In this e-weekly:
- We are Not the Only One Who Weeps ("Helpful Hints of Life" and Catholic Website of the Week)
- Catholic Cartoonist Puts Down His Pen to Discern Call to Become Norbertine Father (Diocesan News and BEYOND)
- Angel of God Prayer (under the Praying Hands at end)
Receiving the Gospel, Serving God and Neighbor
Angels of God
`He will give his angels charge of you,' and, `On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.'"
On September 29, the Church honors and called upon the archangels Sts. Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael. And then on October 2, the Church will honor and call upon Guardian Angels. Let’s here it for angels! Yeah!!!
There are almost 300 references to angels in the Sacred Scriptures, but what are they, what do they do, and what does the Church through which Christ speaks say about them?
An angel is a pure spirit being with no body. They were created ‘before’ humanity. They were given a choice at the moment of their creation to serve God or not serve God. Fallen angels, also called devils, chose not to serve God and were separated forever with no possibility of change because their choice is forever.
They are depicted with wings because everything they do, they do ‘instantaneously.’ Every human person at the moment of their conception is assigned a guardian angel. “See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels always see the face of my Father in heaven.” -Matthew 18:10-11
When we die, we do NOT become angels. Our soul goes either to Heaven, Purgatory, or Hell and waits to be reunited with our bodies at the Last Judgment when our bodies will be resurrected. If we have loved ones in heaven, they are saints and are "like the angels (Luke 20:36),' but not real angels.
The Church teaches much more on the Holy Angels of God. But the most important is that we should cooperate with our Guardian Angel to get to heaven. Our Guardian Angel is always with us to protect if we let our angel, obtain for us grace if we let our angel, helps us be good if we let our angel. SCROLL DOWN TO THE END TO READ MORE ABOUT ANGELS.
Peace and prayers in Jesus through Mary, loved by Saint Joseph,
P.S. 25th Sunday of Ordinary Time Sunday Readings can be found at: https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/092423.cfm
P.S.S. More below on the Holy Angels from the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
P.S.S.S. Sunday Readings with commentary and reflection questions are near end.
a) because one has to get up so early to do it
b) because we can only do it in silence
c) because we deal with ourselves, our surroundings, and especially the devil
d) because it is something we will on our own
573. What are some objections to praying?(CCC 2726-2728, 2752-2753)
a) people think they do not have the time
b) some think praying is useless
c) some find it difficult or not having effect
d) all of the above
574. What are the difficulties in prayer? (CCC 2729-2733, 2754-2755)
a) being distracted
b) being too happy
c) getting all we want
d) none of the above
angel (both from Late Latin angelus, from Greek angelos, literally, “messenger”)
- a spiritual being created by God superior to humans in power and intelligence;
- [In medieval angelology, angels constituted the lowest of the nine celestial orders: seraphim, cherubim, thrones, dominations, virtues, powers, principalities, archangels, and angels.]
-“who is like God” (The title given to one of the chief angels (Dan. 10:13, 21; 12:1). He had special charge of Israel as a nation. He disputed with Satan (Jude 1:9) about the body of Moses. He is also represented as warning against "that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world" (Rev. 12:7-9).
-“strength of God” (Dan. 8:16, 9:21; Luke 1:19, 26.)
-“remedy of God” (one of the archangels; the angel of healing and the guardian of Tobias (Tobit 3:17; 5--12).
(-el means “of God”)
We are Not the Only One Who Weeps
Mary’s Tears – Seven Sorrows of Mary
All of the weeping mothers, widows and virgins will add nothing to this copious outpouring that would suffice to cleanse the hearts of ten thousand desperate worlds.
All those who are hurt, destitute or oppressed, the sad tide of humanity that choke the fearful paths of life will find succor in the ample folds of the sky-blue cloak of Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows.
Each time that someone falls weeping, whether in a throng of people or alone, she is there weeping too, because all tears belong to her as the Empress of Beatitude and Love.
Mary’s tears are the very Blood of Jesus Christ, but differently shed, just as her compassion was a sort of internal crucifixion for the divine humanity of her Son.
-Léon Bloy (1846-1917)
Catechism of the Catholic Church #2610
The Purgatory Project exists to aid the souls in purgatory. Anyone can register the names of people who have died. It costs nothing to register and will benefit those you add to the registry. Perpetual Masses are said for all souls in the Purgatory Project. The site also offers articles and links.
TEACH AND REMIND PEOPLE OF THEIR GUARDIAN ANGELS
From Catholic Schools and PSRs to parish groups, teach and speak about the presence and power of Guardian Angels in each person's life.
An awareness of this friend of God in our lives and in the lives of each person help us keep a better awareness of God and truly following Him.
Pray the "Angel of God" prayer after each class or parish group meeting. Speak and teach about Guardian Angels. Cultivate an awareness of praying to one's guardian angel for daily help, and to pray to the guardian angel of another to help them and help them to be open to interactions with them.
That competitive and excellence-seeking nature lends itself to a different kind of zeal, however — a zeal to bring souls to Jesus Christ.
Because of the school’s emphasis on peer-to-peer Catholic ministry, the young men at the school are encouraged to turn their talents and efforts toward the sharing of the faith with their classmates — and similar to their sports teams, the men of Jesuit have found success.
