Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Words From Fr Ed (From May 8th, 2011 Bulletin)

“What things?” - Luke 24:19

The resurrection appearance of Jesus to the disciples of Emmaus is a symbol of Christian conversion that is always worth revisiting. It is also, in a liturgical sense, a symbol of the Mass. Jesus comes alongside the distraught disciples and shares the word of God with them. Then they, encouraged by His presence have Him break bread with them. It is there that they finally recognize who they have been walking with. We too find Jesus in the breaking of the bread. Have we heard His voice and felt His touch? Can we say with the disciples of Emmaus, “Were not our hearts burning within us…?”

These disciples, led by Jesus, model for us the Examen, a daily practice that helps us see where God has been present in our day. Jesus begins the process by asking the disciples what has been happening in Jerusalem over the past few days, as if He didn’t know. He asks in this regard, “What things [have been happening]?” This kind of reflection is essential to growth in the spiritual life. St. Ignatius, in speaking of the Examen, told his companions that this reflecting back on the day’s spiritual activity was more important than any other prayer. The Examen consisted of gratitude for God’s gifts, the request for grace, a searching for signs of God’s presence in our day, an act of sorrow where we failed to respond to this presence, and finally, a resolution of some kind for improvement the next day.

When we think of what things have been happening over the past few weeks, Holy Week and Easter Week, there are incredible graces that have occurred. Each day really deserves attention. While there are graces each day, Holy Thursday stood out for me during Holy Week with the foot washing and chapel of reposition. This year we experimented with including the narthex as part of our reposition environment so that more people could experience it. While the placement of the altar seemed a little challenging, to be looking out into the narthex while praying, I was impressed with the overall peace present in the chapel and narthex combined. ‘Our God is a God of peace.’

Easter Week had its own blessings with each day a Solemnity and the Novena of Mercy. The resurrection appearances challenge us to grow in faith. God’s power is apparent and we need to find ways to allow it to take over our lives. The Easter Octave culminated with Mercy Sunday, which included First Communion at the morning Masses, the beatification of John Paul II in Rome, and the beginning of the month of May with the crowning of the Blessed Virgin at our grotto. Astonishing graces for us as a parish! So many people helped make this an experience that could leave one’s heart burning with joy and gladness. This is just the beginning of the Easter season. May Jesus lead us deeper into the mystery of His risen love.

Happy Mother’s Day

We can apply this same reflection to recalling memories of experiences of our mothers with love. It doesn’t matter whether your mother is living or deceased, for immortal souls exist forever. What things do you remember about your mother? Was she kind, tender, and self-sacrificing? What are you grateful for in relation to your mother? What grace would you ask for her? If she is deceased, offer prayers, especially a Mass. Where did you see God present in her life? What would you apologize for? At least begin with the act in your heart, acknowledging some failure to love, and honor your mother as God commands. What resolution can you make: a phone call, a prayer, a word of thanks? I close with a little praise of mothers written by a Hungarian Cardinal, Joseph Mindszenty, which reads:

The Most Important Person on earth is a mother.
She cannot claim the honor of having built Notre Dame Cathedral.
She need not.
She has built something more magnificent than any cathedral-
a dwelling for an immortal soul, the tiny perfection of her baby's body…
The angels have not been blessed with such a grace.
They cannot share in God's creative miracle to bring new saints to Heaven.
Only a human mother can.
Mothers are closer to God the Creator than any other creature;
God joins forces with mothers in performing this act of creation…
What on God's good earth is more glorious than this:
to be a mother?

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