10 Years

10 years ago, on the 14th Sunday of Ordinary Time we began our Sunday Vespers prayer group.

Today is a day that I hoped for but doubted would ever come – our 10th anniversary of Sunday Vespers. We can look back and raise a praise of thanksgiving to almighty God for this beautiful and compelling gift of our participation in the internal dialog of the Trinity.

  • Beautiful, because when God became incarnate in Jesus Christ – the Trinitarian dialog became reachable to us. Christ elevated our conversation to among the Father, Son and Holy Spirit’s dialog with each other. No longer is man’s conversation only between creatures but now it is also with the creator Himself – we have been brought within their dialog of love.
  • Compelling, because it envelopes us in the dialog of absolute love, and as such we are called to live as God lived among us; we are called to continue the witness of Jesus Christ, we are called to love those around us by proclaiming the truth through living it; and by loving everyone especially those who are far from this life in Christ.

This has been and will be a daunting gift.  The world never has and never will be easily receptive to the Gospel, even though their hearts yearn for what the Gospel proclaims.  This is a cross that we must bear, one that we must be joyful in carrying. But in addition, this is all the more daunting because of the ever changing dynamic of the world we live in.  Each day we find ourselves in a new situation; each day things we have done before have changed and things never known are now in front of us and we should participate in. To ignore this dynamic is to stagnate in our own isolation and refuse to participate in what God truly desires us to do, which keeps us from who we can fully and truly be.

However, prayer, our participation in the Trinitarian dialog can be unsettling, makes us unsure and timid; but we should embrace it with the knowledge that our continual dialog with the Trinity both in public prayer, such as our vespers and of course the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass; and just as important, our constant dialog of personal, internal, prayer keeps us united with our strength and guide.

As we enter the unknown of our eleventh year let’s rest assured that He who we dialog with and in will be right there with each of us.  To be sure, we will know doubt and weakness; but we will be embraced by almighty God and live within His dialog of love. Through His loving embrace we can look confidently through the fog of the changing and unknown to the only real future, heaven. It is really up to us; as long as we participate with the Holy Trinity in their dialog and continue to use His gifts as He desires we will know peace and joy. After all, He desires that we use what He has gifted us to ensure that history is His Story.

Let me finish with a beautiful assurance and urging given by Pope Benedict XVI in 2011 to the youth in Madrid Spain:

Dear friends, may no adversity paralyze you. Be afraid neither of the world, nor of the future, nor of your weakness. The Lord has allowed you to live in this moment of history so that, by your faith, his name will continue to resound throughout the world.[1]

Let’s live a life of faith as we journey into the uncertainty of tomorrow with the confidence that prayer gives us – that of the eternal goal.

May God bless each of us; and may each of us continue to participate in the dialog of Love, come what may.
[1] Pope Benedict XVI, 8/21/11, talk to the youth in Madrid Spain


Living in the Liturgical Year

Today we celebrate Father’s Day.  When families get together and honor an integral part of the family. Along with Mother’s Day it is one of the most celebrated holidays in the United States; just look at the restaurants, and the parties in the neighborhood.  And it goes without saying that this is good; families celebrating family.

But, as great as these days are they are very secular. Except for the faithful that always attend Sunday services most families don’t give consideration to the faith aspect of the celebration.  In fact, even the religious based holidays such as Christmas, Memorial Day and yes Thanksgiving have been stripped of their faith foundations by most people in the United States, even Catholics.

In the southern European countries of Portugal, Italy and Spain Father’s Day is celebrated on the Solemnity of St. Joseph.  A quick review online shows that seven other countries do this as well. In these countries there is still a religious awareness to this celebration.  I bring this up as an example of the beauty of social life that revolves around the liturgical year.

I know that bringing this up to you sitting here is the very definition of preaching to choir.  Our Sunday Vespers group have been living our lives the last eight years in and through this valuable gift.  Each Sunday we celebrate the fact that time belongs to God. We are not blindly traveling a path through chaos. Weekly we come together to dive deeply into God’s economy of salvation by calling to mind and heart different aspects; and while doing so lift up our hearts and minds by our collective voices in praise to our creator.  This gives us the peace of mind that, come what may, we are not alone; we are loved.  We have each other and we have our Creator. Together we celebrate each of our lives and we celebrate the revealed aspects of our Triune God.  Our group takes strength from those of our extended family, the saints, and we reflect on our lives through their witness.  Each of us, I am sure, has come to appreciate the joy of the flavor that the liturgical year gives us as we live our lives.

I offer this reflection to you not just to savor what we have; but to challenge us to show others what life lived within the liturgical year means to us. In two weeks we celebrate the ninth anniversary of this prayer group.  For nine years we have enjoyed the gift of the liturgical year and have allowed it to impact our lives.  Let’s go into our parish and show those unknowing and/or marginal Catholic brothers and sisters just what variety and intensity Holy Mother Church offers her family.