one prays and sacrifices for them.”  This is why Our Lady begged us to pray the Rosary.  Let us pray the Holy Rosary in the family and make sacrifices, and then many souls, especially in our families, will be saved and  go to heaven.  

*** This treatise of St. Leonard’s is in our repository.   Or contact lanhernefriars@talktalk.net

 

“Could you not, then, watch one hour with Me?” Mt. 26:40

 Last week, in the Sunday Bulletin, we quoted St. Ambrose on how Jesus is the leaven to change the whole world. We have Jesus as true leaven and the Bread of Life in the Blessed Sacrament.  Go to Jesus in the Sacred Host and ask Him to take over your life. “Therefore, if the Lord is wheat (as He Himself says in John 12:24), the Lord is the leaven, too, since leaven is usually made only of wheaten flour. Therefore, the Lord is rightly compared to leaven for when He was in the form of man, made small by humility and despised for His weakness, He contained within Himself such power of wisdom that the world itself could scarcely contain His doctrine. When He began to diffuse Himself throughout the world by virtue of His divinity, He immediately drew the entire human race into His substance by His power so that He might place the yoke of His Holy Spirit upon all of them, that is, make all Christians to be what Christ is....so Christ (like leaven) is broken up and dissolved by His various sufferings, and His moisture, that is, His precious blood, was poured out for our salvation, that it might by mingling  itself with the whole human race, consolidate that race, which lay scattered abroad.”  St. Ambrose in Cornelius A Lapide,  Commentary on John’s Gospel, p. 29-30

 

 

Mission of the Immaculate Mediatrix (MIM)    1 March 2014

 

On the First Saturday of every month, we will have our monthly formation program for those who interested in affiliating themselves with the Marian Spirituality of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate. The day begins at 9:30 AM and goes until 4 PM and includes two conferences, Holy Mass, adoration and the rosary. (see flyer on door)

  This spirituality is Marian and Franciscan and includes the teachings of St. Francis of Assisi,   St. Maximilian Kolbe and other Franciscan saints. “The fundamental aim of the MIM is the fulfilment of God’s plan for the salvation and sanctification of all souls through the maternal mediation of the Immaculate to the supreme glory of the Most Holy Trinity.”  (Article 2: Statute)

It is most important at this time in our world to come together and learn about Our Lady and her messages especially Fatima.  Pope John Paul II:  On November 9, 1976 said in the USA as Karol Cardinal Wojtyla:  “We are now standing in face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has gone through.  I do not think that the wide circles of American society or the wide circles of  the Christian community realize this fully.  We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the Anti-Church, of the Gospel versus the anti-gospel.”

We hope that all of you will consider joining the MIM and work for your own sanctification and the sanctification of  so many souls who are in danger of being lost for all eternity in hell as Our Lady said at Fatima. 

 

 

The First Saturday: 1 March 2014

Our Lady told Sr. Lucia in 1925 “…I promise to assist at the hour of death, with all the graces necessary for salvation, all those who, on the first Saturday of five consecutive months go to confession and receive Holy Communion, recite five decades of the Rosary and keep me company for a quarter of an hour while meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary, with the intention of making reparation to me."  If only we would do what Our Lady asks, we would be assured of eternal salvation.  Our Lady promises us all the graces necessary for our salvation if we keep The Five First Saturdays! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Septuagesima Sunday 16th February 2014


Septuagesima Sunday

16 February 2014

 

 

 “But about the eleventh hour  he went out and found others standing about,  and he said to them, ‘Why do you stand here all the day idle?’” Mt. 20:6

 

