January 2005

I’m back

Well, it was an amazing trip/retreat. Got back today in the wee hours of the morning, and I haven’t had the time to do a major write-up of my experience. Have no fear, though — I will. Too many graces to not share them.

One of those graces, however, you will find below. I brought along my palm pilot and keyboard, so I finally managed to pound out liturgy article #5 (part of my on-going series). It’s a biggie, and probably loaded with typos and other errors, but I thought I’d put it up anyway. Liturgy article #6 is now a work in progress!

The mystery of the Church

In this article I would now like to tackle the second of the two sentences that were mentioned in the last article:

The liturgy is the outstanding means whereby the faithful may express in their lives and manifest to others the real nature of the true Church.

In order to fully understand this point, we need to break it down into three questions:

Unsealing the confessional

This evening we had a gathering of the parents of children in our catechetical program. This year our parents are being strongly encouraged to partake of the sacrament themselves, partly to provide a good example for their children, and partly just because confession is good for the soul. But Reconciliation is still a sacrament that is shrouded in mystery for so many, so to help prepare I gave a 45-min presentation on the sacrament of Reconciliation. It was no-holds barred: I covered every detail regarding the sacrament I could think of.

To the laity: do NOT underestimate your role in announcing the Kingdom

I had a most interesting conversation today: a fellow called to tell me he has decided to start the RCIA process and enter into full communion with the Catholic Church. He then mentioned to me that it was a conversation we once had that stimulated him to seriously consider this new path for his life.

I hate knee-jerk anti-Americanism

Today in class I mentioned how there have been Christian movements throughout history which tried to separate from the rest of society in order to found a perfect “Christian kingdom”. I mentioned how many of the early settlers in America were of this mindset: think, for example, of Ronald Reagan’s oft-quoted reference to America as the “city on the hill”. This is actually a Christian image, taken from a sermon given by John Winthrop in 1630, to describe the desire of the first pilgrims to America to found this “heavenly Jerusalem” on earth.

Happy New Year!

May 2005 be full of blessings for you.

In today’s homily I gave the congregation some homework for 2005, which I’d like to offer all of you as well. Draw up your family tree, as detailed as you can. As you do so, reflect on each member of your family, and think of a prayer intention for each of them. Then, take that family tree diagram out once per day, and pray for one member of the family on it.