Christ should be manifest in our whole life: how to achieve Christian perfection

As I sit here on the shores of Lake Atitlan this morning, the Office of Readings this morning had provided another gem to chew on and mull over.

From a treatise on Christian Perfection by Saint Gregory of Nyssa, bishop

(PG 46, 283-286)

Christ should be manifest in our whole life

“The life of the Christian has three distinguishing aspects: deeds, words and thought. Thought comes first, then words, since our words express openly the interior conclusions of the mind. Finally, after thoughts and words, comes action, for our deeds carry out what the mind has conceived. So when one of these results in our acting or speaking or thinking, we must make sure that all our thoughts, words and deeds are controlled by the divine ideal, the revelation of Christ. For then our thoughts, words and deeds will not fall short of the nobility of their implications.

What then must we do, we who have been found worthy of the name of Christ? Each of us must examine his thoughts, words and deeds, to see whether they are directed toward Christ or are turned away from him. This examination is carried out in various ways. Our deeds or our thoughts or our words are not in harmony with Christ if they issue from passion. They then bear the mark of the enemy who smears the pearl of the heart with the slime of passion, dimming and even destroying the luster of the precious stone.

On the other hand, if they are free from and untainted by every passionate inclination, they are directed toward Christ, the author and source of peace. He is like a pure, untainted stream. If you draw from him the thoughts in your mind and the inclinations of your heart, you will show a likeness to Christ, your source and origin, as the gleaming water in a jar resembles the flowing water from which it was obtained.

For the purity of Christ and the purity that is manifest in our hearts are identical. Christ’s purity, however, is the fountainhead; ours has its source in him and flows out of him. Our life is stamped with the beauty of his thought. The inner and the outer man are harmonized in a kind of music. The mind of Christ is the controlling influence that inspires us to moderation and goodness in our behavior. As I see it, Christian perfection consists in this: sharing the titles which express the meaning of Christ’s name, we bring out this meaning in our minds, our prayers and our way of life.”

Some questions for reflection:

Does my life bear witness to the marks of our Savior, crucified?

Does my life lead others to Christ through my thought, word, deed, and action?

“Our lives are stamped with his thought” we’re created in the very image of the living God. Do our lives reflect the beauty and love of our creator?

“The inner and outer man are harmonized in a kind of music.” Are we healthy? Do we know ourselves? Who we are before God? Who we are before our brothers and sisters? Does our inner life and outer life live in harmony, reflecting the beautiful work of His hands that we are?

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How Make a Wish and a Bishop helped an 11 year old boy be a “priest for a day.”

Brett Haubrich and Archbishop Carlson

Brett Haubrich and Archbishop Carlson

Reposted from: http://stlouisreview.com/article/2015-04-02/priest-day-wish-came

Make-A-Wish requests often involve meeting athletes, attending sporting events or traveling to amusement parks or beaches.

When it came time for 11-year-old Brett Haubrich of south St. Louis County to make his wish, he not only listed none of those things but had no request at all.

“He didn’t want anything,” explained his mother, Eileen. “They had to keep asking him, ‘What would you like to do? Do you want to meet anybody? What do you want to be when you grow up?'”

The answer to the last question became part of his wish — what Make-A-Wish calls “wish enhancement” to complement the main wish. The sixth-grader at St. Mark School wants to be a priest, a doctor or an engineer, in that order.

Priest was No. 1

“I said, ‘I really want to be a priest,'” he said.

So, on Holy Thursday, at the invitation of Archbishop Robert J. Carlson, Brett took his place beside the altar at Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis as “Priest For a Day.”

Brett served not one but two Masses — the Chrism Mass and the evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper — and held the book for Archbishop Carlson for prayers after the homilies. At the evening Mass, he was with 11 seminarians having their feet washed by Archbishop Carlson, and his parents brought up the gifts of bread and wine.

He also joined Archbishop Carlson for two meals; a luncheon with archdiocesan priests and deacons after the Chrism Mass and a dinner with seminarians at the archbishop’s residence before the evening Mass.

Best of all, he wore a collar provided by a seminarian from Kenrick-Glennon.

As for his favorite part of the entire day, Brett was unequivocal in his answer.

