Fr. Jack Lombardi in 2015 - Croagh Patrick Mountain, Ireland
Don’t blame God worship him!...In this Sunday’s Gospel a lady kind of blames God-Jesus for broken down things on earth, death, etc. She is like us—we bristle and retreat from God when we see suffering and evil in the world. Yet: last Sunday at the Missionaries of Charity in Washington DC., I witnessed many who served amidst all the brokenness around them—AIDS, poverty, family dysfunction —the volunteers, young and old, handicapped and infirm, didn’t blame God for their or others’ troubles, but served—heroically! Also: don’t blame the Catholic church – her ministers-priest bishops volunteers---whom are sometimes described or seen as hypocrites, modern etc… We can find blame – error in any institution yet many still choose –education / government / sports etc., amidst those broken institutions, and still attend to them–so why not keep choosing the Catholic Church? ! +Peace /FJL
The Past is Present
Written for / and published in: The Baltimore Sun paper
Rev. John J. Lombardi
“God is the artist and the universe is his work of art.” -Thomas Aquinas (1224-1274)
The medievalists as moderns?
If we look closely at those high middle ages (roughly 1000-1500), we may discover early feminists, sacred sensualists, songwriters of the spheres and holistic medicine practitioners.
Wait: didn’t we moderns invent all this?
All these currents were in development long ago and those times we may describe as “dark ages” and people as “dinosaurs” may be seen as advanced and sensual and holistic as we moderns are today. The “Dark Ages” weren’t so dark, after all.
Those breakthroughs of sense and technology, multiculturalism and globalism are some of the themes of an art exhibit I just saw with our church group, at the Walters Art Gallery, entitled, “Feast for the Senses: Art and Experience in Medieval Europe“ (thru Jan. 8,2017).
As we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas— veritable experiences of sense delight, gorging of food, materialism and sensualism, we can learn some lessons from the medievalists, both sacred and profane.
Do you remember, during the presidential campaign, that some Christians were described as “medieval” and stuck to the past? And, as we celebrate our national holiday, “puritanical” is an easy epithet today to use, but weren’t these original Puritans voyagers, sensualists, and multi-culturists as they dined with native American Indians and feasted on rich, organic, varied foods?
We modernists sometimes admit a debt to history and have sayings like “the past is prologue” and “we stand on the shoulders of giants” to pay homage to ancestry.
So, did you know, as we gained from our art tour, one of the most commented books in the bible, especially during the middle ages, which never mentions the word God, and expresses a love poem, is the “the Song of Songs”? Walt Whitman and other sensualist poets can sense seeds here!
Illuminated manuscripts, those darling, small festively decorated tomes, were the seeming iPhones of the day, transmitting knowledge both sacred and profane to the illiterate and cognoscenti alike, information for the masses.
Bells, ringing from monasteries and town halls alike were the signaling tintinntabulum for many to work or play or pray, the techno-app for the day.
The Frenchman, Guy de Mauchaut (1300-1377), was a progenitor of ars nova, or new art, which was a groundbreaking move from plainchant to multi layers of polyphonic music and song, and secular styles too, which celebrated sensual love and everyday themes. Rap and rock music may stand on the shoulders of medieval giants.
Eleanor of Aquitaine (1122-1204 ), was an international traveler and negotiator; a military leader, builder, decorator and developer of the medieval “court of love,” and queen of two countries. Diplomats today have nothing on her.
St. Hildegard of Bingen, a fashionista of current new agers, was a counselor (and thorn) to popes; groundbreaking musician; a herbalist, healer and mystic- a “Renaissance woman” before it came. These days, organic food and smoked turkeys are in along with “whole medicine”. Medievalists practiced this in treating the body as a “mini universe” and discerned the dynamic intersection of physical elements like southern breezes and vegetables and spices intermingling positively or not with the humors and temperaments of the body.
Spirituality was sensualist, “touchy feely” too, as the wounds of Christ became, in the words and a Walter’s Gallery description, seeming semi-erotic events, interactive portals of divine human union. Touch was central to these medievalists as in embracing rosaries with scents to remind them of God’s “odor of sanctity”. Today’s sometimes sterilized spirituality can learn from these “dinosaurs”.
As we moderns trumpet the latest technology, globalism and materialism, these medievalists had some of it going way back then and, often, seem more connected to one another, their organic-spiritual selves and their world as we are today, sometimes stuck in our little techno-silos.
When I asked our youth what they liked best about our trip that day, which included the beautiful Basilica of the Assumption, and a wondrous festive dinner at a local pizza shop, they immediately said the art exhibit. Maybe they are, at heart, like all of us really, sacred sensualists.
As we celebrate Thanksgiving and a holiday season we may remember Puritans and medievalists as progenitors whom presaged a way for us to feast today, and reach out to others as those troubadours did long ago.
We modernists all need a little blast from the past, to help us engage in a feast for our senses.
November, 22, 2016- Meditation on Christ the King:
President F.D.R. ruled by action. J.F.K. by charisma . L.B.J. by power. Christ the King ruled by all three of these attributes and also mercy. On the Cross He forgave the “good thief”! And forgave all of us- He Rules w Mercy!
Why? Because He does not rule in way the world “rules” –but Mercy is the fabric of the universe; it’s undercurrent; what everyone in their honest moments and on their deathbed wants! Mercy unites. We should be thankful at this thanksgiving time for mercy. Yet, think: the best biker ever (Lance Armstrong) took drugs. The best golfer (Tiger Woods) was an serial adulterer. The greatest alleged painter (Picasso) was a misogynist. Great musicians died of drugs (Prince and Jimmi Hendrix, etc)…All ultimately failed: you don’t have to DO anything, but accept His Love, and mercy because you’re asking for help—and want to be reconciled to God!
Why Mercy?!... Mercy unites. The good thief asked to be united—to Christ and His Kingdom, and Jesus absolved, united him.
Absolution –which is the gift of Mercy, means to free, acquit. That means we humans get in “knots” –tied up- in anger, resentments, ego . We are in some way prisoners.
Mercy brings…psychological healing: it brings peace of mind. Family healing: it builds family ties. Political healing (especially in this season): it binds the nation’s soul.
Religious healing: it , Mercy, imitates the Savior. Physical healing: the toxic adrenalin of anger/ hate is absolved, healed, freed.
Metaphysical healing: you are of the Mind and Heart of God!
But remember, the “deck is stacked against you”: you are trained early on “to be aggressive” and advance in life; in education to “go to the head of the class”; in war we hear about “shock and awe”; in sports practice to emphasize power and prowess; in business success we’re taught: “climb over others”; in job interviews people may say: “I crushed it.” All these are sheer “power images” of brute strength --and they all become our DNA and operation in life. And yet mercy is the undercurrent and need of all—freedom from knots and self strangulation, a call and liberation to unite to God and one another.
So, yes, we need proper power, action, charisma. But never forget or neglect or reject and rule by mercy and you will be free—and united!
Give thanks much and often that we have the gift of mercy.
November 13, 2016
Hope For America
America is her people, and her faith and, especially faithful Christians. We now have a lot of change in America. We must always remember Christians can bring new life to our beloved country! What have Christians done in our country and what can we do? Our ancestors brought good law and human rights, prayer, wonderful spirituality, care for the poor, character and virtue as part of public and private life, along with good economics and hard-work effort to all as part of building roads and micro economies and engines of industry.
Both the “Protestant work ethic” and Catholic works of mercy have elevated this country and we must never forget or neglect this.
Now we can continue! Pray with others. Lead others on football fields and in classrooms in virtue and team building. Show the strength of this country that it is not just politicians but people of faith that meld and gel this country together. Think of how many billions of dollars are sent by Catholic and Christian service organizations to our native populations as well as overseas.
Will you continue this? Remember how Amish and protestant Christians in recent years forgave killers of their churches and inspired the nation, so pass on the reconciliation. While many want to promote vice we Christians want to further virtue and justice.
Think of Martin Luther King and like Christian justice seekers who brought genuine civil rights to our land: don’t you want to further this? Christians built schools for all, especially the poor, along with hospitals and care homes and can continue to do so—with or without your help.
In this time of tremendous change, challenge, delirium, desire and doubts we must preserve and promote our faith as a solid, sanctifying and
liberating stimulus for all, precisely because we have done so in the past and we are so needed for the future! Hope lives. And moves all of us.
PEACE and Blessings ~ Fr. Jack Lombardi
A Prayer for Our Nation
Gracious and loving God, we come to you in humble prayer for the United of America. Bless our President and President Elect. Give them wisdom and strength to serve the American people and lead our country in ways that are pleasing to you. Bless our Congress. Instill in them knowledge and understanding to enact laws that protect the sanctity of life– from the unborn to the elderly; and promote the good of all people. Bless the people of the United States. Make us aware of our responsibility as citizens to uphold the principles of life, liberty, justice, and equality. Send your Holy Spirit upon our beloved country. Make us people of faith in time of uncertainty. Make us people of hope in times of trouble. Make us people of compassion with those who are less fortunate. Make us people of peace in our homes, and communities, our country, and our world. We ask this through Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Savior. Amen
Sunday, November 6th, 2016
As you may recall the recent Archdiocesan parish re-organization combines St. Peter and St. Patrick to integrate St. Michael, Clear Spring, into our fold.
As we said, this is a tentative proposal, which needs discernment through many steps:
1-Next Wednesday, meeting with Central MD region and St. Michael Church.
2-Regional priest meeting on November 18.
