-***NEW FEATURE*** BEST PARISH PRACTICE is a new section of the e-weekly (see below) ***NEW FEATURE***
-Funniest Headlines (A bit of humor…)
- Living Simply ("Helpful Hints of Life")
Receiving the Gospel, Serving God and Neighbor
SILENCE-Inside and Outside
"When he broke open the seventh seal, there was silence
in heaven for about half an hour." Revelation 8:1
On the subject of Lent, the Pope indicated that "it should also be a time to abstain from words and images, because we have need of a little silence. We need to create a space free from the constant bombardment of images, ... a silent space for ourselves, without images, in order to open our hearts to the true image, the true Word".
We live in such a noisy world: car radio; music while on hold; talking here and there; our own minds racing with worries, deadlines, and more…it is no wonder people wonder where God is or even if He exists at all.
"In the eternal silences of the Holy Trinity, God spoke one Word, and He had nothing more to say."
The one Word is JESUS CHRIST! Yet God still communicates with us through the silence. Yet, we must bring about silence inside and outside ourselves that we might be able to listen. St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta offers:
"If we really want to pray, we must first learn to listen, for in the silence of the heart, God speaks. Jesus spent thirty years out of thirty-three in silence, began His public life by spending forty days in silence, and often retired alone to spend the night on a mountain in silence. He who spoke with authority, now spends His earthly life in silence. Let us adore Jesus in His Eucharistic silence!
Yes, Jesus is always waiting for us in silence. In that silence He will listen to us, there He will speak to our soul, and there we will hear His voice. Interior silence is very difficult, but we must make the effort. In silence we will find new energy and true unity. The energy of God will be ours to do all things well. We will find the true unity of our thoughts with His thoughts, the unity of our prayers with His prayers, the unity of our actions with His actions, and the unity of our life with His life."
Why wait until the next time you go to Adoration, enter the inner silence of prayer now to find true unity with HIM!
Peace and prayers in Jesus through Mary, loved by Saint Joseph,
P.S. This coming Sunday is the 6th Sunday of Ordinary Time. >>> Readings
P.S.S. Please look to the end of the e-weekly for Reflections and Questions on the Sunday Readings.
silence (from Latin silere "to be still, noiseless")
- in spiritual terms, the conscious effort to communicate with God or the invisible world of faith
[It is, therefore, not the mere absence of sound or physical stillness, except as wither a precondition for recollection of spirit or the perceptible effect of being recollected.]
Listening to the voice of the Lord "requires an atmosphere of silence. For this reason the seminary offers time and space to daily prayer; it pays great attention to liturgy, to meditation on the Word of God and to Eucharistic adoration. At the same time, it asks you to dedicate long hours to study: by praying and studying, you can create within yourselves the man of God that you must become and that people expect a priest to be"
(Pope Benedict XVI to seminarians, Feb. 2, 2008).
Theresa A. Thomas
I once was visiting a beautiful home, finely furnished with exquisite furniture, lovely artwork and impeccable décor. However, the heavy draperies around the windows blocked most of the natural light in the rooms, and left an atmosphere of heaviness and, quite frankly, suffocation. Although the home was beautiful I couldn't wait to leave and enjoy the freshness and plainness of the light and air outside.
I can't help but think, as we enter into this season of Lent, about the "heaviness," the complications of everyday life, that have the potential to snuff out the fresh light and air of Christ in our lives.
What am I talking about? I'm talking about living simply. Obviously Lent is a time for penance, reflection, renewal. It's a time for introspection and consideration of things eternal. What I'm proposing this Lent is paring down life, getting rid of the 'heavy draperies' so that things eternal can shine into our daily thoughts and lives.
How can simplicity of life be accomplished? I'm going to offer a formula set forth by philosopher and professor Peter Kreeft in his classic 1990 book, Making Choices: Practical Wisdom for Everyday Moral Decisions. (It's rated a full five stars on Amazon.com. Buy it there or at your local Catholic bookstore. I promise you won't be disappointed.)
First, attain mastery over time. The clock should not be our god. It is true we need to watch the clock to make it to work, keep our dentist appointments, and get to Mass on time. However, American society is too focused on schedules. Take time to get at eye level with your child and really listen. Make time for 'date night' with your mate. Do one thing at a time. Do not worry about work when you are home with your family or your home projects when you are at work. Think about the one thing you are currently doing and do it well. (Kreeft bluntly tells his readers to stop "octopussing" — trying to do eight things at once. I might add that some of us are likely even "jellyfishing." Did you know some jellyfish have hundreds of tentacles?) Slow down and here's the biggie: pray... without watching a clock. God is the creator of time, reminds Kreeft. God can multiply time, but first we must offer our time to Him. And it is good to remember that God cannot be outdone in generosity. He will take our sacrifice and bless us a thousand fold. A good place to start this Lent is going to Confession and attending other Catholic devotions such as Eucharistic Adoration or Stations of the Cross. Like the Nike commercial advocates, "Just do it."
