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Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost
FEAST OF THE HOLY ROSARY

John, Chapter 13, Verse 34-35
34 I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. 35 This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Have you ever wondered how Jesus really loved? How the disciples felt in His presence?

Jesus commands us to love one another even as He loved us.

The crux of this command is to understand how Jesus loved us. Our text reveals five aspects of this love:[1]

1. Jesus’ love was costly love (John 13:31-32).

For Jesus, the way was a costly one. He traveled the road of sorrows, and it ended with his death on a cross. Jesus was willing to suffer and die for us because his death would enable us to escape from our sins and to live with God forever. Though he was God in the flesh, Jesus let himself be whipped and spat on and crowned with thorns. He let himself be crucified, with nails driven through his hands and feet. He offered his life as an act of love for us--an act so perfect, so pure, and so valuable that it paid for the sins of the whole world. This was something only God could do. No matter what we might do to atone for our sins, we are merely finite creatures and never could pay for our offenses against the infinite holiness of God. But God could pay for them-- and, because he loves us, he did. After the Crucifixion, Jesus rose from the dead. The Resurrection serves as a sign of what is waiting for all who turn to God. One day Jesus will return, and those who have loved God will experience their own glorious resurrection, the overthrow of death, and eternal life in the love of God.[2]

2. Jesus’ love was caring love (John 13:33).

THE MANDATE of Christianity is simple: love. Yet in this simplicity, complicated problems can spring up like weeds, for we more often than not use “love” as a mere excuse for self-indulgence. In the modern world especially—although it has been a problem throughout Church history—we commonly scorn real love. We scorn the suffering, self-sacrificial love with which Christ loved us to save us from our sins. And even though Christ told us to love each other “as I have loved you,” we scorn this love because we have so perverted and eroticized the concept of “love” that we even condone sin today in the name of Christ.[3]

3. Jesus’ love was commanded love (John 13:34).

Some people claim that the Church puts too much emphasis on the concept of sin, and that, if parents didn’t scare children with talk of sin and focused more on love, the world would be a better place. This argument can even lead to the idea that we should accept everything in the name of Christian love, and that we lack charity and are being judgmental merely to speak about sin. “It’s offensive to another’s individuality,” they claim, “to say that something that ‘does not really hurt others’ is morally wrong.” Well, it’s a great sadness that most parents do not teach their children how to love. Love is hard work, and most parents shrink from that work. When children misbehave, for example, it’s far easier to tell the children that they will go to hell because of their misbehavior than it is to show them consistently, by example, that all behavior should be motivated by love for God. When parents take the easy way, the children grow up being afraid of hell and understanding nothing about real love.

The irony, though, is that parents fail to teach their children real love because they fail to understand the psychological reality of sin.[4]

4. Jesus’ love was conspicuous love (John 13:35).

In psychological terms, sin can be described as a sort of infatuation with the vanity of our personal desires. That is, most people are narcissistically preoccupied with their immediate desires and have little, if any, altruistic awareness of anyone or anything else around them. Psychologically, this behavior allows you to feel good about yourself (that is, to feel strong and “in control”) by using, hurting, or neglecting someone else. Sin therefore leads you away from true love and compassion, and it sends you right into all the predicaments of self-indulgence. Sin really does hurt others because sin defiles love. Simply teaching children to be kind to one another, therefore, will not make sin “take a back seat.” In fact, teaching kindness without also teaching the full meaning of sin unwittingly promotes sin. Without an awareness of sin, anything goes. “If it feels good, do it,” is equivalent to the devil’s motto: Do what thou wilt. To see what is really required to overcome sin, let’s look more closely at the various forms of love.[5]

5. Jesus’ love was committed love (John 13:36-38).

Love, in its purest and most divine meaning refers to something so far beyond our comprehension that it is, well, incomprehensible. Christian theology says that “God is love,” but most us can grasp that concept only intellectually. Many Catholic mystics through the ages, however, have had an immediate experiential encounter with divine love, and they all end up saying essentially the same thing: I thought my heart would burst and that I would die right there. This sort of love is what Catholic mysticism is all about: a love for Christ so overwhelming that a person would risk anything and give up anything to get close to it. But this divine love is not something you “fall into”; it’s something you have to work at. To understand this, let’s first consider love’s other forms naturally accessible to general human experience.

