Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Sunday, September 24, 2017
By Father Thomas McCabe
After beginning a new friendship one realizes that there are levels and degrees of friendship. You can spend time with this friend on a leisurely basis only, like sports, but may want to deepen this friendship by working with this person, or sharing family time, ministry time, or deeper still, becoming intimately involved with each other’s hopes, successes, and yes, even failures and sufferings. It is a mutual giving, receiving and supporting with varying degrees of gratitude, humility, and corresponding happiness.
Our friendship with the Lord Jesus Christ began when we were consecrated to him in the Sacrament of Baptism. Consecration means to be “set aside” “made sacred” for God’s pleasure, and we were made pleasing to God at baptism because Jesus infused his very divine life – sanctifying grace – into our soul, simultaneously with the divine virtues of faith, hope, and love. These divine virtues are real, but they are like seeds that need to be cultivated, deepened and thus produce fruit that will last forever.
To help us with this, God has consecrated Sundays, the Lord’s Day, as a time for us to assemble to hear the Word of God and celebrate the preeminent sacrament – Holy Communion – Jesus Christ who is the source and summit of our faith, hope, and love!
Although the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation are given to the soul only once, the preeminent sacrament of Holy Communion can be received weekly, even daily, if one is free from mortal sin by following the Catholic faith. This worthy reception of the Holy Eucharist deepens our friendship with God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, as well as with Mary, the holy angels, saints and all the members of the Church.
While in the state of grace, we can also grow closer to God by helping the poor, evangelizing, praying, making acts of faith, hope and love, and writing our public officials to follow the natural law by putting an end to: abortion, so called same-sex marriage and unjust wages – sins that cry out to God (Catechism of the Catholic Church, #1867).
Many of us have made or are making an act of faith, hope and love by consecrating ourselves completely to Mary by reading and applying the 33 Days to Morning Glory by Fr. Michael E. Gaitley, MIC. Since Mary is that perfect disciple of God who always conforms her free will to God’ divine will, we can be assured that when we give her all our prayers, sacrifices and sufferings she will apply their merits according to God’s divine will.
In this consecration to Mary we are asked to deepen our friendship with her and God by giving her everything for her intention, but we still can tell Mary our intention because we trust that from her heavenly perspective she knows how to best bring about God’s will, which of course, is better than our desire.
For example, I can offer up a Rosary for my friend to pass med school, but if that fails I should not be concerned that God is not listening to my prayers, rather, I trust that Mary has better plans for my friend which could not be fulfilled if she went to med school.
Another example is when painfully misunderstood we might ask God to remove it, but when we offer it up to Mary, and it remains, we trust that she is using the merits for something far more important and perfect. By this means we can see how God is asking us to detach from the world and our desires, and trust more deeply in him and his Mother, Mary. God will never test us beyond our strength, but if we want to become strong, we must be tested. By consecrating ourselves to Mary we can more easily learn how to pass the tests with the graces Jesus won for us and thereby attain perfect salvation!
Fr. Thomas McCabe