Archbishop Lucas offers insights on the US Catholic Catechism for Adults Chapter 9:
The Holy Spirit is dynamic, transforming our bodies into temples of God and our souls into dwelling places for Christ. Sometimes called the Paraclete, a term that describes him as adovcate and consoler, the Holy Spirit wants to fill us with inspiration and encouragement
The Most Reverend George J. Lucas leads the Archdiocese of Omaha.
We wish to thank the USCCB for the permissions granted for use of relevant material used in this series. Also we wish to thank Omar Gutierrez, Teresa Monaghen, and Bruce McGregor for their vocal talents in this episode.
Pentecost is a Feast of Love. It is the feast of the Canticle of Canticles where the Bridegroom comes to kiss his Bride. Today the Church cries out to her Bridegroom for a divine kiss, a kiss from the mouth of God. It is this kiss entrusted to frail humanity that makes all the difference in the world and in our lives. It is by this kiss that God discloses the depths of his love, that He surrenders His Holy Spirit to each of us in the most unique and particular way. It is the kiss God entrusts to humanity from the Cross.
The Holy Spirit is the life of the soul. He is the great gift that the Risen Lord breaths into the world. When lovers kiss, it is as if they are trying to breath their spirits into each other. Each wants the other to completely possess the gift of who they are. It is by way of a holy kiss that Christ breaths his Holy Spirit into the Church.
The whole Church and each of us as members of this mystical Body, through this same Gift, want to give everything we have to Christ and find in ourselves the power to do so and the inner conviction that we do not want to have it any other way. This is because with the Gift of the Holy Spirit we realize this is exactly the way God has loved us in Christ Jesus.
Wherever the Spirit blows, the most beautiful affections are ignited in our humanity. The Spirit of the Father and the Son moves us with a passion so sacred that it raises us up above ourselves. Such holy desires caused by the Fire of God in us allow us to participate in the very life of God.
The more humble we are, the more the kiss of Christ permeates the deep places of our hearts. He won the right to enter into these deep places, to breath his Holy Spirit into these depths, by emptying Himself until he became like us. In solidarity with our humanity, having embraced this most frail work of his creation to his Uncreated Nature in his Divine Person, He allowed himself be completely vulnerable to us – like a lover who attempts to disclose his love to the beloved. Spurned and rejected from the beginning, He would not give up on the friendship He yearned to share with us. He offered his kiss to a distrustful humanity by humbling Himself in the face of our pride and overcame our hostility to Him by his death. When we gaze on Him who died for us, always we see His arms are wide open, ready to embrace us. He waits to kiss us with the Gift of His Spirit whenever we allow our hearts to be pierced by his love.
Will we surrender to his kiss? Will we allow ourselves to be caught up in his love? True, the more we offer ourselves in love, we find ourselves dying to our old way of life. It is the pathway of surrender and trust. We are afraid of this — abandoning our old way of life leads somewhere with which we are not familiar. But the kiss of Christ is so beautiful, so life giving, it is worth this death a thousand times over. Let Him kiss you with the Kisses of his Mouth!
By far, this book is the BEST on the subject of the Sacred Heart of Jesus that I have seen in a very long time. So very practical and deep in its spiritual appreciation of this beautifully essential devotion for our lives, Fr. James Kubicki helps all to rediscover the devotion to the Sacred Heart. He presents the history of this timely devotion, with help of the apostles, Church Fathers, the Saints and contemporary Catholics, in an engaging and easily digestible way. And the prayers…the incredibly deep and radiant prayers…Fr. Kubicki breaks them open a new for us all to appreciate, encouraging us not to “say the prayers”, but to “pray the prayers”. Wonderful, simply wonderful! I cannot recommended this work more highly. Pick up more than one copy and become a missionary of the Sacred Heart of Jesus by passing copies on to others
“At first communion I was taught to say first thing every morning, Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in Thee!’ Reading Father Kubicki’s splendid book has only made that prayer all the more sincere and meaningful.” —Most Reverend Timothy M. Dolan, Archbishop of New York
“A fresh and attractive reconsideration of this centuries-old devotion in the Catholic Church. Blessed Basile Moreau (1873), founder of the Congregation of Holy Cross, who entrusted his priests to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, wrote: ‘The primary purpose of the devotion to the Sacred Heart is to return love for love.’ Fr. Kubicki develops this theme in a way that speaks well to today’s generation of believers.” —Rev. Peter D. Rocca, C.S.C., Rector, Basilica of the Sacred Heart, University of Notre Dame
“I invite everyone to renew his devotion to the Sacred Heart of Christ in the month of June, making use of the traditional prayer of the offering of the day and keeping in mind the intentions that I have proposed to the whole Church.” —Pope Benedict XVI, Angelus Address, June 1, 2008
Can you call the God the Father “Abba” as Jesus did? Did we have a complicated relationship with our earthly father that keeps us distant from our Father? How do we look at the Father when we are dealing with grief and loss? By presenting the relationship found in the heart of the Holy Trinity, Fr. Montague uses everyday examples to helps us to envision what that awesome relationship is like between Father and Son and how they long, through the Holy Spirit, to bring each one of us into their communion of love. This is a book you will want to read again and again. Highly recommended!!!!
