Sunday, January 31, 2021

Fulton Sheen Meditation

 From Praying in the Presence of the Lord with Fulton Sheen by Michael Dubruiel


Bishop Sheen’s “Now-moment” corresponds to the thinking of the great spiritual writer Jean Pierre de Caussade. In Abandonment to Divine Providence, Fr. Caussade gives the reader a sure way of knowing the will of God at any moment—by simply confronting the present moment with all its reality. It seems simple, but if we reflect for a second most of us will find that we spend most of our lives avoiding the present moment.
A few years ago an English translation of the Father Caussade’s work appeared in the United States changing the original title to read “The Sacrament of the Present Moment.” This captures the essence of Father Caussade’s work and Bishop Sheen’s meditation that in the present time we are presented with an opportunity that is truly unique. Each moment is sacramental.
Most of us are capable of presenting ourselves with some amount of reflection as we celebrate the sacraments. If we celebrated the sacrament of Baptism as an adult certainly we came expecting to be changed by God. Each time we enter a confessional surely we have examined our conscience beforehand and are penitent expecting to be forgiven by God. Undoubtedly every time we approach the altar to receive the Eucharist we expect to encounter God. But what about the other moments of our lives?
As we awake in the morning, is our first thought of God? As we greet our brothers and sisters throughout the day do we expect that God might be present? Every moment of our lives is an opportunity to encounter God who is always present.
Spend some time reflecting on the following:
1. Go over the events of the present day and ask yourself where God might have been in each of them. Is there a consistent pattern to your day?
2. Reflect on the life of your favorite saint, and meditate on how he or she dealt with the people they met in their daily journeys. How could you imitate this saint? What enabled the saint to act in the way he or she did toward others?
3. Imagine as you leave from this time of prayer that God wishes to continue to be present to you as you go forth. How will you react to his presence in others?
PrayerLord, help me to search for you in the garden of life in the same way that St. Mary Magdalene did when she found your tomb empty. May my search be rewarded as hers was by knowledge of your abiding presence. Amen.
"michael dubruiel" "fulton sheen"

Saturday, January 30, 2021

2021 Daily Lent Devotional

 The Power of the Cross by Michael Dubruiel is a book well-suited to daily reading during Lent. The book is available here in pdf version. Daily excerpts will be reprinted in this space during Lent.



"michael Dubruiel"



From the Introduction (part 4)

“What Do I Do Now?” 

Start reading this book. Each section is designed to be read and pondered on its own; read one of the entries each day, or take up  one section each week. There are parts of this book with which you may readily agree; other sections will probably anger you. Don’t worry about that; parts of this book elicit the same reaction in me. When faced with the cross, my inner demons rebel. Surrendering to the cross of Christ is the only way to rid oneself of whatever evil may be lurking in our lives. 

The way of the cross is the only sure way to joy and freedom. The world offers us happiness and rejects the cross, to be sure, but it is a happiness that is short lived. For those who embrace his cross, Jesus promises a joy that never ends. The evil one makes it hard for us to see the truth of Jesus’ claim at times. But those who seek the truth will experience—either first-hand or through living saints like Pearl—true reality: What the world promises is a lie. 

We are all headed to Cross City, whether we are following Christ or not. For those who follow Christ, Cross City is the gate to eternal life. For those who venture along that path without Christ, the cross brings only suffering and ultimately death. The crucified Christ is the Vine; we are called to be the branches. May his joy be in you, “that your joy may be full” (John 15:11).   More

For more about Michael Dubruiel.  

Friday, January 29, 2021

How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist - part 17

 

From How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist by Michael Dubruiel


About Michael Dubruiel





From Chapter 3 - Adore. Part 4


From a positive standpoint, then, what can we do to adore God in the Eucharist?

First we must foster a sense of reverence for God.The actions in the Mass of kneeling, bowing, and beating our breasts all have meaning. They cause us to consciously call to mind that God is present and to focus all of our attention on what God wants of us at the present moment.

Second, we need to worship the Eucharist outside of Mass in order to foster a deeper communion with our Eucharistic Lord when we receive his awesome gift at Mass. When we actively worship Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament we grow in awareness of what it means to receive him at Communion. Pope John Paul II has written about this as a necessary element to restoring an awe of the precious gift of the Eucharist. A Franciscan friend recently told me that when preaching about the Eucharist to young people, he begins by telling them to “Be amazed,” paraphrasing the Holy Father’s injunction.

