Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Writing up some reports for the seminary last night (this internship is being taken for class credit, after all!) left me slightly sleep deprived this morning, but I still made it to 6:30AM mass and spent some time with Jesus immediately following. There's no better way to start the day, and I hope that, whether as a priest or as a married man or as a consecrated religious, I continue to foster this devotion to our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament throughout my life. I think the second graders Ispoke to today received that message loud and clear! I still remember the shock on their faces as I told them the story of Blessed Alexandrina, who, for 13 years, consumed solely the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus as her daily bread. Having just received their first Holy Communion, these children need to know that the Eucharist is indeed everything that the Catholic Church says it is. It cannot be reduced to some vague symbol of humanity or any other mundane thing; such a sacrilege is unacceptable in a secular age that is starving for Christ. I'm glad Fr. Steve was able to reassure me that these kids had already learned about the rosary back in the fall - the "refresher course" I gave them will, I am sure, keep them linked to Christ in the Blessed Sacrament through the intercession of His Blessed Mother. The teachers were also very pleased to have me visit; they encouraged me to stay to field questions from the students - something which I'm glad I did. I only hope I supplied them with some satisfactory answers! It's amazing what 2nd graders can and WILL ask you if you give them a chance. They wanted to know the nitty-gritty details about everything from school to rectory living to Sacraments and spirituality. I remember how shocked to find out that I went to Mass everyday - I have to admit, in second grade, I couldn't imagine going to mass everyday, either. Look where I am now! The Lord works in mysterious ways. Hopefully when I speak to the 8th grade with Fr. Steve on Thursday about vocations and the Holy Spirit, God will provide a similar grace to bring them closer to Him.

I did another "Rite of Committal" today, as well. Today's was a gravesite committal - I saw the body being "laid to rest," as it were - and there is a certain poignancy about this mundane exercise (excuse the pun) that amplifies the spiritual element of the Rite. It has been said that the Resurrection of the Body is the most widely attacked teaching of the Christian religion. For some reason, seeing a body being buried in the ground and being covered with dirt didn't challenge my belief in this particular teaching at all. I'm not sure if it "validated" o "strengthened" it, either, but I can't help but think the death of a loved one must be a challenge for many professing Christians, Catholic or not. I'm sure the apostles felt the same way at the ignominious death of Christ. But as St. Paul says in his letter to the Corinthians:

"...For since death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead also came through a human being. For just as in Adam all die, so too in Christ shall all be brought to life, but each one in the proper order: Christ the firstfruits; then, at His coming, those who belong to Christ; then comes the end, when he hands over his kingdom to His Father." (15:20-23)

This theological argument for the resurrection really "speaks" to me. I had the privilege of reading this at the funeral mass today before the committal; Reading it again now, I'm glad that I have the privilege and blessing of sharing it with all of you, as well. St. Paul's writings offer the argument that God's omnipotence necessarily dictates power over death; the subjection of death is the only way God can truly be "all in all" (Corinthians 24b-28). As I continue throughout the week and indeed, the rest of my earthly life, help me, O Lord, to recall to mind that your bodily resurrection is the key to my own eternal life. May the Living Bread of Life always keep me connected to the One I love - whether I'm in high school board meetings, calling cards in bingo halls, running errands in elementary schools, or eating dinner in parish rectories - forever and ever. AMEN!

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