MARY, MOTHER OF THE CHURCH-MARY HELP OF CHRISTIANS
When the jailer woke
up and saw the prison doors wide open, he drew [his] sword and was about to
kill himself, thinking that the prisoners had escaped. 28
But Paul shouted out
in a loud voice, “Do no harm to yourself; we are all here.” 29
He asked for a light
and rushed in and, trembling with FEAR, he fell down before Paul and
Silas. 30 Then he brought them out and said,
“Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
In this work of God’s
Mercy, Christ frees the jailer from the jail of fear and sin.
Freeing of the Jailer of his jail
Paul was not overwhelmed by circumstances. The earthquake had not numbed him with fear. He had no abject terror of death. Paul had his wits about him. He heard the jailer's cry, heard the sword being drawn - perhaps, he saw the shadow of it cast by the dim lamplight upon the prison wall and spoke out in mercy to save the man's life from the consequences of sin.
The penal consequence of sin is death. There are three kinds of death that result from sin. Sinners are dead to God. There is no real communion between God and us. He has withdrawn and no longer walks with us in the cool of the day. All men physically die. Our old bodies will not last forever. Finally, for those who remain God's enemies at heart there is ultimately the destruction of both body and soul.
Our fallen natures continually drag us down. We have little power to withstand the inclination to sin when it is strong upon us. We scarcely live a day of our lives without falling short of the standards we set ourselves let along the standards that God sets. It is very doubtful that the Philippian jailer thought along these lines exactly - nor do most people who are converted! The jailer just knew that he needed saving from the way he was. He compared himself with Paul and Silas and he was disgusted with the life he led. He hadn't the fortitude, inner joy, peace or consideration for others that Paul exhibited. The jailer feared death. He had no sort of relationship with God. He had no hope of life beyond the grave because he had no assurance that God was interested him let alone loved him. The jailer was lost, and he knew it.
Paul and Silas replied to the jailer's question as one: "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved - you and your household." Paul did not point the jailer to Jesus' saving work but to Jesus himself. This is because in the first instance the human heart must submit to Jesus. A sinner has to answer, "I will," to that command of Paul and Silas. Saving faith involves submitting, surrendering and yielding to Jesus. The rebel has to shoulder arms and say to the Savior, "I give in. Please rescue me."
The Lesser Rogation Days prior to the Ascension were especially important in rural communities dependent on agricultural bounty. They were also the inspiration for a number of semi-liturgical imitations, where farmers would take holy water and douse their fields for protection and blessing. Perhaps this would be a good time to have one's garden blessed. Another interesting feature of Rogationtide is the tradition of having parishioners end resentments or conflicts that had been festering between them. Eoman Duffy's The Stripping of the Altars includes vivid accounts from pre-Reformation England of some of these reconciliations.
Today would be a good day to reflect on what we want to harvest this fall; so, like farmers we must till the soil of our soul reflecting this day on our use of our TALENTS and look at in what ways we may offer our abilities to Christ to help build a harvest for His Kingdom.
Saint John Paul II wrote the Encyclical "Laborem Exercens" in 1981, on the occasion of the 90th anniversary of Leo XIII's Encyclical "Rerum Novarum" on the question of labor. In it he develops the concept of man's dignity in work, structuring it in four points: the subordination of work to man; the primacy of the worker over the whole of instruments and conditioning that historically constitute the world of labor; the rights of the human person as the determining factor of all socio-economic, technological and productive processes, that must be recognized; and some elements that can help all men identify with Christ through their own work.
Work is one of these aspects, a perennial and fundamental one, one that is always relevant and constantly demands renewed attention and decisive witness."
The Church considers it her task always to call attention to the dignity and rights of those who work, to condemn situations in which that dignity and those rights are violated, and to ensure authentic progress by man and society." "Human work is a key, probably the essential key, to the whole social question, if we try to see that question really from the point of view of man's good. And if the solution - or rather the gradual solution - of the social question, which keeps coming up and becomes ever more complex, must be sought in the direction of 'making life more human', then the key, namely human work, acquires fundamental and decisive importance."
