May the Lord give you peace!

Happy New Year! Yes, the new church year has begun. We refer to the church year as the liturgical year as compared to the calendar year which begins on January 1st. The First Sunday of Advent begins the liturgical year—that is today!

The Advent season is a sacred time to grow in our friendship with Jesus. The Advent liturgies and devotions invite us more intimately into the eternal life of God who became man. This Advent at Church of the Magdalen we will also incorporate some valued options into our worship at Mass. The most prominent addition is the inclusion of some traditional Latin acclamations and prayers. We will sing together a certain response during the Eucharistic prayer in the traditional Gregorian Latin chant. These chants will include the Holy, Holy, Holy; Mystery of Faith and Lamb of God. In Latin: the Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus; Mysterium Fidei and Agnus Dei.

I would like to take this opportunity to explain some of the rationales behind including the various Mass parts in Latin—on a side note Bishop McKnight incorporated these traditional chants shortly before I arrived on the scene last February 2018.

Catholic liturgical worship started being celebrated in Latin around the third and fourth century (the earliest liturgies were celebrated in Greek). Since then the lingua franca of the Roman Catholic Church has been Latin up to modern times. Up until recently all priests even took their theology and philosophy courses in Latin. The broad use of Latin within the Roman Catholic Church was somewhat diminished in light of the teachings of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965). The Council introduced and promoted greater use of the vernacular into worship. It was in view of the Council that parishes began worshiping in English along with the priest facing the people during the Eucharistic prayer. Nonetheless, the Council actually declared that the vernacular, e.g., English, should be used only as an exception. The relevant passage comes from the Council’s dogmatic constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium, No. 36, Paragraph 1: “The use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rite, except where a particular law might indicate otherwise.” The Council’s watershed document on the liturgy continues in paragraph 54: “that in Masses which are celebrated with the people, a suitable place may be allotted to their mother tongue... Nevertheless, steps should be taken so that the faithful may also be able to say or to sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them.”

The tradition over the past forty years has somewhat reversed the direction decreed in the Council’s document on the liturgy. Our experience has been to incorporate Latin in the liturgy as an exception and to establish English as the norm. In many ways, the broad interpretation of the conciliar norm to allow for the use of the vernacular has introduced many benefits to the celebration of the Mass. A major benefit is the ease of worshiping in our native English language. 

On the other hand, one major drawback to the exclusive use of the vernacular within the Mass has resulted in the near-complete disuse of Latin. Our effort to include some Latin prayers and acclamations into the Mass is not to return to some ideal time in the past; rather, it is to grow in continuity with the Church’s rich tradition. The inclusion of several Latin responses is one way that we carry out the stewardship of Tradition. In other words, we pass on and stay connected to how God has worked in the past, not at the expense of what God is doing now or will do in the future, but in order to stay in continuity with a Tradition that is alive and including the present and future. 

A new Mass worship aid with the relevant Latin Mass response will be available in the pews. We will also make available a lexicon of the various Latin responses for those of you who want to know exactly what you are saying through your chanting. 

Ad majorem Dei gloriam (For the greater glory of God),

Fr. John F. Jirak, Pastor

"Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth. The former heaven and the former earth had passed away, and the sea was no more" (Rv 21:1). This is the last week of the liturgical year. The old year is passing away, Advent, which begins next Sunday, is a new Church year. Today on the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, we celebrate being subjects of God's Holy Kingdom, the Church. We also look forward to when Christ's Kingdom will be fulfilled at His second coming. Along with the entire Communion of Saints and the Heavenly Host, we worship Jesus, our King.

In our world, our leaders are fallible, leading us to either success or failure. In our world, sin prevails. In our world, there is sickness, sadness, war poverty, and death. But "the world in its present form is passing away" (1 Cor 7:31). Each time we say the Our Father, we ask God to bring about His new heaven and earth; we pray: "Thy kingdom come." In this Kingdom, Christ will be our perfect king. He will lead us with absolute wisdom, justice, and love. In this Kingdom, sin will be no more and death itself will die (1 Cor 15:26). "He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain, the old order has passed away" (Rv 21:4). In this new world: "the former things shall not be remembered or come to mind" (Is 65:17). Our Kingdom to come will be eternal: "His dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not be taken away, his kingship shall not be destroyed" (Dn 7:14).

