St. Augustine of Hippo (+430 A.D.), one of the greatest saints of the Catholic Church, once said: “All of history is a battle between two loves: love of self even to the disregard of God; love of God even to the disregard of self.” Today, we celebrate the SOLEMN FEAST OF THE BODY AND BLOOD OF JESUS CHRIST (CORPUS CHRISTI). It is a feast that manifests the love of God for His people, and is a very Catholic feast that distinguishes us from most other branches of Christianity. It was instituted as a result of a miracle that occurred when a Bohemian priest, expressing doubt in the Real Presence of Our Lord, witnessed (along with those attending his Mass) the drops of blood that came forth from the host at the moment of the Consecration of the Mass when he raised it up to show the people. It dripped blood on the white corporal beneath the chalice, and that same cloth is preserved in the Cathedral of Orvieto, Italy, near where the Eucharistic miracle occurred. Corpus Christi processions then began in that diocese and have spread throughout the world as a manifestation of our belief that Christ is truly present in the Eucharist.
Sadly, we still have people who still doubt the True Presence of Jesus in Holy Communion, because if they really did believe that Jesus was present, they would not ever walk out of Mass early (some of them immediately after “taking” Holy Communion); they would not dare to receive Jesus while in the state of serious sin (as in regularly missing Sunday Mass and not confessing this before attempting to receive the Eucharist); and they would approach the Eucharist with greater reverence and devotion, realizing that they are receiving the Body and Blood, soul and divinity of the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity. When they finally did leave church, surely they would carry that love within their hearts, manifesting it first in the parking lot, and then in their own home and work place. The realization of the importance of whom we have just received should surely make a difference in our life and the lives of the people with whom we come into contact.
In another matter of importance at this time in our history, I turn again to the question of freedom of religion. I can’t help but note the similarity of circumstances and the situation in which we find ourselves as when seeing the moving film, “For Greater Glory,” which has been playing in our Delray Cinema on Federal and Linton. I ask the question, “Could this ever happen in our country?” and pray that it doesn’t. Still, we’re living in a time of great polarization between the religious and secular philosophies of life.
In his controversial speech to Notre Dame University’s Class of 2009, our current President said: “Let’s work together to reduce the number of women seeking abortions by reducing unintended pregnancies, and making adoption more available, and providing care and support for women who do carry their child to term. Let’s honor the conscience of those who disagree with abortion, and draft a sensible conscience clause, and make sure that all of our health care policies are grounded in clear ethics and sound science, as well as respect for the equality of women.” Well, I think it’s time, finally, to ask our President to stand behind his words. The time for him to prove he is as good as his words is NOW. Let’s ask him to show us his ‘clear ethics and sound science,’ that prove that women in the womb deserve no less than those who are lucky enough not to have endured the abortion holocaust. Let him show us that while conscience is the important determiner of our actions, it must be a conscience that is well-formed and Spirit-guided.
FORTNIGHT* FOR FREEDOM – is a special period of prayer in the two weeks leading up to the Fourth of July (*a fortnight is a Middle English term for “fourteenth night,” or two weeks). During this time, we will celebrate a number of special feast days, including that of St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More** (more on these two a few sentences later) on June 22nd. This will be a two-week opportunity to thank God for the freedoms He has bestowed upon our country, and to ask His continued protection of them, most especially our First Freedom: Freedom of Religion. As we live in the midst of a culture that is becoming increasingly secularized, we see evidence of the “fall from grace” of “believers” who have ceased bringing their religious and moral beliefs to the forefront of their daily living. Increasing numbers of Catholics have stopped going to church each weekend, thereby failing to worship their Lord and God. Do they ever contemplate the meaning of this life and what is destined to happen when it will end?
**St. John Fisher was the Bishop of Rochester, England in the early 1500s, who at age 65 (some think 75), was beheaded at the order of King Henry VIII, because he would not give into the outrageous demands of the king to assent to his illicit marriage after divorcing Queen Catherine, and to Henry’s self-declaration as Supreme Head of the Catholic Church in England. While imprisoned, he was awarded the title of Cardinal, but was never able to receive his red hat on orders from the king. St. Thomas More, the illustrious equal of John Fisher, and a husband and father, was beheaded two weeks after his friend, the bishop, for basically the same reasons. St. Thomas was once “number two” in the realm as Chancellor of England. His last words before dying (to be kept brief upon order of the king), were alleged to be: “I die – the king’s good servant, but God’s first.” Both of these learned men were able to see past the king’s lust, greed and megalomania. Thereby, they merited their eternal reward and the honor of sainthood.
We’re proud to announce the winners of the following merit scholarships from our parish school this past year: The Kathryn Ricciardelli Memorial Scholarship for $500 toward one-year tuition is awarded to Marie Brammer; the St. Katherine Drexel Scholarship in memory of John & Genevieve Skindeleski for $1,000 toward one-year tuition is awarded to Reilly Edwards; and the Pope John Paul II Scholarship for $2,000 toward four-years’ tuition is awarded to Olivia Nocera. All three recipients have announced that they will be attending Pope John Paul II High School in Boca Raton. Congratulations to these and all of
our various scholarship winners!