Sunday, December 2, 2007

Pope Benedict' new encyclical - spe salvi


“SPE SALVI facti sumus”—in hope we were saved, says Saint Paul to the Romans, and likewise to us (Rom 8:24). According to the Christian faith, “redemption”—salvation—is not simply a given. Redemption is offered to us in the sense that we have been given hope, trustworthy hope, by virtue of which we can face our present: the present, even if it is arduous, can be lived and accepted if it leads towards a goal, if we can be sure of this goal, and if this goal is great enough to justify the effort of the journey. Now the question immediately arises: what sort of hope could ever justify the statement that, on the basis of that hope and simply because it exists, we are redeemed? And what sort of certainty is involved here?...


Family Consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Family Consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Prayer steps to consecrating your family to the Sacred Heart of Jesus
The family consecration

It is an act whereby the family devotes itself to the Sacred Heart as to its King, recognizes Him as its King, and promises to make Him reign and rule over the whole family.

Two elements
1. the head of the family recognizes the right of the Sacred Heart to rule over his family
2. an act of the will, by which he submits both himself and his family to the dominion of the Sacred Heart

Obligations of the family
1. to keep God's commandments and precepts of the Church
2. to discharge the duties of their state of life
3. to avoid whatever displeases the Sacred Heart, whatever endangers faith and morals
4. to imitate the virtues shone in the Holy Family of Nazareth: mutual charity, obedience,
5. prayer, purity and devotion to work
6. to cultivate a spirit of true piety by
* night prayers in common
* assistance in Mass
* frequent communion
* devotion to the Sacred Heart (on First Fridays and Feast day)
* Visible manifestation
* The image of the Sacred Heart must occupy a prominent place of honor.
* Members of the family must greet Him on coming in and going out of the house (through words of praise).
* They will share with Him reunions and rejoicings, making Him truly a member of the family.
* The family will best pray in common before Him especially in times of difficulties
(also on First Fridays and feast of the Sacred Heart)

Ceremony preparation
- set the consecration on a day when all members of the family can be present
- decorate the image with flowers and candles in a prominent, permanent place
- prepare the family internally by confession, Mass and communion
- obtain a diploma of consecration where members will sign their names.

Blessing of the home
- members of the family carry lighted candles
- recitation of "the Apostles' creed"
- all kneel for the solemn act
- the father of the family recites:

O Most Sacred Heart of Jesus,
You revealed to St. Margaret Mary Your desire to rule over Christian families;
behold, in order to please You, we gather before You this day,
to proclaim Your full sovereignty over our family.
We desire henceforth to live Your life; we desire that the virtues,
to which You have promised peace on earth, may flower in the bosom of our family;
we desire to keep far from us the spirit of the world, which You have condemned.
You are King of our minds by the simplicity of our faith;
you are King of our hearts by our love for You alone, with which our hearts are on fire,
and whose flame we shall keep alive by frequently receiving the Holy Eucharist.
Be pleased, O Sacred Heart, to preside over our gathering together,
to bless our spiritual and temporal affairs, to ward off all annoyance from us,
to sanctify our joys and comfort our sorrows.
If any of us has ever been so unhappy as to fall into the misery of displeasing you,
grant that we may remember, O Heart of Jesus,
that You are full of goodness and mercy toward the repentant sinner.
And when the hour of separation strikes and death enters our family circle,
whether we go or whether we stay, we shall bow humbly before Your eternal decrees.
This shall be our consolation to remember that the day will come when our entire family,
once more united in heaven, shall be able to sing of Your glory and Your goodness forever.
May the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the glorious patriarch St. Joseph
deign to offer You our act of consecration,
and to keep the memory of it alive in us all the days of our lives.
Glory to the Heart of Jesus, our King and our Father.The whole family recites in unison:We consecrate to You, O Heart of Jesus, the trials and joys,
and all the happiness of our family life,
and we beg you, to pour out Your best blessings, on all its members,
present and absent, living and dead.
And when one after the other, we shall have closed our eyes in holy death,
O Jesus, may all of us in paradise, find again our entire family, united in Your Sacred Heart. Amen.