Since 2010, a total of 104 students have been baptized and received into the Church at Jesuit, Mitchell reported. Fifty-seven of those were during the last three school years alone, and 33 of those converts are current students on campus, he said.
Mitchell said as a campus minister, his goal is “a kind of personal care and personal approach to every student, like they’re the only person on planet Earth.”
“If we can catch them young and love them better than anybody else, it’s going to have a massive impact,” Mitchell said.
‘A brotherhood with eternal consequences’Father Richard Hermes, SJ, now president of the school for over a decade and a half, told CNA that there’s “nothing more important” to him and to the school than promoting the faith and leading the young men to God.
“The boys are working hard in school and teachers are doing a great job, and the kids are having a lot of success on the field. But there’s also, in the middle of it, this great thing happening in terms of spiritual renewal,” Hermes told CNA.
“I think all of that really solidifies a lot of guys in their faith [and] helps guys open up to the faith. It produces converts, too,” Hermes said.
Mitchell previously told CNA that a key factor in the campus’ “dynamic, orthodox, authentically Catholic culture” is the availability of the sacraments. Mass is offered daily, along with regular Eucharistic adoration and opportunities for confession.
The school itself seeks to emphasize beauty, Mitchell said, with the crown jewel being the multimillion-dollar Holy Cross Chapel, a Romanesque edifice dedicated in 2018. Hermes said the school prizes “beautiful, noble, dignified liturgies … trying to create an atmosphere of prayer and make the Masses and the other liturgical services as dignified and solemn as you can.”
But beauty can only do so much on its own. It’s the face-to-face, brotherly support that makes the difference when it comes to producing converts, Mitchell said.
“This is a brotherhood with eternal consequences. With eternal significance,” he said.
That said, Mejia said he had always been inspired by people who gave themselves entirely to their causes, whether it be a doctor fighting to cure diseases, or an environmentalist fighting for what he or she believed in. He says he found many such people at Jesuit, giving themselves wholly over to their belief in Christ.
“Jesuit did everything for me with bringing me back to the faith, which my parents had introduced me to when I was in elementary school, but which I had strayed away from when I was in middle school,” Mejia said.
“I saw people just wholeheartedly giving themselves over to this faith that they had found and to the life that the faith proposes for them.”
Mejia said the school’s peer ministry groups were a key factor in his eventual intellectual embrace of the faith — complimenting what he was learning in theology class — as well as the fostering of an environment where he felt supported in his faith by his peers.
“Discipleship created this environment for me where I’d come in during lunch with my friends and we just have conversations. And simply by reflecting on where we stood in our own faiths and hearing testimonies from one another, and then also in discussing different topics and different things related to the faith, I was able to really grow in my own faith,” he explained.
“And I was able to take what I learned in my theology class and bring it then into my heart … Wherever I looked, I could see witnesses to the faith. And these witnesses inspired me.”
Jake Killian, a fellow senior and student body president, told CNA that despite being raised Catholic, his faith was more of a “Sunday thing” than an integral part of his life. But arriving at Jesuit changed his outlook.
“Once I got to Jesuit, it turned from a once a week thing on Sunday to a true, actual relationship,” he said.
“I learned so many different ways to pray, and one of my favorite ones was probably Liturgy of the Hours … so many opportunities on campus to be formed.”
“It’s pretty hard to ‘miss’ the faith. Our chapel is literally right in the middle of campus, and it’s an incredible environment … [but] it’s not forced on kids. I feel like you’ve got to buy into it, but with the culture on campus, it’s kind of hard not to,” he said.
The 17-year-old Killian said at this time in his life, he wants to go to college, possibly to play soccer. He said he has come to understand the importance of finding and joining a Catholic community in college, in order to not lose what he has cultivated at Jesuit.
“The thing I hear a lot is that if you’re able to make it to Mass the first week [of college], that’s a huge first step, because usually when kids don’t make it to Mass their first week in college, they don’t really find a time to go, ever,” he said.
Mejia said he is still discerning his next steps, mulling over religious vocations as well as various options for college. He says he’s seen firsthand at Jesuit how important brotherly accountability is to maintaining the faith and plans to continue seeking out that accountability while in college and beyond.
“I myself and many of my friends have learned that if we’re going to continue our faith in college and thereafter, we’ll have to find other like-minded people with whom we can pursue our faith … [and] I’ll have to continue growing my intellect, and my understanding of the faith and reasoning at every step of the way so that I can continue on believing and adhering to the doctrine which our faith lays out.”
Mitchell commented that forming the young men to be strong in their faith after they leave Jesuit and enter the wider community is a major focus.
“Even young people are coming from rock-solid Catholic homes, devout parents, great parishes — if at a certain point they don’t start to see the faith lived out in really cool and attractive ways, especially by their friends, it’s really challenging for them to stay committed to that faith in college and beyond,” he noted.
Hermes further confirmed that teaching the students how to live as solid Catholic men in a collegiate atmosphere is an “important part of our mission.” Amid what Hermes sees as a scourge among young people comprising “a general collapse of faith, the affliction of pornography, mental anxiety, mental depression, mental health issues,” Hermes said the school takes care to attend to the students’ mental health along with their spiritual health. And the results have been positive.
“We’re seeing more and more of these guys becoming leaders in the Church, whether in college, during their college years, or beyond. They’re making a real impact on the Church,” Hermes said.