3- Archbishop Lori’s final review and approval. This will take several months and , for the overall Archdiocese, perhaps a couple of years to implement. We will find out much in the next few weeks. Our parish planning team has been assertive that our primary concern is to welcome, if God wills and the proposal is accepted, St. Michael Church into our fold. However, this is still a proposal, not a final decision. So we need to discern with all parties involved, the proper course ahead...So, to sum up: Proposal time; Procedure time; Parish-Product time… We will see how things unfold and pray for the best and be open to any and everything!~ …
*********************** Gratefulness and Givingness… ************************
Thank you for your giving and your generosity. The “Take the Next Step” program is for us, and for our needs and many excellent ministries here. Thank God and thanks to you– we are not only staying open as a parish family– but perhaps integrating another church into our fold and thus we need your sustained giving into the future. For many have enthused me and you, the donors, to continue our weekly envelope donations, and to “Take the Next Step”-to hopefully increase our giving for the future, and that is the main point of this talk and next week. We have beautified our parish buildings and grounds; we have renovated a wonderful parish hall and classrooms; we have repointed the masonry of our historic church. We have embraced ministries to the poor, sick and dying, to your children and the aged and to the outcast poor: this is Jesus’ Work thru us! So thank YOU! I —and many (!)—would love to attain a parish van to transport people to our many and various activities. This shows that we are mobile in ministry and evangelical needs! Also, we shall continue to pay off the parish hall renovation. Remember, when you “Take the Next step” you are helping ourselves and our outreach to all Christ’ family. Please consider using envelopes or online giving; this helps accounting as well as ease of giving for yourself. Thank you for helping in all of this! We are growing as a parish family and your weekly envelope /online giving will help us grow more!
Sunday, October 9, 2016
Contemporary Catholic Morality:
We will be covering contemporary morality and Catholic positions on these, on: Oct 17 (7.30pm) and Oct 23 (11.30am), Including: gender and sexuality, marriage, family life, bio-medical issues and upcoming elections and informed voting .Our purpose is to clearly state Catholic moral theology and inform you and entertain discussion and clarification.
Though many of these issues are not explicitly in the Bible, we are privileged as Catholics to have an informed, Biblically based moral teaching to meet modern times. Many current Catholic positions and teachings will clearly be counter cultural—against “modern” biases and stances. So, remember St. Paul’s counsel: “Be not conformed to the world…” (Rm. 12:2). Pope Francis has spoken out on many of these issues as well as our Bishops and theologians, both past and present. Your children, spouse, family and friend members are asking many of these questions and while educational systems, counselors, scientists are teaching on these issues, if not “evangelizing” many. We Catholics need to: be informed on these moral issues; equip ourselves to encounter these moral issues in our daily lives; teach and help others and provide talking points to others.
Elections are coming up: The United States Catholic Conference of Bishops lists inherent evils that can never be directly supported in a candidate: abortion; embryonic stem cell research; euthanasia; non-traditional-un-biblical marriage; racism; killing of non-combatants in battle-war . We also need in considering a candidate, such issues as poverty and hunger, the environment, health care, immigration, military . While all issues are important, inherent evils hold gravity of consideration, and with other issues to be considered also.
Mission Readiness and Changes of Parishes in the Archdiocese of Baltimore
Archbishop Lori met with all his priests ten days ago and a major committee proposed to him and all us priests significant changes in the Archdiocese: going from a total of about 120 parishes in the diocese to 85-90 within 3 years; making “pastorates,” a single priest-pastor in charge of a parish or couple of parishes in a certain geographic area; these “pastorates” may have one or more priests but still one single pastor, and a single staff and central office. The next step is review of these proposed models in our area—central-western Maryland, on Nov. 9. So far so good, keep praying, volunteering and We hope to have the proposed (intermediate) model for review online at our website: stpetersofhancock, this Monday afternoon, after we have received it...
September 13th, 2016
Calming the mind /Breathe Him Divine…
Visualize your whirly mind as like a thunderstorm, or like the chaotic sky in “The Wizard of Oz”. Tons of clouds, lightening strikes and raging winds: you are def not at peace.
Then image: a completely calm, beautifully blue and serene sky—no clouds, only blue and radiant sunlight, spacious and peaceful. This is what we want in life, inside! Which one of those skies, inside do you want? Of courses we want a peaceful, empty and calm sky within. So: we need to image this, practice it, slowly saying those words above, Calming the mind, breathe Him Divine. Not only saying the words but then visualizing that chaotic sky transforming, by Christ’s Divine breath and calmness entering within us. Peat and visualize this whenever possible today, thru the day, impressing within God’s order and tranquilitas ordinis =the tranquility of order!
Also, consider this “mind minefield”: many times in your head or schedule many people, when they are given peace, wreck it. Meaning: many of us squirm when there is an empty sky, or open hour of the day when we don’t have an appointment, or our heads are cleared (finally!) and then we think or act: I must do something, think something, fill my head or space with some thought action or toxin. Translation: I must always be thinking or doing something. Rather, in meditation/contemplation we need learn the ABC’s of meditation and life: Allow God’s peace to reign within—become passive, surrender to simple pure presence (vs. lots of content and mental complexity); Become it –actually integrate Him and God’s grace within, so peace and godly presence are not just a thought or theory—but realities you are sinking into, immersing in; Continue this process thru the day—thru repeating this aspiration above, and actually doing the ABC’s thru the day. As we say, “Don’t shoot yourself in the foot” and sabotage your own peace, we may say, regarding the mind: “Don’t muddy the waters!”
We need to actually “practice peace”—re-accepting God’s Peace, tranquility, bec we are so used to complexity and errant-pollutant-toxic thoughts. Practice makes perfect.
July 14-15: Thursday
Beginning Mass at St Augustine, Elkridge by airport, and after hefty lunch we drive to airport which seems so anti climatic as it’s only 10 minutes and no rush or stress or traffic jams: too easy to believe, yet we still just made it to plane on time! It was hot so cant wait to get into the fjords and snowy mountains of Alaska !
All is well as we fly from BWI / Baltimore to Seattle; then half hour delay as a youth is not allowed to fly because of “medical issues”—so w wait, and then fly and arrive thankfully in Anchorage at post mid-night. Fr Patrick, local priest is awaiting and very kind and patient as we negotiate our rented vehicles—we got bumped up to some SUV’s and eventually get them out of garages and on road in land of midnight Sun –still light out and when we arrive at Holy Spirit retreat center we can see, in way distance—200miles—the mountain, Denali, 20,000 ft high in silhouette form!
July 15: We rest well and then go to Downtown Soup Kitchen where Vickie is v kind in awaiting us and it is a bright and wondrous place We spend morning cutting vegetables and making soup and salads and other activities and then around noon begin serving 500 clients!
Following our service we have a round table circle discussion and prayer together, and Pam said: with the poor are all with both dignity and needs as we have served variously all over world –its wonderful how well coordinated you are and kind compassionate to clients… Various jobs included serving soup, making sandwiches, taking deserts out in to floor- barely making it out there as all like sweets
Met Jacyn, a guy volunteer and jack of all trades –he’s a youth teen who just graduated who serves at DSK--he joins us later for festivities…
After dinner we hike up Flat Top Mountain see moose in far off fields across valley stunning vistas and views of downtown anchorage and also north into mountains snows and jagged peaks
Beginning of Ship Creek where we hope to fish sometime
July 16 Trip to Seward / Boat Cruise to Fox Island
Ride down astounding in valleys and seeing mountains hovering over you
Finally get parking spot and rush to get on boat right before noon!
Bright and beautiful by time we arrive in Sward almost three hours later / the sun alighted snows /glaciers// 5000 Ft. mtns fjords Kenai peninsula
Whale three times /just off coast see otters/ puffins /sea lions /flocks of birds in unison /
Cruise by Glacier
Mtn goat on sea wall our Cruise director Sherry said: “I’ve never seen this in 20 years
Hike at Exit Glacier for 2 hrs –great work out and beautiful up close
July 17, 2016
9am Mass in chapel here a Holy Spirit retreat center
We drive to Fairbanks today—8 hrs driving minus stopping and bathrooms: beautiful
June 12, 2016
We 20 Pilgrims are walking 100 miles for Religious Freedom to practice our Christian-Catholic way of life in our Beloved USA.
We are addressing issues like enforced objectionable health care; new proposed models against Biblical marriage; threats to traditional Christian adoption and humanitarian policies and social outreach; students threatened on college and HS threatened; enforced policies against businesses practices; offenses upon Christian conscience in ethics and lifestyle ; attacks on Christian purity and decency ; medical procedures and philosophies against our Faith; gender models against our godly ways; and, lastly, threats and violence against Christians thru the world.
“Pope Francis has asked American Catholics to preserve and defend religious freedom, both in the United States and throughout the world.” (USCCB)
Though times and things may seem good now Christians and Catholics are being coerced into controversial and objectionable ways of life to the Gospel of Jesus and traditional American Way of life. Please join and help us, and so…Pray for us! Send donations of water, food and gas money –our biggest, immediate need!
For Information, updates and donations, please visit stpetersofhancock.org or religiousfreedompilgrimage2016.com/
We want to thank Patrick Gil, seminarian for the Archdiocese of Baltimore who will soon be flying to Rome for studies. He has been a bright and spiritual man to witness to us the generous response of one to the Lord Who gave to us all. Let us pray for him and perseverance in his call as we surely need priests!
Bueno Camino/Good Walk + Father Jack Lombardi
May 22, 2016
The Most Blessed Trinity…
There is no higher doctrine or reality than God as He Is in Himself--The Trinity--see: Catechism: # 234.
The Trinity is DIVERSE (Three in One) and a UNITY (One in Three)--and so should we be--in our families, Church and Country!
Three Divine Persons--Father-Creator /Son-Redeemer /and Holy Spirit-Sanctifier--all One Essence and mutually indwelling-inter loving: As we should be--Get it, yet?!
Our hope is not only to worship forever God the Trinity but, also, to be caught up in His Divine, Uncreated Love--forever! Jesus-God speaks of this much in St John's Gospel, chapters 16 & 17--read these so you may devote yourself to God the Trinity and prepare for Heaven--and be made God-like here on earth as so many people are sick, suffering, sad and agnostic about God.
Though we cannot fully understand This Ultimate Mystery of the Trinity--with our binary brains and small hearts, we are called to stretch and understand and love as much as possible and, when we reach our limits--we should: worship in awe; realize there is in Him always more to love. Prayer over this mystic text below and devote yourself to God the Trinity!...
