Monday, May 30, 2016

May 31, 2016 Tuesday: Feast of Visitation

May 31, 2016 Tuesday: Feast of Visitation

Magnify the Lord
The Humility of Mary (Luke 1:39–55)

How do you feel when you have a lot on your plate? I know when I have much to do, I can be tempted to close in on myself—focusing on my projects, my problems, my concerns—and not be as attentive to those around me. But Mary was not like that.

The passage from Luke’s Gospel—a scene known as the Visitation—reveals that in spite of all that has been entrusted to her, Mary does not turn in on herself. She remains focused on God and on other people. After hearing the angel’s message, Mary goes “in haste” to the hill country of Judea to bring joy to her kinswoman Elizabeth who is pregnant with John the Baptist and to share with her all that God is accomplishing in Israel and in her own life. The one who received the angel’s message of the Messiah’s coming now becomes the first human messenger of the Good News.

Why the Hurry?
Luke informs us that Mary makes this journey “in haste,” meta spoudēs . It is worth noting that the particular phrase “in haste” also can be translated as “with thoughtfulness” or “with eagerness,” ‡ which may get more to the heart of the matter. In this perspective, Mary’s going in haste points to her joy and wonder over what God is accomplishing in Israel and in her own life by sending the Messiah-King. And this is a divine plan in which she and Elizabeth are now intimately bound through their experience of miraculous motherhood and the children they bear. Mary, thus, enthusiastically sets off to see the sign that Gabriel has given her about Elizabeth’s pregnancy. Mary believes the angel’s message and goes urgently to witness firsthand the great things God is doing in Elizabeth’s life. As one theologian explained, Mary’s haste “sprang from the joy of her vocation and from the hope that welled up in her. Mary, joyful, hopeful and ready, went in search of the signs from God.”

“The Mother of My Lord”
Elizabeth addresses Mary as “the Mother of my Lord.” In doing so Elizabeth hails Mary as the mother of the King. In the Old Testament “my Lord” was a court expression used to honor the king (see 2 Sam. 24:21; Ps. 110:1). Thus, Elizabeth is referring to Mary as the mother of the King. For Mary, Elizabeth’s words are a confirmation of what the angel told her in Nazareth. She is the mother of the Davidic king. But Elizabeth’s words also confer quite a significant honor on Mary herself, for in the biblical world, as mother of the King, Mary would have been understood to be the queen in her son’s kingdom. In ancient Israel the queenship in the Davidic kingdom was bestowed not on the king’s wife but on the king’s mother (see Jer. 13:18, 20; 1 Kings 15:13; 2 Kings 24:15; cf. 1 Kings 2:19–20). Most kings had large harems with many wives, but each king had only one mother, and the queenship was given to her. Therefore, when Elizabeth calls Mary “Mother of my Lord,” she is honoring Mary as the mother of the King, the queen mother. This background can shed some biblical light on Mary’s intercessory role today, for the queen mother in ancient Israel served as an advocate for the people. Members of the kingdom would bring petitions to the queen mother and she would present those requests to the king (see 1 Kings 2:13–20). If Mary is the mother of King Jesus, the queen mother in Christ’s kingdom, then it would make sense that she serves as an advocate for the citizens of the kingdom, bringing our petitions to her royal Son.

A Soul that Magnifies God
It’s hard to imagine Mary receiving any greater words of praise. She is blessed among women because of the child she carries, the blessed fruit of her womb. She also is “the mother of my Lord.” Most of all, she is blessed for her belief. How does Mary respond to all these accolades? With humility. She turns all the attention back to God, recognizing him as the true source of all these blessings in her life. She says, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior” (Luke 1:46–47).

Here we turn to the climactic part of the Visitation scene, where Mary’s hymn-like response to Elizabeth’s praise sheds additional light on Mary’s interior life. The verses of Luke 1:46–55 are commonly known as the Magnificat, a title taken from the Latin translation of Mary’s first words in these verses: Magnificat anima mea Dominum (My soul magnifies the Lord). The word magnify , in Greek megalunein , means “to make great, to extol or praise.” When Mary says that her soul magnifies the Lord, she is expressing how in the very depths of her being, she desires to praise God, to make God great.

Do you desire to praise God, to make God great, in your soul? If so, Mary exemplifies how to do that in the Magnificat. The first half of her song reveals that Mary’s soul magnifies God because of her humility.

And Mary said , “My soul magnifies the Lord , and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior for he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden . For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me , and holy is his name . And his mercy is on those who fear him from generation to generation . (Luke 1:46–50)

Mary deeply understands that all these blessings in her life are not her own doing. She did not become “full of grace,” the mother of the Messiah, and “blessed among women” through her own effort or because of some innate spiritual talent. Mary recognizes her lowliness, and her song underscores that all she has comes from God’s grace. Mary understands how small she really is. She knows that on her own she is nothing, and that she is completely dependent on the Lord. Mary thus exhibits Christ’s teaching that the humble will be exalted. Only when we are convinced, like Mary was, of how little we can really do on our own and how utterly dependent we are on God can the Lord begin to act in magnificent ways in us and through us.

-Edward Sri
Walking with Mary : a Biblical journey from Nazareth to the cross

Saturday, May 28, 2016

May 29, 2016 Corpus Christi C - Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ

May 29, 2016 Corpus Christi C - Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ

Click to hear Audio Homily
Click to hear Ave Verum Corpus sung
Click to hear Behold the Lamb sung

It’s not often that a national news covers a miracle. Yet recently, an NBC News report was about a woman who regained her sight 20 years after she went blind from a stroke. “Blindness didn’t stop me,” she said from living her life. “The Lord was with me all the time.” She learned how to read braille and walk with a cane. A month ago, following surgery to correct injuries from a recent fall, she miraculously regained her sight back. Her doctors had no medical explanation for her healing. At age 70 she’s now ready for new challenges and new adventures. “Everything happens in God’s time,” she said. “God is still in control.” You can imagine the outpouring of amazement and encouragement from thousands of people after seeing her story. However, there were also incredulous people. One person quipped, “It helps many humans to believe there is a great man behind the curtain....Stuff happens and it's not a miracle....it's science. But do and believe whatever works for you my dear. (smile emoticon)” Another person responded, “A miracle from God! Oh, wait, the same God that allowed her to be blind for 23 years?? That a different God?”  Another skeptic responded, “And all these people come out to praise God while he fails to save so many others. Sorry your God has done nothing here.”

