Monday, March 23, 2015

REJECTED FOR LOVE AND FOR OUR SAKE


 

Being forgotten, snubbed, ridiculed and derided, pushed aside and discarded as an object, being the butt of a sarcastic joke, treated as a buffoon, forced into oblivion, treated as if valueless—all of the above have one thing in common: rejection!

Strange and shocking as it may seem, the Son of the Eternal Father, the Wisdom of God, the Logos/Word through whom the whole world was created, the Master and Teacher of the world, Jesus Himself, suffered constant, painful and unthinkable rejections. Rejected not once or twice, but during the whole course of His life, Jesus most willingly submitted to the will of His heavenly Father: “Father, If it be possible, let this cup pass me by; however, not my will by your will be done.”

A most fruitful and efficacious meditation/contemplation especially in the context of Holy Week, would be to call to mind, pray over and plumb the depths of the REJECTIONS of Jesus.   The Imitation of Christ, Thomas Kempis, highlights the fact the entirety of the Life of Christ, from cross to tomb was a cross. A clear manifestation of the cross is the reality of REJECTIONS! Let us prayerfully contemplate Our Lord’s rejections.

Before delving into Jesus’ rejections, it must be emphasized the fact that Jesus willingly suffered rejections to submit to the will of His Heavenly Father, but also because of His great love for you and me! Paradoxically stated, Jesus willingly underwent constant rejection so that we could be received by Him now and for all eternity!  How great is the love of Jesus even in His humiliating rejections for love of you and me.

Furthermore, when we suffer rejections, and this is part and parcel of life, we can unite our rejections to Jesus and these painful situations can be a source of infinite growth in holiness! Indeed Jesus was wounded for our sakes and by His wounds we are healed.

 


1.    BETHLEHEM.  St. Joseph travelled with his pregnant wife Mary to Bethlehem, the city of David. Upon arriving, the entire Holy Family was rejected. Joseph knocked at the door and there was no room for Joseph, or Mary, or Jesus in the Inn. (Jn. 1:11) In a certain sense we can even state that Jesus experienced the pain of the aborted babies. Because in this rejection Jesus was not yet born, but in the womb of Mary and indeed He was rejected! May the rejected unborn Jesus convert us from the evil of rejecting unborn babies through abortions!!!

2.    PROPHECY OF SIMEON.   One of the seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary is the Prophecy of Simeon. As the elderly prophet holds the Child Jesus in his arms he utters a prophecy of Mary’s future sufferings, but also the future rejection of Jesus, with these words: “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted (and you yourself a sword will pierce) so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed.(Lk. 2: 34-35) This sign of contradiction would be the contradiction of the cross bars on Calvary.

3.    FLIGHT INTO EGYPT.(Mt. 2:13-18)  Moved by the ugly spirit of envy, insecurity, and a desire to dominate and rule, King Herod sets out on a rampage to kill all of the innocent male-children two years and younger. His intention was not only to reject Jesus, worse yet, to slaughter him. Imagine the fear and terror that must have invaded the heart of Mary as well as St. Joseph as they flee to a foreign country to save the life of their innocent Child. In all of these rejections Jesus purposely submits to them to accomplish the will of His heavenly Father, but also for our sanctification and salvation. How grateful we should be for Our Lords’ love for us even in His bitter rejections!

4.    FIRST PREACHINGS.(Lk. 4:16-30) Jesus returns to His home town after His Baptism and temptations and preaches. He levels His message against them and their hardness of heart. Cut to the depths of their proud and resistant hearts, they purposely force Jesus out of the synagogue and lead Him to the brow of the hill with the intention to throw Him headlong and end with Him. Jesus for His part walked through their midst because His hour had not yet come! How often in the lives of God’s friends, the saints, they have received bitter treatment and rejection for the simple reason that they preached the truth!

5.    JEWISH HIGH PRIESTS.(Mt 27:41-42)  Given that Jesus had no formal training as did many of the Scribes and Pharisees, given that Jesus came from an unimportant place called “Nazareth”, given that Jesus’ parents were simple people, his father a mere-carpenter, several of the High priests took offense and were scandalized by Jesus. This young man, son of a carpenter, had developed a huge following; many people loved Him and especially the poor and rejected of society and His preaching were so inspiring that multitudes would follow Him. Filled with envy, that led to anger and even fury, their only solution was to reject Jesus and to have Jesus put to death.