On this day and always, remember that you are heirs of the perfect Kingdom of God: princes and princesses of the everlasting Kingdom. "The Lord is our king" (Is33:22)!

We are social creatures, we are meant to be with and around others. What is sometimes hard to remember is that we are not meant to tear each other down. This includes having a certain amount of judgment on and/or expectation of another. When we do not establish an understanding of these things we can find ourselves slipping into the sin of gossip. I believe that if we look, we can see that gossip is fundamentally made up of a certain amount of pride. Right? To feed our own need for power or control in a relationship, there can be the want to speak ill of another. Maye, this only occurs when we are with a group of friends. Maybe, this only happens when we are wanting to vent to someone. In any case, to tear someone down to make our own selves feel better is sinful.

But, how do we find a way or make a plan so that we do not continue to fall into this sin of gossip again? In one word, charity. Sometimes to get past our own pride of self, we have to turn to service of another. If we think about it, we do have power, but the power should be used to change the subject, not to condone hurting another-to recognize our temptation to gossip and instead have a certain barrier set up in the future.

This could take the shape of a kind word or prayer for this person that we would like to talk about. It could also be that we need to do an extra action that we have never done for this person before, like getting them a water, a coffee or a donut. Basically, anything that we know is done for a reason to get us past where we have fallen before, helping us to build those good habits and virtues where before we turned to vice. Sometimes to see the power of God in our lives, we actually have to surrender a false power like gossip first. 

 

We all experience knots in our lives—the problems and struggles that keep us awake at night. We worry because we don’t see any solutions. Mothers especially worry continuously about their children, no matter their age. Picture your worries as knots, trailing down a long ribbon. Now picture Mary, our most blessed Mother, patiently untying your knots.

An unknown artist painted Mary Undoer of Knots, a painting of Mary surrounded by angels. She is untying one of many knots in a long white ribbon. It is believed the painter was inspired by a meditation from St. Irenaeus paralleling Eve and Mary: “Eve by her disobedience, tied the knot of disgrace for the human race; whereas Mary, by her obedience, undid it.” Since 1700, Mary Undoer of Knots hangs over a family altar in the Church of St. Peter in Perlack, Germany. This painting has miraculously survived wars and revolutions. In the 1980s, Pope Francis saw the painting, and it had a profound impact on his devotional life. As Archbishop of Buenos Aires, he introduced and encouraged this devotion.

This summer Fr. Matt gave me a prayer card “O Immaculate Lady Undoer of Knots.” As soon as I read the prayer, I understood why Pope Francis encouraged this devotion. I had just started a new job (after being retired for 19 years) and my youngest child was leaving for college. I had a few knots waking me up at night! Asking Mary to take various knots plaguing my mind into her maternal hands has provided me much peace, and this prayer now belongs in my nightly prayer ritual. On the nights when my worries are light, I pray for others’ knots to be untied.

If you’d like to read this prayer and possibly add it to your prayer repertoire, Google “Undoer of Knots” or better yet, stop in one of the confessionals and look for the prayer card!

St. Frances Xavier Cabrini was born as Maria Francesca Cabrini on July 15, 1850, in Italy. At a very young age, Frances longed to be a missionary in China and dedicated her life to religious work. At age 18, she was asked by a priest to teach at an orphanage in Italy where she began a life of charitable work caring for the poor, sick and uneducated all while educating those she cared for to live the religious way of life.

In 1877, she made her religious vows and came to be known as Mother Cabrini. It was at this time she also added Xavier to her name to honor St. Francis Xavier. Unfortunately, a few years after making her vows, the orphanage was closed. Mother Cabrini yearned to continue her mission work in China but was urged by Pope Leo XIII to travel to New York to care for the thousands of Italian immigrants living there. This journey would prove to be very disappointing and difficult for Frances. She planned to open an orphanage upon her arrival to the United States, only to find the house was no longer available. Frances was fearless and noble. Filled with her deep trust in God, she remained in New York.

