Tuesday, June 29, 2010

When the Rain Comes

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Get Service

This little video, Get Service, spoke to my heart and gave me some perspective. Gosh, I love it when the Lord is working with me. He is so faithful, loving and attentive!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Silver Jubilee

"The heart of a priest is a chalice of love.
The heart of a priest is a chalice of compassion, because it is the vessel of Christ." Catherine Doherty

Being a Jubilarian must be like becoming a grandparent for the first time... I am much too young to have been ordained 25 years.

It seems like just yesterday that i prostrated myself on the hard stone floor of the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Wheeling, WV, as the choir sang the Litany of the Saints. In that glorious Mass the Bishop laid his hands 0n me as bishops have done many thousands of times for many centuries, grafting me into the Holy Priesthood of Jesus Christ. Ever will I remember the pealing of the bells, the joyful tears of my mother, the hundreds of first blessings. Who would have ever believed that Mike McCormick could become a "priest forever in the line of Melchizedek"?

Like most new fathers and mothers, I was filled with all the joy and concerns of parenthood. Like the new dad who might not know a thing about diapers, bottles and child rearing, once the "baby" was placed in my arms the ocncerns melted away and the joy became pure love.

Jubilee. JUBILEE! 25 years later the newness has not worn off. Thanks to all my parishioners and friends who pray for priests, each day has become a new opportunity to find and experience the love of Jesus. When my priesthood has been difficult it is because I took my eyes off the prize--our salvation in Christ Jesus. At these times my Christian Family here on earth as well as my Christian Family in heaven, especially the Blessed Mother, help me to keep focused on Christ Jesus, His Church, the love of God the Father and the power of the Holy Spirit.

Jubilee comes from the Aramaic word which means "trumpet blast". Special occasions such as this are an opportunity to sound that trumpet, not to toot our own horns, but to celebrate the gift of the priesthood through which we have the abiding presence of Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. So let us "sound the trumpet in the assembly" to signal what we have known all along -- that Jesus is present with us in the Eucharist until the end of time, in the priest who consecrates the bread and wine, and in the people of God who form this Eucharistic body we call the Church.

Friday, June 25, 2010

When It Is Not Hunky-Dorey

I'm having one of those days when the universe and all that is in it appears to me to be uptight. Of course I know that I am projecting. It is I, after all, who is uptight for some reason. My neck muscles are tight. My tinnitus is buzzing away. My heart rate is irregular. And there is really nothing wrong. I just am having "one of those days."

In the midst of all this, I have also had a wonderful day of prayer. The Mass was superb. My rosaries were beautiful. The Office was not a struggle as it is for me at times when I have to pray it alone.

I get like this fairly often. Yuppie Angst? Ravings of a mad man? I don't know that understanding why I feel this way would help much. It is a part of my existence and has been since my earliest memories. As a toddler there were times when I would feel like a big knotted rope only to be stretched out like a tight string on a guitar or piano. My mom would laugh when I would tell her. She thought I was trying to be silly. Of course, I also would variously tell her that I felt like a tiger, a policeman, a sunbeam, a cloud or a frog. But the tight rope and the stretched string were not make believe.

I was abused as a toddler. Physically and mentally. Knot-to-string followed abuse. Then when the abuser was gone, knot-to-string hung on. It is still a part of me. I experience it when there is conflict, when I feel abandoned, when I feel insecure or when I feel threatened.

Today it is a combination of feeling abandoned and insecure. I know that I am not abandoned, but I feel that way this afternoon. The insecurity is more understandable to me. It all has to do with my assignments as a priest. I love my current placement. I know I could be moved at any time by the Bishop. I don't want to fall in love with these people because it hurts so much to leave. It is too late. I love the people of Our Lady of Lourdes. I have no choice but to be a lover.

I shouldn't be transferred this year. I hope I have a few years at this parish. This year I was juggled around to a total of 5 parishes. The year before my exile I was moved twice before I refused the 3rd placement due to my grandmother's declining health. Stability would be nice for awhile. But the Son of Man had no place to lay his head...

Even though a transfer would in no way be an abuse, I react to it as though it were such. So I will lay my head on the shoulder of my Lord or sit in the lap of my Blessed Mother. Now... why was I feeling insecure?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Blessed by the Best!