6.    HIS FRIENDS. (Mt. 26:31-35) Jesus chose a small band of followers called the Apostles. He chose them to be His followers, collaborators, but especially His dear friends. “I call you friends…” As Scripture points out they failed Him. This failure on their part can be put in the category of rejection. At the Last Supper Jesus said that the Shepherd would be struck and the sheep scattered and they would all leave Him alone, abandon Him. They all protested as to their faithfulness. Upon Jesus’ arrest they fled. Jesus knew it and prophesied it, but still this must have pained the Heart of Jesus.

7.    PETER’S TRIPLE DENIAL. (Mt.26: 69-75) Peter professes his faithfulness, but Jesus makes the prophecy that before the cock crows Peter would deny Him three times. After Jesus arrest, Peter drags his feet; warms himself by the fire and three times, the future Prince of the Apostles denies that he even knows Jesus. This was a rejection on the part of Jesus’ good friend Peter. Of course later one Peter would reaffirm his love for Jesus three times. Nonetheless, this does not negate the fact that Peter did deny Jesus three times, a form of rejection. Indeed the rejection on the part of loved ones can be the most piercing and painful.

8.    JUDAS BETRAYS JESUS. (Mt. 26: 20-25) Another painful rejection was on the part of Judas Iscariot. Jesus chose Judas not to be a traitor, but to be an Apostle and friend. Moved by greed and having fallen out of love for Jesus, Judas willingly decides to reject Jesus for thirty pieces of silver—the price that was paid to purchase a slave in the times of Jesus.

9.    PONTIUS PILATE. (Mt. 27:15-26)  We pray in the Creed at every Sunday Mass that Jesus was crucified under Pontius Pilate. Pilate indeed was a coward as well as a “people-pleaser” rather than a “God-pleaser”. His wife Claudia had a dream in which God revealed to her that Jesus was indeed innocent. Even with this forewarning from God through his wife, Pontius Pilate rejected Jesus and sentenced Jesus to death by means of the cruelest, and most humiliating means of the crucifixion.
    
10. GOD THE FATHER.(Mt. 27:46)  One of the most mysterious passages in all of Sacred Scripture is one of the seven last words that Jesus uttered as He hung on the cross: “My God, My God, why have your forsaken me.”  Jesus was quoting from Psalm 21. How could it be that Jesus felt as if He were even abandoned by His loving Father??? How curious! How mysterious! How painful!  How extraordinary!  The Son of God willingly experienced the distance of His loving Father in the bitter moments of His passion, shortly before Jesus will breathe forth His spirit into the hands of His loving Father!

When all is said and done, it would be remiss on our part if we did not make a modern application to the present rejections of Our Lord and savior Christ! Many are the definitions that we could offer for what sin indeed is. However, related to our present topic, a very pertinent and apropos definition of sin could be the following: “Sin is rejecting the love of the Heart of the Father for us.” This rejection can be partial or total. Partial rejection would be venial sin; total rejection would be that of mortal sin.

It might be easy to point the finger at the many people who rejected Jesus during the course of His brief Public life which lasted about three years. However,  every time somebody willingly misses Mass on Sunday, commits adultery or fornication, views pornography, abuses drugs by taking or selling, and many other serious sins, the rejection of Jesus is perpetuated!

Our desire should be to repair for the many rejections of Jesus, 2000 years ago, during the course of the past 2000 years up to the present. I would humbly like to offer five simple ways that we can console the rejected and sorrowful Hearts of Jesus and Mary.

1.    NO TO SIN!  Let us make a firm proposal in our lives to fight against sin in our lives. Indeed by saying “No” to sin we are saying “No” to the cycle of rejections of Jesus and “yes” to His love and Friendship!

2.     READING: CONSOLING THE HEART OF JESUS.  Why not find some time to read and meditate the spiritual masterpiece of Father Michael Gaitley on “Consoling the Heart of Jesus”.  This spiritual masterpiece and best-seller can offer you abundant food for thought and practical ways on how we can avoid rejecting Jesus, repair for those who reject Jesus and crown Jesus as the King of our hearts!

