faithinourfamilies:

Great post here from Father Chris Pietraszko…

Originally posted on diocesanspirituality:

Liturgical abuseFor a number of years I have struggled with resentments towards what is typically termed the “Vatican II generation.” Keep in mind that this phrase does not mean to generalize an entire bracket of people from one age to another. Rather, it summarizes a group of Catholics who have embraced an ambiguous, erroneous, and distorted vision of Ecclesiology, Sacramental Theology, and Liturgy. In effect, everything the Church teaches from the Natural Law to the Divine Law.  The “Vatican II generation” is not really a generation that embraced the documents of Vatican II either.  If it did, there would be Gregorian chant and Latin regularly practiced during mass…

Here is the problem. Resentment is not a fruit of the Holy Spirit. First of all, it indicates a wound for which one has not forgiven his assailant. Forgiveness is not an acceptance of behaviour or even false-doctrine, but rather a sort of…

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Sixteenth Sunday – Year A

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Gospel: Matthew 13:24-43

He put before them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to someone who sowed good seed in his field; but while everybody was asleep, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and then went away. 26 So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared as well. And the slaves of the householder came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where, then, did these weeds come from?’ He answered, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The slaves said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ But he replied, ‘No; for in gathering the weeds you would uproot the wheat along with them. Let both of them grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Collect the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.’”

He put before them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.” He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.” Jesus told the crowds all these things in parables; without a parable he told them nothing. This was to fulfil what had been spoken through the prophet: “I will open my mouth to speak in parables; I will proclaim what has been hidden from the foundation of the world.” Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples approached him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.” He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man; the field is the world, and the good seed are the children of the kingdom; the weeds ar the children of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. Just as the weeds are collected and burned up with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers, and they will throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Let anyone with ears listen!

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Today’s readings tell us about a very patient and compassionate God who is hopeful that the so-called “weeds” among us will be converted and that we should not be in a hurry to eliminate such elements from the Church or society or the family on the basis of unwarranted and hasty judgement.

In the 1993 film Schindler’s List, Oskar Schindler, a successful businessman, arrives in Krakow from Czechoslovakia hoping to use the abundant cheap labour force of the Jews to manufacture goods for the German military. Schindler, a nominal Catholic and an opportunistic member of the Nazi Party, lavishes bribes upon the army officials and Nazi leaders and acquires a factory for the production of army mess kits. But he is a mixture of good and evil. Unfaithful to his wife, he certainly knows how to enjoy the so called “good life” -cigars, drink and women. He exploits his Jewish workers as a source of cheap labour. But as he witnesses the horrors endured by the Jews, the good elements in his character wake up. So he starts saving Jews, using his immense wealth and his political influence. At great personal risk he protects his workers from the death camps, there by showing that he is undoubtedly a courageous man with basic goodness. In today’s gospel, Jesus tells the parable of the wheat and weeds explaining how we all are a mixture of good and evil and why God tolerates evil in the world.

Thought for the week…

Am I  wheat or a weed?

 

Dear Jesus,

Please help me see your truth clearly so I can be wheat for you. Help me love my brother weeds.

Thank You, I love you Jesus, Amen.

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Remember on Maundy Thursday when Jesus told me “…let people see my relationship with you…”?

Well, I guess I’m gonna tell you a bit about it now. Can you hear the hesitation in my voice? I’m shy about this. Really shy. That is because it is the deepest most personal relationship I have with anyone in my life. Seriously, it would be easier for me to reveal the secrets of what goes on in my bedroom rather than the secrets of what goes on in my heart (not that anything particularly secret goes on in my bedroom – we still have the baby in our room because there is nowhere else to put her!).

An-y-way…

Me and my son were at the vigil Mass on Saturday evening. I was having difficulty concentrating and so was he. I was plagued by the thought of something I have been really struggling with recently. I’m not going to tell you what it is, but it is not good. I constantly go to confession about it. I am struggling with it. It makes me feel guilty and rubbish – like I’m the worst person in the world. And I just could not get it out of my brain.

I have never spoken so sincerely as when it came to the words just before communion “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and I shall be healed.” I know I’m not worthy. I really know it – especially at the moment, with this particular struggle I’m having. It seems that the closer I get to Christ the more I am acutely aware of my own sinfulness. This is especially a problem when I approach Jesus in Holy Communion. I beg our blessed Mother to help me receive her Son well. I just kept saying “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, please forgive me. I know I’m not worthy to approach you.”

