Monday, June 29, 2015

The Response

Readings for Sunday, June 28/ 13th Sunday of Ordinary Time:
Wisdom 1:13-15; 2:23-24
Psalm 30
2 Corinthians 8:7,9,13-15
Mark 5:21-43

In his Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, The Joy of the Gospel, Pope Francis spoke to us these words: “The family is experiencing a profound cultural crisis, as are all communities and social bonds. In the case of the family, the weakening of these beonds is particularly serious because the family is the fundamental cell of society, where we learn to live with tohers depite our differences and to belong to one another; it is alos the place where parents pass on the faith to their children. Marriage no tends to be viewed as a form of mere emotional satisfaction that can be constructed in any way or modified at will. But the indispensable contribution of marriage to society transcends the feelings and momentary needs of the couple. As the French bishops have taught, it is not born ‘of loving sentiment, ephemeral by definition, but form the depth of the obligation assumed by spouses who accept to enter a total communion of life.’”

As you all presumably know, the Supreme Court of the United States announced their opinion Friday, decided by a 5-4 vote, to reject the traditional view of marriage in light of a new definition that permits ‘same-sex marriage’ in all 50 states. While this may upset us, it should surprise us because traditional marriage has been under attack for a long while and this is just one more step. Catholic theology on marriage notes that marriage has two ‘ends’ or ‘goals’, namely procreation and the good of the spouses, which basically means the union is emotionally, spiritually, psychologically, & physically beneficial. We can see that attacks on procreation began decades ago with the introduction and encouragement of contraceptives. This fundamentally separates marriage and its first end. Following behind it is the continued attack on children. Abortion necessarily follows because when contraception fails there has to be a means to be rid of the child one sought first to avoid. From there society made ‘advances’ in being able to choose certain attributes of their children and ‘get rid of’ children who had undesirable attributes. In vitro fertilization and other unethical means of creating life only further the chasm between marriage and the gift of children. The good of the spouses came under attack with the introduction of no-fault divorce, which necessarily makes marriage less binding and thus less valued. To this we can add the devaluing of women in general. It’s interesting to me that in an age when feminism fights so strongly for the rights of women to equal pay, equal job opportunity, etc. (rightly so!) that the culture continues to treat women worse and worse. Women are generally not valued in themselves for the gift that they are, but rather are used for their bodies and their ability to increase sales. This is only encouraged by the acceptance of pornography and pornographic films and books, which only seek to make people objects to be used instead of persons to be loved. With all that has happened to the two ends of marriage, it is no surprise then that the very definition of marriage itself should be free from attack.

The question is this: how do we respond?

I’ve seen responses ranging from fear, anger and despair to excitement, relief, and celebration. As Catholic we ought to stand on neither end of that spectrum but rather firmly planted in the middle full of faith, hope, and love. We are called to have faith that God is in control of this country and this world, regardless of what happens around us. We are called to have hope that Marriage would shine brightly in our culture and remind us of the love of God for us and our call to heavenly life. And we’re called to love. Love of every single person who stands in front of us, regardless of their age, sex, race, social status, sexual orientation, or any other personal attribute, because they are a person. Because they are created in the image and likeness of God. Because they were made to love and be loved.

A lot of times the Catholic Church is painted as this hate-filled body that spews its hatred and condemnation at people who identify as gay, lesbian, transgender, bi-sexual, queer, etc. But did you know the Church says the stands for the exact opposite? The Catechism says unambiguously that we are called to show them ‘respect, compassion, and sensitivity’ and that we are to avoid any sign of unjust discrimination toward them. Holy Mother Church loves all of her children and wants to have all of humanity rest in her loving arms. Sadly, we Catholics and fellow-Christians often failed to convey this truth, but the call still stands for us to be images of God’s love ourselves. This doesn’t mean that we condone or celebrate ‘same-sex marriage’ or relationships that lead to such, but it does mean continuing to love the other by showing respect, compassion, sensitivity, and honoring the dignity of others.

So our response needs to be one of faith, hope, and love, which is exactly the same at it has always been. The Supreme Court can say whatever it wants, but the ultimate reality is that the true King of this world is Jesus Christ. I love my country deeply, but we all have to remember that we’re Catholic first and American second. And that means that our Catholic faith informs everything we do. And what is our mission as Catholics? To shine with the light of Christ.

