Father Phil Bloom
October 29, 2012
29th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Bottom line: Kateri drank deeply from the cup of Christ’s suffering and made herself the servant of others. It is a joy to say, “St. Kateri Tekakwitha, pray for us.”
Today in Rome Pope Benedict will canonize a new American saint – Kateri Tekakwitha. I have loved her since my years as pastor of St. Joachim’s on the Lummi Indian Reserveration. I would like to speak about St. Kateri in the context of today’s Scripture readings.
In the Gospel Jesus asks if we can drink from the cup that he will drink. The cup refers to his Passion – his suffering. We know this because the night before his terrible death, he prays, “Father, if it is possible let this cup pass from me. But not my will but thy will be done.”
Kateri Tekakwitha drank deeply from the cup of Christ’s suffering. When she was four years old, a small pox epidemic killed her parents and left her with damaged eyes and a severely scarred face. Her mother, an Algonquin Catholic, had taught little Kateri to pray, but now she came under the care of her uncle who disliked the new Christian religion.
When Kateri was a teenager, French missionaries (“black robes”) visit her village. In spite of her uncle’s antipathy, she offered them food and listened to them. She eventually requested baptism – an act that caused so much hostility that she fled to Canada.
At that village (Kahnawake) she lived what Jesus says today, “Whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all.” Kateri began attending to the sick and soon formed a band of Indian women to pray and care for the poor. According to her earlier biographers, she took on the most menial chores with joy.
In the winter of 1680 (when she was barely 24) Kateri became bedridden. Others kept visiting her to ask for prayers and counsel. One of the missionaries wrote, “they came away with sense of being warmed by a ‘sacred fire’ that radiated through her eyes, her gestures and the words she spoke.” On April 17, she died in the arms of her friend Marie-Therese Chaucetiere who reported her final words, “I will love you in heaven.”
After her death, people began going to her grave to pray. One of the missionaries noted that “cures became so frequent that we stopped recording them.” The miracles did not end in the seventeenth century. In 2006, a five-year-old boy named Jacob Finkbonner became infected with a flesh eating bacterium. Their priest, Fr. Timothy Sauer, suggested that they ask Kateri’s intercession. They placed a relic of Kateri on his pillow and that very day, Jake began what the doctors called a “stunning recovery.” The Church vigorously investigated this healing and accepted it as one of the miracles required for her canonization. Jake, now 11, is in Rome today.
Today’s second reading encourages us to “confidently approach the throne of grace.” St. Kateri Tekakwitha did that during her life and she continues to approach the throne of grace for us. Recognizing this woman who drank deeply from cup of suffering and who made herself the servant of all, it is a joy to say, St. Kateri Tekakwitha, pray for us. Amen.
Digest of Articles from Catholic Blogs and Websites
October 21, 2012
29th Sunday: Christian Service
The readings today are about service. The first reading is taken from the Fourth Servant Song from the second part of the Book of the Prophet Isaiah. This section of Isaiah, chapters 40 to 55, emphasizes God’s care and comfort for his people. The Servant of the first reading intercedes with God for the people, taking upon himself their wrong doings and accepting the punishment their sins incur. This was written over 500 years before Jesus, yet it prophesied Christ’s determination to accept the cross. Jesus is the one who stands before the Father for us, and before us for the Father. The Letter to the Hebrews notes that He Himself responded to the call from his Father to be a mediator or priest for the people. Today’s Gospel adds that those who wish to follow Christ must do so not by seeking power and glory, but by seeking service.
Prime Ministers? The Sons of Zebedee
The brothers John and James, the sons of Zebedee, had ambition. When they make their famous request for preferred seating In Mark’s gospel, Jesus takes the opportunity to give them a lesson on the nature of true greatness.
It was time to make their move. Usually it was Peter who took the initiative, but now it was their turn. The brothers cleared their throats and asked the master for the best seats in the house, the places of honor right next to the throne.
