Saturday, September 24, 2016
“Jesus: I love you! Thank you for loving me! Amen.
This simple and beautiful prayer was shared with us last weekend, by Sr. Mary Michael, O.P., during the sisters’ visit from Nashville. Sister Mary Michael did not suggest that this is the only prayer a Catholic person ever needs to pray. She did, however, offer it as a kind of starting point...not only developmentally (meaning, the first prayer a child ought to be taught), but also on a regular basis for the Christian approaching God in prayer. We were very blessed by the presence of the sisters, Perhaps, in addition to the “Thank you” which we officially offered them, you may desire to send a note of thanksgiving or a personal request for the prayers of the sisters. To that end, we provide here, an address for mailing:
Sr. Mary Michael, O.P.
Sr. Mary Jude, O.P.
St. Cecilia Congregation
801 Dominican Drive
Nashville, TN 37228
Well, the work on the Fatima shrine has begun. Even if you did not notice the absence of the statues of Our Lady and the children from their usual location, when you came to Mass last weekend, one could hardly miss what appears as a kind of “blank space” in that portion of the campus— with the former shrubs removed (which surely provided a sense of privacy in the front of our property). We assure you: the plan for the installation includes planting of substantial proportion!
The “missing statues” (they weren't stolen— they are being restored) serve, for me at least, as a kind of illustration of what I addressed in my preaching last weekend: the vulnerability of our spiritual lives and the importance of safeguarding our souls, lest we be robbed of our spiritual identity by the Enemy, who hates us and wants our destruction. Years ago, while traveling with my sister in England, my wallet was stolen. I wasn't even aware of it missing until long after the thief had taken it. Something similar may occur to parishioners, who might say, “Oh, I didn’t even notice that the statues were gone!”
In last Sunday’s gospel, Jesus addressed all disciples, reminding us of the need to handle spiritual matters as carefully as— actually, more carefully than— material matters. I believe that at this time in history, the soul of the nation is particularly at risk. Our minds and hearts can be heavily influenced by voices that claim to speak for values of “freedom” and “tolerance,” but which carry an agenda that is far from how those realities are understood from a Gospel perspective. While ultimately we make decisions as individuals, we can very much benefit from tapping the wisdom of the community of the Church.
Appearing in this week’s issue is one of two resource articles we are reprinting, from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (U.S.C.C.B.). They are part of a compendium of documents pertaining to Faithful Citizenship. On the one hand, I would not be surprised if many, or even most, of us are feeling tangled in mind and heart, given the prevailing tone of the election campaigns. However, we are called, as people to faith, to stay engaged and ask for the grace of discernment in this area of life, as in all areas of life. I ask that we spend time in prayer before we put our eyes to the pages of these articles, asking that the truth that forms the foundation on which the words are based comes to Thank you so much!
**Next Saturday, we will host a training for Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion here at St. Mary. Please speak with Fr. Joe or myself if you are considering this ministry.