29 August 2018

A Litany of Reparation


Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy.
Christ have mercy, Christ have mercy.
Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy.

I am sorry for my sins,
Father forgive me.
I am sorry for having contributed to the sins of others,
Father forgive me.
I am sorry for having spread sin,
Father forgive me.
I am sorry for my pride, leading me away from You,
Father forgive me.

When I have seen sin and ignored it for the sake of convenience,
Jesus have mercy on me.
When I have failed to examine my own sin,
Jesus have mercy on me.
When I have failed to love another by constructive correction,
Jesus have mercy on me.
When I have relied on prideful self,
Jesus have mercy on me.

In my need for love,
Holy Spirit provide me Your grace.
In my need for satisfaction,
Holy Spirit provide me Your grace.
In my need to be fulfilled,
Holy Spirit provide me Your grace.
In my every longing,
Holy Spirit provide me Your grace.

Hail Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us.
Saint Mary Magdalene, recipient of Mercy,
pray for us.

I reparation for my sin and the sins of all the world, I beg You, Holy Lord, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, to accept my offering and provide for me a clean, humble, contrite, and open heart to love and serve you more, now and always. Amen.

Veritas



29 AUGUST 2018. The specter of horrible truth has been upon the U.S. and worldwide Church for some days now: the horrible truth that some senior and well-regarded pastors used their ministries as a selfish means to fulfill their own sexual desires; the horrible truth that the Pennsylvania Church, over the last seventy some-odd years, regularly reassigned priests who were know abusers, regardless of the potential for fresh abuse and continued victimization of innocents; and the horrible truth that there has been or is a sexually disordered subculture in some seminaries and rectories that undermines the heart of Christ’s teaching of self-giving love that the Church has proclaimed since our Lord’s sacrifice on the cross. God bless the people in Chile, Ireland, and the multitude of other countries affected by their own abuse scandals.

Our bishops have failed us. They have not lived up to the life of holiness that each of us is call to live - that each of us is invited to strive for to live life-eternal with God, our Creator. They have failed us in their humanity. And, it is no surprise.

We are all human, and all of us are in need of conversion of heart. Why else did Christ enter the world to save us, but from the ravages of sin and death? Without conversion, we are doomed – literally and figuratively. Doomed to a life without hope in Christ, without Christ’s peace (conformity to the Divine Will), and doomed to a life without happiness and satisfaction, as St. Augustine says: “Our heart is restless, until it rests in You [O Lord].”

So, what should the response to this failure be? And, are we right to assign this failure to all bishops, including the Holy Father?

Our response should be one of action – prayer-centered action. Prayers of reparation have poured out of some, and more are needed. But, each of us faithful, including those ordained, should pray for wisdom and guidance in doing our own part, given our state of life, our abilities, and our capacity to effect positive change, in conformity with the Divine Will, to do what is needed or appropriate to bring about healing and build up the Kingdom of God on earth. A people centered on this cannot fail. The Holy Spirit will not permit the forces of evil to prevail against us. (Psalm 21:11)

If the laity seeks holiness, the Church will be transformed. If the laity exercises its priestly calling to be Christ to one another, the Church and the world cannot remain the same. If the laity acts, our shepherds will bring us further as the body of Christ.

This action, too, must have a practical sense about how to seek solidarity with the victims of abuse and prevent abuse from ever occurring again. Solidarity is the first practical objective, we must walk with the victims of abuse in their journeys, so that healing can begin.

Bishops – I beg you – throw open the dark recesses of these problems to the light of truth. Allow us all to grieve with abuse victims and seek reconciliation with them. And, truth will provide no quarter to abusers. 

Bishops, be vulnerable to your flocks in all failings and do not consider yourselves above any other. All are equally answerable to our Lord, all must be held to account for their actions, especially those actions that rob innocents of faith and trust in God and the Church.

No evil can stand the light of truth. We must truly seek it in every way.

So, are all bishops guilty of failure? Yes. Each of us is complicit in looking away when we see sinful failings, and we all sin. All sin affects the community. A bishop’s failure affects his flock, and the flock’s failure is the “stink” that the shepherd has to contend with in loving, as Christ taught. Let none think he is without blame.

However, this does not mean that our bishops should be condemned. On the contrary, they need the support of the faithful in fulfilling their ministry – to proclaim the Gospel and lead souls to Christ.

Any bishop who cannot, after an examination of conscience, rest comfortably that his first mission is to lead in holiness, so as to bring about the Kingdom of God, should resign. All other worldly, societal, humanistic, social, and cultural concerns should be swept aside, if truth is to reign in the heart of the Church.

I pray for our priests, bishops, religious, consecrated, and all souls who earnestly yearn for God.

Pray with me, and build up the Kingdom, set upon the foundation of Jesus Christ, the truth, the way, and the life. (John 14:6)

17 February 2018

The Dignity of Each One - Too Precious to Lose

17 FEBRUARY 2018. In the wake of another school shooting, our hearts yearn to hear comforting words. We want to believe this will be the last. We want to believe that there is a way to prevent these terrible events. We want healing. We want answers to what went wrong. We want justice. We want to believe that everything will be okay.

The truth is that comforting words will soothe, but not reach to the heart of what is the matter with our culture and our nation. Comforting words are balm, but we need to take a harder look at why innocent children and teachers are targeted, and how a single individual can become so hardened and callus to carry out such a horrific act.