Did you hear the Collect at the beginning of Mass today? It’s easy to miss but it was beautiful: “O God, who through the grace of adoption chose us to be children of light, grant, we pray, that we may not be wrapped in the darkness of error but always be seen to stand in the bright light of truth.” I love that last line ‘be seen to stand in the bright light of truth’; not just to stand there, but to be seen standing there. We are called to be witnesses that reflect the Light of Christ as the moon reflects that of the sun.

As I noted last weekend, Holy Matrimony and Holy Orders both are sacraments of service. The entire goal of the individual is to get the other person to heaven. I’m a priest. I’m obligated to be a holy priest, a saintly priest. The Catechism tells me that my life as a priest is to be entirely consecrated to service of the others. Every moment of my day is to be dedicated to getting every single one of you and many others to walk through the pearly gates of heaven and sing the Gloria along with the angels and saints. And if I get there too, good! My call is to shine with the Light of Christ in holiness and priestly ministry.

Single people, your call is much the same. To consecrate your days to loving whoever stands before you. Love them as if it were Jesus Himself and seek to recognize in them the Christ who seeks to love you as well. Be holy and happy Catholics, radiating the joy of the Gospel in your eyes as well as on your lips. Seek the Lord at all times and trust in His guidance of you through all that life brings.

Married people, your call is the same, but even more important. When marriage is under attack, the need is for good, holy marriages to be even more visible and even more effective in their outpouring of love and witness of the goodness of the sacraments. You are called to be icons of the Most Blessed Trinity! The love of husbands for their wives and wives for their husbands is a powerful sign of the love of God for us, and the love of both for their children speaks even more fully of the life and love of God in Himself – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Husbands and wives, remember that your goal is not to get to Heaven and hopefully to drag your spouse along with you. The goal is to get your spouse to Heaven and for them to drag you! When this mutual selfless love is present then it produces saints, both in the parents and the children. The parents of St. Therese of Lisieux, Bl. Louis & Bl. Zelie Martin, will soon be canonized and only for the fact that they were a holy family. Be models for your children and for all the world of the gift of God’s grace, and the joy of selfless giving. It can seem that you have little effect on the world, ‘what good can I do in such a big world?’ you might be tempted to think. But remember that Pope St. John Paul II called the family the basic cell of society and a blessing to the world. Strong words. St. John Chrysostom has some strong words too in a homily on marriage as he reminds each and all of us that “The love of a husband and wife are the force that welds society together.”

Be the force and the weld. Be the blessing and the light. Be saints.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

HWP: St. John the Baptist

Today is the feast of the Birth of St. John the Baptist. We celebrate only three earthly birthdays in the course of the liturgical year, each one highlighting the importance of the person in God's plan for salvation. So with that, we turn to St. John the forerunner of the Christ and implore his help and prayers to prepare our hearts to meet the Lord on the last day.

Prayer to St. John the Baptist
O Glorious Saint John the Baptist, greatest prophet among those born of woman, although you were sanctified in your mother’s womb and did lead a most innocent life, nevertheless it was your will to retire into the wilderness, there to devote yourself to the practice of austerity and penance, obtain for me from your Lord the grace to be wholly detached, at least in my heart, from earthly goods, and to practice Christian mortification with interior recollection and with the spirit of holy prayer. 
O Most Zealous Apostle, who, without working any miracle on others, but solely by the example of your life of penance and the power of your word, did draw after you the multitudes, in order to dispose them to receive the Messiah worthily and to listen to his heavenly doctrine, grant that it may be given unto me, by means of your example of a holy life and the exercise of every good work, to bring many souls to God, but above all to those souls that are enveloped in the darkness of error and ignorance and are led astray by vice. 
O Martyr Invincible, who, for the honor of God and the salvation of souls, did with firmness and constancy withstand the impiety of Herod even at the cost of your own life, and did rebuke him openly for his wicked and dissolute life, by your prayers obtain for me a heart, brave and generous, in order that I may overcome all human respect and openly profess my faith in loyal obedience to the teachings of Jesus Christ. 
Pray for me, Saint John the Baptist, that I may be made worthy of the promises of Christ, specifically, (STATE REQUEST). 
O God, who has made this day to be honorable in our eyes by the commemoration of blessed John the Baptist, grant unto your people the grace of spiritual joy, and direct the minds of all your faithful into the way of everlasting salvation. Amen.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

With Authority!

