Familiar to you?

Father says….

This past Sunday a pamphlet was handed out in tandem with the usual bulletin. As I a spent a little while considering all it contains, I experienced a range of emotions.

  1. Pride: I feel proud of our parish priest for ‘sticking his neck out’ and putting into words what others’ might be thinking and not saying during mass. It takes courage to distribute a pamphlet such as this. Fr. Peter is a stickler for doing the right thing, especially when it concerns his congregation and the way that they worship our Lord.
  2. Indignation: My pride with over-ridden by indignation as I thought to myself, ‘I know this stuff, I’m not the one who…., ‘ but unfortunately, there are those that treat the Mass as just another thing to do, to tick off the list, showing little or no reverence at all towards the Eucharist.
  3.  Disappointment: I feel disappointment at the fact that Father sees the need for such a reminder to be sent out. Surely this points to a lack of knowledge about the Mass and the way we are expected to worship? What has been absorbed through attendance at Catechism classes? Saying this , I think that our parishioners are  more ‘well-behaved’ than other parishes I have visited. I have experienced some shocking sights, like the time after Communion a mother had kept a piece of the Host and proceeded to feed it to her baby on returning to the pew!!! I could not believe my eyes.
So , below is the entire pamphlet. Do pass on any anecdotes about what you may have witnessed at mass! Has your priest ever sent out something similar?

Christ’s living presence in the church building is what makes this sacred space different from anywhere else on earth! Our current age see everything as an object of human production, and human relationships made effective by conversation. But praying to God is totally different because God makes himself known to me. Appreciating the Mass as the activity of Christ, our prayer inserts us into its action and thereby into the Body of Christ (Lumen Gentium, Vat 2) thus building up our relationship both with Him and with one another.

Our parish family meets in the Church which, as a consecrated building, is set aside exclusively for the worship of Almighty God (Rite of Dedication of a Church). While the Church is made up of people, living stones, the place where we worship is important. We believe that the Lord is present in every Catholic Church in the Blessed Sacrament.

Our lives today tend to be stressful and noisy. The busyness of running a home, commuting to work and bringing up children means that we should value our Church building as a unique resource – providing a sacred space where individuals find opportunity to be with the Lord present in the Blessed Sacrament. Every Parishioner or Visitor to our Church should be able to experience it as an oasis of peace – which depends on each one us ensuring prayerful silence and stillness.

Jesus loved the Temple in Jerusalem: He became visibly distressed when He saw its peace being upset (Matthew 21: 10-17) and He said those famous words: My house shall be called a house of prayer. We need to do all we can to respect our Parish Church as a house of prayer.

When you come into Church try to be as quiet as you can. Genuflect when you enter, and whenever you pass the tabernacle (in the centre of the Church). Restrict any conversation to ourside the Church itself (in the Pastoral Centre and its foyer, or the narthex/porch – though sound often carries from there into the Church). Greet one another with a nod and a smile, be warm and welcoming, but resist the urge to chat in Church, especially before (and after) Mass! Give those around you the chance to be still. It may be the only opportunity in the week for them, and for you, to spend quality time with God.

Our Car Park is at the east end of the Church (access from Kingston Road, opposite the Public Library). The rear Courtyard is reserved exclusively for Presbytery residents, house guests and deliveries. Surplus car parking is best alongside Holy Cross School in Sandal Road, leaving Montem Road for our neighbouring residents. Please park sensibly and considerately, never blocking driveways.

If you need to speak to the Priest, please do so after Mass – he, too, needs to be recollected and spiritually ready, and he will not be able to give you the time you deserve beforehand. Remember that the Sacristy is part of the Church and not a meeting room or parish office!

Ringing of mobile phones is an occasional cause of irritation. If you bring one please make sure that it is turned off (or switched to silent or vibrate mode) before entering the Church. And aim to arrive in good time, so that you have the chance to settle yourself and your family well before Mass begins, and to make a prayerful preparation for Mass.

toilets can be used before or after Mass, but during Mass please only use them if absolutely necessary. In particular, no one should be going to the toilet between the Offertory and the end of Mass (while we are kneeling in worship). Nor should toilets be used (quite obviously) immediately after receiving Holy Communion! Kneel in your pew and adore Jesus who has just made His home in you in Holy Communion. The minutes after we receive Holy Communion are the most sacred moments of our life – to be treasured and prayed.