Quite often my heart burns while I’m in the line waiting to receive Him, but this time something different happened: Right after I said the “Lord, I am not worthy…” part, I was aware that Jesus was with me. He was all around me, in me and through me. He was everywhere in the Church but alone with me at the same time. I know Him. This is not the first time. My heart burned. He said to me “Don’t think of it as you coming to Me, it’s Me coming to you! I still want you.” He then reminded me of all the times in the Gospels when He invited Himself round to the houses of sinners to eat dinner!

The Eucharist is the same principle: It is not me going to Him, it’s Him coming to me. He desires me. God desires me!

Excuse me while I have trouble processing this information! Of course looking at it theoretically I know that I am made in the image and likeness of God etc, etc, etc. But when He comes to tell you Himself it is quite different. Despite my sinfulness, my struggles and my constant faults and failings, I know I am forgiven and I am loved. OH!!! His mercy breaks me! It BREAKS me! His gentleness totally floors me and His love is there to catch me. I am a tiny baby in His universe sized arms. And He looks at me and smiles, because He delights in me. His desire for me is greater than my desire for Him – if that could even be thought possible? Our endless infinite love affair continues…

So there we go. I said it.

 

From the TELEGRAPH:

A Christian-run bakery is facing legal action from a Government agency for refusing to produce a cake carrying a picture of the Sesame Street characters Bert and Ernie and the slogan “support gay marriage”.

Ashers Baking Co, based in Newtownabbey, Northern Ireland, cancelled an order for a novelty cake with a picture of the puppets arm in arm printed onto the icing saying that it went against the directors’ religious beliefs.

They believe that producing the cake with the slogan and the logo of QueerSpace, a gay rights group the would-be customer supports, would amount to endorsing the campaign for the introduction of gay marriage in the province, and go against their religious convictions.

But the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland has now written to the firm claiming that it is breaking the law.

A letter signed by the legal office orders the firm to “remedy your illegal discrimination” within seven days or be taken to court by the commission.

It claimed that refusing to print the cake amounted to discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation against the man who placed the order.

The Christian institute, which is supporting the bakery, says it is not discriminatory for managers to refuse to endorse a political campaign.

Gay marriage is not legal in Northern Ireland, the only part of the UK in which it is not on the statute book.

Colin Hart, chief executive of the Christian Institute, said: “This is a sign of things to come exactly as we predicted.

“The Government repeatedly failed to listen to members of the public, lawyers, constitutional experts even its own MPs when they called for safeguards to protect those who back traditional marriage, especially those who work in the public sector.

“Now this nonsense, more usually associated with the public sector, is being applied to the private sector.

“This means millions of ordinary people who do not agree with gay marriage, face intimidation and the real threat of legal action from the forces of political correctness if they, out of conscience, decline to provide good or services to campaign groups they do not agree with or support.

“It establishes a dangerous precedent about the power of the state over an individual, or business to force them to go against their deeply held beliefs.”

The customer was unable to comment.

……………

This is the exact reason i closed my 9 year cake business in January this year. I could see this sort of thing coming: 

http://faithinourfamilies.com/2013/05/22/why-equal-marriage-law-will-destroy-my-wedding-cake-business-and-free-speech/

What the Government is saying is that this cake company has no right to refuse a customer. The article makes no mention of the sexuality of the customer and it certainly is not saying that the cake company is refusing to serve them because they are or might be gay. I’m sure if a gay person walked in and ordered a Thomas the Tank Engine cake they would have no problem in being served. 

Would it be a matter of discrimination then if i walked in to the bakery and told them to make me a cake with the slogan “God does not exist” and they refused on religious grounds? Would that be discriminating against atheists? 

What about if i wanted them to make a cake with the slogan “pro choice” and they refused on religious grounds? Would that be discriminating against women who choose to have an abortion?

It’s funny isn’t it – that this issue of social acceptance bullying does not seem to raise its ugly head in any other community other than the gay community. It’s almost as if they want to pick a fight…

I’m just sayin’.

Sources: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/10952494/Bert-and-Ernie-gay-marriage-cake-leaves-Christian-bakery-facing-court-threat.html

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I believe the way the sacraments have been administered over the last 2 generations has resulted in a massive watering down of the faith. I believe not enough time, energy or money have been invested in sacrament prep. And from my own experience, a lot of the sacramental prep out there is heretical gobbledygook.

Here is what you can get in terms of sacrament prep if you live in some of the parishes around my area…

Baptism: 1 hour

First Confession/Holy Communion: 6 months: 1 hour per week for the Kids. Parents get 6 x 1 hour sessions based on what the kids have been learning.