Tabernacle in progress...
Readings for Sunday, June 21/ 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time:
Job 28:1, 8-11
Psalm 107
2 Corinthians 5:14-17
Mark 4:35-41

My first experience of something like being a father came at Camp Chosatonga, where I worked as a camp counselor for two summers during my seminary formation. Unlike many camps where the kids would come for a week and then head home, the kids at this camp came for 3 ½ weeks or 5 weeks, some staying the whole 9 weeks. It was great because I was actually able to get to know the kids and because I stayed in the cabin, had to make sure they were taken care of. I had to do things that typical dads have to do: make sure they eat, clean their room, brush their teeth, shower regularly, etc. I also had to worry discipline them, encourage them, and sometimes give them guidance and direction on things at camp or back at home. Years later I continue to reflect upon those two summers, as I still keep in touch with a number of the boys, now young men, who were there. And it hits me specifically that if those few short weeks 10 years ago had such a profound impact upon those children, how much more does the relationship with their own fathers have an impact?

Looking at the world around us we see that fatherhood is in a major crisis at the moment. 1 in 3 children today are raised in homes without their biological father. Many have no father figure at all.  Add to this the media portrayal of fathers as a bunch of Homer Simpson look-alikes who are generally incompetent, angry, childish, or unconcerned about their family, and you soon have a picture of fatherhood that is anything but inspiring. The importance of a father, though, is something that continues to be shown in research even if not in the media; how the presence of a father direction affects a child’s education, behavior, proneness to depress, likeliness to engage in drug use or premarital sexual activity, fidelity in their future relationships, and even their religious upbringing. Did you know that when the father attends church weekly the child is 70% more likely to be religious as an adult? That’s huge.

I don’t want to get caught up in statistics though, because every study can be tweaked to it’s own desired end. I want to start at the beginning: “Male and female He created them; in His image and likeness He created them.” It’s about what the Church refers to as the complimentarity of the sexes, the fact that men and women were created by God to be men and women and eventually fathers and mothers, and that both are images of God. This weekend’s scriptures show us an attribute of God that is traditionally ascribed to men, namely, authority.

Years past heard the regular reference to the father as the head of the family, which rubs many people wrong these days. They hear ‘head of the family’ and shrink back because we’re in an age of equality when everyone should be on even ground and there’s no differences in anything, but the simple fact is the being equal doesn’t mean we’re all supposed to be the same. Everyone one of us is different in the church today, but we each have the same dignity, the same right, and the same value in the eyes of God. The simple fact is that men were created by God and designed to be the head of the family and that women were created by God and design to be the heart of the family. Women are naturally more nurturing and caring,. Men are naturally more inclined to discipline and direction. Have any of the ladies every been frustrated because you’re talking to a man and he seems not to understand that you just need him to listen but he keeps trying to offer advice on how to fix the situation or take some action toward a resolution? It’s written in our very sexuality as men! Unfortunately wounded humanity has often taken what is a good attribute and brought it to a sad end. Men have often exercised their authority in a negative fashion by degrading, oppressing, and becoming domineering to other, specifically their families. This is not the type of authority that God desires to be show in men. Rather, the type of authority God seeks to have us men exercise is demonstrated by the Lord Jesus in the Gospel and described by St. Paul in the Letter to the Corinthians. Jesus, knowing the need of His disciples, rebukes the wind and sea and exercises His rightful authority not for Himself but only for the service of His disciples. Here the words of St. Paul about ‘no longer living for oneself’ become particularly important. Authority has been entrusted to men, but it is an authority that manifests itself in service for those entrusted to him. Jesus teaches many powerful things and works miracle after miracle, showing His authority in each case. Not one time is it for His own glory or benefit, but always for the good of the other, out of love and concern for the other to have life here on this earth and to prepare for life in the world to come. Earthly Fatherhood is called to be a living image of the Fatherhood of God that is ever patient, present, guiding and directing us in the path that will bring us the greatest eternal reward. It’s love in a different light.

Last weekend, if you remember, the scriptures were all about plants and how the farmer sows the seed and it brings for a blade, then an ear, then the grain, and then it’s harvest time, though the farmer knows not how. That passage made me think about how while God sometimes does miraculous things, the real action of God is in the everyday stuff of life; it’s in the daily growth of the plant that’s easy to miss unless we’re very attentive. This was in my mind when I went to my mom and stepdad’s house the other day to work on building a box. I arrived and my stepdad stopped what he was working on and sat down to have lunch with me. Then we went over my ideas and he asked me all sorts of questions about different options, what I was envisioning, whether my measurements would be right, and so on. Then we went to the garage and he showed me how to use the table saw, which we didn’t have when I lived at home. He pointed to the blade and said, “Don’t touch this.” We went through it all and then he helped me make the first few cut on the large sheet of plywood I was using. Then he went back to his work. Every now and then he’d pop his head into the garage and wave his fingers at me and ask, “Still got 10?” and I’d wave mine back and say, “Yes sir!” As I worked I was filled with gratitude because my stepdad was showing me the love of the Father in the way that men do it best, by exercising self-less authority and guidance. He took time from his project to simply be with me, to guide and direct me, to encourage me in my own work, to show me what to do and enable me to reach the end that I was aiming for. It wasn’t anything spectacular or miraculous but it was a reminder that God is always at work doing the same – making a point to be with us, guiding us, encouraging us, and directing us to eternal life. The love of a father.

