Pastoral Sharings

PriestsForLifeLogo_GreyThe Pro-Life Commitment is Eucharistic (part II)
   
The Eucharist is a sacrament of unity. “When I am lifted up from the earth,” the Lord said, “I will draw all people to myself (Jn.12: 32).” He fulfills this promise in the Eucharist, which builds up the Church. The Church is the sign and cause of the unity of the human family. Imagine all the people, in every part of the world, who are receiving Communion today. Are they all receiving their own personalized, customized Christ? Are they not rather each receiving the one and only Christ? Through this Sacrament, Christ the Lord, gloriously enthroned in heaven, is drawing all people to Himself. If He is drawing us to Himself, then He is drawing us to one another. St. Paul comments on this, “We, many though we are, are one body, since we all partake of the one loaf” (1 Cor. 10:17). When we call each other “brothers and sisters” we are not merely using a metaphor that dimly reflects on the unity between children of the same parents. The unity we have in Christ is even stronger than the unity of blood brothers and sisters, because we do have common blood: the blood of Christ! The result of the Eucharist is that we become one, and this obliges us to be as concerned for each other as we are for our own bodies.

Imagine a person who receives Communion, accepts the Host when the priest says “The Body of Christ”, says “Amen” and then breaks off a piece, hands it back, and says “Except this piece, Father!” This is what the person who rejects other people may as well do. In receiving Christ, we are to receive the whole Christ, in all his members, our brothers and sisters, whether convenient or inconvenient, wanted or unwanted.

As St. John remarks, Christ was to die “to gather into one all the scattered children of God.” Sin scatters. Christ unites. The word “diabolical” means “to split asunder.” Christ came to “destroy the works of the devil” (1 Jn. 3:8). The Eucharist builds up the human family in Christ who says, “Come to me, feed on My Body, become My Body.” Abortion, in a reverse dynamic, says, “Go away, we have no room for you, no time for you, no desire for you, no responsibility for you. Get out of our way!” Abortion attacks the unity of the human family by splitting asunder the most fundamental relationship between two persons: mother and child. The Eucharist, as a Sacrament of Unity, reverses the dynamic of abortion.

 The Eucharist is the Sacrament of Life. “I am the Bread of Life. He who eats this bread will live forever. I will raise him up on the last day” (Jn. 6:47-58). The Eucharistic sacrifice is the very action of Christ by which He destroyed our death and restored our life. Whenever we gather for this sacrifice we are celebrating the victory of life over death, and therefore over abortion. The pro-life movement is not simply working “for” victory; we are working “from” victory. As the Holy Father said in Denver in 1993: “Have no fear. The outcome of the battle for life is already decided.” Our work is to apply the already-established victory to every facet of our society. Celebrating the Eucharist is the source and summit of such work.
 
(This is part two of an article “The Pro-Life Commitment is Eucharistic by Priests for Life. The third part will be published in the bulletin for the weekend of September 1- 2. For more information about Priests for Life, the pro-life movement, or how you can get involved, please visit their website at www.priestsforlife.org.)

SaintJohnChurchMiddletown.com

Digest of Articles from Catholic Blogs and Websites
August 26, 2012

21st Sunday: Floating with the Lord 
In the second book of his science fiction trilogy, Perelandra, C. S. Lewis presents a Paradise being tempted by  evil.  But instead of painting a lush Garden of Eden, as the Book of Genesis paints, C. S. Lewis presents a planet with a huge sea on which there are floating islands.  The waves on that planet are so large that the floating islands go up and down with the swell. Sometimes an entire island is on the bottom of the swell and the ocean is a wall.  Anyone on the island would not be able to see anything other than the island or the sea.  Sometimes an entire island is on top of the waves, and an inhabitant of the island cold look out and see the world just as someone here on earth might see the world from the top of Pike’s Peak or Mount Everest.
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Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time 
Gospel Summary
 
This passage brings the sixth chapter of John’s gospel to a climactic conclusion. Jesus has fed a large crowd with bread and fish; he has revealed his divine identity as I AM by showing his power over the sea; in the synagogue at Capernaum he has revealed that he himself is the bread of life given by the Father–as the bread of his teaching and as bread of the Eucharist. Now upon completion of his teaching, many of his followers murmured, saying, “This saying is hard; who can accept it?” Jesus responds that human nature alone (the “flesh”) is of no avail in coming to believe and to have life in him. This faith and life is possible only as a gift of the Father.
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Belief or Faith? 
Belief in God is rather widespread, at least in America.  Various surveys show that over 90% of Americans “believe in God.”

But belief and faith are not quite the same thing.

When many people say “I believe in God” they mean that they believe that God exists, that “there is a God” somewhere up there.  Nothing wrong with having such a conviction, of course.  But bear in mind that Satan has no doubts about the existence of God.  He just refuses to serve him.
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What Is God’s Will for Me? 
We all face choices in life. Minor ones come up all the time. Then there are the more significant decisions, such as: What is my vocation? Is God calling me to this work? Is this the person I should marry? Should we home school our children?
 
We don’t have to guess. There are specific principles for discerning God’s will.
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On the Mystery and Divine Origin of Joy 
There is something deeply mysterious about joy. It is deeper than mere laughter, it is more than an emotion. Joy seems to combine both serenity and excitement along with a touch of humor or laughter. It seems to come as pure gift, emerging sometimes in an instant, sometimes as a gentle tide welling up. Perhaps its context is good news, or a humorous moment, Perhaps it exists with the satisfaction of a completed task or a reunion after an absence. It does not seem to be a learned response at all. It just is, it’s just there! Even the youngest infants show joy. It comes with the soul and is there from the start.
 