Recitation of the Litany of the Sacred Heart

Lord, have mercy on us
Christ, have mercy on us
Lord, have mercy on us
Christ, hear us
Christ, graciously hear us,
God the Father of heaven, have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
God the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, Son of the Eternal Father, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, formed by the Holy Spirit, in the womb of the Virgin Mother, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, substantially united to the Word of God, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, of infinite majesty, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, sacred Temple of God, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, tabernacle of the Most High, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, house of God and Gate of Heaven, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, burning furnace of charity, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, abode of justice and love, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, full of goodness and love, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, abyss of all virtues, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, most worthy of all praise, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, King and center of all hearts, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, in whom are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, in whom dwells the fullness of divinity, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, in whom the Father was well pleased, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, desire of the everlasting hills, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, patient and most merciful, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, enriching all who invoke You, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, fountain of life and holiness, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, propitiation for our sins, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, loaded down with reproaches, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, bruised for our offenses, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, obedient unto death, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, pierced with a lance, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, source of all consolation, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, our life and resurrection, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, our peace and reconciliation, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, victim of sin, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, salvation of those who trust in You, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, hope of those who die in You, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, delight of all the saints, have mercy on us.
Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, spare us O Lord.
Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.
Jesus, meek and humble of Heart, make our hearts like unto Thine.

Let us pray:

O almighty and eternal God, look upon the Heart of Your dearly beloved Son, and upon the praise and sanctification He offers You in behalf of sinners, and being appeased, grant pardon to those who seek Your mercy, in the name of the same Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns in You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, world without end. Amen.

Prayer for the departed members of the family

Our Father...
Hail Mary...
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord. And let perpetual light shine upon them. May their souls and the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace. Amen.


Sacred Heart of Jesus, Your Kingdom come.
Sacred Heart of Jesus, protect our families.
Heart of Jesus burning with love of us, set our hearts on fire with love of You.
Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place my trust in You.
Sweet Heart of Mary, be my salvation.
Glory, love and thanksgiving be to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Final hymn
Signing of the consecration dimploma
Indulgence gained
plenary indulgence - confession and communionindulgence of 7 years

Renewal of the family consecration to the Sacred Heart
This done every year on the first anniversary or feast of the Sacred Heart or Christ the King or any important family occasion.

apostles' creed
act of consecration
prayer for departed members
prayer for the family

O God of goodness and mercy,
to Your fatherly protection we commend our family, our household, and all that belong to us.
We commit all to Your love and keeping.
Fill this house with Your blessing
even as You filled the holy house of Nazareth with Your presence.
Keep far from us, above all things else, the taint of sin and reign alone in our midst by Your law,
by Your most Holy Love and by the exercise of every Christian virtue.
Let each one of us obey You, love You, and set himself to imitate in his own life Your example,
that of Mary, Your Mother and our Most loving Mother,
and that of Your blameless guardian, St. Joseph.
Preserve us and our house from all evils and misfortunes,
and grant that we may always be resigned to Your divine will
even in the sorrows which it may please You to send us.
Finally, give to all of us the grace to live in perfect harmony
and in the fullness of love toward our neighbor.
Grant that every one of us may deserve, by a holy life,
the comfort of Your holy sacraments at the hour of death.
O Jesus, bless us and protect us.
O Mary, mother of grace and of mercy, defend us against the wicked spirit;
reconcile us with Your Son,
commit us to His keeping, so that we may be made worthy of His promises.
St. Joseph, foster-father of our Savior, guardian of His Holy Mother, head of the Holy Family, intercede for us, bless us and defend our home at all times.
St. Michael, defend us against all the wicked cunning of hell.
St. Gabriel, make us understand the holy will of God.
St. Raphael, keep us free from all sickness and from every danger to our lives.
Our Holy Guardian angels, keep our feet safely on the path of salvation day and night.
O Holy Patrons, pray for us before the throne of God.
Yes, bless this house, O God, the Father, who has created us.
O God the Son, who suffered for us upon the Holy Cross.
O Holy Spirit, who has sanctified us in holy baptism.
May the one God in three divine persons
preserve our bodies, purify our minds, direct our hearts and bring us all to everlasting life.
Glory be to the Father, glory be to the Son, glory be to the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Final hymn
Indulgence gained
plenary indulgence - same conditionsan indulgence of three years

Making the consecration is one thing, living the consecration is another
To be made by at least one member of the family
- daily Mass and communion
- first Friday devotions
- family holy hour each month
- daily rosary
- observe the month of June with Mass and communion as often as possible
- renewal of the family consecration on the feast of the Sacred Heart

copied from prayer book by Dennis-Emmanuel CabreraJuly 25, 2005

Author's note: This consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus will help all Catholic families to be of one mind, one heart and one spirit in Christ.