3.    LOVE AND DEVOTION TO OUR LADY—MOTHER OF DIVINE MERCY!  Many have been the rejections of Jesus for hundreds and even thousands of years. However, there was one person that God created who never once, not even in the smallest way ever rejected Jesus even in the slightest way: this was His Immaculate Mother Mary! Get to know Mary; cultivate devotion to Mary; love Mary; make Mary known and loved. She will always bring us to the Heart of Jesus and help us to reject Jesus less and receive and love Him all the more!  Sweet Heart of Mary be my salvation!

4.    HOLY HOUR OF REPARATION.  Another superb practice that we can undertake to counteract the rejections of Jesus would be to make a Holy Hour of Reparation. Spend an hour before the Eucharistic Lord Jesus, and read through the following rejections in Sacred Scripture, present rejections of Jesus due to sin and even your own past rejections due to personal sin and console the Heart of Jesus. Tell Jesus how much you love Him, how much it pains your own heart to contemplate Hos many rejections. Then promise the Lord Jesus that you will try to imitate Our Lady in saying “yes” to His love always starting right now!

5.    MASS AND HOLY COMMUNION. Finally, and not of least importance is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the reception of Holy Communion. By far the greatest gesture that a human person can carry out is to receive Jesus (not reject Him) in the worthy reception of Holy Communion. Holy Communion is truly and substantially the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. How many Catholics today reject Jesus in the context of Mass and Holy Communion! Many Catholics no longer attend Holy Mass, thereby rejecting Him. Many have changed religions, thereby rejecting Him. Others attend Holy Mass but neither receive Him nor even pay attention to what is transpiring in Holy Mass—this is rejecting Jesus. Worse yet, there are many Catholics who approach the Eucharistic Lord and receive Jesus in the state of mortal sin and as such they are rejecting Jesus and crucifying Him again. For this reason we must form and army of zealous and ardent lovers of the Mass and the Eucharistic Lord to receive Him with a burning love, a burning passion, a lively faith and limitless confidence. This indeed will console the rejected Heart of Jesus beyond the mind can possibly comprehend. Let us all receive Jesus with love starring right now so that Jesus will receive us into Heaven for all eternity!

Monday, March 16, 2015

BY HIS WOUNDS WE ARE HEALED




“Humpty Dumpty sat on the wall; Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. Al the King’s horses and all the kings’ men could not put Humpty Dumpty back together again.” Sound familiar? Possibly this was the first short poem you learned in Kindergarten or maybe first grade.

All of us are really a “Humpty Dumpty.”  We all are influenced by a first, enormous and fatal fall which we call Original Sin. The sin of our first parents, Adam and Eve, brought about Original Sin—the first sin of humanity.

This sin can be compared to a moral Tsunami that stretches forth its reverberating repercussions on all of humanity and every individual person, male and female, until the end of time.  Original Sin was a moral cataclysm that will rock and shake the ground on which the human person lives and walks until Judgment day.
Tsunami

Whether we will it or not, all of us are conceived with Original Sin and are born with it. True, the Sacrament of Baptism washes away the stain of Original Sin, but not its debilitating effects.

Original sin and its effects influence all of our being as well as the cosmos or world that we live in. Inclement weather—storms, monsoons, excessive cold or heat are derived from the effects of Original sin.

In our person, the dulling of the intellect, emotional unbalances, the vitiated weak will that we all have, sicknesses and of course death—all of these are net-results of Original Sin.

Women must bring forth their babies in pain; men must earn the bread they eat by the sweat of their brow—all as a result of Original Sin.(Gen 3)
Capital sins: faces!

With this the human person experiences in the pull of his inner self the tendency, inclination or proclivity towards evil. These tendencies can be summarized in the Capital Sins that we all have and must battle to overcome and conquer with the grace of God. Gluttony, Lust, Greed, Sloth, Anger, Envy, Pride--- this is the list!

WOUNDEDNESS!   We are wounded morally and spiritual due to Original Sin and personal sin. Indeed we have gaping wounds that will become even more wide and gaping or they can be healed.

