Fall is a time of renewal, which should also bring tremendous opportunity for forgiveness
As high as the heavens are above the earth so high are my ways above your ways and my thoughts above your thoughts. Isaiah 55: 9
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. Preamble to the Declaration of Independence
The parable of the vineyard owner who hires people at the first hour of the morning, then
mid-morning, mid-day, mid-afternoon, and even one hour before quitting time speaks to these unalienable rights – the right to an honest day’s wage. Yet those who had worked all day felt they were being cheated: the vineyard owner chose to pay everyone the same! Mt 10: 1-16
In our country, there is a scourge across the land that many, according to skin color, race, ethnic origin, are not treated fairly; and in fact are receiving exceptionally harsh treatment from those sworn to protect and defend justice.
Yet all - black, white, brown, caramel colored - every-color-of-the rainbow skin tone - are created in the image and likeness of God. At creation, everyone’s name was spoken as a child of God, and everyone is promised the same reward of heaven, life with God forever.
Do we really know ourselves? If we hold prejudice in our heart, practice racial prejudice in the workplace, bully those of different skin color, we will be mightily surprised when those who were treated as least in the kingdoms on earth have become the greatest in the kingdom of Heaven.
We are 244 years out from the Declaration of Independence. There are no ‘unalienable Rights’ for many. Some are denied the right to Life, or it is taken from them. Liberty is deprived of too many because of racial prejudice, and the Pursuit of Happiness is a race that has left many in the dust.
We CAN and MUST do better. Pray with this parable today. Ask the Holy Spirit to examine your heart and feelings, and reveal the findings to you. Ask yourself if you think you deserve more in the kingdom of God than others. Will you be happy that we all share in the prize together?
Dale Sieverding, Director of Worship
This weekend, we honor our catechists in a special way as it is Catechetical Sunday. Sep. 20 marks the beginning of the year of catechesis in Faith Formation. We will offer a blessing onour catechists for children and adults, we will offer a blessing for all teachers and a blessing for parents and care givers.
The bishops at the Second Vatican Council noted that parents are the primary educators of their children in the teaching and appropriation of our Catholic faith. To acknowledge this fact, we will offer a special blessing to them on Catechetical Sunday. The theme this year is I received from the Lord what I handed on to you, a phrase taken from the First Letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians (11:23 ff) in speaking about the death and resurrection of Christ and speaking about the giving of the gift of the Eucharist.
Take some time with this tried and true way to reflect on Words of Sacred Scripture
Read Meditate Pray Contemplate
Matthew 20:1-16 - A vineyard owner went out and hired people to work in his vineyard at all ours of the day…
Lectio Divina can be followed from this beautiful USCCB resource.
Lord of heaven and earth,
How different are these kingdoms!
In yours, you rise early and stay out late, seeking, welcoming, employing.
In ours, we want defined hours, standardized pay, parity at all times.
King of heaven and earth,
Help me understand what working for you is all about.
Is it about intimacy: knowing you, being with you, doing what you want?
Judge of heaven and earth,
Help me learn what working for you is all about.
Is it about a common task, a shared job, a blessed equality as your labourers?
Lord, King, Judge,
Change my heart to see and receive your kingdom:
to delight in your outreach of saving grace, your importunate welcome,
to rejoice in being with you and those you’ve gathered,
to work together as brothers and sisters ‘on earth as it is in heaven.’
For an attempt at True Spiritual Growth: work through this process of Lectio Divina every day or several days this week. Pray the Gospel Prayer in conclusion each day.
Each time you listen to, study, pray with the Scriptures – it is a new experience, and you are hearing the Word of God anew – because TODAY, you are not the same person as you were LAST WEEK – because of your encounter with the moments you have lived in the past week.
There is solid evidence that the COVID 19 virus is airborne and is expelled from the mouths of people who are contagious whether or not the person has symptoms. In singing and public speaking, it is known from those who study this, that we expel and aerosolize micro-droplets that can hang in the air for a very long time (3 hours or more). It has been determined that singing in public, speaking loudly in public, yelling (like at a sports event), and other activity is a fertile ground for super-spreading of the virus.
Therefore, to protect the health and safety of our community – priests, parishioners, volunteers and staff, the County guidelines allowed churches to reopen provided that singing by the congregation be stopped for the time being. We will one day sing again with full voice in the church, and I have spent more than 30 years working as a liturgist and pastoral musician. I want people to sing, it has been my vocation, but now, until there is a vaccine or the virus passes, we cannot sing in public.
The Church offers many different types of prayer: liturgical prayer, devotional prayer, meditative prayer, personal piety devotions.
The Liturgy of the Hours is one of the official Liturgies of the Church and consists in Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer daily – centered on praying the Psalms, hearing a short word of another Scripture passage, some intercessions for the needs of the Church, our local needs, and needs of the world, the Canticle of Mary (The Magnificat), The Lord’s Prayer and conclusion. What is the benefit?