            This Sunday begins the period in the Church’s liturgy in which there is the transition time between the joys of Christmas and Epiphany and the rigours of Lent.  Pope St. Gregory the Great established these Sundays before Easter: Septuagesima (70 days), Sexagesima (60 days) and Quinquagesima  (50 days) in order to prepare the faithful, both in body and spirit, for the Lenten period of penance. “The Church through the appropriate liturgical texts, tries to make the Christian realize the misery of their state as sinners and their own weakness, in order to prepare them for the need of penance and unite them to the one sacrifice of Christ, which is commemorated in the Lenten cycle.”  (The Preacher’s Encyclopaedia, p. 586-7)  The period of Septuagesima has been compared to the seventy years of Babylonian captivity where the Jews wept for their sins and longed to return to Jerusalem. So, too, the Church calls us to weep for our sins and long for the joys of the resurrection and of heaven. We see how this is true in today’s Epistle (I Cor. 9:24-27; 10:1-5) where St. Paul reminds the Corinthians to deprive themselves like good athletes in order to prepare for the struggle for the crown of eternal salvation: “...but I chastise my body and bring it into subjection, lest perhaps after preaching to others I myself should be rejected.” I Cor. 9:27   In the Gospel (Mt. 20:1-16) parable of “The Labourers in the Vineyard,” Jesus shows us how important it is to labour in His vineyard, that is, the temporal world, for the reward of the kingdom of heaven.  All are invited to work in the vineyard: “Why do you stand here all the day idle?” Mt. 20:6 All are invited to work for their eternal salvation, and no one should be idle and careless in doing the things which will bring this great reward.

 

“Do you not know that those who run in a race, all indeed run, but one receives the prize?  So run to obtain it.”  I Cor. 9 24

St. Paul uses the analogy of the runner to show how one must train vigorously to win the prize of a heavenly crown.  According to St. Thomas Aquinas, the Christian runs a spiritual race that demands great effort:  “Even in the spiritual race, one only receives the prize—he who perseveres to the end. Run, then, for victory; (this) indicates first the effort, then the purpose, lastly the prize.” (The Preacher’s Encyclopaedia, p. 588)   Like all good athletes, St. Paul demands that the faithful who are aiming at the goal of eternal life should do penance and chastise their bodies lest they lose the eternal crown: “...but I chastise my body and bring it into subjection, lest perhaps after preaching to others I myself should be rejected.” I Cor. 9:27 St. Paul reminds his followers that it is not enough to belong to the chosen race.  He reminds them that the Jews were brought out of Egypt and received great graces from God, but some sinned and died in the desert: “Yet with most of them God was not well-pleased, for ‘they were laid low in the desert.’” I Cor. 10:5   The lesson from St. Paul is self-evident: “The Christian is an athlete; and it is not enough for him to cry Lord, Lord, from the gallery. He must be in the arena fight for his life!” (The Preacher’s Encyclopaedia, p. 489)

 

“Even so the last shall be first, and the first last; for many are called, but few are chosen.” Mt. 20:16

These mysterious words of Our Lord become clear when one considers the spiritual meaning of this parable in its allegorical sense. The vineyard is our life in the world where we must strive for the reward of our labours: instead of a  denarius for our day’s work, we will gain eternal life. Quoting St. Gregory the Great and St. Augustine, Dom Prosper Gueranger in his book, The Liturgical Life Vol. 4 says that the various hours of the day represent the stages of life: “It signifies the calling given by God to each of us individually, pressing us to labour, during this life, for the kingdom prepared for us.  The morning is our childhood. The third hour, according to the division used by the ancients in counting their day at sunrise; it is our youth. The sixth hour, by which name they called our midday, is manhood. The eleventh hour, which immediately preceded sunset, is old age. The Master of the house calls His labourers at all these various hours.”  Gueranger, p. 126   All those called must go at the time when they are summoned as they are not certain that they will be called later. The same happens to us in life: no one is certain that he will live to old age.  We need to accept the call to   live our faith when we are called.  We also need to accept the wage which we are promised.  Interestingly, the denarius is a coin comprising ten other coins; so the good Christian must keep the Ten Commandments if he hopes to save his life.  Jesus calls all to the kingdom of heaven, but not everyone accepts the invitation.  Some who thought that they were special because they came first, may be last; and those who were called last, may be first in the kingdom of heaven.   