How about you? Do you also share their skeptical views? When we look at  events from the far past, such as the miracle of the multiplication of bread and fish performed by Jesus in today’s gospel, our tendency is to analyze them through the modern “scientific” lens. We look for holes or natural explanations for such stories. Yet, to dismiss such miracle as active imagination or fable is to deny countless witnesses whose intellect were no less sophisticated than ours.

Right before the miracle of multiplication of loaves was performed by Jesus, the disciples were appalled at a seemingly impossible request by Jesus to feed the hungry crowd of several thousands of people. Imagine, a stadium full of people who came to a papal mass, and Pope Francis turns around and tells you, “You go feed them.”

The disciples had a logistical solution: dismiss the crowd and let themselves go and take care of their own hunger. It was at this threshold of human incapability that Jesus performs the miracle.
What is a miracle? The word “miracle” comes from the Latin word for wonder and, literally means “a sight to behold.” Miracles are learning experiences for us. They point to something that God wants us to know or believe about Himself and His loving plan of salvation. God’s desire is to satisfy our deepest desire and hunger, which is to be in communion with Him. Jesus told a saint, “My love for man is so great that I sought a manner of being his food, his very substance and life...And this food for him will be so indispensable, that if he does not take it, he will not have life; and he who eats My Flesh and drinks My Blood, I will raise him up on the last day, and he will abide in Me and I in him.” 

It’s not enough for Jesus that we satisfy our own deepest hunger through Holy Communion. Jesus says to us, “You give them something to eat.” He desires us to share this inestimable gift of Himself in the Eucharist by giving away our own selves as a gift. Is it not a miracle that Jesus gives us all the grace necessary through the Eucharist, to love as He has loved? See what a blind woman can accomplish for Jesus when she has so much trust in God’s goodness! We ask Our Lord on this feast of Corpus Christi to fashion us into a living Eucharistic miracle so that we may become a vessel of mercy carrying His love to others.
-Fr. Paul Yi

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

May 24, 2016 Tuesday: Our Lady of the Way (Madonna Della Strada)

May 24, 2016 Tuesday: Our Lady of the Way (Madonna Della Strada)

Mary’s Prayers At Work
I started praying to Madonna della Strada – literally, “Our Lady of the Street” – on my novitiate pilgrimage. I was going through some spiritual doubt, uncertain whether God really was with us, as Matthew’s Gospel says. But boarding a bus in Kansas City, bound for Texas with only five dollars and a backpack of clothes, I needed help. I asked Our Lady of the Way to pray for me.

She did. Just when I needed shelter in El Paso, a man asked me if I needed a place to stay. Later, when I wasn’t sure how to spend some extra cash, a poor man asked me for dinner. It was so clear that Mary’s prayers were working – and that God was, in fact, with me! Now, when something seems impossible – like studying for final exams – I remember my pilgrimage. If Mary’s prayers could help me there, she can help me anywhere.
—Daniel Everson, S.J.
www.jesuitprayer.org

(photo: altar of Madonna Della Strada in Church of Gesu, Rome)

Saturday, May 21, 2016

May 22, 2016: The Most Holy Trinity C

May 22, 2016: The Most Holy Trinity C

Click to hear Audio Homily
Earlier this week on May 18, we celebrated the birthday of St. John Paul II. On one of my retreats, I had the privilege of spending some time in Wadowice, Poland, the hometown of this beloved saint. The roots of John Paul’s witness to marriage and the family, and the roots of his teachings about the beauty of human love, can be found in Wadowice where he spent his early years. His boyhood home was next to the Basilica of the Presentation where he was baptized. He was no stranger to sorrows and sufferings of life. His older sister, his parent’s second child, died shortly after birth. His mother died before John Paul turned nine. When he was twelve, his older brother, Edmund, a physician, died of the scarlet fever he had contracted from a patient for whom he was caring. Shortly after his mother’s death, while his dad was was still mourning over the loss of his wife, John Paul’s dad took him to see the outdoor passion play by the shrine called Kalwaria--Calvary. There his dad hoped to teach his son a lesson--that our lives are best understood, and our sorrows are best sustained when they are understood within a drama of love story that God himself entered--in the passion, death, and resurrection of God’s Son. Throughout his life, his dad witnessed to his son a rich prayer life. On many occasions when John Paul woke in the middle of the night, he saw his dad deep on a kneeler in the corner of the bedroom deep in prayer before the painting of St. Joseph with his son Jesus.

When John Paul was 20 years old, his father died. With all of his family members deceased, John Paul felt orphaned. A friend remembered John Paul saying, “I never felt so alone…” Yet, John Paul never stopped praying. It was in prayer that John Paul gained insight about how his own life was intertwined in Jesus’ passionate love for his Father and his children on earth. His faith gave him conviction that he was not orphaned or alone; he was enveloped in inexplicable love between the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. John Paul later beautifully summarized this mystery: "Only in Christ do we find real love, and the fullness of life. And so I invite you today to look to Christ. When you wonder about the mystery of yourself, look to Christ who gives you the meaning of life.”

As we celebrate today’s feast of the Most Holy Trinity, we look to Christ to peer into the mystery of who we are and who God is. When we look to Christ, what does he desire for us? His wants us all to participate in the communion of love of the Most Holy Trinity. Jesus prayed earnestly for this, “Righteous Father, the world also does not know you, but I know you, and they know that you sent me. I made known to them your name and I will make it known, that the love with which you loved me may be in them and I in them.” The Catechism describes the Trinity as God’s “innermost secret,” which is that “God himself is an eternal exchange of love, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit … .” The Catechism then goes on to say something amazing, “… and he has destined us to share in that exchange.”

As incredible as it sounds, our whole life is meant to be lived in communion with God. This whole Mass, for example, is an intense communion with the Trinity. We began this Mass in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. We will end it by receiving the blessing of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  At the climax of the mass, we receive Holy Communion, the most tangible sign for us entering into a flesh and spirit union in the life of the Holy Trinity. Everything we do and say during this Mass is nothing other than being in this love relationship with the Holy Trinity.