The result of her deep trust? Over 35 years, St. Frances Xavier Cabrini established 67 institutions across the United States. She was compassionate and dedicated to caring for immigrants, the poor, ill, uneducated, and those who were losing their faith. In 1909, Frances became a naturalized citizen of the United States and in December of 1917, passed away in one of her own Chicago hospitals. St. Frances Xavier Cabrini was beatified on November 13, 1938, by Pope Pius XI and canonized by Pope Pius XII on July 7, 1946, the first US citizen to be canonized. She is the patron saint of immigrants and hospital administrators. 

St. Pope John Paul II taught about “the law of the gift” in his book Love and Responsibility (as well as in other writings, addresses, and especially by the example of his life). The crux is this: the more we empty ourselves in self-giving love to one another, the more we’re filled with God’s love. It’s yet another paradox; how can we be empty and yet full? Today’s first reading and Gospel can help us understand. They tell us of widows who trusted God and gave Him everything they had. They couldn’t have known, but they were imitating Christ Himself, the exemplar of self-giving love: “…he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave…becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross” (Phil 2:7).

Our instincts tell us to fill ourselves in our own needs: with food, entertainment, savings, etc. But the law of the gift says that we find the greatest joy when we seek to fill others’ needs. In order to give love to others, we must be filled with God’s love. Start by allowing God to nourish you with the sacraments and prayer. Then you can begin to pour that love out to others.

When you’re exhausted and your child or spouse needs your help, and you reach deep into that holy spring of God’s love to give them what they need, you empty yourself. When your schedule is overwhelming and you feel you have no time to spare, but you make time each week for your adoration hour, you empty yourself. When your grocery budget is getting close to spent, but you spend what little is there to make extra portions of your own dinner to take a meal to someone in need, you empty yourself.

Dear Jesus, fill me with Your precious love so I can pour it out to others. Help me empty myself so I can be more like You.

St. Pope John Paul II taught about “the law of the gift” in his book Love and Responsibility (as well as in other writings, addresses, and especially by the example of his life). The crux is this: the more we empty ourselves in self-giving love to one another, the more we’re filled with God’s love. It’s yet another paradox; how can we be empty and yet full? Today’s first reading and Gospel can help us understand. They tell us of widows who trusted God and gave Him everything they had. They couldn’t have known, but they were imitating Christ Himself, the exemplar of self-giving love: “…he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave…becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross” (Phil 2:7).

Our instincts tell us to fill ourselves in our own needs: with food, entertainment, savings, etc. But the law of the gift says that we find the greatest joy when we seek to fill others’ needs. In order to give love to others, we must be filled with God’s love. Start by allowing God to nourish you with the sacraments and prayer. Then you can begin to pour that love out to others.

When you’re exhausted and your child or spouse needs your help, and you reach deep into that holy spring of God’s love to give them what they need, you empty yourself. When your schedule is overwhelming and you feel you have no time to spare, but you make time each week for your adoration hour, you empty yourself. When your grocery budget is getting close to spent, but you spend what little is there to make extra portions of your own dinner to take a meal to someone in need, you empty yourself.

Dear Jesus, fill me with Your precious love so I can pour it out to others. Help me empty myself so I can be more like You.

 

The Church gives us seven spiritual works of mercy as a means of loving our neighbor and serving their spiritual needs. Most of these are found in paragraph 2447 of the Catechism. One of these is praying for both the living and the dead (2 Maccabees 12:46). We are pretty good about praying for the living – friends and family who are facing various challenges or sicknesses, but the dead also need our prayers! The month of November is dedicated to reminding us of this fact, due to it being the month of All Soul’s Day (November 2nd).

Purgatory is the state of souls who have passed from this life, “are indeed assured of their eternal salvation” (CCC 1030), but are in need of purification before entering the joy of heaven. We refer to the souls in purgatory as the “poor souls” because they are not able to help themselves – they depend on our prayers! We can offer Masses that we attend for these poor souls, we can offer various sacrifices and days of fasting, or we can offer our holy hours spent in the adoration chapel. All of these can help a soul in purgatory reach their heavenly reward.

