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Veritatis Splendor

"Keep your eyes fixed upon Jesus, who inspires and perfects our faith" --Hebrews 12:2

Pope Benedict XVI before our Lord

And only where God is seen does life truly begin. Only when we meet the living God in Christ do we know what life is. We are not some casual and meaningless product of evolution.
Each of us is the result of a thought of God.
Each of us is willed,
each of us is loved,
each of us is necessary.
There is nothing more beautiful than to be surprised by the Gospel, by the encounter with Christ. There is nothing more beautiful than to know Him and to speak to others of our friendship with Him.
~Pope Benedict XVI, Homily April 24th, 2005

Monday, February 14, 2005

Homily Review: 1st Sunday of Lent

Amy Welborn over at the Open Book blog has started a new trend -- what did you hear at Mass this weekend? I really like this idea, not only do we get to sneak a peek at what other priests and parishes are doing, but we also are inspired ourselves to pay better attention at Mass! Bonus -- our friends and families perhaps can here more about our parish life.

So, I encourage everyone to go check out this week's posting on the topic over at Amy's blog -- If today you hear his voice...

I include below a reposting of my own comments that made on her blog this morning -

Sunday, February 13th, 2005 - 1st Sunday of Lent
Location: Archdiocese of St. Paul/Minneapolis
Church: Cathedral of St. Paul
Mass: 8am (silent Mass, no music)
Celebrant: Fr. Michael Skluzacek

Lately, I have really preferred going to our 8:00am Mass at the Cathedral it is a "silent" Mass - no organ, no choir, no cantor, no singing. It is very peaceful and prayerful, and a very different crowd from the 10:00 "high Mass" attendees. (Though I guess my perfect Sunday Mass would be a quiet Mass, with either choir or cantor, either chanted or singing the timeless hymns, and with all the smells and bells. But I digress.)

Our rector, Fr. Skluzacek, gave a great homily for the 1st Sunday of Lent. It was so great I asked him to give me a copy, which I wish I could just post for you all to read, but I don't think that would be right.

So I'll try to summarize for you :)

Fr. began by telling us about a discussion he had gotten into some time ago, debating some theological point with another priest, and he was so proud of himself for quoting a Scripture passage that he thought proved his point... well, the other priest responded by saying that "even the Devil quotes Scripture to suit his own purposes." This is so true, Fr. pointed out to us, and we forget just what the devil is -- a fallen angel, with far superior intelligence than we have, who can quote Scripture better than any of us can hope to.

Fr. then went on to refer to the specific quote that the devil used to tempt Jesus, that "He will command his angels concerning you and with their hands they will support you, lest you dash your foot against a stone." But, "why, O devil, do you suppress the verse that follows?" The next verses from that Psalm refers to how the devil will be crushed and trampled like a scorpion, because he is powerless before God!

That's the key - the devil KNOWS not to quote that verse. And this is the nature of temptation -- "Temptation stops short of telling the whole story, because if it did, no one would ever give in to it." The devil never gives us the full story, instead he tells the part of the story that is "pleasing to the eye," just as he did to Eve so long ago.

When we pray in the "Our Father" for the Lord to "lead us not into temptation," what we really mean is 1) spare us from temptation and 2) if we are tempted, that we may have the grace to realize the full story and then be able to resist the temptation.

He continued, that don't we sometimes purposely do things to bring on temptation? Because others have told us that the forbidden fruit is good, or because we have already tasted it before and are still attracted to it, or because of sinful habits we have acquired... can we truly say that we do not many times lead ourselves into temptation?

I love this part, I've got to quote it: "And we try to suppress the rest of the story, because we don't want to hear it. And certainly the tempter is not going to tell us the rest of the story." Isn't that so true?

Next, Fr. discussed particular sins as examples. He says, not many are really tempted to commit murder. But how many easily give in to the temptations to sin against the 5th commandment by gossip, sarcasm, detraction, talking about others uncharitably? Like Eve, we rationalize about the goodness of what we want to do -- and that is what sin is, the using of something that is good, even holy, but using it contrary to God's purpose.

This Lent we need to "restore our ability to resist temptation," we need to "renew the dignity of our baptismal grace," and turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel. "This is really God's work, but we need to cooperate with His grace."



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