Feb. 28, 2021 Christ the King Cathedral (510) Growing in Mindfulness
“How does God speak? Through everything there is. Everything, every person, every situation, is ultimately the Word. It tells me something and challenges me to respond. Each moment, with all that it contains, spells out the great “yes” in a new and unique way. By making my response, moment by moment, word by word, I myself am becoming the Word that God speaks in me and to me and through me.” (Brother David Steindl-Rast: The Way of Silence)
As if COVID-19 had not prepared us to learn to detach from our comforts, enters winter weather. Were we ever prepared for our walk in the desert wilderness of Lent? Must admit the ice and snow we received reminded us about learning to live without the comforts of shelter, electricity, water, food. The reminder of Lent of minister to those in need, reach out to your neighbor also was presented to us as well.
We may have found ourselves saying, but all I have to offer is “this little bit”. God replied, “That is enough”. Have I already not given you more than you need? “As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” (1 Pt. 4:10)
“If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.” (Mother Teresa and Matthew Kelly: Do Something Beautiful for God: The Essential Teachings of Mother Teresa)
Our 40-days of Lent calls us to Reflect, Repent, and Restore. Some ways of growing in mindfulness that we can do during Lent and make us witnesses of Christ as we be attentive to the needs, thoughts, and feelings of others in our daily life can come in the form of:
Reflect – reading the Word of God. Sign up for daily readings through: Faith ND: faith.nd.edu or United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB): http://www.usccb.org/subscribe/daily-readings-email-subscription-form Another suggestion pause and pray before you begin your day, even for just a moment spend time with Jesus and pray “Please give the grace to see what you want me to do today”.
Repent – Work at avoiding the temptation of not judging others. “When we begin to separate people in our thoughts for unjust reasons, when we start to see some people as ‘them’ and others as ‘us’ we fail to love.” (Open Wide Our Hearts, USCCB)
Restore – We seek to belong. Our giving ‘gift’ to others strengthens a sense of belonging. There is a closer bond between the giver and the thanks-giver. Everything is a gift. God gives freely to us, let us give freely to others. It is our way of saying you are loved – you belong.
Mindfulness is our choice that may cost us our time and perhaps some ego, but which we know God desires. Our obligation is to “participate in shaping the moral character of society a requirement of our faith. It is a basic part of our mission we have received from Jesus Christ.” (Forming Conscience for Faithful Citizenship, no.9)
“A single act of kindness makes the soul return to life.” (St. Maximilian Kolbe)
Feb. 21, 2021 Christ the King Cathedral (476) Rest and Listen
“Be patient with yourself this Lent. This past year has been difficult in many ways. Take your journey one day at a time.” (USCCB: Lent 2021 – Reflect. Repent. Restore.) Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Mt. 11:28)
Chill, rest, relax, take a break, time out, quiet time, disconnect, and stop, are words we are quite familiar within the last several months. These words express the means of our conscious effort, to solve personal and interpersonal challenges, in order to control or minimize or endure stress or conflicts that we have had or currently experiencing.
We may have established some form of adapting to our world’s challenges yet our hearts remain restless with the “what if’s” of what does the future holds. As much as we would like to say we have our lives “under-control” we need help, “spiritual help”. Who best to call upon and rely upon but Jesus Christ? “Lord, you have probed me, you know me; … you understand my thoughts. You sift through my travels and my rest…” (Ps. 139: 1-3)
The season of Lent has arrived at the right time as we are all showing signs of mental, physical, not to mention spiritual fatigue. Our heavy sighs come from being mentally, physically, and emotionally drained and let us not forget to include sleep deprived.
The 40-day season of Lent is our opportunity of preparation to celebrate the Lord’s Resurrection at Easter. Let us use this time to reconnect and rebuild our spiritual life with Jesus Christ. Who knows us better, understands our challenges and can strengthen us on our pilgrimage?
On Ash Wednesday, ashes were sprinkled on our heads so that the fire of love could be kindled in our hearts. We were called during our Lenten journey to self-reflect and allow ourselves to experience the mercy of the Lord and seek a deeper meaning to “rest” in him.
“God is always speaking to us. Listen to Him. He wants from us deep love and compassion. Feel often during the day the need for prayer. Love to pray. (Mother Teresa and Matthew Kelly: Do Something Beautiful for God: The Essential Teachings of Mother Teresa)
Jesus told his apostles to get away with him and this same message is extended to us. Our spiritual needs can come in the forms of prayer, reflecting on Mass readings, spending time before the Blessed Sacrament, or sitting quietly five or ten minutes a day. Our quiet time allows us to rest in him and direct our heart and mind to him.
