Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Words from Fr Ed (From November 13th, 2011 Bulletin)

“Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

These are the words we hope to hear when we must give an account for how we have governed our lives.  Have we invested in the things of God?  Have we sought first the kingdom?  The parable of the talents gives us an analogy of the final judgment as we approach the end of the liturgical year.  We must give an account some day.  Why not start today?

Mahatma Gandhi was a disciplined man.  He rose at 3:30am for prayerful reading, then at 4:30 went for a one-hour walk.  His day proceeded from one discipline to another until finally, before he retired he would take account of his finan-cial transactions that day; what he had taken in and what he had spent.  He required this of every organization that he was in charge of.  He noted in his autobiography, “The Story of My Experiments with Truth”, that he never knew anyone who practiced this habit of daily financial accountability who was in debt.

Perhaps we can apply this to the spiritual life.  Do we take account of our exchange with God today; what we have given and what we have received?  If we are honest we will see how abundantly we have received.  It can make our small contributions and anxieties seem paltry and insignificant.  And yet we have a responsibility for little things.  As our Gospel says, “Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities.”

One of the earthly realities that we all face is financial responsibility.  Sure, it would be easier to return to Eden and lounge in the garden for all eternity. But the garden is closed to us since the fall of Adam and Eve.  Now we can only reenter through the wounds of Christ. He restores our lost innocence and brings an interior freedom that helps put creature concerns in order.  Through Christ we are now asked to consider what we are called to give to our parish over the coming year.

I look forward to the challenge of pushing myself beyond where I may have been before, exercising those muscles of faith and trust in God.  Of course, I don’t have natural children that depend on me.  Families must be prudent and prayerfully ask the Lord what is possible given your financial demands.  As our Old Testament reading said last week, ask for wisdom, for “…she is readily perceived by those who love her, and found by those who seek her.”  I thank you for taking time to ask the Lord what you can give to His work through St. Stephen the Martyr Church.  He will reward you accordingly.

“Courageous” Movie Review, Pt. II
Be ready to take a remarkable journey into the lives of five men and their families.  It is an incredible tapestry of God’s hand connecting them all in extraordinary circumstances.  If you want to hear profanity, view sex, or see violence, stay home. 

What you will see and experience is a story of beautiful miracles unfolding amidst a raw aching tragedy that becomes the catalyst for God’s grace and love to pour over all involved.  Deep sadness and grief soon find company with many unexpected outcomes - redemption of choices made in the past; forgiveness that has taken a lifetime; trust and integrity upheld; accountability to oneself; and sadly, even betrayal all come together in this powerful fraternity of brotherhood.  As many tears flowed from me, I was happy to experience well-timed and clever humor that is sprinkled throughout this rich opus.

“Courageous" made me think of a recent homily- God’s loving invitation to us, “Are you all in?”  This is a MUST SEE movie. To all wise and spirit filled women, young and old alike, take heart.  The movie does focus on this unique brotherhood, but the role of each female character plays a crucial part in the symphony that plays out.  Evangelization of our faith must begin in our own homes.  “Courageous” is God’s sweet invitation to examine, sharpen and embrace what we each call family, with Jesus Christ as the glorious centerpiece of it all.
Gift yourself and your family.  Make time to experience “Courageous”.

Why do Catholics pray to Mary?
Episode Four of Fr. Barron’s Catholicism Series will focus on the Blessed Virgin.  Her role and prominence in the Catholic Church is a challenge for some.  We consider her a blessing and as the Holy Spirit put on the lips of Mary herself, “All generations will call me blessed.”  For good reason, not so much because of her physical motherhood of Christ, but because her heart and mind were in total communion with Him and in service of His mission.  Please come and witness the rich teaching of the Church on the Mother of God.  Alternate showings will occur on Wednesdays during the day.  Please see the bulletin and narthex advertising for more details.

Reasons for the Changes in the Liturgy
Unity and continuity – that our sacrifice today may be an extension of the ancient foundations of our faith – has continued to be of utmost importance to the Church. The unity of Christians was a primary concern of Pope John Paul II and also of Pope Benedict XVI. While we don’t all worship in one language as we did prior to Vatican II, we continually strive for the language we do use to faithfully echo the prayers our ancestors passed on as a foundation of the Mass. The Vatican’s instruction on the translation of the liturgy states, “Certain expressions that belong to the heritage of the whole or of a great part of the ancient Church... are to be respected by a translation that is as literal as possible.”  In previous translations, some of our expressions did not accurately represent the meaning of the Latin. The new English translation of the Roman Missal aims to recover that meaning – to unite more closely the words we use during the celebration of the liturgy with those that are, and have been, spoken in faith throughout all the world. Thus, we can envision one glorious and universal chorus, offering a united prayer to God our almighty Father.

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