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June 29. 2013

Solemnity of Ss. Peter and Paul, Apostles

These are the ones who, living in the flesh, planted the Church with their blood; they drank the chalice of the Lord and became the friends of God. Entrance Antiphon to The MASS for Ss. Peter and Paul

Daily Apostle's week-long Baby Item Collection Drive in the Greater Lansing area and delivery on Thursday June 27 to a 19-year old Pontiac, MI mother with newborn twins was a tremendous success. The van was full. Thanks Be to God! 

I am often amazed at what goes on behind the scenes of a great undertaking; and how God uses our connections to build a network of prayer in action to meet a great need.   

Fr. Euteneuer, at a Call to Holiness Youth Conference in Sterling Heights, MI put it best. He said, "Be an Apostle of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist (each day), first. And a Pro-Life Champion, second."

He basically provided Daily Apostle's Mission Statement right then and there. I encounter and communicate with hundreds of families and individuals who through the power of the Holy Spirit strive to be a Daily Apostle -- sent by God. http://www.dailyapostle.org

Why am I telling you this now? Today? Do you see or hear about a need and take it on: knowing that The Most Holy Trinity, The Blessed Virgin Mary, and St. Joseph are going to help? Do you realize how many times in Daily Apostle's fourteen year history of supplying annual Thanksgiving Baskets to Pontiac and Lansing and having provided a weekly door-to-door food delivery to Pontiac families for nearly ten years Daily Apostle and the Farmington Hills OP Nuns have sought the Intercession of The Blessed Mother and St. Joseph in the eleventh hour because the food supply or donations were low despite the need still having to be met! Talk about learning Trust in the LORD on the fly. You develop strong faith in the Living God.

Recently, my wife told me of a couple that had a child. The husband approached his wife, "Honey, we have always considered adopting a child." After praying together they agreed that they needed to do this. So, they placed a request on their FaceBook page: asking to adopt a baby, regardless of the circumstance.

The couple's FaceBook request was forwarded five times finally reaching an older sister of a fifteen-year old who was pregnant who refused her mother's attempts to have the baby aborted -- even taking her to an abortion mill where the abortionist had her prepped, ready to do the abortion. The young girl refused. The older sister informed her mother and sister of this couple. The mother said," You must find adoptive parents right now!" The couple was contacted and the adoption was finalized. Blessed Be God! More husbands and wives need to take a similar leap of faith.

I would like to share with you the importance of being a First Responder. It was brought to my attention that the young, expectant mother of twin girls was a very troubled teen needing prayer and direction. I met her at her cousin's funeral. You see, her cousin was Daily Apostle's weekly food delivery driver. She assured me she was going to have the twins. I assured her at the funeral -- Daily Apostle would assist her.

To my utter surprise the family provided a Baby Shower for her in May which no one showed up to. Over $200 was spent on food. She gave birth to twin girls on June 17, 2013. Her mother said, "The babies saved her life." God dramatically intervenes in our lives; most often when we least expect it.

I sent out an email on Tuesday June 18 to the pro-life arm of Daily Apostle. My wife had already contacted 40 Days For Life Lansing the day the babies were born, alerting them of this dire situation. The young mom brought the babies home from the hospital on Saturday June 22. How certain donors rapidly responded was incredible. Three checks and two gift cards awaited them.

A mother of five donated a twin stroller since her three-year old twin boys had recently outgrown it. She and her husband adopted the baby boys saving them from abortion. The irony was she had the stroller on Craig's List for sale, but I saw her and her family coming out of St. Mary Cathedral following Mass on Friday. I immediately asked her about the stroller's availability, explaining the Baby Item Collection Drive and she said, "It's hers."

A mother of eight, her final two children, twin girls, donated a breast pump. She then contacted a friend who asked what the babies needed. My wife provided a thorough list. She went to Walmart and purchased everything. A young couple with two boys, financially strapped themselves, donated a beautiful baby bed. Their donation made me reflect upon the widow's mite and Jesus' response to her total gift.

40 Days For Life Lansing responded in a giant way. Girls For Life hosted a Baby Shower for the young mother on Wednesday June 26. Nearly fifty people attended. It was a heartwarming, splendid Act of Love. The Pontiac contingent not only left with a Trailblazer packed with wonderful baby gifts, but fond memories and forever friendships with the girls aged 8-18. Every young lady there glowed as they held the twins in their arms.

Daily Apostle's goal is to provide 500 Thanksgiving Baskets in 2013 -- 250 Baskets to young mothers and families in the Pontiac, Lansing areas, Detroit, and Flint -- who chose life despite difficult circumstances. http://www.dailyapostle.org click on Thanksgiving 2013.

You or any Pro-life Group can perform many similar Acts of Kindness for expectant mothers and those even considering abortion. Helping out the local inner-city community with the greatest need is vital. It can be as simple as keeping the Crisis Pregnancy Center's shelves stocked with diapers, wipes, and baby items to providing a Baby Shower for an impoverished mother. The opportunities and The Lord's Reward are boundless. Faith in action must be your courageous, continuous response.

On Friday June 28 I learned about a 24-year old expectant mother from Lansing, MI who is four months pregnant. She is struggling financially. She recently had to give up her apartment. The overwhelming response to the 19-year old Pontiac mother with twins makes me hopeful that we will support this mother, too. To make a donation, please email trinity@dailyapostle.org

Two Daily Apostles made the delivery to Pontiac and arrived back in Lansing around 12:30pm. This was a Godsend. Pontiac, MI had heavy rain, high winds, flooding, power outages, and downed trees starting around 5pm that evening.

A 40 Days for Life prayer participant shares her story of prayer, hope, faith and adoption of twin babies. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xJK-ENzsyAs#action=share I was present at this miraculous event. Seeing the twins growth and development in a loving, faith-filled family environment demonstrates The Father's Plan of Salvation in action!

Annual National Sidewalk Counseling Symposium Minneapolis, MN, July 25-27. ďThousands of lives have been saved by sidewalk counseling,Ē said Brian Gibson, Executive Director of Pro-Life Action Ministries, which is hosting this third annual symposium. ďWe believe even more lives can be saved by recruiting and training more sidewalk counselors and organizing local sidewalk counseling efforts all over the country.Ē Presenters include Shawn Carney, Rev. Walter Hoye, John Jakubczyk, Esq., Dr. Monica Miller, Fr. Frank Pavone, Ann Scheidler, Joe Scheidler, Eric Scheidler, Edmund Miller, Alica Wong, and Pro-Life Action Ministries staff: Brian Gibson, Debra Braun, Rev. Brian Walker, Stephanie Welter and Kristin Windey. TO SIGN UP FOR THE CONFERENCE go to: www.plam.org/news/nscsflyer.pdf or call (651) 771-1500

God Bless,

Brent Heyer

 

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2013 MEDITATIONS OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS DURING THE DAILY MASSES CELEBRATED IN THE
CHAPEL OF THE DOMUS SANCTAE MARTHAE
 
by L'Osservatore Romano
 
  • God's time (27 May 2013)                                                                   



Monsignor George C. Michalek: Book Review

SOLEMNITY OF PENTECOST
HOLY MASS WITH THE ECCLESIAL MOVEMENTS

HOMILY OF POPE FRANCIS

Saint Peter's Square
Sunday, 19 May 2013

[Video]

 

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Today we contemplate and re-live in the liturgy the outpouring of the Holy Spirit sent by the risen Christ upon his Church; an event of grace which filled the Upper Room in Jerusalem and then spread throughout the world.