“While the future may be uncertain to us, we can rest comfortably in the loving control and sovereignty of our Heavenly Father. We can trust in his plan, and we can rely upon his fatherly design and control.” (Mark Hart and Christopher Cuddy: Zelaous)
Feb. 14, 2021 Christ the King Cathedral (507) Living a balanced life
“If you are hungry to hear the voice of God, you will hear. To hear, you have to cut out all the other things.” (Mother Teresa, Matthew Kelly: Do Something Beautiful for God – The Essential Teachings of Mother Teresa)
This year’s Ash Wednesday readings spoke of God’s longing for us, “return to me with your whole heart, with fasting, weeping and mourning; … Then the Lord had compassion for his land and took pity on his people.” (Joel 2: 12-18)
Seems that when we decide on our Lenten commitment, temptation automatically begins to test us to break our promise. “Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in their magnificence…” (Mt. 4: 8)
During the 40 days of Lent we seek to reenergize our faith and prepare our hearts for the Resurrection of Our Lord at Easter. Our biggest hurdle is to choose life, and salvation as a follower of Christ. The choice is our and ours alone, pick up our cross and follow Jesus’ steps. “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” (Lk. 9:23)
The Sunday’s of Lent will address the topics of: Facing Temptation, Preparing for Glory, Pursuing a Life of Virtue, Being Transformed by the Light and concludes with Having the Law in our Hearts. Each of the readings reflects the importance of remaining balanced through prayer, penance, firm hope, lively faith, humble holiness and devoting our lives to God.
Living a balanced life is like a bird in flight. Their wings continuously adapt to air flow around in the direction it flies. Their wings slice in the air in a forward direction and gets pushed up from below, the result it flies. Jesus invites us to live a balance life, to trust in him no matter what happens in life.
Lent provides us an opportunity to prepare ourselves for spiritual struggles and testing in life. The holy season allows us to learn how to return to God’s way of truth and holiness. We begin by denying ourselves and choose everlasting life. “Remove all obstacles and stumbling blocks so that you will be able to go straight along the road to Eternal life.” – St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Bishop: (Liturgy of the Hours Vol. II, pg. 1714)
Fr. Wade Menezes, a Fathers of Mercy, CMP offers the handout The Seven Capital Sins and their Opposite Corresponding Capital Virtues and Extremes to help with living a proper and balanced life. The handout illustrates the Seven Capital Sins (Living too lax) its Opposite Extreme (Living too rigid) and the middle the Capital Virtues (Living proper and balance). A copy of the handout can be found at http://www.fathersofmercy.com In the search box enter the words Seven Capital Virtues.
“O search me, God, and know my heart. O test me and know my thoughts. See that I follow not the wrong path and lead me in the path of eternal life.” (Ps. 139: 23-24)
Feb. 7, 2021 Christ the King Cathedral (527) World Day of the Sick
“Love is not about patronizing and charity isn’t about pity. It is about pouring ourselves out for others.” (St. Mother Teresa: Do Something Beautiful for God)
Pope St. John Paul II on May 13, 1992, instituted the first World Day of Sick and was recognized the following year. February 11, 2021 marks the XXIX World Day of the Sick, the feast on Our Lady of Lourdes. This year’s theme Pope Francis says is, “You have but one teacher and you are all brothers” (Mt. 23:8), which calls for a “a trust-based relationship to guide care for the sick.”
In his message for World Day of the Sick Pope Francis notes that, “A society is all the more human to the degree that it cares effectively for its most frail and suffering members, in a spirit of fraternal love. He warns us about the dangers of “self-idolatry” when our faith is reduced to empty words and we are unconcerned with the lives of others. We are to stop and listen, to establish a direct and personal relationship with others, to feel empathy and compassion, and to let their suffering become our own as we seek to serve them.”
Prayer of the Sick
Ever-Present and Faithful God, I trust in You, and in Your protection and comfort in this time of illness and uncertainty of my life.
Come to ease the fears and anxieties that trouble my heart and spirit as I wait for answers and help from all who are caring for me. Please continue to guide their knowledge and skills, and bless the work of their minds and hands as they serve as instruments of Your healing presence for me.
Help me rest assured that You will hold me close in Your healing and caring embrace in all that may happen in the time to come. Give me strength, peace, and courage as I trust and give myself into Your loving care. Amen. (Sister Jane McConnell OSF, BCC)
As we continue to experience a worldwide pandemic Pope Francis expresses his spiritual closeness and the Church’s loving concern for those suffering Covid-19. As we recognize World Day of the Sick, he “urges a path of healing grounded in trusting and interpersonal relationship between the sick and those who care for them with assistance and care both in health care institutions and within families and communities.”
Prayer for the Caregiver
Holy One, Today is a new day; one in which I will encounter unknown circumstances, yet one I will greet with open hands anyway. I have been called to this day. Help me to be present to the present moment, knowing it is a gift.