Prayer to the divine Trinity: by Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity
O my God, Trinity whom I adore, let me entirely forget myself that I may abide in you, still and peaceful as if my soul were already in eternity; let nothing disturb my peace nor separate me from you, O my unchanging God, but that each moment may take me further into the depths of your mystery !
Pacify my soul! Make it your heaven, your beloved home and place of your repose; let me never leave you there alone, but may I be ever attentive, ever alert in my faith, ever adoring and all given up to your creative action.
O my beloved Christ, crucified for love, would that I might be for you a spouse of your heart! I would anoint you with glory, I would love you - even unto death! Yet I sense my frailty and ask you to adorn me with yourself; identify my soul with all the movements of your soul, submerge me, overwhelm. me, substitute yourself in me that my life may become but a reflection of your life. Come into me as Adorer, Redeemer and Saviour.
O Eternal Word, Word of my God, would that I might spend my life listening to you, would that I might be fully receptive to learn all from you; in all darkness, all loneliness, all weakness, may I ever keep my eyes fixed on you and abide under your great light; O my Beloved Star, fascinate me so that I may never be able to leave your radiance.
O Consuming Fire, Spirit of Love, descend into my soul and make all in me as an incarnation of the Word, that I may be to him a super-added humanity wherein he renews his mystery; and you O Father, bestow yourself and bend down to your little creature, seeing in her only your beloved Son in whom you are well pleased.
O my `Three', my All, my Beatitude, infinite Solitude, Immensity in whom I lose myself, I give myself to you as a prey to be consumed; enclose yourself in me that I may be absorbed in you so as to contemplate in your light the abyss of your Splendor!
May 8, 2016- Pentecost
Pentecost /The Holy Spirit: He Helps us Today…
This Sunday is the closing of Easter Season -50 days = Pente-cost.
In the Acts of the Apostles (2:1-11) reading we hear the Story -description of the Holy Spirit descending upon the early Church; and so Pentecost is called the ”Birthday of the Church” .
Do you pray to the Holy Spirit? Do you know Him ?
We can be law-abiding folks and pious Catholics but are we really spiritualized—filled with Holy Spirit and anointed with His fire and unction--alive in Christ?
Jesus read the scroll of Isaiah and said:
"The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed." (Luke 4:18 ). Some ways to be Spirit filled…
So, how can you read the Bible more to realize the Holy Spirit Breathed Word of God? (See: IITim. 3:16ff).
Ask the Holy Spirit to fill others, as He did the prophets in the Old Testament to be bold /not cold… realize that the Church of Jesus Christ was "birthed" this Pentecost day and is realized in our Holy Catholic Church--see also Mt.16:18…
Breathe in this Holy Spirit of the Resurrected Christ: read an ponder St. Jn. 20;22 and be filled with His Divine Spirit!...
Are you intoxicated by toxins--TV, chemicals and/or drugs, various alluring images, bad food and dietary items; anger and jealousy and depression: Then fill your soul and "inner house"-Temple with Him the Spirit to enlighten /heal and divinize you!
So, to know and show you have the Holy Spirit, meditate upon the Gifts and Fruits of the Holy Spirit and become energized today!...
THE Gifts of the Holy Spirit
Right Judgment, or Counsel, Courage
Reverence, or Piety
Wonder and Awe, or Fear of the Lord
Fruits of the Holy Spirit
Love, Joy, Peace:, Patience, Kindness: Goodness: Generosity: Gentleness: Faithfulness: Modesty: Self-control: Chastity:
Pray this aspiration frequently:
Come Holy Ghost / Creator Blest / and in our hearts / take up Thy rest;
Come with Thy Grace / and Heavenly Aid/ to fill the hearts /which Thou hast made.
"The things that we love tell us what we are.” --Saint Thomas Aquinas
In the Sunday Gospel, Jesus says, simply, “love one another” (St.Jn.13:34).
Here are the top five things to do to love loving…
Love liberates/frees--In Prayer: St Thomas Aquinas says when we love God more we “melt,” allowing Him to enter more deeply thru previous imprisoning layers of self and sin, of hardened hearts. Do you really love God that way-in deeper prayer-meditation?
Love hurts: yes, when your spouse has Parkinson’s disease or child, likewise, needs so much basic, painstaking love—keep choosing to love! Love is mainly in the will-power, choosing to love when it is not “fun” or pleasurable.
List of Love -Ponder St Paul’s famous meditation—I Cor. 13—and imitate more ways to love—“love is patient, kind, does not put on airs…”
Passionate Love: you may love sports, be passionate about music, your iPhone—what about strong eros-passion love for God in worship, volunteering, living His Will, in your daily world==and yes, showing it?
Philia: brotherly love-Jesus had a beloved disciple” and we can have pals and good friends—how do you nourish healthy-holy friendship?
Also: Litany of Love of God- Look it up as is one of the most fantastic prayers ever—because it’s about loving God in and thru so many ways--focusing on Loving Him not matter what!
+Keep loving and liberating—Fr Jack Lombardi
April 22, 2016
“The things that we love tell us what we are.”
--Saint Thomas Aquinas
In the Sunday Gospel, Jesus says, simply, “love one another”(St.Jn.13:34)
Here’s the top five things to do to love loving…
Love liberates/frees-In Prayer: St Thomas Aquinas says when we love God more we “melt,” and so allow Him to enter more deeply previous imprisoning layers of self and sin, of hardened hearts.
Do you really love God that way-in deeper prayer-meditation?
Love hurts: yes, when your spouse has Parkinson’s disease or child, alikewise, needs so much basic, painstaking love—keep choosing to love! Love is mainly in the will (power) choosing to love when it is not “fun” or pleasurable.
List of Love -Ponder St Paul’s famous meditation—I Cor. 13—and imitate more ways to love—“love is patient, kind, does not put on airs…”
Passionate Love: you may love sports, be passionate about music, your iPhone—what about strong eros-passion love for God in prayer, volunteering, living His Will your in your daily world?
Philia: brotherly love-Jesus had a beloved disciple” and w can have pals and good friends—how do you nourish healthy-holy friendship?
And, last Litany of Love of God (see: ) Look it up as is one of the most fantastic prayers ever—because it’s about loving God in and thru so many ways!
+Keep loving and liberating—Fr Jack Lombardi
April 11, 2016
That’s what we have as Catholics from Jesus and His Church.
We have beliefs like purgatory and God as Trinity.
We also action beliefs like Jesus telling us to pick up our cross and follow Him.
But then we have ABC-Action beliefs continuing, like the Holy Eucharist-Last Supper, Jesus’ Suffering-Crucifixion, His Resurrection.
Now visualize within, one of these events and allow Him, Jesus to continue His life within you.
Ie., place yourself in the scene of the Upper Room where Jesus is celebrating His Last Supper, speaking to you and others.
Image Him and His Sacred Heart flowing to you in Divine Love; Him feeding and nourishing you. You become grateful and warm hearted.
ABC= action beliefs continue in you. Do similar meditations for Crucifixion and Resurrection…
Easter Minute Meditation
And He breathed on/ in them, and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit’” (Jn. 20:22)…
Spirit of the Living God: fall afresh round me.
Breathing of the Loving Lord: energy in me.
You may sing the above verses to the tune you may know of the song, “Spirt of the Living God” which is soft and lilting, soothing and rhythmic.
Visualize within the Holy Breath-Spirit of God all around you. Immerse yourself in Him, Pure Breath-Spirit.You are enclosed /enveloped by God.
Then: Image God’s Breath entering you, within, permeating your entire body, His Divine energy(in the Bible, dynameis, work, power) vivifying you,
Repeat each verse, slowly, prayerfully, and allow the words-images to guide you to new Life in the Resurrected Lord Jesus!
March 1, 2016
March Madness and Mysticism
March is a time for “madness” regarding college basketball. People get all riled up about this sport, have you noticed?: face painting, cheers and jeers, tailgating and swarms of loyal fans fuming.
How many people get excited, though, about Jesus’ Passion?
Mysticism is a term, roughly, to denote closeness to, and immediacy with, God.
This is the time, middle March, when we recount Christ’s sacred journey to the Cross and Resurrection.
It seems, though, this passionate journey lags in comparison to March madness. Secularism trumps spiritualism.
And, to boot, other people get excited about NASCAR, TV-watching, trucks and beer, sports, Spring fever- partying, and…
Are you excited about Jesus’ life-giving journey?
We Catholics and Christians may recount His Way of the Cross and thus appreciate more His Sacrifice.
I love Giotto’s famous Assisi paintings (Thirteenth cent., ushering in Western realism in painting) depicting Christ’s crucifixion with wailing angels flying by His pierced face, and the Virgin mourning16th in agony: this helps us realize the gigantic cost of His great love. I posted this in my kitchen to remind me of His supreme love, amidst the daily madness of life. And reading the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ last days helps us practice lectio divina, divine reading, and imprinting in our harried souls the holy word, to help us go from madness to mysticism. Doing an examen of conscience of daily and past sins helps us realize we may crucify the Lord in shame (Hebr. 6:6) and thus repent and change to a godly life. You can attend church services and recount the Master’s final earthly sojourn and hear His passion narratives and commentary by the pastor.
You put time in for sports, cooking, work, health-fitness, and 168 hours a week for sleeping, sports and school, so what about Jesus’ sacred passion wherein He desires immediacy and closeness to you?
Rev. John J. Lombardi is Pastor of St. Peter and St Patrick Churches
February 18, 2016
HEALING DURING LENT
Prayer Before a Crucifix, by St Bernard of Clairvaux
What is me broken, fractured,
Dissipated or distracted,
Sweetest Jesus, please repair it,
Make me whole, restore to merit,
Receiving your kind medicine.