“The whole thing,” he said as he waited for his dad, Conrad, near the Cathedral Basilica sanctuary with his mom and older sister Olivia after the Chrism Mass. “It was really neat for them to let me do this stuff.”

And cool, too — a term he used often in describing the day.

“Just a really cool experience,” he said.

His actual wish is cool, too.

“Eating mangoes on a beach,” his mother said.

That trip will come later. His interim “priest-for-a-day” request didn’t surprise his family.

“For years, he has loved the Mass and been religious,” said Eileen Haubrich, a graduate of Notre Dame High School. “He has such a good heart. He’s a very caring boy.”

The second of Eileen and Conrad’s four children and oldest of two sons, Brett has served at his school church and at his parish, St. Martin of Tours, which is visible from the back door of his house only a short walk away.

He digs the smell of incense burning in the thurible, enjoys confession and likes “communion, and the songs, too.”

Communion — the Eucharist, the living presence of Jesus Christ — stands out.

“I like receiving the Body and the Blood,” he said, simply

Brett and his family told several priests about his request, and they offered several options – like shadowing one, spending the night at a rectory with his dad or serving a Saturday morning Mass at the New Cathedral.

The latter request was made of Father Nick Smith, the Master of Ceremonies at the Cathedral Basilica. His initial response was “no way,” followed quickly by “we can do way better than that.”

Sure enough, they did.

“I said, ‘Why don’t we have him come down for Holy Thursday? He can serve the Chrism Mass — it’s a Mass for priests — and that night mass is always about the Eucharist,'” Father Smith said, repeating the two main aspects of the Masses that fit Brett. “Priests and Eucharist.”

Archbishop Carlson also played a big role. During the initial phone call about Brett’s request, he actually was with Father Smith in the Cathedral sacristy getting ready for his Lenten reflection

“It just so happened he was standing right next to me,” said Father Smith, who described Archbishop Carlson as “very excited. He was throwing out ideas right and left, ‘Let’s do this, let’s do that.'”

Archbishop Carlson came up with ideas of the seminarians dinner and of the foot washing.

“He said, ‘Put him in there; we’ll wash his foot,'” Father Smith said, with a laugh. “Before you knew it, it turned into a whole day.”

Father Smith prepared an itinerary and delivered it in person along with a letter signed by Archbishop Carlson asking for Brett’s help at the Masses.

“I handed it to him, and when he got to the first line, ‘I’m making you a priest for a day,’ his eyes got as big as half-dollars,” Father Smith said.

Brett admitted to being a little nervous heading into Holy Thursday, but the events went off like clockwork. Wearing the collar, Brett processed down the center aisle at the New Cathedral with priests, deacons and seminarians at the Chrism Mass — at which Archbishop Carlson blessed the oils to be used throughout the archdiocese for sacraments for the next year — and took his spot near the altar.

He performed flawlessly.

“He did pretty well,” Archbishop Carlson said.

See more photos from his adventure here: http://stlouisreview.photoshelter.com/embed?type=slideshow&G_ID=G0000NHpmvWiCF1w#!/slideshow/I0000LbhITXvu2SI/null 

Pretty cool eh?!? What can you do to inspire vocations and help instill a love of the Mass, Liturgy, Christ, and his church in our youth? How can we help others to join us in walking this Way of Beauty even closer?

Wine to gladden their hearts… a reminder on New Year’s Eve

alcohol

As we approach New Year’s Eve, it is important to remember a few things, especially when it deals with drinking.

Firstly tomorrow is a Holy Day of Obligation, go to Mass!

Secondly:

It is customary for people to go out and drink, be merry, eat, and visit with friends and families on New Years Eve. It’s part of our culture, nothing wrong with that. To go out and become drunk purposefully though is a sin. Psalms 104:15, states that “wine gladdens the heart.” Indeed it does. Alcohol like everything else God made is good. 1 Timothy 4:4 states: “For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected when received with thanksgiving.” Did you notice that stipulation? We can drink alcohol and enjoy it, but we are to do so with thanksgiving to God for the good of it.

Ephesians 5:18 states: “And do not get drunk on wine…” The Church teaches that the mind is one of the most important things. With the mind, we are able to exercise right judgement, choose right from wrong, and exercise our “gift from God” that is, our free will and conscience.

