May 27, 2017

Sunday Sermon, May 21 -- The Three Secrets of Our Lady of Fatima

When our Lady for the third time appeared to the three children of Fatima, 13 July 1917, she gave them three secrets, which also contain the essential message of Fatima.

The first was the vision of hell, the second the horrors of World War II, and the third was a mysterious apocalyptic image which detailed persecutions of the Pope.

The third secret was at least partially fulfilled in the assassination attempt on Pope St John Paul II, which occurred on the feast of Our Lady of Fatima, 13 May 1981. Our Lady miraculously saved the Pope on that day.


Below, find the text of the three secrets.

Listen online [here]!





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First Secret of Fatima
Sr Lucia: “As Our Lady spoke these last words, She opened Her hands once more, as She had done during the two previous months. The rays of light seemed to penetrate the earth, and we saw as it were a sea of fire. Plunged in this fire were demons and souls in human form, like transparent burning embers, all blackened or burnished bronze, floating about in the conflagration, now raised into the air by the flames that issued from within themselves together with great clouds of smoke, now falling back on every side like sparks in huge fires, without weight or equilibrium, amid shrieks and groans of pain and despair, which horrified us and made us tremble with fear. (It must have been this sight that caused me to cry out, as people say they heard me.) The demons could be distinguished by their terrifying repellent likeness to frightful and unknown animals, black and transparent like burning coals.
“That vision lasted only a moment, thanks to our Good Mother of Heaven, Who, at the first apparition, had promised to bring us to Heaven. Without that, I think we would have died of terror and fear.
“Terrified and as if to plead for succor, we looked up at Our Lady, who said to us, so kindly and sadly: You have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to My Immaculate Heart.

Second Secret of Fatima
Mary: “If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace. The war is going to end; but if people do not cease offending God, a worse one will break out during the reign of Pius XI. When you see an unknown light, know that this is the great sign given you by God that He is about to punish the world for its crimes, by means of war, famine, and persecutions of the Church and the Holy Father.
“To prevent this, I shall come to ask for the Consecration of Russia to My Immaculate Heart, and the Communion of Reparation on the First Saturdays. If My requests are heeded, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace; if not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, various nations will be annihilated.”””



Third Secret of Fatima -- JP II makes public in June 2000.
‘At the left of Our Lady and a little above, we saw an Angel with a flaming sword; it gave out flames that looked as though they would set the world on fire; but they died out in contact with the splendour Our Lady radiated towards him from her right hand: pointing to the earth with his right hand, the Angel cried out in a loud voice:
“Penance, Penance, Penance!” ‘
‘And we saw in an immense light that is God… a Bishop dressed in white. We had the impression it was the Holy Father. Other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious going up a steep mountain, at the top of which there was a big cross; before reaching there the Holy Father passed through a big city half in ruins, and half trembling with halting step, afflicted with pain and sorrow, he prayed for the souls of corpses he met on his way; having reached the top of the mountain, on his knees at the foot of the big cross he was killed by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows at him, and in the same way there died the other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious, and various lay people of different ranks.’
‘Beneath the two arms of the Cross there were two Angels, each with a crystal aspersorium in which they gathered up the blood of the Martyrs and with it sprinkled the souls that were making their way to God.’

Conclusion
“In the end, My Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to Me, and she will be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world.”

Sunday Sermon, May 14 -- The Three Children of Fatima

13 May 2017 was the 100th Anniversary of our Lady's first apparition to the three children of Fatima in Portugal. Appearing from May to October, generally on the 13th of the month, our Lady asked that the Rosary be prayed daily and that people be devoted to her Immaculate Heart.

Pope Francis canonized two of the three children on 13 May 2017 -- Sts Francisco and Jacinta Marto! Lucia (the eldest of the three) did not die until 2005, and thus her canonization process is far behind her two cousins who died in 1918 and 1919.

We discuss the history of the apparitions (beginning with the vision of the Angel of Peace) and the lives of our new saints, Francisco and Jacinta.

NOTE: This is the first of three sermons on the apparitions of our Lady, Queen of the Rosary of Fatima.

Listen online [here]!



Sunday Sermon, May 7 -- Discerning a vocation to the priesthood or religious life

In the new Mass, the Fourth Sunday of Easter is also Good Shepherd Sunday. The Church throughout the world also celebrates this Sunday as the World Day of Prayer for Vocations.

We consider how to discern a call to the priesthood or religious life -- not only for those young people who are still in the time and age of discernment, but also for parents, relatives and friends who may be able to assist in discernment of a vocation.

The keys to discernment are a life of prayer and a pure motive to love God in and above all things. Essentially, once our motives are purified, God will reveal our vocation to us through giving us joy at the thought of living that vocation. And the priesthood and religious life are the happiest vocations on earth.


Listen online [here]!