An especially pious practice in November is to visit a cemetery and say prayers at the grave of a loved one. Once your prayers release a poor soul from purgatory into the joys of heaven, that soul will be able to pray for you in return! It’s a win-win. I encourage you all to write the name of any loved ones who have passed into the Book of Remembrance in the Gathering Space

 

Like so many wise men of the church, St. Leo I answered God’s call to serve Him faithfully. Born to an aristocratic family in Tuscany, in 400 A.D., he long exhibited a love for the Lord which brought him into the religious life. As a Deacon, Leo became known for his persuasive nature, on both secular and religious disputes, which impressed all who crossed his path.

When Pope Sixtus III died in 440, Leo, revered among his peers, was unanimously elected his successor. As Pope, St. Leo I made tremendous contributions to the preservation of the written faith through his writings (The “Tome”), his authority against heresies, and his position that Jesus Christ was united in one person, both divine and human, at the Council of Chalcedon. Many of his writings, sermons, and letters are still in translated existence today. In 452, Pope Leo also physically protected all Christians by peacefully convincing Atilla the Hun to cease his invasion of Rome.

The first pope to be given the title “the Great”, Pope Leo lived an incredible life in service to God and in the protection of the Catholic faith through his writings, his teachings, and his wisdom. He believed everything he did as Pope was in service to Jesus Christ as “Peter’s successor”. He died on November 10, 461 which is also his feast day. In 1754, St. Leo I was declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope Benedict XIV

 

When Father Matt asked me to write the story of my conversion in 400 words or less I thought, “It’s not possible. I have so much to say.” This is a condensed version of how I came to the Catholic faith. My husband Emad and I have 4 children ages 8, 6, 4, and almost 2. I was raised Methodist but joined the Catholic Church on Divine Mercy Sunday in April 2009.

When Emad and I started dating he invited me to go to Mass with him every Sunday and sometimes during the week. I started going with him out of politeness and more than a teensy bit of curiosity. There was something attractive about his excitement for his faith that I couldn’t deny, and I had to find out what it was. I started to attend RCIA classes to learn about what was happening during mass and what Catholics believe that differed from my upbringing, not intending to join the Church. After learning about Christ’s presence in the Eucharist, I realized that I was longing for this Presence, and I needed to join the Church to receive this life-giving body and blood. By God’s grace, I understood that Jesus’ own words, “This is My body... This is My blood” were not meant to be symbolic. And I needed to partake of this most Blessed Sacrament!

There is much about the Catholic faith that I love; Eucharistic Adoration, the Universal nature of the Mass, apostolic succession, icons, and so many other things that are beautiful and meaningful to me.

The Eucharist was a powerful attraction to the Catholic faith for me. For the most part, my conversion has had little to do with doctrine or a system of ethics. My heart has been and continues to be converted by the love of Christ through the eyes of people around me. Emad was open and accepting of me, and let me experience his faith without pressure and without an agenda. He was always quoting Father Luigi Giussani, telling me, “The journey to the Truth is an experience” which I have found to be quite true. Emad’s extended family also welcomed me openly, warmly and without being bothered by the fact that I was not Catholic. They looked at me with the gaze of God’s love and my heart was moved and transformed. 

In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus sums up the Ten Commandments: love God and love your neighbor. This seems so simple, but it takes a lifetime to learn how to love perfectly. It sounds daunting, but Jesus calls us to this perfection of love: “So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matt 5:48). Don’t let the big idea of loving perfectly keep you from trying; instead of being afraid of failing, we can confidently ask God for the grace to learn how to love Him and others more.

A good place to start practicing this is by looking up the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy. The USCCB website has a great list with examples. The Corporal Works care for a person’s physical needs, while the Spiritual Works care for his or her emotional and spiritual needs. These acts, such as feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, comforting the sorrowful, and praying for the living and the dead, are ways we can offer the gift of self-giving love to our neighbors. And in turn—when done for God’s glory, not for our own—this also fulfills Jesus’ first command to love God with all that we have. Jesus said, “…whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me” (Matt 25:40).

This week, consider practicing one Corporal and one Spiritual work. For example, you could pick up a couple of extra cans of food at your next shopping trip and put them in the shopping cart in the gathering space for Dear Neighbor Ministries. Or you could take time to listen and console a friend who needs advice. Notice the people God places in your path throughout the day; you might be surprised at the many ways God is calling you to your  

The Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, of the United States Department of Education, announced that Magdalen Catholic School is a proud recipient of the 2018 National Blue Ribbon Award.

