Archive for the ‘Fatherly Advice’ Category

Oct 25 – Homily: Penance or Perish, Turn To Mary

Father emphasizes Our Lord’s words: we all must recognize our sins, repent of them, and do penance or we will perish. Father also relates the story of Father Steven Scheier who had accident,…
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05:32
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Oct 25 – Homily: Not All Have Faith

Oct 25 – Homily: Not All Have Faith

Without Faith we cannot please God. And so we turn to Our Lady, Queen and Mother of Mercy, to intercede for those with no Faith, that they might obtain it, be pleasing to God, and be saved….
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Oct 25 – Homily: Saturday Devotion to Mary

Fr. Elias explains why we have special devotion to Mary on Saturdays. Mary waited with faith on the Saturday between Her Son’s death on Good Friday and His rising on Easter Sunday even when…
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Fr Tito: Open Eyes

Fr Tito: Open Eyes

Faith and reason are really friends that lead us to the wedding feast.
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Oct 24 – Homily: On the Holy Father’s Address to the Synod

Fr. Mattias comments briefly on the life of St. Anthony Mary Claret who was a demanding and rigorous pastor, but because of his zeal and charity, the faithful were happy to live up to the demands…
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Oct 24 – Homily: The Great Sacrifice of Mass

Oct 24 – Homily: The Great Sacrifice of Mass

Fr. Elias on the large number of Catholics who do not go to Church and how this is a result of people not appreciating the importance of Mass as the unbloody re-presentation of Calvary, the…
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franc…

Lk 12:29-53 Setting The Earth On Fire

Thursday of the Twenty-Ninth Week in Ordinary Time(Click here for readings)Jesus said to his disciples:  “I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing!”Set the earth on fire.  Did your fire die out long ago?&nb…

Oct 23 – Homily: Blaze of Self-Sacrificing Love

Oct 23 – Homily: Blaze of Self-Sacrificing Love

Father comments on the readings, telling us that it was the blazing love that Jesus has for us that impelled Him to sacrifice Himself for our sake, so that we to make be kindled with an intense…
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Lk 12:39-48 Reflections on Teaching English to the Best and Brightest

Wednesday of the Twenty-Ninth Week in Ordinary Time
By BENEDICT AUGUSTINE
Much will be required of the person entrusted with much,
and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.”
Teaching an AP English class, I have the opportunity to work with the school’s most talented and motivated students each year. Because my class focuses mainly on writing, which reflects one’s thinking, I also have the unique perspective of seeing these students’ thoughts. Whether an essay prompt concerns the relationship between certainty and doubt or the morality behind offering incentives for charity, a unique pattern of reasoning and values will always filter through their essays. Some students work through the prompt like a math problem, speedily moving through a logical sequence without much analysis or nuance. Others let their imaginations roam through the many mental associations they have made on the subject, and spiral their way through an essay until their thoughts converge on a focused claim. Unfortunately, the rest of the students usually have little to say on the subject: they have no opinion, no curiosity, and no background.
For the rest of the year, I usually work on improving these types since almost no student comes into the class as a ready-made writer. I try to show the logicians how to elaborate their points, ease their transitions, and consider a deeper way of thinking about the subject in general. For the dreamers, I have to give them various grammatical and compositional structures to hold their ideas in place and give them coherence. For the raw majority, I simply have to break their mental silence with constant practice and flood their empty caves of thought with every piece of relevant content I can find. For any problem with writing (and there are many), I have a handout and prepared lecture; for any gap in general knowledge, I have an essay and list of writers for further reading; for any flippant dismissal of writing, I have powerful arguments and a loud voice to refute them.
By God’s grace, many students make significant improvements in their writing and, more importantly, in their thinking. They enter the class as children sheltered from any real thought about anything outside themselves, yet leave the class as young adults prepared to engage the ideas around them. They can think through their decisions because they realize that thought involves more than a knee-jerk impulse or hunch. They can talk with adults because they can now adapt their thinking to others and ask relevant questions to develop a conversation. Finally, these students can now take a certain amount of joy in thinking and expression now that they have a certain measure of competence.
In the past, this achievement alone would content me. As a teacher, I had succeeded in all the meaningful ways. My students have earned their AP credit, learned the necessary skills, and can now follow their dreams. Although I still feel this way to some extent, I have now started worrying about less academic matters. They have fine minds and great potential, but what does this mean if they have nothing in their hearts?
I normally have to keep this concern to myself because public schools and most parents think teachers should remain morally neutral—or empty, depending on how one looks at it—and treat their students as products rolling down an assembly line. After I affix the proper equipment and input the proper sequences at my station, the students move on to a destination that I never really have the chance to see. I have made the students a little more human, albeit in a rather mechanical way, but what for? Where do they go? I always hope that they will go on to find God, find their neighbor, and love them both; yet I know, based on my conversations with them, that they go on to find the World, find themselves, and love nothing. They do not see their education as a gift, something that liberates their mind and frees their heart; they rather see it as a set of marketable skills in an already glutted marketplace. Instead of rising above the grind of working and consuming, they become further entrenched in it, competing for petty honors and empty pleasures. I helped along in their journey, but they were going the wrong way all along.
In my own quiet way, I try to help my students find a Catholic alternative, sometimes mentioning a feast day (today is Sts. Celine and Viator, by the way), discussing Catholic history, referencing a rhetorical strategy that I heard in a priest’s homily, or offering a Catholic perspective on issues that sometime arise. I pray in the “moment of silence” and cross myself at the conclusion of that tiny oasis of silence and reflection. I embrace my job despite its many crosses and its modest compensation, and try to communicate the hidden joys that come from learning and helping others. I could add that what I teach and what I do helps brings me closer to God, but I might lose my job if I say that. A few students notice this, but most of them already have their courses fixed on the star of apparent success. Even though they are not even old enough to vote, they still have enough wisdom to somehow pity me in my idealism.
Pitied or not, I choose to rest in my idealism confident in my Savior’s words. As I read, as I write, as I teach, I “draw joyfully from the springs of salvation.” His words are truth and endure forever, and I must follow them as well as I can. Jesus expects this of me and every other disciple. He also expects these bright young people to bring God into the world and make life better for all His creatures. Jesus expects them to use their talents and gifts to care for those in need, not enter the rat race and pretend that death does not exist. Obviously, their minds need instruction; perhaps less obviously, their hearts need Jesus. If we truly loved our young people, as Jesus loves them, we would teach them how to love before anything else.