Food or drink should not be consumed anywhere in the Church. Children should be fed before or after Mass, never during the Sacred Liturgy. All Communicants (except the elderly or seriously sick) are bound to fast for at least one hour from all good and drink (except water and medicines of genuine need) before receiving Communion.

We should not receive Communion if we are conscious of being in a state of grave sin, without first receiving absolution in the Sacrament of Confession (Reconciliation). This could include deliberately missing Sunday Mass, being in a “second marriage” (or similar relationship) without first having had a former marriage annulled by the Church. Speak to a Priest in confidence if you have any uncertainty.

Our children are our future and we love them. We are very happy that they come to worship God. Jesus famously said: Let the little children come to me: do not stop them for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs (Mark 10: 13-16). Please help your children understand that when they come to Church, they are entering the House of God – somewhere entirely different from anywhere else on earth.

Encourage children to be as quiet and reverent as possible. Only soft toys ought to be brought into Church (not hard ones which can be banged and are noisy!). If a child needs to bring a book, it should obviously be a religious one (so that is contributes, not detracts from, focus upon the things of God), but it’s best if each child has his or her own age-related Missal (Mass book) to help them participate in the Mass and respond with everyone else. Children are best seated at the front (or the front side benches) where their attention can be drawn to the candles, colours, incense, movement in the sanctuary and action at the altar, and thus be drawn into the sacred action of the Mass.

We take child protection issues very seriously, and need to observe health and safety, fire and other regulations. Please do not let small children run in the aisles, climb on the benches, light candles unsupervised, or otherwise cause danger or unnecessary distraction.

If a child is crying or fractious take them briefly into the porch or the Quiet Room at the back of Church until they are calmed, and where you can still follow Mass through the speakers. The Quiet Room should only be occupied very briefly, so that others have opportunity at need. A box of books is there, and also at the back of Church, which might help to settle them. You can then return with them when they are calmer. Pushchairs should be stored away from fire exits and doors.

When Mass is ended take a copy of the Sunday Bulletin home with you (one per family) for reference during the week. Please leave everything tidy, ready for the next Mass, taking home paper tissues etc, and returning hymnbooks and Mass sheets to the back of the Church.

Remember that there are people who want to remain in prayer, so please respect their wish by leaving the Church as quietly as possible.

The Mass is the source and summit of the Christian life, and our receiving Holy Communion should be the highlight of our week. It is traditional to genuflect (or at least make a profound bow, not a nod) before receiving Holy Communion. If you are carrying anything (child, walking sticks etc) please do not attempt to receive Communion in the hand (nor if wearing gloves). Priests have a responsibility to ensure the avoidance of sacrilege, danger or disrespect to the Sacred Host.

It is the right of every Catholic to choose to receive Holy Communion kneeling or standing, on the tongue or in the hand, as recently reminded by the Archbishop of Westminster. Pope Benedict gives example to the flock of Christ by giving Communion only on the tongue and kneeling. You may choose to follow his lead by kneeling at the Communion rail.

Respond to The Body of Christ by saying Amen (not ‘thank you’!) as a profession of faith in Him whom you receive. Do not attempt to take the Host between your fingers or dip it into the chalice (permitted in some countries, but not in England and Wales). If you receive the Host in your hands, consume it immediately and do not wander away (which will probably lead to the priest chasing after you!).

Non- Catholics and other unable to receive Communion for whatever reason are welcome to come for a blessing. Please indicate this by crossing your arms over your chest, and if your children have not received their First Holy Communion, make sure they are doing this.

Mass doesn’t end until the final Blessing and Dismissal. Please do not leave Church before the Priest. This is disrespectful to Christ (whom the Priest represents) and blocks the exit procession of altar servers.

After the 9.30am Mass there are usually refreshments in the Pastoral Centre and the chance to greet one another. Please do come and make some new friends. The proceeds from this go to help the poor.

This article reminds us of what ought to be obvious and provides good practice for every member of our parish family so that we all benefit more deeply from the celebration of Holy Mass and, as St Augustine teaches, become what we receive – the Body of Christ.

A perfect choice.

I found this on the blog http://rcspiritualdirection.com. What a fantastic idea!

Fasting and Abstinence

I have been looking into the meaning of fasting and came across the  definitions of fasting and abstinence:

Fasting is concerned with the quantity of food eaten and so must be distinguished from abstinence. The law is that on fast days only one full meal may be taken. Fasting is only imposed on those over 21 and under 59, but severe work, whether manual or mental, sickness or debility excuse from obligation (see your parish priest for dispensations). Collations may normally be taken on fast days if they do not add up to a second meal.

