August 7, 2011
Taking a look at the week ahead
Many of our parents have spoken to me, worrying that their teens either fight them at coming to Mass with the family, or on coming to Mass, find it boring and a complete waste of time. Some of our parishioners attending Mass…for whatever reason…come late and leave early. For many, Mass is an occasional Sunday thing, along with North Pointe or golf or tennis or travel. All of us, with this sixty-year old at the front of the line, have struggled with what the faith-life is calling us to become…calling us to be. So, for all of you reading this column, take a look at the week ahead.
Sunday: In the liturgical calendar, the 19th Sunday in Ordinary time; in the spiritual calendar, the first day to new life, redeemed life, resurrected life. The Lord Jesus, having been seen as the Transfigured Lord shows us what being transformed means…when in loving obedience, He trusts in God…to the end. By His wounds we have been healed (1 Peter 2.24), we…you and I have been forgiven of our selfishness, our sinfulness. On the Lord’s Day, we celebrate His light and love, as we seek to become His light and love, as disciples of the Way.
Monday: The feast of St. Dominic, the founder of the Order of Preachers (Dominicans). A contemporary of St. Francis, Dominic spent his life seeking the renewal of the Church of Christ. He had a great devotion to the Mother of God and sought to live as she invited…to do whatever He tells you (John 2.5). Dominic died in 1221 and was canonized in 1234. He was that kind of witness…sort of like John Paul the Great. Dominicans serve in the Archdiocese of Atlanta.
Tuesday: The feast of St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, known by secular history as Edith Stein. She was a brilliant woman, a professor of philosophy who worked alongside the great Edmund Husserl, the founding intellect of phenomenology. Born into a devout Jewish family, she became a member of Christ’s Church and entered religious life as a Carmelite. In 1942, she became a martyr for the faith, being put to death at Auschwitz. Most of the spiritual directors in the Archdiocese of Atlanta count Carmel as a kind of spiritual home.
Wednesday: The feast of the great deacon of Rome, St. Lawrence. He served the Church as a kind of Chief Financial Officer. Though his work gave him an extraordinary prominence in the city, he was known in the Church as a humble deacon, a true servant of the Lord. He was executed by Rome, executed for love of God and neighbor, just like His Lord. He died in 258 Anno Domini. The restored Order of Deacons has been a blessing to Saint Brigid since our founding.
Thursday: The feast of St. Clare, soul-mate of St. Francis, and long-time superior of consecrated sisters living in Assisi. Her parents wanted “what was best for her”…upward social mobility, the “right” husband, security (as wealth gives security). But she chose a different path, one of humility and simplicity, in imitation of Jesus of Nazareth. She lived a long life of service, in joy. She died in 1253. Franciscans serve in the Archdiocese of Atlanta.
Friday: The feast of St. Jane Frances de Chantal (+1641). She was born Jane Frémiot, in Dijon. In the plan of God, she entered the holy vocation of marriage, and she and her husband were blessed with six children. After her husband’s death and after raising her children, she worked with St. Francis de Sales to begin anew community of women, the Visitation nuns. There is a convent of Visitation nuns in the Archdiocese of Atlanta.
Saturday: Pontian, the Bishop of Rome, and the priest-theologian Hippolytus were martyred for their faith-life, in 235. The darkness of evil that can sometimes overtake secular authority executed these two clerics as it had done to Lawrence and to Edith Stein and to their Lord, Jesus of Nazareth.
If you are still reading this reflection, think about this question: how did the men and women who will be remembered this week overcome the failures of the Catholic Church in their day? How did they overcome insipid music, boring homilies, an irreverent congregation, sinful priests, incompetent Bishops and the “out of date” message the Church proclaimed? Why didn’t they just find something else to do with their Sundays, as so many of our people do today?
Look to the first day of the week. Look to Sunday. Look to the Word and the Breaking of the Bread. These saints didn’t simply “go to Mass”. They ran to the Church, to celebrate the One who is and who was and who is to come. The saints of God…those remembered at the Altar this week and the disciples reading these words of mine will become saints of God…when the Lord Jesus and His love becomes our Way, our Truth, and our Life.
We are invited to believe this amazing assertion: God is alive and desires us to love, and live.