“They’re leaving here with a mentality of being at the service of the Church, and [their faith’s] not just dying here after they get the diploma.”
‘Unapologetic and uncompromising’Perhaps surprisingly, although there will always be a few students who don’t ultimately embrace the faith, most of the young men who come into the school as non-Catholics “don’t really come fighting the faith too much,” Hermes said.
“Most of our students come here either without any knowledge of the faith or without any experience of it, and relatively little practice of it,” he explained.
“So just introducing them to God and to the Catholic Church, to the Lord Jesus, to the sacraments, to Sunday Mass, confession, Eucharistic adoration, that’s obviously a challenge both in the theology classroom and then in retreats and campus ministry.”
Jesuit High School musicians and choir at the Mass of the Holy Spirit on Sept. 1, 2023. Credit: Jesuit High SchoolThe school features a “rock-solid theology department” that aims to provide truth combined with “unapologetic and uncompromising” love, Mitchell said. Teachers at the school can and do set an example of true devotion, Mitchell said, spending time on their knees at the adoration chapel, modeling prayer and faith for the young men.
“The deeper [the teachers’] interior lives run … the more the pursuit of holiness is sort of normalized … the more accessible it seems to everybody, you know?” he said.
Mitchell said he has heard about other schools starting RCIA programs and hiring full-time campus ministers, seeking to replicate Jesuit’s success. But Mitchell said it is vital to recognize that conversions and deepening of faith are really the Lord’s work — it’s always at his initiative that a person comes to believe.
The students at Jesuit appear to have bought into the idea of cooperating with God’s plan to bring more people into the Church.
“There’s a desire, I think, among many of our student leaders in this particular senior class to use their platform, if you want to call it that, to use their influence, to use their leadership ultimately for God’s glory and for the salvation of souls,” Mitchell said.
Susan Klemond InterviewsSeptember 21, 2022Patrick Cross has gained momentum in recent years with cartoons illustrating his love of country, but he’s setting aside cartooning for his first love, Christ, as he discerns priesthood with a community of Norbertine Fathers in Southern California.
For the past seven years, Cross’ cartoons, which are political, reverent, humorous — and sometimes all of the above — have appeared in publications including the Register, National Review, Catholic Vote and TheCollegeFix.com, and on social media.
Cross, 30, grew up with his four siblings in a devout Catholic home-schooling family in Ohio and Massachusetts. He attended Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula, California, where he met Norbertine Fathers from St. Michael’s Abbey in Silverado, California. In August, Cross entered the abbey as a postulant.
In this interview with the Register, he talks about responding to a religious call that has meant putting his political cartoons on hold, but not his love of America and drawing.
Can you share about how you developed your interest in drawing?
I was about 5 or 6. My mom went to art school, so she showed me some tricks of the trade, and I was always much better at drawing than reading or writing. I did a lot of it as a boy. I would look at the encyclopedia pictures, and my brother would actually read the encyclopedia. He was the smart one. I was the one who drew pictures.
I read that, early on, you copied sacred artworks and also read the Far Side cartoons. What appealed to you in those very different art forms?
I loved sacred art, especially in high school, and I would definitely copy it. I had a book of Michelangelo, and I would copy the Sistine Chapel particularly. And definitely I loved the Far Side, and I loved Calvin and Hobbes. I still love both of them.
The best art, in my opinion, is generally sacred art. If you want to learn the anatomy, you have to look at and copy the greats. In my cartoons, I try to make them pleasing to look at. Sometimes they were good, and sometimes they weren’t. I hope I got better as time went on. Cartoons, they’re supposed to be kind of ridiculous, but you also want people to actually want to look at them.
How did your family’s faith life inspire your interest in sacred art?
The Catholic faith was always the center of our household growing up. My parents always taught us that your first duty is to worship God. When you have parents who live the faith genuinely, that just bleeds into, hopefully, the life of the family. I think it’s just kind of natural for somebody who’s interested in art, who’s in a good Catholic family, to really want to express the truths of the faith through the gifts God gave them — which, for me, was art.
How did you move from doing sacred art into drawing politically related cartoons?
I do think that the welfare of the country is intimately tied to the welfare of the Church. Obviously, the Church is the most important, and it’s what will endure. The United States will come and go. I think very much because of the piety that my parents instilled in me, and I still have for the country, I think the Church teaches you to love where God has put you. [Cross referenced Jeremiah 29:7.] We’re all pilgrims, and God has sent us into this land. We’re all trying to get home, but he wants us to pray for the welfare of the land he sent us to, and he sent us to America.
My parents, especially towards the end of high school and while I was in college, said, “You should do some political cartoons.” I really didn’t do many cartoons in college. I had started following one political cartoonist, Michael Ramirez, and I was able to meet him at the end of college. I saw what he did, and I thought, “Wow, this is amazing.”
After that, I graduated from college, and I started a blog. I think the first place that really started regularly taking my cartoons was Catholic Vote. After that, it was just a slow process of developing relationships with editors.
Has it sometimes been necessary to criticize the country you love?
I think Christian love speaks truth always. I can’t put it into words how much I love this country, but when things happen in the country that are clearly bad, I think it is incumbent on somebody who loves that country to tell the country that or to speak to it. Especially, for example, with the “LGBTQ” issues or “gay marriage” or abortion, you want to direct your country in a Godly manner. That’s part of love.
