Our Lady and Sheen

Sheen and Love in the confessional

The Power of Love by Ven. Fulton Sheen gives an encouragement to those who wish to love. Namely priests and doctors.

One can never love in a hurry… To hurry the distressed and the disturbed, either through the confessional or the parlor or the clinic, is to make oneself a merchant dealing with things, rather than a dedicated servant of the poor, the sick and the disturbed…

Every human person has within himself a rhythm or a tempo, to which the one who serves must tune in…The speeding up of confessions, the rushing of consultations, or imposing one’s own mind in counseling, are failures to love. To love anyone means to give one’s talent, to give one’s time, to give one’s money; in a word, to become identified with the soul in crisis.

How intense a calling it is then to be a priest, or a doctor, or a teacher! Let us examine quickly the ideal that Ven. Sheen is calling for. First, we must give of ourselves. It may not be money, or counsel, but it will be that more precious item we are given by God: TIME. Each time we help someone, we MUST give time. Using time is the most charitable act that we can have upon earth. I may be wrong, but if we are to do things for our fellow man out of Love of God (the theological virtue of Charity), we give only what God has already given us. Time is irreplaceable on earth, and is the most charitable of gifts.

Second, we must always look towards the person as a person in the image and likeness of God. We do not errr… We should not pretend to know God in his wholeness, for who is God’s counselor? (Romans 11:34). We take time to “investigate” God through prayer. Sometimes with our friends we receive more knowledge that we wish to have, and we lose part of our friendship. The same was true with Christ’s mission on earth, many abandoned him when it became too “intimate” (John 6:66). We must invest time in our relationship, even if you are blessed with interlocutions they still take seconds to process in our mind or ears. How much more then should we listen to our fellow man, who is not yet perfected as God is perfect? My guess is that it would take more than a cursory glance at the man.

Finally, sometimes we must give money, or talent, or something else of value. We can not always just tell someone to have peace, and be warm and fed; we must often do more than just give our time! (James 2:15-17) We must give talent and treasure to the needy, or we have done little to help them see the physical manifestation of Christ’s passionate love.

For those of you called to lay down your life for a friend, how blessed are you to partake in the sacrifice of Christ! For those of us called to lay down $20 or a coat and perform a smaller act of love, are we too proud to perform that act of humble charity? Perhaps in the building up of e virtues of Charity we will be more ready to courageously face the laying down of our physical life for our friends… Or, with the Grace of God lay down our lives for our enemy.

Perhaps, the greatest act of love is to lay down our lives out of love for God, constantly. I know I am far from that goal. But one day, perhaps, God will give me the grace to answer his call more deeply and be less selfish.

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us!
Our Lady, Mother of God, pray for us.

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March 18, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sacramental Saturday and Peace

 

 

Hopefully, the following prayer is familiar to all Catholics:

“God, the Father of mercies, through the death and resurrection of His Son
has reconciled the world to Himself and sent the Holy Spirit among us
for the forgiveness of sins;
Through the ministry of the Church may God give you pardon and peace,
and I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit”

The prayer of absolution that is prayed over the penitent during the Sacrament of Reconciliation is the reason we go to confession, in a way, so that we know that we are forgiven for the crimes we have committed against God.

Today turned out to be an extremely rough day for me, in addition to needing to go to Reconciliation, I had an encounter that upset me very greatly, one of those flubs that is a mixture of truth, misunderstanding, hurt feelings, and the like that occur on this Earth.  I hadn’t felt this bad in a long time, especially knowing that it was something that could have been avoided.  Which leads me back to the Sacrament.

I have heard the prayer of absolution many times in my life, in that I live my life more like a St. Peter than a St. John.  Today, however, while the priest was praying over me, I heard clearly the “pardon and peace” portion of the prayer.  And while I know that I was mostly there for the “I absolve you” to hear this was a great relief at a time that I needed it most.  Not only does the Lord our God wish to give us absolution and pardon, but between the two He wishes us peace.

In Philippians 4:7 we hear clearly from St. Paul of the “peace of God, which surpasseth all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”  And we trust in this, the scriptures and the teachings of the Fathers reiterate God’s desire for us to rest in Him, and seek peace in Him.  Not a lack of suffering as some would say, but rather an acceptance of God’s great Love for us.  In John 14:27 Jesus Himself tells us, “Peace I leave with you: my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, do I give unto you. Let not your heart be troubled: nor let it be afraid,” which is important enough to be repeated at the Sign of Peace during the Mass.

