Stay With Me a Little Longer

I wonder how many Catholics realize that Jesus is physically present within us for about twenty minutes after we receive Communion. If we did, maybe that would change our actions after mass. Think about it! You’re probably beeping or yelling at Jesus to hurry up in the parking lot. If you’re quick or run out right after Communion you’re bringing Jesus to the convenience store to get your coffee and paper. You know the one with all the sleazy magazines that you really can’t avoid.
If you really understood would you be rushing to Dunkin Donuts or the grocery or be so quick to talk to people about the weather or ball game? Would you be rushing to the ball game? How would you feel if you were Jesus and someone you loved rushed off to Food Lion or to talk to his buddies about golf?
Think about all the things you see people do after mass. There are those who walk out complaining that the homily was too long. There are those who walk out gossiping about what so and so were wearing. Then there are those in such a hurry they practically run over you. People do these things while Jesus is still physically present. What happened to reverence for the Lord and spending time with Jesus?
What does Jesus think of all this? There is a book of private revelation called God’s Blue Book put out by the Shepherds of Christ and available through the Internet. For your information the church’s position on private revelation is that we do not have to believe it but it will be condemned if it contradicts church doctrine. Before publication this book was read by a Jesuit priest, Father Ed Carter, who found nothing that contradicts the Catholic faith. In it are letters from Jesus to the faithful given to Rita Ring. I’ve read all the letters and have not found anything that contradicted what I know about the Catholic faith. I have found a lot that has also been written in other books written about the Eucharist. These books were written by priests and famous Catholic writers and theologians. The major difference is that this book claims to be the words of Christ.
What does He say? Over and over again He talks about how much He loves us. He loves us so much He suffered the Passion. That wasn’t enough for Him. He loved us so much He wanted to be physically available to us in the Eucharist and in the Tabernacle. He is really present in the Eucharist and waits longing for us to come to receive Him and be with Him. He longs to pour graces upon our souls. He longs for us to sit with Him and spend time with Him. He longs for us to come to Him with our problems. In the book He practically begs people to come to Him. He has all we really need and He longs to bless us.
The time after receiving is such a special time. He wants us to focus on Him, to be alone with Him, putting aside all the distractions and spend the time with Him. Bring Him all our needs and just be silent. Tell Him that we love Him. Pray for the people we love. We can tell Him any and every thing we want. We can give Him all our worries, put them in His hands and trust Him to do what is best. Be with Him. Focus on Him and our relationship with Him. We don’t have to talk the whole time just be with Him.
It is such a powerful time that I wonder about even the practice of parishes that say the daily rosary or Divine Mercy Chaplet right after weekday mass. On the one hand what more powerful time could there be to say the Divine Mercy Chaplet and ask the Father to have mercy on the world. You have Jesus Himself praying with you. Jesus Himself recommended the prayer. Could there be a more powerful time to say the Rosary for life or for the conversion of sinners?
The best I can figure is to try to be more aware of His presence at that time. Either wait a few minutes longer to begin or be more reverent and prayerful as you assemble. Save the socializing for after you finish. I know in many parishes you can’t wait because people have to leave for work.
I think we all have to try to be more aware of His presence inside us and stay whenever it is possible. If possible stay in the church. But even if we have to leave we can stay in prayer as much as possible while we drive. I know several times I left after communion in order to get to the intensive care unit on time to visit my mom. I continued to pray as I drove. I also know several Catholic school teachers who at times had to leave right after Communion to get to work on time. You do the best that you can. I remember an old priest Father Frank who often began mass with the statement that God is pleased that you made the sacrifice to be there. He is pleased as long as we try to be with Him as long as we can.