What have you most enjoyed about political cartooning, and how do think you’ve made a difference?
Drawing a great political cartoon when you know you have something good, and it resonates.
When it does really well and “catches fire,” that’s exciting, obviously. When you communicate a truth you don’t think has been communicated any other way because images are different than words, that’s exciting.
When I decided to enter religious life, lots of people reached out and told me they loved my work. I think it made a difference. I hope my cartoons communicate truth; that’s the most important thing, and I think they did that — [though] imperfectly.
I wanted people to not be discouraged. I think [Christians] feel like they’re alone, and seeing a cartoon that says the things that you know are true, but you don’t see other people saying, it makes you realize you can still see truth and “I’m not alone.”
Can you give an example?
A cartoon on marriage published in the Register in July shows an image of a jet plane with wings on either side of the body labeled “man” and “woman.” A second image shows a plane with its two wings on the same side of the body, which are both labeled “man.”
That cartoon was picked up online, and it went viral because someone with a big following who didn’t like it posted it on Twitter. It made people very, very angry because, right now, the whole issue of gay marriage is kind of a third rail [avoided topic], even in conservative circles.
There was a lot of pushback, but you know you’re speaking the truth when people go after you.
When did you start sensing you might be called to priesthood?
A priest friend, my spiritual director, started encouraging me to consider it in 2019. I didn’t think when I was 5 years old, “I want to be a priest.” It wasn’t like that. I started looking in different places, and I dragged my feet because it’s hard to decide to enter formation.
What made you consider religious life with the Norbertine Fathers?
I looked [for] the support of a community religious life, the idea of living in community, experiencing the common good of that community and worshipping Christ together.
For me, I really look to the community life. [Some of the Norbertines] from St. Michael’s Abbey are priests who run parishes or teach, but the focus and the center of life is liturgy.
I knew about [the Norbertines] well before I was seriously considering them, by reputation through [Father Hildebrand Garceau, chaplain at Thomas Aquinas College while Cross was a student, and Father Sebastian Walsh, both alumni of the college]. Then one of my very good college friends entered about a year after graduation. I would visit him and St. Michael’s Abbey.
There’s an incredibly strong community life here, based on prayer and liturgy. They do the Liturgy of the Hours; they say a beautiful Mass. There’s just so much beauty in the life that’s lived here and just the witness of the priests and the men in formation. I visited other orders, as well.
What are your hopes for priestly ministry, if you are ultimately called to it? Do you think you will have opportunities to draw?
I don’t think I’ve drawn my last cartoon. I’m taking a break from it in its current form. The main thing, of course, is just learning to bring the sacraments to the faithful. That’s huge. And communicating the truths of the Church in a way that is helpful.
It’s definitely hard letting go in the current way I was using those skills, to do several cartoons a week. I don’t know what future cartoons would be like, but I suspect I’ll probably do more in the future. It could definitely be different, but I think if God wants it to happen, it will.
5 Things Every Catholic Man Should Start Doingby ChurchPOP Editor - September 26
1) Go to MassRyan Scheel explains that “studies have found that only one-third of men attend Mass weekly.”
He continues, “One of the things that gives men identity is a sense of duty.
“Number one: Mass is fulfilling. It’s spiritually nourishing and you’re communing with the Body of Christ. But there’s also a sense of fulfilling your duty. You have a duty as a Catholic to attend Mass every week. There’s few things that edify a man more than the ability to consistently fulfill his duty.
“You look at soldiers, you look at fathers of past generations–of course, you wake up, you do your job, you do it well. As a Catholic man, your job is to go to Mass every week.
“The sense of accomplishment that you can have a sort of structure in your life to go to Mass every week–number one, it provides a structure to your week. Number two, it provides a sense of accomplishment of your duty as a Christian.
“To me, the most important part is number three: the impact of what happens to the families of Catholics where the man does not go to Mass.”
Click here find out what happens to families when the male does not go to Mass.
2) Pray the Rosary and Perform Consecration to Jesus Through MaryScheel explains that “you cannot understate the importance of manliness, but still having the subjugation to Our Mother…there’s something to be said for a real devotion to the tender love of Our Lady that absolutely nurtures a man to be what he should be.”
Fr. Rich Pagano adds, “Mary is the perfection of femininity. She is the New Eve.”
“When I went through my reversion…the very first contact that I had was with the Blessed Mother and her Sorrows–the Seven Sorrows of Mary.
“Learning the Rosary, praying the Rosary–and it’s the manifest femininity of the Blessed Virgin Mary that drew me out to make me want to become more of a man,” Fr. Pagano says.
3) Participate in the Parish “Male participation in parish life, councils, etc., and creating a masculine presence is necessary for the life of parishes,” Scheel explains.
“Male participation has been seated in many cases to women, and men no longer find a real home in the parish because they’ve been somewhat feminized by the nature that women are the ones making those decisions,” Scheel explains.
“And rightly, they’re making decisions from their own genius, so they do things that make sense to them. But they don’t have the complimentary male perspective to then be adding to what they’re doing. This is not to say that female participation in parishes make them overly-feminized, it’s saying that it’s lacking male participation to balance that to make it a full-functioning place.”
Scheel adds that male participation in parish life “brings the Church into the community where it can actually have an impact on society,” and faith and parish life no longer becomes the view that religion is merely something personal–it’s communal.
