This Sunday we celebrate the Solemnity of Christ the King. But what sort of king is Jesus? In his responses to Pilate’s questions, Jesus distinguishes his kingdom from the political powers of this world. So Jesus is king, but just not the kind of king we imagine.
Nor is the Lord’s kingdom something we would normally expect. The greatest in the Kingdom are the childlike. The weak conquer the strong, the foolish confound the wise. When someone takes from us we are to give them even more and we are expected to turn the other cheek to insults. And go figure, a camel gets through the eye of a needle because nothing is impossible with God! Perhaps even more strangely we are expected to love our enemies.
And this leads us to the only one law in the Kingdom of God, the law of love. Normally we don’t tend to like the idea of being ruled by law (as we prefer to do our own thing), but the law of love isn’t forced upon us. Quite the contrary we are invited to accept the sweet rule of love if that is our choice.
Certainly what Jesus is asking isn’t something he hasn’t himself done. Jesus freely subjected himself to the rule of love, giving his own life so we may have life to the full. That’s a pretty good king, one who serves because he loves. And that is why I recommend all of us to once again open our hearts and say yes as best we can to the rule of Jesus in our lives.
Of course a big upside is that we ourselves are made a line of kings, coming at the cost of being duty bound to continue the royal tradition of God’s love. Not a bad deal.
As the kingdom is about to grow in numbers today please be upstanding as we pray for our community, particularly for Thea and her family. Thea is literally about to take the plunge and receive God’s love poured into her heart!
The Day of the Lord
Today is the 2nd last Sunday of the Church year. The readings speak about the day of the Lord. That day is a time of judgment and salvation. Everything will pass away but the Word of God will not pass.
That day, although belonging to Jewish thought, is now understood to be a divine intervention closely tied with the coming of the Messiah to judge the world. Jesus himself affirms this in the Gospel referring to the coming of the Son of Man with great power.
In a way we cannot yet fully understand, Jesus plays the central role in the final establishment of the Reign of God. Sun, moon, stars –thought in the time of Jesus to represent deities that controlled worldly affairs– would all be shown to be impotent. In a sense his power outshines them, and they fade into insignificance. All this imagery is to convey the fact that God’s judgment will come down upon us at the hand of Jesus, and in a way that will affect the whole of creation.
When? Well we’re all guaranteed of meeting Jesus at death. When does God’s full plan kick in? Well – Jesus gives us a weather analogy. The truth is, we don’t know, but the victory of Christ in our hearts and the twilight of all the ‘lesser gods’ happens now through faith. Before he comes as judge, he comes to us through faith knocking at the door of our hearts. So, instead of looking for sprouting leaves, we could look for the fruit of our faith such as the fruits of the Holy Spirit pouring out of our hearts and into our lives. Our faith is our guarantee of being able to stand before God in our time of judgment.
Things shake our world – death, sickness, even falling in love! If God were to shake up our world and demand an account of our life today, would our way of living reveal our faith and the fruit of our love? Would our life be a living witness to the eternal Word as revealed by Jesus and proclaimed in all the Gospels? Would we be ashamed by God’s judgment, or would we shine as brightly as the stars that light up the vault of heaven? Let us ponder these matters, making amendments to our lives where necessary.
BY FR. ED BROOM, OMV
We often discuss who might be the best athletes, the best artists, the best writers, the best musicians; also, it must be said, there are the best of mothers. By far—and in a class by herself—the Blessed Virgin Mary was, is and always will be the best of all mothers.
This being said, mothers should recognize the fact that Mary is the best of all mothers and contemplate Mary’s words, actions, gestures, looks, intentions and life to become better and better mothers.
For our great consolation Mary is the Mother of God and she is the Mother of the Church, but also Mary is our dearest Mother too! Let us try to please Mary our Mother and as a consequence, the many mothers in the world will make huge strides in becoming better mothers all the days of their lives!
Below we will present ten different ways that we can show Mary, our Mother, our great love for her and without a doubt, through her most powerful intercession, she will attain for us the most choice graces to help us become the saints that we are called to be, and many of us as mothers.
1. Talk to Her
We have to get into the habit of talking to Mary, our dearest Mother, very often. To confide in her, speak to her from our hearts, love her and entrust all of our lives to her is most pleasing to her, as well as to her Son Jesus, the Son of God and the Son of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Mary is our Model, our Guide, our Friend and our dearest of Mothers. She loves us so much and desires to have frequent conversations with us.