One of only 49 non-public schools nationally to be awarded the Blue Ribbon, the award is a prestigious and exciting honor to receive!

The Blue Ribbon has been bestowed for Excellence in Education. The National Blue Ribbon award is a direct reection of our Magdalen family’s strong teamwork as a school staff and faculty, cooperative partnerships with our school families, and abundance of parish support.

This process began over a year ago when we were asked to consider applying for the Blue Ribbon program. Mr. Will Durant, as part of his Master’s in Administration program, graciously agreed to complete the application for Magdalen. Submitted months ago, the long process of waiting for news began, and we were notified on August 1st of the award. We were unable to announce this honor before the Secretary of State, so we have been anxiously keeping a very exciting secret. It is with great gratitude that we thank Will Durant for his hours of work to complete the application, which we believe so accurately reflects the excellence in our school.

A public school can qualify for the award in different ways and hundreds of schools can become a recipient each year. It is actually quite dicult for a non-public school to qualify, as the total is limited to 50 and there is only one manner in which to qualify – excellence. Serving 517 students from 351 families, our Catholic school is dedicated to our mission, “Developing Catholic Students to be faithful stewards of God’s gifts”. We strongly believe that all our 517 students come to us each day with many gifts, many strengths. Our mission is to develop these gifts, whatever they may be, within the Catholic faith. The formation of the entire child, spiritually, academically, socially, emotionally, is key to our mission. We strive to live within our excellence in mission every day through daily Mass, a strong presence of our Pastoral staff, rigorous academics, a variety of programs to meet the interests and needs of students, abundant support staff, and a highly qualified faculty.

St. Anthony of Padua is referred to as the patron saint of lost things. You may be familiar with this tone: “St. Anthony, please look around; something is lost and must be found.” This attribution is derived from an incident where a novice carried off a valuable psalter Anthony was using. Anthony prayed very hard that the psalter would be found, and after seeing an alarming apparition of Anthony, the novice returned the psalter.

Anthony was born in Lisbon in 1195 to a family of nobility, yet very faithful. He was privileged to receive his early education at the cathedral school of Lisbon until the age of 17 when he transferred to the monastery in Coimbra. He was found to be gifted with an excellent memory for theology, sacred Scripture and the Church Fathers. Although barely considered to be literate by his peers, he had great success in converting many heretics and renewing the faith of many people through his preaching and teaching. For this reason, he is also known as the patron of lost souls—those who have fallen to mortal sin, have abandoned the Church and have grown apathetic to the practice of the faith.

Through an apparition, Anthony received insight into the Word of God through the Infant Jesus. Before going to bed one night, he was reading his Bible. Suddenly, the Infant Jesus appeared resting on the Bible and in Anthony’s arms.

The Infant Jesus stroked St. Anthony’s face. Here the word of God appeared to the man who had so well preached His word. For this reason, most images of St. Anthony depict him holding a Bible with the Infant Jesus in his arms. Anthony died on June 13, 1231 at the ripe age of 36. Thirty years after his burial, the vault was opened and his body had deteriorated to dust except for his tongue, which remained preserved. St. Bonaventure took the tongue in his hands and kissed it, exclaiming, "O Blessed tongue that always praised the Lord and made others bless Him, now it is evident what great merit thou hast before God."

One lens to view today’s Gospel about blind Bartimaeus (Mk 10: 46-52) is as a story of spiritual conversion. Bartimaeus represents people who are spiritually blind, unable to see God’s light. Isaiah spoke of what would happen when the Messiah would come. He said, “the people who walked in darkness have seen a great light” (Is 9:2). Notice that Bartimaeus cries out to “Jesus, the son of David,” which is a Messianic title.

He persistently cries out, even when people rebuke him. Then Jesus calls back to him; the disciples tell Bartimaeus, “take courage; get up, Jesus is calling you.” Without hesitation, he throws aside his cloak and goes directly to Jesus. Bartimaeus casts off his old life, represented by his cloak. When Jesus asks what Bartimaeus wants Him to do for him, he readily replies, “Master, I want to see.” Jesus tells him, “Go your way; your faith has saved you.” Bartimaeus’ eyes are opened by faith: “Immediately he received his sight and followed him on the way.”