Coming aside to reverence Christ in the Eucharist, realizing that he is before us, has the same power to change us as he did to those who came into his earthly presence.
LIVING THE UCHARIST
Try to find time to make a visit to a chapel or church to adore the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. Give Christ whatever time you have, whether a little or a lot. Make acts of worship in his presence.
Consciously call to mind God’s presence throughout the day, no matter where you are.

Third,we need to understand what the Catechism of the Catholic Church calls “the implications of faith in one God.” It means:
    “Living in thanksgiving” (CCC 224).
    “Trusting God in every circumstance” (CCC 227).

How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist - part 16

 



From How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist by Michael Dubruiel

About Michael Dubruiel





From Chapter 3 - Adore. Part 3


A COMMANDMENT

In 1989 something happened to me that I still think a lot about. I had come into our parish church in order to obtain the Blessed Sacrament to bring to the sick in the local hospital. As I approached the sanctuary of the church, I knelt down to spend a few minutes of prayer before setting out. It was then that something compelled me to prostrate myself on that spot on the carpeted floor. This was something I had seldom done before. So there I knelt with my hands and head pressed to the floor.

I felt something rough pressing into my forehead. Raising my head from the floor and feeling my forehead,I found pieces of the Eucharist (this parish used homemade unleavened bread at their Sunday Masses, a type of bread that crumbled quite easily). Feeling around the floor, I found more pieces of the Eucharist there. I picked them up and placed them into the pyx that I was carrying with me and took them to the pastor of the parish. The pastor immediately put a stop to the parish using the homemade bread until they could find a way to keep this “abuse” of the Blessed Sacrament from occurring.

This incident is noteworthy to me because of the “impuls
e” that came over me to adore those unseen pieces of the Blessed Sacrament on the floor.
In Scripture this impulse to adore happens whenever someone comes into contact with a messenger of God, with an event that reminds them of God, or with God himself in the person of Jesus.Abraham does this in Genesis 18:2,Balaam does it in Numbers 22:31, Joshua does it in Joshua 5:14, the blind man does it 
to Jesus in John 9:38, and the disciples do it to Jesus in Matthew 28:9. Those tempted to adore God’s works, however, are condemned in Scripture.
When John falls down to worship an angel in the Book of Revelation, the angel scolds him, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brethren who hold the testimony of Jesus. Worship God” (Revelation 19:10). Likewise, when Cornelius bows down to worship Peter, he is told by the apostle, “Stand up; I too am a man” (Acts 10:26), and when Paul and Barnabas are the recipients of unwanted worship they tear their garments and beg the people to recognize that God alone is to be worshipped (see Acts 14).
The point is that God alone is to be adored. If you want to get the most out of the Eucharist you need to worship the Lord! The first three commandments given to Moses emphasized the necessity of worshiping God alone.

1.  I am the Lord your God: you shall not have strange Godsbefore me.
2.  You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
3.  Remember to keep holy the Lord’s Day.

This means that we must not worship false Gods. What are some of the false gods that can present themselves as “goods” at the Eucharist? They are the same today as they would have been for those who experienced Christ in the flesh:

1. Ideology: Liberal or Conservative

In Jesus’s time the Sadducees and the Pharisees held rival ideologies of how best to be a worshipper of God.Yet when God showed up in their midst in the person of Jesus,neither group could accept him — Jesus didn’t fit their image of God.
In our own time good and well-meaning people fall into the same temptation, one that masks itself as a good but is really a sin of pride. There are people who accept what the Holy Father
teaches on some issues but reject what he says on others based not on whether it matches the truth of the gospels but rather on whether it matches their ideology or what they wish God was like.

When it comes to the worship of God, w
e must insure that it is God that we adore and not our own idea of who God is or should be.
2. Looking for a Human Savior

Jesus is our savior. If we are looking for a priest, a parish community, the perfect worship space, or excellent music — though all of these are good things — we risk making an idol out of these things and missing God, who is omnipresent. The effectiveness of the Eucharistic liturgy depends upon God, not us. Reverencing Jesus — no matter how bad the preaching, music, church building, or anything else that might be our personal pet peeve — puts our focus where it belongs. Those who tried to worship the apostles were scolded that this was not where their focus should be, but rather on God. Ministers both clerical and lay need to remember this: none of us is the savior; only Jesus holds that title.

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Thomas Aquinas - January 28

  From 2003, by Michael Dubruiel


Aquinas Thought of Everything


Below is a quote from Summa Contra Gentiles. I've been familar with the notion that St. Thomas said we'd all be 33 in Heaven regardless of when we died (before or after that age), but no one every seemed to know where he'd said it. Well here it is, along with an interesting discussion on the other qualities of the glorified body:


From Jacques Maritain Center: GC 4.88:


"STILL we must not suppose, what some have thought, that female sex has no place in the bodies of the risen Saints. For since resurrection means the reparation of the defects of nature, nothing of what makes for the perfection of nature will be withdrawn from the bodies of the risen. Now among other organs that belong to the integrity of the human body are those which minister to generation as well in male as in female. These organs therefore will rise again in both. Nor is this conclusion impaired by the fact that there will be no longer any use of these organs (Chap. LXXXIII). If that were any ground for their absence from the risen body, all the organs bearing on digestion and nutrition should be absent, for there will not be any use for them either: thus great part of the organs proper to man would be wanting in the risen body. We conclude that all such organs will be there, even organs of which the function has ceased: these will not be there without a purpose, since they will serve to make up the restored integrity of the natural body.*


Neither is the weakness of the female sex inconsistent with the perfection of the resurrection. Such weakness is no departure from nature, but is intended by nature.* This natural differentiation will argue the thoroughgoing perfection of nature, and commend the divine wisdom that arranges creation in diversity of ranks and orders. Nor is there anything to the contrary in the expression of the Apostle: Till we all meet and attain to the unity of faith and recognition of the Son of God, even to a perfect man, to the measure of the full stature of Christ (Eph. iv, 13). This does not mean that in that meeting in which the risen shall go forth to meet Christ in the air* every one shall be of the male sex, but it indicates the perfection and strength of the Church, for the whole Church shalt be like a perfect, full-grown man, going out to meet Christ.*


Again, all must rise at the age of Christ,* which is the age of perfect manhood, for the sake of the perfection of nature, which is at its best in this age above others.

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist - part 15

 

From How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist by Michael Dubruiel


About Michael Dubruiel




From Chapter 3 - Adore. Part 2


When Jesus came to visit the two sisters of Lazarus, the sister named Mary sat at Jesus’s feet and listened to him while the other sister, Martha, feverously worked in the kitchen to entertain their houseguest. Finally Martha came to Jesus and complained about the fact that Mary wasn’t helping her. Wandering minds, worriers, and a host of others don’t like what Jesus told Martha: “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things; one thing is needful.Mary has chosen the good portion, which shall not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:41–42).


I was discussing the topic of this book with a priest and he told me that in his many years of presiding at the Eucharist in churches around the world he thought that the organist was the most distracted member of almost every parish, “always fiddling with the music for the next piece, kind of a visual mind wandering.” It is easy to be caught up in worrying about doing a good job to the point that we forget why we are doing the job. Jesus tells the Martha in all of us, “One thing is needful.”


When we come to the Eucharist, are we adoring God, or worshipping something else?


O D L O N E


Over the entrance to the cloister of the Abbey of Gethsemane in Kentucky are two simple words that are not simple at all in practice: God Alone. What really is necessary? God. What truly is worth worrying about? Our relationship with God.


Jesus said, “One thing is needful.”


If you want to get the most out of the Eucharist, adore God! Worship the One who can save you from whatever life may bring, even death!


Monday, January 25, 2021

How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist - part 14

  

From How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist by Michael Dubruiel

About Michael Dubruiel




From Chapter 3 - Adore. Part 1 


The Baltimore Catechism was used as a primary teaching tool when I was a child. Even though I probably was taught with it for only the first three or four years of my Catholic education, like others before me I haven’t forgotten the simple lessons it taught me, like:

Q. Who is God?

A. God is the Creator of heaven and earth, and of all things.

“All things”includes me and everyone else on the earth,along with everything else that I can perceive. God is the maker of all that is, and as such is the most important Being that exists. My very existence depends upon God.