Let us start today! Good friends think about each other and talk frequently! Mary is our Mother, but she is also our friend and confidant.
2. Start Your Day With Mary
Upon waking up every morning, our first action should be that of prayer, and what prayer? Why not start your day by giving yourself totally to Jesus, in all you say, do and think, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary? Give to Jesus through Mary your eyes, your ears, your mind, your heart, your body and even your intentions—in a word, give everything to Jesus through Mother Mary. How important it is to start our day well through the Heart of Mary!
3. Love Her
A Mother never gets tired of hearing her child say: “Mom, I really love you; you are the greatest!” The temptation might be to say the following: “Well she already knows it, why tell her something that she already knows.” True, a good Mother most likely already knows it. However, it should be expressed in words. By saying: “Mom, I really love you”, the heart of the mother will leap with joy. The same must be said about Mary our Mother. In the simplest of words when we say: “Mother Mary, I love you”, then Mary the Mother of God experiences great joy in her most pure and Immaculate Heart. Therefore, during the course of the day we should simply say: “Mother Mary, I love you!”
4. Walk With Her
There is a well-known song in both Spanish and Italian dedicated to Mary related to this topic with the title:Santa Maria del Camino—meaning, “Our Lady of the Way”. Therefore, when we travel, and it can be a short trip or a very long one, we should invite Mother Mary to come along with us. She is a good traveling companion and can protect us from many dangers in our travels, perils both physical and moral. How many accidents, both physical and moral, have surely been prevented by traveling with Mary—Santa Maria del Camino!
5. Imitate Mary
If we know somebody in a very deep way, that often leads to imitation, and imitation to following, and following to a deep love for that person. Saint Louis de Montfort highlights the ten principal virtues of Mary that we should strive to imitate: her deep humility, lively faith, blind obedience, unceasing prayer, constant self-denial, surpassing purity, ardent love, heroic patience, angelic kindness, and heavenly wisdom. (True Devotion to Mary, St. Louis de Montfort #108)
6. Trust and Entrust to Mary
If we truly have confidence in a person then we can entrust our cares to that person, knowing that this special person will care for us and protect us. God the Father entrusted His only begotten Son to the care of Mary. Therefore, we can entrust our lives totally to the care of Mary, our dearest and most loving Mother. “Never was it known that anyone who fled to your protection was left unaided.” (The Memorare, St. Bernard)
7. Tell Mary of Your Sorrows and Failures
We could be tempted by the enemy, the devil, who truly hates Mary, to feel inhibited in telling Mother Mary our sorrows and deep sufferings. The contrary should be the case! The best of mothers, Mary knows very clearly that when a child is most hurt and wounded, that is when the child needs the most tender love and care. So it should be with us! When the days seem to be the most cloudy, bleak, gloomy and downright depressing in the depths of our souls, it is then that we really need to open up and talk to Mary our Mother! Mary is both refuge of sinners and health of the sick—two titles for Mary in her famous Litanies!
8. Call Upon Mary When Tempted
Our life is a constant battle; we are soldiers of both Jesus and Mother Mary. That means that we are on a constant battle-ground. Our enemies are three: the devil, the flesh, and the world. Aware of this intense reality of spiritual combat, we should call upon the Holy Name of Mary in the midst of the battle and the victory will be ours! The famous Battle of Lepanto proved a striking victory through invoking Mary and the recitation of the most Holy Rosary, at the insistence of Saint Pope Pius V. May we entrust our battles to Mary, who is more powerful than a whole army in battle array! The mere name of Mary causes terror and fear in all of hell!
9. Promote the Love for Mary as Mother
If indeed we have truly experienced the love, care, and tenderness of Mary in our daily lives, then undoubtedly we will want to make Mother Mary known far and wide. Mary is not loved and honored due to one principal reason: she is not known! How can she be made known? In many ways! Encourage the reading of good books on Mary like The Glories of Mary by St. Alphonsus Liguori, True Devotion to Mary by St. Louis de Montfort, and Mater Redemptoris and The Blessed Virgin Mary and the Rosary both by Saint Pope John Paul II.