Though I may not have all of the tools and wisdom I could use in this day, I will bring what I have. May my spirit radiate hope, joy and love, especially to those in most need.
May it let me know I care and they are not alone. I know I may not be able to fix all of the needs of this day, but may I be present to them and may that be enough. Amen (Nicholas S. Stewart MDiv. BCC)
Jan. 31, 2021 Christ the King Cathedral (523) Pray for those in Religious Life
“Becoming a priest or a man or woman religious is not primarily our own decision… Rather it is the response to a call and to a call of love.” – Pope Francis, Address to Seminarians and Novices, July 6, 2013.
Pope Saint John Paul II established a day of prayer for women and men in consecrated life in 1997. The feast corresponds to the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, also known as Candlemas Day on February 2nd. On Candlemas Day, candles are blessed symbolizing Jesus Christ who is the light of the world.
World Day of Consecrated Life is Sunday, February 2nd. The celebration of World Day for Consecrated Life is transferred to February 6-7th in order to highlight the gift of consecrated persons of the whole Church. So too, those in consecrated life are called to reflect the light of Jesus Christ to all peoples in their parishes.
Those called are strong in faith in the Catholic Church and her teachings and have a willingness to give themselves and consume themselves for souls, through the same Jesus Christ. These chosen ministers and dispensers of His ministries, Clergy and Consecrated Life, fulfill their mission and undertake apostolic works for the welfare of God’s people.
As Catholics we encounter Clergy and Consecrated Life at various stages in our life. We meet them as early as at our baptism, the receiving of the Sacraments, Mass, Liturgical celebrations, or at life-defining moment i.e… health issues or in the preparation of receiving Viaticum “the last blessing” as death approaches. During these Catholic moments, our lives are spiritually enhanced, as we encounter a person that God has called to a life of evangelical counsel.
Let us Pray during World Day for Consecrated Life this week for those who serve Him and us in the religious life.
“For those consecrated to God by the vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience that they may seek to live their baptismal promises more intensely and have the grace to persevere in their commitment to the Lord and serve with open hearts and willing spirits. We pray to the Lord…”
“For all men and women preparing for the priesthood or consecrated life, that their days of formation be filled with joy, peace and the certainty of God’s love. We pray to the Lord…”
“For all who actively support the promotion of vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life, that they may see the fruits of their efforts in a rich harvest of vocations. We pray to the Lord…”
“That the life and mission of the men and women in consecrated life be a means of sanctification for them and building up the kingdom of God. We pray to the Lord…”
The Diocese of Lubbock Vocations & Seminarian website: https://catholiclubbock.org/Vocations.html provides information about our Seminarians, Candidate for Seminary, the Rother House and a Vocation contact to the Priesthood and Consecrate Life.
The Serra Ministries of Lubbock, affiliated with Serra International, a group of lay men and women who dedicate themselves to praying and promoting vocations to the priesthood and religious life. For information about Serra Ministries of Lubbock email Rudy Rangel at firstname.lastname@example.org
Jan. 24, 2021 Christ the King Cathedral Church (535) Immerse Ourselves
“Blessed be God who has given us a new birth through baptism. In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.”
Baptism: “means to “plunge” or “immerse”; the “plunge” into the water symbolizes the catechumen’s burial into Christ’s death, from which he rises up by resurrection with him, as “a new creature.” (CCC 1214)
I recently observed how numerous birds in our backyard were using different methods in entering our birdbath. Their different styles of engagement of the water reminded me of our own approach of our daily baptismal commitment. Some birds were observing, as they kept their distance and watched, a few danced around the rim and at times would place a leg in the water, a few jumped in and out and a some thoroughly immersed themselves.
The Baptistry in our Cathedral Church was emptied in March as COVID safety protocols suggested that no water be kept, due to issues of not spreading the virus. At first, the thought of not being able the practice of dipping our fingers in the water and make the Sign of the Cross on ourselves as we walk by the baptismal pool would be short-lived.
As we approach almost a full year of not being able to remind ourselves of our baptism the anticipation of the day when we are able to dip our fingers in the blessed water may be like that of the birds who immerse themselves – the exhilarating feeling of being purified – thoroughly washed clean.