Second, live more naturally. Go to bed earlier and get up earlier, following nature's cycle of darkness and light. Kreeft says this aids in simplicity because the things people do in the morning are usually simple things — walking, praying, and tidying up. And the things people do in the evening or more complicating (or time-wasting) — busywork, attending parties, watching television. Spend more time outdoors (yes, even in the winter!) Breathe in the fresh air. And take walks frequently. Kreeft writes, "[When you walk] you will begin to recapture the natural rhythms of the body...It attunes us with the earth and air...It is a symbol of life, the road to eternity... And it gives us an opportunity to think."
Third, recognize that often less is more. Don't just give up sweets this Lent. Take less food. Chew it slowly. Savor its flavor deliberately. Enjoy it more. We've all seen women who have overdone it in the jewelry and make-up departments. They have baubles and beads on every limb, and layers of gold or silver around their necks. Heavy eye shadow and lip color emphasizes their faces. Who can deny that this actually detracts from a woman's natural beauty? Contrast that image with simple cleanliness and light makeup, a plain cross necklace and a pair of simple earrings on a female. One young woman I knew in college gave up make-up for Lent. That's probably considered radical in our American culture, and I don't know very many women who would do that for forty whole days, but it is a good idea to eliminate extra things. Less truly is often more.
Fourth, decrease expenses. We don't need half of what we want anyway. Love of money is the root of all evil. See what you can do without.
Fifth, embrace silence. Kreeft calls silence "the unknown power source...the great untapped resource." He says that silence is more, not less than noise. Cultivate inner silence by eliminating outer noise. Turn off the television. Skip the radio in the car. Listen more. Talk less. God speaks to us all the time, but often with the cacophonic sounds intruding into our lives we just don't hear Him.
Simplifying life truly is like pulling back or even taking down thick draperies in a stuffy, dark room. In removing the fabric that blocks luminosity we will find more light, more freshness, and quite likely more room for God.
Theresa Thomas, a freelance writer and columnist for Today's Catholic resides in northern Indiana with her husband David and their nine children. She has been home schooling since 1994
"Contemplative prayer is silence, the "symbol of the world to come" or "silent love." Words in this kind of prayer are not speeches; they are like kindling that feeds the fire of love. In this silence, unbearable to the "outer" man, the Father speaks to us his incarnate Word, who suffered, died, and rose; in this silence the Spirit of adoption enables us to share in the prayer of Jesus." -Catechism of the Catholic Church #2717
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BULLETINS FROM SURROUNDING PARISHES
Post bulletins from surrounding parishes in your church vestibule or gathering space.
Making available bulletins from nearby parishes blesses your parish in many ways. It helps keep you informed of the prayer, work, and news of nearby Catholics. It offers their Mass times/Confession schedule, if parishioners cannot make your parish's. It gives a broader Church perspective to let parishioners see that Catholicism is bigger than 'my parish.' It can give good ideas to your parish and parishioners.
Ask your Parish Priest if this is okay to do. The parish can then contact nearby parishes to send their bulletins via e-mail or direct one to them online. Then they can be printed out (or nearby parish may mail them to you) and placed in the church vestibule or gathering area and people can be made aware of their presence for reading and edification.
By Hannah Brockhaus
The decision followed an administrative penal process conducted by the CDF, which found McCarrick guilty of “solicitation in the Sacrament of Confession, and sins against the Sixth Commandment with minors and with adults, with the aggravating factor of the abuse of power,” according to a Feb. 16 Vatican communique.
The conviction was made following an “administrative penal process,” which is a much-abbreviated penal mechanism used in cases in which the evidence is so clear that a full trial is unnecessary.
Because Pope Francis personally approved the guilty verdict and the penalty of laicization, it is formally impossible for the decision to be appealed.
According to a statement from the Vatican Feb. 16, the decree finding McCarrick guilty was issued Jan. 11 and followed by an appeal, which was rejected by the CDF Feb. 13.
McCarrick was notified of the decision Feb. 15 and Pope Francis “has recognized the definitive nature of this decision made in accord with law, rendering it a res iudicata (i.e., admitting of no further recourse.)”
CNA contacted this week McCarrick’s canonical advocate, who declined to comment on the case.