Abstinence refers to the refraining from eating flesh-meat or soup made from meat, and to be distinguished from fasting, with which it may be combined. Abstinence is normally obligatory for all who have completed their seventh year, on specific days of the Church year(From the Catholic Dictionary)

The Bishops of England and Wales released this official statement on fasting and abstinence in May of 2011. Herewith the full statement:

”By the practice of penance every Catholic identifies with Christ in his death on the cross. We do so in prayer, through uniting the sufferings and sacrifices in our lives with those of Christ’s passion; in fasting, by dying to self in order to be close to Christ; in almsgiving, by demonstrating our solidarity with the sufferings of Christ in those in need. All three forms of penance form a vital part of Christian living. When this is visible in the public arena, then it is also an important act of witness.Every Friday is set aside by the Church as a special day of penance, for it is the day of the death of our Lord.      

 The law of the Church requires Catholics to abstain from meat on Fridays, or some other form of food, or to observe some other form of penance laid down by the Bishops’ Conference.The Bishops wish to re-establish the practice of Friday penance in the lives of the faithful as a clear and distinctive mark of their own Catholic identity. They recognise that the best habits are those which are acquired as part of a common resolve and common witness. It is important that all the faithful be united in a common celebration of Friday penance.Respectful of this, and in accordance with the mind of the whole Church, the Bishops’ Conference wishes to remind all Catholics in England and Wales of the obligation of Friday Penance.      

The Bishops have decided to re-establish the practice that this should be fulfilled by abstaining from meat. Those who cannot or choose not to eat meat as part of their normal diet should abstain from some other food of which they regularly partake. This is to come into effect from Friday 16 September 2011 when we will mark the anniversary of the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to the United Kingdom.Many may wish to go beyond this simple act of common witness and mark each Friday with a time of prayer and further self-sacrifice. In all these ways we unite our sacrifices to the sacrifice of Christ, who gave up his very life for our salvation.  

What has now happened has been gathering momentum ever since the pope’s visit to Britain. It will be recalled that during the papal afterglow some very surprising people started to recommend the restoration of the Friday fast. Bishop Kieran Conroy, for instance, argued that abstaining from meat on Friday “…. was one of the most obvious signs of Catholic identity, apart from going to Mass. It determined the diet in places like prison and hospital, and was something that Catholics were instinctively conscious of: we knew that we couldn’t have meat like everybody else that day, and it was a source of a sort of pride – it marked us out as different”.

Many Catholics were taught as children to “give up something” for Lent. The sacrifices in Lent are really penance, in the same spirit as the Ninehvites that repented at the preaching of Jonah. Throughout our history, Christians have found prayer, fasting, and almsgiving to be an important part of repentance and renewal. Many Christians now add something during Lent rather than giving up something, either to address personal habits that need work or to add some outreach to others in need. It is not necessary to “give up something” but it would be a tragedy to do nothing.

Archbishop Peter: His Lenten Pastoral letter.

This letter from our Archbishop was read at all the masses in Southwark this past Sunday. It’s good to hear from our Bishop! An inspirational Lenten message:

Pastoral Letter

The Seventh Sunday of Ordinary Time
Sunday, 19th February 2012


Scenes from the Life of Christ
Byzantine School (6th century)
Sant’Apollinare Nuovo, Ravenna

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

In today’s first reading from the prophet Isaiah, we heard words of consolation and encouragement given to the people of Israel who are in exile in a foreign land, Babylon. They are powerless to escape, but God will forgive their sins and bring about a new Exodus, through which they will be freed from slavery, and enjoy a renewed and fruitful life in a new homeland.

This theme of the forgiveness of sins and new life is echoed in the Gospel story of the healing of the paralytic and the forgiving of his sins. The paralytic is desperate to be healed and to start a new life, but for obvious reasons is unable to approach Jesus himself. But he has four friends who want to help him. So they bring him to Jesus, but are thwarted in their task because of the huge crowds who block the way. So they take an ingenious initiative, carry their paralysed friend up onto the roof of the house and proceed to strip a section of it. They then lower the man into the house in front of Jesus. “Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralytic, ‘My child, your sins are forgiven.’” The scribes are outraged. “How can this man talk like that? He is blaspheming. Who can forgive sins but God?” Jesus’ response is to ask them a question. “Which of these is easier: to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven’ or to say, ‘Get up, pick up your stretcher and walk?’ But to prove to you that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins,’ – he said to the paralytic – ‘I order you: get up, pick up your stretcher, and go off home.’”

