Secular pursuits only bring a temporary amount of satisfaction and fulfillment. As much as we may think that achieving worldly success, economic security, personal well-being, and self-fulfillment are worthy goals to obtain, they all are dependent on external variables and can lead to emptiness. We are trained to be very pragmatic and productive. Unless we are able to check off all of the boxes or comply with specific measurable requirements, our value and worth becomes questionable. Corporations, educational institutions, systems, structures, and secular ideology rarely consider deeper, more spiritual, and human contributions a person can and needs to make.READ MORE
In our series on the Mass, PREPARATION FOR COMMUNION was the theme last week. It ends with the “I am not worthy. . . prayer which we discovered is also found in the Gospels on the lips of the Centurion Soldier whose servant Jesus healed.
COMMUNION comes next. The priest receives first and distributes Jesus’ Body and Blood to the deacon. Then they both distribute Holy Communion to the altar servers and Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion. These lay ministers are called “extraordinary” because the priests and deacons are the “ordinary” ministers of Holy Communion.READ MORE
May the Lord keep you in good health. For all of you who cannot come to our beautiful church, we can tell you that we have been missing you.
In order to reach you and integrate you in what is happening at our parish, let me share with you that we have purchased a HD Live stream camera and I am excited to let you know that it has arrived! For all of you who like technology the camera is a PTZ Optics 20X 3G SDI. This will give us the opportunity to transmit better picture quality for you to enjoy our transmissions and to reach our beloved parishioners with fragile health.
Talking about cameras, let me share the good news that we also have acquired two more external cameras that point to the west parking lot of our parish. We did this to add an extra security layer to the people who come to the adoration chapel (which is still closed) and school entrance. In addition, for your safety and peace of mind, we have enrolled our parish into the Neighborhood Watch Program launched by the Glendale Police Department.READ MORE
Last week we focused on The FRACTIO and AGNUS DEI (LAMB OF GOD). You may recall that the LAMB OF GOD prayer immediately follows the SIGN OF PEACE and begs God for mercy and peace.
Next comes our PREPARATION FOR COMMUNION. The priest offers prayers with all of us asking that God cleanse us from sin and enable us to receive eternal life through Holy Communion. Then he silently prays a longer prayer before he raises the Host and proclaims, “Behold the Lamb of God, Behold Him who takes away the sins of the world. Blessed are those who are called to the Supper of the Lamb.” The prayer that we respond with here is straight from the lips of the centurion servant in the Gospels.(Mt 8:5- 14, Lk 7:1-10) “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.”READ MORE
We are hardwired for wholeness and crave it. When something is broken, we want it fixed. If a part of our body is not working properly, we want it healed. How often do we find ourselves saying, “I’m tired of struggling with this cold, I can’t wait for my surgery to heal, or I want my treatments to make me better.” Wholeness and healing restore our relationships and make us free to love as we desire. We know very well how our limitations, imperfections, and brokenness really limit us. They can easily prevent us from being and doing what we want to do.
Our physical and emotional wounds and maladies are easier to identify. If my back hurts, I feel it and know what part of my body needs attention. If I am feeling intense anger, I can identify the emotion and take necessary steps to uncover its cause. Being persistent often brings greater and quicker results. But will pursuing and even achieving our physical and emotional healings really be enough? We forget that there is a deeper healing that we seek and desperately need. As we look around at humanity, there are some physical and emotional wounds and scars that cannot be made whole. They are limitations that must remain and, for one reason or another, cannot be rectified. Does this mean that the wholeness and healing that my being longs for is not possible for me? Must I settle with less than what God promises?READ MORE
The SIGN OF PEACE, we discovered last week, is a simple and powerful sign of unity between us who are brothers and sisters in Christ. Immediately following is the FRACTIO and AGNUS DEI (LAMB OF GOD).
You might recognize the root of our word “fraction” in the name of this part of the Mass. That’s because the priest breaks the Host and mingles small pieces (or fractions) with the Precious Blood showing that Christ’s Blood and Body are united and cannot be separated.
