Category Archives: Blessing

Lenten Appeals – Is Jesus Embarrassed?

Today, during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, our pastor reminded us about the Bishop’s Lenten Appeal, an annual exercise where pastors are required to direct their parishioners, while sitting in the pews, to actually fill out annual financial pledges for the Diocese.  He briefly reminded us about the pledge cards (from last Sunday) before he began the homily this morning.  I really appreciated the brevity, as it is our desire at that time to learn a lesson of God, not to be lectured on the needs of our very, very wealthy Diocesan church.

Resurrection and WoundsInterestingly, during he Liturgy of the Eucharist, with my eyes closed, I saw in my mind our resurrected Jesus Christ dressed in a common, dirty and dingy one-piece ankle-length tunic, as if atoning, standing behind the priest and deacon at the altar, inaudibly exhorting,

Come, all you who are thirsty and hungry! Come, take, eat, drink for free!  I give it freely! 

The Lord our God exhorts us that He does not charge us for His love.  He does not require from us a tithe to Him for what He offers.  It is offered freely, out of true love.  And, He gives us a symbol of personal atonement and embarrassment, on our behalf.

I sensed His embarrassment about the calls for funds, calls which seem to constantly emanate from the ambo in the sanctuaries of our parish chapels during these times.  The message is, “If you pay us, we will serve you and ourselves, too.”  This is not the Lord’s message, though, and He wants to make that clear.  For-pay permanent deacons, heed this warning.

I sensed His atonement for the sins of the Church Hierarchy.  The Lord is embarrassed at the many scandals which have been revealed – scandals at the hands of cardinals, bishops, priests, deacons, religious, teachers and parents – and instead of the Hierarchy contritely atoning for sins, it continues – administering daily routines – focusing on the money that can be gathered in from the hands of the Faithful during this season of alms-giving, fasting and prayer.  But, who is atoning besides Jesus?  That is, who is making amends, in their hearts, for the wrongs that have been perpetrating on the Church by its own Hierarchy?

Perhaps, during Lent, the Church Hierarchy should be atoning with Jesus Christ and alms-giving, not project-promoting and wealth-begging.  Certainly, projects are necessary, but, perhaps, now during Lent is a very good time for atoning.  For as it is written and as it was read at the Ash Wednesday Liturgy of the Word,

Between the porch and the altar
let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep,
And say, “Spare, O LORD, your people,
and make not your heritage a reproach,
with the nations ruling over them!
Why should they say among the peoples,
‘Where is their God?'” [Joel 2:17]

The Lord Jesus makes Himself present and known, “I Am here!  Know Me. I Am not leaving you.”  But, the Church Hierarchy sometimes makes Him seem less present, less real, more like Money, less like Love, less like He Who Atones and Redeems.  If priests participate in the Priesthood of Jesus Christ, then priests should be moved, internally, to offer more outward signs of atonement for the sins of the Hierarchy.

At the end of the Mass for the final blessing, our Lord Jesus stood behind the altar, in front of His Tabernacle, and, with eyes closed,  I only saw His blessing.

 

A Blessing on My Niece and a New Springtime is Coming

Pierre van Dijk - Little girl with rosesOne of my grand nieces, I’ll call her “Trinity”, turned 14 the other day.  I have only seen photos of her.  But, whenever I see those photos, I always see an aura of peace about her and a pleasant grin – never a big smile.  She reminds me of the still, sky-reflecting water on a pristine lake.

I am touched by all of my nieces and nephews in some way (I have very few nephews compared to nieces – one former autism afflicted nephew stands out…a high quality young man, talented, and a natural leader now).  There are three of my nieces who seem to have been given much, much grace in their lives.  I have one grand niece whose father was a deadbeat, and now she is joined with her mother’s new family as the oldest of 2 more sisters and a new brother – an A student, she is qualifying to be a Rhodes Scholar and wants to be a pediatrician.

I have another niece who is the middle child of her family – the quiet one – but oh so richly blessed with a full measure of talents within the arts and sciences; she was the top in her state in French and is extremely intelligent in mathematics, a great singer, and now involved in acting and producing plays in college – an A student.  I keep reminding her that she has all of the talents to be a good mother, too.

And, finally, I have this grand niece, Trinity who is like calm, humble, meek peace.  TCrown of Flowersoday, I offered my Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for her to be abundantly blessed.  Antique Religious Cincture for AlbAnd the Lord blessed her and showed her to me in a beautiful white lacey gown, a flowery crown, and a golden cincture around her waist, and she was joyful – even giggling.  But, I have never met her.  She is peace and hope.

Fathers, mothers, uncles, aunts – pray for your families to be healed and renewed in the Lord.  The Lord is renewing the face the earth.  Though the weeds have crowded the fields, Humanity is beginning to sprout new, pure, natural flowers…a new Springtime is coming, I can sense it.  Pray that the new Flowers overcome the weeds and set the fields afire with grace-infused virtue and a pleasing perfume rising up to the Lord.  Pray, pray, pray!

Flowers in Summertime

The one who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” Then he said, “Write these words down, for they are trustworthy and true.” [Revelation, 21:5]