“You don’t have to set up the tent or anything, but just go to something, and shake hands with somebody else and just get to know them.” Ryan DellaCrosse adds.
4) Spend time with other Catholic menBecoming involved in parish life allows men to spend time with other men, Scheel explains.
The four guys then explain the importance of Christian brotherhood.
5) Practice AsceticismAccording to Baxter of Exodus 90, asceticism means “acts of self-denial,” or saying no to things we want so “we can say yes…to love–wherever the Lord calls us.”
Angels Accompany Us on the Path to Salvation, Pope Says
Vatican City, Sep 29 (EWTN News/CNA) -
Christians and angels cooperate “together in God’s salvific design,” Pope Francis told Catholics in his morning homily, on the Feast of the Archangels: Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael.
He elaborated, saying that angels serve God by accompanying all people on the path to salvation. Each archangel has a specific role, he explained: protection, annunciation, and guidance.
“Michael is the one who fights against the devil,” he said. The archangel Michael aids our resistance against Satan’s temptations, and protects us when the devil tries to claim us as his own, Pope Francis said.
Gabriel is the bearer of good news, he continued. “Gabriel too accompanies us and helps us on our journey when we ‘forget’ the Gospel,” he said, noting the archangel’s message acts as a reminder that “Jesus came to save us.”
Raphael, he said, “walks with us taking care of us on our journey and helping us not take the wrong step.”
The Pope encouraged Catholics to call upon the help of the archangels, and concluded by invoking their intercession.
“Michael: help us in our battle – each of us has a battle to fight in our lives; Gabriel: bring us news, bring us the good news of salvation; Raphael: take us by the hand and lead us forward without taking the wrong turning,” the Pope prayed. “Always walking forward, but with your help!”
By Mary Rezac
Vatican City (EWTN News/CNA) - It’s been said that saints often come in pairs.
Sts. Peter and Paul, Mary and Joseph, Francis and Clare, and Louis and Zelie Martin are just a handful of such saints, coupled together through marriage or friendship.
Perhaps the best-known modern saintly pair of friends would be Mother Teresa and John Paul II, whose lives intersected many times during her time as Mother Superior of the Missionaries of Charity, and his pontificate.
When John Paul II came to visit Mother Teresa’s home in the heart of the slums in Kolkata in 1986, Mother Teresa called declared it “the happiest day of my life.”
When he arrived, Mother Teresa climbed up into the white popemobile and kissed the ring of the Bishop of Rome, who then kissed the top of Mother’s head, a greeting they would exchange almost every time they met.
After their warm hello, Mother took John Paul II to her Nirmal Hriday (Sacred Heart) home, a home for the sick and the dying she had founded in the 1950s.
Footage of the visit shows Mother Teresa leading John Paul II by the hand to various parts of the home, while he stops to embrace, bless, and greet the patients. He also blessed four corpses, including that of a child.
According to reports of the visit from the BBC, the Pope was “visibly moved” by what he saw during his visit, as he helped the nuns feed and care for the sick and the dying. At some points the Pope was so disturbed by what he saw that he found himself speechless in response to Mother Teresa.
Afterwards, the Pope gave a short address outside the home, calling Nirmal Hriday “a place that bears witness to the primacy of love.”
“When Jesus Christ was teaching his disciples how they could best show their love for him, he said: 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.' Through Mother Teresa and the Missionaries of Charity, and through the many others who have served here, Jesus has been deeply loved in people whom society often considers ‘the least of our brethren,’” the Pope remarked.
“Nirmal Hriday proclaims the profound dignity of every human person. The loving care which is shown here bears witness to the truth that the worth of a human being is not measured by usefulness or talents, by health or sickness, by age or creed or race. Our human dignity comes from God our Creators in whose image we are all made. No amount of privation or suffering can ever remove this dignity, for we are always precious in the eyes of God,” he added.
After his address, the Pope greeted the gathered crowds, making a special stop to greet the smiling and singing sisters of the Missionaries of Charity.
Besides calling the visit the happiest day of her life, Mother Teresa also added: "It is a wonderful thing for the people, for his touch is the touch of Christ."
The two remained close friends, visiting each other several times over the years. After her death in 1997, John Paul II waived the five-year waiting period usually observed before opening her cause for canonization. At her beatification in 2003, John Paul II praised Mother Teresa’s love for God, shown through her love for the poor.
“Let us praise the Lord for this diminutive woman in love with God, a humble Gospel messenger and a tireless benefactor of humanity. In her we honour one of the most important figures of our time. Let us welcome her message and follow her example.”
The Eastern churches that are not in full communion with the Catholic Church celebrate the Eucharist with great love. "These Churches, although separated from us, yet possess true sacraments, above all - by apostolic succession - the priesthood and the Eucharist, whereby they are still joined to us in closest intimacy." A certain communion in sacris, and so in the Eucharist, "given suitable circumstances and the approval of Church authority, is not merely possible but is encouraged."
Catechism of the Catholic Church #1399
-My dog once ate all the Scrabble tiles. He kept leaving messages around the house for days.
----Wife asks her husband: “Did you like the dinner today?“-Husband replies: “Really, Shirley? Why are you always trying to pick a fight?”
-The first time I see a jogger smile, I will consider it.
-My dad always said fight fire with fire…that is probably why we got thrown out of the volunteer fire department.
