Category Archives: Priests

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.

 

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How Mother Mary Hears Our Prayers

This is rather simplistic, but this came to me while praying the Rosary:

“…(and you yourself a sword will pierce) so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”

[Gospel of Jesus Christ according to St. Luke, 2:35]

I don’t know what is meant by “sword.” 

We might think to take it literally to mean that she would die a death related to that of her Son, but that this must be so that she could be assumed into Heaven, wounded like her Son, for her mission as Advocate for poor sinners whose thoughts and prayers she hears.

We might think of it in another way.  We often hear of her Immaculate Heart being pierced with thorns.  This tells of her woundedness.  And so, in a spiritual way, we might take “sword” to mean that she would know the wounds of sin in her heart, especially the sins of priests and bishops, those who are configured to her Son, closest to her in daily activity, and who should be blameless before God.  And she will know who are faithful and blameless and who are not by their thoughts and deeds.  This may be why she calls us to always pray for her priests and bishops.  This must be a difficult burden.

Let us pray with Mother Mary for all priests and bishops, for their sanctity and holiness in daily activity.

What if Pope Francis Allows Clerical Marriage?

  What if God inspired Pope Francis like this: “Pope Francis, while sitting and reflecting on the Wedding at Cana, fell into a trance. In his trance, a large sheet unfurled from heaven like a large drive-in movie screen. On the movie screen were images of all of the patriarchs and of all of the prophets and of all of the apostles who had married, and even of the Holy Family, of faithful Joseph who had married a woman, the Blessed Virgin Mary who was pregnant with Child, presumably out of wedlock, and then an image of all of the multitude of priests and religious who had failed in their commitments to celibacy – too many who had gone to hell or who were still in purgatory, and the multitude of the myriad thousands who had also been led into hell and into the deepest recesses of purgatory by the immoral examples of some priests and religious over the last 20 centuries. And then the Voice said:

Francis, betroth and marry!’

And then Pope Francis said,

 ‘No, Lord, I could never do that nor ask my priests to feel free to do so! The marital act would bring uncleanness upon my priests and defile your sanctuary and turn our priests toward their wives and families instead of setting their hearts on the Bride, the Church!’  

And then the Voice spoke these words:

‘Do not call unclean what I, the Lord! the Lord! the Lord! have made clean!  Too many have been lost by the unfaithfulness of some of my priests!  Betroth and marry, and raise children, and by your good example, make my Bride ready, and then lead my Bride along the safe Way to My Wedding Feast!’

What if he saw this image and heard these words 3 times, and then pronounced a new discipline of a marital option for priests?

This image is not far off from the scene from the Acts of the Apostles where God declared pork to be clean:

The Vision of Peter [Acts, 10:9-16, NAB Holy Bible]

 The next day, while they were on their way and nearing the city, Peter went up to the roof terrace to pray at about noontime.

He was hungry and wished to eat, and while they were making preparations he fell into a trance.

He saw heaven opened and something resembling a large sheet coming down, lowered to the ground by its four corners.

In it were all the earth’s four-legged animals and reptiles and the birds of the sky.

A voice said to him, “Get up, Peter. Slaughter and eat.”

But Peter said, “Certainly not, sir. For never have I eaten anything profane and unclean.”

The voice spoke to him again, a second time, “What God has made clean, you are not to call profane.”

This happened three times, and then the object was taken up into the sky.