“Baptism indeed is the seal of eternal life.” The faithful Christian who has “kept the seal” until the end, remaining faithful to the demands of his Baptism, will be able to depart this life “marked with the sign of faith.” With his baptismal faith, in expectation of the blessed vision of God – the consummation of faith – and in the hope of resurrection.” (CCC 1274)
At the Baptism of the Lord, a few weeks ago we heard how Jesus began his mission of being sent forth by his Father, “My word… it shall not return to me empty, but shall do what pleases me, achieving the end for which I sent it.” (Is. 55:11)
As we enter Ordinary Time we too are invited to a fresh start with a new baptismal fullness, of being sent forth, to do the will of God. As baptized children of God’s family and “sharers of the divine nature” (2 Pt. 1:4) we are joined by Holy Spirit, our protector. Each of us with our own talents – beautifully and wonderfully made are tasked with fulfilling the mission which we were created for. Let us be “light” and “salt” to those around us. Let us daily “immerse” ourselves in, and not just observe, the baptismal waters and speak of the goodness and truth of God’s message of salvation to those around us.
“We are washed clean through the waters of baptism, and daily we are invited to renew those baptismal promises – to return to the right path and to accept the forgiveness of Christ. God patiently waits for us to approach that fountain of mercy so that we can become whole and holy.” (Teresa Tomeo and Cheryl Dickow: Wrapped Up: God’s Ten Gifts for Women)
Jan. 17, 2020 Christ the King Cathedral (433) “Patris corde” (With a Father’s Heart”)
Pope Francis on December 8, 2020 decreed a “Year of St. Joseph” which concludes on December 8, 2021. The honor marks the 150th anniversary of the saint’s proclamation as patron of the Universal Church by Pope Pius IX on December 8, 1870.
Pope Francis in his Apostolic Letter titled Patris corde (“With a Father’s Heart”) shared “My desire to do so increased during these months of (the) pandemic,” observing the many people who have made hidden sacrifices to protect and minister to others (just as St. Joseph did with the Holy Family). “Each of us can discover in St. Joseph – the man who goes unnoticed, a daily, discreet and hidden presence – an intercessor, a support and a guide in times of trouble.”
During the celebration of the “Year of St. Joseph”, Pope Francis also announced the granting of special indulgences in his Apostolic Penitentiary “to perpetuate the entrustment of the whole Church to the powerful patronage of the Custodian of Jesus”.
Visit the Vatican News link for the listing of “Year of St. Joseph” plenary indulgence: https://www.vaticannews.va/en/vatican-city/news/2020-12/apostolic-penitentiary-plenary-indulgence-year-st-joseph.html
The faithful Pope Francis announced, have also been given the opportunity to commit themselves “with prayer and good works, to obtain, with the help of St. Joseph, head of the heavenly Family of Nazareth, comfort and relief from the serious human and social tribulations that besiege the contemporary world today.”
Pope Francis presented a challenge … a daily prayer to St. Joseph in his letter. He mentioned that “Every day, for over forty years, following Lauds [Morning Prayer]” he has “recited a prayer to Saint Joseph taken from a nineteenth-century French prayer book of the Congregation of the Sisters of Jesus and Mary.”
The prayer Pope Francis says “This prayer, he expresses devotion and trust, and even poses a certain challenge to Saint Joseph,” on account of its closing words: “My beloved father, all my trust is in you. Let it not be said that I invoked you in vain, and since you can do everything with Jesus and Mary, show me that your goodness is as great as your power.”
Pope Francis concluded his Apostolic Letter (“With a Father’s Heart”), a prayer to St. Joseph, which he encourages all to pray.
Hail, Guardian of the Redeemer,
Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
To you God entrusted his only Son;
in you Mary placed her trust;
with you Christ became man.
Blessed Joseph, to us, too,
show yourself a father
and guide us in the path of life.
Obtain for us grace, mercy, and courage,
and defend us from every evil. Amen
Jan. 10, 2021 Christ the King Cathedral Church (496) Step-by-Step
“God doesn’t stand down the road and call us to catch up. He meets us where we are and leads us step-by-step to who he is calling us to become.” (Matthew Kelly: Rediscover the Saints)
The last ten months we have undergone and experienced to say the least, countless difficulties of uncertainty of what our next step would find us encountering. May our faith as we begin a new year recognize and trust that we were and are being led not by our own strength but by the grace of God.
We ended 2020 with our Advent candles of Hope, Peace, Love and Joy lit and were instructed to go forth and evangelize Emmanuel, which means “God with us” (Mt. 11:23) and to walk the talk of the Gospel. This year may we deepen our faith, share Christ’s Christmas and to call upon the Holy Spirit to give us the power and courage to affirm Jesus. Let us open our heart with confidence and courage and love each person, the way God loves us, despite our sinfulness.
It was just the second octave day after celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ that I overheard an individual say “thank God that Christmas is over”. My mind quick recalled the saying “no one will take your joy away from you”. (Jn. 16:22)
To glorify God’s kingdom, we must take up our cross each day and follow his footsteps. With each step throughout our day let us be prepared to extend our candle of hope, peace, love, and joy in the name of Jesus Christ, regardless of being persecuted for our Christian call to witness and service. When we do encounter resistance let us forgive them for, “They know not what they do” (Lk. 23:34) and pray for them, to save them from punishment.