Work and Man
John Paul, "work is a fundamental dimension of man's existence on earth." This conviction is found in the first pages of Genesis: "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it." "Man's dominion over the earth is achieved in and by means of work. ... The proper subject of work continues to be man," and the finality of work "is always man himself." It is a question of the objective and subjective meaning of work: although both are important, the second takes precedence; "there is no doubt that human work has an ethical value of its own, which clearly and directly remains linked to the fact that the one who carries it out is a person, a conscious and free subject, that is to say a subject that decides about himself." Although technology fosters an increase in the things produced by work, sometimes it "can cease to be man's ally and become almost his enemy, as when the mechanization of work 'supplants' him, taking away all personal satisfaction and the incentive to creativity and responsibility, when it deprives many workers of their previous employment, or when, through exalting the machine, it reduces man to the status of its slave." "in order to achieve social justice in the various parts of the world, in the various countries, and in the relationships between them, there is a need for ever new movements of solidarity of the workers and with the workers."
"Work is a good thing for man - a good thing for his humanity - because through work man not only transforms nature, adapting it to his own needs, but he also achieves fulfillment as a human being and indeed, in a sense, becomes 'more a human being'."
Conflict: Labor and Capital in the Present Phase of History
The Pope observes that during the period which has passed since the publication of "Rerum Novarum" (1891), "which is by no means yet over, the issue of work has of course been posed on the basis of the great conflict that in the age of, and together with, industrial development emerged between 'capital' and 'labor'." This antagonism "found expression in the ideological conflict between liberalism, understood as the ideology of capitalism, and Marxism, understood as the ideology of scientific socialism and communism, which professes to act as the spokesman for the working class and the world-wide proletariat." Later, he recalls the principle of "the priority of labor over capital." The first "is always a primary efficient cause, while capital, the whole collection of means of production, remains a mere instrument or instrumental cause." Thus appears the error of economism, "that of considering human labor solely according to its economic purpose." John Paul II then refers to the right to private property, emphasizing that the Church's teaching regarding this principle "diverges radically from the program of collectivism as proclaimed by Marxism," and "the program of capitalism practiced by liberalism and by the political systems inspired by it." "The position of 'rigid' capitalism continues to remain unacceptable, namely the position that defends the exclusive right to private ownership of the means of production as an untouchable 'dogma' of economic life. The principle of respect for work demands that this right should undergo a constructive revision, both in theory and in practice." For this reason, regardless of the type of system of production, it is necessary for each worker to be aware that "he is working 'for himself'."
Rights of Workers
The Holy Father highlights that the human rights that are derived from work are a part of the fundamental rights of the person.
· He discusses the need to take action against unemployment, which is a true social calamity and a problem of a moral as well as an economic nature. Starting with the concept of the "indirect employer," in other words, "all the agents at the national and international level that are responsible for the whole orientation of labor policy," he notes that in order to solve the problem of unemployment, these agents "must make provision for overall planning." This "cannot mean one-sided centralization by the public authorities. Instead, what is in question is a just and rational coordination, within the framework of which the initiative of individuals ... must be safeguarded."
· Speaking of the rights of workers, he recalls the dignity of agricultural work and the need to offer jobs to disabled people. As for the matter of salaries, he writes that "the key problem of social ethics in this case is that of just remuneration for work done."
· In addition, "there must be a social re-evaluation of the mother's role." Specifically, "the whole labor process must be organized and adapted in such a way as to respect the requirements of the person and his or her forms of life, above all life in the home, taking into account the individual's age and sex."
· It is fitting that women "should be able to fulfill their tasks in accordance with their own nature, without being discriminated against and without being excluded from jobs for which they are capable, but also without lack of respect for their family aspirations and for their specific role in contributing, together with men, to the good of society."
· Besides wages, there are other social benefits whose objective is "to ensure the life and health of workers and their families." In this regard, he notes the right to leisure time, which should include weekly rest and yearly vacations.
· The Pope then considers the importance of unions, which he calls "an indispensable element of social life." "One method used by unions in pursuing the just rights of their members is the strike or work stoppage. This method is recognized by Catholic social teaching as legitimate in the proper conditions and within just limits," but must not be abused.
· As for the question of emigration for work reasons, he affirms that man has the right to leave his country to seek better living conditions in another. "The most important thing is that the person working away from his native land, whether as a permanent emigrant or as a seasonal worker, should not be placed at a disadvantage in comparison with the other workers in that society in the matter of working rights."