It follows then,and this is from the modern Catechism of the Catholic Church,that “to adore God is to acknowledge,in respect and absolute submission, the ‘nothingness of the creature’ who would not exist but for God.To adore God is to praise and exalt him and to humble oneself” (CCC 2097).
H E N O U R I N D WA N D E R S
One of the most frequent complaints that people who genuinely want to get more out of the Eucharist raise is that they find that their mind wanders at Mass. The cause of their distraction may be as simple a question as “Did I turn off the car lights?” or as weighty a concern as “I wonder how I’m going to pay the mortgage or rent this month?” It is understandable, given the hectic pace of life, that when we try to quiet ourselves in the presence of God we often find that our minds are cluttered with many distracting thoughts.
ELP FROM THE FATHERS OF THE HURCH
For often in the very sacrifice of praise urgent thoughts press themselves upon us, that they should have force to carry off or pollute what we are sacrificing in ourselves to God with weeping eyes. Whence when Abraham at sunset was offering up the sacrifice, he was troubled by birds of prey sweeping down on the carcasses, but he diligently drove them off,so that they might not carry off the sacrifice being offered up (cf. Gen. 15:11). So let us, when we offer a holocaust to God upon the altar of our hearts, keep it from birds of prey that the evil spirits and bad thoughts may not seize upon that which our mind hopes it is offering up to God to a good end.
— S T. G REGORY THE REAT

The Conversion of Paul - January 25

  The Cross of Christ Illumines. . . Blindness “ by Michael Dubruiel


As I made my journey and drew near to Damascus, about noon a great light from heaven suddenly shone about me. And I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?’ And I answered ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And he said to me, ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth whom you are persecuting.” Now those who were with me saw the light but did not hear the voice of the one who was speaking to me. And I said, ‘What shall I do, Lord?’ And the Lord said to me, ‘Rise, and go to Damascus, and you will be told all that is appointed for you to do.’ And when I could not see because of the brightness of that light, I was led by the hand by those who were with me, and came into Damascus.” ACTS 22:6–11 


Jesus said, “For Judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may become blind.” Some of the Pharisees near him heard this, and they said to him, “Are we also blind?” Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, ‘We see,’ your guilt remains.” JOHN 9:39–41 


The most unique Holy Saturday I ever experienced occurred when my wife and I decided to go to a monastery for Holy Week . Saturday was a rainy day and we decided to go to a nearby spot that was advertised up and down the interstate as the place to visit when you were passing through this part of the country— it was a cave. What better spot to spend Holy Saturday, I reasoned, than under the earth? After all, Jesus’ body had lain in a tomb on that first Holy Saturday.

 So we drove a few miles away from the monastery and joined a group of other travelers in an out-of-the-way location to descend into the earth and explore one of nature’s wonders. What I remember most about the tour of the cave had little to do with the stalactites or the stalagmites but something else that we experienced once we had gone deep into the cave. The tour guide asked us, “How many of you think you have experienced total darkness?” A few people raised their hands. He then told us that he was going to turn off the artificial lighting that illuminated the cave so that we could experience what the first people who had discovered this cave experienced when their light went out. There was nothing but total, pitch darkness. I held my hand in front of my face but could see absolutely nothing. I knew that it was there because I could sense it but I could see absolutely nothing, no shadow, no outline—just a horrible darkness. It was the closest that I have ever come to having some understanding of what it must be like to be totally blind.

 In Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, in a chapter entitled “Seeing,” Annie Dillard wrote about people born blind whose sight was restored by a medical procedure. The reaction of those thus healed wasn’t what one might expect. Some wanted to go back to the darkness—they found the light too much. Others enjoyed the gift of vision, but to those who had been in darkness since birth it seemed to them that everything was made of light. Blinded by the Light In John’s Gospel, Jesus divides the world into two camps: those who encounter his light and have their sight restored, and those who encounter that light and are blinded. Jesus told Nicodemus, “And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19).

In John’s Gospel, Jesus heals a blind man, who has not only his physical sight restored but also comes to see that Jesus is worthy of worship. The Pharisees who question the blind man refuse to believe, no matter how much evidence is brought forward to prove that Jesus had healed him. Another Pharisee, Saul of Tarsus, later persecuted the followers of Jesus. While setting out on one such mission, Saul was struck by a light from heaven, and heard the voice of Jesus, the suffering Christ. Saul was blinded on his way to Damascus, where a follower of Jesus healed him. Saul became St. Paul, one of the greatest followers of Christ. The preaching of Paul would focus on the crucified Christ, leading many artists to portray the scene of Paul’s conversion as an encounter with a cross of light.

None of the Pharisees, including Saul, thought that persecuting the followers of Christ was evil; in fact, they thought they were doing the will of God. We all risk falling into the same trap. How well do you and I truly see? Do we see everything made of light? Or do we only partially see reality as it is?