Like the Mass, our whole life is meant to begin and end in the name of the Blessed Trinity and be a profession of that faith. Our spiritual life begins when we are baptized “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” At the end of our life, in the prayers after the anointing, a priest will say, “Depart from this life, Christian soul, in the name of God the Almighty Father who created you, in the name of Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, who suffered for you, in the name of the Holy Spirit, who descended over you.” Between birth and death, our life is meant to be lived explicitly within the life of the Blessed Trinity: in the name of the Trinity spouses are united in holy matrimony; in the name of the Trinity, priests are ordained and consecrated for God’s service; in the name of the Trinity, our sins are forgiven. Our whole Christian life unfolds in the company of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit: the three Persons are with us, the walk each step of life with us.

We all know that there are times we are not aware of this amazing truth. How can we plug our selves into the Trinitarian communion of life and love? In scripture, Jesus gave two very concrete commands. Jesus said, “If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love” (John 15:10). Jesus lives in us through divine grace, but to remain in the state of grace, we have to keep his commandments of love. Second, Jesus said, “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him” (John 6:56). In this great sacrament of the body and blood of the Lord, we receive the whole Christ — body, blood, soul and divinity — and therefore, we receive God’s own divine life within. Jesus’ divinity is inseparably united to the Father and the Holy Spirit, and hence we enter into communion with the Trinity through receiving Holy Communion. To experience this joy of communion though, our lives must be a life of love. And if we fall short of loving because of our sins or selfishness,  we need to prepare our body and soul through confession. Then we will experience the indwelling of the Spirit again within us.

God, who is love, loved us so much that he wanted us to share in this love, not just in the next life but in this one. Today we thank God for the privilege to live in union with Him through the gift of His Son. May our whole life be a grateful response, saying, by words and deeds, “Glory be to the Father, to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be.”

Monday, May 16, 2016

May 16, 2016 Monday: 7th Week in Ordinary Time

May 16, 2016 Monday: 7th Week in Ordinary Time

THE CAUSE OF FAILURE

Mark 9:25–9
When Jesus saw that the crowd was running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit. ‘Spirit of dumbness and deafness,’ he said, ‘I order you, come out of him, and don’t go into him again.’ When it had cried and violently convulsed him it came out, and he became like a dead man, so that many said, ‘He is dead.’ But Jesus took him by the hand, and raised him up, and he stood up. When he had gone into the house, and when they were by themselves, his disciples asked him, ‘Why were we not able to cast it out?’ ‘This kind’, he said to them, ‘cannot come out except by prayer.’

JESUS must have taken father and son aside. But the crowd, hearing their cries, came running up, and Jesus acted. There was one last struggle, a struggle to complete exhaustion, and the boy was cured. When they were by themselves, the disciples asked the cause of their failure. They were no doubt remembering that Jesus had sent them out to preach and heal and cast out devils (Mark 3:14–15). Why, then, had they this time so signally failed? Jesus answered quite simply that this kind of cure demanded prayer. In effect he said to them, ‘You don’t live close enough to God.’ They had been equipped with power, but it needed prayer to maintain it. There is a deep lesson here. God may have given us a gift, but unless we maintain close contact with him it may wither and die. That is true of any gift. God may give a man great natural gifts as a preacher, but unless he maintains contact with God, he may in the end become only a man of words and not a man of power. God may give a woman a gift of music or of song, but unless she maintains contact with God, she may become a mere professional, who uses the gift only for gain, which is a dreary thing. That is not to say that gifts should not be used for gain. It is right to capitalize on any talent. But it does mean that, even when those blessed with such talent are using it, they should be finding joy in it because they are also using it for God. It is told of Jenny Lind, the famous Swedish soprano, that before every performance she would stand alone in her dressing-room and pray, ‘God, help me to sing true tonight.’

Unless we maintain this contact with God, we lose two things, however great our gift may be.
(1) We lose vitality. We lose that living power, that something extra which makes for greatness. The thing becomes a performance instead of an offering to God. What should be a vital, living body becomes a beautiful corpse.

(2) We lose humility. What should be used for God’s glory we begin to use for our own, and the virtue goes out of it. What should have been used to set God before others is used to set ourselves before them, and the breath of loveliness is gone.

Here is a warning thought. The disciples had been equipped with power direct from Jesus, but they had not nurtured power with prayer, and power had vanished. Whatever gifts God has given us, we lose them when we use them for ourselves. We keep them when we enrich them by continual contact with the God who gave them.

William Barclay, The Gospel of Mark

Sunday, May 15, 2016

May 25, 2016: Pentecost C

May 25, 2016: Pentecost C

Click to hear audio homily
Recently I saw a funeral program for a young religious sister who suddenly died of a cardiac arrest at the tender age of 28. Claire Metrejean was a graduate of a nursing program at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. A year and a half ago, she entered the Missionaries of Charity and was sent to a convent in Mexico City to serve among the poorest of the poor. Her cousin wrote a moving tribute about her for the funeral:
Claire has always been soft-spoken and sweet. She has always had a deep faith, but that can be said about a lot of people. I think the reason her death has had such an impact on our community is because she so clearly lived out what she believed. She didn’t just talk about it like most of us do. We all say we want to help others or live for something bigger than ourselves, but the majority of the time, we cling to our things and let the thought remain just that — a thought.
And a year and half ago, she made that evidently clear when she gave up all the worldly possessions that I honestly can’t imagine living without, all for the sake of following God and serving the poorest of the poor as she joined the Missionaries of Charity.
Though she was soft-spoken and sweet, she was also brave — brave to leave everything she knew and everything that had grown comfortable to her to serve others.
About a month ago, she told her dad just how happy she was to be doing exactly what she was doing. She was overflowing with joy and contentment. This is the outflow of loving others selflessly.

As I read the tribute, I felt something move within me. It was an inexplicable force like a wind prompting me to do something beautiful for God just as that young sister did in her short life. It also prompted me to ask, ‘what keeps me from responding to this inner movement or inspiration?’ What keeps me from carrying out a good thought into action? Don’t we all experience it? We all have had moments when we felt trepidation and doubt from doing something for God.