May 4, 2017

Sunday Sermon, April 30 -- Receiving the Eucharist Well, and Not Distributing the Chalice

The apparition on the road to Emmaus teaches us about the Holy Eucharist -- the bread which our Lord "took, blessed, broke, and gave" is none other than his gift of self in Holy Communion.

We take an opportunity to consider receiving communion well, with greater love and devotion. It is also good to note that Jesus only distributes communion under the one species of the Host -- whereas, on Holy Thursday, he gave communion under both kinds (the Host and the Chalice) as he was distributing to his apostles whom he had just ordained as priests; here, when distributing communion to the lay faithful (Cleopas and the other), our Lord only gives communion under the species of his Body. The whole Jesus is present in the Host and in the Chalice: Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity, and the fullness of grace is received under Host alone. Indeed, the Church teaches that there is nothing "less" in receiving only the Host, nor is there any "more grace" in receiving the Chalice.

Although not all of the following norms are specified in the sermon, it is good to make note of certain guidelines under which the Chalice is permitted to be distributed. First and foremost, we recognize that the general norms of the Church do not permit the distribution of the Chalice except in the most unusual circumstances (e.g. when people make First Communion, Religious Profession, to the couple who gets married). In the United States, wider permission was given (by a special indult from the Vatican and only with the dispensation of the local bishop and the wise discernment of the pastor) for communion to be distributed under both kinds -- but the following norms must be observed.


From "Redemptionis Sacramentum", Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship from 2004 (paragraphs 100-107):

"[Distribution of the Chalice] is to be completely excluded where even a small danger exists of the sacred species being profaned."

"The chalice should not be ministered to lay members of Christ’s faithful where there is such a large number of communicants that it is difficult to gauge the amount of wine for the Eucharist and there is a danger that more than a reasonable quantity of the Blood of Christ remain to be consumed at the end of the celebration."

"[The Chalice is not to be distributed] where a notable part of the people continues to prefer not to approach the chalice for various reasons, so that the sign of unity would in some sense be negated."

"In accordance with what is laid down by the canons, 'one who throws away the consecrated species or takes them away or keeps them for a sacrilegious purpose, incurs a latae sententiae excommunication reserved to the Apostolic See; a cleric, moreover, may be punished by another penalty, not excluding dismissal from the clerical state'. To be regarded as pertaining to this case is any action that is voluntarily and gravely disrespectful of the sacred species. Anyone, therefore, who acts contrary to these norms, for example casting the sacred species into the sacrarium or in an unworthy place or on the ground, incurs the penalties laid down."

Additionally, the USCCB states that where there would regularly be more lay people serving as extraordinary ministers of holy communion than three are priests and deacons serving as ordinary ministers, it may be fitting to not distribute the Chalice so as to avoid the appearance that it is ordinary or normal for lay minsters to distribute communion.  (cf. Norms for the Distribution and Reception of Communion under Both Kinds)


What does this mean? That if there is any danger that the Chalice might be spilt, communion should be given only under the Host. If there is a large number of people at the Mass so that it is difficult to estimate very exactly how much wine to use, communion should be given only under the Host. If say 20% of the people don't want to receive from the Chalice, communion should be given only under the Host. If there are not a number of priests and deacons so that they would generally outnumber the lay extraordinary ministers, communion should probably be given only under the Host.

Finally, the care of the Precious Blood is such a serious matter, that those who have poured the remaining Blood down the drain or into the ground are subject to an excommunication which even the Bishop cannot lift -- and this abuse is something which many of us know from experience to have been shockingly common in certain places and times over the past 50 years.



Listen online [here]!







May 1, 2017

Sunday Sermon April 23 -- Divine Mercy Sunday, The Indulgence and the Promise

There are two things to be aware of: 1) The Church offers a plenary indulgence on this day. 2) Jesus promised special graces on this day. The indulgence and the promise are similar, but not identical.
1) The plenary indulgence: This requires confession (up to 20 days before or after), communion (a couple days before or after), prayers for the Pope (Our Father, Hail Mary), no attachment to any sin, and the specific "work" is the mercy devotions. The devotions are those held in common in the church, or before the tabernacle to pray an Our Father and the Creed and "Jesus, I trust in you". Those who are unable to travel to church can say the Our Father, Creed, and invocation of mercy even at home before an image of the Divine Mercy (but they still must confess and receive communion).
2) The promise of Jesus: That any who confess (up to two weeks before) and receive communion on Divine Mercy Sunday itself (Our Lord does not say that the Saturday evening Mass counts) trusting in his mercy, will have not only their sins but even all the punishment of purgatory will be completely washed away. This is the perfect renewal of the graces of baptism -- and it does not require complete detachment from all sin, but only that we trust in his mercy!

A comparison between Jesus' appearance to Thomas the Apostle and his gift of Divine Mercy Sunday.


Listen online [here]!