·         A child’s love for a parent refers to a natural emotional bond every child must make with a caretaker in order to survive the helplessness of infancy and childhood. This childlike love for a parent serves as a preparation for the eventual experience of real love for God.

·         We also naturally love our siblings within our families; this is called brotherly love, and it is necessary for peace and growth in families—although sibling rivalry often manifests in dysfunctional families.

·         We can naturally love our neighbors, too; this is called neighborly love, and it, too, is necessary for social survival—although aggression and war often stain all societies.

·         What we commonly call romantic love, or erotic love (from the Greek eros), is just “common love”—a politically correct distortion of real love. Romance—in all truth, and contrary to popular sentiment—is actually a mixture of two things: a dependent, infantile attachment to a caretaker, and desire. Now, infantile dependence needs no further explanation.      Desire, in the psychological sense, refers to our attempts to fill ourselves with things that feel pleasurable or soothing, so as to hide from ourselves the reality of our essential human emptiness and brokenness. When you look at another person with desire, you do not see a soul enrobed in chaste beauty; you see only your own exuberant fantasy that your aching throb of loneliness might be alleviated.[6]

Desire isn’t necessarily a bad thing, however. Although Buddhism, for example, teaches that all desire must be avoided, and although Christian theology teaches us that misplaced desire can lead us straight into sin, desire can be raised to the level of the divine. In fact, that’s the essence of the Catholic mystic tradition: to desire union with God as the supreme desire. As the deer longs for streams of water, so my soul longs for you, O God (Psalm 42:2). In this mystical desire for God we turn away from the illusory social attractions of the world around us and turn only to God for strength and refuge. That’s what it means to “die” to the world. And that’s a necessary step toward holiness for everyone—clerics, religious, and the laity. Thus, our natural human capacity for some forms of love is but a faint reflection of the divine love by which God created and redeemed us. Yet when natural love is raised to the level of the divine through Christ, it enters into a true mystery. In regard to this mystery, Christ told us something very important.[7]
No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. —John 15:13


The Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem[8]


The Military and Hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus is one of the orders of chivalry to survive the downfall of the Kingdom of Jerusalem and the attempts by the Crusader knights to win control of the Holy Land from the forces of Islam. In theory the Order remained a military one, but with the exception of a brief period in the 17th century it played no military role after 1291. The Order of Saint Lazarus is one of the most ancient of the European orders of chivalry. At the very least it dates back to the time of the Crusader knights. From its foundation in the 12th century, the members of the Order were dedicated to two ideals: aid to those suffering from the dreadful disease of leprosy and the defense of the Christian faith. Today the Military and Hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem is an international self-governing and independent body, having its own Constitution; it may be compared with a kind of electoral kingdom. According to the said Constitution the Order is nonpolitical, oecumenical or nondenominational, as its membership is open to all men and women being practicing members of the Christian faith in good standing within their particular denomination. Its international membership consists of Roman-catholic, Anglican, Protestant, Orthodox, United, Old Catholic, New Apostolic and other Christians, upholding with their lives, fortunes and honor the principles of Christianity. Traditionally it is organized as a Christian Chivalric Order. The Order is registered in London in accordance with the laws in England. It is both a Military Order of Mercy and a Hospitaller Order dedicated to the care and assistance of the poor and the sick. Its aim is to preserve and defend the Christian faith, to guard, assist succor and help the poor, the sick and dying, to promote and maintain the principles of Christian chivalry and to follow the teachings of Christ and His Holy Church in all its works. With the exception of the present Teutonic Order ("Deutscher Orden") the Order of Saint Lazarus is today the smallest of the orders of Christian chivalry. It is made up of approximately five thousand members in the five continents. The Order sees itself as an oecumenical Christian order whose genesis goes back to the Holy Land, to the crusades and to the Kingdom of Jerusalem.

20th Sunday after Pentecost[9]

Under the traditional calendar the Church focuses on making our hearts ready through faith as we "redeem the times".