In Today’s gospel, the disciples are trapped by doubt, trepidation, and fear. The disciples were in hiding behind locked doors because they feared the Jewish leaders who had just crucified their Lord. Perhaps they thought they might be next. Suddenly, with no knock at the door or no one opening the door, the risen Lord Jesus stood in their midst. Imagine how startling it would be to have the risen Lord suddenly appear in a locked room where you were already afraid! Keep in mind that these were men who fled in fear for their own lives when Jesus was arrested. Peter had denied the Lord three times. They all had doubted the initial reports of Jesus’ resurrection. Rather than rebuke them, the Lord graciously extended His peace to them. Furthermore, he breathed on them saying, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”

What kind of peace is Jesus imparting to us? Is His peace the same as that defined in a dictionary--quiet, tranquillity, mental calm, freedom from disturbance? The peace of Christ, as Jesus himself tells us, is not just peace as the world gives or understands it. The peace of Christ is something alive and active, something liberating and dynamic. It is life and love and joy. Paradoxically, it is a gift that both calms and challenges us - it does not grant us an immunity to pain and suffering, or even death, rather it enables us to face all these painful realities and triumph over them in union with the victory of Christ himself. The peace that Christ imparts to us is intimately connected with His sacrificial love for us; and we can experience this peace when we love as God loves us. This love is the source of new life in Christ made possible because we have received power from the Holy Spirit. Just as we cannot see the wind that sways the tree branches and leaves, we only see the fruits of the Spirit which are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Certainly Sr. Claire‘s family and her friends saw the fruits of the Holy Spirit in her joyful disposition and desire to carry on Christ’s mission.

How can we live and move in the power of the Holy Spirit? First is to experience the intimate and personal love that Christ has for each of us. This experience is like sunlight which makes the sap of life rise and the buds of sanctity bloom. Second is to make every opportunity to do small things with great love. Mother Teresa advises, “Never let anything so fill you with sorrow as to make you forget the joy of the Risen Christ...We all long for Heaven where God is, but we have it in our power to be in Heaven with him right now to be happy with him at this very moment. But being happy with him now means: loving as he loves; helping as he helps; giving as he gives; serving as he serves; rescuing as he rescues; being with him 24 hours a day; touching him in his distressing disguise in the poor and suffering.”

Striving daily to do small things with great love allows us to come to know the Father’s love and His care for each of us. God desires for each of us to have a joyful heart which is the result of a heart burning with love which is also the gift of the Holy Spirit. Today, let us pray in a special way that our life may experience a new birth in God and become a light that will radiate from within us, so that we may become witnesses of God’s presence and joy in the world to every person who lives in darkness.
-Fr. Paul Yi

Friday, May 13, 2016

May 13, 2016 Friday: Our Lady of Fatima

May 13, 2016 Friday: Our Lady of Fatima

On May 13, 1982, Pope John Paul II delivered a homily at a Mass in Fatima, exactly one year after being shot. May 13th was also the day that Mary, our Blessed Mother, appeared to the three children at Fatima, sixty five years earlier. This Pope, called a Marian Pope because of his devotion to Mary, delivered to us a beautiful glimpse into his life of prayer to and his love for Mary.
---------------

Homily, Mass of Our Lady of Fátima, Fátima, Portugal, 13 May 1982.

1. "And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home" (Jn 19:27).

These are the concluding words of the Gospel in today's liturgy at Fátima. The disciple's name was John. It was he, John, the son of Zebedee, the apostle and evangelist, who heard from the Cross the words of Christ: "Behold, your mother". But first Christ had said to his Mother: "Woman, behold, your son". This was a wonderful testament.

As he left this world, Christ gave to his Mother a man, a human being, to be like a son for her: John. He entrusted him to her. And, as a consequence of this giving and entrusting, Mary became the mother of John. The Mother of God became the Mother of man.

From that hour John "took her to his own home" and became the earthly guardian of the Mother of his Master; for sons have the right and duty to care for their mother. John became by Christ's will the son of the Mother of God. And in John every human being became her child.

The Mother's presence

2. The words "he took her to his own home" can be taken in the literal sense as referring to the place where he lived.

Mary's motherhood in our regard is manifested in a particular way in the places where she meets us: her dwelling places; places in which a special presence of the Mother is felt.

There are many such dwelling places. They are of all kinds: from a special corner in the home or little wayside shrines adorned with an image of the Mother of God, to chapels and churches built in her honour. However, in certain places; the Mother's presence is felt in a particularly vivid way. These places, sometimes radiate their light over a great distance and draw people from afar. Their radiance may ex tend over a diocese, a whole nation, or at times over several countries and even continents. These places. are the Marian sanctuaries or shrines.

In all these places that unique testament of the Crucified Lord is wonderfully actualized: in them man feels that he is entrusted and confided to Mary; he goes there in order) to be with her as with his Mother he opens his heart to her and speaks to her about everything: he "takes her to his own home", that is to say, he brings her into all his problems, which at times are difficult. His own problems and those of others. The problems of the family, of societies, of nations' and of the whole of humanity.

Through God's mercy

3. Is not this the case with the shrine at Lourdes, in France? Is not this the case with Jasna Gora, in Poland, my own country's shrine, which this year is celebrating its six hundredth anniversary?

There too, as in so many other shrines of Mary throughout the world, the words of today's liturgy seem to resound with a particularly authentic force: "You are the great pride of our nation" (Jdt 15:9), and also: "...when our nation was' brought low... you avenged our ruin, walking in the straight path before our God" (Jdt 13:20).

At Fátima these words resound; as one particular echo of the experiences not only of the Portuguese nation but also of so many other. countries and peoples on this earth: indeed, they echo the experience of modern mankind as a whole, the whole of the human family.

4. And so I come here today because on this very day last year, in Saint Peter's Square in Rome, the attempt on the Pope's life was made, in mysterious coincidence with the anniversary of the first apparition at Fátima, which occurred on 13 May 1917.

I seemed to recognize in the coincidence of the dates a special call to come to this place. And so, today I am here. I have come in order to thank Divine Providence in this place which the Mother of God seems to have chosen in a particular way. Misericordiae Domini, quia non sumus consumpti (Through God's mercy we were spared-Lam 3:22), I repeat once more with the prophet.