 

“Have I not a right to do what I choose?  Or art thou envious because I am generous?” Mt. 20:15

When the first labourers came for their wages, they reasoned that they should have a higher wage since they had worked all day. In reality, they were envious of the good fortune of those who worked only part of the day.   It seems to be another example of the typical reaction of the Pharisees at Jesus’ generosity to sinners and other non-Jews.  Fr. Boylan in “The Sunday Epistles and Gospels,” explains it thus: “The Pharisees were like the early hired workers; they had professed to walk in the ways of the Lord, and for their ‘works of the Law’, they thought themselves fully entitled to demand payment, as wages earned, from God.  Against all this outlook the parable is a protest. The Kingdom of Heaven has been offered to all—but in the goodness and mercy of God, and not as a wage definitely earned by work done.  Those who might have expected to enter it first of all are likely to be the last to do so, and those whom the Pharisees despised—the ‘people of the land’ and sinners—are among the first to enter the Kingdom.” p. 131  The Pharisees are the people to whom Jesus often refers  in the  scriptures who want special favours for being His followers yet they lack His spirit:  “’We ate and drank in thy presence, and thou didst teach in our streets.’ And he shall say to you, ‘I do not know where you are from. Depart from me all you workers of iniquity.”  Lk. 13: 26-7  Let us be thankful for having been called to be a follower of Christ, and let us wish that all our fellow men would also accept Jesus’ call even if it is at “the eleventh hour”.

 

The Capital Sin of Envy

Envy implies sorrow at the happiness and prosperity of our neighbour.  For which reason the envious man is never without sadness or trouble. Are his neighbour’s fields green and fertile? Is his house a happy one?  Is he not lacking interior and spiritual happiness?  All these signs of prosperity increase the illness and disturb the mind of the envious man.  St. Basil tells of the evil effects of envy: “The envious man is hurt by the good fortune of a friend; the joy of his brothers causes him pain; he cannot look with favour on the riches of another and considers the prosperity of his neighbour as a misfortune for himself. If he wished to tell the truth, he would be forced to confess this; but since he does not wish to make it manifest, he keeps this hatred in his heart, where it gnaws away at his entrails.”  St. Basil, “Homily 11 on Envy”

 

What are the  Capital Sins?  There are seven capital sins: pride, covetousness, lust, anger, gluttony, envy, and sloth.

 

Which are the six sins against the Holy Ghost?

1.Presumption, 2. Despair, 3. Resisting the known truth, 4. Envy of another’s spiritual good, 5. Obstinacy in sin, 6. Final impenitence (From The Penny Catechism

 

St. Maximilian Kolbe on Our Lady

 

"Let us entrust to the Immaculate our entire being, all the faculties of our soul, that is to say, our intellect, our memory and our will, all the faculties of our body, that is, all of our senses and each one individually, our strength, our health or our infirmity; let us entrust to Her our entire life and all of its events whether they be pleasing, displeasing or indifferent.  Let us entrust to Her our death, in whatever moment, place or way it may happen.  And lastly, let us entrust to Her all of our eternity." (SK #1331)

 

"All graces come to souls from the hands of the Mediatrix of all graces and there is not one instant in which new graces are not flowing into each soul: graces to enlighten the intellect, to fortify the will, to spur us on to do good; ordinary and extraordinary graces, graces directly regarding temporal life and the sanctification of the soul." (SK #1313)

 

 

 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Fifth Sunday after Epiphany, 9 February 2014

Fifth Sunday after Epiphany
9 February 2014

“Put ye on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, the bowels of mercy, benignity, humility, modesty, patience: bearing with one another and forgiving one another...” Col. 3: 12-3

Today’s liturgy highlights the importance of charity in an evil and corrupt world. In the Epistle (Colossians 3:12-17), St. Paul reminds us that “charity is the bond of perfection.” Col. 3:14 If we do not have the virtue of charity, we will not enter the kingdom of heaven. In the Gospel (Matthew 13: 24-30), Jesus gives us the parable of the “Wheat and the Cockle” to illustrate in simple language a profound teaching about the existence of evil in the world: “The kingdom of heaven is likened to a man that sowed good seed in his field. But while men were asleep, his enemy came and oversowed cockle among the wheat and went his way.” Mt. 3:24 From this brief description, we can see how God created all things good, but the devil sowed evil into the hearts of men to cause them to sin. When the man who owns the field is asked by his servants if the cockle should be removed, he says, “No, lest perhaps gathering up the cockle, you root up the wheat also together with it. Suffer both to grow until the harvest, and in time of harvest I will say to the reapers: Gather up first the cockle, and bind it into bundles to burn, but the wheat gather ye into my barn.” Mt. 13:29-30 ) The meaning of the parable is clear: God will allow both good and evil to co-exist in life for a time, but then He will separate the good from the evil and save the good and destroy the evildoers in the fire of hell. What is most important about this parable is that it gives us several reasons for the existence of evil in the world. It also shows how God will always bring good out any evil that men do (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church #311); Christians will have the opportunity to practice charity which is needed to enter the kingdom of heaven and with their good example and prayers, Christians may even convert the wicked (cockle).