February 17, 2016 - LENTEN ASPIRATION
An aspiration is a repeated, prayerful saying you can memorize and pray thru the day. It’s a kinda “spiritual mantra” we eventually pray form the heart and which, maybe, “it prays us” as we hopefully “pray unceasingly” (I Thes 5:17). Anyway, this aspiration inspires us to pray thru our breath—stop multi-tasking and focus on God in your breath, our breathing: you can do that! Then within, visualize your cloudy mind and weedy heart being cleansed and purified of all that junk—“clearing”. We all have a lotta junk within, cluttering our lives and souls, complexifying and inhibiting us—we need Lenten “clearing”. Then, result: “freedom”. We are able, now purged and released, to live a fuller, free life, like a bird released from a trap or a caterpillar out of the cocoon—we can soar!...Simply pray and say these words, repeatedly, within, with heart, visualize their meaning, and allow your soul to soar.
February 1, 2016
I couldn’t resist: a friend invited me to Florida, free room and board, informing me of a steal, a $100 ticket to fly here. So I came.
I thought I hated winter, snow, cold.
But as I watched snow falling, slow motion-like, last week before leaving, I realized it is belissimo- beautiful! I got cold feet—but still went, came here to Florida (it’s rained 5 days) the “sunshine state” !
Looking back at where I came from, in my daily walk thru Hancock town and environs, last week, I stopped at the boat launch and heard a strange, cerradingly-sonorous sound: it was the Potomac River coursing downstream, pushing and moving ice along. The bright moon shined on this scene and I thought: This is unrepeatable. Enjoy!
Last week, on the first snow day, just after praying a holy hour in my sandals, barefoot (after a shower), I walked outside: snowfall magic. A shovel was right there: let’s get to it, I thought. So I did and began shoveling and couldn’t seemingly stop. I got in the flow as I shoveled, swung and swooped the light snow (angelic-like-lite) off to this and that side: it did what I wanted. Kept doing it. My bare feet didn’t mind.
At the Respect Life March in Washington, D.C. before the big storm, as soon as snow began at 1 P.M., so many pilgrims began “voting with their feet” and began marching even before the speeches were over. The snow got heavier and we all got nervous-er—as we had a two hour bus journey back home. But: after we finished the March, we stopped right in front of the grand United States Capital and admired the snow, in front of the large reflecting-pool there: equanimity.
Recalling these memories I look forward to a real winter return!
God breeds us for certain habitats and as much as I like the alleged sunshine state, I love Maryland, and His manifestations thru snow and cold!
And, perhaps, I’ll get more sunshine back home!
Rev. John J. Lombardi
November 29, 2015
Today begins ADVENT, which means, from the Latin, ad + venire,
to come, ie., to journey. Advent is a sacred traveling to the Lord’s Birth-- preparation!
The Lighting of the Advent Wreathe is a symbol for The Light of Christ to pervade our needy world, to respond to: forgetfulness of God, His Salvation, loss of His Way, the neglect of others, especially the poor.
The Catholic Church gives you four weeks to get ready –to be Blessed, not stressed-it's your choice!
What will be different about this Holy Season before Christmas?
Jesus warns: cries: “Beware you hearts do not become drowsy…from anxieties of daily life, and that day catch you, surprise you like a trap” (Lk. 21 ): Some things are crooked, out of spiritual whack, and Instead of Christmas cookies and other sweet treats the Baptist calls us to REFORM and PREPARE:
Attend Prayer Services (Vespers/Communal Penance-see schedule next page.) -go to daily Mass / ponder Bible readings (Infancy Narratives in Gospels of Luke and Matthew) / Do good deeds especially for the poor.
Christmas For Others / Seek Confession soon! / Prepare= Quiet your soul in meditation-prayer…Do a "digital diet"--unhook form electronics /Make a retreat / / Be a Missionary Disciple to others discipleship / Change bad habits now !
During Advent … join us for small group prayer and discussion on Thursdays, 7:30 PM and Sunday's 9 AM to 9:30 AM Adoration of the Eucharist; these are prayerful opportunities to still your soul!
November 15, 2015
This Sunday marks the ending of the longish “Ordinary Time” which began after Easter Season, and leading to next week, the last Sunday of the Liturgical Year, Christ the King, when we will have a Eucharistic Procession after Mass to honor Christ our King. This Sunday’s readings bespeak of three important, interweaving themes in St Mark’s Gospel: Christ’s Body as the Temple becoming the Holocaust of Salvation; of Christ’s prophecy of the Temple Mount (sacred to the Jews) being destroyed by the Romans (circa 70AD); and very ending of Time, when all will end in conflagration, the “End Times” when Christ will return in Glory to judge the living and the dead!...So: prepare and beware of the Son of God coming and be ready for His Judgment upon us all! We humans tend to become lax, put off and wait. Rather: Renew your pledge to Him. Make a confession, do good deeds, help the Church. Pray for the conversion of others to Christ our King! We will then begin Advent, Nov. 29, the four weeks before Christmas of anticipating Christ’s Birth and the beginning of Salvation In essence, regarding the Lord’s Return at His Second Coming: Are you LAX or pushing your faith to the MAX? How will you step up your Faith and actions to receive Him when He comes again?!
Our Two New Parish Programs are…
Be Missionary Disciples: We have for you copies of Archbishop Lori’s Pastoral Letter to us all, “A Light Brightly Visible." This Letter is a “blueprint” of the Archdiocese of Baltimore’s planning for the next year reviewing all parishes, staffing and programs, to see how VIABLE and VIBRANT we are. Please read the Letter and prepare for the next year's inventory of our Parish life and missionary spirit! How well are we individually aligned with Christ as disciples and also as a parish Family?
Stewardship of Time Talent and Treasure: You should have received in the mail a letter from myself to sign up for one hour of Time, Talent and Treasure to help our Parish grow. Please consider signing up for these ways to renew our very Parish Life and commitment to Christ and His world here so we can become a stronger Community of Faith!
Divine Mercy Campaign of Prayer for Persecuted Christians: You should receive a Divine Mercy prayer Card on how to pray the Chaplet, which focuses on Christ’s Mercy and calling of all sinners to His and Sacred Heart. Pray at least a decade of the Chaplet each day and increase to pray the whole Chaplet for Christians in the Middle East being tortured, killed and martyred: they are our brothers and sisters in the Faith and WE NEED TO HELP THEM, at least thru prayer and intercession in the Mystical Body of Christ!
Thanksgiving is coming: we gather, Wednesday, Nov 25, at St Thomas Episcopal Church (next door) for the Community-Ecumenical Service at 7.30pm—join us for worship and lite refreshments following!
Pray for France, healing, and for all terrorists to convert to peace and THE Prince of Peace: You have "The Answer" to all troubles--Jesus Christ, so give Him to them and all to receive His Mercy! Do not be afraid (Lk.1:30 ) to be a Missionary Disciple!
PEACE and Blessings + Father Jack
October 25, 2015
Halloween” has been kinda’ “spiritually hijacked by secularism and forces of darkness today. Will you let this continue? It used to be “All Hallows’ Eve” celebrating the saints by Catholics. You can redeem and retrieve this holy day by dressing up in light, as a saint or someone decent and virtuous, versus gloom and ghostly doom which channels new age and dark age anti -Christian sentiments. Be a witness to Jesus and His Saints and be counter cultural ~ Being a Catholic and Christian today is not easy—never has been. All Saints reminds us that someone just like you has gone thru the same emotions, job or family difficulties and become a saint, which means: they practiced heroic virtue, worked thru obstacles and imitated Jesus nobly. While on vacation last week with some Priest friends at Deep Creek Lake I actually saw a family of black bears—four, heralded by a large mama bear. They stuck together, rumbled around and eventually went back home, up Meadow Mountain. That’s our job as hopeful-saints: stick together, rumble around (have some spiritual fun and also preaching-teaching God’s Way) and then, in God’s time, going back home-Heaven to our Lord and the magnificent array of All Saints! As we dress up as saints at All Hallow’s Eve lets also stick together, spiritually rumble around here in challenge and compassion, and then head home!
Vocations to the priesthood and religious life will be highlighted Nov. 14 (girls) and Nov 21 (boys) –we will have special speakers and events. Moms and Dads: have you invited your young to think about being a priest, deacon or sister—as much as a teacher, entrepreneur or athlete?
Virtual Lourdes tour is a healing service, prayer and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament by a travel group, here Nov. –join us for prayer, healing and at visionary display of the holy Grotto in Lourdes France!
PEACE and Blessings + Father Jack Lombardi
August 9, 2015
Coming to Mass Tips… How to make the Mass more living!...
Practice Before and after prayer thankfulness—How about daily Mass ?And prayer- early (before Mass preparation) and after (in thankfulness)?
Make reverently the Sign of the Cross—think of this Gift-be mindful.
The readings: prepare before-look Bible texts up in a book or online!
The Psalm shows us—thru text and song God's faithfulness--thx Gwynne, Paula and singers!
The Gospel /Homily: yes I'll take tips, things you wanna hear, send em!
Credo: We must repeat each week. What we truly Believe! —we bow when Jesus becomes flesh---and so use our body to pray-you're Catholic!
Preparation Song/Prayers: Don’t let down, now-- Sing the hymn /don’t rely on others to carry you.
Eucharistic Prayer - listen to the prayers of supplication /adoration /thanksgiving to God.
The Our Father: are you just saying it? Pray it-each word mindfully and with heart!
Holy Communion: always remember/memorize Jesus' Promise: "He who eats My Flesh and drinks My Blood will abide in Me and I in him” (Jn. 6:56)-- Amen means: I agree ascent-Yes!
"Go forth the Mass is ended/ glorifying God by your life": Now live it, the Mass, Jesus' Good and Challenging News out on the streets, in the office, on the playgrounds!