One of the most well-known writers and theologians last century was Henri Nouwen.  One of the most noteworthy accomplishments in his literary treasure-box was related to HEALING!   Nouwen asserted in his writings that we are all wounded. Then he goes on to say that we will either be “wounded-wounders or wounded healers.”

What does this priest-theologian intend by this paradoxical assertion? Simply this!  Either we stay with our wounds, live in denial or simply do nothing to remedy these wounds—then we will be a wounded wounder. Or, we humbly admit that we have been wounded deeply but seek healing. Then and only then can we be wounded-healers in a broken world.  Indeed we can be a Humpty Dumpty that despite the great fall can be healed!  Our presence will either be a wounding presence towards others or a healing balm of wholeness and peace!

Are you a wounded-wounder or a wounded healer?  The second part of this essay will deal with steps we can all take—even though our past could have been catastrophic—on how we can arrive at healing and indeed be a wounded healer.
Admit we are blind and wounded!

1.    HUMBLE ADMISSION.   There is a proverb in Spanish that says it all: “No hay peor ciego que aquel que no quiere ver; no hay peor sordo que aquel que no quiere oir.” Translation:  “There is no worse blind person than he who does not want to see; there is no worse deaf person that he who does not want to hear.”  My point!  A wounded person must not live in negation or denial, but must humbly admit that he is deeply wounded and in need of desperate healing.  The Alcoholic or Drug-addict or any addict at all will never be healed if he/she does not at first admit that he/she is sick, really sick with this addiction! We cannot live a lie. Jesus is the Truth and the Truth will set us free!

2.     JESUS: THE HEALER.  Read through the Gospels and you will come across a common-denominator: Jesus heals and saves the sick and suffering. However, this is true upon one basic condition: faith and trust in the power and love of Jesus the Divine Physician. Therefore, every time we draw close to Jesus in faith, humility and trust there is a healing process that is already under-way!
Jesus heals!


3.    BLESSED SACRAMENT.   The Blessed Sacrament is really and truly and substantially Jesus, the Bread of Life and the Divine Physician. In the Consecrated Host Jesus is just as much present today as He was 2000 years ago. He is just as powerful today as He was in the past.  Interesting note! Lourdes, France, where Our Lady appeared 18 times to Saint Bernadette in the grotto, many miracles occur. However, a very interesting note is that most of the miracles occur at dusk during the course of the Eucharistic Procession. As the priest walks outside the Basilica in prayer and procession, blessing the poor and the sick, it is then that most of the sick are healed!

4.    EUCHARISTIC RECEPTION.  One more step is that of actually receiving Jesus in Holy Communion. It is recorded in the Diary of Saint Faustina, that this saint suffered excruciating pains especially in her chest and lungs. Once she felt as if she were dying.  She begged Jesus to show His limitless power through the reception of the most Holy Eucharist. So it happened!  The saint received Jesus in the Holy Communion and it was if a spiritual energy, compared to spiritual electricity shot all through her body and she felt her lungs fully restored!
Past memories can torture us

5.    HEALING OF MEMORIES. Many today suffer from past memories that are sources of perpetual torment. Events that happened years ago, even decades ago, can haunt us in the present. Once again, why not let Jesus the Divine Physician touch you and heal you! Saint Paul commands us in these words:  “Put on the mind of Christ.”  Then in another passage, the same Apostle states:  “You have the mind of Christ.”  The Apostle goes from the imperative or command to the actual reality of having the mind of Christ.  Moreover, this also can be applied to Eucharistic reception.  When we receive the most Holy Eucharist we receive the Total Christ: His Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. Within the Body of Christ, we also have His Sacred mind and the three faculties of memory, understanding as well as imagination. Therefore, upon reception of Holy Communion we can beg for a MIND-TRANSPLANT.  We can beg the Lord Jesus to give us His mind and with that precious gift to burn away or at least to heal our mind of the past memories that constantly torture us in the present.
The devil tries to prevent confession

6.    CONFESSION.   The specific Sacramental grace that comes from the Sacrament of Confession, Penance, or Reconciliation is that of HEALING. The Eucharist primarily nourishes our soul with the Body and Blood of Jesus the Lord.  Confession has as one of its primary functions that of healing our soul of moral infirmity and sickness that we call sin!  Saint Augustine, who battled with slavery to sin into his thirties, asserts that the Sacrament of Confession well-received is indeed a “Lazarus-experience.” As Jesus called Lazarus from the tomb, from death to life, likewise, the person who confesses honestly and sincerely to the priest (who represents Jesus the Healer) his mortal sins, is truly reborn in grace!  He has come back to life through the Sacramental grace of Confession!  What an extraordinary healing grace is available to all Catholics who trust in Jesus’ infinite mercy!
Our Lady as Refuge of sinners!