Lord, I thank You for your love. I thank You that You love me so much to make Yourself available to me in the Eucharist. Help me to respond to Your love and stay with You in Communion as long as I can. Help me to always remember Your presence and be as reverent as possible. Amen

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Our Answer to the World

Did you hear it this weekend at mass in the first reading Acts 5:29, Peter’s answer to all those in the modern world who want the Church to change to be more in tune with the times. “We must obey God rather than men.” Can it be any clearer?
Our purpose is to please God not ourselves. The Church is supposed to obey the Holy Spirit not the laws of misguided governments, current fads or the demands of a society that has forgotten God. It doesn’t matter what society demands only God’s will.
As a society we have forgotten Heaven and Hell. Too many think this is all there is to life, what we have here. They want to create heaven on earth but instead by making greed a virtue and promoting selfishness they have created a living hell. Take a good look at society. Is it really any better? Poverty, crime, abuse, murder, drugs, broken families, child abandonment, abortion, war, terrorism and prejudice still run rampant in our society. All of this can be connected to our failure to follow God.
We argue over God control, we talk about Newtown, Connecticut. But will these things change if we continue to ignore God. Will things not just get worse?
A presidential candidate once asked whether we were better off than we were 4 years ago. My question is whether our society is better off than we were 50 years ago when we started to kick God out of society by making public prayer in schools illegal?
No matter what laws the government passes, no matter what people demonstrate for or demand one thing will not change. Heaven and Hell still exist. When we die we will face God and all of the societal laws and demands won’t matter only His laws and His mercy. We need to remember that.
We should be happy that we are part of a Church that remains true to God’s laws, a church that cares more about whether we get to heaven rather than society’s laws, a Church willing to be persecuted for the truth. We need to support our Church with our prayers, opinions and votes.
If things continue as they are we will be persecuted but remember Acts 5:41 the apostles rejoiced because they had been counted worthy of persecution. Will you be worthy?

Here I Am

There’s a worship song I heard on Christian radio by either Chris Tomlins or Third Day, Here I Am To Worship. I can’t get the lyrics out of my head but I don’t even know the whole song just the chorus I think. It goes like this “Here I am to worship, Here I am to bow down, Here I am to say that You’re my God. You’re altogether lovely, altogether worthy, altogether wonderful to me. I’ll never know how much it cost to see my sins upon that cross…”
That’s all I remember but I find the words running through my mind so often. There are times I wake up with the lyrics running through my mind. Often the words run through my mind as I walk into Church or up the aisle to communion. There are times I sing it interiorly during adoration. As I think about it what an awesome song to use to place yourself in the presence of the Lord, just to stop and say here I am, Lord throughout the day just for a few minutes to connect with Jesus.
The words,” here I am” are so powerful in prayer that I find myself using them so often. They have been part of our faith for so long. I believe it was Isaiah who responded to the question of the Lord who will I send, here I am, send me. Both Moses and Abraham are recorded in scripture as saying to God here I am. There are so many different contexts we can pray these three simple words.
Here I am Lord, before You in the Tabernacle to be with You. Here I am in my brokenness with all my weaknesses and sins but I’m here. I’ve come to be with You, to worship You, to comfort You, to console You. I may not be much. I may only be a broken sinner but here I am.
In the Garden You were so alone. You saw before You all the sins of mankind. You saw the indifference of mankind so caught up in the things of the world so busy. You saw the billions who would ignore You and reject Your love. This agony was so terrible that you sweat blood. Nobody cared to console or comfort You. I wasn’t there. I couldn’t be there but here I am now, reaching across time. I long to comfort You, to reach out to You. I don’t know what else to say but here I am, I love You, thank You.
You are so alone. The church is empty. Everyone is gone. How sad and lonely for You but here I am. Here I am to be with You, just to be with You and to love You.
My life is a mess. I’m confused. I don’t know what to do or even how to pray. I don’t even know what to pray for but here I am to be with You. Here I am with my confusion, with my doubts, with my fears, with my worries, and with my problems. Here I am in Your presence. Here I am seeking Your help, Your mercy, Your guidance and love. Here I am, Lord. I need You!
The world is such a mess. There is so much hatred and violence and sin. You are asking for people to be Your hands and feet. You are asking for people to tell others of Your love and mercy. You are asking who will bring Your love to the hurting around us, who will reach out to the lost, here I am.
You are asking for people of prayer. You are asking people to pray for the conversion of sinners, to pray for revival, to pray for vocations. Here I am.