The Year of Faith: Recovering a Culture that is Genuinely Catholic
Standing like dust-covered artifacts of a by-gone age, the Catholic Churches of Europe see only a small portion of baptized Catholics on any given Sunday. A majority of married Catholics in the United States, and Europe, use contraception; many support a politically correct redefinition of marriage; and believe abortion is justified; in at least some circumstances. Any survey of Catholics reveals that a majority do not live in accord with, or simply do not know, their Catholic faith.
10 Practices for the Year of Faith
1. The Holy Father asks the Faithful to learn or review our Faith’s teachings. Though the Summa Theologica may be on the top of your personal list, consider reading the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Can’t remember to read it? Try this really awesome free application from Flocknote that will send you snippets daily and cover the entire catechism within the Year of Faith.
Was St. Peter the Greatest Disciple?
Was it St. Peter the greatest of Jesus’ original Twelve disciples?
St. Peter is certainly the most commonly mentioned of the original Twelve. He always stands at the head of the list whenever the names of the Twelve apostles are listed in the Bible. And he was clearly part of Jesus’ inner circle, even within the Twelve. He is, unquestionably, the most prominent of the Twelve.
How to Examine Six Areas of Your Life to Discover “What’s In Your Heart?”
The things that we do tell us who we are. You have heard the saying, “Actions speak louder than words.” We know this is very true.
There are many people who deliberately say one thing and do another. We refer to these people as hypocrites. They lie about who they are, intentionally, in order to gain something they desire.
On the “Beauty” of Dying
In the Gospel from this past Sunday the Lord spoke of us giving away all we had to come and follow him. TO many that sort of talk seems crazy and we wonder how we can ever do it. But in fact we WILL all do it, as we finally die to this world and have our only treasure in Heaven.
As a priest it has been my privilege to accompany many on their final journey as they prepare for death. Some have gone quickly, others have lingered for years in nursing homes. From a pure worldly perspective, death seems little less than a disaster and a cause for great sadness. But from a perspective of faith there is something “beautiful” going on.
Spirituality and Devotion to the Angels
If you are a family of six, you have within your household twelve persons created in the image and likeness of God. Why? This is because each human person has a guardian angel who is also a person. The angel is more like God’s being than a human being because being totally without matter; he is like the Godhead who is above and beyond materiality. We tend to forget that the universe was created by God to include purely spiritual beings who think and love, some of whom were created for the precise purpose to guard and watch over human beings. (Satan and devils are another subject matter.) A plenitude of spirits was created for their own sake without any other function than to praise, adore and love the Godhead himself. They are called the cherubim, seraphim and thrones. However, some of them may have a part in the mission of administering to human beings but not to the extent of the guardians.
68th miracle of Lourdes is officially recognized
A new miracle has been officially recognised at Lourdes.
The unexplained cure of Italian nun, Sister Luigina Traverso, has been officially declared a miracle by Mgr Alceste Catella, Bishop of Casale Monferrato in Italy, the diocese in which the Salesian Sister resides.
The case of a nun who started walking after being paralysed for years has become the 68th miracle to be recognised at the French shrine of Lourdes. The priest at Traverso’s diocese of Casale Monferrato officially recognised it as a miracle at a Mass Thursday, the Sanctuary authorities said.
The Rosary, “Luke on a chain”
During the month of October, we thank God for giving us the Most Holy Rosary through our Blessed Lady. Have you ever noticed that the Rosary is based more on the writings of St. Luke than on those of any other biblical author?
This is part of what makes the Rosary such a precious prayer – it is one of the best ways of meditating upon Sacred Scripture and is, thereby, a means of entering into truly contemplative prayer. Recognizing the scriptural roots of the Rosary, we might even call it “St. Luke on a chain”.
The Genius of the Women Saints
This Sunday, Pope Benedict XVI will canonize seven new saints. His honorees include four women, two of whom—Franciscan sister Marianne Cope and lay contemplative Kateri Tekakwitha—have American roots. Their canonizations follow just two weeks after Benedict named German mystic Hildegard of Bingen a Doctor of the Church, a high honor bestowed on only three women before her.