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you abundantly, in all wisdom: teaching and admonishing one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual canticles, singing in grace in your hearts.” Col. 3:16
Dom Prosper Gueranger in his book, The Liturgical Year Vol. 4, comments on the need for living the Christian life, as St. Paul emphasizes in the Epistle, as true followers of Jesus Christ. “The Christian, trained as he has been in the school of the Man-God who deigned to dwell upon this earth, should ever show mercy towards his fellow-men. This world which has been purified by the presence of the Incarnate Word would become an abode of peace, if we were but to live in such manner as to merit the titles, given us by the apostle, of elect of God, holy and beloved. The peace here spoken of should, first of all, fill the heart of every Christian, and give it an uninterrupted joy, which would be ever pouring itself forth in singing the praises of God. But it is mainly on the Sundays, that the faithful, by taking part with the Church in her psalms, hymns and spiritual canticles, fulfil this duty so dear to their hearts. Let us, moreover, in our every-day life, practise the advice given us by the apostle, of doing all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, in order that we may, in all things, find favour with our heavenly Father.” Gueranger, p. 95-6

“Charity... the bond of perfection...” Col. 3:14
Fr. Gabriel of St. Magdalen in his book of meditations, Divine Intimacy, reminds us of the practical means in today’s Epistle for us to show charity amidst human suffering and evil: “The Epistle for this Sunday recalls to our mind the fundamental duty of a Christian: charity.... ‘But above all these things,’ St. Paul recommends, ‘have charity, which is the bond of perfection’ (Col. 3: 14 ); not only love for God, but also for our neighbour. .... ‘Put ye on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, the bowels of mercy, benignity, humility, modesty, patience: bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if any have a complaint against another.’ (Col. 3: 12-3).... Consider the perfect love which the Apostle asks us to have for our neighbour: mercy, compassion, mutual forgiveness, and that love which leaves no room for divisions or dissensions, which overcomes strife and forgets offenses. This long-suffering charity which makes every sacrifice and overcomes all difficulties in order to be in harmony with all, because we all form ‘one body’ in Christ, because we are all children of the same heavenly father.” Fr. Gabriel, p. 203-4

Patient endurance of evil
Dom Gueranger comments on the existence of evil in the world and the need to overcome evil with charity in today’s Gospel by patient endurance of suffering and trust in God’s goodness. “The kingdom of heaven, here spoken of by our Lord, is the Church militant, the society of them that believe in Him. And yet, the field He has tilled with so much care is oversown with cockle; heresies have crept in, scandals have abounded; are we, on that account, to have misgiving about the foresight of the Master, who knows all things, and without whose permission nothing happens? Far from us be such a thought! He Himself tells us that these things must needs be. Man has been gifted with free-will; it is for him to choose between good and evil. Heresies, then, like weeds in the field, may spring up in the Church; but the day must come when they will be uprooted; some of them will wither on the parent stems, but the whole cockle shall be gathered into bundles to burn. Where are now the heresies that sprang up in the first ages of the Church? And in another hundred years, what will have become of the heresy, which, under the pretentious name of the ‘reformation,’ has caused incalculable evil? It is the same with scandals which rise up within the pale of the Church; they are a hard trial; but trials must come. The divine Husbandman wills not that this cockle be torn up, lest the wheat should suffer injury. First of all, the mixture of good and bad is an advantage; it teaches the good not to put their hopes in man, but in God. Then, too the mercy of our Lord is so great, that at times the very cockle is converted, by divine grace, into wheat. We must therefore have patience...” Gueranger, p. 97-8.