A World Made of Light 

There have been times in my life when I have called upon God to save or help me, and God has answered in dramatic ways. At
 first I gave thanks for God’s intervention in my life. But with time my inner Pharisee began to question the events: Was God really responsible? There are those who believe that we live in an age when miracles have ceased, but I know better. Miracles abound—we just don’t always recognize them. Those cured of physical blindness perceive the world to be made of light; the same is true of those cured of spiritual blindness. What seemed dark and hopeless suddenly becomes a path to glory. The psalmist reflects this spiritual vision when he prays in perhaps the best-known psalm, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for thou art with me” (Psalm 23:4). Today there are eye surgeries that allow people to see clearly without corrective lenses. We need the “surgery of the cross” to restore our vision, allowing us to see the world as God sees it. The person filled with the Light perceives light, even in apparent total darkness. As we read in the Gospel of Matthew: “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is sound, your whole body will be full of light; but if your eye is not sound, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!” (Matthew 6:22–23). Lord Jesus, touch our eyes that we might see!


The Power of the Cross is a book well-suited to daily reading during Lent. The book is available here in pdf version. Daily excerpts will be reprinted in this space during Lent.


"michael Dubruiel"


Saturday, January 23, 2021

January 24 - Francis de Sales

 Today is the feast of St. Francis de Sales the Patron Saint of Writers




To read more about him, check out the CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: St. Francis de Sales



There are two elements in the spiritual life: first, a struggle against our lower nature; secondly, union of our wills with God, in other words, penance and love. St. Francis de Sales looks chiefly to love. Not that he neglects penance, which is absolutely necessary, but he wishes it to be practised from a motive of love. He requires mortification of the senses, but he relies first on mortification of the mind, the will, and the heart. This interior mortification he requires to be unceasing and always accompanied by love. The end to be realized is a life of loving, simple, generous, and constant fidelity to the will of God, which is nothing else than our present duty. The model proposed is Christ, whom we must ever keep before our eyes. "You will study His countenance, and perform your actions as He did" (Introd., 2nd part, ch. i). The practical means of arriving at this perfection are: remembrance of the presence of God, filial prayer, a right intention in all our actions, and frequent recourse to God by pious and confiding ejaculations and interior aspirations.

More by Michael Dubruiel

How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist - part 13

 

From How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist by Michael Dubruiel

About Michael Dubruiel




From chapter 2 - Serve. Part 9



U R T H E R E L P S


1. Keep Your Focus on Jesus

Whenever you desire to “control” what happens in the Eucharist, or suffer because you sense someone else is hijacking the liturgy,
    Think of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples.
    Think of Jesus telling his followers to take up their crossand follow him.
    Think of Jesus saying that he did not come to be servedbut to serve.
Keeping your focus on Christ will prevent the devil in his attempts to distract you from the purpose of the Eucharist.
2. Learn from the Blessed Virgin Mary
Following the example of the Blessed Virgin Mary we declare ourselves at God’s service. “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord” (Luke 1:38) was Mary’s response to the Angel Gabriel’s
32
announcement that God would become incarnate within her. When we come to the Eucharist, God desires to continue the incarnation within us, and Mary teaches us how we should approach so great a gift.
Mary’s reaction to the angel’s message gives a supreme example of the sacrifice we can bring to every celebration of the Eucharist. When confronted with anything that does not go according to our plans,we need to open ourselves up to what God might be asking of us.
3. Foster an Attitude of Service
When Joshua realized that he was being confronted by a messenger of God, someone who at first he was not sure was a friend, he asked, “What does my Lord bid his servant” (Joshua 5:14)?
When we have the right stance toward God in our worship this is the question we will ask when confronted by anything that disturbs us: “What does my Lord bid his servant”?
4. Developing a Eucharistic Spirituality
Empowered by Christ, we should seek to serve God and anyone God places in our path throughout the day. “How may I serve you?” should be the question ever on our lips, whether at home, at work, or in recreation. We can find concrete ways to serve Christ in the many guises in which he comes to us in the poor and the weak.
5. A Prayer for Today
These beautiful words of St. Augustine, taken from his Soliloquies, may help you to ask God for the grace to offer yourself, so to be at his service:
33
O God, at last You alone do I love, You alone I follow, You alone I seek, You alone am I prepared to serve, for You alone by right are Ruler, under your rule do I desire to be. Direct, I pray, and command whatever You will, but heal and open my ears, that I may hear Your utterances. Heal and open my eyes, that I may behold Your signs. Drive delusion from me, that I may recognize You.Tell me where I must go, to behold You, and I hope that I shall do all things that You command. O Lord, most merciful Father, receive, I pray, Your fugitive; enough already, surely, have I been punished, long enough have I served Your enemies,whom You have under Your feet, long enough have I been a sport of falsehood.Receive me fleeing from these, Your house-born servant, for did not these receive me,though another Master’s,when I was fleeing from You? To You I feel I must return: I knock; may Thy door be opened to me; teach me the way to You. Nothing else have I than the will: nothing else do I know than that fleeting and falling things are to be spurned, fixed and everlasting things to be sought.This I do, Father, because this alone I know, but from what place to approach You I do not know. Instruct me, show me, give me all that I need for the journey. If it is by faith that those find You, who take refuge with You then grant faith: if by virtue, virtue: if by knowledge, knowledge. Fill me with faith, hope, and charity. O goodness, singular and most to be admired!8