7.    OUR LADY: REFUGE OF SINNERS, HEALTH OF THE SICK!  At the end of his life the Holy Cure of Ars was seen praying and talking to Our Lady in his room. His prayer was that an aged, hunch-back and half-crippled woman would be healed of her infirmity. This same sick person was spying the Cure of Ars through the key-hole. After viewing this, the elderly woman started walking down the corridor, and all of a sudden her back straightened up and she started to walk normally! She was  totally healed through the prayers of a saint and through the powerful intercession of Our Lady, Health of the Sick. On one occasion Saint Therese was very sick and she had recourse to Our Lady, by praying in front of a statue of Mary. All of a sudden, the statue of Our Lady smiled upon Saint Therese and she was instantaneously healed of her sickness!

CONCLUSION!  “Humpty-Dumpty, sat on a wall; Humpty-Dumpty had a great fall. All the Kings horses and all the kings’ men could not put Humpty-Dumpty back together again.”  Good news!  We all belong to the “Humpty-Dumpty club.” However, the King, the Lord Jesus and His men, the angels and saints and the Church and its Sacraments can put this “Humpty-Dumpty” back together again.

My friends let us not be wounded wounders but rather wounded healers. Let us go to Jesus who indeed is the “Wounded-healer.” If we bring our wounds to Jesus, the “Wounded-healer” then we will be healed of our wounds and become wounded healers in a broken and wounded world.

 

Monday, March 9, 2015


ATTACKS AGAINST MARRIAGE AND THE FAMILY

Read on: five wolves that want to devour the family!
The family is the basic building-block of society. The way the family goes is the way that the society will follow. Vatican II defines the family as “The Domestic Church.”

Down through the ages history has proven this sad but authentic fact on the importance of the family: when the family comes unraveled and falls apart, likewise the society comes unraveled and falls apart.

Faced with the reality of the family under attack, the family in crisis, the traditional family being questioned from all corners, we must lift up our voices and defend this primary and indispensable institution created by God Himself!

One of the primary reasons why the Holy Father has called a follow-up meeting on the family is for the simple reason that His Holiness is keenly aware of the family being under severe attack. Let us pray for the upcoming Synod on the family!

This essay will deal with one aspect of the family, with the purpose of defending traditional families. This aspect will be to articulate what are the major attacks against the family. We will give five!

Sodom and Gomorrah
1.    SAME-SEX UNIONS. Undoubtedly one of the major attacks on the family is the pervasive proliferation of the so called SAME-SEX UNIONS. Almost every week, on the news, the Gay-agenda rejoices over new victories. Countries, right and left, are approving of Same-sex unions. In USA already 36 of the 50 States in the union have legalized same-sex unions. Even though the explicit practice of homosexuality and lesbianism is being proliferated at staggering rates, this still does not justify what is intrinsically evil. Our ultimate source of truth was, is and always will be the Bible, the Word of God. In the very first Book of the Bible, the Book of Genesis, we read that in the beginning God created them male and female.  A man will leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife. What God has united let no man rent asunder. God showed His total disgust with the practice of homosexuality especially in the case of Sodom and Gomorrah. The practice of homosexuality was so rampant then that those of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah wanted to rape the guests in the home of Lot—these guests were actually angels, who had assumed human bodies. God chastised Sodom and Gomorrah and all of its inhabitants by destroying it with fire and brimstone. (read Genesis 19) What further evidence do we need to substantiate the intrinsic evil of the practice of homosexual acts?