Confirmation: 6 months: 1.5 hour meeting per month + 1 day retreat.

Marriage: 1 full day

Holy orders: 7 years

Last Rights: We don’t talk about that.

Looking at it from an outside point of view it does seem a little strange doesn’t it?

Committing yourself to the priesthood for the rest of your life – 7 years. Committing yourself to marriage for the rest of your life – 1 day? Committing to becoming the primary and most influential educator of a child in regards to the faith for the rest of their lives – 1 hour??? Really???

There seems to be a lot of time money and effort put into Children’s catechises, and very little put into Adult catechises and ongoing formation. Why is this?

Is adult formation not as important? I would argue that it was more important. How can we expect a couple to remain in a marriage without knowing what marriage is? Or who Christ is? How can we possibly expect parents to fulfil their role of transmitting the faith to their children if they do not know it themselves? How can we expect a catholic parent married to a non-catholic to create a ‘domestic church’ when they have not been given the tools and instruction and support in doing so?

I know what you are going to say: “But my parish does it like this…” Which leads me onto my next point: The Bishops.

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(Sorry Bishops, I’m going to hold you accountable again – brace yourselves…) Why do we not have a central recommended programme of Catechises and Evangelisation for each diocese? It seems absolutely ridiculous to me that in one parish you will get brilliant formation and catechises based on Holy Scripture, the Catechism and Papal doc’s, and in the parish up the road you will get a load of heretical nonsense based on people’s own personal opinions of what they would prefer the catholic faith to look like. Why are we playing catechetical roulette? Bishops, are you not aware of this problem?

We are the universal Church aren’t we? Ideally catechises should be the same all over the world (allowing for cultural differences of course). It seems obvious doesn’t it?

That is what I can’t understand. I am not the most organised person in the world – but when I see there is a problem I do something about it. Perhaps the fact of the matter is that the people making the decisions are so far removed from what is happening that they are actually un-aware of the problem. For example: Do the men at the top realise that 90% of parents that come to a local baptism course in my area are not confident in reciting the Our Father? 50% of them are non-practising Catholics (I’m afraid it’s true.)

I hope to God that the answer is “No, we don’t know what is going on in our parishes.”– because if the answer is yes then why on earth aren’t they doing anything about it? Either way there is a shocking problem.

Raising a child in the faith is a massive undertaking. Primarily children learn from watching and copying their parents. How will these kids learn to form a personal relationship with Christ if the people supposed to be teaching then do not even realise it is possible to have a personal relationship with Christ? How can these kids learn NFP or the true nature of the sacramental union of husband and wife, if their parents don’t even know what that means?

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OK, I’ve thrown a lot of questions out there – and rightly so, but what about the solutions?

I believe Adult formation need to be moved to priority status in every diocese. Only then can we break this cycle of uneducated, unevangelised sacramentalising that has resulted in a general watering down of the faith.

  1. When people request to get married or have their kid baptised, Priests need to assess where people are in their relationship with Christ and then direct them accordingly – delaying the sacrament if necessary.
  2. Marriage prep needs to CLEARLY spell out what catholic marriage is. The couple then have to decide if they really want a catholic marriage or not.
  3. Baptism prep should not just be about the sacrament itself – but about building a domestic church.
  4. Each parish will have in place a recognised ongoing Adult formation/evangelisation course recommended by their diocese.

Our parishes have become Sacrament factories that churn out more and more sacramentalised, but uneducated, unevangelised people who are being let down by the powers that be. It’s not fair. It’s not right. It’s like flying someone out to the base of Mount Everest and expecting them to succeed in reaching the summit armed with only a pair of flip-flops, a can of Coke and a pat on the back.

Bishops, Priests, take care of your flocks – properly.

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Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary time – Year A

Gospel: Matthew 11:25-30

At that time Jesus said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

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In Matthew 12, we hear about the Pharisees who were making the Jewish religion very complicated and difficult. It consisted of ‘don’t do this’ and ‘don’t do that’. Theirs was a religion of 600 religious rules and regulations and rituals that people were expected to know and follow. The religion of the Pharisees had become a burden, like a heavy yoke on the people’s shoulders. This was the situation that Jesus was addressing. They had taken the Jewish religion and had sucked the life out of it. The letter of the law had become more important than the spirit of the law.

The message of Jesus however was simple and positive. To love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and soul and your neighbour as yourself. Jesus’ yoke, is easy compared to the Pharisees with all their harsh, negative rules.

