You are the Church
As we celebrate today this magnificent Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, better known as the Feast of Corpus Christi, I draw upon the tremendous peace that my belief in the very Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist has provided me, through all the desolations and consolations of my life. And certainly, as you can imagine, in these waning days, I very much want to embrace that peace.
I am caught at this moment, torn between finding time to complete packing and moving, writing this penultimate “Pastor’s Corner” article, writing my homily, and trying to spend some quality time with my four children and their families, who arrived earlier this week to celebrate my birthday. Today, Friday, following morning Mass, we began the weekend with Exposition of the Most Holy Eucharist in our Totus Tuus Marian Chapel. Adoration of Our Savior, God, … what a fitting, and peace-giving way to encounter our challenging times as well as our grace-filled times. There is a Benediction (Eucharistic Blessing) and reposition taking place every Saturday, just prior to 4:45 PM Confessions and the 5:30 Vigil Mass, why not take advantage of this special Blessing with the Exposition Monstrance, every Saturday. In this way… you honor Him…and He blesses You. What could be more efficacious and beneficial!
On this Feast of Corpus Christi, all pastors have been requested to highlight the USCCB declaring this week June 22 to June 28 as Religious Freedom Week 2019. Their chosen theme is: Strength in Hope. During this week, the bishops have asked Catholics to pray, reflect, and act… each day of this week, focusing on the tremendous importance of “Religious Freedom”. The bishops have provided, in their USCCB website, a prayer for each day of this week. These can be accessed at: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/religious-liberty/religious-freedom-week/index.cfm.
A primary purpose for this Pastor’s Corner, these past 11 years, has been to keep us all aware of what is happening in our local Church as well as the goings-on in Holy Mother Church throughout the world… and the Vatican. As mentioned in the past, I was persuaded to forego a Monastic life, in favor of entering the priesthood at a time that the “building was on fire”, still smoldering from the crisis of the 2002 clerical sexual abuse scandal that erupted in Boston. I responded to the question posed to me by my spiritual director…”Denis, can you do more to counteract the homosexual subversion of the Church, from the outside or the inside?”
With much prayer…and turning to the Holy Spirit…I soon felt called to pursue the priesthood and enter “the still-burning building”. I since, have come across a prayerful quote from Edith Stein (St. Benedicta of the Cross) which echoes that spiritual advice; “Only the power of grace can uproot and form fallen nature anew; it happens from within, never from without.” I have come to fully embrace that concept for myself, and I have also made it a priority to convince those for whom I am spiritually responsible, to see the light and embrace that spiritual and temporal self-discipline (self-mastery) in their lives as well.
I mentioned above, the word “penultimate” which my Dad used on a regular basis and not certain what it meant, I finally asked him what it meant. Quite simply, I was told, “it means next-to-last”. So, that word has indeed crept into my thoughts all this past week and today, as these are my next-to-last days as your pastor. With our Holy Mother Church, rift with confusion, division, un-nerving silence on critical issues, and spiritual unease in general, my main concern is… have I convinced you that you are the “Church.” All of us, laity and clerical, have the common responsibility to defend the Faith (please take advantage of your “FORMED” membership,)
And … in order to know what it is that we are defending; what is true and what is false, we need to continuously attend to increasing our knowledge and understanding of our Catholic beliefs and doctrinal faith. We need to talk about defending our religious freedom, which is dangerously under attack from without, even more critical is the insidious attack already underway, from within. Hardly any of us are theologians, so we need to find honest and credible sources that we can rely on to educate us and alert us of on-going attacks…from the inside as well as the outside.
I have written and spoken often about the need, in these tumultuous times, to access the accurate daily reports from one or two of the faithfully orthodox Catholic websites, that are primarily in existence to do exactly that…to provide you with daily updates on all things happening that relate to our Faith…the good, the bad, and the ugly. Obviously, there are websites, posing as Catholic, but deceptively wending their heretical beliefs and opinions. The list of some 15 credible Catholic websites is available on our Parish website, and from the parish office.
Please take action, if you have not already done so, and link-up to receive their regular (some daily) news about Catholic happenings. If you have difficulty with electronic media, simply ask someone close to you who is technologically proficient to help you get it on your phone. I might also note that on EWTN, every Thursday night, at 8:00 PM, “The World Over-Live” program does an excellent job of covering all the important Church related events of the past week.
Then… Share your findings with your fellow Catholics… And when there is something that is happening, or that has been revealed to have happened, talk about it, and then agree to speak out and take actions in defense of our Faith. We not only need to defend our religious freedom, the freedom to celebrate our faith, but also to defend our faith from the most insidious of dangers, deception, distortion, and perversion from within. I would add that anyone who would like guidance regarding accessing these Catholic news sources, to email me at my personal email address provided in last week’s “Pastor’s Corner”. And please trust me, that it is not a figment of my imagination, that attempts to erode our faith from within are real. Simply Google “Fr. James Martin, S.J.”, a recently appointed Vatican spokesman and editor-at-large for the duplicitous “America” magazine, who is a proponent to change the Catechism teachings on homosexuality and to admit those living active lifestyles to receipt of the sacred Corpus Christi.
Yours in fervent defense of His Real Presence,