Monday, October 25, 2004

Eucharist and Mission

Today is World Mission Sunday. Let us reflect on the importance of living out our baptismal call as Christians to bring the Good News to ALL peoples. Here are some inspiring words from our Holy Father, a man who has answered this call like no other:

"The bread and wine, fruit of human hands, transformed through the power of the Holy Spirit into the Body and Blood of Christ, become a pledge of the 'new heaven and new earth' (Rev 21,1), announced by the Church in her daily mission. In Christ, whom we adore present in the mystery of the Eucharist, the Father uttered his final word with regard to humanity and human history.

How could the Church fulfil her vocation without cultivating a constant relationship with the Eucharist, without nourishing herself with this food which sanctifies, without founding her missionary activity on this indispensable support? To evangelise the world there is need of apostles who are 'experts' in the celebration, adoration and contemplation of the Eucharist.

Journeying through the centuries, reliving every day the Sacrifice of the altar, the Church, the People of God, awaits Christ’s coming in glory. This is proclaimed after the consecration by the Eucharistic assembly gathered around the altar. Time after time with renewed faith the Church repeats her desire for the final encounter with the One who comes to bring his plan of universal salvation to completion.

The Holy Spirit with invisible but powerful working, guides the Christian people on this daily spiritual itinerary on which they inevitably encounter difficulties and experience the mystery of the Cross. The Eucharist is the comfort and the pledge of final triumph for those who fight evil and sin; it is the "bread of life" which sustains those who, in turn, become "bread broken" for others, paying at times even with martyrdom their fidelity to the Gospel."

Consider what is meant by the text in bold. We must remind ourselves that the Day of Satisfaction is not yet come. Our lives are to be spent in pursuit of that which the eyes cannot see. We must have faith that the Eucharist is indeed Christ and our labors are indeed bearing fruit in the lives of others. We are not allowed the privelege of knowing all things or knowing what will happen next or knowing why; that is God's task. Our mission is to serve the Lord, to accept the Cross, to live with FAITH, HOPE & LOVE!

When we share our faith with others, when we trust in hope, and when we truly love another, we ARE spreading the Good News! That is what is meant by Good News: we can have faith that no difficulty happens without a reason, we can hope that a better world is our destiny, and we can love unconditionally because that's how the Lord loves us.

It is our mission and destiny to be FREE. When we free ourselves from demands/expectations, trivial pursuits, fruitless desires, we are better able to serve. When we turn our eyes towards the needs of others, the pursuit of the common good, and the will of God, we will find true liberation. We need to relinquish control and trust that God has it all covered. I find the following prayer tremendously helpful in this effort to let go and let God. It is often mistakenly attributed to Oscar Romero, in spite of the fact that Cardinal Dearden spoke the words in a homily for deceased priests. But the words were actually drafted for Dearden by the late Bishop Kenneth Untener of Saginaw:

It helps, now and then, to step back and take
the long view.

The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts,
it is even beyond our vision.

We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction
of the magnificent enterprise that is God's work.
Nothing we do is complete, which is a way of saying
that the kingdom always lies beyond us.
No statement says all that could be said.
No prayer fully expresses our faith.
No confession brings perfection.
No pastoral visit brings wholeness.
No program accomplishes the church's mission.
No set of goals and objectives includes everything.

This is what we are about.
We plant the seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise.

We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces far beyond our capabilities.

We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation
in realizing that. This enables us to do something,
and to do it very well. It may be incomplete,
but it is a beginning, a step along the way,
an opportunity for the Lord's grace to enter and do the rest.

We may never see the end results, but that is the difference
between the master builder and the worker.

We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs.
We are prophets of a future not our own.
Amen.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Vivete!

Welcome to our friends in Christ- and all those called to "slip the surly bonds of earth!"
If you like the view from here, consider romping over to CatholicLand, where you can revel in the Joy of being Catholic. Until then, thank you for being with us in prayer and comraderie. Feel free to offer your own thoughts on the troubled world in which we live and the joys and hope you may have received from the Holy Spirit.

May God bless you with every good thing~
Seth

Meditate on the Theotokos, who brings Christ forth into the world


Meditate on the Theotokos, who brings Christ forth into the world. Posted by Hello

"Whoever does the will of God..."