On the evening of that first day of the week,
when the doors were locked, where the disciples were,
for fear of the Jews,
Jesus came and stood in their midst
and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side.
The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.
Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you.
As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”
And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them,
“Receive the Holy Spirit.
Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them,
and whose sins you retain are retained.”
Msgr. John A. Esseff is a Roman Catholic priest in the Diocese of Scranton. He was ordained on May 30th 1953, by the late Bishop William J. Hafey, D.D. at St. Peter’s Cathedral in Scranton, PA. Msgr. Esseff served a retreat director and confessor to Blessed Mother Teresa. He continues to offer direction and retreats for the sisters of the missionaries of charity around the world. Msgr. Esseff encountered St. Padre Pio, who would become a spiritual father to him. He has lived in areas around the world, serving in the Pontifical missions, a Catholic organization established by Bl. Pope John Paul II to bring the Good News to the world especially to the poor. Msgr. Esseff assisted the founders of the Institute for Priestly Formation and continues to serve as a spiritual director for the Institute. He continues to serve as a retreat leader and director to bishops, priests and sisters and seminarians and other religious leaders around the world. To obtain a copy of Msgr. Esseff’s book by visiting here Be sure to visit Msgr. Esseff’s website “Building a Kingdom of Love”
Fr. George Montague is an exceptional biblical scholar, as well as a humble pastor. His experience with the gifts given by the Holy Spirit are extraordinary and he shares those with us, but he also encourages us to seek the deepening of our own prayer lives so that we too may discover what the Father desires to give his beloved children. Through Scripture and the practice of prayer, Fr. Montague helps to encounter the Holy Spirit who is eager for our response. Bruce and I loved our conversation with him. Highly recommended!!
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
In the last catechesis I began speaking about one of the privileged sources of Christian prayer: the sacred liturgy, which – as the Catechism of the Catholic Church affirms – is “participation in Christ’s own prayer addressed to the Father in the Holy Spirit” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1073). In the liturgy, all Christian prayer finds its source and goal.”(n. 1073). Today I would like us to ask ourselves: in my life, do I reserve enough space for prayer and, above all, what place does liturgical prayer have in my relationship with God, especially the Mass, as participation in the common prayer of the Body of Christ which is the Church ?
In answering this question we must first remember that prayer is the living relationship of the children of God with their Father who is good beyond measure, with his Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit (cf. ibid., 2565). Therefore, the life of prayer lies in habitually being in the presence of God and being conscious of it, in living our relationship with God just as we live the usual relationships of our lives, those with close family members, and with real friends; indeed our relationship with the Lord gives light to all of our other relationships. This communion of life with God, One and Triune, is possible because, through Baptism we have been inserted into Christ, we have begun to be one with Him (cf. Rom 6:5).
In fact, only in Christ we can talk to God the Father as children, otherwise it is not possible, but in communion with the Son, we too can say, as he said “Abba”, because only in communion with Christ, can we know God as our true Father (cf. Mt 11:27). For this Christian prayer lies in constantly looking, in an ever new way, at Christ, talking with Him, being in silence with Him, listening to Him, acting and suffering with Him. The Christian rediscovers his true identity in Christ, “the firstborn of every creature », in whom all things were created (cf. Col 1:15 ff). By identifying with Him, being one with Him, I discover my personal identity, that of the true child who sees God as a Father full of love.
But do not forget: we discover Christ, we know him as a living Person, in the Church. It is “his Body.” This embodiment can be understood from the biblical words on man and woman: the two shall become one flesh (cf. Gen 2:24, Ephesians 5.30 ff. 1 Cor 6.16 s). The unbreakable bond between Christ and the Church, through the unifying power of love, does not negate the ‘you’ or ‘I’, but raises them to their most profound unity. Finding one’s true identity in Christ means achieving communion with him, that does not cancel me out, but raises me to the highest dignity, that of a child of God in Christ, “the love-story between God and man consists in the very fact that this communion of will increases in a communion of thought and sentiment, and thus our will and God’s will increasingly coincide “(Encyclical Deus Caritas Est, 17). To pray means to rising towards the heights of God through a necessary gradual transformation of our being.
Thus, participating in the liturgy, we make ours the language of the Mother Church, we learn to speak it and for it. Of course, as I have already said, this takes place in a gradual manner, little by little. I have to progressively immerge myself in the words of the Church, with my prayer, my life, my suffering, my joy, my thoughts. It is a journey that transforms us.