St. Leo the Great – November 10

-Michael Dubruiel, 2005

I attended an early mass at St. Leo the Great’s tomb one morning while in Rome and as I read the office of readings for today by him, I thought how death makes this even more apparent.

St. Leo, pray for us!

From the Office of Readings:

Although the universal Church of God is constituted of distinct orders of

members, still, in spite of the many parts of its holy body, the Church subsists

as an integral whole, just as the Apostle says: We are all one in Christ. No

difference in office is so great that anyone can be separated, through

lowliness, from the head. In the unity of faith and baptism, therefore, our

community is undivided. There is a common dignity, as the apostle Peter says in

these words: And you are built up as living stones into spiritual houses, a holy

priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices which are acceptable to God through

Jesus Christ. And again: But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy

nation, a people set apart. For all, regenerated in Christ, are made kings by

the sign of the cross; they are consecrated priests by the oil of the Holy

Spirit, so that beyond the special service of our ministry as priests, all

spiritual and mature Christians know that they are a royal race and are sharers

in the office of the priesthood. For what is more king-like than to find

yourself ruler over your body after having surrendered your soul to God? And

what is more priestly than to promise the Lord a pure conscience and to offer

him in love unblemished victims on the altar of one’s heart? Because, through

the grace of God, it is a deed accomplished universally on behalf of all, it is

altogether praiseworthy and in keeping with a religious attitude for you to

rejoice in this our day of consecration, to consider it a day when we are

especially honoured. For indeed one sacramental priesthood is celebrated

throughout the entire body of the Church. The oil which consecrates us has

richer effects in the higher grades, yet it is not sparingly given in the lower.

Sharing in this office, my dear brethren, we have solid ground for a common

rejoicing; yet there will be more genuine and excellent reason for joy if you do

not dwell on the thought of our unworthiness. It is more helpful and more

suitable to turn your thoughts to study the glory of the blessed apostle Peter.

We should celebrate this day above all in honour of him. He overflowed with

abundant riches from the very source of all graces, yet though he alone received

much, nothing was given over to him without his sharing it. The Word made flesh

lived among us, and in redeeming the whole human race, Christ gave himself

entirely

.-Michael Dubruiel

Feast of the North American Martyrs- November 19

From Michael Dubruiel, 2001

Today is the Feast of St. Isaac Jogues and North American Jesuit Martyrs. I spent one month of my life living at the Shrine of the North American Martyrs in Auriesville, NY making a 30 day retreat in 1992. A month of silence and vivid dreams on the very land where Rene Groupil, John LaLande and Isaac Jogues were martyred. The dream I remember most was being chased by someone who had a hatchet in their hand. Read about St. Isaac Jogues and you can probably figure out where that came from. – Michael Dubruiel, originally published 10/19/01

Prayer of Petition

O God, who inflamed the hearts of your blessed Martyrs with an admirable zeal for the salvation of souls, grant me, I beseech you, my petions and all the requests recommended here today, (here name your request) so that the favours obtained through their intercession may make manifest before all the power and the glory of your name. Amen.

St. Jean de Brébeuf, pray for us.

St. Isaac Jogues, pray for us.

St. Gabriel Lalemant, pray for us.

St. Antoine Daniel, pray for us.

St. Charles Garnier, pray for us.

St. Noël Chabanel, pray for us.

St. René Goupil, pray for us.

St. Jean de Lalande, pray for us.

Holy Mary, Queen of Martyrs, pray for us.

In the U.S…. National Shrine of Our Lady of Martyrs

In Canada…Martyrs’ Shrine

Confession During Lent

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73 Steps to Communion with God – 55

This is a continuation of the 73 Steps to Communion with God by Michael DubruielThe previous steps appear throughout the Archives, available to the left. This is the 55th step:

(55) Not to love much boisterous laughter.

Written in the context of rules for monastic living this one is easily understood by anyone who has ever visited a good monastery. There is an atmosphere of silence that permeates the monastic environment and loud boisterous laughter would destroy such an atmosphere.

The maxim is not to “love much” explosive laughter. Again there is no prohibition against humor here but rather there is a caution of making a show of it. If one has ever been around someone who regularly explodes with loud laughter there is something rather unsettling about it–making one wonder about the sanity of the individual displaying it.

Loudness of any sort displays an excessive ego, “look at me I’m laughing.” A good laugh is good for everyone, but the one who explodes in laughter is someone who is overdoing it. Parents often have to caution their children against this, it is even more embarrassing in an adult.