But what happened on that day, so distant from us and yet so close as to touch the very depths of our hearts? Luke gives us the answer in the passage of the Acts of the Apostles which we have heard (2:1-11). The evangelist brings us back to Jerusalem, to the Upper Room where the apostles were gathered. The first element which draws our attention is the sound which suddenly came from heaven “like the rush of a violent wind”, and filled the house; then the “tongues as of fire” which divided and came to rest on each of the apostles. Sound and tongues of fire: these are clear, concrete signs which touch the apostles not only from without but also within: deep in their minds and hearts. As a result, “all of them were filled with the Holy Spirit”, who unleashed his irresistible power with amazing consequences: they all “began to speak in different languages, as the Spirit gave them ability”. A completely unexpected scene opens up before our eyes: a great crowd gathers, astonished because each one heard the apostles speaking in his own language. They all experience something new, something which had never happened before: “We hear them, each of us, speaking our own language”. And what is it that they are they speaking about? “God’s deeds of power”.

In the light of this passage from Acts, I would like to reflect on three words linked to the working of the Holy Spirit: newness, harmony and mission.

1. Newness always makes us a bit fearful, because we feel more secure if we have everything under control, if we are the ones who build, program and plan our lives in accordance with our own ideas, our own comfort, our own preferences. This is also the case when it comes to God. Often we follow him, we accept him, but only up to a certain point. It is hard to abandon ourselves to him with complete trust, allowing the Holy Spirit to be the soul and guide of our lives in our every decision. We fear that God may force us to strike out on new paths and leave behind our all too narrow, closed and selfish horizons in order to become open to his own. Yet throughout the history of salvation, whenever God reveals himself, he brings newness - God always brings newness -, and demands our complete trust: Noah, mocked by all, builds an ark and is saved; Abram leaves his land with only a promise in hand; Moses stands up to the might of Pharaoh and leads his people to freedom; the apostles, huddled fearfully in the Upper Room, go forth with courage to proclaim the Gospel. This is not a question of novelty for novelty’s sake, the search for something new to relieve our boredom, as is so often the case in our own day. The newness which God brings into our life is something that actually brings fulfillment, that gives true joy, true serenity, because God loves us and desires only our good. Let us ask ourselves today: Are we open to “God’s surprises”? Or are we closed and fearful before the newness of the Holy Spirit? Do we have the courage to strike out along the new paths which God’s newness sets before us, or do we resist, barricaded in transient structures which have lost their capacity for openness to what is new? We would do well to ask ourselves these questions all through the day.

2. A second thought: the Holy Spirit would appear to create disorder in the Church, since he brings the diversity of charisms and gifts; yet all this, by his working, is a great source of wealth, for the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of unity, which does not mean uniformity, but which leads everything back to harmony. In the Church, it is the Holy Spirit who creates harmony. One of Fathers of the Church has an expression which I love: the Holy Spirit himself is harmony – “Ipse harmonia est”. He is indeed harmony. Only the Spirit can awaken diversity, plurality and multiplicity, while at the same time building unity. Here too, when we are the ones who try to create diversity and close ourselves up in what makes us different and other, we bring division. When we are the ones who want to build unity in accordance with our human plans, we end up creating uniformity, standardization. But if instead we let ourselves be guided by the Spirit, richness, variety and diversity never become a source of conflict, because he impels us to experience variety within the communion of the Church. Journeying together in the Church, under the guidance of her pastors who possess a special charism and ministry, is a sign of the working of the Holy Spirit. Having a sense of the Church is something fundamental for every Christian, every community and every movement. It is the Church which brings Christ to me, and me to Christ; parallel journeys are very dangerous! When we venture beyond (proagon) the Church’s teaching and community – the Apostle John tells us in his Second Letter - and do not remain in them, we are not one with the God of Jesus Christ (cf. 2 Jn v. 9). So let us ask ourselves: Am I open to the harmony of the Holy Spirit, overcoming every form of exclusivity? Do I let myself be guided by him, living in the Church and with the Church?

3. A final point. The older theologians used to say that the soul is a kind of sailboat, the Holy Spirit is the wind which fills its sails and drives it forward, and the gusts of wind are the gifts of the Spirit. Lacking his impulse and his grace, we do not go forward. The Holy Spirit draws us into the mystery of the living God and saves us from the threat of a Church which is gnostic and self-referential, closed in on herself; he impels us to open the doors and go forth to proclaim and bear witness to the good news of the Gospel, to communicate the joy of faith, the encounter with Christ. The Holy Spirit is the soul of mission. The events that took place in Jerusalem almost two thousand years ago are not something far removed from us; they are events which affect us and become a lived experience in each of us. The Pentecost of the Upper Room in Jerusalem is the beginning, a beginning which endures. The Holy Spirit is the supreme gift of the risen Christ to his apostles, yet he wants that gift to reach everyone. As we heard in the Gospel, Jesus says: “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to remain with you forever” (Jn 14:16). It is the Paraclete Spirit, the “Comforter”, who grants us the courage to take to the streets of the world, bringing the Gospel! The Holy Spirit makes us look to the horizon and drive us to the very outskirts of existence in order to proclaim life in Jesus Christ. Let us ask ourselves: do we tend to stay closed in on ourselves, on our group, or do we let the Holy Spirit open us to mission? Today let us remember these three words: newness, harmony and mission.

Today’s liturgy is a great prayer which the Church, in union with Jesus, raises up to the Father, asking him to renew the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. May each of us, and every group and movement, in the harmony of the Church, cry out to the Father and implore this gift. Today too, as at her origins, the Church, in union with Mary, cries out: “Veni, Sancte Spiritus! Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful, and kindle in them the fire of your love!” Amen.

 

© Copyright 2013 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana

 

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riga
FINAL MASS
WORDS OF THE HOLY FATHER
AT THE BEGINNING OF THE EUCHARISTIC CELEBRATION
Cuatro Vientos Air Base, Madrid
Sunday, 21 August 2011
 
 
Dear Young Friends:

 
I have been thinking a lot about you during this time in which we have been separated. I hope you have been able to get some sleep in spite of the weather. I am sure that since dawn you have raised up your eyes more than once, and not only your eyes but above all your hearts, turning this occasion into prayer. God turns all things into good. With this confidence and trusting in the Lord who never abandons us, let us begin our Eucharistic celebration, full of enthusiasm and strong in our faith.
***
HOMILY
Dear Young People,

 
In this celebration of the Eucharist we have reached the high point of this World Youth Day. Seeing you here, gathered in such great numbers from all parts of the world, fills my heart with joy. I think of the special love with which Jesus is looking upon you. Yes, the Lord loves you and calls you his friends (cf. Jn 15:15). He goes out to meet you and he wants to accompany you on your journey, to open the door to a life of fulfilment and to give you a share in his own closeness to the Father. For our part, we have come to know the immensity of his love and we want to respond generously to his love by sharing with others the joy we have received. Certainly, there are many people today who feel attracted by the figure of Christ and want to know him better. They realize that he is the answer to so many of our deepest concerns. But who is he really? How can someone who lived on this earth so long ago have anything in common with me today?

 
The Gospel we have just heard (cf. Mt 16:13-20) suggests two different ways of knowing Christ. The first is an impersonal knowledge, one based on current opinion. When Jesus asks: ďWho do people say that the Son of Man is?Ē, the disciples answer: ďSome say John the Baptist, but others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophetsĒ. In other words, Christ is seen as yet another religious figure, like those who came before him. Then Jesus turns to the disciples and asks them: ďBut who do you say that I am?Ē Peter responds with what is the first confession of faith: ďYou are the Messiah, the Son of the living GodĒ. Faith is more than just empirical or historical facts; it is an ability to grasp the mystery of Christís person in all its depth.

 
Yet faith is not the result of human effort, of human reasoning, but rather a gift of God: ďBlessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heavenĒ. Faith starts with God, who opens his heart to us and invites us to share in his own divine life. Faith does not simply provide information about who Christ is; rather, it entails a personal relationship with Christ, a surrender of our whole person, with all our understanding, will and feelings, to Godís self-revelation. So Jesusí question: ďBut who do you say that I am?Ē, is ultimately a challenge to the disciples to make a personal decision in his regard. Faith in Christ and discipleship are strictly interconnected.

 
And, since faith involves following the Master, it must become constantly stronger, deeper and more mature, to the extent that it leads to a closer and more intense relationship with Jesus. Peter and the other disciples also had to grow in this way, until their encounter with the Risen Lord opened their eyes to the fullness of faith.

 
Dear young people, today Christ is asking you the same question which he asked the Apostles: ďWho do you say that I am?Ē Respond to him with generosity and courage, as befits young hearts like your own. Say to him: ďJesus, I know that you are the Son of God, who have given your life for me. I want to follow you faithfully and to be led by your word. You know me and you love me. I place my trust in you and I put my whole life into your hands. I want you to be the power that strengthens me and the joy which never leaves meĒ.
Jesusí responds to Peterís confession by speaking of the Church: ďAnd I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my ChurchĒ. What do these words mean? Jesus builds the Church on the rock of the faith of Peter, who confesses that Christ is God.

 
The Church, then, is not simply a human institution, like any other. Rather, she is closely joined to God. Christ himself speaks of her as ďhisĒ Church. Christ cannot be separated from the Church any more than the head can be separated from the body (cf. 1 Cor 12:12). The Church does not draw her life from herself, but from the Lord.

 
Dear young friends, as the Successor of Peter, let me urge you to strengthen this faith which has been handed down to us from the time of the Apostles. Make Christ, the Son of God, the centre of your life. But let me also remind you that following Jesus in faith means walking at his side in the communion of the Church. We cannot follow Jesus on our own. Anyone who would be tempted to do so ďon his ownĒ, or to approach the life of faith with that kind of individualism so prevalent today, will risk never truly encountering Jesus, or will end up following a counterfeit Jesus.

 
Having faith means drawing support from the faith of your brothers and sisters, even as your own faith serves as a support for the faith of others. I ask you, dear friends, to love the Church which brought you to birth in the faith, which helped you to grow in the knowledge of Christ and which led you to discover the beauty of his love. Growing in friendship with Christ necessarily means recognizing the importance of joyful participation in the life of your parishes, communities and movements, as well as the celebration of Sunday Mass, frequent reception of the sacrament of Reconciliation, and the cultivation of personal prayer and meditation on Godís word.

 
Friendship with Jesus will also lead you to bear witness to the faith wherever you are, even when it meets with rejection or indifference. We cannot encounter Christ and not want to make him known to others. So do not keep Christ to yourselves! Share with others the joy of your faith. The world needs the witness of your faith, it surely needs God. I think that the presence here of so many young people, coming from all over the world, is a wonderful proof of the fruitfulness of Christís command to the Church: ďGo into all the world and proclaim the Gospel to the whole creationĒ (Mk 16:15). You too have been given the extraordinary task of being disciples and missionaries of Christ in other lands and countries filled with young people who are looking for something greater and, because their heart tells them that more authentic values do exist, they do not let themselves be seduced by the empty promises of a lifestyle which has no room for God.

 
Dear young people, I pray for you with heartfelt affection. I commend all of you to the Virgin Mary and I ask her to accompany you always by her maternal intercession and to teach you how to remain faithful to Godís word. I ask you to pray for the Pope, so that, as the Successor of Peter, he may always confirm his brothers and sisters in the faith. May all of us in the Church, pastors and faithful alike, draw closer to the Lord each day. May we grow in holiness of life and be effective witnesses to the truth that Jesus Christ is indeed the Son of God, the Saviour of all mankind and the living source of our hope. Amen.
 
© Copyright 2011 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana
 
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EUCHARIST WITH SEMINARIANS
HOMILY OF HIS HOLINESS BENEDICT XVI

Cathedral of Santa MarŪa la Real de la Almudena, Madrid
Saturday, 20 August 2011
 
 
Your Eminence the Archbishop of Madrid,
Dear Brother Bishops,
Dear Priests and Religious,
Dear Rectors and Formators,
Dear Seminarians,
Dear Friends,

 
I am very pleased to celebrate Holy Mass with you who aspire to be Christís priests for the service of the Church and of man, and I thank you for the kind words with which you welcomed me. Today, this holy cathedral church of Santa MarŪa La Real de la Almudena is like a great Upper Room, where the Lord greatly desires to celebrate the Passover with you who wish one day to preside in his name at the mysteries of salvation. Looking at you, I again see proof of how Christ continues to call young disciples and to make them his apostles, thus keeping alive the mission of the Church and the offer of the Gospel to the world. As seminarians you are on the path towards a sacred goal: to continue the mission which Christ received from the Father. Called by him, you have followed his voice and, attracted by his loving gaze, you now advance towards the sacred ministry. Fix your eyes upon him who through his incarnation is the supreme revelation of God to the world and who through his resurrection faithfully fulfills his promise. Give thanks to him for this sign of favour in which he holds each one of you.

 
The first reading which we heard shows us Christ as the new and eternal priest who made of himself a perfect offering. The response to the psalm may be aptly applied to him since, at his coming into the world, he said to the Father, ďHere I am to do your willĒ (cf. Ps 39:8). He tried to please him in all things: in his words and actions, along the way or welcoming sinners. His life was one of service and his longing was a constant prayer, placing himself in the name of all before the Father as the first-born son of many brothers and sisters. The author of the Letter to the Hebrews states that, by a single offering, he brought to perfection for all time those of us who are called to share his sonship (cf. Heb 10:14).

 
The Eucharist, whose institution is mentioned in the Gospel just proclaimed (cf. Lk 22:14-20), is the real expression of that unconditional offering of Jesus for all, even for those who betrayed him. It was the offering of his body and blood for the life of mankind and for the forgiveness of sins. His blood, a sign of life, was given to us by God as a covenant, so that we might apply the force of his life wherever death reigns due to our sins, and thus destroy it. Christís body broken and his blood outpoured Ė the surrender of his freedom Ė became through these Eucharistic signs the new source of mankindís redeemed freedom. In Christ, we have the promise of definitive redemption and the certain hope of future blessings. Through Christ we know that we are not walking towards the abyss, the silence of nothingness or death, but are rather pilgrims on the way to a promised land, on the way to him who is our end and our beginning.

 
Dear friends, you are preparing yourselves to become apostles with Christ and like Christ, and to accompany your fellow men and women along their journey as companions and servants.
 

 
How should you behave during these years of preparation? First of all, they should be years of interior silence, of unceasing prayer, of constant study and of gradual insertion into the pastoral activity and structures of the Church. A Church which is community and institution, family and mission, the creation of Christ through his Holy Spirit, as well as the result of those of us who shape it through our holiness and our sins. God, who does not hesitate to make of the poor and of sinners his friends and instruments for the redemption of the human race, willed it so. The holiness of the Church is above all the objective holiness of the very person of Christ, of his Gospel and his sacraments, the holiness of that power from on high which enlivens and impels it. We have to be saints so as not to create a contradiction between the sign that we are and the reality that we wish to signify.