If we see the man who is paralysed as the symbol of those who are unable to help themselves and change their way of life, that man also symbolises the reality of our relationship with God. We cannot transform and change our lives for the better without God’s help, and if we think we can, then we are deluding ourselves. And we also need good friends to accompany us on our journey of faith, and encourage us to seek God’s help. We are all in some way or other subject to incapacity, whether through sin and selfishness, or simply human weakness and fragility. If our lives are to be transformed and renewed, then we need the grace of the Holy Spirit and the support and encouragement of each other.

This week, on Ash Wednesday, we begin the season of Lent. In his Lenten message to the Church throughout the world, Pope Benedict XVI said: “The Lenten season offers us once again an opportunity to reflect upon the very heart of Christian life: charity. This is a favourable time to renew our journey of faith, both as individuals and as a community, with the help of the word of God and the sacraments. This journey is one marked by prayer and sharing, silence and fasting, in anticipation of the joy of Easter.”

This special time is given to us by the Church to help us in preparing to celebrate the Paschal Mystery of the passion, death and resurrection of Christ – the great feast of Easter – in just over six weeks’ time. During this time the Church exhorts us to get to know God better, and to get to know ourselves better too! It is a time for turning our hearts more fervently to him who, in the words of the Psalmist, is “compassion and love, slow to anger and rich in mercy.” He is the one who “does not treat us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our faults”, but, rather, the one “who crowns you with love and compassion.” And he dearly wants us to reveal his love and compassion to the world in which we live. He wants us to “incarnate”, to embody, that love and compassion in our relationships with one another and to express it in a practical way, particularly to those who are in any kind of need. He commands us to use generously the gifts and talents we have received from the Holy Spirit for the building up of the community of his Church; to help build that communion of love, compassion and mercy, which reflects the very life of the Trinity.

My experience over the years is that in order to do as the Lord asks of me, my heart must be united with his heart; I must come to know him more deeply, and abide with him day by day with ever greater commitment. Lent is that “favourable time” for me to ask myself some searching questions about where I stand with God, and how I am responding to the commission he has given to all of us who are baptised. I cannot do that fruitfully unless I become more attentive to the word of God in the scriptures and through spending time each day in prayer. I cannot, from my own resources, produce the fruit that will last, unless I allow the living Word of God to nurture my faith and trust in Him who loves me unconditionally with a steadfast love; who looks on me in my weakness with great mercy and compassion. That living word of God not only informs my mind and heart, so that I come to know him better, but also transforms my life so that I can indeed become “the light of the world”, “the salt of the earth.” I know too that I will never be perfect in this life and I am comforted by the words of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta: “God doesn’t ask us to be successful – he asks us to be faithful.”

Being faithful to the person of Jesus Christ has never been easy. If we’re honest, we don’t always live out our faith as consistently or as fully as Christ calls us to do, and inevitably we are criticised for that and sometimes branded “hypocrites”. But the solution to that is not to hide ourselves away, to keep our faith in God “private”, behind closed doors. The solution is to open our hearts to the love and compassion of the living God and ask him to help us grow in holiness, to grow in union with him and with each other. In that communion of life and love, we can then strive to live out our faith with courage and commitment, whatever the cost.

“Behold I stand at the door and knock.” This Lent, I shall be asking myself the question, “Am I open to hear that knock at the door of my heart each day, and am I going to open that door and welcome him in, whatever the cost to myself?” If I’m realistic, I know I have so little to give him, yet in my heart of hearts, I also know and believe that the little I have, he can, and will, multiply in abundance.

With an assurance of my prayers and blessing for you all this Lent,

Archbishop of Southwark

 

Choose service

”If any one would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.” – Jesus of Nazareth (Mark 9:35)

On the eve of Lent.

The reasons for the observance of Lent has never been as important to me as it is now.  I seem to have arrived at this place of knowing that I am ready to use this time of Lent in a way that renews me spiritually. Completely. So, I have readied myself and made specific choices before Lent begins in order to do this. As with everything else that the Church lives, I know that I  will be receiving graces from my observances, and in turn, I’ll improve my relationship with the Lord.