Here I am. I need You. Here I am. I long to know and do Your will. Here I am. I long to serve You. Here I am. I long to be with You. Here I am. I want to spend time with You. Here I am, I long to comfort and console You. Here I am to adore You. Here I am to love You. Here I am to praise You. Here I am to thank You. “Here I am to worship, here I am to bow down, here I am to say that You’re my God…”

Time To Wake Up

It is a disappointment that so many Catholics defended the Health Care Mandate and supported the president’s re-election bid. In letter after letter to the editor, I read how I’m a life long Catholic and I agree with the government. Do these “Catholics” not understand that this is only one step in destroying the Church’s influence in American life? We need to wake up and recognize that we are in danger of losing our Church unless we take a stand.
There is no doubt about it. The Catholic Church is under attack. We’ve been called bigots, repressive, superstitious, stuck in the Middle Ages, an anachronism and these are some of the nicer things said about the institutional Church. Why? We refuse to abandon the teachings of God as expressed in the Bible and the teachings of the Church. We will not change or amend the Ten Commandments. We will not cave into their demands we provide contraceptives. We will not abandon the thirty five hundred year old prohibition of homosexuality. We will not say that abortion is acceptable and we will not as a Church, go away and shut up which is what many in Society would prefer. It is funny that we heard none of these things when we stood up against the Arms Race, Reagan’s Central America policy or the invasion of Iraq. Then what we said was relevant.
We are accepted as long as we keep our mouths shut and abandon our sacred principles. We can claim to be personally opposed to abortion but refuse to take away a women’s right to choose to kill her baby. We can be accepted if we ignore the spreading of immorality and the destruction of the family. We can be accepted if we abandon our religious values.
This is the reality in America. The Catholic Church is the favorite target of those seeking to move America into a future free of morality. We are the largest institution in their way. Unfortunately in what is called the Culture War, too many Catholics stay home. We choose not to be involved, not even bothering to pray for the conversion of this country, not bothering to learn what is going on so we could vote wisely.
This is dangerous. Unfortunately, too many of us are ignorant about Church history. We are sliding towards a future where the Church is persecuted in America. We may think it could never happen here but it happened in Mexico in the 1920’s and 30’s. The government tried to oppress the Catholic Faith and priests were shot by firing squads. A similar story happened in Spain in the 1930’s. The democratically elected government executed priests and nuns for their faith. The people didn’t see this coming. These were Catholic countries but the Church refused to abandon the faith.
We think it could never happen here but it did happen in England under Queen Elizabeth I. The Catholic Faith was illegal. Any Catholic priest found in England was executed by drawing and quartering in public, an extremely painful way to die. A murderer would be hanged but Catholic priests were drawn and quartered. Any Catholic lay person caught assisting a priest would be put to death by hanging. During Elizabeth’s reign one hundred and seventy Catholics were executed.
The Catholic Church had to exist underground in England. Most Catholics had to go without the Sacraments. Do we want that to happen here? Do we want to discover that our churches are closed because of prosecution of priests for their sermons? It is possible. In Canada priests and ministers can be prosecuted for preaching against homosexuality. Do we want churches closed because the government requires all Churches to perform gay marriages? Do we want Catholic schools closed because the government mandates the teaching of immorality in the curriculum? Do we want Catholic Charities forced to close because we will not permit children to be adopted by gay couples? Should all our schools, hospitals and nursing homes be closed because of the Health Care Mandate?
This is the direction our country is headed right now. Maybe Catholics won’t be executed but do we want to see our churches closed and our voices silenced. It is time to wake up and take things seriously. Don’t leave things for someone else. All of us need to be willing to take a stand and fight back. All of us need to be seriously praying for the conversion of our country.

Set Me On Fire

                                                Set Me on Fire

 

            The last day of the Divine Mercy Novena was a prayer for the lukewarm.  We need to think about this.  Are we lukewarm? There is a quote in Revelations 3:16 that I find disturbing; “So, then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spit you out of My mouth”.  We are supposed to be on fire for the Lord.  He is supposed to be the center of our lives.  We are supposed to point to the Lord at every opportunity.  We should be so on fire that certain people avoid us because they don’t want to hear about Him again.  Are we on fire?  Or are we going through the motions of being a Christian?

            Do we look forward to going to mass because we get to receive Jesus or because of the people we’ll see?  Do we think only four hours before we get to receive communion?  Are we happy we get to go to mass or are our attitudes we have to go to church?  Do we go to church because of the Third Commandment or because we want to?

