Thursday, May 17, 2007

The Ascension of our Lord (A Holy Day of Obligation) which falls on Thursday, May 17, 2007 is suspended in USA dioceses till the following Sunday, and will be celebrated on Sunday, May 20, 2007.

Today, a Holy day of obligation, we celebrate the Ascension. Today’s readings from the Liturgy of the Hours includes a sermon from Saint Leo the Great. This sermon is powerful. It captures the significance and importance of the ascension to our faith.

Before you read the sermon, consider the author. Saint Leo the Great was Pope from 440 to 461 AD, and is one of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church. He was Pope when the barbarian, Attila the Hun sought to invade Rome . Attila was the fiercest and most ruthless of all barbarian invaders. When Attila arrived at the gates of Rome , Saint Leo, in a saintly white robe, went out to meet him with a little entourage of 100 priests, monks and bishops, chanting in Latin, burning incense, and carrying crosses and images of Jesus and Mary. Even though Attila, who feared no man, was flanked by thousands of barbarian troops, he feared this saintly man who was called Vicar of Christ. Attila feared not the power of man, but the unseen power of God. Worried that Saint Leo could call down the heavenly army of angels to fight for the Church, Attila agreed not to sack Rome and turned back ( Rome was lost 25 years later; different Pope, different barbarian).

Saint Leo the Great produced some of the finest writings and sermons in Church History. One of those sermons, about the Ascension, is as follows (the part that is chilling to me is to realize that women and children were brutally tortured for our faith):

“At Easter, beloved brethren, it was the Lord’s resurrection which was the cause of our joy; our present rejoicing is on account of his ascension into heaven. With all due solemnity we are commemorating that day on which our poor human nature was carried up, in Christ, above all the hosts in heaven, above all the ranks of angels, beyond the highest heavenly powers to the very throne of God the Father. It is upon this ordered structure of divine acts that we have been firmly established, so that the grace of God may show itself still more marvelous when, in spite of the withdrawal from men’s sight of everything that is rightly felt to command their reverence, faith does not fail, hope is not shaken, and charity does not grow cold.

“For such is the power of great minds, such the light of truly believing souls, that they put unhesitating faith in what is not seen with the bodily eye; they fix their desires on what is beyond sight. Such fidelity could never be born in our hearts, nor could anyone be justified by faith, if our salvation lay only in what was visible.

“And so our Redeemer’s visible presence has passed into the sacraments. Our faith is nobler and stronger because sight has been replaced by a doctrine whose authority is accepted by believing hearts, enlightened from on high. This faith was increased by the Lord’s ascension and strengthened by the gift of the Spirit; it would remain unshaken by fetters and imprisonment, exile and hunger, fire and ravaging beasts, and the most refined tortures ever devised by brutal persecutors. Throughout the world women no less than men, tender girls as well as boys, have given their life’s blood in the struggle for this faith. It is a faith that has driven out devils, healed the sick and raised the dead.

“Even the blessed apostles, though they had been strengthened by so many miracles and instructed by so much teaching, took fright at the cruel suffering of the Lord’s passion and could not accept his resurrection without hesitation. Yet, they made such progress through his ascension that they now found joy in what had terrified them before. They were able to fix their minds on Christ’s divinity as he sat at the right hand of his Father, since what was presented to their bodily eyes no longer hindered them from turning all of their attention to the realization that he had not left his Father when he came down to earth, nor had he abandoned his disciples when he ascended into heaven.

“The truth is that the Son of Man was revealed as Son of God in a more perfect and transcendent way once he had entered into his Father’s glory; he now began to be indescribably more present in his divinity to those from whom he was further removed in his humanity. A more mature faith enabled their minds to stretch upward to the Son in his equality with the Father; it no longer needed contact with Christ’s tangible body, in which as man he is inferior to the Father. For while his glorified body retained the same nature, the faith of those who believed in him was now summoned to the heights where, as the Father’s equal, the only-begotten Son is reached not by physical handling, but by spiritual discernment.”

Thursday, May 10, 2007

OK, it is that time again---I hate fund-raising by nature but it is something we have to do for some of these pro-life organizations

The Walk for Life funds one of my good friends in the work and she is very careful with every nickle and dime--she works with the Legislature in Texas to safeguard our rights which are constantly under attack such as the right to die issues being debated the next week in Austin.

It is so easy--just tell me the amount and your name and address and phone number and they will send you a reminder for payment later.

Please help me exercise and serve a greater good by helping you fund a wonderful pro-life organization--again one of my favorites. No amount is too big or too small.

And while we are raising awareness---love those wonderful wives and mothers of your children dearly and hold them near with special times this lovely weekend. And pray your HOPE bead for the Vinzant family. Lewis turns 22 on Friday and we start the weekend with a tremendous brisket--the best ever thanks to the BBQ for Life---you go GUYS--you ROCK!!!

Jan will be surprising Lewis at the diner party and staying the whole weekend so we can treat her to a special Mother's Day Weekend--maybe we will bump into some of you over the weekend .

God bless and call in those pledges so i can turn them in eh.

Your brother in Christ,