McCarrick, 88, was publicly accused last year of sexually abusing at least two adolescent boys, and of engaging for decades in coercive sexual behavior toward priests and seminarians.
The allegations were first made public in June 2018, when the Archdiocese of New York reported that it had received a “credible” allegation that McCarrick sexually abused a teenage boy in the 1970s, while serving as a New York priest. The same month McCarrick stepped down from all public ministry at the direction of the Holy See.
In July, Pope Francis accepted his resignation from the College of Cardinals, ordering McCarrick to a life of prayer and penance pending the completion of the canonical process concerning the allegations. Since the end of September, McCarrick has been residing at the St. Fidelis Capuchin Friary in Victoria, Kansas.
Key among McCarrick’s accusers is James Grein, who gave evidence before specially deputized archdiocesan officials in New York on Dec. 27.
As part of the CDF’s investigation, Grein testified that McCarrick, a family friend, sexually abused him over a period of years, beginning when he was 11 years old. He also alleged that McCarrick carried out some of the abuse during the sacrament of confession - itself a separate canonical crime that can lead to the penalty of laicization.
The CDF has also reportedly received evidence from an additional alleged victim of McCarrick - 13 at the time of the alleged abuse began - and from as many as 8 seminarian-victims in the New Jersey dioceses of Newark and Metuchen, where McCarrick previously served as bishop.
As emeritus Archbishop of Washington, D.C., and before that Bishop of Metuchen and Archbishop of Newark, McCarrick occupied a place of prominence in the US Church.
He was also a leading participant in the development of the 2002 Dallas Charter and USCCB Essential Norms, which established procedures for handling allegations of sexual abuse concerning priests.
Though laicized, McCarrick does not cease to be a bishop, sacramentally speaking, since once conferred, the sacrament of ordination and episcopal consecration cannot be undone.
The penalty of reduction from the clerical state - often called laicization - prevents McCarrick from referring to himself or functioning as a priest, in public or private. Since ordination imparts a sacramental character, it cannot be undone by an act of the Church. But following laicization he is stripped of all the rights and privileges of a cleric including, in theory, the right to receive financial support from the Church.
The home of Nazareth is the school where we begin to understand the life of Jesus - the school of the Gospel. First, then, a lesson of silence. May esteem for silence, that admirable and indispensable condition of mind, revive in us. . . A lesson on family life. -Catechism of the Catholic Church #533
- We live in an age where mentioning you read a book seems a little bit like you're showing off.
- I just let my mind wander, and it didn't come back.
- If it ain't broke, I haven't borrowed it yet.
THE YEAR'S BEST [actual] HEADLINES
Something Went Wrong in Jet Crash, Expert Says
Police Begin Campaign to Run Down Jaywalkers
[Now that's taking things a bit far!]
Miners Refuse to Work after Death
[No-good-for-nothing' lazy so-and-so!]
Juvenile Court to Try Shooting Defendant
[Well if nothing else works!]
War Dims Hope for Peace
[I can see where it might have that effect!]
If Strike Isn't Settled Quickly, It May Last Awhile
[Tell me some more of your deep thoughts.]
Cold Wave Linked to Temperatures
[We need more evidence before you go jumping to conclusions!]
pray me into solitude and silence and unity,
that all my ways may be immaculate in God.
Let me be content with whatever darkness surrounds me,
finding Him always by me, in His mercy.
Let me keep silence in this world,
except in so far as God wills and in the way he wills it.
[SILENT PAUSE FOR ABOUT 15-20 SECONDS]
In the eternal silences of the Trinity God spoke one Word and He had nothing more to say.
Silence…it can be a scary place. Whether it's in an elevator with someone else you're wondering if you need to say something to break the silence, or you're at the stoplight and you have time before it changes, the silence of a car trip, or whether it's at Mass at some point before or after, there is silence in our lives.
However, most of us are uncomfortable with silence. We think we have to fill it say with some words, turn on the radio, or think of something to occupy the time as if it is wasted in silence. Even the short silence that I had before this I heard somebody whispering I saw people looking around. We don't know what to do with silence, but it is to the silence that we must go to during this Lenten season. We must find that which is to be found therein, more importantly Who is to be found in the silence.
In the silence in the eternal silences of the Trinity God spoke one Word and He had nothing more to say.
That one Word is Jesus…Jesus…Jesus. He who spends Himself in silence…The silence of the Eucharist…The silence of the 40 days in the desert. The silence of the one who does not speak in the Sacred Scriptures, who is silent until someone speaks them in a word of proclamation.