-Little Johnny to his mom: “I shot 4 goals at the soccer match today!” Mom: “Wonderful, looks like your team won, right?” Little Johnny: “Not really, we tied 2:2.”
Teacher tells little Johnny, “You know very well you can’t sleep in my class, Johnny.” Johnny admits, “Yes, I know miss. But maybe, if you didn’t speak quite so loud, I could.”
Dentist's Hymn ................................Crown Him with Many Crowns
Weatherman's Hymn ......................There Shall Be Showers of Blessings
Contractor's Hymn ........................The Church's One Foundation
The Tailor's Hymn ...........................Holy, Holy, Holy
The Golfer's Hymn .........................There's a Green Hill Far Away
The Politician's Hymn....................Standing on the Promises
Optometrist's Hymn.......................Open My Eyes That I Might See
The IRS Agent's Hymn .....................I Surrender All
The Gossip's Hymn ..........................Pass It On
The Electrician's Hymn ....................Send The Light
The Shopper's Hymn ........................Sweet Bye and Bye
The Realtor's Hymn..........................I've Got a Mansion Just over the Hilltop
The Massage Therapists Hymn .......He touched Me
The Doctor's Hymn .............................The Great Physician
AND for those who speed on the highway - a few hymns:
45mph ....................God Will Take Care of You
65mph ...................Nearer My God To Thee
85mph ....................This World Is Not My Home
95mph .....................Lord, I'm Coming Home
100mph ..................Precious Memories
You May Choose 3
One Sunday a pastor told the congregation that the church needed some extra money and asked the people to prayerfully consider giving a little extra in the offering plate. He said that whoever gave the most would be able to pick out three hymns.
After the offering plates were passed, the pastor glanced down and noticed that someone had placed a $1,000 bill in offering. He was so excited that he immediately shared his joy with his congregation and said he'd like to personally thank the person who placed the money in the plate. A very quiet, elderly, saintly lady all the way in the back shyly raised her hand. The pastor asked her to come to the front.
Slowly she made her way to the pastor. He told her how wonderful it was that she gave so much and in gratitude asked her to pick out three hymns. Her eyes brightened as she looked over the congregation, pointed to the three handsomest men in the building and said, "I'll take him and him and him."
Catechism of the Catholic Church #1073
326 ... Finally, "heaven" refers to the saints and the "place" of the spiritual creatures, the angels, who surround God.186
I. THE ANGELS
The existence of angels - a truth of faith
328 The existence of the spiritual, non-corporeal beings that Sacred Scripture usually calls "angels" is a truth of faith. The witness of Scripture is as clear as the unanimity of Tradition.
Who are they?
329 St. Augustine says: "'Angel' is the name of their office, not of their nature. If you seek the name of their nature, it is 'spirit'; if you seek the name of their office, it is 'angel': from what they are, 'spirit', from what they do, 'angel.'"188 With their whole beings the angels are servants and messengers of God. Because they "always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven" they are the "mighty ones who do his word, hearkening to the voice of his word".189
330 As purely spiritual creatures angels have intelligence and will: they are personal and immortal creatures, surpassing in perfection all visible creatures, as the splendor of their glory bears witness.190
Christ "with all his angels"
331 Christ is the center of the angelic world. They are his angels: "When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him. . "191 They belong to him because they were created through and for him: "for in him all things were created in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities - all things were created through him and for him."192 They belong to him still more because he has made them messengers of his saving plan: "Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to serve, for the sake of those who are to obtain salvation?"193
332 Angels have been present since creation and throughout the history of salvation, announcing this salvation from afar or near and serving the accomplishment of the divine plan: they closed the earthly paradise; protected Lot; saved Hagar and her child; stayed Abraham's hand; communicated the law by their ministry; led the People of God; announced births and callings; and assisted the prophets, just to cite a few examples.194 Finally, the angel Gabriel announced the birth of the Precursor and that of Jesus himself.195
333 From the Incarnation to the Ascension, the life of the Word incarnate is surrounded by the adoration and service of angels. When God "brings the firstborn into the world, he says: 'Let all God's angels worship him.'"196 Their song of praise at the birth of Christ has not ceased resounding in the Church's praise: "Glory to God in the highest!"197 They protect Jesus in his infancy, serve him in the desert, strengthen him in his agony in the garden, when he could have been saved by them from the hands of his enemies as Israel had been.198 Again, it is the angels who "evangelize" by proclaiming the Good News of Christ's Incarnation and Resurrection.199 They will be present at Christ's return, which they will announce, to serve at his judgement.200
The angels in the life of the Church
334 In the meantime, the whole life of the Church benefits from the mysterious and powerful help of angels.201
335 In her liturgy, the Church joins with the angels to adore the thrice-holy God. She invokes their assistance (in the funeral liturgy's In Paradisum deducant te angeli. . .["May the angels lead you into Paradise. . ."]). Moreover, in the "Cherubic Hymn" of the Byzantine Liturgy, she celebrates the memory of certain angels more particularly (St. Michael, St. Gabriel, St. Raphael, and the guardian angels).
336 From its beginning until death, human life is surrounded by their watchful care and intercession.202 "Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life."203 Already here on earth the Christian life shares by faith in the blessed company of angels and men united in God.
350 Angels are spiritual creatures who glorify God without ceasing and who serve his saving plans for other creatures: "The angels work together for the benefit of us all" (St. Thomas Aquinas, STh I, 114, 3, ad 3).
