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October 2018

Live As Children Of Light

CandleFlameWhenever the class who is preparing to receive First Eucharist gathers for a daily mass in the morning, they participate eagerly in all they can do (except, of course receive communion). That means they answer the prayers, pray the Our Father and usually help me with my homily. We also ask one of the children who has attended Sunday mass to ring the bells for the consecration.

This year's class seems to have developed an exuberant and inclusive "Sign of Peace" ritual which takes quite a bit longer than the cursory nod or glance most adults are accustomed to exchange. 

It is well they remind us of the importance of the entire mass - especially the significance of the Sign of Peace wherein we recognize and respect the presence of Christ in each other and Christ's Lordship over us all.


Sts. Crispin and Crispian, Brother Cobblers

CrispinToday two brother martyrs are on the Roman calendar - both shoemakers by trade and evangelists by calling. They preached the gospel by day and cobbled at night - a real-life response to those of us who never seem to have time for anything. They were martyred under the Roman persecutions for refusing to be silent about Christ.

Though they doubtlessly crafted new shoes, they surely repaired old ones too. A lesson for our society which too often sees worn or broken things as disposable.

Inspired by Crispin and Crispian, let us examine whether we can re-apportion our time to do more things which yield everlasting results. We can also pray for those who repair the broken in our world, especially people, that they not lose enthusiasm or become discouraged. 

Shrine of the North American Martyrs

ShrineThe Our Lady of Martyr's Shrine in Auriesville Photographer: Peter R. Barber

Holy Martyrs and patrons, 
protect this land which you have blessed 
by the shedding of your blood. 
Renew in these days our Catholic faith 
which you helped to establish in this new land. 
Bring all our fellow citizens 
to a knowledge and love of the truth. 
Make us zealous in the profession of our faith 
so that we may continue and perfect the work 
which you have begun with so much labour and suffering. 
Pray for our homes, our schools, 
our missions, for vocations, 
for the conversion of sinners, 
the return of those who have wandered from the fold, 
and the perseverance of all the faithful. 
And foster a deeper and increasing unity among all Christians. 

St. Luke

LukeOne of the interesting traditions about St. Luke is that he was an artist and painted an icon/image of the Virgin Mary with Jesus from life. Artists portrayed this idea throughout the ages with interesting anachronisms such as the use of maul sticks, easels, etc.



For He Had Many Possessions

In the parish office lunchroom there are several well-stocked, large plastic jars of Utz snack foods. My favorites are the unsalted pretzels which I usually raid right around lunchtime. The problem with the jars is that you can stick your hand in and grab a generous fistful of pretzels, but then you can’t get your hand out of the jar!

You have to take your time and remove exactly the number of pretzels you wish to have several at a time. "How many pretzels do I really need to eat today instead of lunch?"

You can get tricky and pour out all the pretzels into a bowl or on the table, OR you can let the lesson of several overtake the desire for handfuls.

There’s a famous painting of the rich young man. It shows mostly his back as he turns away from Jesus with head down. At the end of the sleeve of his fur-lined tunic, a partially clasped hand wearing three expensive, jeweled rings hangs in  disappointment.

So close.

So sad.

So like us at times.

Jesus frequently gave life journey advice: Travel lightly, don’t overpack; Take just what you need and nothing more. Don’t build fancy storehouses to warehouse your extra stuff, build up treasures in heaven by helping the poor - especially to food and shelter.     

A generous attitude spreads into our whole life – We have time for others, time to volunteer, time to pray, time to spare for important things - Not simply urgent things.

You know the kind of days you can have when you spend most of it doing what cries out for attention and neglect the quiet, really important priorities. You’re left restless and exhausted, instead of tired but fulfilled.

Let us pray for a relaxed attitude toward our possessions, in fact, all our treasures material and immaterial. And cultivate generosity in simple ways, by taking less and giving more.

How sad it would be to get everything else right, and lose the kingdom of heaven over a greedy, clenched fist.


Thoughts About Mercy on Feast of Saint Faustina

MercyThe children at this morning's mass had a very good understanding of mercy even at their young ages.

It seems that those crying loudest for "justice" are the ones most in need of mercy and sometimes the least likely to extend mercy to others.

If our own hearts seem reluctant to offer mercy, it may help to realize that all genuine mercy comes from the Heart of Jesus. We can pray for His mercy on ourselves and our transgressors.

St. Francis of Assisi

FrancisOne of the many stained glass windows honoring St. Francis of Assisi in Holy Cross Church. Holy Cross owns 14 smaller windows depicting events in the life of St. Francis. Many of them are installed alongside this larger window in a group and some are installed in the windows of the North Transept. The windows were originally in the Church of St. Francis of Assisi in Germantown, Philadelphia.