I seek to be pro-active in my Faith throughout Lent, and find opportunities to share my Faith in Christ in some shape or form with those around me. I will ‘tighten up’ my prayer life and unite my prayers with the Church in her Morning, and Night prayers; I will meditate on the Stations of the Cross weekly and continue to fast from meat on Fridays; and I will be vigilant on my watch for the opportunities that cross my path that warrant kindness, assistance or affection.

So, what is Lent? 

It is meant to be a season that leads us to a deeper conversion of heart, a closer identification with Christ. Lent has a close connection to baptism. In the early Church, adults preparing for baptism would go through a catechumenate. This program, as the name implies, involved catechesis, or instruction, about the faith. The Roman-style catechumenate, officially in place by A.D. 200, extended over two to three years and involved intense preparation each year during the six weeks prior to Easter. As the candidates approached their day of baptism (usually on Holy Saturday) they would fast for a few days. The community would join them in this fast. This was the origin of the Lenten fast. (The tradition of a 40-day fast was established in Rome in the fourth century.) The community in effect accompanied the catechumens and also prepared to renew their own baptismal commitments at Easter. And what does baptism do for us? Among other things, it “gives a share in the common priesthood of all believers” (Catechism, 1268). The common priesthood involves the work of sanctifying, teaching and governing. Our personal example of holiness can help carry out the first work; our words, the second; and our good use of authority (be it parental or political or some other type), the third. In any one of these three areas we could find ample reasons to work on something during Lent. Moreover, “Scripture and the Fathers insist above all on three forms, fasting, prayer, and almsgiving, which express conversion in relation to oneself, to God, and to others” (Catechism, 1434).
Read more: http://rcspiritualdirection.com/blog/#ixzz1moqP2m1H

I feel privileged to be part of this Tradition of Lent. I look forward to the glorious Easter Vigil Mass, and the celebration of our Risen Lord, knowing that the Fathers f the Church and Christians just like me, celebrated Lent also and that we in the 21st century continue with this same Tradition.

What have you decided to embark on this coming Lent?

 

‘I have faith, I don’t like to use the word religious!’

In my youth, I glowed with innocence and naiveté in all areas of my life, but none more so than in the area of my Faith. Looking back I was a pretty ignorant and sheltered, unlike most youth I come across on a daily basis.

When I was about twenty  years old I experienced my first ‘rap’ across the knuckles from a fellow Christian. I was baffled by the response, ‘I have faith, I  don’t like to use the word religious!’. All  I ‘d done was share openly that I was religious. No harm in alluding to the fact that I’m a practising Christian who goes to church every Sunday? (What I didn’t know at the time was that others don’t always hide their animosity or distaste towards Catholics.) This was to be my first acquaintance with anti-Catholic innuendo in a social setting, and it was to be my rude awakening to the lack of knowledge that is out there about Catholicism. This comment precipitated a stirring in me which  ignited a ‘Catholic fuse’ which has burned within ever since, fuelling a desire to know more about my Faith and what makes it so special. My naiveté was no more.

One thing I know for sure, and that is without doubt: I am religious because

  • I go to Mass on a Sunday:  For the Jews, the sabbath was Saturday; Because Christians are not actually bound to observe the Sabbath–we have fulfilled the Sabbath through Christ, and now we celebrate the Lord’s Day, Sunday, the day of His Resurrection. Even though the Old Testament sabbath had passed away, the early Church commemorated Christ’s resurrection on Sunday, the first day of the week. By requiring Sunday worship the Church is simply following the lead of the apostles. The Church tells us that we have an obligation to fulfill the Third Commandment by refraining from unnecessary work on Sunday and by participating in the sacrifice of the Mass and receiving Christ in Holy Communion.
  • I ask for forgiveness for my sins during Mass
  • I listen to the Word of God
  • I make a statement of Faith through the recitation of the Creed at Mass
  • I participate in ritual prayer, silent prayer and communal prayer at given times during the Mass
  • I kneel at junctures of the Mass as a sign of my respect and recognition of our Lord and Saviour in the Eucharist and I stand in solidarity with my fellow parishioners at other times
  • I make the sign of the Cross
  • I observe Lent, and celebrate Easter and Christmas
  • I attend Confession/Reconciliation in acknowledgement of my weakness and sinfulness
  • I tithe

I know too that I have Faith because:

  • In times of great sadness and anguish, it is to the Lord that I turn for solace and comfort
  • I seek always to share my Faith through all that I do and the choices that I make
  • I seek God’s hand in everything
  • I am eager to know more about Him by reading , spending time in fellowship with other Christians, reading and studying. This need to know is beautifully accommodated also, by the ebb and flow of the seasons  in the Church’s Calendar
  • I spend time with Him in prayer
  • I try as best I can live my life with Christ at its centre
  • I seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance
  • I know that without God, my life would be meaningless  and shallow

I look back with gratitude to Ruth- my fellow Christian- for saying what she did as it started me on a wonderful journey of discovery. Although I have come a short way and have a long way to go, my beliefs as a Catholic Christian guide my life as I do my best to live the Faith.