It all begins with our first step as expressed by St. John Vianney: “On the Way of the Cross, you see my children, only the first step is painful. Our greatest cross is the fear of crosses… We have not the courage to carry our cross, and we are very much mistaken; for whatever we do, the cross holds us tight – we cannot escape from it. What, then, have we to lose? Why not love our crosses and make use of them to take us to heaven?”
“God is at your side and already guiding you. You just have to keep taking each step, one at a time. He will take care of the rest.” (Fr. John Bartunek: Taken from A Quiet Place)
“Almighty God, the gift of your Son brings us assurance and confidence. Give us the strength in every conflict and struggle. We pray for the end of all persecutions and strife. May your Son’s peace rest in our hearts. We pray this in his name. Amen.” (Rev. Bob Loughery, C.S.C.)’
“We reach the ultimate goal of our journey one step at a time.” (Richard J. Hauser, SJ: Moving in the Spirit)
Jan. 3, 2021 Christ the King Cathedral (534) A Day of Peace
“Perfect joy is the ability to return peace and love to those who cross us. That is indeed the path to sainthood, and few of us manage to walk it perfectly.” (Pope Francis: Pope Francis and Call to Joy)
The words “Let There Be Peace on Earth and Let It Begin with Me” are heartfelt words that have echoed a call for peace the world over since 1955. The tradition of World Day of Peace began on January 1, 1967 with St. Paul V, continued with St. John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis.
“The world must be educated to love Peace, to build it up and defend it.” – Pope Paul VI, 1968 Pope Benedict called every Christian to “tireless peace-making” and “to unfailingly contribute to the advancement of a true integral humanism.” Pope Francis says, “A prayer that does not lead you to practical action for your brother, is a sterile and incomplete prayer.”
Jesus Christ is called the “Prince of Peace” (Is. 9:5) The Blessed Virgin Mary the Queen of Peace serves as a true example of living a peaceful life, assuring us that by following her Son, he will “guide our feet into the way of peace.” (Lk. 2:35)
“We believe that the Holy Mother of God, the new Eve, Mother of the Church, continues in heaven to exercise her maternal role on behalf of the members of Christ.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 975)
How do we live a peaceful life? As suggested and encouraged by previous Popes and with our Mother Mary let us daily pray for peace every day and strive to live in peaceful harmony with everyone. When we are at peace, we strengthen our relationship with God and all others. “Let not your hearts be troubled or afraid…” *(Jn. 14:27)
Last year the Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development shared nine ways to pray at We Are Salt and Light for those in the need of peace in our community and around the world. Examples of nine ways to pray is The Prayer Box and The Service Prayer.
The Prayer Box. Create a personal prayer box. On small slips of paper, write issues about which you are concerned. Place the slips in the box. During your payer time each day, pick one or two slips of paper out of the box and pray for those you listed, and for the ability to listen how God might be calling you to respond. Another alternative list your issue on your home or phone calendar and pray for the intentions of those you’ve listed.
The Service Prayer. As we are called to a life of service to all whom we meet, ask God to help you be with you and to be attentive to his presence in every person you interact and give them the dignity that is each of them. After your visit or service time think about the ways you saw God in the individual. Ask for God’s blessing on them, of how God is calling you to assist them if only through pray for their challenges.
“PEACE” I give you… Pray, Eucharist, Adoration, Confession, Embrace His WillWe are Salt and Light: https://www.wearesaltandlight.org/pray-together/nine-ways-pray
Dec. 27, 20202 Christ the King Cathedral (483) A Gift of a New Year
Living in the Present: “We cannot control or predict what God has ready for us. It’s far better to enjoy each chapter of our lives than to look back on past happiness or long for an unlikely future.” (Every Day Catholic)
No truer words spoken ‘we cannot control or predict what God…’. Our lives are filled with so many gifts, most of which we take for granted, and they all flow to us through Jesus. I hope that we will view 2020 as the year that we will recall the saying: “yesterday’s the past, tomorrow is future, but today is a gift. That’s why they call it the present.” (Bil Keane: Cartoonist/Creator of The Family Circus)
Start Over by Dr. William Kroll
When you’ve trusted Jesus and walked his way
When you’ve felt his hand lead you day by day
But your steps now take you another way,
When you’ve made your plans and they’ve gone awry
When you’ve tried your best and there’s no more try
When you’ve failed yourself and you don’t know why,
When you’ve told your friends what you plan to do
When you’ve trusted them and they didn’t come through
And now you’re all alone and it’s up to you,
When you’ve failed your kids and they’re grown and gone
When you’ve done your best but it’s turned out wrong
And now your grandchildren have come along,
When you’ve prayed to God so you’ll know his will
When you’ve prayed and prayed and you don’t know still
When you want to stop ‘cause you’ve had your fill,
When you think you’re finished and want to quit
When you’ve bottomed out in life’s deepest pit
When you’ve tried and tried to get out of it,
When the year has been long and successes few
When December comes and you’re feeling blue
God gives a January just for you,
Starting over means “Victories Won” Starting over means “A Race Well Run” Starting over means “The Lord’s Will Done” Don’t just sit there… START OVER
Three St. Ignatius of Loyola New Year’s Resolutions:
“more ready to put a good interpretation on another’s statement than to condemn it as false.” (Spiritual Exercise 22)
Consolation and Desolation. “in times of desolation we are to redouble our efforts to pray, increase penitential acts, remember times of consolation, and stay the course with decisions made in those past times of consolation.”