Friday, January 22, 2021

How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist - part 12

 

From How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist by Michael Dubruiel


About Michael Dubruiel






From chapter 2 - Serve. Part 8



O S T E R I N G   A N AT T I T U D E     O F E R V I C E

If you have ever held a position in a service industry then you know that one of the principal ways of fostering an attitude of service is by presuming that the customer is always right.Having been in that position myself in many different jobs over the course of my life, I know that many times the customer isn’t right,but I also know that when you treat them as if they are they are more apt to come to the truth than when you treat them in an arrogant manner.

ELP FROM THE FATHERS OF THE HURCH
Let your prayer, then, be no mere pronouncing of words with the lips. Devote your whole attention to it, enter into the retreat of your heart, penetrate its recesses as deeply as possible. May he whom you seek to please not find you negligent. May he see that you pray with your whole heart, so that he will deign to hear you when you pray with your whole heart.
— S T. A MBROSE

Fostering an attitude of service toward God in the Eucharist is not exactly the same thing as assuming that the customer is always right, however, because unlike the human customer, who may in fact be wrong, God is always right! Believing that can lead us to some rather startling conclusions,when we come to Mass and with every moment of our lives. A great illustration of this attitude of service is found in the Second Book of Samuel when King David flees Jerusalem after it has been taken over by his son Absalom. As David flees, a kinsman of King Saul named Shimei comes out as the king passes by and begins cursing him, continually throwing stones at David and his servants.One of David’s servants,Abishai, says to David,“Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over and take off his head” (2 Samuel 16:9).
King David’s response is to rebuke Abishai and to wonder “If he is cursing because the LORD has said to him,‘Curse David,’who then shall say, ‘Why have you done so?’ ” (2 Samuel 16:10). They travel on and Shimei continues to follow them, cursing while throwing stones and dust.
What if this were our attitude? What if we were to take a second look when something happens that isn’t in our plan, perhaps even to think that the person cursing us might be doing so because God is telling him or her to do so?
A servant is always ready to serve.This is a sacrifice that Christ demands of his followers, and one that when we embrace it will help us to get the most from the Eucharist we celebrate.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

What is a Novena?

  About Michael Dubruiel





When Jesus ascended into heaven, he told his Apostles to stay where they were and to "wait for the gift" that the Father had promised: the Holy Spirit.  The Apostles did as the Lord commanded them. "They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers" (Acts 1:14). Nine days passed; then, they received the gift of the Holy spirit, as had been promised. May we stay together with the church, awaiting in faith with Our Blessed Mother, as we trust entirely in God, who loves us more than we can ever know. 

"michael Dubruiel"

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist - part 12

  

From How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist by Michael Dubruiel


About Michael Dubruiel






From chapter 2 - Serve. Part 8



O S T E R I N G   A N AT T I T U D E     O F E R V I C E

If you have ever held a position in a service industry then you know that one of the principal ways of fostering an attitude of service is by presuming that the customer is always right.Having been in that position myself in many different jobs over the course of my life, I know that many times the customer isn’t right,but I also know that when you treat them as if they are they are more apt to come to the truth than when you treat them in an arrogant manner.

