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Tuesday, April 24, 2018

The prayer of a pastor

"My sheep listen to my voice; I know them and they follow me"

O Jesus, Good Shepherd, a shepherd who is truly good, shepherd full of lovingkindness and gentleness, the cry of a poor and wretched shepherd rises up to you: a weak and clumsy shepherd, an unprofitable shepherd (cf. Lk 17:10) and yet, in spite of all, a shepherd of your flock. Yes, Good Shepherd, the cry of this shepherd who is far from being good rises up to you. He cries to you, uneasy for himself, uneasy for your flock… You know my heart, Lord, you know my wish is to spend entirely for those you have entrusted to me all you have given to your servant …, and more than anything, to spend myself for them without counting the cost (2Cor 12:15)… Even you yourself did not disdain to spend yourself for them. Therefore teach me, Lord, even me your servant, teach me through your Holy Spirit how to expend myself for them… By your inexpressible grace grant me, Lord, to bear their weaknesses with patience, to sympathize with kindness, to help them with discretion. May your Spirit’s instruction teach me to console the afflicted, strengthen the fearful, raise up those who fall, to be weak with the weak, to share the shame of those who stumble, to make myself all things to all to gain them all (2Cor 11:29; 1Cor 9:19.22). Put true words on my lips, words that are upright and just so that they may grow in faith, hope and love, in chastity and humility, in patience and obedience, fervor of spirit and purity of heart. Since it is you who have given them this blind guide (Mt 15:14), this ignorant teacher, this incapable leader, teach him whom you have installed as their professor, guide the one you have commanded to guide others.

- Saint Aelred of Rielvaux (1110-1167), Cistercian monk

From DailyGospel.org

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Preach it, (Msgr) Pope!


Sunday, April 01, 2018

Risen, just as he said

Christ is Risen! Alleluia!

While I love the Mass in general, there's nothing like the celebration of the Easter vigil. The darkness, the Paschal candle and then people lighting their candles from it and then from their neighbors, and the growing sea of tiny flames as they keep going until every person's candle is lit. And then the readings, starting from the creation account in Genesis, then the Exodus rescue, then from Isaiah and Ezekiel, until we reach the New Testament readings where it culminates in Jesus Christ, the Paschal Lamb, sacrificed, and then the Resurrection. Then we have baptisms and confirmations, the creed and then the Eucharist. It is beautiful! And powerful!

Yes, my wife and daughter are away on holiday, and yes, my sons were blowing out my candle when I wasn't looking. And yes, one of them decided to break up his remaining candle into tiny pieces and pull out the wick. And he dribbled a bit of wax on his pants and maybe the floor. And yes, he's too old to be fooling around with it like that (at 16), and yes he and his younger brother were sniggering at the size of the feet of the guy in front of us, for everyone to see his shoulders shaking uncontrollably. And yes, they also saw me trying to keep them quiet a number of times during the Mass.

But all my sons were with me and were fine. They weren't miserably begging off the Mass, nor miserably begging to go after an hour. They weren't grumpy at having to stand and kneel and sit and on and on. Mind you, I wish they'd been more prayerful throughout, as they should, but they were with me through more than two hours, and sang and chanted and prayed through some if not most of that. Grace doesn't come from us. As Lito would say, it's 'extra nos', outside of us, coming from God, unmerited. Our receptiveness depends on our disposition, of course, but not Grace. My sons are young. If they don't resist too much, they will mature, and I will pray for that all my life and after. God is patient, rich in kindness and mercy, slow to anger and abounding in love.

It's Easter. Christus Resurrexit! Alleluia!