 
Meditate well upon this mystery of the Church, living the years of your formation in deep joy, humbly, clear-mindedly and with radical fidelity to the Gospel, in an affectionate relation to the time spent and the people among whom you live. No one chooses the place or the people to whom he is sent, and every time has its own challenges; but in every age God gives the right grace to face and overcome those challenges with love and realism. That is why, no matter the circumstances in which he finds and however difficult they may be, the priest must grow in all kinds of good works, keeping alive within him the words spoken on his Ordination day, by which he was exhorted to model his life on the mystery of the Lordís cross.

 
To be modeled on Christ, dear seminarians, is to be identified ever more closely with him who, for our sake, became servant, priest and victim. To be modeled on him is in fact the task upon which the priest spends his entire life. We already know that it is beyond us and we will not fully succeed but, as St Paul says, we run towards the goal, hoping to reach it (cf. Phil 3:12-14).

 
That said, Christ the High Priest is also the Good Shepherd who cares for his sheep, even giving his life for them (cf. Jn 10:11). In order to liken yourselves to the Lord in this as well, your heart must mature while in seminary, remaining completely open to the Master. This openness, which is a gift of the Holy Spirit, inspires the decision to live in celibacy for the sake of the kingdom of heaven and, leaving aside the worldís goods, live in austerity of life and sincere obedience, without pretence.

 
Ask him to let you imitate him in his perfect charity towards all, so that you do not shun the excluded and sinners, but help them convert and return to the right path. Ask him to teach you how to be close to the sick and the poor in simplicity and generosity. Face this challenge without anxiety or mediocrity, but rather as a beautiful way of living our human life in gratuitousness and service, as witnesses of God made man, messengers of the supreme dignity of the human person and therefore its unconditional defenders. Relying on his love, do not be intimidated by surroundings that would exclude God and in which power, wealth and pleasure are frequently the main criteria ruling peopleís lives. You may be shunned along with others who propose higher goals or who unmask the false gods before whom many now bow down. That will be the moment when a life deeply rooted in Christ will clearly be seen as something new and it will powerfully attract those who truly search for God, truth and justice.

 
Under the guidance of your formators, open your hearts to the light of the Lord, to see if this path which demands courage and authenticity is for you. Approach the priesthood only if you are firmly convinced that God is calling you to be his ministers, and if you are completely determined to exercise it in obedience to the Churchís precepts.

 
With this confidence, learn from him who described himself as meek and humble of heart, leaving behind all earthly desire for his sake so that, rather than pursuing your own good, you build up your brothers and sisters by the way you live, as did the patron saint of the diocesan clergy of Spain, St John of Avila. Moved by his example, look above all to the Virgin Mary, Mother of Priests. She will know how to mould your hearts according to the model of Christ, her divine Son, and she will teach you how to treasure for ever all that he gained on Calvary for the salvation of the world. Amen.

Announcement of the Holy Father

 
Dear Brothers and Sisters,

 
With great joy, here in this Cathedral Church of Santa MarŪa La Real de la Almudena, I announce to the People of God that, having acceded to the desire expressed by Cardinal Antonio MarŪa Rouco Varela, Archbishop of Madrid and President of the Bishopsí Conference of Spain, together with the members of the Spanish episcopate and other Archbishops and Bishops from throughout the world, as well as many of the lay faithful, I will shortly declare Saint John of Avila a Doctor of the universal Church.

 
In making this announcement here, I would hope that the word and the example of this outstanding pastor will enlighten all priests and those who look forward to the day of their priestly ordination.

 
I invite everyone to look to Saint John of Avila and I commend to his intercession the Bishops of Spain and those of the whole world, as well as all priests and seminarians. As they persevere in the same faith which he taught, may they model their hearts on that of Jesus Christ the good Shepherd, to whom be glory and honour for ever. Amen.
 
© Copyright 2011 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana
 
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Blessed John XXIII Community http://www.getholy.com -- Fr Jeff Robideau celebrates the Latin Mass every Sunday
at 11:00am, Tuesday 6:30pm, and Wednesday 8:00am in St. Mary Cathedral Crypt Lansing, MI
To visit photo gallery, Go Here..
 




HOLY SPIRIT ORATORY FOR PERPETUAL EUCHARISTIC ADORATION

12th ANNIVERSARY Ė OCTOBER 21, 2010 - IHM CHURCH - LANSING, MI


On Meeting Jesus through Eucharistic Adoration
Talk by Father Jeff
 
 
Thank you very much for that gracious introduction and welcome from all of you. Iím so grateful to be here.
 
Letís have St. Paul bring us back. Hereís that reading again from the Mass and Ephesians. Brothers and sisters, I kneel before the Father from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named; that He may grant you, in accord with the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His spirit in the inner-self and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith so that you, rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend, with all the holy ones, what is the breadth and length and height and depth and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to accomplish far more than all we can ask or imagine by the power at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.
 
Itís as if St. Paul were writing to you about adoring Him. Iíve been looking forward to this evening especially because we get to reflect together on prayer, on adoring our Lord in the Eucharist. I find that often I am encouraging people to come here and adore Him -- spend time with Him in prayer. But you all are already doing it, at least most of you, almost everyone, comes here to pray with Him. So I should probably really just give a short talk and say KEEP IT UP!

But of course, what happens there is you love Him, receiving His Love, sharing in His Love, loving Him in return. So, because it's love there, there is always more, always more love. So tonight letís reflect together about what happens there in the adoration chapel. It begins with an encounter, the encounter we just had in Holy Mass, an encounter that happens every time you walk into the adoration chapel, you genuflect to Him, you see Him there, an encounter with a Person.

Pope Benedict [XVI], when he began his pontificate, his first encyclical Deus Caritas Est, established the whole church, the whole world, established his pontificate, his mission right at the heart of that mission. The first words of that encyclical are God is Love and he says he acknowledges the centrality of love when he speaks of this encounter. Being Christian, Pope Benedict writes, is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea but the encounter with an event, a Person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction. So thatís what happens in adoration. Then what do you do? What do you do in adoration?

I was visiting my brother and his family. He has two little daughters, my two nieces. One of them was two [years old]. I sent them some books at Christmas time, some picture books, one about the Bible, one about Our Blessed Mother. Thatís what you get for Christmas when youíre uncle is a priest (CHUCKLES) even though youíre two.

I took my niece on my lap and we were looking at the picture book of Our Blessed Mother Mary. I wanted to go through and make sure she knew her so I kept asking her, Who is that? But she had a different question at that time of her life, her favorite question then was: What doing?

What doing?, she asked my brother, her dad. Her mother goes into the kitchen, What doing? Ė She asks her uncle, What doing? Ė Well, Iím reading to you. So I was asking my question, Whoís that? [She said:] Jesus! Whoís that? [She said:] Mary!

Then we got to the end of the book. Right close to the end, I didnít really expect it, but there was Our Lord Jesus on the Cross and Our Blessed Mother Mary right at the foot of the Cross and I said, Whoís that? She said, Jesus. Then she asked her question: What doing? I didnít really know what to say to a two-year old about what He is doing there, so I said, Heís dying. Then I realized right away that that probably wasnít the right thing to say. (CHUCKLING) I knew then that the better response was, Ask your mother. (CHUCKLING) Right after I said he's dying, I said, He's loving. And that probably confused her even more, but it was good for me to hear those words coming out of my mouth. Whatís He doing there? Heís loving.

Tonight, I want to wonder with you if my little two-year old niece walked into the adoration chapel and saw you kneeling there and she said, What doing? What doing? You know what might we say: Adoring? - No. Praying? - Okay, maybe Reading. What are you doing there? Youíre loving!