So, fathers, I have a simple request and it is but an echo of Pope Francis’ recent addresses: play with your kids. It doesn’t matter what you do, just make time to play with them, to be with them, to guide and encourage them. If you do, you can rest assured that they’re in good hands because they won’t be receiving just your love, they’ll be seeing and experiencing the love of the Father through you.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

HWP: Prayer for Newlyweds

This past weekend I had the joy of assisting at the diocesan Catholic Engaged Encounter retreat for couples preparing for the sacrament of matrimony. With them in mind, I want to offer for the HWP this week:

A Prayer for All Newlyweds
Thank You Father God for marriage and we lift-up to You all those that are married – and especially those that have been recently married – the newly-weds, knowing that marriage is instituted of God, but also knowing that the world at large is at enmity with You and seems to have waged war on the sacred establishment of matrimony and family life.

Give wisdom to all Christian couples and especially those that have recently become newlywed, that they give heed to the truth of Your word and demonstrate the joy that comes from living a life as unto the Lord.

Help them to trust in You as their God and Saviour and to keep You at the centre of their marriage. Help them to live in humble obedience to Your Word and may they demonstrate the love of God and the wisdom of His Word to the world at large, in all they say and do.

Help all newlywed Christian couples to establish and maintain the kind of marriage that is pleasing in Your sight- where the husband loves his wife as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her and where the wife is gentle and submissive to her husband – the encourager, support and helper as laid out in Scripture - and use them to be a light to others whose marriages may be fraught with difficulties or disintegrating due to sin.

Bless we pray all newlyweds today and may they grow in grace and in a knowledge of Jesus Christ, throughout the course of their marriage to Your praise and glory,


Wednesday, June 10, 2015

HWP: Efficacious Novena to the Sacred Heart

This Friday we celebrate the feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. With this in mind we offer this week's HWP, which was employed daily by St. Pio of Pietrelcina for those who sought his prayers. It can be used as a regular novena or a daily prayer. Either way, enjoy!

Efficacious Novena to the Sacred Heart of Jesus
I. O my Jesus, you have said: "Truly I say to you, ask and you will receive, seek and you will find, knock and it will be opened to you." Behold I knock, I seek and ask for the grace of...... (here name your request)
Our Father....Hail Mary....Glory Be to the Father....Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in you.

II. O my Jesus, you have said: "Truly I say to you, if you ask anything of the Father in my name, he will give it to you." Behold, in your name, I ask the Father for the grace of.......(here name your request) Our Father...Hail Mary....Glory Be To the Father....Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in you.

III. O my Jesus, you have said: "Truly I say to you, heaven and earth will pass away but my words will not pass away." Encouraged by your infallible words I now ask for the grace of.....(here name your request) Our Father....Hail Mary....Glory Be to the Father...Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in you.

O Sacred Heart of Jesus, for whom it is impossible not to have compassion on the afflicted, have pity on us miserable sinners and grant us the grace which we ask of you, through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, your tender Mother and ours.
Say the Hail, Holy Queen and add: St. Joseph, foster father of Jesus, pray for us.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Praying for Scars

Readings for Sunday, June 7/ Corpus Christi:
Exodus 24:3-8
Psalm 116
Hebrews 9:11-15
Mark14:12-16, 22-26

Each weekend we come and profess our faith in the Creed and specifically mention our belief in a resurrection of the body. As we profess such a claim, we refer not to Jesus’ resurrection, but to the belief that one the last day those in the glory of Heaven will receive glorified bodies much like that of Christ. One question I sometimes ponder is whether that body will have scars.

When I look at my body I can see the many scars that have resulted from past wounds. The black line on the tip of the middle finger of my left hand calls to mind the time when a friend had a flat tire in the parking lot at school and after jacking up the car it began to fall off the jack and I, presuming myself to be Superman, tried to hold up the car so it wouldn’t fall. As it fell, because I’m clearly NOT Superman, it cut my hand open. I can look at the scar on my index finger and call to mind the time when I was cutting wood the saw decided to move from wood to flesh in a swift motion. Those and many other scars tell me stories of past events that have since been healed.