GOSPEL. John vi. 46-53

At that time there was a certain ruler whose son was sick at Capharnaum. He having heard that Jesus was - come from Judea into Galilee, went to Him, and prayed Him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death. Jesus therefore said to him: Unless you see signs and wonders, you believe not. The ruler saith to him: Lord, come down before that my son die. Jesus saith to him: Go thy way, thy son liveth. The man believed the word which Jesus said to him and went his way. And as he was going down, his servants met him: and they brought word, saying that his son lived. He asked therefore of them the hour wherein he grew better. And they said to him: Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him. The father therefore knew that it was at the same hour that Jesus said to him, thy son liveth; and himself believed, and his whole house.

Consolation in Sickness

To console ourselves in sickness, let us bethink ourselves that God has sent us sickness for the good of our souls; that we may thereby attain a knowledge of our sins, and make satisfaction for them; or, if we suffer innocently, we may exercise ourselves in patience, charity, humility, and such like virtues, and so increase our merits. When ill let us employ a competent physician and use the remedies he may prescribe. But before all else, let us betake ourselves to God, give ourselves up unreservedly to His will, pray Him to enlighten the physician, and bless the means employed for our recovery, and subdue our inclinations if the prescription of the physician does violence to our former habits. For how otherwise should medicine have its proper effect?

O Lord, here burn, here wound, only spare me in eternity!
St. Augustine

ON THE CARE OF THE SICK

All who have charge of the sick should before all think of the soul, and to that end call upon Jesus to come in the Blessed Sacrament, before the sick person is past the point of receiving Him with devotion. Therefore, parents, children, relatives, and friends, if they truly love the sick, should seek to induce him to receive the Blessed Sacrament in time. At the beginning, and during the progress of the sickness, we should endeavor to encourage the patient to resignation and childlike confidence in God; should place before him the Savior, suffering and glorified, as a pattern and consolation, should pray with him, to strengthen him against desponding thoughts and the temptations of the devil; should sign him with the sign of the cross, sprinkle him with holy water, and, before all, pray for a happy death. But in caring for the soul the body is not to be neglected. We must call in time a skilful physician, give the sick person his medicines at the appointed times, keep everything clean, observe particularly the prescribed limit as to eating and drinking, and not permit the patient to have his own will, for he might often desire what would be hurtful to him. In general, we should do what, in like case, we would wish to have done for ourselves, for there is no greater work of charity than to attend a sick person, and particularly to assist him to a happy death.

Feast of the Holy Rosary[10]


This feast was fixed for the first Sunday in October by Pope Clement XI; in perpetual commemoration of a celebrated feast was fixed for the first Sunday in October by him due to the double victory gained by the Christians at Lepanto, in 1571, under Pope St. Pius V., and at Belgrade, under Pope Clement XI., through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, who had been invoked by saying the Holy Rosary. It is at the same time the principal feast of the Arch-confraternity of the Holy Rosary. In 1885 Pope Leo XIII., ordered the Rosary to be recited every day during the month of October in every parish church and cathedral throughout the world, and those of the faithful who cannot be present at this recital he exhorted to say it with their families or in private. The Holy Rosary is a form of prayer in which there is first said the Apostles Creed, and then fifteen decades, each one of which consists of ten Hail Mary’s. Each decade has one Our Father to be said before it and is followed by a meditation upon one mystery of our redemption. It is called the Rosary, or Wreath of Roses, because the joyful, the sorrowful, and the glorious mysteries, aptly symbolized by the leaves, the thorns, the flower, of which the rose consists with the prayers and praises that are blended together compose, as it were, a wreath or crown. It is also called the Psalter, because it contains a hundred and fifty Hail Mary’s, as the Psalter of David contains a hundred and fifty psalms, and because it is used in place of the singing of psalms, as practiced in former times. There are three parts in the Rosary the joyful, the sorrowful, the glorious. The joyful part consists of the five first decades, to which are attached five mysteries of the incarnation of Jesus Christ, through which, full of joy, we speak to Mary of Him: 1. Whom she conceived while a virgin. 2. Whom she bore to Elizabeth. 3. Whom she brought forth while a virgin. 4. Whom she offered to God in the temple. 5. Whom she found Him in the temple. (This is said particularly in Advent.) The sorrowful part, in like manner, contains five decades, in connection with which there are presented for our meditation five mysteries of the passion and death of Jesus: 1. Who for us sweat blood. 2. Who for us was scourged. 3. Who for us was crowned with thorns. 4. Who for us bore the heavy cross. 5. Who for us was crucified. (This is said particularly in Lent.) The glorious part, consisting of the last five decades, reminds us of the glory of Christ and of the Blessed Virgin by five mysteries in which we commemorate Him: 1. Who rose from the dead. 2. Who ascended into heaven. 3. Who sent to us the Holy Ghost. 4. Who received thee, O Virgin, into heaven. 5. Who crowned thee, O Virgin, in heaven. (This part is said particularly at Eastertide.)