Finding Forgiveness

This piece was first published over at Integrated Catholic Life. If you like it please share.

I found this at one of my favourite Blogs-http://gkupsidedown.blogspot.com/

“I know I have been forgiven because I’ve been to confession, but I don’t feel forgiven!How can I find peace and know that I’m forgiven? ”
This is one of the most frequent questions I get as a priest. A similar question comes up with the problem of forgiving others, “Father,” the person asks, “my business partner screwed me real bad. I’ve tried to forgive him, and I’ve given it all to God, but I still feel resentment and bitterness. I still want revenge. How can I find peace?”
Assuming that you have already taken the sin to God in the sacrament of reconciliation, the first step to finding the peace of forgiveness is to remember the fact of forgiveness. If you have confessed and received absolution you are forgiven. It’s a fact. The first step is to claim that fact. Make it an act of your will and intellect. You might even say out loud to yourself, “I am forgiven. It’s a fact.” Imagine that resentment, sin, guilt and anger being washed away by a tsunami of God’s mercy.
The next step in finding forgiveness is to take the guilt, the memory, the nagging resentment and bitterness with you to Mass and offer it up.There are various practical ways of doing this.
First of all you need to ask yourself what Mass is actually for. What’s the purpose of Mass? Many Catholics have never asked that basic question, and if pressed they might say, “It is a chance to worship God together.” or “We come together to sing hymns, praise God and listen to his word and receive the Bread of Life.” or “Mass is the gathering place of the people of God around his Word and his table.”
What’s missing is the idea that Mass is a sacrifice. It is an offering. From the beginning of religious instinct in man the action of worship was the action of sacrifice. Humans offered to God the best gifts they had. However, in the Jewish religion this idea was expanded and the sacrifice also became a sin offering. The effect of sin was death, but the person’s sins were projected on to the animal which was sacrificed, and so the sins were forgiven. The price had been paid.
This primitive idea still lives within the idea of sacrifice of the Mass. The primary meaning of the Mass is that it is an offering of Christ’s once for all sacrifice, and that this offering applies the benefits of Christ’s sacrifice to our lives. Christ’s death was the payment for our sin. Once we see that the Mass is a sacrifice we can participate in the action of the Mass in a new and deeper way.
Therefore, when you come to Mass with a burden of guilt or a nagging desire for revenge or a sense of resentment and anger, you should bring that as part of your offering. See every part of the Mass as part of a greater offering to God.
When you say the confession at the beginning of Mass imagine those resentments, that guilt and that feeling of not being forgiven gathered up into the prayer. When the collection is taken, don’t just put money in the basket–imagine that you are putting your negative feelings in the basket too. When the offertory gifts are brought forward in procession imagine that the person you resent is being brought forward and offered to God. Place all your dark feelings into those gifts being brought forward. Give God your frustration and fear and worry and anxiety. As the priest lifts the bread and wine see him lifting all the unresolved negative emotions to God.
In the action of the Mass the bread is taken, blessed, broken and transformed. So it is with the negative feelings that you offer up. Through the priest God will take them, offer them to God, bless them, break them and then they will be transformed.
To get rid of those negative feelings of not being forgiven see that first of all the priest takes them as you offer them up. Standing in the place of Christ the priest symbolically takes your burdens. As he does, think of Christ Jesus himself saying, “Come to me all who labor and are heavily burdened and I will give you rest.” Through the action of the Mass Christ will take those burdens.
When I say Mass I make a conscious act of the will to bring to the altar all the sins I have heard in the confessional. Of course I don’t remember the individual sins. Instead, in a moment of silent prayer I ask that God will take them and forgive them and remember them no more, and that the penitent will be set free, forgiven and healed.
Then the priest blesses the bread. Imagine that he is blessing the burdens you have. “Bless the burdens?” Yes, the dark times of our life will become blessings as they are transformed by grace. But first, like the bread, they need to be broken. The dark feelings have you in bondage, and as the bread is broken see the bonds being broken. Then the transformation of the bondage into blessing will be completed.
Finally, as you receive the body of Christ imagine that you are receiving in the most powerful way the peace and strength and knowledge of forgiveness from Christ himself.
This “liturgy therapy” might take some time to sink in. If your mind has been circling around and around over particular grievances it is possible that you have got into a destructive mental pattern. This negative downward spiral can only be reversed and countered by repeated positive cycles of receiving God’s forgiveness week by week.
I am convinced that faith works. In other words, our Catholic faith really does bring us to an abundant life–a life that is transformed from the inside out by God’s grace.
Our part is to come to God with an open heart, an open mind and an active will so that as we co operate with his grace we will be transformed into his likeness.