I have come especially in order to confess here the glory of God himself: "Blessed be the Lord God, who created the heavens and the earth', I say in the words of today's liturgy (Jdt 13:18).

And to the Creator of heaven and earth I also raise that special hymn of glory which is she herself, the Immaculate Mother of the Incarnate Word:

"O daughter, you are blessed by the Most High God above all women on earth... your hope will never de part from the hearts of men, as they remember the power of God. May; God grant this to be a perpetual honour to you" (Jdt 18:20).

At the basis of this song of praise, which the Church lifts up with joy here as in so many other places on the earth, is the incomparable choice of a daughter of the human race to be the Mother of God.

And therefore let God above all be praised: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

May blessing and veneration be given to Mary, the model of the Church, as the "dwelling-place of the Most Holy Trinity".

Spiritual motherhood

5. From the time when Jesus, dying on the Cross, said to John: "Behold, your mother"; from the time when "the disciple took her to his own home", the mystery of the spiritual motherhood of Mary has been actualized boundlessly in history. Motherhood means caring for the life of the child. Since Mary is the mother of us all, her care for: the life of man is universal. The care of a mother embraces her child totally. Mary's motherhood has its beginning in her motherly care for Christ. In Christ, at the foot of the Cross, she accepted John, and in John she accepted all of us totally. Mary embraces us all with special solicitude in the Holy Spirit. For as we profess in our Creed, he is "the giver of life". It is he who gives the fullness of life, open towards eternity.

Mary's spiritual motherhood is therefore a sharing in the power of the Holy Spirit, of "the giver of life". It is the humble service of her who says of herself: "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord" (Lk 1:38).

In the light of the mystery of Mary's spiritual motherhood, let us seek to understand the extraordinary message, which began on 13 May, 1917 to resound throughout the world from Fátima, continuing for five months until 13 October of the same year.

Convert and repent

6. The Church has always taught and continues to proclaim that God's revelation was brought to completion in Jesus Christ, who is the fullness of that revelation, and that "no new public revelation is to be expected before the glorious manifestation of our Lord" (Dei Verbum, 4). The Church evaluates and judges private revelations by the criterion of conformity with that single public Revelation.

If the Church has accepted the message of Fátima, it is above all because that message contains a truth and a call whose basic content is the truth and the call of the Gospel itself.

"Repent, and believe in the gospel" (Mk 1:15): these are the first words that the Messiah addressed to humanity. The message of Fátima is, in its basic nucleus, a call to conversion and repentance, as in the Gospel. This call was uttered at the beginning of the twentieth century, and it was thus addressed particularly to this present century. The Lady of the message seems to have read with special insight the "signs of the times", the signs of our time.

The call to repentance is a motherly one, and at the same time it is strong and decisive. The love that "rejoices in the truth" (cf. 1 Cor 13:) is capable of being clear-cut and firm. The call to repentance is linked, as always, with a call to prayer. In harmony with the tradition of many centuries, the Lady of the message indicates the Rosary, which can rightly be defined as "Mary's prayer": the prayer in which she feels particularly united with us. She herself prays with us. The rosary prayer embraces the problems of the Church, of the See of Saint Peter, the problems of the whole world. In it we also remember sinners, that they may be converted and saved, and the souls in Purgatory.

The words of the message were addressed to children aged from seven to ten. Children, like Bernadette of Lourdes, are particularly privileged in these apparitions of the Mother of God. Hence the fact that also her language is simple, within the limits of their understanding. The children of Fátima became partners in dialogue with the Lady of the message and collaborators with her. One of them is still living.

Recommends the Rosary

7. When Jesus on the Cross said: "Woman, behold, your son" (Jn 19: 26), in a new way he opened his Mother's Heart, the Immaculate Heart, and revealed to it the new dimensions and extent of the love to which she was called in the Holy Spirit by the power of the sacrifice of the Cross.

In the words of Fátima we seem to find this dimension of motherly love, whose range covers the whole of man's path towards God; the path that leads through this world and that goes, through Purgatory, beyond this world. The solicitude of the Mother of the Saviour is solicitude for the work of salvation: the work of her Son. It is solicitude for the salvation, the eternal salvation, of all. Now that sixty-five years have passed since that 13 May 1917, it is difficult to fail to notice how the range of this salvific love of the Mother embraces, in a particular way, our century.

In the light of a mother's love we understand the whole message of the Lady of Fátima. The greatest obstacle to man's journey towards God is sin, perseverance in sin, and, finally, denial of God. The deliberate blotting out of God from the world of human thought. The detachment from him of the whole of man's earthly activity. The rejection of God by man.

In reality, the eternal salvation of man is only in God. Man's rejection of God, if it becomes definitive, leads logically to God's rejection of man (cf. Mt 7:23; 10:33), to damnation.

Can the Mother who with all the force of the love that she fosters in the Holy Spirit desires everyone's salvation keep silence on what undermines the very bases of their salvation? No, she cannot.

And so, while the message of Our Lady of Fátima is a motherly one, it is also strong and decisive. It sounds severe. It sounds like John the Baptist speaking on the banks of the Jordan. It invites to repentance. It gives a warning. It calls to prayer. It recommends the Rosary.

The message is addressed to every human being. The love of the Saviour's Mother reaches every place touched by the work of salvation. Her care extends to every individual of our time, and to all the societies nations and peoples. Societies menaced by apostasy, threatened by moral degradation. The collapse of morality involves the collapse of societies.

Meaning of consecration

8. On the Cross Christ said: "Woman, behold, your son!" With these words he opened in a new way his Mother's heart. A little later, the Roman soldier's spear pierced the side of the Crucified One. That pierced heart became a sign of the redemption achieved through the death of the Lamb of God.

The Immaculate Heart of Mary, opened with the words "Woman, behold, your son!", is spiritually united with the heart of her Son opened by the soldier's spear. Mary's Heart was opened by the same love for man and for the world with which Christ loved man and the world, offering himself for them on the Cross, until the soldier's spear struck that blow.

Consecrating the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary means drawing near, through the Mother's intercession, to the very Fountain of life that sprang from Golgotha. This Fountain pours forth unceasingly redemption and grace. In it reparation is made continually for the sins of the world. It is a ceaseless source of new life and holiness.

