It is not easy to love one another as we should in this world. Fortunately, Jesus has given us confidence by making it absolutely impossible.
Saturday, August 25, 2012
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
The three magic words Vatican II gave us are “conscious, active and full.” That is the participation that works.
Surprise! I am not going to analyse them. I am going to give three other words that will help you get into that kind of participation.
The words are “faith,” “love” and “hope” — in that order. Be conscious of them in turn, activate them in that order, and you will participate fully in the Eucharist.
During the Introductory Rites and the Liturgy of the Word (up until the end of the homily and Profession of Faith), listen for invitations to be aware of what you believe. Listen to what the words of the presiding priest and your responses to them say you believe. Then say them, actively believing. Actively express your faith that you are living by the divine life of God (the “grace of our Lord Jesus Christ), know the love of the Father and are called into the mystical “communion of the Holy Spirit” with God and others.
Listen to what the words of the Gloria proclaim about the Father, Son and Spirit. They are saying what you believe. Say them as if you believe what they say. Say them choosing to believe.
Don’t listen to the readings. Listen to God speaking to you through the readings. Listen to what he is calling you to believe. Believe it.
Do the same with the homily. Forget about whether it is good or bad; listen for what it challenges you to believe. And to do as an expression of your faith. Process what you hear. Be a “doer of the word,” not just a hearer.
From the Presentation of the Gifts through the Eucharistic Prayer, be consciously, explicitly loving. Put yourself on the plate with the bread and wine to be placed on the altar and offered. Present your “body as a living sacrifice” (see Romans 12:1), pledging that where your live body is, you will be sacrificed to letting God work through you for the good of others. Make every word of the Eucharistic Prayer an expression of your praise and gratitude, your love for God and others. Offer yourself with and in Jesus as his act of offering himself on the cross is made present. You are in that host. Offer yourself, your own “flesh for the life of the world.”
And when the Rite of Communion begins, start looking forward with hope. Everything from the Our Father on puts our focus on the “end time,” on the “blessed hope” of Christ’s return and the manifestation (epiphaniam) of his glory. Communion is a preview, a foretaste of the “wedding banquet of the Lamb.” Be conscious during it of the “peace and unity” present in the community at that moment — a preview and motivating taste of the peace and unity of the Kingdom that animates us to work for peace and unity on earth now. “That there might be peace in our day.” To work with persevering hope in spite of the hopelessness of it all.
After all have received Communion, enclose yourself with Jesus in your heart. “Taste and see that the Lord is sweet.” You have within you, right now, all you need to be perfectly happy forever. Let the rest of your life be anticipation enlivened by experience.
Stop wasting your time “going to” Mass. Start participating with faith, hope and love.
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Saturday, August 11, 2012
Saturday, August 4, 2012
What Rallies the Risen? The Psalms! — Eighteenth Week of “Ordinary Time,” August 5 to August 11, 2012
The truth is, I never got much out of the Psalms. At first I said I didn’t know “what they meant.” This from a man who used to teach poetry! Then I just found them boring; I couldn’t “get into them.” I wondered how the Benedictines could stand to chant them all day.
Guess what? Growing never stops. I just rediscovered the Psalms. Now I am saying: “I’ve been missing all this! If I had been a Benedictine, I would be filled now with what I am just beginning to appreciate. And what is that?
If you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth, for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God (Colossian 3:1-3).
And we can do it. The mystery that only Christians know, is that all who were baptized into Christ’s death, died and rose in him, have no record of sin. All the sins they committed before or after Baptism, if they have repented of them, are not just forgiven but taken away by Jesus as “Lamb of God.” No woman “in grace,” who lives the life of God as Christ’s risen body, has ever had an abortion. If one did, that woman — with all her sins — “died” with Christ on the cross and rose with him as a “new creation.” Her sin was not just forgiven, but taken away. Paul says
For you were buried with Christ when you were baptized. And with him you were raised to a new life because you trusted the mighty power of God, who raised Christ from the dead. You were dead because of your sins.... Then God made you alive with Christ. He forgave all our sins. He cancelled [other translations: blotted out, wiped out, effaced, erased] the record that contained the charges against us. He took it and destroyed it by nailing it to Christ’s cross (Colossians 2:12-14; see Acts 3:19).
And I find it.