In defence of Mother Church.

I have been thinking about writing a series of posts about Sacred Tradition. One of the reasons for this is because I have been asked numerous times about why Catholics do what we do. The Mass has been criticized as being ‘stuffy and boring'; I’ve been asked aggressively about why I call someone other than my father ‘Father'; ‘Why do you need to go to confession to have your sins forgiven?’ etc, etc.

Some time ago my hackles rose at what I heard in the lyrics of the rap song called ‘I hate religion but love Jesus’. It went viral , so anyone who surfs the web or visits YouTube  is  sure to have come across it at some point. It took at least three replays for me to fully comprehend the real message behind this song. Perhaps you’ll get it sooner than I did?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1IAhDGYlpqY

Unexpectedly today I came upon this Catholic rap which has been made in response to it, so the basis for my posts on Sacred Tradition has been strengthened. Enjoy!

 I have copied this from the uCatholic.com site:

A response to the video “Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus”. The purpose of this video is to do a response from a Catholic perspective, in a spirit of love, but also with a spirit of passion to defend our Mother the Church. The things that are said are not meant to offend, but we do have to be direct about what we believe and what we stand for.

Video Created By:

Director & Editor: Rob Kaczmark
Lyricist: Fr. Claude (Dusty) Burns aka Fr. Pontifex
Producers: dUSt, Danny Hidalgo, Kyle Escamilla, Rob Kaczmark
Re-Recording Mixer: Manuel Lopez III

Special thank to Queen of all Saints Basilica and Monsignor John Pollard for allowing us to film in the church.

Lyrics:
What if I told you that Jesus loves religion
And that by his coming as man he brought his religion to fruition
See this had to be addressed, the use of illogical terms and definitions
You clearly have a heart for Jesus but its fueling atheistic opinions
See what makes his religion great is not errors of wars and inquisitions
It’s that broken men and women to participate in his mission
Clearly Jesus says I have not come to abolish
I came to fulfill the law and I came to fulfill the prophets (Matthew 5:17)
And lines about building big churches and tending to the poor
Sounds a bit like Judas when the perfume was being poured (John 12:5)
See His religion is the largest worldwide source of relief
For the poor, the hungry, the sick and repentant thief
Oceans of compassion, opening wide the doors
For single mothers, widows and orphans, married and divorced (James 1:27)
We all detest hypocrisy, and empty show is just the worst
But blaming religion for contradiction
Is like staring at death, and blaming the hearse.
See the teacher will teach when the students are ready to listen
But those that choose to sit in the pews and refuse the good news
Is not the fault of religion.
And If I have the Jersey and I’m playing for the Bulls
There’s going to be some boundaries, regulations and some rules.
You can’t have Christ without his Church; you can’t have the King without his Kingdom
Sins of the Body and internal treason will never ever make me leave him
And that Jesus said it is done, is absolutely true
But he also gave us a mission with many things to DO.
Jesus says if you love me, you will Do what I command. (JN 15:14)
Go and Baptize in the name of the Father, Son & Spirit in Every Land. (MT 28:19)
And on the night he was betrayed he took his men in the Upper Room
Take at eat this is my body take and drink my blood for you.
A New covenant you see, an act connected to the tree,
Do this time and time again in Memory of Me. (Mt 26:26-28)
And at last with crown of thorns beaten beyond comprehension
His eyes were looking for yours and mine; it was divine, no human invention.
So as for religion I love it, I have one because Jesus rose from the dead and won.
I believe When Jesus said IT IS FINISHED, His religion had just begun.

Fr. Claude (Dusty) Burns

I read the lyrics before I watched the video. I hope you do the same. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ru_tC4fv6FE

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