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In 13 Today's Church on 2017/06/04 at 12:00 AM

 

  • St. John’s Book of Revelation speaks so beautifully today of the holy city Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. He tells us that it “gleamed with the splendor of God. Its radiance was like that of a precious stone, like jasper, clear as crystal.”
  • In speaking of this new Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, St. John is, of course, speaking of Heaven itself! Hopefully hearing about the beauty of Heaven will make us desire it all the more.
  • As Christians Heaven is our greatest hope. God, who has created us for Himself, dwells there; and thus the greatest shame for any of us would be to miss out on it, where we will enjoy eternal union with Him.
  • The beautiful thing about our Catholic faith is that it’s designed precisely for this purpose: to get us to Heaven, and this it does primarily through the grace we receive in the Sacraments.
  • As we consider the magnificent graces available to us in the Sacraments of the Catholic Church, who of us could ever leave Holy Mother Church, especially as we consider the glories of Heaven and the pains of hell? For walking away from the Church and her Sacraments greatly jeopardizes our chances for salvation.
  • While our Catholic faith is demanding and difficult to live well, and while many people within the Church are poor examples of what a Catholic should be, the fact remains that Catholics have the best opportunity to get to Heaven because of our access to the Sacraments.
  • This truth doesn’t make us better than people of other religions, but it does make us more blessed – and it places upon us a greater responsibility for living lives of holiness by conforming our lives to God’s will.
  • In addition to the Sacraments that help us get to Heaven, our Lord has also given us His Immaculate Mother, the Queen of Heaven, as an intercessor and guide to help us along the steep and narrow path that alone leads to Heaven.
  • In the example of her sinless life we are given the perfect model of all that a Catholic should do and be. And from her throne in Heaven where she reigns with her crucified and risen Son, she intercedes for us to procure for us every grace we need to get to Heaven.
  • It’s for this reason that every Catholic should be so dedicated to Mary!
  • Last Sunday I spoke about the importance and power of our Lady’s Rosary, and I encouragedall of you to pray the Rosary every day in this month of May, as May is a month that wededicate to Our Lady.
  • Meditating on the mysteries of the life of Jesus and Mary in the Rosary helps us to knowJesus and Mary better so that we might become more like them. Meditating on the mysteriesof the Rosary also deepens our gratitude and increases our love for them.
  • But more importantly, as I mentioned last week, Our Lady revealed to Blessed Alan de laRoche that she promises incredible graces to those souls who are dedicated to the Rosary toaid them along the path to salvation, especially at the moment of their death.
  • So once again I encourage all of you to pray the Rosary daily, especially in this month ofMary, for in praying with those beads we can find the help we need to get to Heaven!
  • Throughout history the Blessed Virgin Mary has appeared to many saints and seers and hasspoken to them of the vital importance of the Rosary and the great help it is to one’s personal holiness.
  • One 20th century seer to whom our Lady spoke about the Rosary was Lúcia Santos, one of the three children from Fátima who received apparitions of Our Lady in 1917.
  • 8 years after the Fátima apparitions, Our Lady appeared to Lúcia again, who by then had entered a convent in the city of Pontevedra. During this apparition Mary gave to Sr. Lúcia the parameters for what we call the 1st Saturdays devotion.
  • Just as Friday is the day of the week that we dedicate to our Savior, Jesus Christ, for His suffering and death, so too is Saturday the day we focus on the sufferings of Our Lady.
  • Saturday is the day dedicated to Mary in commemoration of that 1st Holy Saturday some 2000 years ago when Mary would have felt the sword of sorrow that the aged Simeon prophesied about piercing her Immaculate Heart so very keenly, as her divine Son lay dead in the tomb.
  • Mary had first mentioned the 1st Saturday devotions when she appeared to Lúcia and the other two children in Fatima on July 13, 1917. When Mary appeared to Sr. Lúcia again 8 years later, she confirmed her desire that the 1st Saturday of each month be set aside as a day of reparation for sins against her Immaculate Heart.
  • Just as we wound the Sacred Heart of Jesus by our sins and ingratitude toward Him, we also wound Mary’s Immaculate Heart in the same way, for their hearts are perfectly united. We cannot honor or offend one of them without honoring or offending the other.
  • Specifically, Our Lady said to Sr. Lúcia:Look, my daughter, at my Heart encircled by these thorns with which men pierce it at every moment by their blasphemies and ingratitude. You, at least, strive to console me, and so I announce: I promise to assist at the hour of death with the grace necessary for salvation all those who, with the intention of making reparation to me, will, on the first Saturday of five consecutive months, go to confession, receive Holy Communion, say five decades of the beads, and keep me company for fifteen minutes while meditating on the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary.
  • Over time the Five 1st Saturday devotion was clarified to consist of making reparation for sins against Mary’s Immaculate Heart by the following elements: going to confession within a few days before or after the 1st Saturday, receiving Holy Communion on the 1st Saturday, praying 5 decades of the Rosary on the 1st Saturday, and spending at least 15 minutes in meditation on the mysteries of the Rosary (in addition to simply reciting it).
  • Yesterday, of course, was the 1st Saturday of this month, and so hopefully some of you were able to fulfill Our Lady’s request. But for those of you who were unaware of this devotion, please keep it in mind for the months to come!
  • As Christians we must always keep the goal of Heaven ever before us. While it is true that we are living on earth, we must remember that we are but strangers and sojourners here, and that our true citizenship is in Heaven.
  • Alas, because of our sinfulness getting to Heaven is not easy, and we all need help! And Our Lady is that help!
  • It is for this reason that one of the titles by which we venerate Mary is “Gate of Heaven,” and it is for this reason that when we pray the Hail Mary, we ask her to pray for us now and at the hour of our death.
  • Confident of her constant love and powerful intercession, may we always turn to her who is our life, our sweetness, and our hope, trusting in her maternal protection and solicitude.
  • Immaculate Heart of Mary, Cause of our Joy, pray for us!

© Reverend Timothy Reid

Fr. Reid is the pastor of St. Ann Catholic Church, Charlotte, NC

Homilies from June 17, 2012 onward have audio.
To enable the audio, lease go directly to Fr. Reid’s homily homilies and select the matching date.

Link to Homilies:
http://stanncharlotte.org/content/index.php?option=com_content&view=section&id=8&Itemid=61

 

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