What is joy? It is the gift of God. We can only receive it, not cause it. It is a gift.
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Pope Benedict: ‘We Learn to Live From Mary’ 
Pope Benedict XVI recommended that Christians look to the queenship of Mary, who is “queen in the service of God to humanity,” as a sure guide towards her Son.
 
“Dear friends, devotion to Our Lady is an important part of spiritual life. In our prayer, we should not fail to turn to her, confident that Mary will intercede for us with her Son,” the Pope said to pilgrims during his Aug. 22 general audience at Castel Gandolfo.
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Our Lady of the Rosary: 5 Lists about the Blessed Virgin Mary
1. Rejoice Ye Angels: 19 More Rosary Quotes
 
“Never will anyone who says his Rosary every day become a formal heretic or be led astray by the devil.”
    Saint Louis de Montfort
 
“The Rosary is a powerful weapon to put the demons to flight and to keep oneself from sin…If you desire peace in your hearts, in your homes, and in your country, assemble each evening to recite the Rosary. Let not even one day pass without saying it, no matter how burdened you may be with many cares and labors.”
     Pope Pius XI
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Death – What Every Catholic Must Know About “The Four Last Things” (first in a series) 
One of the recurring themes you will read on this site is that we are not made for Earth, but for Heaven. We are pilgrims on Earth, journeying to our true home in Heaven. Each of us has a beginning (conceived by our parents) and each of us will have an end. What we will experience and attain as we arrive at this end is the subject of this 3-part series.
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THE FOUR LEVELS OF SUFFERING 
Suffering Level 1
 
Suffering is to be avoided at all costs
 
Suffering interferes with obtaining pleasure and possession, and so must be avoided. Suffering can only end in depression, despair, and complete loss of self-worth.
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What is Casual Catholicism? Its Defining Symptoms and Five Cures 
We all know the term “cafeteria Catholicism” by now – simply put, the one who picks and chooses from elements of their faith and leaves the rest behind.  But what about “casual Catholicism”?  Ever heard of this?

Casual Catholicism cannot be precisely defined, but it certainly has its trademark aspects.  I’ll list a few hallmark elements of what could be said to define a casual Catholic:
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Lessons from Catholic Evangelists 
Five prominent Catholic apologists share their methods of spreading the Good News and defending the Faith.
   
In a meeting last year with Church leaders involved in the New Evangelization, Pope Benedict XVI said, “Today’s world needs people who proclaim and testify that it is Christ who teaches the art of living, the way of true happiness, because he himself is the path of life.”
 
“Dear friends, being evangelizers is not a privilege but a commitment that comes from faith,” the Holy Father continued. “To the question the Lord addresses to Christians: ‘Whom shall I send and who will go for us?’, answer with the same courage and the same trust as the Prophet: ‘Here am I! Send me’ (Isaiah 6:8).”
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Slander Is Murder With Words 
Slander is murder with words. It can lead to social death for its victims. 

It’s also a mortal sin. 

You can go to hell for it. 

Do you understand what I’m saying? I’m talking hell. Eternity in torment. Unending separation from light, love, hope and mercy.
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Colleen Carroll Campbell: So much for tolerance
Remember “live and let live” — or, as the gay-rights variation goes, “live and let love?” Remember that heady time not so long ago when Americans concerned about the unintended consequences of same-sex marriage were told that we had nothing to fear because the redefinition of marriage to accommodate gays and lesbians would not affect our families or our freedoms? You and your churches and businesses can go on believing what you want about marriage, we were told; just let us do our thing and we’ll let you do yours.
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Are We Serving Two Masters? 
In review of the recent scandals’ in the news involving numerous cases of celebrity adultery, civil servants in the General Services Administration (GSA) having posh conventions in Las Vegas using taxpayer money, and charges of Secret Service and military personnel involvement in prostitution in Columbia two questions are pondered.  What is going on and why are the media and public so surprised?  The answer is simply what Our Savior warned about serving two masters in Matthew 6:24.  Jesus said “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one or love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon” according to Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition.
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“Build Your Own Magisterium” Or “That’s My Dogma!”  
For those interested in the intersection of religion and politics, the last few weeks have provided a wealth of topics upon which to ponder and opine.
 
After Paul Ryan’s selection as the GOP VP nominee, we saw mountains of commentary about his budget proposals.  Beyond just discussion of the pragmatic, opposing Catholic opinions blared from every digital bell tower both commending or condemning Ryan’s proposals.  We alternatively listened to those extolling the budget as a reasonable first step in budget control in-line with Catholic teaching or excoriating the same proposal as profoundly un-Christian and in direct violation of Church teaching.
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 The Deuterocanon and the Communion of Saints 
If Catholics are right about the Books that make up the Bible, then we’re also right about the Communion of Saints. In fact, if the Second Book of Maccabees is true (whether or not the Book is inspired Scripture), then the Catholic doctrines on the Communion of the Saints are true, as well. How can I say that? Because the Communion of Saints, the idea that the faithful departed are alive and interceding for us in Heaven, is clearly laid out in 2 Maccabees. 
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Was Jesus Really Silent on Same-Sex “Marriage”?
The issue of same-sex “marriage” seems to be everywhere these days. Anyone who voices an objection to it is also, more and more frequently, accused of discrimination and labeled a “bigot.” Now, state and federal governments may very well change the age-old definition of marriage to include people of the same gender and marry two men or two women in civil ceremonies; but these ceremonies will not take place in the Catholic Church – nor do I see how they could in any Christian church – and the reason has absolutely nothing to do with bigotry. The Catechism of the Catholic Church expresses deep love for homosexual persons
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