Fall and November lends us the opportunity to think about the Last Four Things – Death, Judgment, Heaven and Hell. St. Josemaria once wrote “Have you seen, on
a sad autumn evening, how dead leaves fall? Thus each day do souls fall into eternity, one day, the falling leaf will be you.” The Way # 736
It is said that Death is the great equalizer. It brings to an end that opportunity to either accept or reject the divine grace offered in Christ. Since death comes to us all, it is truly a healthy and noble thing to meditate on the moment of death. Now is the time to prepare for death. Each day we should pray for a happy and holy death in order to drive away the evil one. This is why we ask the Blessed Virgin Mary to “pray for us now and at the hour of our death.” It is great spiritual wisdom.
Following death will come a Judgment, the moment we will receive the eternal retribution for what we did in the body whether good or bad. We like to consider God’s mercy where He offers to us something that we truly are unworthy of. We can never comprehend God’s great mercy or His infinite love for us. Out of justice we must make satisfaction for the sins we commit in this life. We must repent our sins in this world through confession and make restitution for those sins by works of charity and prayer in this life or by purification in purgatory.
After thinking about the judgment we should contemplate Heaven with its’ promise of Eternal life. This is where we enter with God into a communion of life and love. We are united with the saints in glory to praise the Holy Trinity. Those who have been faithful to Christ and His holy will in this life become partners in his heavenly glorification and come to share in supreme happiness, which is the goal and longing of the human heart.
Finally we must think about Hell. That state of definitive self-exclusion from the communion with God and saints reserved for those who by their own free choice refuse to believe and be converted from sin, even to the end of their lives. We cannot be united to God unless we freely choose to love him, so to sin gravely against God, our neighbor or even ourselves pushes us away from that Love.
One day each of us will experience death and judgment and will be rewarded according to God’s infinite justice with Heaven or Hell. Now is the opportunity to reflect on the four last things and be inspired to live out our Catholic Faith with greater devotion and, of course, greater love.
Blessings, Father Dooley
Questions: Do I spend time meditating on the Four Last Things? Where do I desire to spend eternity? Have I been making up for the sins I have committed?
I along with Fr. Ken Halbur of Creston made a personal pilgrimage to Fatima Portugal where Our Lady of the Rosary appeared to the three shepherd children in 1917. We arrived and went for a walk through the large plaza. To the north was the original Basilica of the Holy Trinity, in the middle was the Chapel of the Apparition on the spot where Our Lady appeared, on the south end of the plaza was the new modern church which could hold a couple of thousand people.
In commemoration of 100th Anniversary of Fatima, pilgrims were invited to walk through the shrine and to pray for the needs of the church, which we did. First we were to start at an archway which resembled the original arch of a 100 years ago and there prayed the Creed. Next we walked to Chapel of the Apparition to pray a rosary for peace. We then when into the older Basilica and prayed at the tombs of the little shepherds for the intention of the Holy Father. Finally we went in to pray for peace in the Chapel of the Most Holy Sacrament near the modern church.
It was my intention to remember in pray my parish families, my family and friends, those who had asked for my prayers. I prayed that Our Lady of Rosary would indeed intercede with her Son, Our Lord, for all their welfare.
View Father’s slideshow here
On Wednesday of this week the Church celebrates the Feast of All Saints as a Holy Day of Obligation. November 1st is a day dedicated to the saints of the Church, that is, all those who have attained heaven. Although millions, or even billions of people may already be saints, All Saints’ Day observances tend to focus on known saints – those recognized in the canon (list) of the saints by the Catholic Church. It was formally started by Pope Boniface IV, who consecrated the Pantheon in Rome to the Virgin Mary and all the Martyrs on May 13th in 609 AD. All Saints was eventually established on November 1st by Pope Gregory III in the mid-eighth century as a day dedicated to the saints and their relics.
On November 2nd the Church Commemorates the Feast of All the Faithfully Departed or All Souls Day. The white vestments of All Saints day are laid aside and the Funeral Vestments of mourning are brought out since Our Holy Mother the Church mourns for her children who have died and are being purified in the suffering of Purgatory. The Church teaches the doctrine and belief that all who die with venial sin, or have not fully atoned for other past transgressions of mortal sins, must experience the purifying fire of God’s love in Purgatory. The faithful on earth can help faithfully departed through this temporal punishment and hasten their admission into the joys of heaven by prayers, sacrifices and especially by offering the Holy Mass for them (see the names listed in the Daily Mass schedule). The doctrine of Purgatory is one based in mercy. It is through the experience of being purged from all attachment to sin that the soul can be united with God for all eternity and join the communion of saints.
Blessings, Father Dooley
QUESTIONS FOR THOUGHT Who are the dead in my family that I need to pray for? Is the doctrine of Purgatory a source of mercy for me? Am I atoning for my own sins, more than doing prescribed penance?