St. Therese, she said her mission was to love and to be loved and to make Love loved. St. Jose Maria said, We are in love with Love, with the Author of Love. And we privileged few who know about adoration, who know we can meet Him there, that we can encounter Him whenever we want, that He is waiting there for us to come and visit. We have this great privilege of going there to love Him and thatís what weíre meant to do!

Pope Benedict, when he recently visited England, partly to beatify John Henry Cardinal Newman. He spoke to the young people in such beautiful terms based on his theme, the theme for his whole trip was cor ad cor. It comes from Blessed John Henryís motto, which was cor ad cor loquitor, heart speaks to heart. So when he met with the young people, our Holy Father, Pope Benedict, wanted to welcome them in that way, heart speaks to heart, cor ad cor.

So he then spoke of that theme with which he began his pontificate, the theme of love, the central theme. He said to them, Think of all the love that your heart was made to receive and all the love that it is meant to give. After all, weíre made for love. He said, We are made to receive love. We are made to give love. And then he said this which I couldnít help but think of adoration, Jesus is always there, quietly waiting for us to be still with Him and to hear his voice, deep within your heart. Heís calling you to spend time with Him in prayer. What do you do in adoration? You go to love Him.

In his letter on the Eucharist, he calls the Eucharist the Sacramentum Caritatis,,thatís Latin for the Sacrament of Love. Thatís what the Lord Himself called the Eucharist when he appeared to St. Margaret Mary and showed her His Sacred Heart. He called the Eucharist, the Sacrament of Love, the Sacrament of Charity. Pope Benedict wrote, The Sacrament of Charity, the Holy Eucharist, is the gift that Jesus Christ makes of Himself, thus revealing to us Godís infinite love for every man and woman. This wondrous sacrament makes manifest that greater love which led Him to lay down His life for His friends. Jesus indeed loved them to the end. Then he continues, In the same way, Jesus continues in the Sacrament of the Eucharist to love us to the end, even to offering His Body and His Blood. What wonder must the Eucharistic mystery also awaken in our own hearts?

Our Lord comes to us in the Eucharist for one purpose, Love. Thatís the way He loves us, that's the way He invites us to love. I mentioned that quote in the sacristy in the Convent of the Missionaries of Charity, Mother Teresaís sisters, but then by the crucifix they have the two words, I thirst. By every crucifix, throughout the world, wherever the Missionaries of Charity are, it says, I thirst there. Of course, that's Our Lordís words from the Cross but to St. Margaret Mary He clarified what He meant by that, I thirst.

Our Lord said to St. Margaret Mary when He was showing her His Sacred Heart, I thirst but with a thirst so burning to be loved by man in the Blessed Sacrament that this thirst is consuming me and I find nobody who would make an effort to meet my desire to quench my thirst and respond to my love. He comes to be loved and no one loves Him!

But we come to adore Him that we might love Him. St. Therese when she was reflecting about her own mission talked about how essential it was to make Love loved. Oh, how little God is loved on this earth even by priests and religious. No, God isnít loved very much, St. Therese said on her deathbed.

Now itís time to be honest here. For us who have the privilege of adoring Our Lord Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament, itís not just about keep it up, no. We all want more. We know we need more and we might say, how little God is loved on this earth not even by priests and religious, thatís sadly true, but we might say even by those who go to adore Him in the Eucharistic chapel. And also, many of us have this sense that there is more. Weíre not loving Him as much as we want to, as much as we need to, it seems as if thatís not always the point. Sometimes we fall into a mistaken notion that love is just an extra, not really the whole purpose of our life as Pope Benedict says. For that we just have to remember the great commandment to love, that we are there to love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind, with all our strength. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your mind, and with all your strength.

Now if you are going to adoration, youíre loving Him with your strength, thatís with your body, youíre putting yourself there. If youíre reading something, youíre loving him with your mind, you're thinking about Him. What about your HEART? What about your SOUL?
 
Love is repaid by love alone, St. John of the Cross says and St. Therese after Him, Love is repaid by love alone, and He comes to love you there. Iím not going to tell you to love Him. Let's talk together about how you love Him. You all know how to love. Youíve learned lessons of love in your life. Youíve learned them most of all from HIM.

How do you love someone? Our Lord Jesus shows you. First and foremost, you go to Him. You learn it from looking at Him. How does He love you? He comes to you. He comes to you in the most profound way, completely, unbelievable. Even with all the prophesies, we could not have imagined He would come in this way to be one with us, that God would become man in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary. He comes to us on the Cross to be with us in our suffering. He comes to us to be with us in our death, in the tomb. But that wasnít enough, He wanted to be with us in an even more profound way, God with us, Emmanuel; God with us, in the Eucharist.

He was going up to Heaven to reign with His Father, just to come and get us, bring us to reign with Him, to be with Him in heaven, but we were going to be left alone down here. And He knew we couldnít bear it, not to be alone, not to be without Him, and He loved us. He didnít want to be apart from us and so He found a way to be with you by becoming the Eucharist. How do you love someone? You go to BE with them. So, thatís the first thing we do and really itís the most important thing, whether youíre signing up or whether youíre just showing up. You go to Him. You go to Him. It means so much to Him. He knows Love, He is, as St. Jose Maria said, the Author of Love. Weíre going to love Love and He knows everything about love and how much it means to Him that you go to be with Him.

St. Therese said, I go to be with Him, not because it pleases ME but because it pleases HIM. I know who God is. Heís a Father who wants me on his knee. If youíve ever held a child on your knee and felt the joy of loving that child, felt the joy of that child letting you love Him, then you know just a little about what Our Lord feels when you come to Him. All you have to do is walk in that door, a little glance at the Host there, Our Lordís Sacred Heart exposed to you, and you care to come! Thatís LOVE! Thatís love! But we know there's more. When you love someone, there is something about the way you look at them. When I was in college, I dated just a little bitÖ just a little bit. (CHUCKLE) And I was sitting at the coffee shop with this young woman and she said, Why are you looking at me that way? And I said, You know, I think Iím in love with you. And she said, Oh. (CHUCKLE) Not quite the response I was hoping for. (LAUGHS) Yeah. You wonít be surprised that it didnít work out. (CHUCKLE) Love, love did something to my eyes though. I looked at her differently. It kindled something in my heart.

When you walk in that chapel, the first thing is you're going to Him. That's love. You look at Him. You LOOK at HIM. Heís exposed to you there. You look at Him. Why? Because you love Him. Okay, so because you love Him, while you look at Him, just gaze at Him for a moment. Look at Him and love Him.

When you love someone, you go to be with them and you look at them with love and then you talk to them in a loving way. St. Jose Maria said, For me the tabernacle (we could say the adoration chapel as well) has always been another Bethany, the quiet and pleasant place where Christ resides, a place where we can tell Him about our worries, about our sufferings, our desires, our joys with the same sort of naturalness as Martha, Mary and Lazarus.

Do you ever feel like you only go to the adoration chapel to complain to Him? I can tell you with great confidence, He doesnít mind that. If He loves you, He wants to hear the matters of your heart and how it would break His Sacred Heart if you kept that to yourself.

St. Jose Maria again says, Thereís only one way to become more familiar with God, to increase our trust in Him, we must come to know Him through prayer. We must speak to Him and show Him through a heart to Heart conversation that we love Him. If you love Him, youíll talk to Him about whatever is on your heart. Whenever you go into that chapel, youíre coming, youíre loving, youíre looking at Him, youíre loving Him and you can always love Him by the way you talk to Him. You can always talk to Him about whatís on your heart. Talk to Him as St. Jose Maria invites, as you would talk to your dearest friend. Whatís on your heart? Is there some worry there? Some suffering? Some desire? Some joy? If youíve ever had a friend, you know how to pray to Our Lord present in the Most Blessed Sacrament.