The priest then elevates both chalice and Host for us to see and acclaims, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, happy are those who are called to the Supper of the Lamb”.READ MORE
Be still and know that I am God. Silence is sacred. Silence speaks the language of the soul and is the foundation of all life and eternity itself. Silence takes us beyond the limits of our minds and allows us to seek and to love the essence of all love, perfect love, and being. In silence, we can be nonverbally present to things and to God in ways that words cannot accomplish. We can discover, encounter, and be present to truths that our minds struggle to conceive and then set aside the boxes we put around things when comprehending them is challenging. We can know the unknowable and touch eternity when we encounter the core silence in our souls.READ MORE
Last week, in our series on the parts of the Mass, we discussed THE OUR FATHER, also called THE LORD’S PRAYER. It is the best model ever given for what ought to be included in prayer and should be one of the first prayers we teach our children.
This week we take a look at the SIGN OF PEACE. This part of the Mass is optional. The priest can leave it out at his own discretion. After the priest extends words of peace to all present, saying “Peace be with you.” We respond, and also with you. Then the deacon normally announces, “Let us offer each other the Sign of Peace”
THE SIGN OF PEACE has been suppressed by our Bishop during the current pandemic because it’s impossible to offer a proper SIGN OF PEACE and maintain the recommended “social distance” of six feet. In some Catholic Rites a kiss replaces the handshake as the SIGN OF PEACE, but in the Roman Rite the proper gesture is the handshake and the words. “Peace be with you.”READ MORE
The DOXOLOGY and the GREAT AMEN were our most recent subjects in our continuing series on the parts of the Mass. Recall that the DOXOLOGY is high praise to the Holy Trinity and the GREAT AMEN is the people’s response to all that has happened in the Mass thus far. By saying, singing, or chanting it we affirm that we believe that all that has been said and prayed is true.
Next comes THE OUR FATHER, sometimes also called THE LORD’S PRAYER. The priest introduces it with these words, “At the Savior’s command and formed by divine teaching, we dare to say…”
Whole books have been written on this prayer. No matter how many times we have prayed it, we can benefit from meditating on THE OUR FATHER line by line.READ MORE
Many people in our world are hungry and thirsty. This hunger and thirst go well beyond physical needs for food, security, and shelter. Many are emotionally and spiritually parched, too. Behind every act of violence is a soul who hungers. People live with relationships that actually starve them. They are abused, exploited, disrespected, laughed at, and marginalized. There is a lot of confusion and inner pain that needs to be acknowledged and expressed. We all long to be understood and loved, even when our inner demons or who I am make it difficult to be. Do you live with inner confusion and pain? Folks often wander through life without any real direction or purpose and take their cues from what seems satisfying or popular at the moment. The deeper dots of our lives can easily remain unconnected, and we can find ourselves without grounding, purpose, or real happiness. Life becomes shallow and without real purpose as we hunger and thirst for an ultimate love.READ MORE
Last week in our continuing series on the parts of the Mass we highlighted the INTERCESSION which unites the three states of the Church in Heaven, on Earth and in Purgatory together.
The INTERCESSION is followed by the DOXOLOGY which is a glorious prayer of praise to the Holy Trinity. The priest lifts up the paten containing the bread that has become Christ’s Body and if a deacon is serving, he lifts up the chalice containing the wine that has become the Blood of Christ. While calling attention to Jesus’ Body and Blood for all to see, the priest speaks or chants these words: “Through Him, With Him, in Him, , in the Unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor is yours Almighty Father, forever and ever.”
We, the people kneeling in the pews, immediately respond with the GREAT AMEN. At Sunday Mass, the GREAT AMEN is almost always sung, sometimes even repeated three times. Our AMEN means, “it is true” or “so be it”. God is rightly glorified and praised in the DOXOLOGY and our response to it.READ MORE
A single mother who has a child with special needs works two jobs and sacrifices much of her own pleasures in order to be available for her son. Being the best mother possible is important to her and brings her joy. We are willing to make great and often heroic sacrifices for those people and things that matter most to us. Unless there is something of obvious importance to us in our immediate path, we can easily approach life in a more haphazard and chaotic way. We jump from one thing to another, responding to whatever it is that is competing for our attention at that moment. When everything is important, nothing is important.READ MORE
Grace and sin, belief and unbelief, good and evil all exist together. While we wrestle with these two dimensions of reality inwardly, they are also witnessed in the actions and words of others. Many, all too often, beat themselves up because of their sin. We are also all too quick to pass judgment on others whom we perceive to be in error and walking down a wrong path. God does not make rash judgments, nor should we. Patience is the order of the day as is an understanding that God is ultimately the caller of the shots.
