Saturday, April 4, 2015

Joy from Sorrow - Strength from Joy

"You seek Jesus of Nazareth, the crucified. He has been raised; he is not here." (Mk. 16:16) These are the words that Mary Magdelene, Mary the Mother of James, and Salome all heard when they entered the tomb where Jesus was placed after his crucifixion and death. They had come to anoint the body of Jesus. Scripture describes the one saying these words as a "young man in a white robe." This "young man" or angel was there to share the good news with them that Jesus rose from the dead. He tells them not to be amazed, but rather to go and share the good news with the disciples and Peter. The angel tells these women that Jesus will be in Galilee, where they will see the risen Lord.

The grief and suffering that Jesus' followers experienced on Good Friday as they watched Jesus die that agonizing death has been changed to joy. They thought that all of their hopes and dreams in the Messiah died with him on the cross. Instead, their lives will be changed forever with the joy of seeing Christ Jesus raised from the dead.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Dynamic Transformation

The Confraternity of the Holy Name of God and Jesus is a Catholic (Universal) confraternity founded to publicly spread devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus Christ and teach reverence for the Holy Name of God. Through this apostolate, opportunities are provided to encourage members to strive for personal holiness and ultimately obtain their personal salvation. The Holy Name Society strives to show all men and women, even with all of our imperfections, that they can still praise, serve and love Jesus and witness to His word and make His presence real.

Members of the Holy Name Society show reverence for His name by using it properly in all communications and have a strong and devoted prayer life and encourage others to do likewise. In public, members of the Holy Name Society show love and respect for their neighbors, just like Jesus taught us by helping and serving others in their time of need. Holy Name Society members practice both the Corporal Works and the Spiritual Works of Mercy - for as St. James taught us, "faith without works is dead".

Belonging to the Holy Name Society develops Catholics in many ways including showing them how to grow in sacramental grace and strengthen moral virtues. This is primarily accomplished by frequent participation in the sacraments of Confession and Holy Eucharist. Confession, the sacrament of God's Mercy, reconciles us with God for all of our transgressions and gives us the strength to avoid these temptations of sin. The sacrament of Holy Eucharist feeds us spiritually to live out our lives as Christ taught us in the Gospel.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Mary the Mother of God - A Model of Life

The Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord commemorates the appearance of the Angel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary to announce that she was chosen by God to be the Mother of our Lord.  Once Mary said her fiat ("yes"), the Holy Spirit descended upon her and she conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit.  You can find this great story in the gospel of Saint Luke, chapter 1, verses 26 to 38.

This feast not only commemorates Jesus becoming true man, it also commemorates Mary's willingness to be completely open to the will of God. When the Angel Gabriel explains that she will become pregnant with a son, and that He will be the Son of the Most High, she is confused. She replies, "How can this be since I have no relations with a man?" (Luke 1:34).  Once the Angel Gabriel finished the explanation to Mary, she very openly responds, "Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord, May it be done to me according to your word." (Luke 1:38)  Mary's resounding - YES to the Holy Spirit is a model of selflessness and resignation to the will of God that all of us as members of the Holy Name Society can learn from and should strive to emulate.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Doing Nothing is Not an Option

Today's families are struggling for survival. broken with divorce, addictions to drugs, alcohol, pornography and many other sinful behaviors.

Jesus taught us the definition of true love and gave us a plan of how to take care of each other, unfortunately man has turned his back on our Creators divine plan for our society and our world and has instead created his own self centered definition of love. This has resulted in an incorrect view of the Sacrament of Marriage in our society. We are now turning a Sacrament designed by God to give us special graces and a divine plan for living together in peace, harmony and spiritual growth and are turning it into a Sacrilege against God and an assault on the human family.  Seems that man individually and collectively has forgotten that the primary purpose of his existence in this life is to to obtain the goal of eternal salvation.

The Supreme Court is getting ready to make a ruling this year on gay marriages. We must pray for Divine Guidance for deliverance from the evils of gay marriage which shamefully have taken over our country. The book of Genesis tells us through the story of Sodom and Gomorrah that the sin of homosexuality is indeed a very grave matter in God's eyes and requires us as faithful followers of Jesus Christ to love the sinner, but to hate the sin. We also know that the two cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, which God ultimately destroyed by fire, would have been spared from destruction had there been only ten good men to pray for them (Gen.18:16-33).

Friday, January 2, 2015

What will we do for the Holy Name?

The Holy Name of Jesus...What holy thoughts, impulses and resolutions it provokes. What will we do for the Holy Name? We must do something. This at least we can do - love it more, use it more reverently, bless with it more, make it the sweetness of our mouths, the music of our ears, the love of our hearts, the light of our minds, the strength of our wills and the joy of our souls.

We can say it and say it again - with love, praise and devotion. We can use it in so many ways of praise, adoration, thanksgiving and in reparation for the many times His Name is defamed and used improperly...we can use it for ourselves and our friends and have our friends use it for us. We can even use it to honor GOD, in His praise; and to ask Jesus, Mary and Joseph to use it for us. We can meditate in prayer on the many glories of His Name.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Can I Get a Witness?

The question was posed: “If you were on trial for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict?”

The silence in the youth room was near deafening. And it wasn’t just the teens that were visibly uncomfortable. What started for me as a slightly less than critical self-assessment of faith in practice, turned into serious examination of my relationship with God and the Four Last Things.

Have I loved God with my whole heart and soul? How have I (or have I?) introduced my neighbor to the love of Christ? As I grappled with these questions – looking over my life and the prospect of an eternity with or without God – I felt more than a little unsure that the evidence to convict me indeed existed …

Who would testify on my behalf? Who would be my witness?

Sacred Scripture tells us that the testimony of two or three reliable witnesses is required as evidence to convict (Deut 19:15; Mt 18:16). As if to underscore the point, Jesus always seemed to keep His faithful disciples – Peter, James, and John – close by when He wished to reveal something extraordinary about Himself. Credible witnesses perfect and help serve justice.

But history teaches us that witnessing can be hazardous to your health, too. There was no Witness Protection Program for the prophets in the Old Testament, for Lazarus or John the Baptist. Jesus said that the very reason He was born and came into the world was to testify to the truth. But that testimony got Him abandoned, rejected, humiliated, convicted, and ultimately, crucified. Countless Christian martyrs from the first century onward shared the same fate. Since His disciples are held to the standard He set, they may passively see, hear, and believe, but then must actively witness – without compromise – to what they came to know by faith.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Can you Spare a Dime?

Recently I received an email from a Jewish friend, which read: "I finally figured out that the rule of Gemilut Hasidim is you should always do what is right - even if others do not. Tradition holds that a Jew must give to a beggar in the street when asked. Equally important, Jewish commentary insists that a beggar or poor person be treated with dignity. There are many reasons for this, but two stand out. By performing Gemilut Hasidim, people cultivate the divine qualities within them. Also important within Judaism is the notion that anyone who suffers diminishes every member of the community."

"Brilliant!" I emailed back, and thought, "vaguely familiar." So I started reading. What I discovered upon digging deeper into this Jewish rule of 'loving kindness' was a heritage that we as Christians and Catholics draw richly upon as well.

First, we recognize God as the Master of Charity - that He sustains all creation through His acts of kindness and that as recipients of this kindness, we emulate Him when we act in a like manner to one another. If we recognize that we are totally dependent on this loving Creator, that everything we have is a gift from Him and we own nothing of ourselves, then pride and feelings of superiority are non-existant - we give, we share, with the same reckless and selfless abandon.