He says of Himself, "This is The Living Bread, Come down from Heaven"…
July 26, 2015
I've been struck by the many ways we "create Christ's Community" here at St Peter and St Patrick. A couple weeks ago we moved much of the lower Hall items to the Rectory to renovate the Hall-and so many helped! The Ladies Group donated shades to our Hall for beautiful appointment and ease of usage! The Greeter Hancock Softball League has been a success and fun on the field and off! Altar servers joining the ranks to serve Jesus at the Sacrifice of the Mass! One family giving the pastor a bike and helping in the re-wiring of Office and Hall equipment! The Camp Joy feed with the Ladies group feeding so many volunteers (they always look forward to the Spaghetti Meal here they say! The care of the grounds--cemeteries, Rectory and Church with such beautiful appointments and flowers and grass cutting and shrubbery! Miss Susan and Mom helping feed Softball games and The Walk for the Hall Renovation! The vigor with which so many cling to and advance the Orthodoxy of beliefs and Worship here! All the volunteers for Masses in lectoring, serving, greeting, ushering, and worshipping! The teachers of our Religious Education program who faithfully give and serve our young! The Youth Group who vibrantly meet and learn about their Faith! The Adorers who faithfully come and adore one hour a week and pray for us all on Thursday's! The sacrificial giving of time, talent and treasure of all of YOU in our Community!
We need to keep up this wonderful spirit of Christ's Community here as a new Plan of the Archdiocese of Baltimore will soon take stock of Parish numbers and vibrancy of volunteerism and spirit to see how viable and vibrant we are. So: keep volunteering time, talent, and treasure in the near future so we demonstrate clearly that our Parish Community is alive, growing and can attract new members. This is an absolute need and THANK YOU ALL for your help and sacrifices!
PEACE and Blessings + Father Jack Lombardi
June 7, 2015
I just gave a retreat for a bunch of city slickers—er, nice young adults from northeast Baltimore area. They were wonderful—and, eventually, relaxed.
I admired them: they took time and treasure to get away from harried lives and jobs, to slow down and commune with God and His beautiful creation, and one another, and reflect: what is in tune with God and what is askew? Our main spiritual mantra and Bible verse was: “Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest awhile” (Mk. 6:31). We practiced meditation: actually sitting and dwelling in silence for periods of time without a smartphone or grocery list to complete.
We should, as Christians, do this frequently, even daily—pray and meditate, get away from things and focus on God. It’s our option—usually, no one’s pushing us on a treadmill to keep marching and stressing and competing. Summer is the Perfect Time for godly re-connecting: we have more time, a vacation period, we are more relaxed, the days are longer, we can go outside and enjoy God’s creation—it’s a “perfect storm” of spirituality!
Thing is: in many people there’s an “inner bulldozer” which pushes one to keep stressed and marching and multi-tasking. A lot of folks actually get used to it, feed off of stress and when the time’s right or God is explicitly offering “down time” like Summer or we have a carpe diem/seize the moment event to slow down and have peace, we allow the internal bulldozer to keep slave driving us in motion by working or worrying.
Or: you can make that positive, life-changing choice like the young adults who made a retreat to re-boot their lives and connect with God again and to “extend the retreat all year long”! Memorize Mark 6:31—and then “just do it”!
Oh, and by the way, as far out, bucolic and peaceful as their retreat setting seemed (Needmore, Pa.,, on Tonoloway Creek),it was only an eight minute drive from my home. Translation: peace is right under our noses!
Rev. John J. Lombardi ~ Pastor of St Peter and St Patrick Churches
May 31, 2015
The Most Holy Trinity is the highest and most central teaching of the Catholic Church (see Paragraph # 234 of The Catechism of the Catholic Church). .
As I explained to a Jehovah's Witness the other day--this teaching is about God Himself--as He Is, ever-was, ever will be: Three Divine Uncreated Person in One Essence. So pray to God both in His Unity and Diversity, His Communion of Love. Though He is like us, God is more unlike us. And we should ponder, and be thankful for that. While God is way far above us, He came down, comes down to us. Thought He does not need us He loves us infinitely. So, these lazy Summer days take time to meditate upon Him, give Him your entire soul and mind and heart like you really mean it--love God totally Himself! …
I now know it is more important than ever to walk and pray and act for religious Freedom! Pls join me in the Religious Freedom Pilgrimage 2015 to Ireland as religious liberties these days are challenged more. Nineteen of us will Pilgrimage there and we appreciate your prayers.
Peace and Happy Summer! Fr. Jack Lombardi
April 26, 2015
Peter Rubeling and Patrick Gill are magnificent men--and they are coming (back) to our Church. These two young guys came a month ago for a week, and gave time and talent to paint, clean and fix up around our church; pray and serve with us; witness the life of a priest in "the trenches". They wanna be priests of the Archdiocese of Baltimore and are studying in a college seminary in Washington DC: let us pray for them and others! I was impressed by these guys: they were vigorous (worked all day), courageous (talking to strangers and evangelizing) and spiritual--like to pray, and smiling a lot--I liked living with them for a week and am sure they will make great priests --maybe here! Let us pray for more men like this and their parents and families and continue to encourage them. A good line to use when witnessing a young man who could be a good priest is: "Hey you got the virtues to become a priest--have you ever thought about it?"
We have many young men in our parish who would make good candidates for priesthood--or any vocation! We will host an evening with Peter and Patrick May 15--please join us for fun faith and fellowship!
Mission or Maintenance?…
We met with Archbishop Lori this past week and the Pastoral Planning Office of the Archdiocese of Baltimore and many Western Maryland Church leaders to consider our Future. We need to deliberate over: what does the Mission-purpose of your church mean? With all the "props" gone--like old Catholic respect and big schools and impressive mystique, how do we evangelize the culture and promote our parish? We all need a Missionary transformation to dedicate ourselves to spiritual change and help to make our parishes vibrant…How can we go as Pope Francis stresses, to "the margins" and evangelize those who are unchurched and unfamiliar with Jesus or our Church? How can we overcome "turf pride" and cluster where valid with other nearby Catholic Churches?
These considerations and Parish Evaluation will occur (proposed) over the next few months to New Year, and then clustering plans and implementation in next year, 2016.
Okay, in my opinion it’s the most beautiful Season/time of year: especially here in Western Maryland , Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. I took Mother Eugenie around our states and she LOVED it--actually wanted to build a monastery on a mountain overlooking the Potomac River. She remarked how peaceful and SAFE it was around her--so, enjoy, breathe, admire and LOVE GOD!!!
PEACE and Blessings + Father Jack Lombardi
April 19, 2015
Socially Orchestrated Sin
OR--Salvation Of Savior –which are u choosing?
Listed below, are commonly, more accepted sins today, and the rationalization of them by culture:What was “once a sin” is now promoted...
Cohabitation –“everyone’s doing it”
Mainstreamed sensualism and pornography-“it’s in and the thing to do”
Homosexual “marriage”/acts-equal rights now
Family breakdown and “redefinition”-We can change things for today’s world and needs
Consumerism and materialism—greed and lust of pleasure
Internet trolling and surfing and texting ad infintum-it’s the way of the world today
Gossip—“its not that bad” and commonality of it
Adultery and hook up culture—“victimless” consenting adults (witness Florida Spring break incident of “rape” there recently while many watched;
The Sabbath neglected and rejected—nothing’s sacred
Contraception-modern times and technology convenience and Missing Mass on Sunday-downgrading of Lord’s Day and Community
Apathy toward spiritual life-busyness and worldliness ~ Stealing paper clips or owners’ goods-its not that big a deal /entitlement
Abuse of drugs-pleasure principle
Abortion-ladies rights over own body
We Christians and Catholics need to stress:
No matter how seemingly “small” one sin or link in a moral chain is removed or broken, then the whole chain becomes weaker and tendency toward rationalizing others sins becomes easy.
Christians are counter cultural
Christ offers a different Way of Freedom!
There are objective moral laws and principles to follow and no matter how difficult we should always follow the Lord’s Ways- the Ten Commandments and Jesus’s Way does not change!
Peace and Spring-Easter Blessings! Fr Jack Lombardi
March 22, 2015
Whoever Hates his life in this world will preserve it to life eternal” (Jn. 12:25 ).
This is definitely one of Jesus “hard sayings”—let’s not dodge this spiritual bullet!
What does it mean to hate—is that really good for us?
Or, do you love this life? Were taught today, to be proper, polite, tolerant, mannerly, even tempered—but hate?!
You’ve seen the bumper sticker: “Life is good”, yes? Well, kinda. We say: Eternal life is better! And that’s what Jesus wants for us.
Jesus uses the word frequently in the Gospels, hate, from the Greek, miseo, meaning, to detest, denounce; despise, to love someone or something less than someone (something) else, i.e. to renounce one choice in favor of another.
So, now, ask: What or whom is separate from God, a godly life—if you love that more than God, whether candy, food, TV, tech gadgets, liquor or sports or parent or clothes or your stuckedness in sin—that’s what we need to hate, despise as to, truly love Jesus and the person or thing in question. Doesn’t St Paul indicate this, hate, and say, “The good I wanna do, I do not, the evil I do not want, I do”( Rm 7)? Don’t you sometimes feel the same and just hate that experience? !
Always remember: Hating sin or our very life outside God helps bridge us to Him, ourselves and others.
We’ve also heard the phrase, kinda dated (?) “Horror of sin” = do we really have this in our lives? Sometimes I do not have not. We should, actually, hate sin, those thoughts and deeds which part us from God and others!
How about the phrase, also kinda lost among us moderns, Hate the sin love the sinner: we need that back, too!
Jesus wants what is best for us and thus is calling us to radical discipleship-- something we are holding back on, and thus uses hyperbole and literal truth to shock us into His Way!
He is also calling us to lose our lives-die to self, and, like a seed –grow in freedom. How can we, when we are so attached to sin and possessions while trying to follow Him? We are, rather, sometimes slaves to sin as St Paul also says.
Jesus in this statement is also foreshadowing His upcoming Crucifixion in Holy Week—Eternal Life and doing the Will of the Father is more important than, even, this very life!
So let’s look at and into our lives –our sinful attachments and relationships and see how we can literally hate, despise, detest those things to be free of them! Remember – “two sides of a coin” –one side, hating, means, conversely, the other side of the coin, loving eternal life and spiritual freedom more.
Where’s the passion of Jesus, the zeal the fiery love in your heart and today’s Christian world?
