Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Words from Fr Ed (From February 5th, 2012 Bulletin)

Thanks to Confirmation Team+Thanks to our confirmation team that sacrifices their time and talent to prepare the youth for confirmation, the third sacrament of Initiation. A Christian is not fully initiated into the Catholic Church until they have received the precious gift of Confirmation. In the ceremony on Saturday evening, February 4th, Archbishop Sartain prays over each candidate, anointing them with Chrism oil, saying, “Be sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

While the candidate may already be using the gifts of the Holy Spirit, this Sacrament seals these gifts of Wisdom, Understanding, Fortitude, Piety, Counsel, Fear of the Lord, and Knowledge. Bless the Lord for such powerful gifts. Unfortunately, these can often lay fallow until a crisis in one’s life where there is a particular turning towards God for assistance. He wants us to use these gifts all the time. Do we not need Wisdom to make it through the day?

Let’s pray for all the youth who have completed their course of confirmation and stand ready to witness to Christ in a brand new way. Let us pray for their Courage. There will also be some adults confirmed who have humbly realized the need for this great gift. What beautiful signs of God’s grace. I thank their team as well for taking the care and time to fulfill God’s word among us. John the Baptist said of Jesus, “He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” May our whole parish community here at St. Stephen be filled with the Holy Spirit, even as St. Stephen the Martyr was.

Pray for Honduras Teams
While a few of our parishioners will already have returned from their Medical Mission with the St. Charles Borromeo group from Tacoma, several more will arrive in Honduras on Saturday the 4th, and several others the following week. They will be working primarily with Pedro Attala Home for children in Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras. Their day consists of prayer, time with the children, and laboring to renovate the facilities there. May Our Lady of Suyapa, the patroness of Honduras, bless and guide these missionaries of God’s love.

Praise the Lord, who heals the brokenhearted
Our readings take us from the depths of Job’s misery (Remember that my life is like the wind; I shall not see happiness again), to the radical recovery of Peter’s mother-in-law (He approached, grasped her hand, and helped her up. Then the fever left her and she waited on them.) What can we take from this? I think in the first place, when we are in misery of some kind, not to panic. Yes, we must first accept that misery is truly occurring. Too often we live in denial of the pain of a difficult situation. We rebel against it, seeking to medicate the pain through false cures.

No, we must accept that what is is. God has allowed it for some great reason. While He does not positively will sin, He does will our freedom and gives us all the tools necessary to use it wisely. We don’t always do that. We also live in a world of other free human beings who don’t always use their freedom correctly and are capable of sinning against us. God can allow this if He knows that a greater good can come out of it. While we may not see this, nor understand it, faith tells us that this is so. Even while blind to the answer, resignation and acceptance of what is, is the first step of healing.
He “heals the brokenhearted”.  Jesus meets us in the depths of our misery. Like Simon Peter’s mother-in-law, He visits us on our sick-bed and reaches out a hand, a hand to the heart. He says, “Son, daughter, give me your heart.” If we are willing, He can heal any injury that we or another have caused us. This means we have to be a patient patient. Many times I have visited a person in the hospital who is eager to leave and is waiting for the doctor to give them release. They have to be patient.

There is a saying, “All good things come to those who wait.” May I qualify this by adding, “…even those things that we need to do while waiting, that may better dispose us for the Divine Physician’s visit.”  Yes, He is coming. Allow Him to come and be with you. Jesus’ presence is healing. If you cannot visit the Blessed Sacrament reserved here in our chapel for your benefit, ask Him to come, to lift you up, to give strength to your bones and life to your limbs.

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