            Do we feel we have to go to mass everyday, we just can’t miss it?  Not because of what God would think but because we depend on and need that time with God in communion?  Are we tempted to cut lines when it is time to receive?  Do we find it disturbing to stay away, so disturbing even snow storms can’t keep us away?  If this sounds strange to you then you don’t really know what it means to be on fire, to need the Lord so much, to love the Lord so much you can’t stay away.  But this is only the beginning of being on fire?

            We go to church to mass to receive the Eucharist to be filled with Jesus, to be filled with His love.  Once we are filled we need to take His love to others and bring them to Him.  We need to seek opportunities to talk about Jesus’ love and bring people to Him.  We need to teach our children about God’s love and bring them to Christ.  We need to talk to the sick and teach them about the love of God for them that is present in the Eucharist.

            If you read the New Testament that is how it was for the first Christians.  They couldn’t stay away from mass.  They couldn’t stay away from the love of Jesus present in the Eucharist.  If they were caught they could be killed but they couldn’t stay away from the Eucharist.  They knew the power of the love that was present, a love so great they risked their lives to receive it.

            They were so in love with Jesus and so open to His love in the Eucharist they experienced miracles.  They believed that He loved them despite their sins and that He had gone to prepare a place for them so glorious they were willing to die for Him.  Do we have that kind of love?

            What about us?  We can drive right up to mass and at most we might face a little discrimination but that isn’t really common anymore.  The worse we face is usually ignorance of what the Church teaches, often in our own pews as much as outside of church.  We find people may disagree with our positions on abortion and gay marriage but it usually isn’t the Christians who disagree.

             Think about all those people who disagree?  Have you ever talked to them?  Not about abortion or gay rights but about the fact that Jesus loves them and is waiting in the Tabernacle to pour His love on them.  Forget the issues that divide us just get people to Church to sit in front of Jesus so that He can touch their hearts.  Teach about Jesus’ love, how much He loves them, that He died for them and would have gone through the whole Passion just for them if it was necessary because He wants to save them from their sins, He wants to pour His love on them and bless them.  Just get them to sit in front of the Tabernacle and open themselves up to the love of the Lord and He will perform spiritual miracles.  If they open themselves up to His love they will be amazed at the changes.  You may not see it right away but He will work wonders. 

            The more you get people to sit in silence with Him the more He will do.  Pray for them to be open to all of the graces that He wants to pour out upon them.  Pray for Him to pour His love out upon them.  Pray for them to have the patience to just sit there and allow Jesus to touch their hearts.  Lay hands on them if you can.  Sit with them if necessary but get them to Jesus.

            We live in a lost world.  More and more people are getting lost.  Jesus wants us to be on fire and bring people to Him.  Tell them of His burning love for them and bring them to Him in the Eucharist.  You don’t have to be Catholic or in the state of grace to adore Jesus in the Eucharist, just to receive Him.  If you get a non Catholic or someone else to sit with Him, slowly maybe but definitely He will do the rest.  The power that created the Universe sits waiting for people to come to Him in the Tabernacle.  He is the answer to all of our problems if we open ourselves to His love.

 

            Lord, I have been lukewarm for too long.  Set me on fire.  I want to burn for You.  I want to bring people to You.  Please give me the graces I need to bring others to You in the Eucharist.  Give me the courage, the words and the opportunity to lead people to You.  Amen