2.    PREMARITAL SEX.  Another frontal attack against marriage and the family is the rampant practice of fornication or premarital sex. Human sexuality is one of the greatest gifts that God, the Creator and Author of all life, has given to the human race. However there is a time and place for everything. “There is a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to gather, a time to laugh and a time to weep, a time to embrace and a time to stay away from embraces. There is a time for everything underneath the sun.”(Eccl. 3) The proper use of human sexuality has its proper time and place only in the context of a couple—man and woman—married sacramentally in the church, with the purpose of unity in love and the openness to new life, procreation. Aside from this context, sexuality is not being used to praise God, but rather to satisfy one’s sensual and base desires.

No Sacrament of Matrimony-- no real love!
3.    LIVING-TOGETHER.  Another modern moral plague in society is the prevailing and prevalent phenomenon of couples starting to live together, without the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony. There are various names and reasons for this pernicious attack against the family. Names for this phenomenon: “Free-union”, “Cohabitation”, “Trial-marriage”, “Shacking out together” and many more. Reasons for this are almost limitless. However, here are a few.  Compatibility. They assert: “We have to see if we are compatible as a couple.” Next, “Chemistry”.  They say, “If we do not have a unitive chemistry then the relationship will end up exploding.” Finally, many say: “We do not want to rush into something so sacred as Holy Matrimony; if done, it might end up in divorce.” In the meantime they chose to live in a permanent state of fornication—in the state of mortal sin—thereby giving bad example to many, as well as their children and worse yet, placing in jeopardy the eternal salvation of their immortal souls.

4.    CONTRACEPTIVE MENTALITY. One of the most explosive times in the history of the Church and the world at large was July, 1968. This month and year the great Blessed Pope Paul VI issued and promulgated what might be considered a spiritual atomic bomb with the Encyclical “Humane Vita”. In this all important magisterial teaching, going against all odds and popular common opinion, the Holy Father condemned any form of use of contraceptives as intrinsically evil. The bomb fell and exploded and wreaked havoc throughout the world, especially within the ranks of the Catholic Church. One of the saddest facts of this teaching, given to the world by the Holy Father, the Vicar of Christ, and teaching inspired by the Holy Spirit, was the fact that many clerics, priests and even Bishops did not agree with the Holy Father. In other words, those who should have been the Holy Father’s most staunch followers and supporters jumped ship and capitulated to liberalism. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI) gave this term a new name:  “The Dictatorship of moral relativism.” In other words, many—even within the ranks of the Church itself—vociferated their own clarion call of rebellion like Lucifer: “I will not serve and obey this teaching.” Rather, I will follow my own conscience.  Blessed Pope Paul VI uttered horrifying prophecies of what would result if the contraceptive mentality were to be embraced. These are a few: women will be denigrated; their dignity will be lost. There will be a growing spread of immorality in society. Abortions will follow. Governments will spread this moral poison throughout the world. Finally, sexuality will fall into perversion. Look at the world now with the rampant practice of homosexuality and even transgenderism!

The modern idol: porn!
5.    PORNOGRAPHY. Finally, it would be incomplete in our pointing out the major attacks against marriage and the family if we did not mention the pervasive and wide-spread influence of pornography in the society, in marriage and the family, and even in the hearts and lives of our young people! This is true especially in realm of Internet porn. A very intelligent and insightful Catholic Psychologist from Philadelphia, Dr. Peter C. Kleponis, highlights the “5- A’s” of the reasons for the widespread pervasiveness of pornography. Read through these and see how true is the over-all analysis of the problem:

AFORDABILTY--- Much of internet porn can be acquired either free of charge or for very little money.

ACCESSIBLITY—Years ago it was difficult to acquire pornography. Today it can be attained by a simple click of the Mouse!

ACCEPTABILITY—Especially among men, pornography is accepted far and wide. “Boys will be boys.” It is accepted as a sign of growing into man-hood!

ANONYMITY—It is a practice that is not done in public, but done behind closed doors. This practice can be hidden from loved ones for long periods of time, even years.

AGGRESVITY—by aggresivity, is meant that pornography can get a hold of you right away. It is highly addictive and the addiction can be almost immediate in many cases.

 

In conclusion, in our fight to defend traditional marriages, based on the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony, the union of man and woman in the marital bond for the procreation of children, the above are five of the key attacks, ravenous wolves. Let us be aware of them so as to form good families and form good children and form wholesome and holy societies!