351 The angels surround Christ their Lord. They serve him especially in the accomplishment of his saving mission to men.
352 The Church venerates the angels who help her on her earthly pilgrimage and protect every human being.
188 St. Augustine, En. in Ps. 103,1,15: PL 37,1348.
189 Mt 18:10; Ps 103:20.
190 Cf. Pius XII, Humani generis: DS 3891; Lk 20:36; Dan 10:9-12.
191 Mt 25:31.
192 Col 1:16.
193 Heb 1:14.
194 Cf. Job 38:7 (where angels are called "sons of God"); Gen 3:24; 19; 21:17; 22:11; Acts 7:53; Ex 23:20-23; Judg 13; 6:11-24; Isa 6:6; 1 Kings 19:5.
195 Cf. Lk 1:11,26.
196 Heb 1:6.
197 Lk 2:14.
198 Cf. Mt 1:20; 2:13,19; 4:11; 26:53; Mk 1:13; Lk 22:43; 2 Macc 10:29-30; 11:8.
199 Cf. Lk 2:8-14; Mk 16:5-7.
200 Cf. Acts 1:10-11; Mt 13:41; 24:31; Lk 12:8-9.
201 Cf. Acts 5:18-20; 8:26-29; 10:3-8; 12:6-11; 27:23-25.
202 Cf. Mt 18:10; Lk 16:22; Ps 34:7; 91:10-13; Job 33:23-24; Zech 1:12; Tob 12:12.
203 St. Basil, Adv. Eunomium III, I: PG 29,656B.
SUNDAY BIBLICAL MASS READINGS AND QUESTIONS
for Self-Reflection, Couples or Family Discussion
25th Sunday of Ordinary Time – Sunday, September 24, 2023
The First Reading - Isaiah 55:6-9
Seek the LORD while he may be found, call him while he is near. Let the scoundrel forsake his way, and the wicked his thoughts; let him turn to the LORD for mercy; to our God, who is generous in forgiving. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the LORD. As high as the heavens are above the earth, so high are my ways above your ways and my thoughts above your thoughts.
Sometimes this passage has been used to justify a distorted fideism (an overemphasis on faith that ignores reason and logic). The fideist says: “Why try to understand God and his ways? He’s incomprehensible. We should just accept everything on faith.” It’s true that understanding God poses difficulties, and that ultimately He is beyond what we can grasp with our rational faculties. However, the incomprehensibility of God, ironically, makes sense. We would not expect finite creatures to be able completely to comprehend an infinite, all-powerful, and all-wise being. If God is really who and what we believe Him to be, we would expect there to be a cognitive gap between His reality and our understanding of Him. Recognizing the gap between our understanding and the reality of God, the Church has nonetheless never advocated a dismissal of human reason from the life of faith. It must always be “faith seeking understanding,” and St. John Paul II dedicated his famous encyclical Fides et Ratio precisely to this issue. However, Isaiah 55:6-9 is not primarily making a philosophical argument about the intelligibility of the divine essence or actions. If we examine the context, we see that the discourse concerns God’s mercy toward the undeserving. Our Reading for today follows directly on that striking and beautiful passage in Isa 55:1-5, which promises a future experience in which the poor, hungry, and thirsty will be able to come to a free, divinely-provided banquet which will initiate them into the covenant God had made with David long ago. It is in the context of forgiveness and mercy that our text says, “my thoughts are not your thoughts … my ways are above your ways.”
Adults - What helps you understand more about the Lord?
Teens - Why is it understandable that we would not fully understand God?
Kids - How can you grow in knowledge of God?
Responsorial- Psalm 145:2-3, 8-9, 17-18
R.The Lord is near to all who call upon him.
Every day will I bless you,
and I will praise your name forever and ever.
Great is the LORD and highly to be praised;
his greatness is unsearchable.
R. The Lord is near to all who call upon him.
The LORD is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger and of great kindness.
The LORD is good to all
and compassionate toward all his works.
R. The Lord is near to all who call upon him.
The LORD is just in all his ways
and holy in all his works.
The LORD is near to all who call upon him,
to all who call upon him in truth.
R. The Lord is near to all who call upon him.
First Reading and the Psalm are to concepts of covenant and covenantal faithfulness. We saw how our First Reading, in context, follows closely upon an offer of a new, gracious, eternal covenant in Isaiah 55:1-3, in which the hesed or “covenantal love” of the Davidic covenant will be extended to all the poor who answer God’s call (Isa 55:3). Covenantal virtues of God are also extoled in Psalm 145, a Psalm that functions as a kind of preparation for the five “halleluiah” (Heb. “Praise” hallelu “the Lord” yah) Psalms with which the Psalter concludes. So, by the time we reach Psalm 145, we are beginning to “wrap up” the book of Psalms by trying to take in the “big picture” of God in relationship to his people, and sum up the message of this entire collection of sacred poems.
How has God been faithful in your life?
The Second Reading- Philippians 1:20C-24, 27A
Brothers and sisters: Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me life is Christ, and death is gain. If I go on living in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. And I do not know which I shall choose. I am caught between the two. I long to depart this life and be with Christ, for that is far better. Yet that I remain in the flesh is more necessary for your benefit. Only, conduct yourselves in a way worthy of the gospel of Christ.