Elements for a Spirituality of Work
· Labor has meaning in God's eyes. Thus, "the knowledge that by means of work man shares in the work of creation constitutes the most profound motive for undertaking it in various sectors."
· Labor is participation in the work of the Creator and the Redeemer. Jesus Christ looks upon work with love because he himself was a laborer.
· This is a doctrine, and at the same time a program, that is rooted in the "Gospel of work" proclaimed by Jesus of Nazareth. "By enduring the toil of work in union with Christ crucified for us, man in a way collaborates with the Son of God for the redemption of humanity. He shows himself a true disciple of Christ by carrying the cross in his turn every day in the activity that he is called upon to perform."
Mary, Mother of the Church
By issuing the Decree on the celebration of the feast of Mary, Mother of the Church, Pope Francis wishes to promote this devotion in order to “encourage the growth of the maternal sense of the Church in the pastors, religious and faithful, as well as a growth of genuine Marian piety”.
· The decree reflects on the history of Marian theology in the Church’s liturgical tradition and the writings of the Church Fathers.
· It says Saint Augustine and Pope Saint Leo the Great both reflected on the Virgin Mary’s importance in the mystery of Christ.
o “In fact the former [St. Augustine] says that Mary is the mother of the members of Christ, because with charity she cooperated in the rebirth of the faithful into the Church, while the latter [St. Leo the Great] says that the birth of the Head is also the birth of the body, thus indicating that Mary is at once Mother of Christ, the Son of God, and mother of the members of his Mystical Body, which is the Church.”
· The decree says these reflections are a result of the “divine motherhood of Mary and from her intimate union in the work of the Redeemer”.
· Scripture, the decree says, depicts Mary at the foot of the Cross (cf. Jn 19:25). There she became the Mother of the Church when she “accepted her Son’s testament of love and welcomed all people in the person of the beloved disciple as sons and daughters to be reborn unto life eternal.”
In 1964, the decree says, Pope Paul VI “declared the Blessed Virgin Mary as ‘Mother of the Church, that is to say of all Christian people, the faithful as well as the pastors, who call her the most loving Mother’ and established that ‘the Mother of God should be further honored and invoked by the entire Christian people by this tenderest of titles’”
Australia and Our Lady Help of Christians
When Cardinal Patrick Moran of Sydney wrote his History of the Catholic Church in Australia, he recalled the laying of the foundation stone of what was to become the first cathedral in this land. His eminence declared: "Who was the patron selected by the people and their newly arrived pastor, Father Therry, for the Mother Church? Mary, the Immaculate Mother of God, under the special invocation of Help of Christians, was chosen patroness. In choosing Mary, the young Church was following a sure Catholic instinct. But why the particular title of Help of Christians?
Events had happened in Europe only several years earlier, and this no doubt was still fresh in people's minds. Napoleon Bonaparte had jailed Pope Pius VI who died in goal, after which Pope Pius VII was elected. Just a short time later, he too was jailed by Napoleon, who kept him prisoner at Fontainebleau, 35 miles from Paris. The Holy Father vowed to God that, if he were restored, he would institute a special feast in honor of Mary. Military reverses forced Napoleon to release the Pope, and on May 24th, 1814, Pius VII returned in triumph to Rome. Twelve months later, the Pope decreed that the feast of Mary Help of Christians, be kept on the 24th of May.
Australia became the first nation in the world to have, Mary, Help of Christians as Patroness: the first church to celebrate May 24th on a national scale (elsewhere the feast was restricted to Rome and specified places); and the first country to have a mother-cathedral under the same title.
Mary Help of Christian’s patroness of Australia and of the Military Ordinariate (Feast: 24th May)
Almighty God deepen in our hearts our love of Mary Help of Christians. Through her prayers and under her protection, may the light of Christ shine over our land. May Australia be granted harmony, justice and peace. Grant wisdom to our leaders and integrity to our citizens. Bless especially the men and women of the Australian Defense Force and their families. We ask this through Christ Our Lord. Amen.
Mary Help of Christians, pray for us.
Things to Do:
· Make a virtual visit to the chapel of Our Lady, Help of Christians at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
· Read more about Our Lady, Help of Christians.