It is a waste of effort, misplaced from searching for the truth of these matters, to spend all of our energy on the means by which individuals injure another. Gun control legislation will not protect the innocent, in and of itself. We need a deeper look at the culture here.

How many parents allow their children to play first-person shooter video games? How many parents were raised playing such games? How many parents get married, divorced, remarried, and divorced again, in the plain view of children? How many of us yell and cuss at others in traffic, in the isolation of our vehicles, but in sight of our children? How many of us support so-called pro-choice or pro-women's positions which devalue human life as a decision that can be made to discard it? How may parents prioritize respect for others in their children's daily lessons? How many of us live in a selfless manner, seeking the good of others and the common good?

Difficult questions need an honest appraisal and answers that seek to turn each of us, individually, toward a way of life that recognizes the dignity of each other. Our lives should radiate that.

If children grow up in broken homes, witnessing disposable relationships, and spending their entertainment time killing virtual enemies on video games, we are not supporting a culture that upholds the dignity of the other. We are supporting the events that unfold in school shootings, and everyday violence where respect for the lives of others is incinerated in the fire of evil.

There will be those that call for gun control as a solution. Though it could be helpful in denying disturbed individuals the means to carry out violence on a broader scale, it is not a solution.


The solution is to respect and love one another. This is not the love on display in a Hallmark Card:  squishy, emotional, gushing, and trivialized. Love is a choice. That choice is to recognize the value of the other and act in a manner that respects it.

Parents should teach their children this love and model it in their daily lives. First, parents model love for their children in how they interact with each other. Second, parents have the responsibility to teach this love each day, and admonish children so that the lessons are learned well.

Fundamentally, this love is Christian because it comes from the very heart of who we are as individuals; creatures of a loving God, made in His image, with a share in the divine through our immortal souls. Our Lord and Savior gave us the commandment to love our neighbor as ourselves (cf. Luke 10:27), but how many of us who profess to be Christians really live this out?

If you go to church on Sunday, but let your children spend hours each day playing Call of Duty--killing others in a virtual reality--are you living out Christ's call?

It does not matter whether an individual professes a Christian faith, or not, it is written on our hearts and on our being that it is unnatural and wrong--at a basic level of humanity--to harm the innocent. So, how can we not live in a society and culture that upholds the dignity of each individual?


We are all responsible.

But there is hope. All of us can change because each of us with the faculties of reason and judgment can modify our behavior. Each of can live as one that is respectful of the dignity of others. This is our call, and it is not beyond our reach or hope. We have only to try.

-3OP-

11 September 2017

et alia

11 SEPTEMBER 2017. Today we commemorate dramatic events in the life of these United States, not the terrible terrorist attacks in our country, but the response of faith in God and in our country's principles of freedom that have endured.



Running on at the keyboard:

Is our country perfect? No. Have we made mistakes as a nation and as a government? Yes. Is our country superior to other nations? Even if we are militarily, economically, financially, or in some other way superior, by objective standards, we should always have the humility as a people to look at ways that we can assist others, not focus on our relative strengths.

What about those who protest at the playing of the National Anthem? What about them? They have a right to do that, but ignore them. Nothing defeats error like the light of truth.

What about all those alt-right nationalists and others who propose a racial, nationalistic superiority of the Anglo-Saxon portion of America? See the response above. I believe these people speak from fear and ignorance - always a deadly combination for both the soul and the intellect.

I believe most people are angry in our country because they truly have no idea just how good we have things. They are angry that more of their wants and desires are not met. They are angry because they are spiritually unsatisfied and,thus, cannot find rest in anything else.

President Trump was not the answer to this, he was just less objectionable to a greater portion of the electorate, as calculated by the Electoral College.  Why was Trump less objectionable? I believe, he is more traditional, even where that tradition has negative connotations.

Speaking of tradition, I pray that the new motu proprio on liturgical translations issued a few days ago, Magnum principium, will not lead Bishops anywhere to water down the faith. Bishops, challenge the faithful with the beauty, the wonder, the logic, the soundness of our faith. Elevate the character of worship beyond a meal among friends: it is truly an interaction with the Divine, with He who created the world, and sacrificed Himself for us.

Speaking of bishops, my heartfelt thanks to the Holy Father for sending our corner of Northwest Florida, Bishop William Wack.

Please Bishop Wack, drop the "Bishop Bill" nomenclature and be receptive to your flock by the wisdom and humility of your office. But, be our Bishop. We need you and our hearts are open to you and our Lord.

Please pray for everyone who is suffering from natural disaster.

Hurricane Irma was a storm that got much attention. So did Hurricane Harvey. But, how many others suffer in obscurity? Please, pray for them.

Dear readers, please pray for me, and I will pray for you.

-3OP-

06 December 2016

Saint Nicholas




6 DECEMBER 2016. Not a myth nor legend, St. Nicholas was a priest in Asia Minor (today Turkey) who was renowned for meeting the earthly and spiritual needs of his flock. We hang stockings today because of the earliest stories of St. Nicholas, who always wished to help those in need in a way so  that they did not know from whom the help had come. This was done out of humility, and the earliest stories relate to us that St. Nicholas placed gold coins in stockings hung out to dry so that those who received the help would not believe themselves indebted to the Church.

How can the renown of one bishop from the third century still have an impact on us today? Because kindness is always in demand. St. Nicholas, when it was found out what he was doing, only asked for prayers in return for his gifts. Are kindness and prayerfulness the way we celebrate Christmas today?