His mother and his brothers arrived. Standing outside they sent word to him and called him. A crowd seated around him told him, "Your mother and your brothers [and your sisters] are outside asking for you." But he said to them in reply, "Who are my mother and [my] brothers?" And looking around at those seated in the circle he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers. [For] whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother." Mk 3:31-35.

I think that part of the meaning of this passage is often missed. What is missed, I believe, is that this passage is profoundly marian in character. Some miss this meaning so far that this passage to them is actually seen as an indication that Mary the Mother of Jesus did not do the will of God, that she was a sinner. St. Luke, however, makes it abundantly clear that this is not true.

In this passage, Our Lord, upon discovering that his family is calling for him, uses these circumstances as an opportunity to teach his followers who they are and can further become--insofar as they do the will of God. It is here that the passage is found to be related to Mary.

"Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother."

We know that through our faith in Christ we become sons and daughters of God, together with The Son of God. As we are conformed to the Son who is such by nature, we become such--we are adopted. And as adopted children of the Father, we are the brothers and sisters of Jesus. What is not so well known is that through our faith in Christ we become, in a sense, his mother. This is what our Lord seems to allude to here. In a sense, then, we become conformed to the Blessed Virgin Mary. We become chosen, as she uniquely was, to bear and give birth to Jesus Christ in the world.

How are we to respond to this knowledge? First of all we are to praise God because of the glory he has seen fit make known through us, because he has given us a portion of, in a sense, the same gift, the same honor, that he has given to the Most Holy Mary of Nazareth. Secondly, we are to ask the Lord (persistently) for the grace of growing in this identity of divine "motherhood." Thirdly, we should strive to be like Mary, making our lives pure obediance to God. We should say together with her, "Let it be done unto me according to your word." We should take delight in, and take every opportunity to, "ponder"(Luke 2:19 and again throughout the Gospel) in our hearts the mysteries of Our Lord's life, especially, though not exclusively, through the Rosary.

All this can be summed up in doing God's will, as the passage in Mark puts it. How do we do this, even more concretely than explained above?
We do this by doing the same works that we must do to become sons and daughters of God, the first of which is given to us by Christ in the sixth chapter of John's Gospel: "This is the work of God, that you believe in the one he sent." Flowing from this are the works of the commandments and all precepts which are contained within them, the commandments of God which are truly fulfilled when they are done out of love for God and neighbor. Do not lie, do not steal nor desire the possesions of others. Do not commit fornication or adultery, do not lust in your heart, nor murder, nor hate another human being. Honor and obey you mother and father, and obey all rightful authority. Love your enemies and pray for them. Observe the day of rest and worship that God has established for our good. Fear the Lord and above all obey him in all things. Persevere in prayer, and seek the Kingdom before all earthly things.

We already know these commands, but it is always helpful to bring them to mind again (and again). It is helpful to be reminded that it is promised that if we do these things, our light will shine out in the darkness--and in a true sense, we will give birth to the Lord Jesus Christ in the world, whereby his dominion over it will be completed until he comes again in glory to establish his kingdom where God will reign with mercy and justice forever.

Pax Christi.


Our life is to be the life of the Risen Christ. Let us take hold of this by faith in him. Posted by Hello

Friday, October 22, 2004

Vivere Christus est!

Greetings, brothers and sisters in Christ! Welcome to Vivere Christus est. The purpose of this weblog is to help support people trying to live their lives in Christ in today's very troubled world. I hope that my posts and your responses will serve that purpose well. I hope that they will contribute to the building up of the Church by promoting the unity in love that is and is to be ours in Christ Jesus.
I feel like these hopes are tall hopes to have--I think this in particular because of my personal estimation of my own weaknesses--but I also think that Our Lord calls us to have the virtue of magnanimity. If to live is Christ, then let us be unafraid to do great things for him, or, as Blessed Theresa of Calcutta (Mother Theresa) said, to do "small things with great love." We know that we have his help in all that we do according to his will.

May the Lord God give us the grace to live in Christ and do all things for Christ. May he plant in our hearts such a desire for the fullness that he promises to us, that we may come to believe with St. Paul that, in fact, "death is gain."

Welcome, again, to Vivere Christus est.

God's Peace.
- Mark John