Notice that Jesus tells him to go his way, but instead, he follows Jesus on the way, which is the Way of the Cross. Bartimaeus has undergone a physical and spiritual conversion. His sight is restored and he is united with Jesus on His way to Jerusalem where he will be hailed: “Hosanna!…Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that is to come!” (Mk 11: 9-10). Bartimaeus fulfills what Isaiah prophesied about how the Messiah would guide and restore His people: “I will lead the blind on a way they do not know; by paths they do not know I will guide them. I will turn darkness into light before them, and make crooked ways straight” (Is 42:16).

Lord Jesus, I too want to see! Please fill me with an energetic faith that leaps at your call. Help me follow You on Your Way

 

Paragraph 4 of the Pope’s Apostolic Exhortation Rejoice and Be Glad describes a vision of our unity with the saints who have gone before us. Pope Francis highlights a very important truth that I don’t think many of us fully embrace, namely, the communion that we share with the saints.

The Pope states that “the saints now in God’s presence preserve their bonds of love and communion with us.” It is through baptism that this bond of love is established. This truth is brought home to me every time that I celebrate a baptism. Immediately before the actual baptism of a child the priest and faithful pray a litany for the intercession of the saints. The rubric (explanation) in the Rite of Baptism states, “The celebrant next invites all present to invoke the saints.”

Pope Francis concludes the paragraph with consoling words from his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, “Surrounded, led and guided by the friends of God . . . I do not have to carry alone what, in truth, I could never carry alone. All the saints of God are there to protect me, to sustain me and to carry me.”

As we draw closer to the Solemnity of all Saints on November 1st, we might consider rediscovering or discovering for this first time the close union of these powerful intercessors who have gone before us.

Ad majorem Dei gloriam, Fr. John Fr. Jirak 

On a recent Pilgrimage to Ireland, the site of the 2018 World Meeting of Families Congress, I once again recognized the importance of understanding how we are created to be fully alive as humans. While in Dublin, I was determined to complete the Pilgrim walk, a tour of seven local Catholic Churches despite the locals telling me to take the bus.

To my surprise, several unanticipated aspects about the city of Dublin limited my ability to navigate the city, including an apparent lack of directional signs. I was unfamiliar with where the bus stop was, or the route to look for, or the time it would take to get to the first church. I set off with multitudes of maps, thinking I surely could figure out what I was doing. What should have been a 45-minute walk ended up taking 2 hours. I got lost before finally reaching my first church on the Pilgrim Walk, Our Lady of Mount Carmel. This was going to be a bit more of an adventure than I anticipated. I needed help.

Luckily, the people of Ireland are very helpful and friendly and willing to help, especially a lost Pilgrim. This time, a blessed angel, an older woman saw my distress and offered to tell me exactly which stop to get off to reach my destination.

I could not help noticing the correlation of my little adventure and one of the presentations at the Congress, www.worldmeeting2018.ie/en/Programme/Congress/Thursday-Programme

This year, the focus was on Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation, Amoris Laetitia, The Joy of Love. Dr. Lynette and Bosco McShane, Síolta, Ireland presented on The Dignity and Beauty of Sexual Love: Finding New Language for Ancient Truths. Their analogy of the right bus certainly caught my ear.

She noted that the Church is like the bus station. Many young people have no idea where the bus station is, or how it operates (i.e. the teachings of the Church), or about God’s vision. Many young people have never bothered with the bus. The majority are going the wrong direction and are lost. Dr. McShane says it so well! www.worldmeeting2018.ie/en/Programme/Congress/Live-Streaming

Since listening to this talk, I have contemplated how this analogy applies to married couples and those preparing for marriage. Many have heard of the Church, St. Pope Paul VI’s Humanae Vitae and St. Pope John Paull II’s Theology of the Body, but they fail to realize how this is a path to holiness and happiness by allowing them to live fully who they were created to be.