Sometimes when we don’t have the words to pray, or can’t find the words we need to express to God our sorrow, rage, anger, love, thanks, joy, sadness, overwhelming gratitude, love or love lost … the Psalms can help us find the visceral language with which we can be Honest To God: series of lectures last year on the Psalms provided our community with more background on their composition, their purpose, their use throughout the Church’s history.
The early Christian Church prayed the Psalms, as they prayed the prayers that Jesus prayed and knew well as a good Jew. On the Cross, the words of Psalm 22 were on his lips, My God, My God, why have you forsaken me. In the hearts and minds of the early Christians, these were the songs of Israel that they knew and continued to pray. And in another place, Jesus is the stone which the builders rejected, now become the cornerstone/keystone.
The praying of the Psalms – singing them -- developed into a ritual of prayer, morning, evening and used at the Eucharistic celebrations and thus became the backbone of the Church’s Liturgical Prayer.
The Liturgical Press as been gracious to offer the resource Give Us This Day to the Church during this pandemic as a free, downloadable resource. It is also available on an app for your phone, so you could have it available wherever you are and have time to pray. Have a look today, and let this become part of YOUR ritual of daily prayer, when you do not have the words to speak.
Communion with God is our ultimate goal in life – with prayer, celebration of the Liturgy, study and meditation on Scripture, retreats and spiritual growth opportunities. We believe that Christ is present in bread and wine, made Body and Blood of Christ through the Eucharistic Prayer of the Community, lead by the presider (priest or bishop) acting in persona Christi (in the person of Christ). We believe that our Communion with God through the Eucharist is so powerful and intimate that we believe we consume the Body and Blood of Christ by eating and drinking as the Lord commanded.
During this time when we are unable to receive the Eucharist physically, Pope Francis invites us to make a Spiritual Communion – that is to invite Christ in to our hearts, and ask that Christ come close to us, and that we come close to Christ. We do this in moments of prayer following the Communion Rite at Mass, with the following prayer:
My Jesus, I believe that you are present in the most Blessed Sacrament. I love You above all things and I desire to receive You into my soul. Since I cannot now receive You sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. I embrace You as if You were already there, and unite myself wholly to You. Never permit me to be separated from You. Amen.
We also join ourselves to the Body of Christ, and Pope Francis invites us specifically to join ourselves with the Body of Christ suffering the most from the Coronavirus epidemic – those afflicted, those who have lost their lives, the doctors, nurses and entire medical community caring for patients. St. Paul writes: When one member of the Body of Christ suffers, the entire Body suffers. We are one Body, one Spirit in Christ.
Here are some resources to understand better the concept of Spiritual Communion and the importance of inviting Christ into your heart and soul.
St. Monica has responded to the problem of continuing racial prejudice and brutal treatment and killings and violence against our brothers and sisters in the black community in a number of ways. The prayer below was sent us by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, and definitely the power of prayer to bring us together by our common belief in Jesus. A recent webinar that several of participated in from Georgetown University with Archbishop Wilton Gregory, Archbishop of Washington on the presentation. He proposes that racism is a virus, as insidious as the Coronavirus, and as destructive that has lived for too long in this country. With this prayer, we pray for unity because we are better together.
The blessing offered to us by Pope Francis a few weeks ago, is the Urbi et orbi blessing to the City of Rome and to the World offered all of us listening the Plenary Indulgence.
Our former parish organist, the beloved Merrill Collins is also music composer having written a work on human rights. The name of her composition is Every Man, Woman and Child, and was performed for the June 27 world wide UN75 Virtual Conference. She happens to be in a composition competition, and if you listen and LIKE her music on the Facebook page, that’s a vote in favor of two categories where she is a finalist. Listen here in the New Age category and the Hip Hop category.
The Confessions of St. Augustine – I would be remiss if I didn’t offer you for your reading enjoyment, or re-reading if you’ve already read, the Confessions. St. Augustine’s self-indiulgent Spiritual Auto-biography, which has inspired Christians who desire a deeper relationship with Christ to read and study the Confessions. This could be your next pandemic project!
Looking at monastic insights we might gain and learn from as a result of pandemic isolation:
What is Lectio Divina? - A Short video by Fr. James Martin, SJ
A resource put together as a gift to our Church for moments of prayer toward the end of life, especially useful for us as we accompany a loved one who may be in hospice, or near death when a priest cannot come to celebrate the Anointing of the sick.
Morning Prayer and Evening prayer
Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer with the Psalms are the “hinges of the day” according to the Liturgical documents. Praying with the Psalms gives us a rhythm, and puts us in contact with some of the most salient poetic and sung scripture texts composed to help the people of Israel speak to God in prayer – there are Psalms of praise, thanksgiving, lament, fear, anger, distress, in moments of great joy and moments of great sorrow.
It may be praying with the Psalms during these days would help you through this moment of great upheaval. It is available as a download to your mobile device or computer and is also available as an app for the iPhone and Android platforms.
by Diana Macalintal
This is a great collection of inspired prayers that Diana, a good friend, wrote and I have used them to open meetings, close meetings or just begin the day.