How was this prayer introduced into the Church? St. Dominic had for many years preached against the errors of the Albigenses and other heretics, with such zeal and profound ability that they were often convinced. But nevertheless, the results were unimportant; but few returned to the bosom of the Catholic Church. In this discouraging state of things St. Dominic redoubled his prayers and works of penance, and in particular besought Mary for support and assistance. One day Mary appeared to him and taught him the Rosary. He zealously labored to introduce everywhere this manner of prayer, and from that time preached with such success that in a short period more than one hundred thousand heretics and sinners were converted. The divine origin of the Rosary is testified to by the bull of Gregory XIII of the year 1577.

Is the Rosary a profitable method of prayer? Yes; for by bringing before the eyes of the spirit the fundamental mysteries of Christianity it supplies us with the strongest motives to love God, to hate sin, to subdue the passions, to condemn the world and its vanity, and to strive after Christian perfection, in order that we may gain those happy mansions which Jesus prepares for us. The Rosary, besides, brings before us living examples Jesus and Mary whom we must follow, and encourages us to good works by pointing to the all-powerful grace procured for us by Jesus, and the all-prevailing intercession of the gracious Mother of God. Let us not be ashamed to carry the beads with us, for otherwise we might be ashamed of being Catholics; let us say the Rosary often every evening as was the custom with Catholics in former times, and we shall find that, as in St. Dominic’s day it was a wholesome check to error, so too in our times it will be, if said aright, a powerful weapon against heresy and unbelief, and will increase faith, piety, and virtue.

 “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”– John 11:25-26

Our Lady of the Rosary[11]

The feast of Our Lady of the Rosary was instituted to honor Mary for the Christian victory over the Turks at Lepanto on October 7, 1571. Pope St. Pius V and all Christians had prayed the Rosary for victory. The Rosary, or the Psalter of the Blessed Virgin Mary, is one of the best prayers to Mary, the Mother of God.

Pope Benedict XVI invites all families to pray the Rosary for the intentions of the Pope, the mission of the Church and peace. "It is as if every year Our Lady invited us to rediscover the beauty of this prayer, so simple and profound." The Rosary, a "contemplative and Christocentric prayer, inseparable from the meditation of Sacred Scripture," is "the prayer of the Christian who advances in the pilgrimage of faith, in the following of Jesus, preceded by Mary," said the Pontiff.

Things to Do

·         Pray the Rosary, or 5 decades of the Rosary tonight with your family. Continue this practice through October, the month that is especially dedicated to the Rosary.
·         Read the encyclicals on the rosary, and the latest apostolic letter.
·         Learn the Luminous Mysteries. For families with younger children, it helps to have visual aids for the mysteries. Have a picture to flip at the beginning of each decade for the family Rosary.
·         Learn how to make rosaries, cord and/or wire for missions.
·         Learn about the great victory of Our Lady at the Battle of Lepanto. You can also read more about Pope St. Pius V, who instituted the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary.

Respect Life Sunday[12]

THE PROBLEM Watching the news and reading the headlines, we may feel helpless seeing the heartbreaking lack of respect for human life. How do we respond when our efforts seem small in the face of the culture of death?

