Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Saint Charles Borromeo

St. Charles Borremeo, Bishop of Milan, (1538-1584) lived and worked in the Church after the Reformation, and during the reforms of Trent.  It was through the work and effort of Charles Borremeo that several of the crucial documents, and important precepts, were completed during the latter sessions of the Council.  St. Charles recognized the need for reform within the Church; especially in its administration, and training of its priests.  But his work was not without opposition.

St Charles attempted to form a loose society, or small groups, of priests for their spiritual and personal growth.  A major concern for St. Charles was to have a clergy which was directed to holiness, formed in spirituality, and well educated in scripture and theology.  Within this context, Charles also worked are reforming the liturgy and celebration of the sacraments.

In today's Church, especially in recent years, the Church has worked to create a clergy that would be real shepherds to God's people.  Today we look to have priests who are virtuous and who have a deep concern for doing ministry in the Church.  Over the last twenty some years we have seen seminary education change extensively to meet the needs of a changing Church.

St. Charles Borromeo reminds us how important it is, as a Church and individuals, to engage in conversion and discipleship.  Today we talk a lot about personal witness and proclamation of the Gospel, but it is as important to have a grasp of the theology and tradition which we adhere to.  As a Church we have to be faithful to the ministry portion of what we say and due.  Pope Francis has been excellent in helping our Church recall its mission, especially to the poor and anawim.

The Liturgy of the Hours sums up St Charles life well, and his challenge to us, when it states:  "Seek after integrity and holiness, faith, love, patience, gentleness."

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Eternal Rest Grant Unto Them O Lord

The Solemnity of All Souls celebrates God's love and mercy, and recognizes that our gracious God invites us into the fullness of salvation.  We call to mind our brothers and sisters who have died, and we pray for them, as they prepare, through purgatory, to enter into heaven.  Our understanding of Purgatory is that it is that space by which we are wholly made ready to share eternal glory with the Father in heaven.

This day asks us to consider our own death, but also to consider the action and activity of Jesus Christ in the Paschal Mystery.   John's gospel will remind us that God "so loved the world," that by his Son Jesus, who entered our human condition, we have participation in the salvation that has been promised to us.  At the funeral Mass we consider the Eucharist to be that sign and symbol of God's great care and mercy.  But also by the very nature of the Mass, we pray for the deceased and ask God to receive our loved one, forgive their Sins, and unite them to the eternal Kingdom.

We might reflect that the funeral Mass is a celebration of the resurrection and not a celebration of the individuals life.  In Baptism, Confirmation, and the Eucharist we have a union and unity with God the Father.  St. Paul will remind us that the love of God the Father cannot be taken from us.  But in that same understanding we must be open to receive the mercy offered us.

We are on the same journey of faith with our loved ones.  We now take responsibility to pray with them.  We are not people without hope.  Jesus Christ unfolded before us the mystery of the Father.  As children of God we have oneness with God.  It is that confidence and faith which allows us to remain firm and serene in the face of death, knowing that Christ has conquered  and we are promised a place in the Kingdom of Heaven.