Charity overcomes evil
Fr. Gabriel also comments on the need for patient understanding of God’s Providence with men: “When God asks us to endure with patience certain situations, as inevitable as they are deplorable, He asks for one of the greatest exercises of charity, compassion, and mercy. He does not tell us to fraternize with evil, to make a league with the cockle, but He tells us to endure it with the longanimity with which He Himself endured it. ... Indeed one of the greatest opportunities for the practice of charity is offered by those who by their evil conduct give us so many opportunities for forgiving them for returning good for evil, and for suffering injustice for the love of God. Moreover, we should consider that, whereby cockle cannot be changed into wheat, it is always possible for the wicked to be converted and become good... When our love is perfect, we are able to live among the wicked without being harsh or contentious, without being influenced by them, but rather doing them good.” Fr. Gabriel, p. 204-5 Didn’t Jesus tell us to be good and love our enemies? “But I say to you, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who persecute and calumniate you.” Mt. 5:44

Goodness can come from evil
Today’s Epistle and Gospel complement one another in explaining for us the presence of evil in the world. Because God gave man a free will and because men are persuaded by the devil to do evil, we have much evil in the world. God allows the evil so that Christians can practice charity in all its related virtues (“...mercy, benignity, humility, modesty, patience...” Col. 3:12-13) to convert evildoers and to gain merit in heaven. So great is the reward that Christians will receive for sufferings they will undergo in this life that Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount calls them blessed and tells them that their reward will be great in heaven: “Blessed are you when men reproach you, and persecute you, and speaking falsely, say all manner of evil against you, for my sake. Rejoice and exult, because your reward is great in heaven; for so did they persecute the prophets who were before you.” Mt. 5:11-2 How great God is that He can bring good from evil as St. Augustine tells us: “For almighty God...because he is supremely good, would never allow any evil whatsoever to exist in his works if he were not so all-powerful and good as to cause good to emerge from evil itself.” Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 311


Why are so many souls depressed and unhappy these days?

St. Maximilian Kolbe explains how to achieve heaven even here on earth.

“In any case, those who on this earth have had a chance to taste in advance a little bit of heaven can get some idea of what it will be like. Now everyone can have this experience. All he needs to do is to go to confession with sincerity, diligence, a deep sorrow for his sins and a firm resolve to amend his life. He will suddenly feel a peace and happiness compared with which all the fleeting, unworthy pleasures of this world are really an odious torment. Let everyone seek to come and receive Jesus in the Holy Eucharist with proper preparation. Let him never permit his soul to remain in sin, but let him purify it immediately. Let him do his duty manfully. Let him address humble and frequent prayers to God’s throne, especially through the hand of the Immaculate Virgin. Let him welcome his brethren with a charitable heart, bearing for God’s sake the sufferings and difficulties of life. Let him do good to all, even his enemies, solely for the love of God and not in order to be praised or even thanked by men. Then he will come to understand what it means to have a foretaste of paradise; and perhaps more than once he will find peace and joy even in poverty, suffering, disgrace and illness.”

“…regaining lost joy ...”

Pope John Paul in his Apostolic Exhortation, Reconciliation and Penance, 2 December, 1984, 31, III tells us that every contrite Confession “a drawing near to the holiness of God, a rediscovery of one’s true identity, which has been upset and disturbed by sin, a liberation in the very depths of one’s self and thus a regaining of lost joy, the joy of being saved, which the majority of people in our time are no longer capable of experiencing.”

Monday, February 3, 2014

The Solemnity of the Purification 2014

The Solemnity of the Purification
2 February 2014

“Now, O Lord, thou dost dismiss thy servant in Peace, because my eyes have seen the Salvation, which thou has prepared—a Light that is to enlighten the Gentiles, and give glory to thy people Israel.” Lk. 2:29