Follow God’s will. “any process of discernment ought to begin with total freedom, that is, a willingness to follow God’s will, whatever it is.”
“Almighty God, with you there is no beginning and no end for you are the origin and goal of all creation. May this new year which we dedicate to you bring us abundant prosperity and growth in holy living.” (The Catholic Prayer Book)
Dec. 20, 20202 Christ the King Cathedral (538) Repent, Faith, Rebuild the Kingdom
“Say to the fainthearted: Take courage! The Lord our God is coming to save us. (Is. 35:4)
There are times when I’ve observed the traffic during my early morning commute that the poem “The Charge of the Light Brigade by Alfred Lord Tennyson comes to mind. As I drive l cannot help but notice of how the countless drivers give the appearance of being determined and focused on their destination.
“Forward, the Light Brigade!” Was there a man dismayed! … Theirs not to make reply, theirs not to reason why, theirs but to do and die. When can their glory fade? O the wild charge they made! All the world wondered. Honour the charge of the Light Brigade, Noble six hundred.” (The Charge of the Light Brigade)
My observation recalls of how this Advent season we have been reminded to ‘be prepared’ for the coming of Jesus Christ. To be mindful that we live in a political kingdom and we were called to repentance and faith and to build a Spiritual Kingdom.
Like the brigade who charged into the valley we are to pick up our cross and follow Jesus. Just like the saints and all the faithful who lived their life according to the Gospel we too are to undergo struggles, difficult trials all for the love of God. We work for the Kingdom, the hope of the future. Our strength we are told will come from the grace of God and through the gifts of the Holy Spirit. “For I am the Lord, your God, who grasp your right hand; It is I who say to you, Do not fear, I will help you.” (Is. 40:13
Dear Lord, there is much to do this day. Give us the wisdom when we are filled with questions. Grant us a grateful heart when we feel discouraged. Open our eyes to the opportunities that await us. Steady our pace so that we can see you in the people and challenges that will come our way today. Let us be pure of spirit so your glory may guide our thinking and acting. (Rev. Herbert Yost, C.S.C.)
All four Advent candles are now lit hope, peace, joy and the fourth symbolizes love. Only one candle remains to be lit, known as the Christ Candle, it is lit during the Christmas Eve service.
Christ Candle of Hope Prayer
God, our loving Father, you sent your Son, Jesus Christ into the world to counter all the forces of evil: sin, suffering and death, and to overcome evil with the force of good; hatred with the power of love, your great love for us in Jesus.
Help us never to curse the darkness, but to join with you in bringing Your light into this world, the light that is your Son, born of the Virgin Mary, in Bethlehem. Help us to be instruments of your light and love by doing one special act of kindness or by being your special instrument of reconciliation this New Year.
May the Christ Candle we light symbolize our desire to bring light into a world of darkness and hope into a world of despair. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen. (EWTN: Christ Candle of Hope Prayers)
Dec. 13, 2020 Christ the King Cathedral (537) Waiting in Joyful Hope
“You exist to boldly carry out the torch handed down to us by our radical founder, Jesus. Your duty is to upend all that is backward in the world by joyfully setting it aflame with the true, the good, and the beautiful.” (Matthew Warner: Messy and Foolish)
We began our journey in search of Jesus Christ, the “Light” in the world very early in the year with the news of how COVID 19 was impacting lives globally. Through challenges, hardships, and fear of how to handle questions of what lies ahead, we were encouraged to remain faithful to our Catholic teachings. “I do not know what tomorrow holds, but I do know who holds tomorrow.”
Meister Echart, shares that “when someone is looking for something and finds not a trace of it, they become discouraged and keep to the hunt with reluctance. If they find a trace of it, they will take up the search with renewed energy. I do not yet come face-to face with God. Yet I seek God’s face because I have caught a glimpse. Not yet. And yet.” “I see him, though not now; I observe him, though not near.” (Num. 24:17)
We continue our pilgrimage journey to Bethlehem on this the third Sunday of Advent as we light the candle of ‘Joy’. Like the Magi who asked “Where is the newborn King of the Jews? We saw this star at its rising and have come to do him homage.” (Matt. 2:2) We too intensify our search as we are “Waiting in Joyful Hope” for the birth of Jesus Christ.