Thus, to purposefully go out and get drunk is sinful, in some instances it is mortal. If you are drinking and notice that, whew I think I had a little too much and you’re getting tipsy, stop. It is not a sin to misjudge what you thought you could drink. To actually drink with the intent of getting drunk though, is. Proverbs 20:1 states that “none of who are intoxicated by them (wine) are wise.”

To willingly lose control of our mind, to something meant as a good, means that it turns sinful. (Remember, there are stipulations to things? For instance sex is good, but going out and having sex with every person you meet is not.)

So, please if you are going to drink tonight, do so with full conscience and full control of your mind and actions. When you think you have had enough, you have had enough. Give glory to God for the good things he has bestowed upon you, be merry, but don’t be gluttonous or sinful.

Have a blessed New Year, be safe, and don’t forget to go to Mass!

O Rex Gentium!

O-King-300x248

O Rex Gentium, et desideratus earum,
lapisque angularis, qui facis utraque unum:
veni, et salva hominem,
quem de limo formasti.

O King of all the nations, the only joy of every human heart;
O Keystone of the mighty arch of man:
Come and save the creature you fashioned from the dust.

From the Lectionary Cycle:

Rex gentium et lapis angularis Ecclesiae:
veni et salva hominem quem de limo formasti.

O King of all nations and keystone of the Church:
come and save man, whom you formed from the dust!

From the Hymn:

Veni, Veni, Rex Gentium, Veni, Redemptor omnium,
ut salvas tuos famulos peccati sibi conscios.

O Come, Desire of the nations, bind
in one the hearts of all mankind;
bid every strife and quarrel cease
and fill the world with heaven’s peace.

Today the Church calls to mind O Rex Gentium, that is O King of the Gentiles. If you look at the other meanings for the word Gens, or gentis which is where Gentium comes from, it can also mean people, nation, or a tribe. When we call to mind Christ as King today, we can remember that upon his birth the wise men from the East, were questioned by Herod as to where this “King’ would be born, because he was scared of him. So Herod went out and had all of the newborn male children killed. Joseph having a dream of an angel, took Mary and Jesus and fled with them to Egypt, so that Jesus would be safe. This is called the Feast of the Holy Innocents and was an example of why we call Joseph, “The Family Protector”.

We call Christ, King, because he is not only our ruler, but also our creator. We ask him to come and re-make us. To cast away our sin and put us back on the wheel to make us into what he desires. We ask Christ to make us like him. As Augustine once said: “Our Hearts were made for thee Oh Lord, and they are restless until they rest in thee. This evening we call upon our King to refashion our hearts like unto his. We call upon our maker to make us his, to set us free from our slavery to sin, we ask him to come, O Great King of the Gentiles, Great King of the Nations, Great King of Israel, O Rex Gentium, come quickly and do not tarry!!

Scriptural References for O Rex Gentium:

Isaiah 2:411:10

Psalm 47:8; Jeremiah 10:7

Daniel 7:14;

Haggai 2:8

Romans 15:12

Ephesians 2:1420

 

Holy Thursday

Holy Thursday

From Vocation Boom: “Maybe not the holiest or most important day we commemorate during the liturgical year. But for priests and seminarians – really, for all of us – today is a day of unspeakable joy and glory. For the countless times your life has been touched by a priest, or for the innumerable times you’ve received the sacraments of the Eucharist and Reconciliation, this is our day to celebrate and rejoice. May you be given new eyes to see, and a new heart to appreciate, what our humble servant Lord has done for us. Where would you be without these incredible gifts?”

As a Seminarian, I agree wholeheartedly and am very excited this Holy Thursday. May I offer my thanks as well to those priests in my life who have made such an impact. Here is a link to my post last year on the Feast of St. John Vianney which lists them.

 

In His Mercy,

Corey

A Week without priests? Perfect!

NationalVocationAwarenessWeek

It always seems interesting to me, how in our Diocese of Owensboro, the Priests convocation always ends up falling during National Vocations Awareness week. During that time, almost all of our churches in the Diocese go without Mass for 4 days. They have no priests to celebrate Mass, as they are always on their annual Convocation with the Bishop. I don’t know if it was an accident for the Diocese to always coincide the Convocation with National Vocation Awareness Week, but I think that it works out perfectly!