ELP FROM THE FATHERS OF THE HURCH
Let your prayer, then, be no mere pronouncing of words with the lips. Devote your whole attention to it, enter into the retreat of your heart, penetrate its recesses as deeply as possible. May he whom you seek to please not find you negligent. May he see that you pray with your whole heart, so that he will deign to hear you when you pray with your whole heart.
— S T. A MBROSE

Fostering an attitude of service toward God in the Eucharist is not exactly the same thing as assuming that the customer is always right, however, because unlike the human customer, who may in fact be wrong, God is always right! Believing that can lead us to some rather startling conclusions,when we come to Mass and with every moment of our lives. A great illustration of this attitude of service is found in the Second Book of Samuel when King David flees Jerusalem after it has been taken over by his son Absalom. As David flees, a kinsman of King Saul named Shimei comes out as the king passes by and begins cursing him, continually throwing stones at David and his servants.One of David’s servants,Abishai, says to David,“Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over and take off his head” (2 Samuel 16:9).
King David’s response is to rebuke Abishai and to wonder “If he is cursing because the LORD has said to him,‘Curse David,’who then shall say, ‘Why have you done so?’ ” (2 Samuel 16:10). They travel on and Shimei continues to follow them, cursing while throwing stones and dust.
What if this were our attitude? What if we were to take a second look when something happens that isn’t in our plan, perhaps even to think that the person cursing us might be doing so because God is telling him or her to do so?
A servant is always ready to serve.This is a sacrifice that Christ demands of his followers, and one that when we embrace it will help us to get the most from the Eucharist we celebrate.

Monday, January 18, 2021

How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist - part 11

  

From How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist by Michael Dubruiel


About Michael Dubruiel



From chapter 2 - Serve. Part 7


“ I H AV E I V E N O U     A N X A M P L E 

Jesus told his disciples that he had given them a model to follow. He said,“If you know these things,blessed are you if you do them” (John 13: 17).

The traditional tale of the fall of Satan is that it was due to his refusal to serve: non serviam, “I will not serve,” was the devil’s reply to God.Inflated by pride,he would not obey.Fallen humanity shares this trait, as Jeremiah the prophet says: “For long ago you broke your yoke and burst your bonds; and you said, ‘I will not serve’ ” (Jeremiah 2:20).

In opposition to Satan and fallen humanity is Jesus Christ. Jesus did not come to be served but to serve. We who follow him are “in Christ”and we are to imitate him at the liturgy.If we want to get the most out of the Eucharist we need to start by fostering the attitude of Christ the Servant.
O U C H O TAT O AT H O L I C S ?

It strikes me that at the heart of every problem we experience in the Eucharist today is a fundamental stance of someone who will not serve but wants to be the one served — sort of a couch potato Catholic.

St. Benedict, in his Rule, explains the proper attitude the follower of Christ is to have at prayer: “If we do not venture to approach men who are in power, except with humility and reverence, when we wish to ask a favor, how much must we beseech the Lord God of all things with all humility and purity of devotion? And let us be assured that it is not in many words, but in the purity of heart and tears of compunction that we are heard.

If someone very important were coming to your house, you would want to make sure that the person was at ease, you would look after his or her comfort, and that person would be the center of your attention until his or her departure. Likewise, if we truly serve God at our celebration of the Eucharist, God will be our focus. Our hearts and minds will be raised to him.

If your role is to preside at the liturgy, you must serve the liturgy faithfully as the Church has handed it down to you. If you are a musician, the music must serve the liturgy, helping all to raise their voices as one to God. If you function as a lector you must proclaim the readings with great care so that all may hear the Word clearly. Every person in the congregation has a role to serve in the Eucharist.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday

  From 2004 by Michael Dubruiel


About Michael Dubruiel


This past summer on our way to Florida, Amy and I stopped at the gravesite of Martin Luther King Jr. I had been there before, a number of times. Though it is close to downtown, there is a quiet that persist--obviously this was not the case the other day when President Bush was there--but the times I've been there, although a crowd is present, most are quiet, reflecting.



What are they reflecting on?



Non-violence, peaceful protest, offer no resistence--the teachings of Christ! For what made Dr. King's message different and in the end successful was the apparent failure of it. Like the master he preached--his tomb stands like a cross planted squarely in the middle of the south. The relecting pool surrounding it reflects the faces of humanity who walk around it.



It was Christian faith, radical belief in the message of Jesus that led the civil rights movement of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and sadly that very faith has been forgotten by many who wish to follow in his footprints. But who can blame them when they see the tomb of Dr. King, they see the price of the taking up one's cross and following the master.



We also visited the Ebenezer Baptist Church nearby. I had never been inside the church before--since it was undergoing renovations. Amy and I were both shocked at how small it was--having seen in on television countless times, it seemed large. But alas it wasn't..."if you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to that mountain."