From the Question Box: Just before Communion we recite, “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed”. What is the word? We need to look at the scriptural reference where the phrase is used. In Matthew 8:8 Jesus encounters a Roman Centurion who asked Him to heal his servant. Jesus is willing to go to the house, but the Centurion out of deep humility says “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word and my servant will be healed.”
So the “word” could be a word of command, “be healed” which we are all in need of because of the struggle with temptation and sin. It could be a word of compassion which Jesus has for all of us who humbly come to Mass. It could be a word of love which is demonstrated by the fact the Jesus loves all of God’s children and has called them to faith.
We must remember that Jesus himself is the Word of God incarnate, in the flesh. At this point in the Mass the priest has elevated the Host and Chalice showing Our Eucharistic Lord to the faithful gathered in prayer. The incarnate Word of God is there to receive our praise, our thanksgiving and our Love. One could conclude that “the Word” is Jesus himself who heals us, is compassionate towards us, and who loves us as we humbly recognize his presence in the Eucharistic elements.
Blessings, Father Dooley
We are coming up on a very important anniversary this week. On October 13th we will celebrate the centennial of the great miracle of Fatima. It was a rain soaked day and thousands had traveled to the little town of Fatima, Portugal because they believed that the Lady who was appearing to three small shepherd children was going to reveal who she was and that there was going to be some spectacular miracle. The children had been coming to the Cova da Iria on the 13th of every month since May and now this “Lady from Heaven” was going to reveal who she was. She said that she was the “Lady of the Rosary” and that the rosary should be prayed every day.
As the Our Lady opened her hands and rose into the sky, suddenly the rain stopped, the clouds parted, and the Sun shone brightly. It continued to get larger and brighter, it spun around and beautiful colors seemed to be coming from it. Then, just as suddenly, the sun appeared to be falling out of the sky. The thousands of people were terrified, many dropped to their knees in prayer, others shouted out in fear and just as suddenly, the Sun returned to its proper place in the heavens.
The people realized that their clothes we dry and the ground was sun baked as though it had not rained in weeks. Newspapers reported the miracle, non-believers witnessed the event. Even people twenty miles away experienced the Miracle of the Sun.
Blessings, Father Dooley
QUESTIONS FOR THOUGHT How much of the story of Fatima do I know? Do I need to have a superabundant miracle to strengthen my faith? Is Fatima an important event in the history of the world?
When we were baptized we were incorporated into Church as a child of God. This first sacrament paves the way for us to have many privileges like receiving the other sacraments and also many responsibilities like attending Mass regularly and becoming a faith full disciple. Christ Jesus truly wants his followers to travel down the road of spiritual excellence as we are called to grow in holiness.
It is important for a disciple to grow in holiness as one comes closer to Christ. Holiness is not so much about being separated from the world, but holiness is bringing God into the world. Christ revealed the Father’s love to the people He encountered every day. The disciples were sent out in the villages and towns with the message of the Gospel that God is near to you this day. We are asked to share the same message with the people we encounter every day. It is by our actions that others will either be attracted to or repelled from joining Christ Jesus.
We have been given a mission to bring others to Christ and His Church. This is not done with grand arguments or finely woven presentations. It is usually accomplished by a smile, a kind word, or a simple gesture. When our lives radiate Christ others will be drawn to the beauty that is the Catholic Faith.
Blessings, Father Dooley
QUESTIONS FOR THOUGHT How have I shared my faith in the past? Do my words and actions attract others to the Gospel? What hinders me from sharing my faith at home, work, or at school?
Will you help me? Will you serve your parish? I am looking for parishioners who have been Confirmed to volunteer for important ministries in the parishes. St. Mary’s and St. Patrick’s parish is in need of Lectors and Extra Ordinary Ministers of Holy Communion. Why are these ministries important? Because through these ministries the Word of God is proclaimed and the body of Christ is distributed. Sometimes we can get the notion that for some reason or another we are not worthy or skilled enough for participation in these ministries. However, it is God who is the one calling us to ministry, unworthy as we are, and with training and practice we can become skillful.
To be a Lector means a person is willing to process in with the Book of the Gospels and then read aloud the First and Second Scripture passages plus lead the Prayers of the Faithful at Mass. There are workbooks to help you pronounce any difficult words. I think I am a pretty understanding person towards lectors when there are long scriptures or difficult words.
To be an Extra Ordinary Minister of Holy Communion means a person is willing to assist the priest in distribution of the Eucharist at the time of Holy Communion. You come to the altar after the priest receives communion, you receive communion and then take the Chalice of Precious Blood or the Bowl of Consecrated Hosts to be offered to the faithful at the time of Holy Communion. At St. Mary’s the E.O.M.H.C. on Sunday mornings are also asked to take communion to the four parishioners who are homebound or to the five or six people at Avoca Care Center round 9:30 a.m. So again I ask you. Will you help me? Will you serve your parish? If so, please click here and fill out the form.
Blessings, Father Dooley