Here the parishes are, left without Masses, left without priests for almost a week. And it is during National Vocation “AWARENESS” week. Are you getting what I’m hinting at? The people of God in Western Kentucky are getting a first-hand look at what our world will be like without priests. I love it! Not the fact that the people are left without priests, nor the fact that we don’t have enough nearby priests to provide subs for the pastors during the Convocation. But I love how National Vocations Week coincides with it. Because it really does send a wake-up-call! It really does raise awareness in my eyes as to why we need vocations, why we need vocations to the Priesthood. Why vocations matter. Just another reason why during National Vocations Week, we should be doing things to raise vocation awareness and encouraging men in thinking about the priesthood. When was the last time that you encouraged that young man serving Mass to think of the Priesthood? When was the last time that you told that young man that was interested in his Faith in CCD, that you think he’d make a great priest? When was the last time that you helped build Vocation Awareness?  I’ll close with a quote from St. John Vianney:

“Without the priest, the passion and death of our Lord would be of no avail. It is the priest who continues the work of redemption here on earth…What use would be a house filled with gold, were there no one to open its door? The priest holds the key to the treasures of heaven: it is he who opens the door: he is the steward of the good Lord; the administrator of His goods…Leave a parish for twenty years without a priest and they will end by worshiping the beasts there..The priest is not a priest for himself, he is a priest for you.”

Bringing Catholic Back

In light of recent things that have been happening in our Government and in our world, I think that it is indeed time as Catholics to step up, to stand out, and to bring our Catholic faith back. If we look out upon the world we live in we see, violence, drugs, and sexual immorality. And now in America we as Catholics see the Government supporting and enacting laws that are in favor of these things that are absolutely against our Moral Consciences, and our beliefs as members of Christ’s church on Earth. We see babies ripped from their mother’s womb, chopped into bits, and vacuumed up and out like trash. We see men and men or women and women instead of living healthy chaste centered lives engaging in acts that are un-conducive to life, union in the sense God intended Marriage to be, and many find that it is okay. We have teenagers and unwed couples, living together and having children. We find that drugs are easy to get ahold of by most youth, tv commercials encourage young girls to dress sexually inviting and to be attractive to the lusts of men’s eyes. How many of us would want a man looking at our daughter with ideas for sex, pleasure, lust? No we would want nothing but love and honor for her. But why then do we not speak up, when we let them out of the house to school, wearing that?

Why then do we not speak up when we see that TV ad, or see that billboard? In our country today it is easier than ever to get ahold of pornography and contraceptions then ever before. It has become socially acceptable. But it shouldn’t be. How many of us have blocks put up on our internet, on our computers, and networks for the protection of our children’s eyes? When was the last time that you spoke out against such alarming ideas? When was the last time that you gave your children a talk on morals, and why you weren’t just hating on their clothing style, or the ways their friends dressed? When was the last time, you took your children with you to stand in front of an abortion mill, or knelt together at home to pray for an end to abortion and euthanasia?

What then is out problem? How do we counter-act the damage that has and still is being done to out society?

We must start at home, and we must start with our Faith. We must bring our Catholic Faith back out into the Public Square, we must instill our values in our children, we must not send our children to Mass, we must take them to Mass with us. We must be the example and help our children in understanding. And if there is something we don’t understand about our Faith then we must strive to learn, so that we can share it with our children as well. The Home is the first school. It is the first learning environment. It is where our Catholic Faith takes root, and is passed on to our children, it is where the rules of society are formed, sponsored and shared.

We can and must take the blame for allowing our Society to become the way that it has, but we must also be willing to act immediately in recalling these so called societal norms and teach the world the dangers and errs of its ways. We must proclaim the Gospel in all aspects of our lives, following Francis of Assisi in preaching it at all times, and using words only if necessary. We must be heralds of the Gospel message firstly to our homes and families, then to our world.

The changing of the society starts at home, the ending of abortion, pornography, violence, and euthanasia all start at home. And our Catholic Faith is where we get the weapons and tools to wage war and be the change in our world. It is where we receive the strength to claim the world back for Christ. We must not be afraid to take a stand, we must not be afraid of what our friends will think, we must stand up for Christ, stand up for Morality, stand up for life, stand up for America.

We must Bring Catholic Back!