I just got home to central PA from a youth conference at the Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio. That campus is one of the most beautiful college campuses I have ever visited. Even more beautiful than the grounds was the sweet presence of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.

To see 2200 teenagers praising God and adoring Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament was very inspiring to this old, battle weary priest. As the priest processed though the crowd, the students were reaching out to Jesus. It reminded me of the Bible account of the woman who just wanted to touch the hem of Jesus' garment. The priest processed throughout the congregation several times. It was a New Covenant fulfillment of the Old Testament account of Joshua at Jericho...and the walls around the hearts of those kids, and around the hearts of most of us adults, "those walls came tumbling down". As Jesus processed through, I couldn't help but think this is what makes Him most happy. Walking among His people, blessing, loving, forgiving and healing. In the tabernacle He is most humbly present, waiting for us to come to Him. In procession He is powerfully moving among us and physically present to us.

As Father Leo processed there was a spot light that followed him. Each time the spotlight hit the Monstrance it glittered like a thousand stars. The Sacred Host would appear to light up. I found my breath catching and my heart leaping with the joy of a lover seeing his beloved. From time to time I have been "stopped dead in my tracks" at the sight of God's beautiful creation: a sunset, rainbow, bubbling stream, an awesome storm, an adorable baby or toddler, a great work of art, an incredible accomplishment or someone achieving a goal or a new level of excellence.

None of that, in fact nothing can compare to the beauty and magnificence of Christ Jesus. Each time the Monstrance was turned so that I could see the host I felt His love. His gaze was so pure and loving that I could do nothing but adore and love in return. His love was so complete that all my wounds, weaknesses, faults and failures were inconsequential. This glimpse of Divine Love is but a portion of what we shall experience when we greet Him face to face. Alleluia!

The weekend ended with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The homily was incredible. It was geared to the teens, so it may have been a little unorthodox in the presentation., The content, however, was pure catholic orthodoxy. Fr. Leo Patalinghug, who is a black belt, gave an inspiring object lesson by breaking boards and showing us a few karate moves. When Satan comes at you, using you for a punching bag, we can, Father told us, remember the first 4 karate moves. Respect (don't underestimate), Focus so that distractions don't leave to a fall, Control by getting past the punches of the devil rather than staying there and trying to duck them, and Destroy. Destroy the temptations by prayer, fellowship, bible reading, the Sacrament of Confession and attending Holy Mass every Sunday and more often if possible.

There was so much more, and I am sure that some of it will come out in future blog entries and homilies. For now all I can say is that He is Love and He is here.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Divine Economy

The Divine Economy

I’m not sure how I came to use the phrase, “The Divine Economy” to refer to the inner workings of God regarding prayer. I may have read it somewhere. I may have heard someone else use the phrase. I may have coined the phrase, myself. It may have been given to me in private revelation. How ever it came to me, it has become a wonderful way of understanding the power of public prayer, especially praying the Rosary with others.

My friends, Rosary Priest, Green Scapular and Tom are administering a facebook site with the idea that when Rosaries are united, the power, benefits and graces are greatly increased. This idea is nothing new. It comes from the writings of St. Louis de Montfort in his little book, The Secrets of the Rosary. He tells us:

When people say the Rosary together 
it is far more formidable to the devil 
than a rosary said privately, 
because in this public prayer, 
it is an army that is attacking him.
Someone who says his Rosary alone 
gains only the merit of one Rosary, 
but if one prays it together with their family 
or thirty other people in a group 
they gain the merit of thirty Rosaries.
This is the law of public prayer.

This is primarily what I mean when I refer to The Divine Economy. Each person in that group of 30 receives the merits of 30 Rosaries. In effect, then, the Blessed Mother is receiving not just 30 crowns of roses, but also 30 times 30, or 900 crowns. She gets not only 150 mystical roses from each person, but also 4500 mystical roses from each person in the group of 30. This totals 135,000 mystical roses!

No wonder there is such power when people gather to pray the Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary. As Green Scapular is fond of saying, “Remember, in praying the Rosary, wars can be stopped and the laws of nature suspended!”