Juxtaposition in Faith

Acts 6:8-8:1

Today we celebrate the first Christian Martyr, Stephen. Stephen was one of the first 7 deacons of the Church, and possibly the youngest. We are not told his age, except that he was young.

Stephen spoke and lead with great wisdom. We are told that his opponents could not refute his testimony of Jesus, so they accused him of blasphemy and sentenced him to death on the spot by stoning.

It further says, even his opponents saw the radiance of his face as that of an Angel and his words were powerful.

As Stephen was dying we are told he cried out “receive my spirit” as well as “Lord, do not hold this sin against them”.

Stephen was the first martyr and follower of Jesus who prayed for his persecutors as they were killing him; exactly as Jesus did while He was dying on the Cross.

Another young man was partaking in and consenting to Stephen’s death. His name was Saul, of Tarsus, who would later become the great Apostle and greatest evangelizer of the Christian faith, Paul.

What a juxtaposition in many ways today is. The Church purposely and purposefully places the feast of St. Stephen, the Church’s first martyr on the day after CHRISTmas.

We have just completed the great and holy season of Advent. A season of Hope and the beginning of the Church’s liturgical year.

We celebrated CHRISTmas yesterday. A great feast commemorating the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Emmanuel, the Incarnation! We gathered with family and friends to celebrate the gift of each other in our lives.

Now, today, the day after CHRISTmas, we have this sobering reminder of our mortality, and the danger of following Jesus!

In addition, we have a scene that includes the first Christian martyr and a man in Saul, who hates Christians, and is persecuting and killing them; However, today, December 26, 2015 some 2000 years after this scene we commemorate today, what has changed?

Yet, think about this, Saul, the hater, became Paul, the lover. Saul, Stephen’s murderer, is now Paul, Stephen’s brother, and they stand side by side in the Kingdom of God as brothers.

WOW! This is combustible and how do we interpret this today? I ask you to read, meditate and contemplate this passage today in the spirit of Lectio Divina (Divine reading – oratio, meditatio, contemplatio).

Only forgiveness, mercy and LOVE conquer all!!!

“What profit is there for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life”?

May God bless you and hold you in the palm of His hand!

Keep walking!!!

http://www.oremuscomms.com

http://www.thekingsmen.org

http://www.usccb.org

http://divineoffice.org

http://www.ewtn.com

The author of this article is Mr. Charles A. DeFeo, O.P.

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Extraordinary Jubilee Year Of Mercy Proclaimed By Pope Francis from December 8, 2015 to November 20, 2016

https://www.tektonministries.org/catholic-media-popes-official-prayer-for-jubilee-year-of-mercy/

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has composed a special prayer for the Jubilee Year of Mercy which will run from 8 December 2015 to 20 November 2016. In the prayer, the Holy Father entreats the Lord to make the Jubilee of Mercy a year of grace so that the Church, “with renewed enthusiasm, may bring good news to the poor, proclaim liberty to captives and the oppressed, and restore sight to the blind.”

Below, we publish the text of Pope Francis’ prayer:

Lord Jesus Christ,

you have taught us to be merciful like the heavenly Father,

and have told us that whoever sees you sees Him.

Show us your face and we will be saved.

Your loving gaze freed Zacchaeus and Matthew from being enslaved by money;

the adulteress and Magdalene from seeking happiness only in created things;

made Peter weep after his betrayal,

and assured Paradise to the repentant thief.

Let us hear, as if addressed to each one of us, the words that you spoke to the Samaritan woman:

“If you knew the gift of God!”

You are the visible face of the invisible Father,

of the God who manifests his power above all by forgiveness and mercy:

let the Church be your visible face in the world, its Lord risen and glorified.

You willed that your ministers would also be clothed in weakness

in order that they may feel compassion for those in ignorance and error:

let everyone who approaches them feel sought after, loved, and forgiven by God.

Send your Spirit and consecrate every one of us with its anointing,

so that the Jubilee of Mercy may be a year of grace from the Lord,

and your Church, with renewed enthusiasm, may bring good news to the poor,

proclaim liberty to captives and the oppressed,

and restore sight to the blind.

We ask this through the intercession of Mary, Mother of Mercy,

you who live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit for ever and ever.

Amen.

The Mass Explained; Liturgy Of The Eucharist, Part 3

In article one, the mass explained we discussed the reason for the mass, including what the priest wears and why. Everything in the mass has meaning.

Article two delved into the first half of the mass; we call it the liturgy of the word and we learned what happens at mass from the moment we walk in through the prayer of the faithful, which is prayed after the readings, homily and Creed.

Now, here in article three we begin the second half of mass called the liturgy of the Eucharist, which starts with the Offertory.

OFFERTORY – Critical part of Mass

In the early Church the faithful provided bread and wine; very similar to bring your own as we call it today (BYO).

The offering of collection and bread and wine = offering ourselves. We participate in offering; ask “What will I place on the altar?”

We make up the body of Christ, all of us, the faithful, the clergy and the laity. We, the laity are kingdom priests as well offering ourselves on the altar. We place our needs as well as our loved ones on the altar offering. What will you place on the altar? The good and bad, all of it. God wants all of you and me including our good and bad.

BLESSING – BEROKAH PRAYER – Jewish Blessing Prayer – prayed by Jesus

Mingling of wine and water:

Practical – not too much wine and only a drop of water

Theological – divinity and humanity of Christ – sign of Jesus offering Himself

LAVABO – PASSOVER connection

Lavabo means washing of hands

“Pray my brothers and sisters that my sacrifice and yours is acceptable to God…”. Invites the people into the sacrifice.

PREFACE

“The Lord be with you”. We enter dangerous territory #3. The most profound part of mass is coming up.