There will be many talks given today, that will laud Dr. King and his contribution to our society. There will be many proclamations about the progress we have made and some lamentation about how much further we have to go. But the saddest indictment will not be that we have not moved far enough in recognizing all people as our brothers and sisters--but rather that most of us have forgotten the one Father that we share that makes us all brothers and sisters!



At the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, TN where Dr. King was shot there is a historical marker with a quote from Genesis..."here comes that dreamer, let us put an end to him and then see what becomes of his dream." Of course the dreamer spoken of in Genesis is Joseph and his dream was given to him by God and nothing men could do could destroy or keep that dream from coming to fruition. Ultimately God always wins...

Sunday, January 17, 2021

How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist - part 9

 

From How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist by Michael Dubruiel


About Michael Dubruiel



From chapter 2 - Serve. Part 5

“DYOU KNOW WHAT I HAVE DONE FOR YOU?”

When Jesus had finished washing the feet of his disciples, he rose and resumed his place at the table and asked them a simple question: “Do you know what I have done for you?”
There are several ways to take this question which Jesus posed to us, his followers; let me suggest two.

What Jesus Has Saved Us From

The first possible meaning relates to what Jesus has done for us by his sacrificial act on the cross:Do we know what Jesus has saved us from?

You may know enough to say,“Jesus has redeemed us from the bondage of original sin,” but unless you know what the lived consequences of this sin are, you cannot fully appreciate what Jesus has saved you from.The Catechism of the Catholic Church spells out the nature and effects of original sin in paragraphs 397–412. Here I briefly summarize this teaching and contrast it with how Jesus has reversed the “curse” of original sin.
 First, in the sin:

    Man “let his trust in his Creator die in his heart and,abusing his freedom, disobeyed God’s command” (CCC 397).
— Jesus trusted in God completely, even to death on the Cross, praying in the Garden of Gethsemane, “not my will, but thine, be done” (Luke 22:42).
    Man “preferred himself to God,” thereby turning his back on the Creator (CCC 398).
— Jesus, though he was the form of God, did not deem equality with God; rather, Jesus lowered himself, taking the role of a servant (see Philippians 2:6–7).
As a result of original sin:
    People are “afraid of the God of whom they have con-ceived a distorted image” (CCC 399).
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— At the Conception of Jesus, his Mother was told: “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God” (Luke 1:30). — Jesus told his followers, “I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I tell you, fear him! Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten by God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows” (Luke 12:5–7).
    The original “harmony in which they [Adam and Eve] found themselves … is now destroyed” (CCC 400). — Jesus set the example of reversing this disharmony, so that St. Paul would pray, “May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus” (Romans 15:5).
    “The control of the soul’s spiritual faculties over the body is shattered” (CCC 400).
— Jesus’s death and our incorporation into it at baptism restore the right order, as St. Paul wrote to the Romans, “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions. Do not yield your members to sin as instruments of wickedness, but yield yourselves to God as men who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments of righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under the law but under grace” (Romans 6:12–14).
    “The union of man and woman becomes subject to tensions, their relations henceforth marked by lust and domination” (CCC 400).
— Jesus  said, “Have you not read that he who made them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh?’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder” (Matthew 19:4–6).
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— St. Paul instructed the followers of Christ that “the wife does not rule over her own body, but the husband does; likewise the husband does not rule over his own body, but the wife does” (1 Corinthians 7:4) and in an often misquoted passage he told the Christian husband to love his wife “as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25).
    “Harmony with creation is broken: visible creation has become alien and hostile to man” (CCC 400).
— Jesus commanded nature and nature obeyed, both in healing the sick and calming the storm. He told his disciples, “In my name … they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover” (Mark 16:17–18).
    “Death makes its entrance into human history” (CCC 400). — Jesus raised the dead and was raised from the dead, and promised eternal life to anyone who believed in him, proclaiming himself to be “the bread which came down from heaven, not such as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live forever” (John 6:58).

Knowing what Jesus has done for us will give us a greater appreciation of the Bread of Life that we receive when we approach his altar at every Eucharistic celebration. It is literally a matter of our life or our death!

LIVING THE UCHARIST
Is your Christian life dominated by the fallen worldview?  Do you strive with the help of the Holy Spirit and the nourishment of the Eucharist to live the new life of the kingdom that Jesus offers?