Consecrating the world to the Immaculate Heart of the Mother means returning beneath the Cross of the Son. It means consecrating this world to the pierced Heart of the Saviour, bringing it beck 'to the very source of its Redemption. Redemption is always greater than man's sin and the "sin of the world." The power of the Redemption is infinitely superior to the whole range of evil in man and the world.

The Heart of the Mother is aware of this, more than any other heart in the whole universe, visible and invisible.

And so she calls us. She not only calls us to be converted: she calls us to accept her motherly help to return to the source of Redemption.

Love for all persons

9. Consecrating ourselves to Mary means accepting her help to offer ourselves and the whole of mankind to Him who is Holy, infinitely Holy; it means accepting her help by having recourse to her motherly Heart, which beneath the Cross was opened to love for every human being, for the whole world in order to offer the: world, the individual human being, mankind as a whole, and all the nations to Him who is infinitely Holy. God's holiness showed itself in the redemption of man, of the world, of the whole of mankind, and of the nations: a redemption brought about through the Sacrifice of the Cross. "For their sake I consecrate myself", Jesus had said (Jn 17:19).

By the power of the redemption the world and man have been consecrated. They have been consecrated to Him who is infinitely Holy. They have been offered and entrusted to Love itself, merciful Love.

The Mother of Christ calls us, invites us to join with the Church of the living God in the consecration of the world, in this act of confiding by which the world, mankind as a whole, the nations, and each individual person are presented to the Eternal Father with the power of the Redemption won by Christ. They are offered in the Heart of the Redeemer which was pierced on the Cross.

Rooted in the Gospel

10. The appeal of the Lady of the message of Fátima is so deeply rooted in the Gospel and the whole of Tradition that the Church feels that the message imposes a commitment on her.

She has responded through the Servant of God Pius XII (whose episcopal ordination took place precisely on 13 May 1917): he consecrated the human race and especially the Peoples of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Was not that consecration his response to the evangelical eloquence of the call of Fátima?

In its Dogmatic Constitution on the Church (Lumen Gentium) and its Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World (Gaudium et Spes) the Second Vatican Council amply illustrated the reasons for the link between the Church and the world of today. Furthermore, its teaching on Mary's special place in the mystery of Christ and the Church bore mature fruit in Paul VI's action in calling Mary Mother of the Church and thus indicating more profoundly the nature of her union with the Church and of her care for the world, for mankind, for each human being, and for all the nations: what characterizes them is her motherhood.

This brought a further deepening of understanding of the meaning of the act of consecrating that the Church is celled upon to perform with the help of the Heart of Christ's Mother and ours.

Many going astray

11. Today John Paul II, successor of Peter, continuer of the work of Pius, John, and Paul, and particular heir of the Second Vatican Council, presents himself before the Mother of the Son of God in her Shrine at Fátima. In what way does he come?

He presents himself, reading again with trepidation the motherly call to penance, to conversion, the ardent appeal of the Heart of Mary that resounded at Fátima sixty-five years ago. Yes, he reads it again with trepidation in his heart, because he sees how many people and societies—how many Christians—have gone in the opposite direction to the one indicated in the message of Fátima. Sin has thus made itself firmly at home in the world, and denial of God has become widespread in the ideologies, ideas and plans of human beings.

But for this very reason the evangelical call to repentance and conversion, uttered in the Mother's message, remains ever relevant. It is still more relevant than it was sixty-five years ago. It is still more urgent. And so it is to be the subject of next year's Synod of Bishops, which we are already preparing for.

The successor of Peter presents himself here also as a witness to the immensity of human suffering, a witness to the almost apocalyptic menaces looking over the nations and mankind as a whole. He is trying to embrace these sufferings with his own weak human heart, as he places himself before the mystery of the Heart of the Mother, the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

In the name of these sufferings and with awareness of the evil that is spreading throughout the world and menacing the individual human being, the nations, and mankind as a whole, Peter's successor presents himself here with greater faith in the redemption of the world, in the saving Love that is always stronger, always more powerful than any evil.

My heart is oppressed when I see the sin of the world and the whole range of menaces gathering like a dark cloud over mankind, but it also rejoices with hope as I once more do what has been done by my Predecessors, when they consecrated the world to the Heart of the Mother, when they consecrated especially to that Heart those peoples which particularly need to be consecrated. Doing this means consecrating the world to Him who is infinite Holiness. This Holiness means redemption. It means a love more powerful than evil. No "sin of the world" can ever overcome this Love.

Once more this act is being done. Mary's appeal is not for just once. Her appeal must be taken up by generation after generation, in accordance with the ever new "signs of the times". It must be unceasingly returned to. It must ever be taken up anew.

Faith of the Church

12. The author of the Apocalypse wrote: "And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband and I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'Behold, the dwelling of God is with men. He will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself will be with them'" (Rev 21:2-3).

This is the faith by which the Church lives. This is the faith with which the People of God makes its journey.

"The dwelling of God is with men" on earth even now. In that dwelling is the Heart of the Bride and Mother, Mary, a Heart adorned with the jewel of her Immaculate Conception. The heart of the Bride and Mother which was opened beneath the Cross by the word of her Son to a great new love for man and the world. The Heart of the Bride and Mother which is aware of all the sufferings of individuals and societies on earth.

The People of God is a pilgrim along the ways of this world in an eschatological direction. It is making its pilgrimage towards the eternal Jerusalem, towards "the dwelling of God with men." God will there "wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away"

But at present "the former things are still in existence. They it is that constitute the temporal setting of our pilgrimage.

For that reason we look towards "him who sits upon the throne and says, 'Behold, I make all things new"' (cf. Rev 21:5).

And together with the Evangelist and Apostle we try to see with the eyes of faith "the new heaven and the new earth"; for the first heaven and the first earth have passed away.

But "the first heaven and the first earth" still exist about us and within us. We cannot ignore it. But this enables us to recognize what an immense grace was granted to us human beings when, in the midst of our pilgrimage, there shone forth on the horizon of the faith of our times this "great portent, a woman" (cf. Rev 12:1).

Yes, truly we can repeat: "O daughter, you are blessed by the Most High God above all women on earth... walking in the straight path before our God.. .you have avenged our ruin".

Truly indeed, you are blessed.