GLORY TO GOD IN THE HIGHEST



The highest form of praise that we can give to Almighty God on earth is the offering of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass! In Holy Mass God the Father is glorified, by the offering of the Sacrifice of His only-begotten Son and through the power of the Holy Spirit.

This adoration of God is most clearly manifested in the part of the Mass that is called the DOXOLOGY.  After consecration the priest lifts up the chalice in which is present the Precious Blood and the paten on which rests the Body of the Lord Jesus Christ and these words are said or sung by the priest celebrant:

“Through Him, with Him and in Him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all honor and glory is yours Almighty Father, forever and ever. AMEN!!!

In this short article we would like to exhort all of us to get to know the Mass better, participate more fully and love the Mass with greater intensity in our hearts.

We will offer tens suggestions on what we should avoid  so as to make Mass more engaging. Then we will offer ten suggestions as to what we can do so as to derive the maximum of grace that Holy Mass offers us.

Sacramental theology teaches us the concept of the dispositive grace. Put plainly this means we receive abundance of graces in direct proportion to the openness of our heart and the disposition of our soul.  If graces are few, the fault is never in the Sacrament—it is truly the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ.  Rather, the limitation of grace is in the anemic or mediocre reception of the Sacrament. Indeed one Holy Communion properly received can bring us immeasurable graces that will be the most powerful of motivations to help us to get to heaven.

Jesus promised this:  “I am the Bread of life, whoever eats my Body and drinks my Blood will have everlasting life and I will raise him up on the last day.”(Jn. 6—Bread of life discourse)

Therefore, let us first list attitudes, gestures and actions that should be avoided so as to augment the graces in our soul for Holy Mass and then we will end on the positive note giving a list of actions and attitudes to carry out.

Blessed Mother Teresa in her convents in the sacristies has a placket for the priest to read and meditate as he prepares for Holy Mass---

“Priest, man of God, say this Mass as if it were your first Mass; priest, man of God, say this Mass as if it were your last Mass; priest, man of God, say this Mass as if it were your only Mass.” May we all follow this advice!

LIST OF THINGS TO BE SERIOULSY AVOIDED:

1.    MISSING MASS ON SUNDAYS. It is a sad fact that only about 20-25% of Catholics in USA attend Mass regularly on Sunday. That means that close to 75% regularly miss Mass. The biggest religious group in USA actually are non-practicing Catholics. Why not be a missionary and bring the wandering sheep back to the fold!

2.    COMING LATE. All too frequently in many Masses people saunter in late. This is bad manners. It disturbs the people who are trying to participate with attention; it disturbs the priest and it diminishes the graces. Coming late, it is hard to concentrate in the rest of the Mass. Most arrive early for a concert, school graduation, and sports event. But how easy it is to short-change God and come late—almost as if we were giving God the crumbs form the table of our lives!

3.    GUM.  Some bring gum in their mouths, almost as if they were cows. There is a time and place for everything. Gum is fine in the baseball diamond, but not in Mass. This is bad manners!

4.    CELL- PHONE. Most disturbing today is the reality of people bringing their cell-phones into Church during Holy Mass. Then they go off and ring, disturbing the whole Mass. Best remedy? Leave your cell-phone in your car. Nobody is more important than God. You can live an hour without your cell-phone. But you cannot exist even a second without God sustaining you!

5.    IMMODESTY. A Bishop in Mexico recently warned the women that Mass is not a fashion show. It is not Hollywood stars! Immodesty offends God, distracts the men and is a source of scandal towards children who have a right to the good example of the adults. Women should be attractive but modest. Never forget our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and tabernacle of the Blessed Sacrament after receiving Holy Communion. Dress accordingly. We must always call to mind our dignity and our destiny!

6.    TALKING IN CHURCH.  This should be avoided. Why? Jesus said that the temple is a House of prayer. If everybody is talking to each other than God is being ignored and put to the side. Also, those who want to pray in silence are disturbed, frustrated and angered by chatter-boxes in the Church. Socialize after Mass and outside the Church.