Reflection - In a providential pun, St. Paul describes his life of ministry as “fruitful labor,” because he is, in a true sense, a faithful worker in the vineyard of the Lord, even one who has borne the heat of the day, although St. Paul would not be one to complain to receive the same “pay” as every other Christian. In fact, he would rejoice if so many could share in the same “salary” from the Lord. All Paul wants is Christ. To live is Christ, and to depart this life means to be with Christ. So “it’s all good.” He’s not looking forward to some kind of material benefit or carnal pleasure in heaven as a pay-off, a kind of eternal free ticket to the heavenly Disney World because he “put his time in the trenches.” No, Paul just wants communion with Christ. That is quite a contrast to the Gospel parable, where the workers don’t want a relationship with the vineyard owner, they want more pay.
-Focus this week on putting the Lord first and letting all of your actions flow from that relationship.
The Holy Gospel according to Matthew 20:1-16A
Jesus told his disciples this parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out at dawn to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with them for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard. Going out about nine o’clock, the landowner saw others standing idle in the marketplace, and he said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard, and I will give you what is just.’ So they went off. And he went out again around noon, and around three o’clock, and did likewise. Going out about five o’clock, the landowner found others standing around, and said to them, ‘Why do you stand here idle all day?’ They answered, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard.’ When it was evening the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Summon the laborers and give them their pay, beginning with the last and ending with the first.’ When those who had started about five o’clock came, each received the usual daily wage. So when the first came, they thought that they would receive more, but each of them also got the usual wage. And on receiving it they grumbled against the landowner, saying, ‘These last ones worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us, who bore the day’s burden and the heat.’ He said to one of them in reply, ‘My friend, I am not cheating you. Did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? Take what is yours and go. What if I wish to give this last one the same as you? Or am I not free to do as I wish with my own money? Are you envious because I am generous?’ Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last.”
Reflection The vineyard in this parable can be identified as “Israel,” based on Old Testament texts (Isa 5:1-7). Jesus’ choice of twelve apostles makes clear that in his ministry he is establishing a New Israel, a new community of God’s people. This community will consist as one people made up of both Jews and Gentiles (Matt 28:19; Eph 2:11-16). This new community is the manifestation on earth of the Kingdom of God, and it is also the “vineyard” of this parable. It comes to be called the ekklesia, the “gathering,” the Church. The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard comes immediately after Peter’s request to know what the reward for the apostles will be (Matt 19:27). Thus, it can be interpreted as a warning against thinking of the Kingdom of Heaven in terms of personal reward: “What’s in it for me?” In the first sense, then, the vineyard is God’s Kingdom on earth, in our own age manifested as the Church. The workers in the vineyard are those the Lord calls to assist him in his labors: the apostles first, but in later generations their successors and others who work to “cultivate” and care for God’s Kingdom. A secondary application can be made to all Christians, for we are all called to care for and cultivate the Kingdom manifest as the Church, even if the only member of that body we ever are able to “help” or “cultivate” is our own self. The message of the parable then is clear: all who are called to work with the Lord to care for his Kingdom will receive the same reward: the “denarius” (“usual wage” in our Mass translation). The Fathers generally held that this “denarius” represents eternal life, the basic “pay” of all who heed the Master’s call to come into his vineyard. All workers will receive this reward equally.
Adults - Do you operate with a “what’s in it for me?” mindset? How can you work against this?
Teens - Are there things in your life causing you bitterness? Take them to the Lord in prayer.
Kids - What does it mean that God loves us all equally?
LIVING THE WORD OF GOD THIS WEEK! - Looking back on our past life, how many years have we really given to God since we came to the use of reason? Those school years, the time spent learning a trade or profession, the weeks, months, years working in an office or factory or farm, the hours among the pots and pans in the kitchen — have we earned some credit in heaven for all of this, or is it all crossed off our pay sheet through lack of right intention or through sin? If so, those years are lost to us. We were "idle" all that time. Today's parable, however, should give us new hope and courage. It may be the sixth or the ninth or even the eleventh hour of our life but we can still earn heaven if we listen to God's call and set to work diligently in His vineyard. If we put our conscience right with God today and resolve to be loyal to Him from now on He will be as generous to us, as the parable promises. -Excerpted from The Sunday Readings by Fr. Kevin O'Sullivan, O.F.M.
572. Why is prayer a “battle”? c) because we deal with ourselves, our surroundings, and especially the devil
Prayer is a gift of grace but it always presupposes a determined response on our part because those who pray “battle” against themselves, their surroundings, and especially the Tempter who does all he can to turn them away from prayer. The battle of prayer is inseparable from progress in the spiritual life. We pray as we live because we live as we pray.
573. What are some objections to praying? d) all of the above
Along with erroneous notions of prayer, many think they do not have the time to pray or that praying is useless. Those who pray can be discouraged in the face of difficulties and apparent lack of success. Humility, trust and perseverance are necessary to overcome these obstacles.
574. What are the difficulties in prayer? a) being distracted
Distraction is a habitual difficulty in our prayer. It takes our attention away from God and can also reveal what we are attached to. Our heart therefore must humbly turn to the Lord. Prayer is often affected by dryness. Overcoming this difficulty allows us to cling to the Lord in faith, even without any feeling of consolation. Acedia is a form of spiritual laziness due to relaxed vigilance and a lack of custody of the heart.