When you love Him, you go to be with Him, you look at Him with love, then you talk to Him, but then something starts to change. I want to talk about this shift in prayer. Itís the shift from meditation to contemplation. You donít have to get too technical about the terms there. I would just call it a shift to merely loving Him, simply loving Him.

They asked St. Therese (she was on her deathbed), talking about prayer: What do you say to Him, what do you say to Jesus when you pray? She said, I donít say anything to Him. I simply love Him. She said, talking about prayer, For me prayer is a movement of the heart. It is a simple glance towards Heaven. It is a cry of gratitude and love in times of trial as well as in times of joy. Finally, it is something great, natural, which expands my soul and unites me to Jesus, a cry, a glance, a movement of the heart.

Blessed Columba Marmion, the great spiritual master said, A single glance of the hearts can hold an intensity of love. This is something all of us can do the next time we go to the adoration chapel. We can sigh and we can glance at Him with love. I want to encourage you to do that to try it and see what happens. If you can remember that the reason why youíre going there is to love Him, you want to look for opportunities to do that loving. And sometimes love gets purified and it becomes merely loving. Now you lovers know that. When you are with your beloved, and Iím thinking of you who are in the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony especially, when you are with your beloved and you donít need to say anything, just to be with them, thatís that moment of loving. When you just look at your beloved, thatís the kind of love that Our Lord wants and itís something powerful that happens in prayer.

Now it happens in a couple different ways. I could say maybe in two different time frames. It happens in our life of prayer. St. John of the Cross and St. Theresa of Avila talk about this and all of you who are prayĖers should be aware of this, as people who pray, you should be watching for this movement of your heart. Itís meant to happen this way for all of us. Weíre all invited to this love, very simply love.
 
I mean sometimes people talk about mysticism and contemplation and it gets really complicated. Itís very simple. Itís about loving. If youíve ever loved someone, and you all HAVE in your weak and feeble way. That's how we do it. Youíve loved. How He might draw you into love is that eventually when you go to pray, Heíll stir something in your heart and draw you beyond your own intentionality. It won't be what youíre doing, what youíre thinking about, what youíre planning. It will be about what you do. It will be about what He does. It wonít be about your prayer time. It will be about His time. Itís a move from a kind of activity to passivity, but it's not a mere passivity as if you were kind of lying there and doing nothing. No, itís a kind of ACTIVE RECEPTIVITY. Heís stirring in your heart. This is where the heart gets engaged. Loving the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength. So your strength is there, your mind is there. How does He get the heart? He does it. He draws you.

Youíll notice that you're going to pray because He's inviting you. Not just, I need to pray more. No, He's stirring you. He is drawing you. You want to go. Some desire happened in you. You didnít choose that. He planted it there. Watch for that. Respond to it. This is when love becomes FALLING IN LOVE.

Do you ever notice that word we use: falling in love. When you fall in love you donít choose it. It happens TO you. That leads you to a deeper love. It engages the whole of your person. You feel like youíre out of control. And when it comes to prayer, thatís a beautiful thing because then you are in His control and that can lead you into a deeper love.

I just share that with you so that all of us know that this is something that might happen in our lives and we want to watch for it and be aware of it, so we can respond to it. It is not something that we can choose or do, just like you canít choose to fall in love but you can prepare your heart and be ready for it when it happens. So thatís one kind of time-frame over the trajectory of our whole spiritual life.
 
But then thereís the time-frame of our time of adoration, our time of prayer. It can happen in a very simple way there, if we remember what weíre going for. Weíre going there to love. If Iím going there to love, if Iím going to the adoration chapel to love, Iím going to try to love as simply as I can. Iím going to look at Him for a moment at the beginning. Just look at Him as I would look at the woman I go to pick up for the prom, just look at her and say, Oh, you look beautiful. And then I might talk to Him about whatís on my heart but then if thereís nothing to say, I wonít say anything. So often we go to pray and we wrack our brains, What am I supposed to pray about? What am I supposed to pray about? If nothing comes to your mind, donít say anything. Just look at Him, love Him. Maybe there will be a sigh or glance.
 
Now, what about reading at adoration? Now if what we are about is loving, then sometimes you read. You know, sometimes lovers will exchange letters. People have described the Bible as Godís love letter to us. There are other letters and sometimes if your lover gives you a letter, then you want to read it in their presence. Thatís how I look at reading in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. You might glance up at Him every once in a while to remind yourself that itís about Him. It's about you and Him. Itís about an encounter. Itís about Love here. You might read for a little bit and put the book down. Look at Him. Love Him. If thereís nothing stirring in your heart, pick the book up again. Read a little bit more. Some spiritual reading, some reading from Sacred Scripture, and so we might see that trajectory of the whole of the spiritual life as that moment that comes in your life when you kind of put the book down in your prayer and you just go to love Him.

But it happens in a little way for all of us when we go to pray. Something stirs in your heart, you respond to it and you look at Him, you love Him. When itís not happening, you read. Worst case scenario, youíre spending an hour doing some spiritual reading. Best case scenario, youíre love gets purer and purer, more and more of a deeper encounter, less in your control, more of falling in love.
Now, Iím finishing with what I should have started, which is receiving His love. Iím finishing with it because thatís what I want you to hold on to most of all. We return love. We try to love Him back but it ALWAYS starts with receiving. In his great letter, Deus Caritas Est, Pope Benedict describes this dynamic beautifully that we always return to the font, we always return, constantly he says, return to the font, whenever weíre trying to love. Sometimes when weíre getting frustrated with our own ability or inability to love, we look at our own hearts as if we're supposed to conjure it up here. No. No. We receive it from Him first, then we share in that love. So every time you go to pray, every time, let Him remind you how much He loves you. Our Lord said to St. Margaret Mary, Behold this Heart which has loved humankind so much that it has spared itself nothing, even to the point of exhausting it and consuming itself in order to show them its love.

Ask a two-year old question when you go to the adoration chapel: What doing, Lord? What are you doing there? What are you doing in that Host? Why? Why would you make yourself bread for ME? Why would you let me consume you? WHY would I take you as my food? Ask that question, and let Him remind you that itís for love. There could be no other reason. Then youíll be looking at the Host and youíll glance over at the Crucifix there.
 
St. Francis of Assisi in his Stations of the Cross says of the Crucifix, Behold, Jesus crucified. Behold His wounds received for love of you. His whole appearance betokens love. His head is bent to kiss you. His arms are extended to embrace you. His heart is open to receive you. Oh, what Love.

When you forget what your time in adoration is about, itís about loving. Think of those words of St. Francis. He knew how to pray. He knew how to ask that two-year old question: What are you doing? His whole appearance betokens love. His head is bent to kiss you. His arms are extended to embrace you. His heart is open to receive you. Oh, what Love.

Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, Mother Teresa, said, When you see the Crucifix, you know how much Jesus loved you. When you see the Sacred Host, you know how much Jesus loves you now. I donít take it for granted that this happens automatically. It seems to me that there is something in us, well, itís original sin. It's concupiscence the twisting that happened in us, that wound in our heart from original sin. Even though weíre baptized and we've had the original sin washed away, still it left its mark and one of the deepest marks, I think the deepest lies, the lies one priest I know calls the lie of unlovability. I can tell you that, that he loves you, that He's loving you. Whatís He doing? Heís loving YOU. But somehow it doesnít sink in.
 