There are eleven days left in Advent. Our candle of ‘Joy’ invites us to extend to all whom we encounter to join us in our eagerness “as the Lord, the God of Israel, is to come to his people and set them free.” (Lk. 1:68) In the words of Pope Francis, Fratelli Tutti, no. 89: “As couples or friends, we find that our hearts expand as we step out of ourselves and embrace others.”
Dec. 17th marks the beginning of the “O Antiphons”. They speak of hope of the Old Testament to proclaim the coming Christ as the fulfillment not only of Old Testament hopes, but present ones as well.
17th “…come to teach us the path of knowledge!”
18th “…come to rescue us with your mighty power.!”
19th “…come to save us without delay!”
20th “…come and free the prisoners of darkness!”
21st “…come and shine on those who dwell in darkness and in the shadow of death.”
22nd “…come and save man, whom you formed from the dust!”
23rd “…come to save us, Lord our God!
“Joy lives at the very center of Christian life. Joy makes us Christians different. We do not despair; we rejoice.” (Allen Hunt: Nine Words)
“Lord Jesus, you challenge us to deny ourselves, to pick up our cross and to follow you daily. Give us the humility and strength to bear our burdens with peace, and joy as we strive to walk in your footsteps. Help us to let go of ourselves, to let your life fill our hears. Guide us to your salvation. We as this in your name. Amen.” (Rev. Tim Mouton, C.S.C)
Dec. 6, 2020 Christ the King Cathedral (532) Lighting the way
“Receive the light of Christ”, these words were spoken to us at our baptism. Our light was entrusted to us to be kept burning brightly, to walk always as a child of the light.
Our pilgrimage this year began full of hope. Our candle’s flame since March may have wavered and although we may have felt close to being extinguished, we have been encouraged to remain faithful, to the keep our flame of faith alive.
We began the first Sunday of Advent by lighting the candle of “Hope”. Our candle of hope announced how our Church awaits the coming of its Savior, who enlightens our hearts and dispels the darkness. “Advent is synonymous with hope: not the vain waiting for a faceless god, concrete and certain trust in the return of Him who has already visited us…” – Pope St. John Paul II
Every candle we light during the Advent Season serves as a reminder for us to fill our oil lamp with prayer, the Word, going to or watching Mass and remaining focused on the birth of our Lord at Christmas. Angela of Foligno said, “If we but paused for a moment to consider attentively what takes place in this Sacrament (the Mass), I am sure that the thought of Christ’s love for us would transform the coldness of our hearts into a fire of love and gratitude.”
Today, the Second Sunday of Advent we light the candle of “Peace”. As we journey forth through the season of Advent, we are called to share the Light of the World, Jesus Christ with all we meet. Let us reach out to others in love and kindness, and extend our flame to others whose flame may have been smothered by life’s trials. We are fueled by his Divine Love, when we share with others as “Yet I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me.” (Gal. 2:20)
This week celebrate the feast days of Saints whose lives serve as holy examples in following the Lord. “Take courage! Fix your gaze on our saints.” – Pope Benedict XVI
6th – St. Nicholas – Generous to the poor, and special protector of the innocent and wronged.
8th – The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary – “May it be done to me according to your word.” (Lk. 1:38)
9th – St. Juan Diego – Met the Virgin Mary who shared “Am I not your Mother? Have I not placed you on my lap and made you my responsibility? Do you need anything else?” St. Juan Diego, canonized July 31, 2002, by Pope St. John Paul 11.
12 – Our Lady of Guadalupe – Decreed “Patroness of all the Americas” by Pope Pius XII on Oct. 12, 1945. From 1531-38 at the Hill of Tepeyac, near Mexico City, Mary under the title of Our Lady of Guadalupe led eight million people to give their lives to Christ.
As we light our Advent candle of Peace let us pray: “Lord, let your light burn brightly in my heart that I may know the joy and freedom of your kingdom. Fill me with your Holy Spirit and empower me to witness the truth of your Gospel and to point others to Jesus Christ.” (Presentation Ministries)
Nov. 29, 2020 Christ the King Cathedral (507) A Season of Hope… Take Time
This year has undoubtedly been a year like no other that anyone anticipated, has experienced, or can even compare. Everyone has had to daily adjust and make decisions based on the facts surrounding their circumstances. All have made efforts to advise, suggest, support, and survive challenges and difficulties.