The obvious fault with this type of loudness is that it intrudes upon the space of those outside our immediate circle. The joy that we feel and those we are speaking to may share may not be shared by those who are loud laughter will inflict itself upon at a distance.

To not love explosive laughter can save us from much embarrassment and also preserve the decorum of respect of the people we live with.

There are those who will think that this injunction is not in keeping with the New Testament but read what the Letter of James says: “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you men of double mind. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to dejection. Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will exalt you,” (James 4:7-10).

The genius of the maxims of St. Benedict is that they embrace all of Scripture, while most of us choose to only exchange a handshake with the word of God.

Rediscover Christmas

Pope Benedict’s advice on the poor economy and Christmas, from Asia News Italy:

The difficulties of an economic crises that have hit so many families “can become an opportunity and a stimulus” to free Christmas from the “accumulations of consumerism” which reduce it to an occasion for the sole purpose of buying and exchanging gifts” and help us to “rediscover the warmth of solidarity, of friendship” the “warmth of Christmas”, the “message if Christ’s birth”.  The “rediscovery” of the true meaning of Christ’s birth, as “an opportunity to welcome as a personal gift the message of hope that irradiates from Christ’s birth” was the appeal that Benedict XVI launched today to five thousand people present at the general audience, during which Christmas hymns resounded throughout the Paul VI hall, courtesy of a group of “zampognari”, pipe players from Northern Italy.

 

For the Church the beginning of the Christmas novena is moment in which it “prepares to unite itself to the joyous chorus of the angels” that “on that night invited the shepherds to make their way to the stable”.  And Christmas, revealed the Pope “is a universal feast and even non believers perceive something extraordinary, something transcendent in this season, which speaks to the heart.  Christmas is a feast that speaks of the gift of life.  The birth of a child is always something that brings great joy, and the embrace of a newborn moves one to tenderness”.  “How can we not think of those many children born into poverty throughout the world – he added -to those newborns who are rejected and not welcomed, those who will not survive because of lack of care and attention, those families who yearn for the joy of a child and have yet to see this realised”.

 

On the memorial of Our Lord’s birth, continued Benedict XVI, “Christians so not celebrate the birth of a great man or the end of a season”, but “the pivotal moment in history: the incarnation of the Divine Word for the salvation of humanity”.  “The mystery of our salvation is renewed”.  St Paul comes back again and again to this truth in his letter to the Galatians, “God sent his son born of a woman”. Or in his letter to the Romans, “if we are children of God we are also heirs of God….,” but it is above all “St John who meditates on the mystery of the incarnation” and for this in the Christmas liturgy since the earliest of times his “Et Verbum caro factum est…”, the Word was made Flesh, is used.

 

It is “something so concrete and essential for the faith” a “historic event that Light becomes an essential and concrete part of faith” a “historical event that Light puts into a real context”, the first census.  On that “historic night” in Bethlehem, “a really great light was born”: “the creator of the universe became flesh, thus irrevocably uniting himself to humanity”.  “But is it possible? A God who becomes a child? We need to bow our heads and recognise the limits of our intelligence.  God became a child to defeat our superbia”. He could have demonstrated his power, “but he does not want our surrender”, “he wants to set us truly free, to love Him”. “God came to communicate the truth that saves directly to us” and “make us participants in his life”.

Therefore “May Christmas be a privileged opportunity to reflect on the true meaning of our existence”, and to renew it.  “Let us ready ourselves – he concluded – to receive this gift of joy, of light and of peace”, “to become people who do not think only of themselves, but who are open to the needs and expectations of others”. “Happy Christmas”.

Even So, Lord Jesus, Come!

Pope Benedict’s Catechesis on Saint Paul continues:

In his First Letter to the Thessalonians, said the Holy Father, “St. Paul speaks of the return of Jesus, an event known as the ‘parusia’ or advent”. The saint describes this vividly “using symbolic images that nonetheless transmit a simple and profound message: ‘In the end we will be with the Lord forever’. … Our future is ‘to be with the Lord'”.

Benedict XVI pointed out how in his Second Letter to the Thessalonians, the Apostle “changes perspective and speaks of the negative events that will precede the end. We must not allow ourselves to be deceived, he says, as if the Day of the Lord were truly imminent by some chronological calculation. … The continuation of the Pauline text makes it clear that the coming of the Lord will be preceded by apostasy and by the appearance of a person identified only as ‘the lawless one’, the ‘one destined for destruction’, whom tradition came to identify as the Antichrist”.