Continually we hear of peace, and the scriptures are many: Isaiah 26:3, Ephesians 6:23, John 20:19, and so on.  There are two that I wish to mention, briefly.

Immediately following Confession today, I went to the Adoration Chapel and prayed Vespers.  The first Psalm, Psalm 122, and in that Psalm we hear shouted by the Psalmist:  “Peace be to your homes! May peace reign in your walls, in your palaces, peace!” and again “For love of my brethren and friends I say: ‘Peace upon you.'”  It was a great validation of the feeling I had received.

Finally, at the end of the school year this year, a parent gave me a cross with 2 Thessalonians 3:16 written on it: “May the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way.”

Christians will complain, sometimes about the hard things in life.  The crosses we bear, the torments we encounter, are indeed trying sometimes, as St. Peter tells us.  Sometimes, however, the hardest things to accept in our Holy Faith are Joy and Peace, both of which God, who is Joy and who is Peace wants us to have.  Sometimes it’s joy and peace in suffering, sometimes, however it’s just having joy and peace.

Let us remember that the Gospel is the Good News!  It is not just the news.  Archbishop Sheen, Blessed Pope John Paul II, Mother Theresa knew the joys of life in their own ways, but always in God’s infinite Love for us.

Archbishop Sheen, united with Our Lady whom you loved dearly, pray for us that peace may be in our homes and in ourselves.

“In peace I shall both lie down and sleep, for you alone, LORD, make me secure.” Psalm 4:9

June 18, 2011 Posted by | Sacramental Saturday | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Happy Feast of St. Francis De Sales… again!

This morning I had the opportunity to serve at a low Mass in the extraordinary form.  In the “Old” Calendar today, as opposed to last Monday, is the feast of St. Francis De Sales, the great saint of the poor.

Early this week I had seen, “Do not wish to be anything but what you are, and try to be that perfectly,” which was inspiring to me.   I struggle, like we all should, to attain a life of heroic virtue and saintly attitudes, and fail one less time than I will hopefully succeed.  But always as the great saint also reminds us, “Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections.”

These quotes seemed very inspiring in that this week I have been having a lot of confession related issues, especially embarrassment from repeat visitors to the ‘box.’ (I know, I know, “What, do you want whole new sins?”)  Then today I saw my friend Christine pointing me over to NCRegister’s posting on a new Apple app that has received an imprimatur here… which led me to the Mea Culpa app…. which brought us to the moral of the story:

“Confession heals, confession justifies, confession grants pardon of sin. All hope consists in confession. In confession there is a chance for mercy. Believe it firmly. Do not doubt, do not hesitate, never despair of the mercy of God. Hope and have confidence in confession.” –St. Isidore of Seville

In the words of Fr. Corapi, I hope that I am “not preaching to the choir, but rather, confirming the brethren!”

January 29, 2011 Posted by | Feast, Sacramental Saturday | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Pope on the Sacrament of Penance

His Holiness, while writing to seminarians throughout the world, spoke on his personal devotion to penance.  I think that to read what the Holy Father writes, and especially what he quotes, is something that needs to be read constantly and drilled into our hearts and our minds for the daily struggle of life on the road to Heaven.  Take strength, even in your struggles, knowing that God who is perfect, loves you perfectly.

3. The sacrament of Penance is also important. It teaches me to see myself as God sees me, and it forces me to be honest with myself. It leads me to humility. The Curé of Ars once said: “You think it makes no sense to be absolved today, because you know that tomorrow you will commit the same sins over again. Yet,” he continues, “God instantly forgets tomorrow’s sins in order to give you his grace today.” Even when we have to struggle continually with the same failings, it is important to resist the coarsening of our souls and the indifference which would simply accept that this is the way we are. It is important to keep pressing forward, without scrupulosity, in the grateful awareness that God forgives us ever anew – yet also without the indifference that might lead us to abandon altogether the struggle for holiness and self-improvement. Moreover, by letting myself be forgiven, I learn to forgive others. In recognizing my own weakness, I grow more tolerant and understanding of the failings of my neighbour.

To read the rest of the letter, you can see it here.

Update: Fr. Z goes on to speak about this letter in great detail here

October 18, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment