Thursday, January 21, 2016

Three Liturgical Changes We Need Now - Crisis Magazine

Three Liturgical Changes We Need Now - Crisis Magazine: The very goal of the Christian’s life—true worship of God—is a subject too often brushed aside as irrelevant to question of transmitting the Faith, despite the growing urgency among the faithful to find new ways to catechize. What’s rightly perceived as a catechetical crisis ought to show us the relationship of worship to truth. Romano …

Monday, January 11, 2016

Rosary Meditation

As I prayed the third Glorious Mystery of the Rosary, I experienced a series of consolations that flickered through my mind’s eye.  As a candle casts its glow, consuming the shadow that attempts to overcome, these graces came to me.  Each flicker expressed an attribute of God’s revealed nature.  It was like a warm summer night when fireflies briefly illuminate their surroundings.  

There was a flicker in which I viewed the Lord breathing on a young man who was being baptized.  Another nearby flicker revealed our Lady standing over a grieving little girl.  There was a series of flickers which filled the screen of my imagination, each one showing me the face of a saint:  S. Jean Vianney,  S. Faustina, S. Peter, S. Augustine, S. Aquinas, S. Francis, S. Joseph, S. Philomena, S. Michael, S. Gabriel, S. Miguel Pro, S. Therese, S. Jerome, and many others whose faces I know from holy cards, but their names escape me now.  

When this series of flashes subsided, I felt their abiding presence.  Lonliness was, for a brief moment, suspended.  

"Where Are You" by Alphonse Ciaccio

I want to share this meditation that a friend of mine wrote.  We published it in our parish newsletter.  Hope you are blessed by it!


“They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9But the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, ‘Where are you?” (Gen 3:8-10)

I have always loved this scene from the third chapter of Genesis.  In the interest of context, Adam and Eve had just eaten the forbidden fruit.  Immediately upon the first bite, their eyes were opened as to what they had done and they “knew” they were naked.  Shame at their nakedness drove them to hide from each other and ultimately from the Lord. The Lord God, it appears, had an ongoing appointment with them in the cool of the evening.  When He showed up for His part, He realized that Adam and Eve were not going to keep this appointment  Then the Lord asks, what to me is one of the most heart rending questions in all of Sacred Scripture.  The Lord called out
“Where Are You?”

Reflecting upon this scripture a few things occurred to me.  Don’t you think that the All Knowing One knew exactly where they were? Wouldn’t He also have known why they missed their customary evening meeting? Yet, the Lord STILL came looking for them despite knowing what they had done or how they were dressed (or not dressed).  I believe that the reason the Lord asked question was because He wanted them to come to Him regardless.

We are very fortunate.  Since December 8, The Feast of the Immaculate Conception, we have been in the “Year of Mercy” as proclaimed by Pope Francis.  In this wonderful gift to the Church, it is almost as if the Lord were walking in the Garden again in the cool of the evening.  He is once again calling out “Where are you”.   Alas, like Adam and Eve, many of us are hiding.  Some of us hide due to what we have done.  Perhaps the gravity and frequency of our wrongs have driven us, like our first parents, into the trees of despair to hide.  Once there, demonic forces bite and claw at our souls implanting the lie that we have gone too far this time; that the Lord can never forgive us.  Others of us hide within the realm of our own spiritual, moral or material self sufficiency.  We may reason that we are really not that bad.  After all, we do the right things and don’t do the wrong things.  Why would people like us need mercy?  What I have just described is two sides of the same coin.  Both attitudes are manifestations of pride.  Pride is at the root of fatalistic, destructive attitudes that MY sin is so great, even GOD could not forgive me.  Pride is also driving force behind the Pharisaical attitude of a superiority that sees mercy as something for “those other people”.  In both instances the participants disqualify themselves from the mercy offered by Jesus.  The Lord disqualifies no one from receiving His mercy.  All He asks is that we come humbly and ask for it.  Sacramental Confession is the place where we do the asking and the Lord does the forgiving. In this wonderful Sacrament Jesus waits, lovingly, patiently for you and I to come to Him. Go! Run to Jesus! He is walking in the Garden again and calling out for you!  Don’t let pride stop you from receiving that which your heart longs for and which Jesus longs to give you.  You have not gone too far.  There is NOTHING that He will not forgive and cleanse you of.  All is not lost.  You do not have to live in despair.  You do not have to go thru life by observing religious motions or playing the institutional game.  Christ has called you to find HIM in those observances. Up till now you may have only found and acquitted yourself. You can have passion reignited in your relationship with Christ!  He wants to use you in His Kingdom!  He wants to speak to you in the depth of your heart and then help you to give your heart away in His service.  The Sacrament of Penance is the answer, the meeting place between Jesus and lost souls such as you and I.

Yes, in this Year of Mercy God is walking in the Garden again, calling out for you.  Will you answer Him or just turn away and hide?

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Happy New Year...Still?

Here we are at the 2nd day of the new year.  The headlines are rather dreadful. Not much seems to have changed in the world from last year.  The same holds true for my personal life.

So I thought I would take a few moments to meditate on my current situation.  I am a pastor of 3 small church communities which form the Parish of St. Michael the Archangel.  

Did you ever wonder why Jesus spoke so often in parables?  Having no family obligations and no life outside of Church (haha), I have thought about this quite a bit.  This is what I have come up with so far through my studies and meditations:

--Perhaps the Lord was speaking in code so that only those who knew Him would be able to understand.  That way He could proclaim the truth to the disciples without putting them in danger before it was time for His crucifixion.

--Perhaps He used parables because the truth would be too much for some people to take.  That is what happened when He said we must eat His Body and Drink His Blood!  

--Sometimes a story can make a point more beautifully.  "The Kingdom of God is like a pearl of great price" is much more poetic and memberable than just saying,  "Whoa, that place is something else"!

--Stories/parables are easy to remember, especially when there is a twist or a great moral to the story.  

--At times, Christ speaks in parables to those who come to Him but are not willing to be counted among His disciples. His parables give those people what they can receive, given that they will not, can not, or are not ready to receive Him.

         --But to those who come to Him ready to receive Him, He does not need to speak in parables. In receiving Him, those people are also ready to receiving the knowledge Christ can give.

--Or maybe Christ speaks in parables to everybody.  Some people care enough about Him and His Word that they come to Him and ask Him to explain what He meant.  

Here is a parable:  A priest found a parish that was so beautiful that he had to share everything he know about Jesus three times.  

Thanks to my wonderful Parish with 3 beautiful Churches!  And Thank You, Jesus, for unravelling the parable of my life here in my parish.

Friday, January 1, 2016


As the rest of the world is waking up from the celebration of the end of the old year and the beginning of a new year, we Catholics are waking up to the ever present reality of the newness of life in Christ Jesus.

It is no mistake nor random decision that the Solemnity of the Mother of God should be celebrated at the beginning of the calandar year.  From the moment Mary became the mother of Jesus the nature of reality changed.

It was more than the much touted paradigm shifts we read about today.  It is more enduring than the techology that changes the way we function in the world.  It is more earth altering than an earthquake, tsunami or war.

A basic reality has changed.  God is now visible.  Salvation is now possible.  We are never again alone.

Jesus, who is True God and True Man is in our midst for all eternity.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death.  Amen