Yes, here and throughout the Church, in the heart of every individual and in the world as a whole, may you be blessed, O Mary, our sweet Mother.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

May 11, 2016 Wednesday: 7th Week of Easter

May 11, 2016 Wednesday: 7th Week of Easter

Lifting up his eyes to heaven, Jesus prayed, saying:
“Holy Father, keep them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one just as we are one. When I was with them I protected them in your name that you gave me, and I guarded them, and none of them was lost except the son of destruction, in order that the Scripture might be fulfilled. But now I am coming to you. I speak this in the world so that they may share my joy completely. I gave them your word, and the world hated them, because they do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world but that you keep them from the Evil One. They do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world. Consecrate them in the truth. Your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I sent them into the world. And I consecrate myself for them, so that they also may be consecrated in truth.” (John 17:11-19)

THE great interest of this passage is that it tells us of the things for which Jesus prayed for his disciples.

(1) The first essential is to note that Jesus did not pray that his disciples should be taken out of this world. He never prayed that they might find escape; he prayed that they might find victory. The kind of Christianity which finds its essence in prayer and meditation and in a life withdrawn from the world would have seemed to him a sadly truncated version of the faith he died to bring. He insisted that it was in the rough and tumble of life that a people must live out their Christianity.

Of course there is need of prayer and meditation and quiet times, when we shut the door upon the world to be alone with God, but all these things are not the end that we seek in life, but means to that end; and the end is to demonstrate the Christian life in the ordinary work of the world. Christianity was never meant to withdraw people from life, but to equip them better for it. It does not offer us release from problems, but a way to solve them. It does not offer us an easy peace, but a triumphant warfare. It does not offer us a life in which troubles are escaped and evaded, but a life in which troubles are faced and conquered. However much it may be true that Christians are not of the world, it remains true that it is within the world that their Christianity must be lived out. We must never desire to abandon the world, but always desire to win it.

(2) Jesus prayed for the unity of his disciples. Where there are divisions, where there is exclusiveness, where there is competition between the churches, the cause of Christianity is harmed and the prayer of Jesus frustrated. The gospel cannot truly be preached in any congregation which is not one united band of brothers and sisters. The world cannot be evangelized by competing churches. Jesus prayed that his disciples might be as fully one as he and the Father are one; and there is no prayer of his which has been so hindered from being answered by individual Christians and by the churches than this.

(3) Jesus prayed that God would protect his disciples from the attacks of the evil one. The Bible is not a speculative book; it does not discuss the origin of evil; but it is quite certain that in this world there is a power of evil which is in opposition to the power of God. It is uplifting to feel that God is the sentinel who stands over our lives to guard us from the assaults of evil. The fact that we fall so often is due to the fact that we try to meet life in our own strength and forget to seek the help and to remember the presence of our protecting God.

We must always remember that God has chosen us and dedicated us for his special service. That special service is that we should love and obey him and should bring others to do the same. And God has not left us to carry out that great task in our own strength, but out of his grace he fits us for our task, if we place our lives in his hands.

William Barclay, Gospel of John

Sunday, May 8, 2016

May 8, 2016: Ascension of the Lord C (Mother’s Day)

May 8, 2016: Ascension of the Lord C (Mother’s Day)
This Sunday we celebrate the Feast of the Ascension and Mother’s Day. I thank all the mothers here for their love, guidance, and influence you offer your children, for you are the anchor for your children as they make their journey through life. In a special way, we honor our Heavenly Mother, Mary, who brings us closer to her Son during our earthly life. Mary was the divinely chosen mother of our Lord and a model of discipleship. St. John Paul II said, “From Mary we learn to surrender to God's Will in all things. From Mary we learn to trust even when all hope seems gone. From Mary we learn to love Christ her Son and the Son of God!”
Many of us know through personal experience that the departure of a loved one from earthly life fills us with great sadness. The grieving process is long and arduous, but eventually we gain peace and cherish the memories. The departure of Jesus from the disciples was different. The scripture said when Jesus was taken up to Heaven, “They did him homage and then returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and they were continually in the temple praising God.” The disciples did not lament the physical absence of Jesus, for they firmly believed in Jesus’ promise that Father would send them the Holy Spirit.
Thus the Ascension of Our Lord celebrates the new way Christ became present to his people through the gift of his Spirit. For sure, Christ went away from us so that we no longer experience his physical presence, but he is closer to us now than he ever was before. He is present to us in an equally powerful but different manner. We can turn to him in any place, in any situation knowing he is there for us. It is important to realize that the apostles and disciples never regretted the departure of Jesus after his Ascension.
This feast day is the hope of our glorification and a guarantee to meet our Lord in heaven. It is a reminder that our true home is in heaven. Our Lord asks us to look beyond this world to the destiny which we are to share with Christ in heaven. Thus, this world can only be a place of temporary refuge; a place of pilgrimage and not our true home.
Moreover, this feast of the Ascension is also a reminder for all of us, not just of what awaits us when we die, but also what we need to do while still on earth. Jesus before his Ascension commissioned his disciples, and us too, to be his witnesses and carry out his mission to the ends of the earth till his return. A big task indeed. But before we can proclaim Jesus to others, our first task is to make sure that we make Jesus the Lord of our own hearts. This we can do by prayerfully reflecting on his words and by living according to his teachings and commandments. We have to make time to become more and more like Christ in everything. Then we can proclaim the Good News to others not only through our words and deeds, but also through our lives, so that Jesus will also reign in their hearts and one day we all will be with him in heaven. Mother Teresa summarizes this point beautifully,
“Christ prays in me, Christ works in me, Christ thinks in me, Christ looks through my eyes, Christ speaks through my words, Christ works with my hands, Christ walks with my feet, Christ loves with my heart. As St Paul’s prayer was: ‘I belong to Christ and nothing will separate me from the love of Christ.’ It was that oneness, oneness with God in the Holy Spirit.”
Today we honor our mothers who instilled in us the necessity of prayer and faith; and how to be disciples of selfless giving and sacrifice. Let us take Mother Teresa’s words to prayer this week, asking Our Lord to work in us and through us.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

May 5, 2016 Thursday: 6th Week of Easter

May 5, 2016 Thursday: 6th Week of Easter

Defile
On Pentecost Sunday, May 12, 1972, Hungarian-born Australian geologist Lazlo Toth dashed past the guards at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, vaulted over a balustrade, and dealt fifteen hammer blows to Michelangelo ’s marble masterpiece, the Pietà . The art world was stunned and stood in horror. But wasn’t this an overreaction? After all, the damage was not extensive; the statue’s left arm was severed at the elbow, and the nose and left eye were chipped. A bottle of Elmer’s glue, a little restorative work, and things would be as good as new.