I was talking to a young woman who is discerning her vocation. She thinks that maybe God is calling her to be a religious sister. So I was talking with her about how much God was loving her, especially when she would go to adoration. And I just could see and feel even in my heart this love of Christ for her, how much it meant to Him that she would come to Him, especially this one who was ready to give her life completely to Him, how much He LOVED her, how much His love was pouring out for her, but just because she would go to pray and He was loving her. And, after talking to her, I went to pray and I thought just for a moment and I was surprised to realize that, that He felt that way about ME too. I mean as I look around this room and Iím kind of surprised but he feels that way about YOU too. When you go to Him, He falls in love with you all over again.
 
I donít take it for granted that this sinks in, because of all the things in the spiritual life, this has been the hardest to sink in for me. I mean, I have to look in the mirror every day and itís hard to believe, Heís in love with me! Really? What about if? No, that doesnít matter to him. What if I could only I get my act together? No, no, no, He doesnít want to have to wait for that or Heíd be waiting a long time. (LAUGHS)

I wonder how the lie stirs in you, that lie of unlovability? I think of a couple in our young adult group at the cathedral. I mean, I know that you all know that He loves you if I would ask any of you: Does He love you? You'd say, Oh yeah, of course,God loves me. No, no, HEíS IN LOVE WITH YOU. Thatís what Iím talking about. I think of this young wife. I think of them because we were out for dinner one time and I heard her husband say, Beloved, he said. Beloved and I knew he wasnít talking to me. (Laughs) He was talking to his wife and he calls her that all the time, Beloved, Beloved. And, if I were to say to her, You know Katie, um, Justin loves you a lot and she were to say, Yeah, he loves everybody. Ė No, no, Katie, he loves YOU a LOT. He loves YOU. Ė Oh, heís a very loving person. Ė No, Katie, HEís IN LOVE WITH YOU!! I mean, thatís how YOU are. I know it. I just know youíre like that with Him. Ė Oh yeah, He loves me. Of course, He loves everybody. Ė No, no, He loves YOU in a particular way! Ė Yeah. Jesus, Heís a very loving God.

Thereís a little song, a beautiful song by Danielle Rose. She wrote a song for every mystery of the rosary, all twenty of them, including the luminous mysteries. The fifth luminous mystery, the Institution of the Eucharist, she sings beautifully in the words of Jesus singing to us. And He has her sing, Hold me in your hands. Kiss me with your lips. Enter into Loveís Communion in this Eucharist.
This makes me think of another song, probably the first song I learned, Jesus Loves Me. Do you know that song? When I was a Protestant kid growing up, thatís another long story. (LAUGHS) But, um, Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so. But I remember the first time I celebrated Mass for the Feast of Corpus Christi. No, no, no, His BODY tells me so. His BODY tells me so. I didnít know it until I met Him there. I learned so much about God's love until I met Him in the Eucharist. There I could see it. Maybe we could sing that little song but weíll say BODY instead of BIBLE. (HE LEADS ALL IN SINGING) Jesus loves me, this I know, because His BODY tells me so, little ones to Him belong, they are weak but He is strong. Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me, His BODY tells me so.

Now youíre going to need a little reminder like that because this truth, which is so essential, does not come automatically. And I donít want Fr. John to have to call the police when people keep singing in the adoration chapel. (LAUGHS) So maybe thatís not the way. But, Blessed Teresa of Calcutta used to teach this little prayer to people, especially to people that were struggling with their faith. She would teach them to pray, Jesus in my heart, I believe in your tender love for me. I love you. Jesus in my heart, I believe in your tender love for me. I love you. Thereís a movie where she has a young woman with tears in her eyes, sheís holding her cheeks and teaching her that prayer. Jesus in my heart, I believe in your tender love for me. I love you.

And now we know so much more about Mother Teresa. We know that she must have prayed that prayer countless times when she wasnít feeling that love. Iím not talking about a mere feeling. Now I want you to feel it sometimes and He does too. We feel love, it stirs in our hearts. Itís not just that. Thatís not the most important thing. It starts with you going to Him. You go to Him there. It means so much to Him. You look at Him with a little bit of love in your eye, even just a little bit means so much. You talk to Him. All it means to share love with someone is to share the matters of your heart. You can all do that. You might read about Him. Like you would read about someone you love. Then maybe youíll put the book down and just love Him. All of that, every single one of us can do. We want to let that love stir with that motivation.

So I encourage you to learn that little prayer of Mother Teresa: Jesus in my heart, I believe in your tender love for me. I love you. Say it with me: Jesus in my heart, I believe in your tender love for me. I love you. Why in my heart? Because you received Him in Holy Communion. Heís in you, loving in you. So, letís say it together again. Jesus in my heart, I believe in your tender love for me. I love you.

So itís LOVE. But she had to remind herself that it was a tender love. She knew it was a severe kind of love, it was a tough love sometimes but it was always tender. And even in its toughness, it was a tenderness. He was tending to her, tending to her dear heart in a very loving way. What does tender mean? It means Heís tending to you, like you would care for someone who is wounded, and our hearts have been wounded by sin, by suffering. He's tending to us. Itís a tender love. Letís say it together again: Jesus, in my heart, I believe in your tender love for me. I love you. I BELIEVE in your love whether I feel it or not in this moment. Itís an act of faith. That little prayer contains an act of faith and an act of love. I believe in your tender love for me. Letís pray it again: Jesus, in my heart, I believe in your tender love for me. I love you. And then in a very little way, in the simplest way possible, with the three words that mean the most it ends with an act of love, I love you, I love you.

Every time, every time you go to adoration, tell Him that. You donít have to feel it all the time because you mean it, youíre showing it, by going there. Love isnít spoken, itís shown, but sometimes it has to be spoken to be shown. Letís say it together one more time: Jesus, in my heart, I believe in your tender love for me. I love you. If we can do these simple things, which we can all do, then this unrequited love which pains the Sacred Heart of Jesus will be just a little bit less unrequited. Weíll return it in our little way. We are little children just like in that song says. But it will mean so much to Him that Love is loved, and more and more people can be drawn into that Love as we surrender to it.
 
Why donít we conclude in prayer. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Loving Lord Jesus, thank you for the gift of Your love. Thank you for making love the foundation of our faith and the purpose of our lives. But you know how little we are, you know how weak and feeble our loving is. We canít do it without Your help. You come to us, not to stand at a distance and demand that we love you. No, You come into our hearts and enkindle in them the fire of Your love. So, we ask you to send your Holy Spirit now, especially to all those who adore you at the Holy Spirit Oratory. Send your Holy Spirit and enkindle in us the fire of Your love. We go there to love You. Help us to love You more and more. Mother, Mary, youíre the only one who always responded to His love, with love, perfectly. And so we ask your prayers. (HE LEADS) Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee, blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of Thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Well, thank you very much for the opportunity to share with you and reflect on such a beautiful topic. I look forward to seeing you there at the Holy Spirit Oratory.

 

 


 

HOLY SPIRIT ORATORY FOR PERPETUAL EUCHARISTIC ADORATION
12th ANNIVERSARY Ė OCTOBER 21, 2010 - IHM CHURCH - LANSING, MI
 
Jesus Draws Us Deeper into the Mystery of His Love
Homily by Father Jeff
 
Thank you very much Father John [Byers] for your gracious hospitality here at Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish. Iím so grateful that our regional chapel for perpetual adoration is here at Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish. It seems perfect to be here under her patronage.
 