First Sunday of Advent 2007

1st Advent
December 2, 2007

Isaiah 2:1-5
Romans 13:11-14
Matthew 24:37-44

Well here we are – the first Sunday of Advent. Already! We begin a new Liturgical year this evening at the vigil mass. The church is decorated in violet and pink, the advent candles are in place, and there are sure signs in this place that Christmas is coming. The great celebration of the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ is just four weeks and a couple of days away.

As if we didn’t know that Christmas is coming, the world out there has been decorating since November 1 and the stores have been trying to lure people in to buy more gifts than they can afford. Getting prepared for so many means presents and party favors. And so it goes.

But the scriptures present us with an entirely different view of preparation.

In the gospel Jesus tells the disciples that the day of the coming of the Son of Man will be like it was in the days of Noah. He describes the population as “eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage.” In other words, ordinary life. They were preoccupied with the cares of ordinary life. As Jesus describes the day of the coming of the Son of Man, he describes people working in the field and at the mill when it happens. People doing the ordinary things of ordinary life.

Did you ever notice how busy ordinary life can get? How preoccupied we can get with it? Just as a test, how many people here think that you need more complexity in your life? More things to add to your schedule? No volunteers? The fact of the matter is, especially at this time of the year, the ordinary cares of life have us all quite preoccupied.

It is precisely for this reason that the Holy Spirit has carefully provided us with these readings this weekend. The message is this:

Stay Awake! You Must Be Prepared! It is at the hour that you do not expect that the Son of Man will come.

He was born in the fullness of time in Bethlehem. He comes in word and sacrament to strengthen his people in holiness. He will come again in glory with salvation for his people.

Stay Awake! Be Prepared!

St. Paul has an interesting take on being awake and prepared. Let’s check back to the 2nd reading from the 13th chapter of the letter to the Romans. Paul says first to throw off the works of darkness.

And he has quite a list about those works of darkness.
Orgies and drunkenness, promiscuity and lust, rivalry and jealousy.

Throw off the works of darkness.
Maybe that little list names some areas of darkness in your life. Or perhaps there are other areas. Perhaps you have forgotten how to do an examination of conscience. It always is interesting to me when people come to me for confession after not having been for many years and will tell me that they have not sinned or done anything bad. What that reveals to me is that this person has lost the ability to do an examination of conscience. Has lost the sense of what sin is. Listen, if Mother Theresa went to confession every two weeks – and most of the world considered here a living saint – then you and I just simply need a better sense of what holiness really is so that we can throw off the works of darkness in our lives.

You want to throw off the works of darkness? Do a good examination of conscience on a daily basis. There are pamphlets in the vestibule about this. If you have forgotten how to do a good examination of conscience, then these will teach you some of the basics.
Throw off the works of darkness. Stay Awake. Be Prepared.

Paul then says to put on the armor of light. Later on in the text he explains it this way. Put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the desires of the flesh.

How do you do that? Well, I have a couple of ideas for us.
We first put on the Lord Jesus in the sacrament of baptism. It is in the sacraments – those seven signs of the New Covenant – that we put on Christ. So we are encouraged to make frequent use of the sacraments of the Church. To live the sacramental life every day. The Church also provides us with sacramentals. Those are the little signs of our faith. Holy Water, crucifixes, prayers and devotions. Last week we talked about consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. I have that information in the vestibule. I recommend it. I plan to use it with my family at Christmas. These sacramentals are good faith reminders of our sacramental union with Jesus. And these should always lead us to good works. Because, as St. James reminds us in his epistle, we are saved by faith and works. Faith without works is dead. So works of peace and justice are the evidence of putting on the armor of light. Put on the Lord Jesus Christ through faith and through works. Stay Awake. Be Prepared.

The third little piece that Paul mentions is this: Make no provision for the desires of the flesh.

What a great message to get during this time of endless Christmas parties. Tis the season for weight gain and Santa Clausian girth. What a great opportunity for us all to counter-balance these with some actions of private penance – reminding our flesh of who the boss is.

The Holy Spirit makes great provision for us – reminding us of what is truly important. Giving us an eternal perspective on things. Dear people – dear members of the body of Christ.

Stay Awake. Be Prepared.
For at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.

Good Books

I've mentioned some good books lately in the bulletin and in homilies. Here's a few of those:

The Biblical Basis for the Catholic Faith, by John Souza
Theology of the Body for Beginners, by Christopher West