24th Sunday in Ordinary Time – The Prodigal Son

The old man of sin still sleeps within the heart of the baptized Christian, who is always free to make compromises with evil. And it is very difficult to strip oneself completely of the mentality of the kingdoms of earth which one inherits in being born into the world — and which sleeps in the dark depths of the heart with all its perversions and its selfish law of the jungle — in order to put on the “new man” of rightness and perfection. The evil and sin in the world saturate us and attack us from every direction. And in our own hearts there are always rationalizations which will give them an entry.

Luckily enough for humankind, God loves man with an obstinate love which follows him everywhere, no matter how far he wanders. God loves us like the father of a boy who lets himself be reconquered by the spirit of evil. The sinner loses his divine status, his rights as a citizen of the kingdom of God. But God waits for him always. He stands at the roadside, ready to welcome him, to give him the dignity of a son. The only thing necessary is for the errant boy to express a gesture of regret, to take the first step homeward. And he’ll see God come out to meet him.

The priest is the one who has received this mission to make known to the world the limitless goodness of God for man and to dispense forgiveness in his name with open hands. His, then, to live in contact with the greatest sinners — with Jesus’ help and all the good sense necessary.

Father Eusebe Menard in his book At All Times.

 

 

 

Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time – Jesus is Disconcerting

 

Yes, my God is unexpected:

            He is close to us and above all things.

            He is sweet and he is violent.

            He is eternal and is born every day.

He created us for happiness and feeds us on suffering.

            He blesses what so many fear.

            He loves what so many despise.

            He asks from us what seems impossible.

He came to bring war and he is peace-loving.

He is God and he is man,

one and Trinity.

He reproves those who are unjust, and bears with injustice.

He is Father almighty – and allows suffering to go on torturing the world.

He demands that we conquer the world, that we live in the world,

that we love all that is human, and he wants us

to think of eternity.

He asks sanctity of everyone and chose as head of his Church

the apostle who denied him.

His predilection goes to the weak and the poor, and those are

the ones who go on suffering most.

He engraves his law in everybody’s conscience, and founded a Church

whose Magisterium at times creates conflicts with the

voice of people’s conscience.

He is always present and nobody sees His face.

He who loves his neighbor loves Him, – however

he goes on being unique.

He is our whole life, and He has no name.

The nearer you come to Him, the more you love Him,

the less you understand Him.

He is freedom, and came to obey.

He is love, – and Hell exists.

He praises marriage to the extent of making it a sacrament and the

image of his union with the Church, – and He and his mother

are virgins.

He is the heart of our history; not a single hair falls from our

head without his leave, and millions of men go on without knowing

of his existence, or else consider Him superfluous.

He is joy and pain at the same time.

He is holy, and was the friend of sinners.

He is all purity, and allowed the prostitutes

to touch him and to love him.

He loudly condemned the rich – and ate with them.

My disconcerting God is difficult for the man who wants

to measure Him completely, – or for those who want to

impose a logic upon him.

But my God escapes all logic and all our measures.

My God is both marvelous and ineffable,

unique and disconcerting.

He is being and He is motion.

He is what has been, what is

and what will be.

He is all, and nothing is Him.

My disconcerting God is the one

            in whom one believes without seeing Him,

            whom one loves without touching Him,

            in whom one hopes without understanding Him,

            whom we possess without deserving Him.

Feast of St. James – July 25

Even with their good teacher, the companions would keep their all too human ideas until the last possible day. They thought that it was in establishing a new political regime, through revolution and a coup d’etat if necessary, that God’s rights would finally be recognized. Jesus with his incredible powers seemed able to overthrow any army and wipe out all the wrongdoers on earth. He was holding off for now, but he undoubtedly had a secret plan. The Day would come and he would go into action; they, his faithful companions, would occupy the top posts in his new regime.

This is what they talked about, a couple of paces behind Jesus’ back, as they walked the roads of Palestine. Since they dared not themselves express their secret ambitions to Jesus, the two hotheads among them, James and John, one day asked their mother to speak for them. She sometimes went along with the caravan of Jesus’ intimates and was of great service to the small wandering community. So there she found herself, prostrate before Jesus’ feet with a look of supplication. Her two sons stood nearby. They wanted Jesus to grant their request even before he knew what they were asking: “Master, promise us that you’ll grant what our mother asks.”

But Jesus wasn’t happy with this at all: “Look, what do you want?” So the mother explained her request: “Promise me that my sons here will have the highest places at your side on the day of your triumph” (she meant to refer to the new regime she thought he was going to establish).

“You really don’t have any idea what you’re asking for,” Jesus responded to James and John. “Are you first willing to drink the bitter cup of suffering I must drink? To go all the way with me in my misery?”

“Sure we’re ready for anything.”