“The Servant of God, Fr. Gabriel of St. Magdalen, in his book of meditations, Divine Intimacy, comments on today’s feast: “Today’s Feast, which marks the end of the Christmas season is a feast both of Jesus and of Mary: of Jesus, because He is presented by His Mother in the Temple forty days after His birth, according to the requirement of the law; of Mary because she submits herself to the rite of purification.
“The liturgy celebrates, primarily, the entrance for the first time of the Infant Jesus into the Temple: ‘Behold the Lord, the Ruler, cometh into His holy Temple: rejoice and be glad, O Sion, and hasten to meet your God’ (RB). Let us, too, go to meet Him, emulating the holy sentiments of the old Simeon who ‘came by the Spirit into the Temple’ (Gospel: Lk. 2: 22-32), and filled with joy, received the Divine Child into his arms.
“In order to celebrate this event more fittingly, the Church today blesses candles and gives them to us; with burning tapers, we enter the Temple in procession. The lighted candle is a symbol of the Christian life, of the faith and grace which should shine in our soul. It is also the image of Christ, the light of the world, ‘a light to the revelation of the Gentiles,’ according to Simeon’s canticle. The lighted candle reminds us that we must always bear Christ in us, the source of our life, the author of faith and the grace. By His grace, Jesus Himself disposes us to go to meet Him with livelier faith and greater love. May our meeting with Him today be particularly intimate and sanctifying.

Jesus is presented to His Father
“Jesus is taken to the Temple to be offered to the Father, although, being God, He was not subject to the prescriptions of the Jewish law as were the other firstborn of the Hebrews. He is the victim who will be immolated for the salvation of the world. His presentation in the Temple is, so to speak, the offertory of His life; the sacrifice will be consummated later, on Calvary. Let us offer ourselves with Jesus.
‘And thy own soul a sword shall pierce,’
“Jesus was presented in the Temple by His Mother. Let us therefore contemplate Mary in her office of Co-Redemptrix. Mary knew that Jesus was the Savior of the world, and through the veil of prophecy she sensed that His mission would be accomplished in a mystery of sorrow in which she would participate, in her role as Mother. Simeon’s prophecy: ‘And thy own soul a sword shall pierce,’ confirmed her intuition. Deep in her heart, Mary at that moment must have repeated her fiat: 'Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to Thy word’ (Lk. 1:38). At the same time that she offered her Son, she offered herself, being always closely united to His destiny.
“But, before entering the Temple to present Jesus, Mary wanted to submit to the law of legal purification. Although she knew she was a virgin, she put herself on the level of all the other mothers, and standing with them, humbly awaited her turn, carrying ‘a pair of turtle-doves,’ the offering of the poor. We see Jesus and Mary submitting themselves to law by which they are not bound: Jesus does not need to be redeemed nor Mary to be purified…” Fr. Gabriel, p. 1124-5

Jesus Christ Son of God and Son of Mary

In his book, “The Liturgical Year Vol. 3,” the Servant of God, Don Prosper Gueranger comments on the meaning of the revelation in today’s feast. “The Son of God was only to be made know to the world by gradual revelation. For thirty years he led a hidden life in the insignificant village of Nazareth; and during all that time men took him to be ‘the son of Joseph’ (Lk. 3:23). It was only in his thirtieth year that John the Baptist announced him, and then only in mysterious words, to the Jews, who flocked to the Jordan, there to receive from the Prophet the baptism of penance. Our Lord himself gave the next revelation, the testimony of his wonderful words and miracles. Then came the humiliations of his Passion and Death, followed by his glorious Resurrection, which testified to the truth of his prophecies, proved the infinite merits of his Sacrifice, and in a word, proclaimed his Divinity. The earth had possessed its God and its Saviour for three and thirty years, and men, with a few exceptions, knew it not. The Shepherds of Bethlehem knew it; but they were not told, as were afterwards the Fishermen of Genesareth, to go and preach the Word to the furthermost parts of the world. The Magi, too, knew it; they came to Jerusalem and spoke of it, and the city was in commotion: but all was soon forgotten, and the Three Kings went back quietly to the East. These two events, which would, at a future day, be celebrated by the Church as events of most important interest to mankind, were lost upon the world, and the only ones that appreciated them were a few true Israelites, who had been living in expectation of a Messias who was to be poor and humble, and was to save the world. The majority of the Jews would not even listen to the Messias having been born; for Jesus was born in at Bethlehem, and the Prophets had distinctly foretold that the Messias was to be called a ‘Nazarene’ (Mt. 2:23).