Silence is where you and I must go these 40 days. Silence must be the place that we strive to penetrate. It will take courage; it will take faith, but if we do, dear brothers and sisters, we will find Jesus; we will find conversion; we will leave our selfish selves to become the generous givers to God and neighbor and then we will no longer fear the silence, (or any one or anything.)
"Today a great silence reigns on earth, a great silence and a great stillness. A great silence because the King is asleep. The earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and he has raised up all who have slept ever since the world began. . . He has gone to search for Adam, our first father, as for a lost sheep. Greatly desiring to visit those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death, he has gone to free from sorrow Adam in his bonds and Eve, captive with him - He who is both their God and the son of Eve. . . "I am your God, who for your sake have become your son. . . I order you, O sleeper, to awake. I did not create you to be a prisoner in hell. Rise from the dead, for I am the life of the dead." -Catechism of the Catholic Church #635
SUNDAY MASS READINGS AND QUESTIONS
for Self-Reflection, Couples or Family Discussion
6th Sunday of Ordinary Time - February 17th, 2019
The First Reading- Jeremiah 17: 5-8
Thus says the LORD: Cursed is the one who trusts in human beings, who seeks his strength in flesh, whose heart turns away from the LORD. He is like a barren bush in the desert that enjoys no change of season, but stands in a lava waste, a salt and empty earth. Blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose hope is the LORD. He is like a tree planted beside the waters that stretches out its roots to the stream: it fears not the heat when it comes; its leaves stay green; in the year of drought it shows no distress, but still bears fruit.
In the first reading, Jeremiah, who really has a way with words, shows us the difference between what happens when you put expectations on people versus when you put your trust in God. One leaves us desolate and burnt out, the other is life giving and nurturing. Our Psalm echoes that theme, singing, “Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.”
Adults -Why is God more trustworthy than human beings?
Teens - Do you bring your daily cares to the Lord in prayer?
Kids - What do you talk to God about?
Responsorial- Psalm 1: 1-2, 3, 4 and 6
R.Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
Blessed the man who follows not
the counsel of the wicked,
nor walks in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the company of the insolent,
but delights in the law of the LORD
and meditates on his law day and night.
R. Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
He is like a tree
planted near running water,
that yields its fruit in due season,
and whose leaves never fade.
Whatever he does, prospers.
R. Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
Not so the wicked, not so;
they are like chaff which the wind drives away.
For the LORD watches over the way of the just,
but the way of the wicked vanishes.
R. Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
-What strengthens your hope in the Lord?
The Second Reading- 1 Corinthians 15:12, 16-20
Brothers and sisters: If Christ is preached as raised from the dead, how can some among you say there is no resurrection of the dead? If the dead are not raised, neither has Christ been raised, and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is vain; you are still in your sins. Then those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are the most pitiable people of all. But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
The second reading takes us to the crux of the First Letter to the Corinthians—chapter 15. Paul calls out those who don’t believe in the resurrection saying that if Jesus didn’t raise from the dead, and if we don’t, then our faith would be pointless. But, if we do believe in the resurrection, then we have to listen closely to the Gospel because our lives depend on it.
The Resurrection is key to our faith. Take some time to meditate on the Resurrection and what it means to our faith.
The Holy Gospel according to Luke 6:17, 20-26
Jesus came down with the twelve and stood on a stretch of level ground with a great crowd of his disciples and a large number of the people from all Judea and Jerusalem and the coastal region of Tyre and Sidon. And raising his eyes toward his disciples he said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for the kingdom of God is yours. Blessed are you who are now hungry, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who are now weeping, for you will laugh. Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude and insult you, and denounce your name as evil on account of the Son of Man. Rejoice and leap for joy on that day! Behold, your reward will be great in heaven. For their ancestors treated the prophets in the same way. But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation. Woe to you who are filled now, for you will be hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you will grieve and weep. Woe to you when all speak well of you, for their ancestors treated the false prophets in this way.”
That Gospel is Luke’s account of the Beatitudes. While Matthew focuses more on the spiritual side of things, Luke brings them home in a very material way. Jesus comes and stands on “level ground” with us. Blessed are the poor…blessed are the mourning…blessed are the uncomfortable. And the flip side is a warning to the comfortable, for we will be afflicted. Those who have, if they don’t use their goods and their gifts to bring comfort to those who do not have, will lose everything.
Adults -Today’s readings make a connection between our hope in the resurrection and our charitable response to those in need. How does your belief in the resurrection challenge you to respond to those who are in need?
Teens - Read over the Beatitudes. Which one stands out the most to you?
Kids - What does it mean to you to be blessed?