“Come to me all you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.” also has a very personal meaning. What heavy burdens are you carrying in your life? Talk to Jesus about this now…

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The Footprints Prayer

One night I had a dream…

I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord, and across the sky flashed scenes from my life. For each scene I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand; one belonged to me, and the other to the Lord. When the last scene of my life flashed before us, I looked back at the footprints in the sand. I noticed that many times along the path of my life, there was only one set of footprints.

I also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times in my life this really bothered me, and I questioned the Lord about it. “Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you, you would walk with me all the way; but I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life, there is only one set of footprints. I don’t understand why in times when I needed you the most, you should leave me?”

The Lord replied, “My precious, precious child. I love you, and I would never, never leave you during your times of trial and suffering. When you saw only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.”

 

  Thought for the week…

“I will give you rest…”

 

 

Dear Jesus,

Help me realise I am not alone with my heavy burdens.

Thank You, I love you Jesus, Amen.

With all the hype surrounding the upcoming synod later this year, one issue has been bugging me:

Communion for the divorced and re-married.

I have heard the ‘pro’ arguments from Cardinal Walter Kasper and such like, and i have heard the ‘against’ arguments from Rome and Cardinal Thomas Collins of Toronto .

But no-one has spoken about the big bad elephants in the room yet: 

1. How can the Bishops expect people to foster a happy and successful Catholic marriages if they give then no proper marriage prep, and no ongoing support?

2. How can the Bishops expect couples to understand the indissolubility of a sacramental union if (due to complete lack of adult formation) they don’t even know what a sacrament is?

3. Why have the Bishops not put proper ongoing practical measures in place to protect and support the Catholics they are responsible for, who are in mixed marriages?

4. Why have the Bishops not promoted and explained the central importance of NFP in a Catholic marriage?

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I am not trying to alleviate all responsibility from people who decide to divorce and remarry, and there are certainly many who knew exactly what they were doing and the consequences of their actions – but my honest belief is that many, many more didn’t know what they were getting themselves into when they got married in a Catholic church.

When i got married 14 years ago we had a ‘nice’ marriage prep course about resolving conflict and speaking your partners “love language” (i kid you not…) There was no mention of NFP and no mention of what a sacramental union actually is.

I got married under the impression that Catholics are not allowed to get divorced – which is of course false! (Catholics can get divorced, we just can’t remarry.) I had absolutely no idea whatsoever that if you did remarry you could not receive Holy Eucharist. I had no idea what an annulment was. I wasn’t really sure of what a sacramental union was and i certainly didn’t realise that I was administering the sacrament to my husband and vice versa – I thought the priest was doing it! And i was a regular church goer…

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Over the past 30 years about 55 to 70% of annulments have occurred in the United States. The growth in annulments—at least in the US—has been substantial. In 1968 338 marriages were annulled. In 2006 27,000 were.

Pope Benedict XVI in his address to the Roman Rota in 2009, echoing words of his predecessor John Paul II, has criticized “the exaggerated and almost automatic multiplication of declarations of nullity of marriage in cases of the failure of marriage on the pretext of some immaturity or psychic weakness on the part of the contracting parties”. Calling for “the reaffirmation of the innate human capacity for matrimony”, he insisted on the point made in 1987 by John Paul II that “only incapacity and not difficulty in giving consent invalidates a marriage”

According to Canon 1095 a marriage can be declared null only when consent was given in the presence of some grave lack of discretionary judgement regarding the essential rights and obligations of marriage, or of some real incapacity to assume these essential obligations.

Please understand i am not advocating Communion for the remarried. I believe in the annulment process. What i am saying that the massive lack of adult evangelisation and catechises over the last 2 generations has been a major contributing factor in why Catholic marriages are not lasting.

Gaining knowledge over time of what a real Catholic marriage is, has definitely strengthened my own marriage and i would go as far to say that in the really dark times it has kept me in it – until the clouds passed and the sun shone again. But i can totally understand why someone who does not understand these truths would want to split up, and then meet someone new, and then try again. 

Bishops – it is and always has been your responsibility to ensure the Catholics in your diocese are properly educated and trained for marriage. The synod is a wonderful opportunity to admit that what you have been doing/not doing regarding marriage over the last 2 generations has been poor. Please discuss…

 

Following my last post in which me and my kids were made to feel very unwelcome in our church, lots and lots of people sent me this:

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It says:

TO THE PARENTS OF OUR YOUNG CHILDREN, MAY WE SUGGEST…

Relax! God put the wiggle in children; don’t feel you have to suppress it in God’s house. All are welcome!

