Thursday, March 31, 2011

A SIMPLE GUIDE TO THE MASS
I've written a simple guide for those who are unfamiliar with the Mass. Please feel free to download and copy. Here's the link: http://tinyurl.com/6fyacb5

Monday, March 28, 2011

SOME EASY WAYS TO PREACH THE GOSPEL
Become an Evangelist!
     Do you remember what it was like when you couldn’t wait to show your parents a good report card? Do you remember what it was like when you graduated from high school or college? Do you remember when you received a promotion or raise and how you wanted to tell everyone about it? Do you remember how you felt when you got married, had a child, became a grandparent? The good news of the gospel is the best news there is, better than any other news we joyfully share with others. What will it take for us to begin joyfully sharing the good news of our salvation with others?
     Here are some easy ways to share the GOOD NEWS!

1.  Give a copy of parish bulletin to a friend or neighbor,
2.  When you are eating in a restaurant, say a prayer before eating and make the sign of the cross.
3.   Invite and treat a neighbor to one of our parish social events.
4.   When you visit a friend or neighbor in the hospital or nursing home, offer to pray with them.
5.   Take your rosary wherever you go and pray it while you’re waiting to see the doctor, etc. If someone notices what you’re doing, ask them if they pray the rosary.
6.   Talk about parish events in which you’ve participated. Tell people what you enjoyed about the event.
7.   Buy some Catholic tracts/leaflets and leave them in offices, waiting rooms, airplane seat pockets, etc. Or, take some of our sister parish brochures and spread them around.
8.   When you email someone, add a blessing, a quote from Scripture, or a saying from a saint.
9.   If your library accepts donations, buy a good Catholic book and donate it to your library.
10. Invite a friend, co-worker, or neighbor to come with you to Mass.

Friday, March 25, 2011

PRAYER, FASTING AND MERCY
(St. Peter Chrysologus--his name means “golden-worded” because of the beauty of his homilies--was a doctor of the church who lived in Italy from 406-450 A.D. The following is one of his homilies.)

    There are three things by which faith stands firm, devotion remains constant, and virtue en­dures. They are prayer, fasting and mercy. Prayer knocks at the door, fasting obtains, mercy receives. Prayer, mercy and fasting: these three are one, and they give life to each other.

Fasting is the soul of prayer, mercy is the lifeblood of fasting. Let no one try to separate them; they cannot be separated. If you have only one of them or not all to­gether, you have nothing. So if you pray, fast; if you fast, show mercy; if you want your petition to be heard, hear the petition of others, If you do not close your ear to others you open God’s ear to yourself. When you fast, see the fasting of others. If you want God to know that you are hungry, know that another is hungry. If you hope for mercy, show mercy. If you look for kindness, show kindness. If you want to receive, give. If you ask for yourself what you deny to others, your asking is a mockery.

Let this be the pattern for all when they prac­tice mercy: show mercy to others in the same way, with the same generosity, with the same promptness, as you want others to show mercy to you. Therefore, let prayer, mercy and fasting be one single plea to God on our behalf, one speech in our defense, a threefold, united prayer in our favor.

Let us use fasting to make up for what we have lost by despising others. Let us offer our souls in sacrifice by means of fasting. There is nothing more pleasing that we can offer to God, as the psalmist said in prophecy: A sacrifice to God is a broken spirit; God does not despise a bruised and humbled heart.

Offer your soul to God; make him an oblation of your fasting, so that your soul may be a pure offering, a holy sacrifice, a living victim, remaining your own and at the same time made over to God. Whoever fails to give this to God will not be excused, for if you are to give him yourself you are never without the means of giving.

    To make these acceptable, mercy must be added. Fasting bears no fruit, unless it is watered by mercy. Fasting dries up when mercy dries up. Mercy is to fast­ing as rain is to the earth. However much you may cul­tivate your heart, clear the soil of your nature, root out vices, sow virtues, if you do not release the springs of mercy, your fasting will bear no fruit.

When you fast, if your mercy is thin, your harvest will be thin; when you fast, what you pour out in mercy overflows into your barn. Therefore, do not lose by sav­ing, but gather in by scattering. Give to the poor, and you give to yourself. You will not he allowed to keep what you have refused to give to others.
HELPING CHILDEN PROCLAIM THE GOSPEL
I am working with children in the Faith Formation Program at St. Pius X to help them present the gospel stories using puppets. Above is a picture of some of the kids with the puppets they made.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

THIS JOYFUL SEASON OF LENT!
      Most people probably think of Lent as a somber season. And why not? We don’t sing or recite the Gloria or the Alleluia before the gospel. We cover over the holy water fonts and put away the paschal candle. We know that Lent is a season devoted to acts of penance and observances which help remind us of our sinfulness and the need for God’s mercy. Still, is Lent really a somber season?

      Have you ever heard the phrase: Lex orandi, lex credendi? Translated from the Latin, this means: “the law of prayer is the law of belief.” In other words, if you want to know what we Christians believe, listen to the prayers of the church. How well do we listen to the various prayers at Mass?

      If we listen to the prayers of the church during the season of Lent, we have to come to the conclusion that Lent is a joyful season. Take, for example, the first Preface of Lent. It begins: “Each year you give us this joyful season.” The beginning of the second Preface of Lent states: “This great season of grace is your gift to your family to renew us in spirit.” Clearly, these prayers tell us that the season of Lent is a time of joy and a gift from God. Why? Because it provides us with an opportunity for growing in holiness and renewing our commitment to God. It is a joy to grow in holiness and commitment.

      So, while you are engaging in the various penitential practices of Lent, rejoice. Remember that God has given us the gift of salvation so that, even during Lent, we can be known as a people of joy.