Peace and Blessings + Father Jack Lombardi
March 8, 2015
Lessons from Retreat
I went to the Trappist monks retreat house of Holy Cross Abbey in Berryville, Va., and this is what I learned and you too can (in italics):
Enjoy Silence: only once in four days did someone’s cell phone go off in our silent-meal refectory. Embarrassed, she said: “Sorry”. Retreat-ants laughed. You can get off the grid and enjoy it; make the choice.
Adoration: I enjoyed the monks, when they entered the main chapel, bowing so lowly and reverently, mindfully, slowly—adoring Jesus Christ, Master in Heaven, and Present in the Holy Eucharist. Don’t just go thru the motions—genuflect and worship because He really is Divine-ever-Present Person!
Relaxation: I enjoyed observing the lady who I don’t know who sat in the abbey chapel, as on a sofa, spread out—passively pleasantly listening to the monks chant, soaringly pray, silently move and breathe and sit prayerfully in stillness. She was prayerfully taking it All in-God’s Grace. You too can receive holiness when you’re still, receptive enough.
Prayer and Perseverance: Fr Robert, from Baltimore, 40 yrs. in the monastery (!), was diagnosed last year with terminal lung cancer. We’ve been praying for him. After giving me a night-holy water blessing, he approached me and said, with aura beaming, he was cancer free. Prayer + perseverance = hope and transformation!
Penance: Each day/nite I awoke at 3am for Vigils. It was easy, though initially, I didn’t want it. I looked forward to it. When you wanna please the Lord you can do anything.
Holy Rhythm : I enjoyed praying 4 times a day with the monks, walking from the guesthouse, a half mile, to the abbey church, listening to the bell hearken us, receiving the sacred Chant-prayer-Psalms, sitting still, smelling the incense-filled chapel, occasional cows outside, and being with Jesus. You too can get off the treadmill.
Mindfulness: I appreciated the couple across from me at meals, who really ate their food, so much so, seemingly chewing each bite 32 chews, they took a whole half-hour to eat/complete (most of us finished in 15 minutes the simple meal). I admired them as they were in a kinda holy unison of action and presence. Are you always rushing God’s food-nourishment for you?
"Abbot Bernard spoke to the monks about Isaiah’s vision (of the Lord in glory)…But for this present while he said there is another vision of that same Lord which should be the focus of our contemplation: the vision of the suffering Servant, the Leper, the One struck by God. This was a dangerous sort of contemplation, for it meant more, much more than an objective viewing of that Leper from a comfortable distance For Bernard, as for the monks he taught, to contemplate meant to be transformed into the likeness of the object contemplated To gaze fixedly upon Jesus in the lowly economy of salvation meant to become oneself what Jesus was."
William of St Thierry’s formula says it all: ut agatur in nobis quod legitur in nobis THAT WHAT WE READ ABOUT MAY BE REALIZED WITHIN US. Becoming real within us.
Both from: Chrysogonus Waddell Cistercian Studies s vol 23 / 1988-1
March 1, 2015
Spiritual Subtraction and Addition
We’re used to adding things in our lives--from more techo-gizmos to exotic food choices, to multiplying possessions and clothes--that’s why there’s so many storage container centers around us, ever notice? And we also have “inner storage centers”-- in our souls, called the memory and attaching desires.
Lent is a blessed, needed forty days before Easter to prepare for Christ the Risen Lord, thru freedom and especially, “spiritual subtraction”--and we sure need it!
The Lord Jesus Himself fasted forty days (Mt. 4:2) and also said: “Whoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and follow me” (Mk. 8:34), and: "One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven" (Mk 10:21).
So, you see, “spiritual subtraction” is good thru denial and letting go of possessions and errant desires because we are then free to follow Him!
I met these young Catholics recently at our Church.
“Father, what are you doing for Lent?” one asked me non chalantly. I said something like giving up chocolate. So I then asked them, “What are you giving up for Lent?”
They responded: “Cutting back on episodes of our favorite TV show; I’m reading the Bible;”-- and my favorite: “Giving up junk food” (!)…
This is all good in following Jesus: “Spiritual Subtraction” --you got to lighten the load, get rid of junk!
We may call it “spring cleaning” or purification of the body or, like St Paul, “training/chastising my body” (I Cor. 9: 27).
Here’s three Lenten suggestions:
Silence (in prayer) : A music man on a progressive radio station who captivated my attention, said: We’re not bored enough anymore, don’t have down time, were afraid of it—and we therefore can’t go inside ourselves to let original thoughts arise and connect them and be creative with new thoughts. So many are attached to their iPhones and do not have original thoughts, but only those from others... A friend just told me he is now, in Lent, going to daily Mass and enjoys turning off his phone for an hour and enjoys hearing the Gospel and prayers! How can you eliminate noise and static and inner clutter from your life and focus on God in meditation? (See: Psalm 46:10)
Possessions: An Amish man (now they’re really good at “spiritual subtraction”) told a friend once: Clear out all the clutter around you and keep what you really need and you will enjoy it more—and then you can live. So: let it go!
Food: We all like and need it-but not too much. Jesus says: “When you fast…” (Mt.6:16). So, master your compulsions and get hungry for Him-Christ; be in solidarity thru your hunger with the poor who don’t have any food, and desire His Bread of Life.
the “addition” part, a paradoxical Law of God: when you give away and
let go, remember--“you will have treasure in Heaven”!
+Peace and Blessings! Fr Jack Lombardi
February 21, 2015
Lent, Spring and Snow!
AS LENT, 2015, BEGINS, and we make our Way to Easter--Christ’s Blessed Resurrection, we call your attention to the many changes in our Church furnishings and worship customs.
Purple is the Liturgical color of Lent, meaning repentance (“Turn away from sin and turn toward Him!”). The Church décor is simplified, stripped to remind us focusing on Christ, His Cross and Sacrifices for us; there are no floral arrangements until Easter, the Liturgy is itself simple, elegant. As one Mass prayer intones, we “recall and practice ancient customs,” such as fasting and abstinence – giving up some food (quantities) and foregoing totally some food and other necessitates (meat and so forth) respectively, and also doing penance ( costly things for Jesus and others) to gain self-mastery over the flesh, atone for sins and affix ourselves to Christ alone, and also to be in solidarity with those who have less than we. As Catholics we are privileged to practice both giving up some things and also doing some things—“good deeds”—these two practices go together, very important to remember—which all Religions since ancient times practice as wise counsel. In this time and great Country of plenty, we do still practice mortification of the flesh (self-control) and goodness to others—as Jesus Himself did and counsels in the Ash Wednesday, Mt. 6 Bible Reading: “When you fast; When you pray; when you alms give…”
So definitely pray more, alms- give more, fast more (if not from food then from TV, entertainment, self-love, comforts, etc). NOW is the time!
In the “Traditional Stations of the Cross” we recite each Friday night, from the Blessed St. Alphonsus Liguori’s text, Station Six, “Veronica Offers her veil to Jesus,” we pray starkly and simply: “My beloved Jesus / Your Face was beautiful before You began this journey (of the Cross), / but now it no longer appears beautiful / and is disfigured with wounds and blood./ Alas my soul also was once beautiful / when it received Your grace in Baptism / but I have since then disfigured it with my sins./ You alone, my Redeemer can restore it to its former beauty. / Do this by Thy merits of Your Passion and then do with me as You will.”
You see, we Catholics, during Lent, are trying with Jesus’ Grace, to recover the Likeness of God within us, disfigured by sin, and to “do something beautiful for God” (Mother Teresa of Calcutta).
Humility and compunction are deep spiritual word-realities which we can lose in our modern times and need to recover: ie., deep, heartfelt feeling over our sins and selfishness AND to be restored to the Original Plan of God, becoming a Saint on Earth! So Lent is a time to renew our closeness to God and our neighbor and become like Jesus on Earth! No less. Simply put: Confess your sins, and commune with Him! And remember, the English word Lent means “Spring”!
Peace and Blessings—Fr Jack Lombardi, Pastor
February 7, 2015
Did you notice? / Do Something?...
There were at least a couple questionable-sleazy Super Bowl commercials. How juvenile: lunging for lust. The social I was at included guys and gals, young and old. Instead of just staring at the Victoria’s Secret ad (in your face flesh), the mom gets up and changes the channel. Just that day I gave a sermon at church: “Stand up for something or you’ll fall for anything!” Yes she did—stood up, bravely. Madison Avenue marketers and others, though, are banking on your staying seated, or, at least, silent. What is happening to purity today? Mainstream brands—the National Football League, Disney, and some media companies, can at times traffic in lust and misogynistic manipulation. We’ve grown into accepting a mainstreamed, pacifying pleasure principle: soft pornography during football games when everyone’s watching and also on any weeknight prime time. Media and compromised companies are obviously targeting young boys and men, mainly, but also girls and ladies, and sadly many are duped into assisting this steamroller of sin and prurience. As we descend deeper into this Dionysian disaster --i.e., our current culture’s influence from the Greek god of wine, madness, disorder and passion, an almost-anything-goes mentality of flaunting flesh and mocking past traditions and basic reason and restraint compromises your children, spouse, family and culture. Souls are at stake. Parents, Christian elders and disciples-- take a stand! Watch what they’re watching, monitor, stand up, don’t be a push over! Don’t just “accept” what Mammon is shoving our way. Christians can—and should-- promote an alternative culture of beauty, light and peace. Think of the Renaissance and Catholic-Christian culture of arts which birthed medieval and modern beauty which we, today, are grateful inheritors. They all pushed, in a good way, for passion, color, drama and yes, even flesh, in a faithful way—think of the Sistine Chapel. Obviously, today, we need another renaissance (the word literally means re-birth)! Unsurprisingly, the husband of that above-mentioned mom, I learned, is taking his youngest to a Christian father-daughter dance. It may seem old fashioned: but what is old is, sometimes, fashionable!
