31 May 2007
"[Mary] becomes the model for those in the church who set out to bring Christ's light and joy to the people of every time and place." -Pope John Paul the Great
We MUST turn to Mary and beg our Blessed Mother to teach us how we too can bring Christ's light to our neighbors, to our family, to our peers, to our nation and to our world. As she brought Jesus to Elizabeth we too are called as Christians and friends of Jesus to carry Him to others who have not yet experienced His love.
Mother Mary we entrust to you, ourselves as your students of evangelization. We ask your intercession that we might be willing instruments of God's love in our world. Amen.
25 May 2007
Sorry I was MIA for a time. I was in Italy walking the streets of famous saints. I gained such a new appreciation for the rich tradition of our Catholic faith. Everywhere I went there were beautiful Churches and shrines dedicated to our God and the saints who faithfully trusted and loved him. I couldn't help but see how lucky we are to have places that we can go to, see, smell, and touch things and tombs that are holy. I felt like a little child every time I entered a church. I wanted to touch everything: the tombs of St. Clare and St. Francis, the altars where Mass has been celebrated throughout the centuries, a chair that a pope sat in, the holy water in all the major basilicas of Rome, the stones that saints have walked on and even the tombs of unknown saints. I felt like I was walking with the saints. It was such a beautiful and concrete experience of our faith throughout the centuries.
Anyway, this week we have been leading up to Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit will come down upon the Apostles and Mary, and strengthen them with his gifts, enabling them to be "witnesses to the ends of the earth" Acts 1. This week the daily Gospel readings have been from St. John highlighting Jesus' prayer for unity: "that they may be one just as we are [Jesus and the Father]" John 17:11. This is such an important prayer especially in today's world where so many things divide us, even among Christians. This is such a beautiful time the Church gives us to open our hearts to the Holy Spirit, receiving his gifts, and reaching out with Charity to foster unity instead of division. The Holy Spirit will be given to you to they extent that you invite him into your heart. Pray especially in these remaining days before Pentecost that the Holy Spirit will flow into you, making you a dwelling place of God and a well of his charity, that you might be his instruments of unity. God Bless and have a very holy Pentecost! (one of my favorite church feast days :))
06 May 2007
Jesus commands us to love. He is calling us to be in unity with his father and himself who are both love and from this love to allow the Holy Spirit to dwell within us, and flow through us to the world, so that the world may see the love of the Father and the Son for each other and for ourselves.
How do we love?
Jesus answers, "As I have loved you." John 13:34
One crucial aspect of Jesus' love is his lack of expectations. A priest once told me, "True, selfless love has no expectations." When we expect nothing from another, we are totally free to love them completely without the burdens of expecting something in return. If we have expectations created in our minds and our hearts, these expectations will eventually fail to be fulfilled, leaving us feeling hurt and finding it difficult to love the one who failed to fulfill our expectations. As Christians, Jesus offers us a tremendous freedom--the freedom to love unconditionally, only thinking about the other person.
Our only job is to cooperate with the Holy Spirit, allowing him to break down our expectations of God, of our parents, siblings, friends and teachers and to help us love them fully, free from any burden of worry.
As always we look to our Mother Mary to help us learn to love without expectations. Her whole mind, body and heart were directed toward loving God, and she expected nothing in return.
We ask you Mother to pray for us, so that we may see what expectations we have created for God and others and that we might have the strength to cooperate with your son in order to break down those expectations and to live in the freedom of true love that he offers unconditionally to each of us.
03 May 2007
Here Jesus manifests His total unity with His Father. For although He Himself is God and has the power to perform great miracles, He has taken on human form and relies on the power of the Father dwelling within Him.
Here's the beauty of it: if Jesus, as a human being, can do wondrous works, so can we! He offers this same oneness with the Father to each of us, if we come, through Him, to the Father. Just imagine what the world would be like if we allowed God the Father to dwell in us and work through us as Jesus did: no challenge in life would be too great to overcome, no sorrow or cause for anger would steal our peace, no person would be too difficult to love, no shortcomings would get in our way. The saints are a model for us of what this would be like. Think of Mother Teresa, one woman who touched so many lives and conquered her human selfishness to love the unlovable, the dead and dying in India. It was the Father living in her who did these works, because in every person she helped, however loathesome their outward appearance, she saw Jesus.
We're not in India (obvious observation of the day! =D) but we still have shortcomings, challenges, and people in our lives that are not easy to love. Personally, I got to a point in studying for my finals when I had to say, "Lord, I have no motivation to study. I can't do it even though I want good grades. Help me to find the strength to do it out of gratitude for the intelligence and education You've given me, as an offering to You." My sister in highschool told my Mom and me the other day that by the end of one of her classes she's so tired of the annoying people in her class that she wants to call home even if only to hear the answering machine. My Mom told her: pray! What a gift we have that wherever we are, even in school, we can "call" our Father, or talk to Jesus' and our Mom, and we'll never get the answering machine, They always pick up. And whether we feel too weak to do what we have to do, or even if we're strong and think we can do it on our own (like Jesus), by calling on the Father and seeking His will we can do even greater things for His glory, which are everlasting,rather than our own,which is passing.
"Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I go to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, I will do it, that the Father may be glorified in the Son; if you ask anything in my name, I will do it."
01 May 2007
"Where did this man get this wisdom and these mighty works? Is not this the carpenter's son?” --Matthew 13: 54-55
However, let us not forget that we are about a work from which we do not take rest: the salvific work of our growth in holiness and in seeking the lost through evangelization. In the above quotation from today’s gospel reading, Jesus is about that work. He has grown in the wisdom of the Holy Spirit (personal holiness and relationship with God) and is working mighty works among the people (evangelization and building of the kingdom). And yet, as we also see, those of His town cannot fathom where Jesus’s power has come from, and so they deny and reject Him.
Some things to keep in mind:
Am I grateful for my labors or do I resent them? Do I consider my worldly labors as sacrifices to offer to God or character forming experiences? Do I allow my busy-ness to keep me from the spiritual works of prayer and sharing of my faith? What should my answers be?
Let us follow the example of