The Pope examined the fundamental attitudes a Christian must adopt in the face of the ultimate realities of death and the end of the world: “The first attitude”, he said, “must be the certainty that Jesus rose and that, with the Father, He remains with us forever. … Secondly, the certainty that Christ is with me; and since the future world has already begun in Christ, this gives us the certainty of hope. The future is not an area of darkness in which no-one can find their way. … Without Christ, the future is dark even today. … Christians know that the light of Christ is stronger and hence they experience a hope that is not vain, a hope that gives certainty and courage to face the future”.

The third attitude, the Pope went on, “is responsibility before Christ for the world and for our fellow man and, at the same time, the certainty of His mercy. … We have to work to ensure this world opens to Christ, that it is renewed. …We know that God is the true Judge, we are sure He is good, we know His face, the face of the risen Christ. … For this reason we can be sure of His goodness and live our lives courageously”.

At the end of his First Letter to the Corinthians, St. Paul “repeats a prayer of the early Christian communities of Palestine, putting it into the mouths of the Corinthians themselves: ‘Marana tha! Our Lord, come!’ … which is also how the Book of the Apocalypse ends. … Can we pray like this today? In our lives, in our world, it is difficult to pray sincerely for this world to perish, for the coming of the New Jerusalem, the Final Judgement, Christ the Judge. … Nonetheless, like the first Christian community we can say: Come Jesus! Of course we do not want the end of the world to come now. On the other hand, we do want the world of injustice to end, we do want the world to change, the civilisation of love to begin, a world of justice and peace to come, a world without violence and hunger. … But without the presence of Christ a truly just and renewed world will never come”.

“We can and must cry out urgently in the circumstances of our own time: Come, Lord! Come in Your way, in the ways that You know. Come where there is injustice and violence. Come into the refuge camps of Darfur and North Kivu, in so many parts of the world. Come where drugs dominate. Come also among the rich who have forgotten You and who live for themselves alone. Come where You are known. Come in Your way and renew today’s world. Come also into our hearts … that we too may become light of God, Your presence”.

Paul and Christ’s Resurection

From Asia News Italy:

Christianity “is not an easy path” but a “demanding climb” that “does not spare Christians from suffering,” as Saint Augustine said. It is however a life brightened by hope in which the cross is shared awaiting for the resurrection, an “event” that is crucial to the faith and central to Saint Paul’s Christology.
The “decisive character” of the Resurrection in Saint Paul was at the heart of the discussion Benedict XVI had today before almost 20,000 people in St Peter’s Square. Since the summer in this Pauline Year the Pope has devoted his general audience reflections to the Apostle.

“If Christ has not been raised, then empty (too) is our preaching.” Indeed in the First Letter to the Corinthians Paul implied that without the Resurrection the cross would be a tragedy.” Paul “begins and arrives at the mystery of the One whom the Father has raised from death.” The basic event the Apostle refers to is that “Christ is raised and living amongst us.”

For Benedict XVI Paul showed “great respect” for the tradition which was referred to him. “Both I and they preach,” he writes, highlighting the “link between receiving and transmitting and the unity of all believers”.

“The originality of this Christology never comes at the expense of faithfulness to tradition [. . .] in which the faith of all the Churches is expressed, which are one Church.”

“Theologians and preachers do not create new visions of the world or of life but remain at the service [. . .] of the Resurrection” to “help us understand” the reality of the Resurrection.

“Paul is not concerned with presenting a comprehensive doctrinal exposition, but approaches the subject by responding to the concrete doubts and queries that were put to him by the faithful.”

He concentrated “on essentials: we have been ‘justified’—that its made just, saved—by Christ who died and rose for us. What emerges above all is the fact of the resurrection, without which Christian life would be simply absurd.” It is something “very real [. . .], something marked by specific signs recorded by numerous witnesses.”

Not only does Paul proclaim the resurrection but also the crucial fact that “we have been ‘justified’,” revealing the true reality of Jesus as Lord. Thus life for believers becomes sharing death and resurrection.

“True believers obtain salvation by professing with their mouths that Jesus is the Lord and believing with their hearts that God raised Him from the dead”.

It is not enough to have faith in the heart, we must bear witness to it. This way Christians “become part of the process” that “began with the resurrection of Christ, on which is founded the hope that we too may one day enter with Christ into our true homeland in heaven.”

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