7.    KNEELING BENCHES GENTLE TOUCH! When you lower down the kneeling benches do it gently. Otherwise the clatter could wake up the dead from the nearby cemetery. This is courteous towards the fell-worshipers!

8.    NO BENCH WARMERS!  Vatican II, the document on the Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium gives us advice on how to comport ourselves in Mass. We should participate actively, fully, and consciously. Of course the fullest way we can participate is by receiving Jesus in Holy Communion with a burning faith, love and devotion. Leave the bench-warmers to the baseball park next door!

9.    LEAVING EARLY.  The other extreme of arriving late are those who rush out of the Church, before Mass is even over, as if their pants were on fire. Stay until the Mass is concluded, that is to say until the final hymn is finished. Better yet, stay after a few minutes to thank the Lord for the gift of the Eucharist. “Eucharist” means thanksgiving!

10. AVOID FIGHTING IN THE CAR.  Right after Mass sometimes the devil gets in and causes tension and fights among family members in the car as they return. It should be the contrary. If we have received the Sacrament of the Lord’s love then we should be loving, kind and patient with each other. Jesus’ Last Commandment was:  Love one another as I have loved you.”

LIST OF WHAT TO DO TO LIVE OUT MASS FULLY!

1.    READINGS.  Read the Sunday readings and meditate upon them before coming to Mass so that you can get into the mood for Mass even before it starts. Why not buy the Magnificat(Mass booklet), that has the daily and Sunday readings and meditate upon them the night before!

2.    EARLY BEFORE MASS TO PRAY.  Come ten to fifteen minutes before Mass starts to pray and dispose your soul to listen to the Word of God, pray with all your heart and receive Jesus worthily in Holy Communion.

3.    INTENTIONS.  The priest—officiator, the President of the Assembly, will have his intention in the Sunday Mass. This does not exclude that fact that you can have your own intentions. You can add hundreds of intentions, but I would suggest three: 1) Souls in Purgatory that desperately need our prayers to attain the glory of Heaven; 2) Conversion of sinners, especially family members; 3) Your own conversion of heart. We might even call it a spiritual heart-transplant!

4.    PRAY WITH ALL YOUR HEART!  The Mass is not a monologue; rather, it is a dialogue between the priest—who represents Jesus—and the people of God. Nothing more ugly than a Mass with nobody participating. This happens often in funeral Masses. The people attending seem to be more dead that the body of the dead about to be buried! Live the Mass—participate fully!

5.    LISTEN TO THE WORD.  Every Sunday Mass there are three Readings, as well as the Responsorial Psalm. When the Word is being read God is speaking to us. When the Gospel is being read Jesus is actually speaking to us. Listen!  The Word of God is a lantern for our path and a light for our minds.

6.     RECEIVE HOLY COMMUNION. Make sure you are in the state of grace, of course! Then approach begging Mary for her Immaculate Heart to receive Jesus with ever greater love. Every Communion we receive we should receive with greater love than the prior Holy Communion.

7.    REVERENCE IN RECEPTION. Hands should be folded. Before reception there should be a reverential bow to receive the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. When the Communion is offered respond in a clear and resounding voice: AMEN!!!  This word means you believe. It is an act of faith!

8.    THANKSGIVING AFTER MASS. Spend time after Mass to talk to Jesus from your heart. Take the movie “Marcelino, Pan y vino” as your example. Talk to the Lord from your heart and tell Him everything that is going on in your life. He desires to enter into deep conversation with you. These moments after Holy Communion when Jesus is in your heart are the most precious and important in your life.

9.    DAILY MASS.  In the Our Father, Jesus says: “Give us this day our daily Bread…” An interpretation of this phrase could be the daily Bread of the most Holy Eucharist.  The greatest action we can do on earth is to receive Jesus worthily in Holy Communion. Nothing can come close to this most sublime of actions. In the Diary of Saint Faustina she notes that even the angels in heaven experience a holy jealousy for us because they have never nor ever will they be able to receive Jesus in Holy Communion.

10.IMITATE MARY. Our Lady received Jesus into her heart in the Annunciation when she said:  Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord, be it done to me according to thy word.” Then she brought Jesus to others. After we receive Jesus in Holy Communion—in imitation of Mary—we should bring Jesus to others and others to Jesus!