Deacon's Corner
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February 18, 2018, 12:00 PM

Lent has arrived! Are we enjoying our metanoia?

During Lent the Church unites Herself to the mystery of the temptation of Jesus in the desert. Our sins sap us of our spiritual energy. Lent is a time to recharge ourselves. We celebrate Lent to change our hearts and minds to be more Christ-like. This change, metanoia, is our Lenten theme. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (No. 1438) says, “The seasons and days of Penance in the course of the liturgical year (Lent, and each Friday in memory of the death of the Lord) are intense moments of the Church’s penitential practice. These times are particularly appropriate for spiritual exercises, penitential liturgies, pilgrimages as signs of penance, voluntary self-denial such as fasting and almsgiving, and fraternal sharing (charitable and missionary works).”

In his Lenten message, Pope Frances says we should “take up the Lenten journey with enthusiasm, sustained by almsgiving, fasting, and prayer. If, at times, the flame of charity seems to die in our own hearts, know that this is never the case in the heart of God! He constantly gives us a chance to begin loving anew.”

Lent began last Wednesday! How are we doing at our metanoia? We have many opportunities for prayer. There is adoration at our Mary, Mother of Mercy Chapel. We have Evening Prayer, Vespers, Sundays at 6:00. This year the papal initiative, “24 Hours for the Lord” will be March 9 and 10. In each diocese, at least one church will remain open for 24 consecutive hours, offering an opportunity for both Eucharistic Adoration and reception of the Sacrament of Penance. The theme, inspired by the words of Psalm 130:4, is “With you is forgiveness.” Our Diocese has the Light is On for You program that makes the Sacrament of Penance available in all Churches on Mondays from 5:30 to 7:00. Participating in prayer and the Sacraments renews our spiritual energy and enhances our metanoia. Now you know!

February 11, 2018, 12:00 PM

Are we really ready to Celebrate Lent?

We celebrate Lent to imitate Christ who was tempted by Satan during His 40 days in the desert. We celebrate Lent to change our hearts and minds to be more Christ-like. This change, metanoia, is our theme for this Lent. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, this Wednesday! That’s just 3 days away! Are we ready to start our metanoia! We have 3 days to think about how we will spend Lent to continue to change our hearts and minds to be more Christ-like. During Lent the Church invites us to take a step back and look at who we are and how we are doing in our growth in holiness. It is the perfect opportunity to form new life-giving habits and give up old selfdestructive habits. This year we can use these 40 days to explore God’s plan for us and what it means to be more Christ-like. As Matthew Kelly said, “We cannot change a moment of the past, so we need to grasp the present moment and change the future.” We can choose any combination from the three pillars of Lent: prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. Our choices lead to our metanoia. Turning our backs on service is turning our backs on ourselves. By taking these next 3 days to further develop our Lenten plan, we’ve taken the next step to our metanoia. We can discover the balance between accepting ourselves as we are and challenging ourselves to change and grow. Now, what can we do with 40 days to change our hearts and minds? Now you know!

February 4, 2018, 12:00 PM

Are we ready to celebrate Lent?

We celebrate Lent to imitate Christ who fasted 40 days and nights in the desert before He began His public ministry. We celebrate Lent to prepare for the new life promised to us by the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus. We celebrate Lent to change our hearts and minds to be more Christ-like. The Greek word for this change is metanoia, our theme for this Lent. Lent and each Friday throughout the year are days of penance in memory of the death of Jesus and are very important parts of our penitential practices. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and ends at the start of the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday. This year Lent begins on February 14. That’s just 10 days away! Are we ready? We might say, “Ready for what?” That’s easy, ready for our metanoia! We have 10 days to think about how we will spend Lent to continue to change our hearts and minds to be more Christ-like. We can choose from the three pillars of Lent: prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. We can celebrate with spiritual exercises, penitential liturgies, pilgrimages, Scriptural reading, the Divine Office, self-denial such as fasting and abstinence, and performing corporal and spiritual works of mercy. Prayer is the raising of our minds and hearts to God and His desire for communication with us. Fasting is not partaking in certain foods or activities. Almsgiving is using our time, talent, and treasure to build up the Church. Our choices lead to our metanoia. Now you know!

January 28, 2018, 12:00 PM

Do we have a good understanding of the Mass?

If we did have a good understanding, we would never miss Mass! But people choose not to attend. We hear comments such as, “I’m not being fed at Mass” or “I don’t get anything out of Mass.” Why are these sentiments so common? Most folks would say that they experienced bad Liturgy. This could have been terrible music, poor preaching, difficulty understanding the priest, unwelcoming Parishioners; and the list goes on. On the surface, these excuses may seem valid. We make decisions based on our experiences. At Mass we drift. We become more interested in what people are wearing or doing and we lose focus on what we should be paying attention to. That’s the problem! We are not actively participating! We get so distracted that we fail to see the greater reality of what is happening right before our eyes. If people had a complete understanding of the Mass, they would never leave the Catholic Church. The Mass is the Wedding Feast of the Lamb. It is the participation in the heavenly banquet of the King. It is Heaven on earth! We are fed with the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus in Holy Communion. There is no greater food than this Bread of Life. For people who say they don’t get anything out of Mass, it’s like everything else. We get out of it what we put into it. How well are we listening? How much do we understand the things that are being said and done? Have we studied the deeper meaning behind the words, rituals, and gestures? Each family received the book, Understanding the Mass, by Mike Aquilina, as a Christmas gift from the Parish. We will gather Tuesday, January 30, at 7:00 pm to discuss the book and give each of us a deeper understanding of the Mass. Now you know!

January 21, 2018, 12:00 PM

What can we do to protect unborn children?

The Catholic Church teaches that every child, from conception onward, deserves love and the protection of the law. Since the 1973 Supreme Court Decision, Roe v. Wade, that legalized abortion, there have been over 60 million abortions! What can we do to reverse this decision? Here are some options. First, we can pray (an alltime favorite!) that all involved, including the doctors, nurses, and pregnant women have a change of heart. Second, we can serve as counselors to women with problems related to pregnancy. Third, we can participate in peaceful demonstrations such as praying the Rosary in front of an abortion clinic or walking in the annual March for Life in Washington DC. Fourth, Congress needs to know that we expect them to protect life. Here are three proposed laws that we need to tell Congress that we support. The Conscience Protection Act would ensure that those who provide health care can do so without being forced by government to help destroy innocent unborn children. Most doctors and nurses are unwilling to participate in abortions and should not be driven from their professions if they refuse to perform abortions. Second, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act would protect unborn children from late-term abortions. It makes it unlawful to perform an abortion if the post-fertilization age of the unborn child is 20 weeks or greater. Since a child can experience pain at least by 20 weeks after fertilization, there is a compelling governmental interest in protecting unborn children from this stage. Third, the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act of 2002 said that each infant who is fully born and shows signs of life must be recognized in law as a human person. The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act would require any health care practitioner present when a child is born alive following an abortion to exercise the same degree of care to preserve the life and health of the child as would be given to any other child born alive at the same gestational age. There is a lot we can do. Standing on the sideline, uniformed, is definitely not one of them. Promoting a “culture of life” is a great start! Now you know!

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