Sit toward the front where it is easier for your little ones to see and hear what’s going on at the altar. They tire of seeing the backs of other’s heads.

Quietly explain the parts of the Mass and actions of the priest, altar servers, choir etc.

Sing the hymns, pray and voice the responses. Children learn liturgical behaviour by copying you.

If you have to leave Mass with your child, feel free to do so, but please come back. As Jesus said “Let the children come to me.”

Remember that the way we welcome children in church directly affects the way they respond to the church, to God, and to one another. Let them know that they are at home in this house of worship.

Please let your child use the reverse side of this card to draw and doodle.

 

TO OTHER MEMBERS OF OUR PARISH

The presence of children is a gift to the church and they are a reminder that our parish is growing.

Please welcome our children and give a smile of encouragement to their parents.

If you see a parent struggling, please offer to help them!

 

Isn’t that great?! I have taken the liberty of typing it up and adding a smiley face for you lovely people to download and use in your parishes:

 

To the parents of young children

 

Please download it and use it for free here: To the parents of young children.doc   To the parents of young children.pdf

Clare x

For the past month i have been trying something new with my 4 year old. In the mornings after dropping my 7 year old at school, me, Annabel -4, and baby Angelica – 9 months, go across the road to the church to pray.

We take rosaries and mantillas and books and other interesting things to look at while we are there. I make Annabel take her shoes off when we go into the church because bare feet are quieter. She knows she has to whisper because Gods house is a special quiet place where we all come to pray. Angelica is an easy baby who is not walking and is usually very quiet apart from letting out the occasional loud “Ba!” which happens to be her best sound at the moment. We blow kisses to the picture of Therese of Lisieux as we walk past. We watched her film together last week and loved it. Annabel has come to love Therese as much as i do and even dresses up as her by putting her blanket over her head as a veil!! Ha! Ha!

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We all go down to the back of the church to Our Lady’s chapel which is well out of the way of the main congregation area. I kneel, the baby sits at my feet and plays with her cloth book or her plastic slinky. Annabel dances around the chapel – in silence – usually with her blanket tied round her head because she is playing Therese of Lisieux. Every so often she comes to sit with me and we cuddle while i continue to pray. She waves and blows kisses to “Mummy Mary” as she dances past her statue. She understands this is home. She understands she is loved here. She understands God is here. She witnesses her mother praying in silence. She sees how much I l value and love prayer.

There are usually 4 or 5 other people in the church praying at that time (our church can hold approx 3000 on a full day). On Monday there are the volunteer cleaners who chat away as they clean, which i feel they really shouldn’t do – especially on the sanctuary – but I’m sure they mean no harm!

On Wednesdays it is Adoration. As usual i take the kids down the back to Our Lady’s chapel so as not to disturb the other people there. From our spot you can just see Jesus in the Eucharist from the back of the Monstrance on top of the altar. I need this time with Jesus desperately. I get so little time with Him. Every so often i bring Annabel close to me and ask her “Look! Who’s that over there?” to which she replies “Jesus!”. My daughter understands the real presence. She blows a kiss and then goes back to playing Therese of Lisieux.

I have noticed a real difference in Annabel over the last month. At bedtime her prayers have changed from being a shopping list of toys that she wants to talking to Jesus who she knows loves her. She now prays from her heart because she knows what real prayer is – a conversation. She has felt the presence of God – i have no doubt of that. This has come about because i have ensured she has had the time and space to feel it in our daily morning trips to the church.

My Medjugorje Trip, Day 4 - Adoration

This morning a dear friend of mine came to talk to me as we were leaving the church. She had been asked to pass on a message by one of the more mature (and i use that word ironically) lady’s of the parish. The message was this:

“Please don’t come to Adoration with your children as they are very distracting and we prefer complete silence.”

I hid my initial shock and hurt and thanked her for passing on the message.

I’m glad i don’t know who this person is because then i would probably have to go and say something to them which would probably result in me having to go to confession, again. And if i do find out who it is, i will have to restrain myself from unleashing the tirade of sarcastic responses that start popping into my shocked and hurt brain:

“So when should i bring my kids to adoration then?”

“Sorry – i didn’t realise we were spoiling your adoration.”

“Perhaps the Lord is calling you to spare a prayer or two for my kids? Or even for me?”

“How many other 4 year old’s do you know who understand the real presence? Most adults don’t even get it!”

“Should we not adore as a community?”

“Perhaps you should tell the Priest we are bothering you?”

