Friday, November 02, 2007

Requiem Aeternam
Eternal rest grant unto them,
O Lord, and let perpetual light
shine upon them. May they rest in Peace, Amen.

God bless you and yours on the Feast of All Saints Day,
Dear Ones in Standing Just,

For years I sent out a monthly reflection of appropriate faith builders and prayer concerns--and then life got in the way and the years have flown by. Working with the two men's groups at St. Ann's has slowly drawn me out of a solitary life--and as we enter into this meaningful month of the Church, I want to take the opportunity to share some appropriate thoughts from our most ancient faith and perhaps a few from more recent happy memories. I do not know how often I will continue these jottings, but do let me know if you find them helpful.

Nov. 1 All Saints Day-- A Holy Day of Obligation

Nov. 2 All Soul’s Day--A Debt of Love Day for those who have gone before us

Nov. 1-8 an opportunity to gain Plenary Indulgences for Souls in Purgatory--you gain this by visiting a Cemetery and offer up prayers

Nov. 2 Devoutly visiting a Church--go to Mass, sign up your loved ones in the Book of Remembrance for the Alter , receive Communion, and Light a Candle for those who have gone before you--and you earn a Plenary Indulgence--you are reciting the required Credo and the Our Father by being on time to Mass and participating.

Pray the Requiem Aeternam daily during November--you join with the whole Church in praying for the Souls in Purgatory.

I have a good friend, Gerri who says, “Adam and Eve--it is their entire fault--look what they did to us..." Adam and Eve and David and Bathsheba are the two clearest examples of Holy Scripture that bring home to me so hauntingly Catholic theology that though God forgives sin, the worldly consequences of sin can continue to run its course. And these consequences do not happen alone in the prayer chapel like our confessions--they spill over into our very real lives and affect not just us, but those around us.

The Blood of Christ does remit sin. Oh, the Blood of Jesus, it washes white as Snow...Christ Jesus poured out His Blood completely for us--and in the unbloody sacrifice of the Mass, He still pours out fresh and anew His Blood on the Alter to forgive our sins. As Catholics we have the incredible privilege to partake of the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity or Our Dearly Beloved Lord Jesus. It is from this treasury of merit from which indulgenced works draw. The redemptive work of suffering--the purgative work of embracing the Cross of Christ in our daily lives causes the fountain of these graces to flow from the treasury of merit Christ created in the offering up of His Blood. Please--dear ones, who are new to me--let me be the first to say--this is much easier for me to put on paper in the comfort of my own private office and safety. Embracing the Cross is not easy, it is not fun, it is not without pain--but it is to what we are called. Most of us spend a lifetime trying to avoid the one thing that we are called to do--Embrace the Cross--love deeply the Cross of Christ, Glory in the Cross. "For I was born to be Your Dwelling place--a home for the presence of the Lord--so let my heart now be, Separated unto Thee--that I might be what I was born to be."

From an early age I have been a student of Holy Scriptures. When I was less than 5 a wise, old, godly woman taught me my first Bible verse--Luke 2: 52 "And Jesus increased in wisdom, in stature, and in favor with God and man." As Mrs. White rocked me and taught me that Scripture, she told me stories of King Jesus--hero stories--and then she said, "This is what I want you to do." It has been two steps forward and three steps backwards, but that has been a guide-star verse for my life. And those who look from a far think that I have been somewhat successful--those who know me close up know the real truth---even now there are moments where I shudder and turn from the Cross. But, Jesus did all these things well--and yet Scripture tells us there was something that even Jesus had to learn--did you know that? There is something that even Our Lord had to learn--Obedience--He learned it through suffering---His Suffering--is the Blessed Storehouse of Merited Grace and Mercy which He pours out for the purification of the whole world--unbounded LOVE, unmerited GRACE.

Read from Holy Scriptures:
Luke 2:51-52, Hebrews 5: 7-8, Colossians 1: 22, I John 2:2
Recommended Book:
The Confessions -- St. Augustine—this is a must read.

November is the month of Remembrance.
During this month, we remember those who have died and we do special acts of Metanoia--prayer, almsgiving and fasting to honor and assist those Christians who have gone before us....