This weekend we celebrate Corpus Christi, a feast honoring the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist, dating back to the 12th Century when a miracle happened in which the Host turned into flesh and began to bleed on the altar. The Gospel we just heard recounts that ancient night when the Lord Jesus gave us that great gift saying those blessed words we hear each and every Mass. What strikes me this week is the phrase Jesus uses to describe the cup: ‘my blood of the covenant.’ The disciples present at the meal would have heard in this a phrase that had deep implications. In the first reading we heard about God making a covenant with the Israelites and how Moses takes the blood of an animal and pours some on an altar and then sprinkles the rest upon the people present and this ‘blood of the covenant’ is a seal upon each of them that they are members of the covenant relationship and have now rights, as well as obligations. Parenthetically, the sprinkling rite we do at various points throughout the year has its roots in this ancient symbol and, rather than being the priest’s opportunity to sling water and make people laugh, it reminds us that we too are part of a covenant with God, much like the Israelites of old.

One point that always makes me smile is the response of the Israelites to the reading of the commands of the Law of God: “We will do everything the Lord has told us!” To which I respond in my head: “What a bunch of liars.” You have only to look at the next page to find them going astray, committing sin and following false gods. In fact, that seems to be the pattern of God’s people all throughout history. Over and again, each generation follows the Lord and flees from Him at different times. Even the Apostles follow the same path, as Simon Peter proclaims that he will never deny His Lord and yet does so thrice before sun-up. And are we any different? A thousand times it seems I’ve gone into the confessional and made my act of contrition saying ‘I firmly resolve with the help of Thy grace to sin no more, to avoid the near occasion of sin and to do penance’ and yet within days or hours, there I go back to my same ways. What all of this shows us is that the people who have been united to God by a covenantal bond are not a perfect people, but a wounded people, and the one thing that can fix us is the One who created us: God.

Pope Francis beautifully said once that the Eucharist is not the prize for the good, but the remedy for those in need. Holy Communion isn’t our reward for being good all week. It’s the medicine to heal our souls from the wounds of sin. This is why we have to come every week. Have you seen the commercial where they say “Wouldn’t it be great if one piece of broccoli could prevent cancer? Or one push-up could prevent heart disease?” Well, wouldn’t it be great if we only needed to come to Holy Communion one time and we were made perfect and completely sinless? I don’t know about you, but I’m still waiting for that one to happen. And that’s the point. It’s not a one-and-done type of situation but rather and invitation to receive the Lord Jesus and have Him heal our wounds over time, the same as our body needs, and to continue the work as we continue to fall into our sin.

To prove that I’m not just pulling this out of nowhere, lets take a look at the prayers of the Mass. Each weekend I pray Eucharistic Prayer I, the Roman Canon, and do so for many reasons, one of which is the point I’ve just noted. Near the beginning the priest prays, “Remember, Lord, your servants…” and if you look at the text it includes the phrase “N. and N.” Those two N’s are spots for names because the priest is calling to mind the living for whom he is offering the Mass or praying for particularly. He continues, saying, “and all gathered here, whose faith and devotion are known to you. For them, we offer you this sacrifice of praise, or they offer it for themselves and all who are dear to them.” So we specifically come to offer the sacrifice of the Mass for ourselves and others, and it lists three reasons: “for redemption of their souls, in hope of health and well-being, and paying their homage to you, the eternal God, living and true.” In hope of health and well-being. Healing, both of body and soul, is one of the reasons we come to Mass. It is the way that Christ casts out sin and makes us more and more like Himself, bringing us on the path to holiness and preparing us for the glory of the Kingdom.

Do not be afraid. Don’t hold back asking for graces of healings, thinking they might be too much to ask. Let us turn to Jesus. Let us open our hearts to Him and show Him the wounds from our sin. And let us pray to see the day when our wounds will instead be scars.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

HWP: Prayer for Conversions

This Friday we celebrate the feast of St. Boniface, the great apostle of the German people. Filled with holy boldness, he went into the land and preached the faith to the peoples and converted many to the Lord Jesus. With that in mind, we pray that the Lord would continue the good work of bringing souls to Himself as we pray:

Lord Jesus Christ, most merciful Saviour of the world, we humbly beseech You, by Your most Sacred Heart, that all the sheep who stray out of Your fold may in one days be converted to You, the Shepherd and Bishop of their souls, who lives and reigns with God the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit, world without end. Amen.
Learn more about St. Boniface HERE.  

