-***NEW FEATURE*** BEST PARISH'S 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.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
Catholic Answers is an apostolate dedicated to serving Christ by bringing the
fullness of Catholic truth to the world. It helps Catholics and everyone better understand the Catholic Faith, and directly answers challenges and questions.
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.
FORUM: ‘Celebrating the Vocation of Fatherhood’
Archbishop of Washington Cardinal Wuerl: ‘The celebration of Father’s Day offers us an opportunity to reflect on the irreplaceable role fathers play in the life of the family, in society and in the Church’
The celebration of Father’s Day offers us an opportunity to reflect on the irreplaceable role fathers play in the life of the family, in society and in the Church.
In the creation story, we learn that the Lord intends for a man called to the vocation of fatherhood and made in God’s image and likeness to “be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:26-28). Here we find the origin of the family.
Scripture is filled with stories of the importance of fathers, and in their importance in handing on the faith in our heavenly Father. As Pope Francis points out in quoting from Psalm 78, God “‘established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children; that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children.’ The family is thus the place where parents become their children’s first teachers in the faith” (Amoris Laetitia, 16). More recently, in his exhortation on holiness, he urges fathers and grandfathers: “Be holy by patiently teaching the little ones how to follow Jesus” (Gaudete et Exsultate, 14).
Pope Francis invites us in a particular way to contemplate the holiness present in the patience of “those parents who raise their children with immense love, in those men and women who work hard to support their families” (Id., 7). What he then adds about the holiness of mothers growing in small gestures applies also to fathers – such as in sitting down with their children and listening and engaging with them after a long day of work even though they are tired (cf. Id., 16).
In families, “men play an equally decisive role in family life, particularly with regard to the protection and support of their wives and children,” the Pope affirms. “Many men are conscious of the importance of their role in the family and live their masculinity accordingly” (Amoris Laetitia, 55). More specifically, fathers teach what nurturing, compassion, and mercy look like in an explicitly masculine expression. Children, through the experience of the love of their earthly father, more easily recognize and trust as well the unconditional love and mercy of their heavenly Father.
Today is a day to give thanks to all of the fathers and grandfathers in our families and communities who strive to care for their children to the best of their ability. We express our heartfelt gratitude for the time spent working to provide for the material needs of the family and the time spent patiently with a child struggling to complete a homework assignment or recovering from a nightmare or making a big decision. For all the gifts of these good men who are living, and in memory of these who have died, we give thanks to God our Father.
On the NET:
To the original post on Cardinal Wuerl’s blog: http://cardinalsblog.adw.org/2018/06/celebrating-vocation-fatherhood/
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
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!]
Lady, Queen of Heaven,
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.
[This is a weekly electronic newsletter from Father Robert, the Pastor of St. Mary Parish and St. Sebastian Parish. This will be sent out weekly. Please recommend this to individuals you think might be interested. Any suggestions or comments are welcomed, or if you wish to no longer receive this please e-mail: Roman.Catholic.Good.News@gmail.com]
Homily from Ash Wednesday
[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
The Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time - July 8th, 2018
The First Reading- Ezekiel 2:2-5
As the LORD spoke to me, the spirit entered into me and set me on my feet, and I heard the one who was speaking say to me: Son of man, I am sending you to the Israelites, rebels who have rebelled against me; they and their ancestors have revolted against me to this very day. Hard of face and obstinate of heart are they to whom I am sending you. But you shall say to them: Thus says the LORD GOD! And whether they heed or resist—for they are a rebellious house—they shall know that a prophet has been among them.
Do you ever feel like you’re talking to a wall? Like nobody’s listening? In our first reading, the Prophet Ezekiel is going to be sent to speak to Israel on behalf of God. But, before he goes, God gives him a warning: they are “hard of face and obstinate of heart”. They are “a rebellious house.” Sound familiar? Sure—we’ve all been there. And we’ve all been them. But, God says that even if they don’t change, they will know that a prophet has been there. It wasn’t Ezekiel’s job to make them do what God wanted—only to bring the message and plant the seeds. It’s not our job to make people do what we think is right—only to bring God’s message and plant the seeds.
Adults -Do you ever feel like your efforts to spread the Gospel are in vain? How does knowing that this has been going on since the beginning of time make you feel?
Teens - It’s often hard to feel like we are being rejected, and continue to reach out in spite of it. How does the first reading encourage you to continue to spread God’s love?
Kids - Do you ever feel like people don’t listen to you? How does it make you feel? What can you do about it?
Responsorial- Psalm 123: 1-2, 2, 3-4
R. Our eyes are fixed on the Lord, pleading for his mercy.
To you I lift up my eyes
who are enthroned in heaven --
As the eyes of servants
are on the hands of their masters.
R. Our eyes are fixed on the Lord, pleading for his mercy.
As the eyes of a maid
are on the hands of her mistress,
So are our eyes on the LORD, our God,
till he have pity on us.
R. Our eyes are fixed on the Lord, pleading for his mercy.
Have pity on us, O LORD, have pity on us,
for we are more than sated with contempt;
our souls are more than sated
with the mockery of the arrogant,
with the contempt of the proud.
R. Our eyes are fixed on the Lord, pleading for his mercy.
-Offer one of the Works of Mercy this week.
The Second Reading- 2 Corinthians 12: 7-10
Brothers and sisters: That I, Paul, might not become too elated, because of the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, an angel of Satan, to beat me, to keep me from being too elated. Three times I begged the Lord about this, that it might leave me, but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me. Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong.
In Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, Paul has a condition that he’s asked God to take from him a number of times. God didn’t heal him. Instead, Paul feels that God wants him to be content with the spiritual comfort that God offers, but he will not be healed. Paul says, “when I am weak, I am strong” because he has to rely on God for his strength in that illness. That’s not an easy attitude to take. God didn’t give him that affliction, God didn’t cure it, but God holds him up in the midst of it.
Say a special prayer this week for all those afflicted with physical or mental illness.
The Holy Gospel according to Mark 6: 1-6
Jesus departed from there and came to his native place, accompanied by his disciples. When the sabbath came he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished. They said, “Where did this man get all this? What kind of wisdom has been given him? What mighty deeds are wrought by his hands! Is he not the carpenter, the son of Mary, and the brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and among his own kin and in his own house.” So he was not able to perform any mighty deed there, apart from curing a few sick people by laying his hands on them. He was amazed at their lack of faith.
The Gospel is reminiscent of one from a couple of weeks ago—Jesus is home and being rejected. They knew him when he was a kid, and they don’t feel that there was anything particularly remarkable about him then—why should he be such a big shot now? They don’t want to hear his message or have him perform any miracles. They want him to be normal or leave. So, he does. Just like as the first reading, we hear that God will send us what we need, but God won’t require us to be open to receiving it.
Adults -Is there someone in your life that you have written off as unimportant? How can you reach out to them, and maybe help them use their gifts for the Kingdom of God?
Teens -Why do you think Jesus was unable to perform many miracles in his hometown? Are you surprised at the reaction of his neighbors?
Kids - Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t teach people about Jesus because you’re too small. This reading shows us that people often don’t know as much about others as they think that they do!