As we enter the “Coming” of the Season of Advent and in preparation for Christmas let us turn our thoughts and heart to a “Season of Hope”. Let us daily take a little time to reflect and get ready for the coming of Our Lord and Savior.
Today begin Advent by lighting an Advent candle which symbolizes “hope” in bringing light to a world that has been battling the dark for the last several months. Our candle serves as a reminder that we are a people of hope, a people whose faith has overcome numerous challenges for many, many years. Let us praise God for his Son, Jesus Christ, for He is Emmanuel, the Hope of all people.
Beginning Nov. 30th and continuing until Dec. 24th prepare for Advent Season 2020 by visiting the EWTN link: https://www.ewtn.com/advent/ for materials that captures the beauty of the season.
EWTN is currently offering the free e Book “Prepare Yourself for Christmas” by Fr. Joseph Mary Wolfe, MFVA. The book will help you slow down in order to fully appreciate our holy season and to grow closer to Jesus and Mary in the days leading to the celebration of the Nativity. Along with the e Book Fr. Joseph will send each Sunday during Advent reflections.
The EWTN Advent Season 2020 link also offers: Reason of Hope, a Christmas Novena Devotion, Read Daily Advent Reflections, a schedule of EWTN Advent programming and Fr. Joseph’s Advent reflection videos as he guides us on our journey to Christmas.
What are the things you do every day, every week, or every month? If you can tell me what your habits are, I can tell you what your future looks like.” (Matthew Kelly: Perfectly Yourself)
TAKE TIME TO THINK.
It is The Source of All Power.
TAKE TIME TO READ.
It is The Foundation Of All Wisdom.
TAKE TIME TO PLAY.
It is The Source Of Perpetual Youth.
TAKE TIME TO BE QUIET.
It is The Opportunity To Seek God.
TAKE TIME TO BE AWARE.
It is The Opportunity To Help Others.
TAKE TIME TO LOVE AND BE LOVED.
It is God’s Greatest Gift.
TAKE TIME TO LAUGH.
It is The Music Of The Soul.
TAKE TIME TO BE FRIENDLY.
It is The Road to Happiness.
TAKE TIME TO DREAM.
It is What The Future Is Made Of.
TAKE TIME TO WORK.
But Don’t Let Work, Take All Of Your Time.
TAKE TIME TO GIVE.
It is Too Short A Day To Be Selfish.
TAKE TIME TO PRAY.
It is The Greatest Power On Earth.
“Life has a tendency to slip through our hands like water, unless we live each day, each hour, each moment with great consciousness.” (Matthew Kelly: Rediscover the Saints)
Nov. 22, 2020 Christ the King Cathedral (507) Pruning ourselves
When I was young, our dad planted four pecan trees, one for each my sisters and I. The trees are planted deeply he explained, so that its roots are held firmly in the ground, secure against the elements that effect it, i.e. wind, rain, heat, snow, etc.
At our baptism we were anointed and invoked with the Holy Spirit. Throughout our lives we like a tree, experience trials and if we remain rooted in the teachings of both the Father and the Son, we will be able to endure what arises in life. “Are you not aware that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (1 Cor. 3:16)
A few weeks ago, as the temperature dropped, I noticed that the leaves on our pecan tree began to shrivel and fall. The scene of dead leaves scattered in the yard reminded me of the importance of us transitioning ourselves, like the falling of leaves on a tree as the year comes to an end.
“He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and every one that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit.” (Jn. 15:2)
Each year our branches become cluttered with baggage that prevents us from our sacred duty, our call to serve God and neighbor selflessly and generously. As our season changes from fall to winter let us take a note from the trees as they shed their leaves, to conserve their resources. We too should do the same and remove the things in our lives which prevents us from living the life God created us for.
“We crowd God out of our lives by filling our lives with things that don’t matter. Remove the things that don’t matter to make space for God in your life – in your heart, mind and soul.” (Matthew Kelly: I Heard God Laugh)
As we prune and eliminate the clutter that fills our minds, lives and homes, let us spiritually prepare ourselves for the season of Advent, Christmas, and the New Year. When we decide to release and detach from our overabundance of things as furnishings, clothes, etc. we allow ourselves to focus our attention on being replenished by Jesus. Through faith and the Sacraments, we have been taught to rely on the strength, wisdom, and perseverance that God who is in charge will provide.
“I am the vine, you are the branches, says the Lord; whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit.” (Jn. 15:5)
“God of all time and seasons, as autumn turns to winter and the days grow shorter, we remember and hope for your holy light in our lives. Give us your grace to see that where there is love, we find you among us – your kingdom here and now. Fill our hearts with your love and give us the courage and strength to share it freely as your beloved sons and daughters. Come Holy Spirit – enkindle us with the fire of your love!” (Rev. Bradley Metz, C.S.C.)