Monday, June 1, 2015


Readings for Sunday, May 31/ Trinity Sunday:
Deuteronomy 4:32-34, 39-49
Psalm 33
Matthew 28:16-20

At the seminary we had an entire course on the Most Blessed Trinity and the manner in which we learned our information was quite often by way of critiquing various writings on the topic throughout the centuries. Toward the end of the semester our professor split us into groups and gave each group a separate paper to critique and respond to. So our group went to work. Wanting to flex our theological muscles, we tore the paper to pieces. We highlighted all sorts of things that were just poorly worded, needed extra explanation, or seemed downright heretical about the Blessed Trinity. When it came time to present our responses, we got up and talked about what a rough paper it was and that the grade we figured it deserved was a C if not a D. When we were done our professor calmly looked at us and said, “I wrote that paper.”

This weekend we celebrate Trinity Sunday, when homilists throughout the world are called to the often-difficult task of preaching about the Blessed Trinity. The problem is that the Trinity is revealed to us as One God, yet three Persons. We could spend years reading, reflecting, and praying on this mystery but it will never fully make sense to us. That’s why the temptation arises to simply shrug our shoulders, say ‘it’s a mystery!’ and move one to a topic that suits us better. But this is exactly the opposite of what God desires of us. The Scriptures we just heard proclaimed speak powerfully of the fact that God has revealed Himself to us, inviting us to come to know and love Him here in this life and to be joined eternally to Him in the next.

In Deuteronomy, Moses asks the people to think back throughout the ages and see if there ever was a God so close to a people as the Lord God had become with them, whether they had known anyone who spoke with God and lived, whether God had walked with a particular people, and even revealed to them His Most Holy Name. God had begun to walk with them in order to restore what was lost by Adam and Eve, namely, union with God. It’s not enough to simply walk with God. As we hear in the Letter to the Romans, we are to become children of God and heirs with Christ Jesus to the kingdom of Heaven! God wants to bring us into Himself and it begins here and now. But how? By talking to Him – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

The other day I came into the Church to prepare for this homily and I brought with me a journal with my reflections, three books of commentaries on the various scripture passages, three textbooks on Trinitarian Theology, and a notepad to write on. After sitting for a good 40 minutes in front the Blessed Sacrament, which I had exposed for Adoration, I looked up and just said, ‘Lord, what am I supposed to say?’ In the silence I felt a response saying, ‘I love you.’ I closed the book, sat there before my God, and began to talk to Him.

There are so many wonderful things in the world around us that are designed to lead us to know God and to interact with Him, but unfortunately we sometimes remain focused on the thing rather than the Lord who used it as a way of catching our attention and drawing it to Him. Concretely, I want everyone to pay attention to one particular word this week: WOW. On my way from the rectory to the church to hear confessions I saw a huge black cloud back behind the cemetery and just then a huge lightning bolt struck and lit up the sky. It stopped me in my tracks and I said, “WOW!” in response. The ‘wow’ happen in the course of our days and I believe it to be a way in which the Lord uses something extraordinary to catch our attention and highligh something in particular. What I invite you to do is when you say ‘wow’ this week, stop and talk about it with the Lord. Ask why it struck you. Talk to Him about other events like it. Talk to the Father as a child telling stories from their day at school. As a sibling to the Lord Jesus who walked and experienced many of the same moments. And to the Holy Spirit who permits us to not only see the moments but to understand them in union with our Creator. As we do this we can enter deeper and deeper into the loving Heart of our God, knowing Him not by memorized formulas but by a relationship of love.

Papal Intentions for June 2015

Prayer for the Pope

V. Let us pray for Francis, our Pope.
R. May the Lord preserve him, give him life, 
and make him blessed upon the earth, 
and deliver him not up to the will of his enemies.
Our Father... Hail Mary...
O God, Shepherd and Ruler of all Thy faithful people, look mercifully upon Thy servant Francis, whom Thou hast chosen as shepherd to preside over Thy Church. Grant him, we beseech Thee, that by his word and example, he may edify those over whom he hath charge, so that together with the flock committed to him, may he attain everlasting life. 
Through Christ our Lord. 

Papal Intentions for June 2015

Universal Intention: That immigrants and refugees may find welcome and respect in the countries to which they come.
Mission Intention: That the personal encounter with Jesus may arouse in many young people the desire to offer their own lives in priesthood or consecrated life.