Such a glib reaction is an expression of ignorance and blindness . The amount of damage is not at issue but rather what was damaged. For when an object of immense beauty is marred, even by one unsightly mark, the effect is devastating. If the art world’s reaction of horror in the face of the damage inflicted upon Michelangelo’s Pietà is justified, how much more justified is such a reaction when God’s masterpiece, the human soul, made in the divine image and likeness , is marred in any degree?

We find such a reaction in Oscar Wilde’s novel The Picture of Dorian Gray . At the beginning of the story, Dorian Gray, an exceptionally handsome young man, has his portrait painted. It so captures the beauty of his youth that he begins to weep because he knows that as he grows older, his portrait will remind him of his fading youth. Dorian utters a mad wish that he would stay young forever and that his portrait would age and become a portrait of his soul. His wish becomes a reality. One night, several weeks after making this wish, Dorian arrives home, he notices that a slight alteration has occurred in his portrait.

There was a touch of cruelty in the mouth. . . . There were no signs of any change when he looked into the actual painting , and yet there was no doubt that the whole expression had altered. . . . He had uttered a mad wish that he himself might remain young, and the portrait grow old; that the canvas bear the burden of his passions and sins. Surely his wish had not been fulfilled. Yet there was the picture before him with the touch of cruelty in the mouth. . . . [The portrait] was watching him, with its beautiful and marred face and its cruel smile . . . the visible emblem of his conscience. . . . He got up from his chair, and drew a large screen right in front of the portrait, shuddering as he glanced at it. “How horrible.” 13

Dorian’s reaction of horror is due to his realization that a touch of cruelty has marred his entire face. He realizes that his one act of cruelty has altered his soul, or as John expresses this reality, “[Just as] strokes of soot would ruin a perfect and extraordinarily beautiful portrait, so too inordinate appetites defile and dirty the soul, in itself a perfect and extremely beautiful image of God” (A.1.9.1).

The metaphor of sin as defilement contains a basic truth about human nature, namely, that every experience leaves its imprint upon the soul. Every encounter with the created order deposits a residue that is recorded in memory and embedded in our physiology. Just as our bodies can be infected if exposed to germs, so too can our souls be infected if they are exposed to certain stimuli.

John’s main point is as follows: if we are influenced by merely being exposed to or touched by something, how much more are we impacted when we touch something with our will in the heat of desire? We need to keep in mind that John is writing about the harms that our choices inflict upon our souls: “The voluntary appetites bring on all these evils ” (A.1.12.6). Like Dorian Gray, each of us is in the process of painting a self-portrait in which every choice we make is a brushstroke. For

Reflection
Every choice I make is a brushstroke that I paint on the portrait of my soul. What daily choices do I make that contribute to either the beauty or defilement of my self-portrait?

Fr. Marc Foley OCD, The Ascent of Mount Carmel: John of the Cross

Sunday, May 1, 2016

May 1, 2016: 6th Sunday of Easter C

May 1, 2016: 6th Sunday of Easter C

Have you traveled on an airplane recently? How difficult was it for you to get through the security? A few years ago I went to the Holy Land with a few friends. The airport in Tel Aviv requires that you arrive three hours ahead of your flight to go through security. On the night we were departing, we allowed more than three hours to ensure we had time to get through security. We were first stopped at the airport checkpoint. One of my friends was interrogated at length; he is of Italian/German descent, but he could pass for a Palestinian. Then at the airport, I was pulled out of the line for a lengthy search. Mind you, I had my clerical shirt and collar on. Every inch of the contents in my luggage, including my soiled clothing, were chemically analyzed; I could certainly understand that my stinky clothes could cause an explosion. Finally, I was let through. Then at the second checkpoint, I was pulled aside for baggage analysis for another 30 minutes. It took every bit of three hours to get through the security, and all the while I was saying to myself, “Can’t we all just get along?”

If there was peace in the hearts of people and in the world, we would not have to check luggage for potential weapons or bombs. As great as our technology is, we still have not invented a machine to see through our soul and our intentions. We are afraid of what others will do to us. Words such as 9-11, ISIS, terror plots, and school shootings can generate a flood of negative emotions. Jesus says there are two kinds of peace: One kind is offered by the WORLD. The other is the promise that He gives. And when John uses the term WORLD he is not referring to the planet Earth, but to the people who are ruled by unbelief. They are blind to the things of God and want nothing to do with the Christian faith.

So, the only kind of peace that the world can only offer us is a peace that is devoid of the presence of God. It’s a peace that does not have God as its source or as its inspiration. Instead, it’s typically defined by the absence of something. World Peace is the absence of war, inner peace is the absence of conflict. Apart from God the World basically defines peace based upon two factors: control and circumstances.

When a situation gets out of hand the world says, “Maintain Control. Alter your circumstances.” The world says ‘you must take charge of the situation and make it turn out your way’ and ‘you are the only one who can alter your future and destiny.’ According to the WORLD, there is no God to grant us peace – so peace must be a product of human effort.

But the peace that Jesus offers is altogether different than the peace offered by the world. He says, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives…” Jesus faced every difficult earthly situation imaginable. He suffered persecution from angry religious leaders and unwelcoming peasants. Ultimately, he was betrayed by a close friend, beaten, forsaken, and murdered. Yet Jesus’ life was characterized by peace, and it’s this peace that he offers us. The same peace he had in life can be ours to the same extent—even in the midst of life’s many trials.

When we read in the gospel about the horrific moments in Jesus’ life, we can’t imagine that he was at peace. Yet he was at peace because of his trust in his Father. What will it take for us to have that same kind of trust in the Heavenly Father. I really like the scripture verse over the entrance of our Ascension Church, “Be still and know that I am God.” Before we frantically try various solutions when we face fear and anxiety, we need to be still and know whose child we are and know whose protection we live under.