Jesus brings Peace to the World

“…At length the Holy Family enter Jerusalem. The name of this City signifies Vision of Peace; and Jesus comes to bring her Peace. Let us consider the names of the three places in which our Redeemer began, continued and ended his life on earth. He is conceived at Nazareth, which signifies a Flower; and Jesus is, as he tells us in the Canticle, the Flower of the field and the Lily of the valley, (Cant. 2:1) by whose fragrance we are refreshed. He is born in Bethlehem; for he is the nourishment of our souls. He dies on the Cross in Jerusalem, and, by his Blood, he restores peace between heaven and earth, peace within our own souls; and on this day of his Mother’s Purification, we shall find him giving us the pledge of this peace.
“Whilst Mary, the Living Ark of the Covenant, is ascending the steps which lead up to the Temple, carrying Jesus in her arms, let us be attentive to the mystery; one of the most celebrated of the prophecies is about to be accomplished in this Infant. We have already had the other predictions fulfilled, of his being conceived of a Virgin, and born in Bethlehem; today he shows us a further title of our adoration—he enters the Temple… Now, the Prophet Aggeus, in order to console the Jews, who had returned from banishment and were grieving because they were unable to raise a House to the Lord equal in splendour to that built by Solomon, addressed these words to them, which mark the time of the coming of the Messias: ‘Take courage, O Zorababel, saith the Lord; and take courage, O Jesus, the son of Josedec, the High Priest; and take courage , all ye people of the land; for thus saith the Lord of hosts: Yet one little while, and I will move the heaven, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land. And I will move all nations; and the Desired of all nations shall come; and I will fill this House with glory. Great shall be the glory of this House, more that of the first; and in this place I will give Peace, saith the Lord of hosts.’(Agg. 2:5, 7, 8, 10)


Jesus is more glorious than the Temple
“The hour is come for the fulfilment of this prophecy. The Emmanuel has left Bethlehem; he has come among the people; he is about to take possession of his Temple and the mere fact of his entering it will at once give it a glory, which is far above that of its predecessor. He will often visit it during his mortal life; but his coming to it to-day, carried as he is in Mary’s arms, is enough for the accomplishment of the promise and all the shadows and figure of this Temple at once pale before the rays of the Sun of Truth and Justice. The blood of oxen and goats will, for a few years more, flow on the altar; but the Infant, who holds in his veins the Blood that is to redeem the world is at this moment standing near that very altar…

Miraculous Revelation to Simeon
“But this great event could not be accomplished without a prodigy being wrought by the Eternal God as a welcome to his Son. The Shepherds had been summoned by the Angel, and the Magi had been called by the Star, when Jesus was born in Bethlehem; this time it is the Holy Ghost himself who sends a witness to the Infant, now in the great Temple
“There was then living in Jerusalem an old man whose life was well nigh spent. He was ‘a Man of desires’ (Dan. 10:11). And his name was Simeon; his heart had longed unceasingly for the Messias, and at last his hope was recompensed. The Holy Ghost revealed to him that he should not see death without first seeing the rising of the Divine Lights. As Mary and Joseph were ascending the steps of the Temple, to take Jesus to the altar, Simeon felt within himself the strong impulse of the Spirit of God: he leaves his house and walks towards the Temple; … Mary, guided by the same Divine Spirit, welcomes the saintly old man, and put into his trembling arms the dear object of her love, the Salvation of the world. Happy Simeon! Figure of the ancient world, grown old in its expectation, and near its end. No sooner has he received the sweet Fruit of Life, than his youth is renewed as that of the eagle, and in his person is wrought the transformation which was to be granted to the whole human race. He cannot keep silence; he must sing a Canticle; he must do as the Shepherds and the Magi had done, he must give testimony: ‘Now,’ says he, now O Lord, thou dost dismiss thy servant in Peace, because my eyes have seen the Salvation, which thou has prepared—a Light that is to enlighten the Gentiles, and give glory to thy people Israel.’ (Lk. 2:29)