Encourage recitation of the Holy Rosary and praying it daily, give out Rosaries with pamphlets on how to pray the Rosary, and finally, encourage the wearing of the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
10. Die in the Arms of Mary
The most important moment in our life is the very moment that we die. This moment will determine for all eternity our eternal destiny—either heaven or hell. Why not prepare to die in grace, to die a holy death, at least 50 times a day? How, you might ask? Simply by praying the most Holy Rosary. Every time we pray the Hail Mary, we are preparing ourselves for a holy and happy death with these words: Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
Therefore, let us rejoice with the keen awareness that we all have a heavenly Mother, Mary the Mother of God, the Mother of the Church, and our dear Mother. She knows us, cares for us, protects us, but especially, she loves us! Indeed, in the midst of the trials, struggles, intense battles of life let us find our refuge in the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus!
Be generous with what you have and trust God to provide for your needs
I was recently in Tanzania, East Africa. If I had chosen a poor, drought and famine affected area such as Somalia, and if I had gone there demanding to be fed whilst telling the people not to worry but to trust in God, would that be okay? That is pretty much what Elijah did by asking a mother for her, and her son’s, last scrap of food.
What he did would have be obscene if it were not a prophetic act; if his actions had not been a part of God’s saving intervention in the life of the widow and her son. So today we find a simple message in the first reading and in the Gospel: We should be generous with what we have whilst trusting God absolutely to provide for our needs. Or, even more simple – God gives for us to share.
God calls us to give all and to absolute trust. We won’t be caught short. For Christians this message can be translated to: Give without reserve and trust wholeheartedly in Jesus.
In the month of November we remember and pray for our loved ones who have gone to God. Today I invite you to reflect on the lives of your loved ones who have acted in the spirit of generosity and sacrifice, who have given without reserve and who trusted wholeheartedly in God. Today I invite you to again entrust them to God’s care. Today in particular we pray for Frank
Also today we remember and pray for those who have died whilst serving their country, giving without reserve and trusting in God. Those who have died in service of their country shall not grow old, we shall remember them. Today, on the 100th anniversary of those who served in the Great War, we entrust them all again to God’s care.
God continues to call us who remain to give all and to trust completely. May our loved ones who have gone to God also pray for us that we be like them in generosity and in their trust in God. Amen.
It is during November that the Church meditates on the Communion of Saints, which is the charitable link with the faithful who have already reached heaven (Church Triumphant), the faithful departed who are still expiating their sins in Purgatory (Church Suffering) and of the pilgrim faithful here on earth (Church Militant). "In this wonderful exchange, the holiness of one profits others, well beyond the harm that the sin of one could cause others. Thus recourse to the communion of saints lets the contrite sinner be more promptly and efficaciously purified of the punishments for sin." (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1475).
On November 1st the Church celebrates the Solemnity of All Saints, a Holy Day of Obligation, honoring all those faithful in heaven. Throughout November the Church also remembers our Faithful Departed. The need and duty of prayer for the departed souls has been acknowledged by the Church at all times. It is recommended in the Scriptures of the Old Testament: "It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins."(2 Macch. 12, 46). This duty has found expression not only in public and private prayers but especially in the offering of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for the repose of souls.
Throughout November the Church prays for all who are in the purifying fires of Purgatory, waiting for the day when they will join the company of the saints in heaven. The celebration of Mass is the highest means the Church can provide for charity for the dead, but we can also relieve their sufferings through our prayers, sufferings and penances. We can also help the Poor Souls by doing acts and prayers that have indulgences attached to them. There are many indulgences, applicable only to the Souls in Purgatory, that can be obtained during the month of November.
An indulgence is "the remission before God of the temporal punishment due for sins already forgiven as far as their guilt is concerned." To obtain this remission there are proper dispositions and certain conditions predetermined by the Church that must be met by the faithful. The remission is acquired through the intervention of the Church, who has the power to loose and bind granted through Jesus Christ. "As minister of the Redemption, authoritatively dispenses and applies the treasury of the satisfaction won by Christ and the Saints" (Enchiridion of Indulgences).
To understand this practice of indulgences, the Catechism explains:
[I]t is necessary to understand that sin has a double consequence. Grave sin deprives us of communion with God and therefore makes us incapable of eternal life, the privation of which is called the "eternal punishment" of sin. On the other hand every sin, even venial, entails an unhealthy attachment to creatures, which must be purified either here on earth, or after death in the state called Purgatory. This purification frees one from what is called the "temporal punishment" of sin. These two punishments must not be conceived of as a kind of vengeance inflicted by God from without, but as following from the very nature of sin. A conversion which proceeds from a fervent charity can attain the complete purification of the sinner in such a way that no punishment would remain.