What are Indulgences?

God sent us into the world to make the world a better place. But, thanks to Adam and Eve--sin entered the world--and every man through all of time has been a Sinner and sinned making the world not a better place--but worse.

When we sin, we take grace away from not only our own lives, but from the rest of the world. Sin takes away our power to be joyful—to accept graces—to let love flow from us to others—to have the power and desire to resist more sin… Confession restores me to a state of joyful grace, but the people I mistreated still suffer from my earlier lack of grace. How do I repair that damage? I must repair that damage –this is the Will of God. In fact, I cannot enter Heaven until I do His will--obey Him. As we were taught from a young age—to know God, to love Him, to obey Him, and to hope to live with Him forever… The world must be free from the suffering my sins have caused. The Maronite rite expresses beautifully that the blood of Jesus ran down from the cross and covers the whole world—offering the healing and forgiveness for sins. Through the redemptive power of His Blood—the sign of peace is extended from the priest and the Altar one by one to each and every Mass participant—illustrating our call to extend this work of peace and grace throughout the world.

I have two choices if I wish to heal the world: I can share in the healing work of the Cross r in Purgatory in the life to come—or in this life through indulgences. An indulgence is a prayerful act I can do today that restores part or all of the grace the world would have enjoyed if I had never sinned. Just as if I had never sinned—Protestants call this Justification and we call it a state of grace. We are called to share in the healing work of Christ

To be worthy of sharing in this healing work of Christ, I must first be in a state of grace.
To perform a partial indulgence, I need only be in a state of grace when doing the work.
To perform a plenary indulgence, I must be in a state of grace when doing the work, receive confession, receive the Eucharist, pray for the Pope’s intentions (an Our Father and a Hail Mary ), and make an act of the will to love God and despise all sin, even the most venial.

Plenary Indulgences for November

Feast of All Saints

Feast of All Souls

Visiting a cemetery and praying for the dead during the Octave of All Saints’ Day (November 1 through November 8) will win a plenary indulgence that can only be applied to those in purgatory.

At the Hour of Death: The Anointing of the Sick contains the apostolic pardon, a plenary indulgence which requires no other work. If no priest is available and the person is baptized, rightly disposed and has regularly prayed in some way during his life, prayer in the hour of death may earn a plenary indulgence.

Feast of Christ the King: Praying the Act of Dedication to Christ the King on the Feast of Christ the King (25th) may earn a plenary indulgence.

Act of Dedication to Christ the King

Most Sweet Jesus, Redeemer of the human race, we are Yours, and Yours we wish to be. To bind ourselves to You even more closely we kneel before You today and offer ourselves to Your Most Sacred Heart.

R. Praise to You, our Savior and our King. Have mercy on all who have never known You and on all who reject You and refuse to obey You: gentle Lord, draw them to Yourself.

R. Praise to You, our Savior and our King. Reign over the faithful who have never left You, reign over those who have squandered their inheritance, the prodigal children who now are starving: being them back to their Father's house.

R. Praise to You, our Savior and our King. Reign over those who are misled by error or divided by discord. Hasten the day when we shall be one in faith and truth, one flock with You, the one Shepherd. Give to Your Church freedom and peace, and to all nations justice and order. Make the earth resound from pole to pole with a single cry: Praise to the Divine Heart that gained our salvation; glory and honor be His forever and ever. Amen.

R. Praise to You, our Savior and our King. Amen.

Tantum Ergo

Down in adoration falling, To the Everlasting Father
Lo! The Sacred host we hail. And the Son Who reigns on high,
Lo! O’er ancient forms departing, With the Spirit blessed proceeding
Newer rites of Grace prevail; Forth, from Each eternally,
Faith for all defects supplying, Be salvation, honor, blessing,
Where the feeble senses fail. Might and endless majesty. Amen.

Today is the Thanksgiving of the Catholic Church—let us joyfully celebrate and pray for the Church:
The Church Militant—those still in this life
The Church Triumphant—those heroes of the faith in the Beatific Vision of Heaven
The Church suffering—those praying for us, and we praying for them still in the moment of purgation-Purgatory.

God bless you and your dear families—remember the Vinzant family on your Hope beads.