Do you know someone who is preparing for the sacrament of Holy Matrimony? Have you always wanted to know more about Natural Family Planning, but were too afraid, ashamed or doubtful to ask? Let’s work together to get on the right bus! Learn how you can appreciate the beauty of fertility and find methods of natural fertility regulation by contacting the Office of Marriage and Family Life: 316-685-5240, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or catholicdioceseofwichita.org/nfp  

 

Is 53:10-11/Ps 33:4-5, 18-19, 20, 22 [22]/Heb 4:14-16/Mk 10:35-45 

When we think of baptism, we usually think of new life, like a newborn baby dressed in a white gown. Or we think about the Holy Saturday Vigil when adult converts are baptized into their new lives with Christ. All this is true, yet there’s another aspect to the sacrament of baptism. In baptism, we’re united to Jesus in His death as well as in His resurrection. St. Paul reminds the Romans of this: “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?” He goes on to explain that through baptism we are united with Jesus in His death and “we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his” (6:3-5).

In today’s Gospel, James and John wanted to share Jesus’ glory. But this glory looked very different than what they had imagined. Jesus’ glory is His passion, death, and resurrection. His triumph is the Cross. He asked them, “can you…be baptized into the baptism with which I am baptized?” (Mk. 10:38). They answered that they could, and truly they were. St. James was the first apostle martyred, suffering and dying for the sake of Jesus (Acts 12: 1-3). St. John was not martyred in the esh, but he was the only apostle to suffer with Jesus at the foot of the Cross (Jn 19: 25-27).

We who are baptized are one with Christ in His death and eternal life. We’ve been submerged in the holy water. There we buried original sin, our personal sins, and our old selves. We arise resurrected with Christ, dead to sin and triumphantly alive in Him.

Jesus, please give me the courage to die to myself in order to allow You to live in me.

 

Excerpt from “Five Things You Should Know About Humanae Vitae (1968-2018)”

 

Marriage and the family express generations of love! Husband and wife, parents and children, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins make a family. And families can share their love with neighbors and the wider society. God has given married couples the unique responsibility to show His divine love in the world... That is because marriage is a vocation unlike any other—it truly represents God’s call to holiness in service of love and life! Given the special nature of marriage, questions about marital sexual intimacy and when to attempt to have children, or not, take on special meaning. The Church can help married couples understand God’s gifts.

ONE—Humanae Vitae is a positive and helpful papal encyclical. Humanae Vitae (Of Human Life) is the papal encyclical (letter) written by St. Pope Paul VI in 1968. It provides beautiful and clear teaching about God’s plan for married love and life. It is fairly short, and it is available free online.

TWO—Humanae Vitae teaches about God’s gifts of married love and life. God designed man and woman to love like Him. This means that we can make a gift of ourselves to another person. We have the capacity to be generous, merciful, self-sacrificing, and faithful. We can form friendships—small communions of persons. In marriage, God gives husband and wife the unique friendship to become a “one-flesh union” (Gen 1:24) with the sacred responsibility to welcome new life into the world (procreation). The marital union is the best place to receive the gift of children—to love and nurture them, and to build the family… Humanae Vitae teaches that married love is to be fully human (body and soul), as well as fruitful, involving the gift of fertility.

THREE—Humanae Vitae recognizes that the regulation of births in marriage is a practical and serious responsibility. Humanae Vitae shines a light on the question of planning births in a family. The Church teaches that it is reasonable for husband and wife to space and even limit births in their marriage for just reasons (no. 10)… At the same time, husband and wife should cooperate with God’s plan for their marriage by respecting His designs. They should not separate the union of the marital act from its pro-creative nature. They “must conform their activity to the creative intention of God, expressed in the very nature of marriage and its acts” (no. 10).

FOUR—Humanae Vitae teaches that contraception and direct sterilization are wrong. Use of contraception or sterilization for the use of birth control rejects God’s gifts of love and life. That is because contraception and sterilization do harm to the nature of married love and the gift of life—they separate the unitive and pro-creative nature of the marital act (no. 14). Saying this another way, “husband and wife express” their vowed love “not only with words but with the language of their bodies… the mutual gift of fertility is an integral part of the bonding power of marital intercourse.” To reject one’s fertility by using contraception or being sterilized for contraceptive purposes is to reject God’s gifts to husband and wife (no. 12).

FIVE—Humanae Vitae teaches that husband and wife can regulate births in marriage according to God’s designs through methods of Natural Family Planning.

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