HOLY, HOLY, HOLY

We join with the Angels and Saints in worship and praise of God. Heaven and Earth together crying out in adoration, praise and worship of God.

EUCHARISTIC PRAYER

Center of whole mass – kneeling reflects humility, adoration and worship. This is the action of Christ’s body, the Church at mass.

The Eucharistic Prayer is the heart of the Liturgy of the Eucharist. In this prayer, the celebrant acts in the person of Christ as head of his body, the Church. He gathers not only the bread and the wine, but the substance of our lives and joins them to Christ’s perfect sacrifice, offering them to the Father.

EPICLESIS – means invocation or calling down from on high

Calling on the Holy Spirit to come down upon these gifts; through the power of the Holy Spirit, WORD WAS MADE FLESH in MARY; through the power of the Holy Spirit, and the words of the priest, the bread and wine become FLESH on our altar. Like the dewfall from the Old Testament.

WORDS OF INSTITUTION

The priest speaks the words “in persona Christi” – in the person of Christ.

THIS IS MY BODY – THIS IS MY BLOOD

This is the height of Mass; A miracle, the world has changed.

My Lord and My God!!!

GREAT AMEN – walls should shake!

In Him, with Him and through Him

The early church shook the walls in the Catcombs at this point in the mass with their crying out in adoration, praise and worship.

Let the walls of your heart shake!

OUR FATHER

We stand with dignity. At Our Saviour’s command, we dare to say…Address God as Father…We are His children…Daily Bread—suprasubstantial bread (Greek word meaning above and beyond material form); only in The Eucharist.

SIGN OF PEACE

Desire for reconciliation; reconcile with your brother before coming to the altar. Sign of peace before martyrdom. Become…who God made us to be!

FRACTURING RITE

Priest breaks off piece of sacred host and places in chalice: mingling brings eternal life—sign of unity to universal church—reuniting Body and Blood of Christ.

Historically; unity with the bishop and the universal church as the bishop breaks off piece of host and places in his chalice and places the rest of the host in a cloth and hands to a runner who brings it to the local priest in another town to use and the priest in turn does same and so on.

LAMB OF GOD

Freedom comes from the blood of the lamb. Jesus is the lamb of God. The priest elevates the lamb of God. We are called to the Supper of the Lamb.

Our response is the centurion’s prayer – “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof; only say the word and my soul shall be healed”. Jesus marvelled at the centurion’s prayer.

HOLY COMMUNION

We receive, we do not take! It is better to receive on tongue. If receiving in hands, your hands make up a throne to receive your KING! Reverence, bow fully or genuflect before receiving.

AMEN – “I stake my life on that belief” (that this sacred host is The Body of Christ, that this community is the Body of Christ).

If this is not Jesus, I am dead!

Confession before communion, humble confidence, not perfect, but never receive unworthily.

COMMUNION MEDITATION

Thanksgiving for each individual making up the Body of Christ.

Mary… a living tabernacle…we are now living tabernacles after receiving.

Respond: Magnificat prayer or Anima Christi prayer. “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my saviour…” and/or “Soul of Christ sanctify me, my family and the whole world, body of Christ save us, Blood of Christ inebriate us, water from the side of Christ, wash us, passion of Christ strengthen us…”

Every cell in our body is to become Jesus. Remain in me Jesus and let me remain in You!

PURIFICATION RITE

So much care by the priest or deacon. Purifying vessels-no particle or precious blood to remain.

The women at the foot of the Cross stayed to wipe up the precious Blood of Jesus. Every drop of His precious Blood was collected before His burial.

FINAL BLESSING AND DISMISSAL

“The Lord be with you”… dangerous territory #4!

We are to be like water balloon launchers going out bursting and dripping Christ into the world! Be transformed and transform others!

Zeal for His house has consumed Him!!!

As a priest friend once explained the mass – we stand to pray, sit to listen and kneel to witness a miracle!!!

In the name of the Father who created us, and the Son who redeemed us, and the Holy Spirit who sanctifies us, AMEN.

God bless and keep walking!!!

I encourage you to go back and read part’s 1 and 2 and I hope and pray that this 3 part series on The Mass Explained has given you a better understanding of and deeper appreciation for the mass.

Thanks to Mary Ann Corcoran, DRE at Saint Pius X, Broomall, PA for bringing us Altaration, the mystery of the mass revealed, narrated by Reverend Father Mike Schmitz and all the people who make up Acsension Press. Thank you.

This post is written by Mr. Charles A. DeFeo, O.P.

 

The Fellowship Of The Unashamed

My Banner Is Clear

The inspiring commitment of a young African
pastor from Zimbabwe

I am part of the fellowship of the unashamed. I have Holy Spirit power, my die has been cast. I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made. I’m a disciple of Jesus. I won’t look back, let up, slow down, back away, or be still.

My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, my future is secure. I’m finished and done with low living, sight walking, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tamed visions, worldly talking, cheap giving, and dwarfed goals.

I no longer need pre-eminence, prosperity, position, promotions, plaudits, or popularity. I don’t have to be right, first, tops, recognized, or rewarded. I now live by faith, lean on His presence, walk by patience, am uplifted by prayer, and labor by power.

My face is set, my gait is fast, my goal is heaven, my road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions are few, my Guide is reliable, and my mission is clear. I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded, or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of the adversary, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity. I won’t give up, shut up, let up, until I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up, preached up for the cause of Christ.

I am a disciple of Jesus. I must go till He comes, give till I drop, preach till all know, and work till He stops me. And when He comes for His own, He will have no problem recognizing me-my banner will be clear.

The Author, Owner and Keeper of this blog Mr. Charles A. DeFeo, O.P. seconds this commitment and lives by these words.

God bless you, and Keep Walking!!!