“How long have you been talking about me and my children to other people in a negative way behind my back.”

“Why did you not have the courage to come and tell me yourself?”

“Perhaps you should just go to the evening session when we are not there?”

“Does the 20 mins that my kids are here distract you so much? Oh I am sorry – try doing it 24 hours a day 7 days a week.”

“Shall i tell Annabel you said she is not welcome? Or would you like to do it yourself?”

“Do you know how hard i try as a Catholic Mother living in a militant secular culture?”

“How dare you try to stop someone from coming into the presence of Jesus.”

“You are like nearly 80. How much more formation do you need?! My daughter is just at the beginning of her life with Jesus.”

“Have you told Jesus what you told us? Perhaps you should, and see what He has to say about it (you will have plenty of time to do so next Wednesday morning during Adoration.)”

It’s best i don’t find out who it is.

Tomorrow is Tuesday. I will be taking my children to the church to pray as usual. I will also be feeling un-welcomed by a stranger i know is watching me and wishing i wasn’t there. I will pray for them.

Here is a post from my friend Fr. Dylan James…

Jn 1:29-34
We just heard one of the most memorable lines in the Gospels, a line so significant that the Church has the priest repeat it in every Mass, saying as he holds the Eucharistic host for the congregation to see, “Behold the Lamb of God, behold Him who takes away the sins of the world. Blessed are those called to the supper of the Lamb.”St John the Baptist recognised the Lord when He came. But, as we know, many did not  recognise Him. Ultimately, those who didn’t recognise Him had Him crucified.
For ourselves, thinking of the Eucharist, it’s important to ask ourselves, again and again, “How FULLY do I recognise the Lord here?”Let me quote from a book I recently read by Bishop Schneider, that takes a similar line in the Gospels: After the death of the Lord the disciples went back to fishing on the Sea of Galilee. The Risen Lord appeared there on the lakeside, and when one of them saw Him and recognised Him, he cried out, “It is the Lord!” (Jn 21:7)
In our reception of Holy Communion we need to always strive to foster within ourselves those things that enable us, too, to look at the host, look at the One we are to receive, and not see not a thing but a person, not bread but the One who is ‘The LIVING Bread come down from heaven”(Jn 6:51), enabling us to say, “It is the Lord!”
Often we can find ourselves thinking instead of the Sunday lunch, or of the hymn book you’re holding, or the coat of the person in front of you. You get to the front and suddenly the host is thrust at you by the priest, and you’ve barely had a chance to think about it at all. So, How do we better focus?
Well, as I reminded you at Corpus Christi, we are called upon to make “an act of reverence” (GIRM 160) before receiving Holy Communion –this helps us focus. 
But, as of today, I’d like to change the processional movement of the congregation, to do on a Sunday what we’ve been experimenting with for some months on weekdays, namely, to have you line up along the altar rail, and have me come to you along the rail. This will mean:
(1) You have an additional choice, namely, whether to stand or kneel (a choice the GIRM of 2002AD explicitly mentions). Now I know that some of you are bound to not want this change, so let me point out that this is giving people a choice, so even if you don’t want this choice yourself, there are other people who do want this choice, who are very excited about having this choice –a choice they haven’t had until today. Feel totally free to stand or kneel, as you prefer, whichever you find helps you better focus of the fact that it is the Lord God Almighty coming to you. Judging from what has happened elsewhere when this has been introduced, I expect half of us to do one, and half to do the other –so none of us should feel a need to conform to what others are doing. (If you kneel, there is no need to make a further act of reverence by bowing your head.)
(2) You will have a moment to pause and focus your thoughts, as you wait for the priest or deacon to come to you. At weekday Masses people have said that this is very helpful. Talking to another priest just last night, who introduced this in his parish previously, he too said that actually this was by the far the biggest change –the pause it gives you before receiving Holy Communion.
(3) The whole process will be speeded up (ironically, despite you have more time to pause individually) because the slowest delay in distributing Holy Communion previously was the movement of the congregation. (Though I’m sure there will be an initial period where it all feels a little unsure, and slow, and confusing.)
Back to where I began, the general problem in our lives of needing to recognise the Lord. There was a wonderful JOY that we can detect in those declarations in the Gospels when individuals recognised Him. When we, too, recognise the One our hearts are built to yearn for, the One who satisfies the weary heart, the Lamb of sacrifice who takes away our sins, the food of the eternal heavenly banquet that fills us –when we, and as often as we, truly recognise Him, then we too are filled with joy: “it is the Lord!”

altar rails being used copy

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