The forgiveness of sin and restoration of communion with God entail the remission of the eternal punishment of sin, but temporal punishment of sin remains. While patiently bearing sufferings and trials of all kinds and, when the day comes, serenely facing death, the Christian must strive to accept this temporal punishment of sin as a grace. He should strive by works of mercy and charity, as well as by prayer and the various practices of penance, to put off completely the "old man" and to put on the "new man." (1472, 1473)
An indulgence can either be partial or plenary. It is partial if it removes only part of the temporal punishment due to sin, or plenary if it removes all punishment.
To be able to gain an indulgence, one must have the intention to gain them, and perform the works at the time and in the manner prescribed.
The traditional conditions to attain a Plenary Indulgence:
A Plenary Indulgence can be gained only one per day. The faithful must be in the state of grace and these three conditions must accompany the prescribed act:
- the faithful must receive the sacrament of confession, either eight days before or after the pious act is performed,
- receive Holy Communion on that day
- and recite prayers for the intentions of the Holy Father (one Our Father and one Hail Mary is the minimum, but any other additional prayers may be added).
All attachment to sin, even venial sin, must be absent. If one's disposition is less than perfect or if some of the above conditions are not fulfilled, the indulgence becomes partial.
In the Year 2000 Jubilee Year the Apostolic Penitentiary relaxed the conditions for confession and communion:
In order to obtain a plenary indulgence (only one per day), the faithful must, in addition to being in the state of grace:
– have the interior disposition of complete detachment from sin, even venial sin; — have sacramentally confessed their sins; — receive the Holy Eucharist (it is certainly better to receive it while participating in Holy Mass, but for the indulgence only Holy Communion is required); – pray for the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff.
5. It is appropriate, but not necessary, that the sacramental Confession and especially Holy Communion and the prayer for the Pope's intentions take place on the same day that the indulgenced work is performed; but it is sufficient that these sacred rites and prayers be carried out within several days (about 20) before or after the indulgenced act. Prayer for the Pope's intentions is left to the choice of the faithful, but an "Our Father" and a "Hail Mary" are suggested. One sacramental Confession suffices for several plenary indulgences, but a separate Holy Communion and a separate prayer for the Holy Father's intentions are required for each plenary indulgence.
Although this was given for the Jubilee Year, these "remain in effect, since it was contained under the "General remarks on indulgences," and not under those specific to the Jubilee Indulgence." See Indulgences – General Conditions for further explanation.
Indulgenced Acts for the Poor Souls A partial indulgence can be obtained by devoutly visiting a cemetery and praying for the departed, even if the prayer is only mental. One can gain a plenary indulgence visiting a cemetery each day between November 1 and November 8. These indulgences are applicable only to the Souls in Purgatory.
A plenary indulgence, again applicable only the Souls in Purgatory, is also granted when the faithful piously visit a church or a public oratory on November 2. In visiting the church or oratory, it is required, that one Our Father and the Creed be recited.
A partial indulgence, applicable only to the Souls in Purgatory, can be obtained when the Eternal Rest (Requiem aeternam) is prayed. This can be prayed all year, but especially during the month of November:
Requiem aeternam dona ei (eis), Domine, et lux perpetua luceat ei (eis). Requiescat (-ant) in pace Amen.
Eternal rest grant to them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.
Many families add to the "Prayer Before Meals" the second half of the "Eternal Rest" prayer:
Bless us, O Lord, and these thy gifts, Which we are about to receive, from Thy bounty, through Christ, our Lord, Amen. And may the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.
Other families recite the "Eternal Rest" prayer in between decades of the rosary.
We should pray for the departed all through the year, not just November. After these souls in Purgatory are in heaven, they will intercede for us. Developing prayerful habits, such as praying the "Eternal Rest" prayer when passing cemeteries, will remind us of our eternal destiny and increase charity towards others.
For more information on the Church's teachings on indulgences, read the Enchiridion of Indulgencesgiven by the 1968 Decree of the Sacred Apostolic Penitentiary.
Also see The Catechism of the Catholic Church section on Indulgences, Part 2, Section 2, Chapter 2, Article 4, Subsection 10, 1471-1479..
Activity Source: Original Text (JGM) by Jennifer Gregory Miller, © Copyright 2003-2018 by Jennifer Gregory Miller