Today new book and movie, “50 Shades of Grey” is a blockbuster. This book and movie includes bondage/abuse/manipulation/ misogyny, where a guy- seriously disturbed /abused in the past wants to dominate a girl who is naïve and with a “black and white” worldview, and the guy is “grey, ” seeing the world sophisticated. Get it, yet? …One reviewer called it “S and M for dummies” –and the book-movie is appealing to women and girls and was advertised on the Super Bowl and will be released at Valentine's Day. Sly eroticism is in the book and shows at end the female character crying, depressed …Many have defended it, unfortunately. Message: sophistication and “grey” is more pleasing and stimulating than “boring” everyday life we have to live.
A journal of health studies describes the book as “Intimate partner violence”. Beware: Stand up for what is right!
Peace and Blessings!~ Fr Jack Lombardi
January 18, 2015
Yet we live in a Culture of death—as Saint Pope John Paul II said years ago- it’s all around us:—abortion on demand, elderly-euthanasia; a throwaway society; the young lady who recently killed herself because she had a terminal disease who gained notoriety for this; stem cell research on babies; entertainment industry pushes death instincts, etc… Amidst all this we need to choose life!
Abortion continues today—In the USA there’s been 56.5 million abortions since 1973; in the world the estimate is 1.3 billion abortions since 1980 ! In USA today there’s an average of 2800 a day; and 1.6 million worldwide this year so far . Yet always remember: Abortion is forgivable and healable!
And it is unfortunately Paid for now in some health care programs.
Do not be misled by the Language which is wrong, misleading-“ pro choice”; “my right- my body”; “its a personal choice” “its only a fetus.”
Contraception is a contributing factor to abortion: as choosing to change God’s sexual act of procreation enhances a person to change having a baby and belittles life and sacredness and contributes to the throwaway society and choices. Contraception literally means “against life”: are you?
Be aware of the most common abortion excuses: “it’s not really a person”; “I’m being coerced by others”; “I can’t afford another child”; etc.
There is help w/ pregnancy Centers and adoption agencies= we Catholics and others offer “holistic help” =after birth, too!
Remember the conversion of the abortionist Dr. Bernard Nathanson who aborted over 70,000 babies—and eventually became Prolife and Catholic!
Remember Every pre-born is a child is a person !
God says in the Bible: “I formed you in the womb”(Jer. 1:5). Jesus Himself was conceived in a difficult-even dangerous situation—Mary and Joseph chose life!
What can people do?-Pray/fast/contact congress-state legislatures.
We Need everyone to be conscious of all this and know it’s an ongoing struggle!
+So’ let’s join The March, this Thursday, January 22, 2015.
It’s a “pilgrimage”
It’s a Most peaceful/fun/ festival –all peaceful and life-giving!
Contrast Cold day but warm hearted.
Hundreds of thousands from all over USA are attending: will YOU?!
This Helps build our Prolife movement and solidarity and reach out to women thinking of abortion.
So many are youth are there –babies/families/ schools attending !
Join us or pray, fast, come to St. Peter Church which is open!
PEACE and Blessings + Father Jack Lombardi
January 4, 2015
Pastor's Reflections: New Year’s Resolutions
As Christians we should aspire higher and perhaps make New Year’s resolutions. John Wooden, famous basketball coach of U.C.L.A. for decades, and practicing Catholic-Christian, used to say, “Focus on what you can do, not on what you cannot do.” Our main goal in life is Eternal Life—Heaven, yes, but also, to become holy, be more like Jesus Christ. New Year’s resolution-making, require both goals (overall plans) and action-steps to get there. Here's are three tips: 1-Make your resolutions simple and direct: they should be few in number and “Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day!” and: “I can do all things thru Jesus Christ who strengthens me” (Phil. 4)…2-Make your resolutions testable: review your progress (or digress!) and adjust appropriately... 3. Re-new your commitment - Fortitude is the virtue within us that gets back up, keeps going on despite challenges…
Building Habits/ Virtues:
In his excellent book, “The Power of Habit:” by Charles Duhigg, he analyses habits, good and bad, by this "vicious" or "victorious" circle (good or bad habits) :
1-Cue--stimulus; 2-routine-a behavior we do; 3-reward-a "positive" associated with the habit. We must analyze each step and “break habits” therein--the chain of causality--or strengthen the chair for good habits! It usually takes 3 weeks to build a habit / and two weeks to break one! Think of the Virtues (Faith/Hope/Love/fortitude/ temperance/justice/prudence --these are “powers” within we have to build cultivate and regularly exercise.
Top Ten Catholic Resolutions=
1-Cultivate closer relationship to Christ-more personal, regular, ongoing communion;2-More frequent Mass and personal prayer; 3-Reconciling with others ; 4-Do regular spiritual reading; 5-Help out at the local parish/ help the priest; 6-Regular exercise ; 7-Simplify—possessions, activities, the house, buying items etc.; 8-Pray the Rosary or a decade a day
9-Put up an icon/ Crucifix holy pictures about house or office ;
10-Bless the house in honor of our Lord/”Magi blessing”
…Blessed Happy New Year! +FJL
December 14, 2014
Think Spiritually--this is Advent: Gaudete/Joyful Sunday—We light the Pink Candle at Mass or in our homes and wear pink-rose Vestments at Mass to signal the closeness to the Christmas Birth!
Please See and pray at the Manger on Main Street on Hancock—this reminds us all of the Reason for the Spiritual Season: Jesus Christ our Lord is Born to US! Thanks to Ian McAllister and all who helped erect our beautiful scene!
God Repairing or World Ensnaring?
The world ensnares and the Lord repairs.Are you giving your heart to God or to the world?
God heals =This is the message of prophecy, and of Jesus Himself in our Sunday Readings.
The world glorifies sin, as Franklin Graham, son of Billy, said recently, kinda' like an Israeli prophet who points out our sins but, also, a way out of them. We can get and stay stuck in sin, drugs, illicit sexuality, endless caving into cravings--the world is always ensnaring --it’s hard to climb out, but with God there’s no other way!
Oppositely Jesus frees
The ABC”s of Repairing Abandon to God—give your heart, your affections and thoughts, totally to Him –daily be born again.
Become His Child-thru sacraments, daily prayer, service = this is The Repairing Process.
C=continue on / persevere it will not always be easy- Any Medicine takes time—continue It, Him, the Path to end!
Remember: The world ensnares and God repairs!
+Happy Advent--Fr Jack Lombardi
December 7th, 2014
We need prophets today!
That’s the message of the Gospel and Readings from Mass: Are you up for it?!
Twisted. That’s a word we may use to describe a tangled rope or errant thinking patterns or harmful human actions—all twisted up. St John the Baptist prophetically shouts: “Make straight the paths of the Lord!” Yes, we humans can get twisted. Like race relations in the USA we’ve seen these past weeks. Or like the family today as re-invented by so many. Or individuals, in their errant sexual deviancy. Or our country –some say it’s not Judeo Christian but a “melting pot”. Or personal sin—whatever happened to “mortal sin” which is serious and can exclude you from the Kingdom of God? We need to “un-twist” ourselves and culture and wherever we go by living and speaking prophetically! That means being counter-cultural, different, Christ-centered, Biblical, God-changed and desiring others to taste that Glory of His!
One of the areas we need prophets is spreading Advent-Christmas cheer and Jesus Christ! So many are afraid and, still, others deny Him!...
Weird. Atheists who deny God, but acknowledge Him in the greeting on billboard (below),as “Dear Santa” (!) are, in fact, acknowledging God! “Santa” is, aka, Saint Nicholas (Feast day: Dec 6). Saints are made by God, and acknowledged by the Catholic Church and just about by every child in the Western world!
Hmmmm-Get it?! And that red hat below was probably worn by the original sainted/Bishop Nicholas! Another mistake or, is it actually a slight acknowledgement of God’s subtle powers seeping thru?!
Plus: we Catholics don’t acknowledge “fairy tales” but, rather, true history—Saint Nicholas was real and also the Historical Christ, His friend!
Another weird thing: atheists are targeting, as you can tell by the picture in their new/old “War on Christmas” campaign, children. Most or all children acknowledge God: can’t atheists target “big people”? And: atheists, according to polls and The Washington Post (source of this story), are not favorable, and most folks acknowledge God as the basis for personal and social morality—and giving.
Further, The “War on Christmas” thing: haven’t we had enough of war? Isn’t Christmas better than more fighting? Especially when so many, Christian or not, donate tons of time, talent and treasure to needy people and causes?
Last, don’t overlook the “Christmas” in the billboard ad. One more acknowledgement of Christ(mas)—a real—and supernatural day, Person and event!
(Note: See bulletin to view billboard image, mentioned above)
Peace and blessings!
+ Father Jack Lombardi
November 23, 2014
Thanksgiving is coming up –be grateful --how?
A recent Wall Street Journal Article (Nov. 10)-- “Money Cannot buy Happiness,” makes 3 key points: generally, richer countries are happier than poorer ones; more money does not produce more happiness—it only produces more desire to chase around and cave into; good experiences are generally what make people happier…
Do YOU have attitude of gratitude? Each day, at night time is best, count your blessings—studies show gratefulness=Thanksgiving is a HUGE “producer” of happiness.
We in the USA have so much—we are literally surrounded by TONS that no one else has, money, food, fine roads and industrial-cultural-infrastructure, water to drink and shower in, comforts, parks, grocery and shopping stores, sports-recreation, The Church and Sacraments—are you aware of or complacent, forgetful of all this?
Multiplying desires and caving into them repeatedly, which is avidly human and especially American—is a recipe for disaster; but rather self-mastery and gratefulness are “cures” we need to live by.
Studies show that people, when given a dozen choices of candy vs. just a couple – those who chose a couple, were happier vs. others getting so much and being unfilled. A lesson—think of your i-Phone and TV with tons of apps, stations galore—are we really happier?
GIFT-acronym is important to remember = G= giving generates glitter; I =generous people giving inspires us!; F= give feely- no strings attached; T=give trustingly-God will fulfill us!
