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March 27, 2008
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February 27: Memorial of St. Gabriel Possenti
"[He] had been the fanciest dresser in town as well as the best dancer. He was a superb horseman and an excellent marksman. Engaged to two girls at the same time and a great partygoer, he had shocked his family by announcing after his graduation that he was going to become a Passionist monk." [EWTN]

March 3: Memorial of St. Katharine Drexel
"'Oh, how far I am at 84 years of age from being an image of Jesus in his sacred life on earth!'"  [Living Water]

March 4: Memorial of St. Casimir of Poland
"Rejecting even ordinary comforts, he slept little, spending his nights in prayer. And when he did sleep, he lay on the floor not on a royal bed. Even though he was a prince, many of those around him must have laughed and joked at his choices. Yet, in the face of any pressure, Casimir was always friendly and calm." [Catholic Online]

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It is the Spirit who impels each of us to ‘return into ourselves’ and to see the need to go back to the Father’s house.

The Gospel for Sunday, March 5, 2006
First Sunday of Lent
Mk: 1:12-15

The first word of the preaching of Jesus is linked with readiness to believe: "Repent and believe the Good News" (Mk 1:15). The imperative put by Christ flows from realization of the fact that "the time is fulfilled" (Mk 1:15). The fulfillment of God's time becomes a summons to conversion, which is in the first place an effect of grace. It is the Spirit who impels each of us to "return into ourselves" and to see the need to go back to the Father's house (cf. Lk 15:17-20). Examination of conscience is therefore one of the most decisive moments of life. It places each individual before the truth of his own life. Thus he discovers the distance which separates his deeds from the ideal which he had set himself.

The history of the Church is a history of holiness. The New Testament strongly states this mark of the baptized: they are "saints" to the extent that, being separate from the world insofar as the latter is subject to the Evil One, they consecrate themselves to worshipping the one true God. In fact, this holiness is evident not only in the lives of the many Saints and Beati recognized by the Church, but also in the lives of the immense host of unknown men and women whose number it is impossible to calculate (cf. Rev 7:9). Their lives attest to the truth of the Gospel and offer the world a visible sign that perfection is possible. Yet it must be acknowledged that history also records events which constitute a counter-testimony to Christianity. Because of the bond which unites us to one another in the Mystical Body, all of us, though not personally responsible and without encroaching on the judgment of God who alone knows every heart, bear the burden of the errors and faults of those who have gone before us. Yet we too, sons and daughters of the Church, have sinned and have hindered the Bride of Christ from shining forth in all her beauty. Our sin has impeded the Spirit's working in the hearts of many people. Our meager faith has meant that many have lapsed into apathy and been driven away from a true encounter with Christ.

The embrace which the Father reserves for repentant sinners who go to him will be our just reward for the humble recognition of our own faults and the faults of others, a recognition based upon awareness of the profound bond which unites all the members of the Mystical Body of Christ. Christians are invited to acknowledge, before God and before those offended by their actions, the faults which they have committed. Let them do so without seeking anything in return, but strengthened only by "the love of God which has been poured into our hearts" (Rom 5:5). At the same time, there will be no lack of fair-minded people able to recognize that past and present history also records incidents of exclusion, injustice and persecution directed against the sons and daughters of the Church.

May the joy of forgiveness be stronger and greater than any resentment. Thus the Bride will shine before the eyes of the world with the beauty and holiness which come from the Lord's grace. For two thousand years, the Church has been the cradle in which Mary places Jesus and entrusts him to the adoration and contemplation of all peoples. May the humility of the Bride cause to shine forth still more brightly the glory and power of the Eucharist, which she celebrates and treasures in her heart. In the sign of the consecrated Bread and Wine, Christ Jesus risen and glorified, the light of the nations (cf. Lk 2:32), reveals the enduring reality of his Incarnation. He remains living and real in our midst in order to nourish the faithful with his Body and Blood.

Let us therefore look to the future. The merciful Father takes no account of the sins for which we are truly sorry (cf. Is 38:17). He is now doing something new, and in the love which forgives he anticipates the new heavens and the new earth. Therefore, let faith be refreshed, let hope increase and let charity exert itself still more.

February 26, 2006


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03.18.07   troubledgoodangel says:
Usually, like the Prodigal Son, people stray and suffer a lot before they repent. Even before they repent, they must be convinced that what they do is sin. Granted that Grace spurs them to repentance, but the knowledge of the Law is a must. It used to be that everyone abided by the Ten Commandments and a clear moral code. As a matter of fact, there was a time when parents were allowed "to engrave" the Ten Commandments on the "tablets" of their childrens' behinds, and this made contrition much easier later in life! But those times are all but gone, and the conditions have dramatically changed in consequence. A group of "friendly" Pentecostals have recently asked me "when exactly does the death to sin occur" (they lack the Sacrament of Penance). Our death to sin will occur at death, I responded. As long as we are in the body, we cannot say that we are without sin. But how about love? Can we love without our bodies, they asked? Certainly, there is some ambiguity here that needs clarification. On the one hand, Jesus says that "it is the Spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail - [and] Jesus' words are Spirit and Life" (Jn 6:63). This leaves no doubt that our God is Spirit, and that "we must worship Him in Spirit and in Truth" (Jn 4:24). In other words, the more spiritual and lovers of truth we are, the more "dead to sin." On the other hand, God has made us out of flesh and spirit (Gn 2:7), for which reason, as Pope Benedict XVI reminds, "eros and agape can never be completely separated, [...] the more eros and agape converge in a single reality of love, the more the overall nature of love is fulfilled" (Deus Caritas Est, 7). This inevitably means that we must not hate our bodies, for if bodily eros were evil, God would have not created it in the first place! I think that the solution must be sought in the return to the initial stress on the Ten Commandments! For, as Jesus has said, "everyone who listens to My Father and learns from Him, comes to Me" (Jn 6:45). As the children learn from their fathers initially, so we must learn from Our Father first! The Law "was given through Moses [for that reason], and [only then] Grace and Truth came through Jesus Christ" (Jn 1:17)! Or else, we must be drawn by Grace to know the Law before we come to love! We simply cannot pretend that we love Jesus and neighbor if we ignore the Commandments: without a conscience formed by the Commandments we wouldn't know what to repent from! This is why an intelligent contrition is very unrealistic without the knowledge of the Commandments, lest the prevenient Grace makes both happen!

02.20.06   Godspy says:
It is the Spirit who impels each of us to ‘return into ourselves’ and to see the need to go back to the Father’s house.

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