“Is it a rule that you have to give the sign of peace…?”
A reader writes:
I’m a recent convert with Asperger’s. I have a REAL problem with the touchy feely parts of the “ordinary” form, and I typically try very hard to go to the Tridentine for just that reason (ok, not just that one, I do love the Latin). On occasion I have no choice but to go to a different Mass. Is it the “rule” that you have to hold hands/give the sign of peace, or is it something that the pastor would call for? Needless to say, I haven’t had a whole lot of experience in this field, so I’m not really sure what to do in this case.
This raises an interesting subject. I’ve found a wide range of opinions about that moment in the Mass.
The Conscience of a Catholic
Does conscience trump creed? It’s clear that some Catholic politicians, mostly of the Left, think so. How else can they call themselves Catholic even as they actively campaign to promote abortion and same-sex “marriage”?
Deceptively named groups such as Catholics for Choice (CFC) extol the “primacy of conscience” with regard to abortion. (Conscience, in fact, is the name of the organization’s quarterly magazine.)
Frances Kissling, the former president of Catholics for a Free Choice (re-branded as CFC), has made the erroneous claim that:
Thoughts on a Visit to the Blessed Sacrament
Thank God for Catholics on campus – if it wasn’t for the Catholic chaplain and other Catholics at my university, I would feel sore alone sometimes.
Usually, in between classes, I pay a visit to the library and then hop on over to the local students’ pub on campus, where a pint of good local lager is on for a good price. Little did I know that Adoration also was happening on Mondays, and this time, I decided to pay a visit to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. These thoughts occurred to me:
Transubstantiation: 10 Questions on the Substance of the Holy Eucharist
Q. 878. How do we know that it is possible to change one substance into another?
A. We know that it is possible to change one substance into another, because:
God changed water into blood during the plagues of Egypt.
Christ changed water into wine at the marriage of Cana.
Our own food is daily changed into the substance of our flesh and blood; and what God does gradually, He can also do instantly by an act of His will.
A Quotable Guide to Attending Holy Mass
Perhaps I have too much time on my hands, though the Lord knows I don’t! But I nonetheless present to you, the reader, a quotable guide to the Mass. It goes through the major parts of the Mass, with advice from saints and others on how to be present for it. I have taken the liberty of quoting a few Protestant and Eastern Orthodox figures as well, where I thought their quotes were fitting. Without further ado:
Three Masks of the Culture of Death
In Evangelium Vitae (EV 28), Blessed John Paul II said, “we are facing an enormous and dramatic clash between good and evil, death and life, the ‘culture of death’ and the ‘culture of life.’” The culture of death is at work in liberal democracy, although its appearance is less harsh and less easy to notice than it was under communist or fascist regimes.
The politicians mask their commitment to death behind sophisticated phrases. But the culture of death leers at us daily: pornography and the degradation of sexuality, substance abuse, violence, broken families, children abused and abducted, and the growth of the abortion industry as it gobbles up lives, money, and the very future of our country.
What is a demon?
Q: Dear Father Fortea, can you explain what exactly is a demon? Do they have bodies? Where did they come from?
A: A demon is a spiritual being of an angelic nature that has been condemned for eternity due to his rebellion against God. As pure spirits, demons are not made up of matter. Because they do not have bodies, demons are not inclined to any “sins of the flesh” (i.e., it is impossible for them to commit the sins of lust or gluttony). The sins of demons are exclusively spiritual. But they can tempt human beings to sin in matters of the flesh.
It stopped me in my tracks.
The stamp had blipped through my awareness earlier this week when both Kathy Schiffer and our human news aggregator, Deacon Greg had mentioned it, but this morning the simple silhouettes against the fiery sky, and the inviting brilliance of the Light, just seemed to pull me in, and it brought on a renewed bout of astonished appreciation for the workings of the Holy Spirit, who often uses the most confounding means and methods — this time a stamp and the U.S. Postal Service — to get our attention and open us to God’s instructive consolations.