Prayer For An Expectant Faith

Lord Jesus, my faith is so weak. I come to you today asking for the gift of an expectant faith so I may believe in your great mercy and love. I know You are the same, yesterday, today and forever. I know that You healed all who came to You when You were alive. So I also know that You still heal people today.
I thank You for the many ways You personally touch and heal us. I thank You for the healing provided in the sacraments especially the Blessed Sacrament, the Eucharist. I know in my head that You are present in the Eucharist. I ask today for the gift of heart knowledge of Your loving presence in the Eucharist. You are there waiting for me every day to come and receive You in faith. You long for me to come to You and bring my needs and problems to You. All of the power that fed the 5000, that healed the paralytic and created the universe is there waiting for me. I know this in my head but not my heart. I beg You to touch my heart, strengthen my faith. Help me to believe and understand that Your love for me is beyond my imagination, that You want what is best for me. That Your mercy is beyond comprehension. It doesn’t matter that I’m not worthy, that I am a sinner. You love me as I am. You created me out of love and died to pay for my sins. My sins are forgiven as soon as I confessed them. Help me to understand that it isn’t my worthiness that matters but Your awesome love and mercy. This is so beyond my understanding that I need your grace to believe and to accept your love.
I block your power in so many ways. I feel unworthy, or fail to confess my sins especially my pride. Too often I am too proud to come to You for help. I foolishly try to handle things on my own. I block Your power with my resentments and unforgiveness. I forget that I am to forgive others as You have forgiven me. I don’t focus on You and the prayers of the mass but on who’s there, what they’re wearing or who didn’t say hello. I do everything but adore and worship You.
Too often I limit Your power with my lack of belief. I put You in a box of God doesn’t … and forget that the hand and power that holds the universe together is present in the Eucharist. I forget that You love me more than I love my children, parents or spouse. I need Your grace, Lord, to put aside all the distractions and focus on You and Your awesome, incredible, inconceivable, incomprehensible love for me. I need Your grace to believe in the awesome power You provide in the Eucharist. I need Your grace to believe that You care about every aspect of my life.. I need Your grace to repent and put aside the pride that keeps me from coming to You in humility. I need Your grace to trust in You. I need Your grace to forgive others as You have forgiven me and leave behind all my resentments and unforgiveness. I can’t do these things on our own. I am too weak so I come to you and trust in Your mercy. I know that with You all things are possible. I ask these things in Your holy name, Jesus Amen.

Why Are We Staying Home From Mass

More than half of all Catholics stay home from Sunday mass. To make it even worse many ex Catholics attend services in a Protestant church. One has to ask whether we really understand the Mass at all.
Millions flock to be in the same places that famous people have been. Men walk in reverence through the halls of West Point because Robert E. Lee, General s Grant, Custer, Mac Arthur and Eisenhower walked there. Hundreds of thousands have flocked to Independence Hall where Jefferson, Hancock, Washington and Franklin once worked. How many have gone to Yankee Stadium, Fenway Park or Wrigley Field to see where greats like Babe Ruth, Ted Williams and Ernie Banks played? How many have gone to Hollywood or to Rome to tread where the great have walked?
We do these things because we want to connect with greatness, to feel we have a connection with someone we have admired greatly. We travel great distances and spend a great deal on money to be in the same spot as Frank Sinatra, Elvis or some other star once stood. We can go to Gettysburg and look out and think that Robert E. Lee once looked at these same hills.
Each Sunday, and often each day we have the opportunity to stand where St. Francis and St. Patrick once stood, before Jesus Christ in the Eucharist, the same Jesus Christ who John and Mary stood before at the Cross. In some mystical way beyond our capacity to explain we stand with Mary before Jesus on Calvary. We are joined by all those who ever worshiped Christ at mass.
We join in with St. Mary Magdalene, St. Monica, St. Benedict, St. George, Padre Pio, Frances Cabrini, Elizabeth Seton, Maximilian Kolbe, Mother Teresa and John Paul II as they worship Jesus in heaven. Every time at mass we say the Sanctus, the Holy, Holy, Holy we joined them in heaven as they worship the God of all Creation.
As we say the prayers of the mass we repeat in modern English the same words that all the saints used to worship God. We perform many of the same actions as the greats of the Church performed. Our mass is the same mass instituted by Jesus at the Last Supper. The prayers of the Consecration come from the New Testament accounts of the Last Supper. Our mass goes back to Jesus. Why would we want to attend any other Sunday service?
We should be in awe of what happens at mass. We stand with all those over the course of 2000 years who have worshipped God in the Mass. We receive the same Jesus who died on the Cross. We receive the same body and blood as the Apostles did at the Last Supper. We receive the same Jesus, Mary received in Communion. We receive the same Lord as any of our favorite saints. We not only get to stand where they stood but we get to touch and be touched by the same Jesus they touched.
At West Point they talk about the long grey line of cadets who went through there. Some how each cadet carries on the mission of those who went before. We too stand as part of a longer line of billions going back 2000 years to Mary, the first disciple. We share in the same tradition and mission. We are part of something greater than anything on earth. We not only connect with human greatness, we touch the Divine.