OUR CHRISTIAN IDENTITY To understand more fully how to defend and protect human life, we must first consider who we are, at the deepest level. God creates us in his image and likeness, which means we are made to be in loving relationship with him. The essence of our identity and worth, the source of our dignity, is that we are loved by God: “We are not the sum of our weaknesses and failures; we are the sum of the Father’s love for us and our real capacity to become the image of his Son.” We are called to divine intimacy, true communion with God, and we can grow in this closeness with him through daily prayer, reading the Scriptures, and frequent participation in the sacraments, especially Confession and the Eucharist.

OUR MISSION AS CHRISTIANS The knowledge and realization of how deeply we are loved by God elicits a response of love that simultaneously draws us closer to God and, at the same time, impels us to share his love with others. Embracing a relationship with God means following in his footsteps, wherever he may call. Just as Jesus invited St. Peter and St. Andrew to become his disciples, he invites us to do the same: “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19). Being a disciple of Jesus naturally includes sharing the Gospel with others and inviting them into a deeper elationship with God. As Christians, our identity and our mission are two sides of the same coin; like the apostles, we are called to be missionary disciples.

MISSIONARY DISCIPLESHIP This doesn’t necessarily mean quitting our jobs or moving to foreign countries. For most of us, our mission field is daily life: “Christ teaches us how to evangelize, how to invite people into communion with him, and how to create a culture of witness: namely, through love. A Christian life lived with charity and faith is the most effective form of evangelization.” The first step towards living this life is allowing Jesus to meet and transform us daily. If we respond to his grace, our lives will show we have something beyond what the world offers: we follow a person whose love changes our lives, so we want others to also experience his transforming love. When we live in union with God, open to his prompting, we’re more able to see the opportunities for witness and his guidance in responding to these opportunities. We may fear doing the wrong thing or saying the wrong thing, but we do not need to be afraid. Jesus promised his disciples, “I am with you always, until the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).

IDENTITY CRISIS As a society and as individuals, we often measure ourselves by false standards: by what and how much we do, our successes or failures, how others treat us, the degree of our pleasure or independence, etc. And when these changeable substitutes prove to be insufficient, or when we are faced with challenges and suffering, we may feel helpless, alone, or abandoned; we may be tempted to feel as though our lives have decreased value or worth. But God’s love—individual, real, unchanging—is the true source of our worth, identity, and dignity. It really is not a question of who we are, but rather whose we are. Because his love will never change, nothing can reduce our God-given dignity, and nothing can diminish the immeasurable worth of our lives.

OUR RESPONSE When someone is facing great trials, we need to meet them where they are, walk with them on their journey, intercede for them, and be open to sharing Christ’s love however he directs. When a woman becomes pregnant, and her boyfriend threatens to leave if she continues the pregnancy, we need to lovingly walk with her. When family members or friends become seriously ill, we need to assure them that God still offers them something in this life, and they still have purpose. We need to consistently be with them every step of the way. Sometimes our actions speak for themselves; other times, words are needed. Whatever the situation, Jesus knows how to speak to each person’s heart; we simply need to follow where he leads.

A CULTURE OF LIFE This is how we answer our missionary call. This is how we build a culture of life, a culture that joyfully proclaims the truth of God’s love, purpose, and plan for each person. Changing the culture is a process of conversion that begins in our own hearts and includes a willingness to be instructed and a desire to be close to Jesus—the source of joy and love. When we encounter Christ, experience his love, and deepen our relationship with him, we become more aware of our own worth and that of others. His love for each person is cause for great joy, and growing understanding of this priceless treasure motivates us to share his love with others. Our lives are often changed by the witness of others; so too, others’ lives may be changed by our witness and authentic friendship with them. Let us go, therefore, and not be afraid. God is always with us.

Blessed are you who fear the LORD, who walk in his ways!

The Way[13]

"Read these counsels slowly. Pause to meditate on these thoughts. They are things that I whisper in your ear-confiding them-as a friend, as a brother, as a father. And they are being heard by God. I won't tell you anything new. I will only stir your memory, so that some thought will arise and strike you; and so you will better your life and set out along ways of prayer and of Love. And in the end you will be a more worthy soul."

89.  Persevere in prayer. Persevere, even when your efforts seem barren. Prayer is always fruitful.

Daily Devotions
·         Drops of Christ’s Blood
·         Pray the 54 Day Rosary
·         Total Consecration Day 26



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