Simeon and Anna rejoice at the coming of Jesus, the long-awaited Messias

“Immediately there comes, attracted to the spot by the same Holy Spirit, the holy Anna., Phanuel’s daughter noted for her piety, and venerated by the people on account of her great age. Simeon and Anna, the representatives of the Old Testament, unite their voices and celebrate the happy coming of the Child who is to renew the face of the earth; they give praise to the mercy of Jehovah, who ‘in this place,’ is this second Temple, ‘gives Peace’ to the world as the Prophet Aggeus had foretold.
“This was the Peace so long looked forward to by the Simeon, and now in this Peace will he sleep. ‘Now O Lord,’ as he says in his Canticle, ‘thou dost dismiss thy servant, according to thy word, in Peace!’ His soul, quitting its bond of the flesh, ‘will now’ hasten to the bosom of Abraham, and bear to the elect, who rest there, the tidings that ‘Peace’ has appeared on the earth and will soon open heaven. Anna has some years still to pass on earth; as the Evangelist tells us, she has to go and announce the fulfilment of the promise to such of the Jews as were spiritually minded, and ‘looked for the Redemption of Israel.’ (Lk. 2:38) The divine seed is sown; the Shepherds, the Magi, Simeon and Anna, have all been its sowers; it will spring up in due time; and when our Jesus has spent his thirty years of hidden life in Nazareth, and shall come for the harvest time, he will say to his Disciples: ‘Lift up your eyes; and see the countries, for they are white already for the harvest (Jn. 4:35), pray ye the Lord of the harvest, that he send labourers into his harvest.’ (Lk. 10:2)
“Simeon gives back to Mary the Child she is going to offer to the Lord. The two doves are presented to the Priest, who sacrifices them on the Altar; the price for the ransom is paid; the whole law is satisfied; and after having paid her homage to her Creator in this sacred place, where she spent her early years, Mary, with Jesus pressed to her bosom, and her faithful Joseph by her side, leaves the Temple.


Jesus’ Second Coming
“Such is the mystery of this fortieth day, which closes by this admirable feast of the Purification, the holy season of Christmas.” Gueranger, pp. 463-469. Let us contemplate the mysterious plan of God in the events surrounding Jesus’ First Coming when we say the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary especially “The Presentation and Purification.” Let us see how God had prepared some special souls as the Shepherds, Magi and Simeon and Anna for the first Coming of His Son which was in humility and mystery. Just as these witnesses prepared for His first coming, let us prepare ourselves for His second coming. Unlike the first Coming, where Christ was hidden from all but a very few, the second will be in power and glory when Jesus comes triumphantly with His Angels to judge all the nations of the world: “But when the Son of Man shall come in his majesty, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory; and before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate them one from another, as the shepherd separates sheep from the goats…” Mt. 25: 31-2


Mission of the Immaculate Mediatrix (MIM) 1 February 2014

On the First Saturday of every month, we will have our monthly formation program for those who interested in affiliating themselves with the Marian Spirituality of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate. The day begins at 9:30 AM and goes until 4 PM and includes two conferences, Holy Mass, adoration and the rosary. (see flyer on door)
This spirituality is Marian and Franciscan and includes the teachings of St. Francis of Assisi, St. Maximilian Kolbe and other Franciscan saints. “The fundamental aim of the MIM is the fulfilment of God’s plan for the salvation and sanctification of all souls through the maternal mediation of the Immaculate to the supreme glory of the Most Holy Trinity.” (Article 2: Statute)
It is most important at this time in our world to come together and learn about Our Lady and her messages especially Fatima. Pope John Paul II: On November 9, 1976 said in the USA as Karol Cardinal Wojtyla: “We are now standing in face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has gone through. I do not think that the wide circles of American society or the wide circles of the Christian community realize this fully. We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the Anti-Church, of the Gospel versus the anti-gospel.”
We hope that all of you will consider joining the MIM and work for your own sanctification and the sanctification of so many souls who are in danger of being lost for all eternity in hell as Our Lady said at Fatima.


The First Saturday: February 1, 2014
Our Lady told Sr. Lucia in 1925 “…I promise to assist at the hour of death, with all the graces necessary for salvation, all those who, on the first Saturday of five consecutive months go to confession and receive Holy Communion, recite five decades of the Rosary and keep me company for a quarter of an hour while meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary, with the intention of making reparation to me." If only we would do what Our Lady asks, we would be assured of eternal salvation. Our Lady promises us all the graces necessary for our salvation if we keep The Five First Saturdays!