· Travel via the Internet to the Shrine of Mary Help of Christians built by St. John Bosco as a monument to the Virgin Mary, with the title Help of Christians, as the mother church and spiritual center of the Salesian Congregation.
Veneremur Cernui – Down in Adoration Falling
of The Most
Reverend Thomas J. Olmsted, Bishop of Phoenix,
to Priests, Deacons, Religious and the Lay Faithful of the Diocese of Phoenix
on the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist
My beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
II. The Mass as the eternal memorial of Christ’s Sacrifice on the Cross
19. In the Bible and the Church liturgy, when the Sacrifice of the Mass is called a ‘memorial,’ it means much more than remembering the sacrifice of Jesus on Calvary. It means that whenever the Mass is celebrated, the sacrifice of Jesus on Calvary that happened in the past is really made present to us at Mass, here and now. This is only possible because being the eternal High Priest who has conquered death, His self-offering on the Cross is an everlasting act of love. The Letter to the Hebrews points clearly to the eternal nature of Christ’s sacrifice: “Because He remains forever, [He] has a priesthood that does not pass away… He is always able to save those who approach God through Him, since He lives forever to make intercession for them” (Heb 7:24-25).
20. Therefore, in every Mass, Jesus is not being offered again; rather, we – the Mystical Body of Christ – are taken up into the one sacrifice at Calvary by means of the Priesthood of Christ. The sacrifice of Jesus on Calvary is perpetuated and made present to us in such a way that we can participate in it, linking our imperfect and sinful lives to the perfect and pure sacrifice of God and receiving all the divine benefits that flow from His eternal sacrifice. Our Lord made this possible for us at the Last Supper by instituting the Sacrament of the Eucharist. He uses this Sacrament to make His self-offering at Calvary present to all believers in every place and in every time. Ever since that holy night, throughout the centuries, whenever and wherever the Mass is celebrated, the eternal sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the Cross is really made present.
21. If we were at Calvary, what would stand out to us? We would see Jesus’ gasping for breath. His gaze would seem to alternate down and up, first towards us with mercy and longing and second upwards in surrender to His Father. Would we simply say “thank you” or would we be compelled to make a response of compassion? When we attend Mass, do we seek to join Jesus in His total surrender to the Father’s will? Do we bring our imperfections, our toil and sin, and lay them before Jesus to be consumed by His Death? We either say with Jesus, “Into Your hands, Father, I commend my spirit, too!” or we choose to remain enslaved to our sin. To be continued…
Catechism of the Catholic Church
PART ONE: THE PROFESSION OF FAITH
SECTION TWO I. THE CREEDS
CHAPTER THREE-I BELIEVE IN THE HOLY SPIRIT
ARTICLE 8-"I BELIEVE IN THE HOLY SPIRIT"
687 "No one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God." Now God's Spirit, who reveals God, makes known to us Christ, his Word, his living Utterance, but the Spirit does not speak of himself. the Spirit who "has spoken through the prophets" makes us hear the Father's Word, but we do not hear the Spirit himself. We know him only in the movement by which he reveals the Word to us and disposes us to welcome him in faith. the Spirit of truth who "unveils" Christ to us "will not speak on his own." Such properly divine self-effacement explains why "the world cannot receive (him), because it neither sees him nor knows him," while those who believe in Christ know the Spirit because he dwells with them.
688 The Church, a communion living in the faith of the apostles which she transmits, is the place where we know the Holy Spirit:
· in the Scriptures he inspired.
· in the Tradition, to which the Church Fathers are always timely witnesses.
· in the Church's Magisterium, which he assists.
· in the sacramental liturgy, through its words and symbols, in which the Holy Spirit puts us into communion with Christ.
· in prayer, wherein he intercedes for us.
· in the charisms and ministries by which the Church is built up.
· in the signs of apostolic and missionary life.
· in the witness of saints through whom he manifests his holiness and continues the work of salvation.
· Unite in the work of the Porters of St. Joseph by joining them in fasting: Protection of Life from Conception until natural death.
· Make reparations to the Holy Face-Tuesday Devotion
· Pray Day 8 of the Novena for our Pope and Bishops
· Tuesday: Litany of St. Michael the Archangel
· Litany of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus
· Offering to the sacred heart of Jesus
· Total Consecration to Mary Day 27
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