“That’s true, one day you will know my suffering,” Jesus replied as he thought of their future. “But as for what you ask, that is my Father’s business.”

James and John were ambitious and naive. They hoped for human success in the kingdom of God. It was a big mistake; but they easily realized this and tried to make amends, for they passionately loved Christ.

Written by Father Menard in his book At All Times.

Prayer to Love our Neighbor

Oh God, send in us your spirit of love, so that it prepares our hearts to love our brothers. In order to live the commandments of your Son, Jesus, in order to carry the distinctive mark and the rallying sign of his true disciples, we want to love one another, not with a sensitive but with a voluntary love, drawn in faith, consolidated by hope and proven by acts.

We praise and thank our Lord for having deigned to live among rough and uncouth men, accepting the hateful intrigues of the Pharisees and the oppressors; always with unchanging kindness, submitting Himself to everything, healing bodies and souls and, finally, giving His life, the supreme proof of His love.

Fully confident and trusting in the powerful intercession of the Virgin Mary, our Mother, and of the Saints, our brothers, we come to Jesus in order to learn the meaning of charity, to discover in His love for us the reasons and the model for the love toward our brothers; and to receive assistance, without which our feeble will can do nothing. In loving all men as if they were the living tabernacle of the Holy Trinity, may we accomplish the Law and thereby merit to love You and to be eternally loved by You, Oh God of Love!

Litany of Love for our Neighbor

Litany of Love For Our Neighbor

“Nothing brings God closer than our neighbour”

Because – “He who loves God also loves his brother:

I love God concealed in my neighbour
(to be repeated after each invocation)

Because the love for our neighbour is the thermometer of our love for God.

Because everything we do for the lowliest of beings, is done as to Jesus Himself.

In order that it be good and agreeable to live together as brothers.

“Better one ounce of charity than a hundred chariots of reasoning” (S. R. Bellarmin).

To keep me from untruth, in pretending to love an invisible God and not loving
my neighbour whom I see.

Like the first Christians, who had only one heart and one soul.

Like the Saints, ever ready to help their brothers.

Like the Virgin, who loves each one of us in a specific way.

And, especially like Jesus, who loved us to the most abominable of deaths.

Like Jesus, who called Judas his friend – when he had just betrayed Him.

In never loving for a natural motive.

In rejoicing for the good that comes to my neighbour as if it happened to myself.

In not listening to the tales of weaknesses ascribed to my brothers.

In always assuming that others have good intentions toward me.

In not concerning myself of the sayings, the doings and the lives of others.

In congratulating my brother for the good that God has done for him.

In refraining from saying, in the absence of a brother, things I would not say in his presence.

In speaking of others in the manner I would like them to speak of me.

In keeping myself from repeating to another person, the bad someone has spoken about him.

By avoiding mockery, which displeases and hurts.

By avoiding vain discussions.

By not colonising or speaking bad of others.

By weeping with those who weep.

By rejoicing with those who are joyful.

In setting a good example in the accomplishment of my duties.

In never laughing over the physical, intellectual or moral defects of my brothers.

In extinguishing the fires of anger with kindness.

In being victorious over the bad through doing good.

In reconciliating the greatest number of enemies.

In taking care of the sick, the lonely and the poor.

Even if only indifference and ingratitude is shown toward me.

Whether my fellow-being be a saint or a sinner.

Whether he be sever or friendly-disposed.

Whether he be for or against me.

In frequently asking to love my brother as Jesus loved him.

In praying for the sinners and the souls of purgatory.

In behaving toward each other as toward our Lord.

In unison with the love with which Jesus and Mary love.

In unison with the love with which the Saints in Heaven and on earth love each other.

In unison with the love with which the Three Persons of the Holy Trinity love each other

V) Oh Jesus, Who has loved us onto the folly of the cross,

 A) Fill our hearts with love for each and every one of our brother.

Closing Prayer

 Oh God, send in us your spirit of love, so that it prepares our hearts to love our brothers. In order to live the commandments of your Son, Jesus, in order to carry the distinctive mark and the rallying sign of his true disciples, we want to love one another, not with a sensitive but with a voluntary love, drawn in faith, consolidated by hope and proven by acts.

We praise and thank our Lord for having deigned to live among rough and uncouth men, accepting the hateful intrigues of the Pharisees and the oppressors; always with unchanging kindness, submitting Himself to everything, healing bodies and souls and, finally, giving His life, the supreme proof of His love.

Fully confident and trusting in the powerful intercession of the Virgin Mary, our Mother, and of the Saints, our brothers, we come to Jesus in order to learn the meaning of charity, to discover in His love for us the reasons and the model for the love toward our brothers; and to receive assistance, without which our feeble will can do nothing. In loving all men as if they were the living tabernacle of the Holy Trinity, may we accomplish the Law and thereby merit to love You and to be eternally loved by You, Oh God of Love!