Friday, February 03, 2023

When is Ash Wednesday? February 22, 2023

   An Excerpt from One of My Books:


(Michael Dubruiel)





This is an excerpt from one of my books, "Praying in the Presence of Our Lord with Fulton J. Sheen". This entry is from Part I under the heading "The Sanctification of the Present Moment." I quote this because I noticed somewhere online today the popularity of a spiritual guru who Oprah is promoting, Eckhart Tolle (I think it helps to have an estoteric name in the modern world) who's "Power of Now" is quite the rave. There is nothing new in what Tolle is promoting and any serious student of spirituality can find it in Catholicism. Fulton Sheen was preaching this years ago and as I point out in this entry from the book a very famous work of Christian Spirituality also does:



Bishop Sheen’s “Now-moment” corresponds to the thinking of the great spiritual writer Jean Pierre de Caussade. In Abandonment to Divine Providence, Fr. Caussade gives the reader a sure way of knowing the will of God at any moment—by simply confronting the present moment with all its reality. It seems simple, but if we reflect for a second most of us will find that we spend most of our lives avoiding the present moment.



A few years ago an English translation of the Father Caussade’s work appeared in the United States changing the original title to read “The Sacrament of the Present Moment.” This captures the essence of Father Caussade’s work and Bishop Sheen’s meditation that in the present time we are presented with an opportunity that is truly unique. Each moment is sacramental.



Most of us are capable of presenting ourselves with some amount of reflection as we celebrate the sacraments. If we celebrated the sacrament of Baptism as an adult certainly we came expecting to be changed by God. Each time we enter a confessional surely we have examined our conscience beforehand and are penitent expecting to be forgiven by God. Undoubtedly every time we approach the altar to receive the Eucharist we expect to encounter God. But what about the other moments of our lives?



As we awake in the morning, is our first thought of God? As we greet our brothers and sisters throughout the day do we expect that God might be present? Every moment of our lives is an opportunity to encounter God who is always present.

Spend some time reflecting on the following:



1. Go over the events of the present day and ask yourself where God might have been in each of them. Is there a consistent pattern to your day?



2. Reflect on the life of your favorite saint, and meditate on how he or she dealt with the people they met in their daily journeys. How could you imitate this saint? What enabled the saint to act in the way he or she did toward others?



3. Imagine as you leave from this time of prayer that God wishes to continue to be present to you as you go forth. How will you react to his presence in others?



Prayer

Lord, help me to search for you in the garden of life in the same way that St. Mary Magdalene did when she found your tomb empty. May my search be rewarded as hers was by knowledge of your abiding presence.

Amen.



Thursday, February 02, 2023

February 2 - Feast of the Presentation

   From 2006:



Something to think about the next time you come forward to receive Holy Communion:
(Simeon) took him up in his arms and blessed God and said, "Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word; for mine eyes have seen thy salvation which thou hast prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to thy people Israel.

Michael Dubruiel 

Wednesday, February 01, 2023

Michael Dubruiel: How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist - part 8b

  

From How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist by Michael Dubruiel


About Michael Dubruiel



From chapter 2 - Serve.  Part 7


THE INSTITUTION OF THE EUCHARIST BY JESUS

 On Holy Thursday, the day on which the Church celebrates the institution of the Holy Eucharist,the gospel reading for the Mass does not mention Jesus taking bread and wine but rather an act of service that Jesus performed at the Last Supper.The Lord taking bread and wine and declaring it his body and blood is mentioned in the Second Reading for that Mass,but not in the gospel.

The gospel for Holy Thursday is from John’s gospel. It is the story of Jesus rising from the table and shocking his disciples by doing something totally unexpected, washing their feet.
Peter refuses to have his feet washed at first but acquiesces when Jesus tells him that it is necessary if Peter is to have any inheritance in him.

If you are like me, you can relate to Peter. There is something in Peter’s character that perfectly illustrates what we all are like in our fallen nature.We are proud.We want to be in control.We like Jesus, and we want to be part of his crowd, but we also want to tell him what to do.

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Michael Dubruiel: How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist - part 8a

  

From How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist by Michael Dubruiel


About Michael Dubruiel



From chapter 2 - Serve.  Part 6

GETTING THE MOST OUT OF THE EUCHARIST

If you want to get the most out of the Eucharist you have to check your “I” at the door.The “I” that wants things, that endlessly critiques the way things are done, and  that demands things be done in exactly a certain way (meaning “my way,” not God’s way). I think it was Peter Kreeft who once said that the famous song, “I Did It My Way,” sung by such great artists as Frank Sinatra and Elvis, is the national anthem of hell. The way of the world may be to do things “our way” but the way of Christ is to do things his Way.We therefore consciously have to leave “my way” at the door and in exchange take up an attitude that asks “how may we be of service to you, Lord, in this celebration of the Eucharist?”

Monday, January 30, 2023

Michael Dubruiel: How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist - part 7B

   

From How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist by Michael Dubruiel

About Michael Dubruiel



Michael Dubruiel

From chapter 2 - Serve. Part 5


WHOSE WAY ARE WE PREPARING?



The greatest suffering that I’ve endured at any celebration of the Eucharist has been the few cases where someone, whether it was the presider, a musician, or, as in several cases, a member of the congregation, thought he or she could  make the liturgy more perfect by his or her own inventions. Here are some examples of this type of behavior, all of which actually happened:


    An Easter Sunday where a visiting priest tried to woo thecongregation by creating a “Mass” of his own making, never once using the words prescribed by the Church from beginning to end.
    A musician who saw himself as in a battle with the cele-brant and who continually and loudly played music over the presider’s attempts to pray the prescribed prayers of the Church.
    A congregant who screamed out for the priest to stopbecause “no one” —meaning herself — “knew where he was” in the liturgy.
    A congregant who held up a crucifix as he processedtoward the altar to receive the Eucharist and then, after receiving the Eucharist, turned and exorcised the congregation with loud prayers and wild gesticulations of the cross.

Now, you may think of some of these people as being mentally ill, and perhaps some of them were, yet a case could be made that when any of us “lords” it over another we are a little off in the head, especially if we are doing so and claiming to be a follower of Jesus. None of this is new, of course; even in Jesus’s time there were those who sought to take control and lord it over others.Yet Jesus addressed this issue directly, and clearly specified the subservient attitude that would be required of his followers:

Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them.It shall not be so among you; but whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave; even as the Son of man came not be served but to serve, and to give his life as ransom for many.”
— M ATTHEW 2 0 : 2 5 – 2 8