Our faith tells us that while God allows the wheat and the weeds to coexist, the wheat will always triumph. As long as we can cultivate even a little faith and a small measure of desire for God, He can produce abundant blessings and good things. Even when the weeds seem to have triumphed, there still may be a small measure of faith remaining that can be cultivated and grown. It doesn’t take much! Unless a person totally allows the weeds to reign, there is always to be found at least a small measure of faith, good, light, and love. With even this small portion, God can produce abundant growth.READ MORE
We continue our series on the parts of the Mass. Last week we considered the OBLATION or OFFERING in which the priest offers the Body of Christ to God the Father as a living sacrifice, mystery of Christ’s passion, death, and resurrection.
Next comes the INTERCESSION. Let’s not confuse it with the intercessions we pray during the PRAYERS OF THE FAITHFUL which we discussed several weeks back. This INTERCESSION is made by the priest who represents Christ at the altar. The INTERCESSION unites the three states of the Church together: The Church Triumphant or those already in Heaven, the Church Militant, those of us still fighting our spiritual battles here on earth, and the Church Suffering, those souls who are being purged from all sin in order to be purified for Heaven.
You will hear the priest pray for the pope and bishops, the baptized, and the souls in purgatory. While he prays, we remember all those people we want to offer to God including loved ones who have died.READ MORE
Using the best seeds doesn’t always guarantee the best plants. An older Italian gentleman straight from Italy gave me these amazing tomato seeds that he claimed produced the best tomatoes ever grown. Without doubt, the fruit he shared with me was a testament to that fact. These tomatoes were amazing! I couldn’t wait until the next growing season to plant these seeds and harvest my own tomatoes. The whole experiment ended up a failure. I did everything the gentleman said, but my fruit didn’t even come close. What happened? At first I was perplexed, then some years later the light dawned. The problem wasn’t the seeds, it was the soil!
You cannot sow seeds in any old place and in a haphazard way and expect them to be at their best. It doesn’t work that way. Planting the seeds is the easiest part. Preparing the soil is the challenge. Tilling, mulching, enriching, and building up the nutrients are all required for good fruit. Then after the seeds are planted, more care is required in order to maintain that healthy, nutrient rich environment for those seeds to sprout, grow, and flourish. God happily sows the seeds of his Word. What do we do with them?READ MORE
After THE MEMORIAL ACCLAMATION where we lovingly remember the mystery of Christ’s passion, death, and resurrection comes the OBLATION also known as the OFFERING.
During the OBLATION, the priest offers the Body of Christ to God the Father as a living sacrifice. Remember the Body of Christ is both the Eucharist and us.
The OBLATION also brings to mind all the Saints already united with Christ in Heaven.
Our part is to offer our whole life, our joys and sorrows, tears and laughter, work and play, worries and gratitude, fears and trials to our Heavenly Father. We offer everything we have and are as a living sacrifice remembering that we are the Body of Christ.
We also thank the saints in Heaven who are praying for us.READ MORE
We continue our series on the parts of the Mass. After THE INSTITUTIONAL NARRATIVE which we learned last week is the high point of the Mass, comes THE MEMORIAL ACCLAMATION.
The priest introduces it with these words, “the Mystery of Faith”. Sometimes he speaks the words. Other times he chants the words in our language and we sing our response. At our parish, during Advent and Lent the priest may chant the introduction to MEMORIAL ACCLAMATION in the language of the Church, which is Latin: “Mysterium fide” Then we respond in Latin, “Mortem tuam annuntiamus, Domine,et tuam resurrectionem confitemur, donec venias.”READ MORE