One of my greatest consolations about being at St. Maryís Cathedral [in Lansing, Michigan] is that it is dedicated to her. Itís the first parish that Iíve been to that is dedicated to her. Iíve been at St. Maryís Cathedral for over a year now. Mostly itís wonderful. I get to see the Bishop often. I do love our Bishop. We are very fortunate to have the one we have. But Bishop Mengeling, I would see him maybe three or four times a year. And Bishop Boyea, I get to see him maybe three or four times a week. Thatís wonderful. But if it wasnít for St. Maryís Cathedral, then I wouldnít have half the sweet savor. So that means she is the patroness of our diocese. She is the patroness of the Cathedral.
But here, at a parish dedicated, not just to her, but to her Immaculate Heart, we go right to the core of the person who she is, the Mother of the Eucharist, the Mother of her Son, Jesus. So as we gather to celebrate Holy Mass, here, in her parish, a parish dedicated to Her Heart, we ask her to help us enter into this mystery of adoration, mystery of love and peace.
Our Lord says, Here, in answer to His own question, Do you think that I have come to establish peace? No, I have not come to establish peace but rather division. Itís very important for Our Lord, who is the Prince of Peace, to be very clear about the kind of peace He comes to establish. He is the Prince of Peace, even though He doesnít sound like it here, but even more, Heís the King of Love. And the peace that Our Lord brings is the peace that has to be rooted in love. That was St. Paulís prayer. As you know before, he was praying for the Ephesians and praying for us, that you, that we, would be rooted and grounded in love, that we would know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge. Heís inviting us into a deep mystery here. Weíre supposed to know something that we canít know. Perhaps weíre supposed to know this love of Christ in the Biblical sense of knowing, a greater intimacy, a deeper encounter.
I celebrated Holy Mass this morning with Missionaries of Charity in Detroit. I get to go over there to celebrate with them every once in a while. And right in the sacristy, I noticed it the first time I was there but every time it strikes me, right in the sacristy, this is for the priests as they prepare, putting on their vestments, praying their prayers, in preparation for celebrating Holy Mass, there is a sign by the crucifix that says Love to be true, has to hurt -Mother [Teresa]. We donít have to be more specific about who said that. Love to be true, has to hurt. And this love which we are being rooted and grounded in, is a love that grasps hold of us by the heart and hurts.
Iíve seen that love especially when it grasps hold of someone and causes this kind of division, the exact division that Our Lord describes here when a young woman is called to give herself completely to Our Lord by entering religious life, the consecrated life, when she becomes His bride. Itís such a beautiful thing. Sheís grasped by the heart and drawn into the intimacy of that life lived in love with Christ. But Iíve marveled at the divisions it causes. In fact, in my whole ministry as a priest, nothing has caused greater controversy or challenge. I have received more objections about this than anything else Iíve done, than encouraging young women to enter the convent. The mothers, not all the mothers, the fathers, oh my goodness, I had to tell one, she had to warn me when he came to town! (CHUCKLE) The violent reaction, How could you, they might say to me, encourage her to throw away a college education? Shouldnít she kind of take care of the worldly concerns? Is she really going to leave ME, her mother for HIM? They donít know that love, it hasnít grasped them yet, this kind of love that takes over everything and throws all away for Him.
This is what happens here. Itís what happens at Holy Mass, we encounter this love. Itís what happens in adoration, this love is enkindled within us. St. Jose Maria Escriva, the Founder of Opus Dei said, You need a heart that is in love, not an easy life to achieve happiness, a heart that is in love, not an easy life to achieve happiness, because those two things are often incompatible, a heart that is in love and an easy life.
Our Lord is very clear here. The peace that He comes to bring, the love that He draws us into, is not meant to bring us peace as the world knows it, a kind of comfort and ease that makes everything nice and neat. No! He grasps hold by the heart and it causes division especially with anyone who doesnít know this love, who doesnít know Him in that way? They wouldnít understand. They canít understand. How could they? But how could we? Letís be honest. We barely taste it. We just get the merest glimmer of this love but itís enticing us, itís enticing you, or you wouldnít be here. You wouldnít go and gaze at Him in adoration. You wouldnít pray with Him there. Something is stirring in your heart. Itís that love. Will you surrender to it? Youíll see it there on the altar. Youíll see it there in the chapel.
Iíve come to set the earth on fire and how I wish it were already blazing! Well, He set it on fire and now itís blazing! Youíll see that fire in His Sacred Heart. You know the image, the Sacred Heart of Jesus burns with love for all mankind - thereís that fire. His Love is TRUE, the truest love the world has ever known. But Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta was right. Love to be true has to hurt and how it hurts HIM! How can you, how can we, expect to have some kind of easy love when we see HIS poured out here, and here, poured out on the Cross, poured out on the altar, spent for us, loving us to the end?
And then her heart, it didnít have to be that way, except for love, but because of love, it had to be that way. That she would enter so deeply into the mystery of the love of her Son, that in His saving death, her heart would be pierced, pierced by the sword and enflamed, enflamed with love.
You need a heart in love and a heart that hurts. Those two things go together. And weíre here because we want to love more. We want to know Him more. We want to know this love that we cannot know, and so we donít learn about it. He doesnít teach it to us. He shows it to us. He gives it to us. We will receive it in Holy Communion. When you receive Holy Communion tonight, and every time you receive Holy Communion, He gives you a little piece of HIS HEART, and that HEART comes to your heart if itís open to Him. Tonight, especially tonight, letís invite Him there. Tonight isnít a night for learning. It isnít a night for Our Lord to teach us. It is a night for LOVING, for Him to show us, for Him to give us. Itís for you to receive and for all of us to surrender. HIS HEART is enflamed. Her Heart is pierced. May our hearts fall in love and may we grasp Him by THE HEART and let Him grasp us by the heart that He might enflame our hearts with HIS LOVE and draw us deeper and deeper into the MYSTERY OF HIS LOVE.
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St. Stephen Catholic Church New Boston, MI Solemnity of The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, Sunday, June 6, 2010

EUCHARISTIC MIRACLE

This morning at Mass Fr. John Hedges gave a powerful talk on the Holy Eucharist.  He mentioned in  St.  Faustina's Diary that  Jesus told her that many people receive him as a "dead object."    And after Holy Communion, it is as if He is invited in to someone's house and they close the door and leave.  Fr. John told us to prepare well and to spend time in silent adoration thanking God for the wondrous gift of His Son.

 
Then Fr. John told us that we had a desecration of the Eucharist last weekend and that it was not the first time!!!  He said that often people come from all over to an event--wedding, funeral, etc. and march up to receive the Sacrament (despite the fact that he always gives a little explanation about reception of the Eucharist when not a Catholic) or fallen away Catholics who need confession.

 
At any rate, a Consecrated Host was found with a bite out of it and stuck to a hymnal.  Fr. John removed the Consecrated Host, placed it in a container with some water in it to dissolve it and then dispose of it correctly.  The next day he opened the Tabernacle and the Consecrated Host was bleeding!!!  He returned the Consecrated Host to the Tabernacle and viewed it later and the blood was now a small dot visible on the host.  The third time he checked on the Consecrated Host, it was again full of blood.  Fr. John mentioned that this was not the first time this has happened.  He had experienced this before but took it to mean that it was meant for him.  This time he felt that he had to share it with the parish.

 
After Mass Fr. John held prayers for the reparation of the desecration to the sacred species.  With the Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament  we did the Litany to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, had Benediction and recited the Divine Praises.

 
I do not need to tell you how many of us were crying during the talk.   People's faces were RED.  At the end of the Mass, Fr John placed Jesus the Holy Eucharist in the Monstrance  upon the Altar and told us to genuflect on TWO knees and to keep absolute silence as we left.  He himself remained kneeling in front of the Altar until we had all left.