Aug 27, 2018

John was a young man who had drifted away from the Church. He no longer attended Mass or received the sacraments. When he enlisted in World War II his mother’s worries increased. What if he should be killed? What about his soul? As he prepared to leave she spoke to him: “Johnnie, I wish you would do one thing for me.” “What is that, Mom?” he asked. “Well, I wish you would say at least One Hail Mary every day. Pray it, no matter how busy or tired you are.” Somewhat reluctantly Johnnie promised. Months stretched into years. Johnnie’s letters were not very frequent. Then one day came a letter from the chaplain, explaining that Johnnie had been seriously wounded, that he had asked to receive the sacraments. Luckily Johnnie recovered. In his first letter home he wrote: “Mom, thanks for asking me to make that promise. I kept it. Every chance I get I go to Mass and Communion.”

Every priest has heard stories like this. It prompts me to offer this thought: No matter how far a soul drifts away from God, if he or she keeps some kind of contact, if it is only One Hail Mary a day, then there is hope, and a good chance that his soul will find its way back to God. Like too many Catholics today Johnnie had joined those disciples in today’s Gospel who no longer went about with Jesus. Those disciples refused to believe that Jesus could give them His own Flesh to eat and His Blood to drink, even though they have seen Him feed the Five Thousand with five loaves and have seen Him walk on the water.

Most reasons Catholics give for leaving the Church are related to this. For example: “The Mass doesn’t turn me on.” They mean that the Mass does not give them an emotional or physical thrill. Experience shows that such people do not say a single prayer of any kind. And no wonder. They must say what the apostles say to Jesus. “To whom shall we go?” This applies particularly to the Catholics who have married outside the Church and cannot receive the sacraments. In most cases, they do nothing. My point is that such people should do what they can. This will win God’s help and grace. Here are some suggestions: PRAY– the Our Father, the Hail Mary. Pray in your own words, something like this: “O God, help me to do whatever I can to please you.”

See that your children receive religious education. Give something to the poor and needy. Keep those laws of God which you can keep. Do What You Can. Try to assist at Mass every Sunday. If you cannot receive Holy Communion, you can make a Spiritual Communion. That means, tell Jesus you want to receive Him into your heart; tell Him you are sorry for your sins; you want Him to come to you spiritually. Welcome Him! Johnnie in our story did something rather small, a daily Hail Mary. God rewarded him. DO WHAT YOU CAN AND GOD WILL REWARD YOU. GOD BLESS YOU.

#57 AN ANECDOTE FOR A WORTHY RECEPTION OF THE EUCHARIST. While an old monk lay dying on his bed, the younger monks gathered around him and asked for his last words. The serene face of the old monk lit up and he spoke to them in a low solemn voice. "Children,” he said in a fatherly manner, “Listen, I will sum up to you my life. When I was young, my idea of a hot flaming desire was a room filled with beautiful women. When I became older, my idea of a hot flaming desire were images of well-cooked steaks and steaming delicacies. Now in my old age, my notion of a hot flaming desire is nothing but the burning heart of Jesus and a well prepared reception of the EUCHARIST.

In this last week of August, we celebrate the feasts days of Ss. Monica and Augustine, the mother and son examples of saintly lives in the Church. On the 29th, we have the memorial of the Passion of St John the Baptist as a martyr. This is all for now, watch for the next bulletin.

Your Priest-Servant and Parochial Administrator,

Fr. Reggie