Lk 12:39-48 Be Prepared

Wednesday of the Twenty-Ninth Week in Ordinary Time
By  JENNIFER BURGIN


Jesus said to his disciples: “Be sure of this:

if the master of the house had known the hour
when the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.”
 A few weeks ago I received an unexpected phone call from my grandfather. He voiced concern because he had not yet received my monthly loan payment.  I looked at my online checking account, noticing the check cleared. Upon further investigation, I discovered the check had been endorsed by someone other than my grandfather!  It was a very bad forgery.  To this day we don’t know if the check was stolen by someone in the Post Office or someone who received the wrong mail in his mailbox.  Sending checks through the mail for years, this was the first time something like this has happened.  Fortunately, within a short time the bank reimbursed the stolen funds.  Still I will always wonder, “How did this happen? How can a similar incident be prevented in the future?”
We must always be prepared.  We never know when something will strike us out of the norm. A severe thunderstorm may leave us out of electricity for days.  A sudden illness may leave us out of work for weeks. Our houses may be flooded or damaged by a fire leaving us homeless for months while rebuilding is underway……
At an hour we do not expect, the Lord may decide to take us from this earth.  Our death is determined, but we don’t know exactly the number of years we have.  It may be a short span, like when we lose a child, or a great number of years like those lived by a centenarian.
How can we better prepare ourselves for when “life happens”?  How can we better prepare ourselves for when our time is up on earth?  How can we better prepare ourselves for when the Son of Man returns?
Pray Not baby, wimpy, superficial prayers but heartfelt prayers from the inner soul!  Prayer unites us with God in ways that adore him, thank him, and honor him.  Amazing how when we pray we begin to discover ways we can help ourselves as well as others.  Prayer “prepares” us for the future because we become more aware of our surroundings.  We may “smell” when things aren’t going right.  Perhaps temptation is wrapping its arms around us.  But, a healthy prayer life can stop sin dead in its tracks.  Pray the rosary.  Pray in front of the Blessed Sacrament.  Pray during the work commute.  When bored with nothing to do, turn to Jesus in prayer!
Frequent Confession and Communion A second powerful way of preparing our soul for the Kingdom of Heaven, and our minds for life’s challenges, is through frequent confession and Holy Communion. Personally, I try to go to confession on a monthly basis.  If I don’t have any mortal sins, I have no problems confessing venial sins I battle daily.  When it comes to Holy Communion, I find daily reception is the best even though it does not always work in my busy schedule.  If I can make one weekday mass and then every Sunday mass I’m set.  I’ve discovered that confession and communion give me the strength in preparation for what life sends my way.  I’ve had a host of annoyances happen this past month (i.e. the stolen check) but don’t think of them in an over-dramatic way.  I know God is aware of the situations and will provide relief in due course time.
Humbly Serve Others When we make an effort to help others, we better prepare ourselves to share eternity with Jesus in heaven.  He loves when we look after the widow and the orphan.  He smiles when we reach out to help the poor, the suffering and the neglected.  As we emulate Christ in His Way, Truth and Light, our souls benefit from the outpouring of graces.  Giving to others takes us out of ourselves. Serving others, without expecting anything in return, demonstrates our authentic witness as a disciple of Christ.  We wish for people we serve to make it into heaven along with us.
Take a moment to reflect on how well-prepared you are when life happens. Do you take it in stride with God by your side, or do you complain and fret not knowing what to do?  Preparation of the mind, heart and soul isn’t a difficult task.  It takes discipline and a change of thinking.  When we place God front center in our lives, we better prepare our souls for Heaven.
“Have no fear of moving into the unknown. Simply step out fearlessly knowing that I am with you, therefore no harm can befall you; all is very, very well. Do this in complete faith and confidence.”
― Saint Pope John Paul II, Pray for Us!
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