A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will take out of your flesh the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. Ezekiel 36:26
Today the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. St. Margaret Mary Alacoque (1647–1690), was a French Visitation nun and mystic, who promoted devotion to the Sacred Heart. As a young girl, she had apparitions of Jesus Christ, which she thought were a normal part of human experience. After receiving her first Holy Communion at age nine, she suffered four years with rheumatic fever, which confined her to bed. After making a vow to the Blessed Virgin to consecrate herself to religious life, she was instantly restored to perfect health.
Today the Church celebrates the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist – His Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. Marriage is an image of the Holy Eucharist.
The Church since its earliest days has held up marriage as a profound image of God’s love for His people, brought to fruition in Christ’s love for His bride, the Church.
Pope Benedict XVI, in his book The Spirit of the Liturgy, describes how God’s covenant with His people Israel images the union of man and woman in marriage:
Today the Church celebrates the Feast of the Most Holy Trinity. The Most Holy Trinity is an eternal exchange of life-giving love. Throughout history, God has shown humanity His selfless love. Christ has revealed the Father’s love in the power of the Holy Spirit. He has shown us the inner life of the Holy Trinity: a communion of persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The Church is also a community of persons that shares in God’s Trinitarian life and love.
Marriage is a metaphor for God’s self-giving love. It is also a participation in it. Like all sacraments, Matrimony draws husbands and wives more deeply into the Trinitarian life of God. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that “the Christian family is a communion of persons, a sign and image of the communion of the Father and the Son in the Holy Spirit” (CCC, 2205).
Come, Holy Spirit, Lord of Life, bless us and grant us the grace of loving our families, as Jesus calls us to do, and help us to build peace in our hearts and in our homes.
Come, Spirit of Right Judgment, bless us and grant us the grace of peacefully resolving conflicts that arise in our families through patient dialogue that leads to understanding and renewal of love.
Come, Spirit of Knowledge, bless us and grant us the grace of loving the Church and finding in her a sure guide for truth and service to God’s will, especially in our relationships at home and in our extended families.
Come, O Comforter, bless us and grant us the grace of recognizing and responding with love when others are in need or are suffering from injustice or abuse. May we be ready to help them find safety and shelter.
Come, Spirit of Wisdom, bless us and grant us the grace of conforming our lives fully to God’s holy Word, so that we may have compassion on one another, especially those who are poor, lonely, or afraid.
Come, O Spirit of Understanding, and enlighten the minds of parents and grandparents, so that they may have patience with children and with one another in the daily challenges of family living.
Come, Spirit of Piety, and bless all children and young people to withstand the temptations that lead them away from a holy and happy life. May they have good examples in their homes, schools, and society, and become true witnesses to the love of God in the world.
Come, O Spirit of Fortitude, and strengthen all those who are married or contemplating marriage and encourage them in their vocation of service to the community. Strengthen also those who are separated and divorced, to have courage and remain in your care. Lead them to a future filled with hope.
Come, Holy Spirit, bless us and grant us the grace to put Christ at the center of our lives and our families. Heal the hurting and wounded that they may be whole in body, mind, and spirit. May the prayers we offer bless our relationships and lead us to your peace.
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be…
The image of Our Lady on the Talmud of St. Juan Diego
Is your Mother’s Day filled with sadness, grief or even anger because your mother is absent? Perhaps your mother has died. Perhaps you never knew your biological mother. Perhaps she was abusive. Both of our mothers are deceased. So for our family, Mother’s Day has an element of sadness and sorrow.
Did you know that Jesus has given you a perfect mother?
St. Paul exhorted the Thessalonians to “pray constantly” (5:17). In that spirit, we offer this prayer Dennis wrote and prayed for men on Thursday, May 3, the National Day of Prayer in the United States of America. He calls men to engage in the battle for sanctity, unity. and peace in our families and our nation.
As part of spiritual direction, we went on a three-day retreat to discern how the Holy Spirit wants to use our marriage to be a blessing to others. We were directed to study the Sunday Gospel readings during the Easter Season as they focus on different aspects of the disciples being sent out on mission. The Gospel reading for today, the Fifth Sunday of Easter, is from John, Chapter 15, the “I AM the Vine” discourse of Jesus to His disciples at the Last Supper.
We live in a time when there is confusion as to what constitutes a marriage. St. John Paul II pinpointed the heart of the tragedy of the breakdown of the family: “the eclipse of the sense of God and man, typical of a social and cultural climate dominated by secularism” (Veritatis Splendor, 21). Secularism in the Western world worships egotistical individualism which places the needs and desires of an individual person above those of the society and even the family. It is “my needs, my wants, my pleasure” at the expense of what is best for the good of society as a whole.
During Lent I read the Manual for Men, a book geared for those who are soldiers for Christ and His Church. These men battle for sanctity in their lives and in the lives of their family. The evil one is attacking families because marriage images Christ’s love for His bride, the Church. It is a battle that men must fight and win.