Thanksgiving was originally celebrated by Christians Pilgrims amidst harshness of times and lack, celebrated God’s gifts ; created by Abe Lincoln during Civil War times to thank Almighty- Providential God-wow! Let’s remember the REAL Thanksgiving history!
St Nicholas/aka Santa Claus = gift giver to especially the poor, even prostitutes, captives—imitate him in Thanksgiving!
Christ the King, the last Sunday in Ordinary time—He is our Kingly ruler and provider of Graces!
Traveling to other, poorer countries I’ve hugely learned how much we have, how little happier we can be (those desires kicking!) and how happy poor people generally can be –scene of school kids running, smiling on Mt Kilimanjaro is what I remember –that experience thing again!—just as much as remembering the beautiful mountain (an object).
Tell your spouse, kids, parents how grateful you are for them—don’t assume they know or feel it.
Our kids on pilgrimage to France recalled, even in France a “rich country” how much they were given and all the blessings and also one of their favorite things was serving at Mother Teresa’s home, the poor and homeless.
Don’t, never overlook simple blessings—the ability to walk, think, eat regularly, breathe, recreate, God’s mercy and blessings, ability to do good for others and vice-versa. Remember the old adage—we never know how blessed we are until-when things are taken from us.
"Self-donation”—a Church term, is the best gift= giving of one’s very self, not just a shirt or half hour, of time or kind word etc.—akin to Jesus giving us HIMself!
Recall the lesson of healed 10 lepers in Gospel and only one came back to thank Jesus the Healer—what would you do? We have the Greatest Gifts in God’s Love, Holy Spirit Power, Jesus Christ in His life and Holy Eucharist= which means thanksgiving! Let’s think of and pray for the homeless and persecuted Christians thru the world: never neglect them! Remember the African proverb: “ It is the heart that gives, the hands merely let go”
+ Peace & Grace - Father Jack Lombardi
November 16, 2014
The New Normal?
“Same sex marriages”. Montgomery County schools have “vetoed” Christmas from the school calendar. “Transgender bathrooms” are getting approved in Cleveland. "Mainstreamed" Pornography.. Contraception—as a “right” and part of health care is justified. Culture of divorce as simply a "matter of course." Materialism-consumerism = more is okay! Our country is not founded upon Judeo Christian values or history . Co-habitation . Legalized marijuana usage. Challenging Christians for defending traditional marriage. Abortion on demand…
These issues, all involve Christianity, which were once “abnormal,” are becoming normalized in the USA. What’s a Christian to do? The same old: Speak the Truth in love, as St Paul said (Eph. 4:15). We will all have to face these issues above, and many more, as society continues to change and various people “push the envelope” toward “the new normal”. Another response from St. Paul: “Be not conformed to the world” ( Rm. 12:2). As Christians our sacred religion does give us certain standards of both human nature and behavior and that we must not retreat from, controversial stands, but also show that “our way” is a path not of restraint only, or following aged rules or “just saying ‘no’” to others’ libertinism, but is, rather a Path of Liberation. Recent elections and cultural shifts have manifested the obvious: people want change and will seek new ways of living according to their desires. But, as Christians know—and show—we are not just our desires. We are, also, holy temples of God’s dwelling (again, St. Paul, I Cor. 6), and that we are called to follow His natural law implanted within us. You know, as simple as do good, avoid evil. And: humans are built for freedom according to His Plan, not our human wants and mere instincts. Many wise, non-Christian sages—Aristotle, Lao Tzu (of Taoism), the Dalai Lama (Buddhism), Anthony Flew (contemporary atheist turned deist)--knew that within the human being is a prefabricated nature which should accord to the wisdom threaded thru the world and which seeks a telos, a purpose in-built in the individual with a drive toward both freedom and fulfillment, and that universals exist—standards of human behavior which we should adapt to. Our increasingly secular society is urging Christians to change fundamental laws and human behavior patterns and these demand a response, a Christian, reasoned answer. In talking to a youth recently, adept at rhetoric and Christian morals, he shared that we Christians must first show others who disagree with us that we are human, reputable and respectable, and treat the other as human too, rather than merely condemning them, and then show the path of right, moral logic. In essence, “speak the truth in love”. Both elements, truth and love, are needed, in right balance and tone. But we must know our faith to show our faith, and also live it so others may see another, beautiful, liberating path of freedom, rather than the current path of further enslavement to aimless desires. “For freedom Christ set you free” (Gal. 5:1).
Marriage Today: The Sixth Circuit Court in Michigan recently upheld the peoples vote there and definition of traditional marriage. A “brief’ submitted to the Court by the Catholic law firm, Thomas More Center wrote in this defense, “Some truths are self-evident. Among them are that men and women are different. In fact, it is clear from our very existence that men are made for women, and women for men. None of us would be here but for that truth. Another self-evident truth is that it is best for children to be raised by their parents whenever possible. There have been many theories to the contrary throughout history, but they have all proven vacuous at best. Public policy that recognizes and acts on these truths is not unfairly discriminatory. In fact, the only way to have sound public policy is to build on such truths."
Peace and Grace --Fr Jack Lombardi /Pastor +Priest
November 2nd, 2014
Are you in a hurry? PlanJOY's Proposal...
We come together for one hour, on Sunday, to love God and our neighbor.
Part of our worship is to be with one another and these days, when everybody is busy, why not take time, after Mass, to meet
and greet others; especially, those you don't know?
We need to consciously build up our parish family; just like you do in your own family, at home; spending time together.
By talking to other parishioners, meeting them, and discussing health, work, and so-forth,
October 26th, 2014
Evil Today: I recently received an email regarding “The shootings in Seattle school and students killed there; Canada, passenger planes being shot down out of the sky, be-headings by ISIS...... It's all evil -- why is this happening -- what is the purpose of all of this?”…. Response: We must, as Christians, even in the “modern, advanced world” we live today, recognize that evil (wickedness, extremely immoral, dark behavior) exists and lurks in people not totally redeemed or made holy. Jesus Himself recognized evil and so we, too, must see evil in our world. There is a Devil and bad spirits in our world around us, who affect many people as they reject God and His Ways, as even in St Peter, evil entered him to rebuke Christ (See Mt. 16: 23 ). But, like the saint, we can repent and enter the process of Redemption, Christ’s working within us to become like Him! However, we may become complacent when shootings occur by thinking “evil is stamped out” by our modern, technological, cultural advances as good as they may be, but they are limited and, rather, seek Redemption by Christ and call others to Him for Salvation (healing). Deep within us and others are areas that are not redeemed that predispose us to bad acts and outside influences, and some knowingly or not continue down this dark path and can do harm, but we must continually pursue the Path of Salvation/Healing in Christ. Because God allows us thru Free Will to choose good or evil: we must always make holy choices which further redemption and influence others toward God. And God allows, as in the case of the kidnapped-enslaved Joseph, and tells his brothers who did this: “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives” (Gn 50:20). .
Pray, fast, continually confess, lead others to Christ and His righteousness—all the time!
PEACE and Blessings + Father Jack Lombardi
October 19th, 2014
The Vatican Synod on the Family
By now perhaps you’ve heard of the bishops meeting at the Vatican Synod called: “The Family in the Context of Evangelization”. While there has been much discussion over marriage and cohabitation and homosexuality, these important, widespread issues, the Catholic Church has not changed at all its doctrinal teachings about these issues. The Catholic Church, like Jesus Christ, stresses “Two C’s" as paramount—compassion and challenge, both elements are needed. Compassion= heartfull-ness and challenge is prophetically speaking and living the Truth even when counter-cultural. Unfortunately there has been errant reporting on the Synod, and also a bad translation of the mid-term document summary this past week. This initial Summary used confusing language and failed to support strongly enough traditional marriage. Many bishops throughout the world criticized it, including Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, who leads our American Bishops and who called for clarification confusing statements within, and also more pronounced authentic Catholic teaching that leads to both clarity and inspiration of Catholics and others, and he also stressed that all couples living in “unions” of whatever kind are not equal to traditional marriage.
So, now let us clarify these current issues and Catholic Church teaching: all Catholics need to pastorally reach out to all persons regardless of individual situation—that’s evangelization! Divorced and illicitly remarried persons (without an annulment) cannot receive Holy Communion; though they should be respected with dignity (any divorced Catholic not re-married can receive Holy Communion). Any homosexual person is due respect; homosexuality is a disorder and all such sexual acts are inherently wrong; and the Church cannot legitimize “same sex unions”. All sexuality is beautiful in married life and any sexuality outside marriage is always harmful and sinful. Contraception is always wrong and denigrates God’s design for men and women and procreation. The God-designed man and wife family is sacred and must be supported more by authentic Church teachings and preachers and all faithful. Last, many Synod statements stressed the Catholic Church must use more pastoral language regarding above groups and individuals, while not altering or confusing the unchangeable substance of doctrinal teachings. While many issues about this Synod have been controversial or confusing, hopefully a clear and compassionate final summary report will be issued and also Pope Francis’ comments upon it will provide orthodox and liberating direction for us! The Catholic Church is one of the last remaining institutions to proclaim true, Biblical, authentically human and God-designed teachings about personhood, marriage, human sexuality We sure need our Church teachings to guide us.
PlanJOY: is the spiritual renewal of our Parish Family this Year!
PEACE and Blessings + Father Jack Lombardi
October 12th, 2014
+PlanJOY this week invites you to the Spaghetti Dinner this Friday night, and conversion, especially thru….-
Scriptural Interpretation: How to Read the Bible
Five Steps to Considering Bible Passages…
1-Author / audience –who wrote it and to whom?
2- Context—read the verse before and after text –read the passage “in context” versus alone 3-Literal meaning—what meaning did the author intend for his immediate audience.
4-Analogia fidei=anology of Faith—what do other Bible verses, the saints, commentators- Magisterium(official Church teaching) infer and say about this text? 5- Application to today: within reason how can I apply this to my life? The Wedding Feast Parable (St Mt. 22: )
Key points:1-The “Feast” is by the King = God-He invites us to His Plentitude, first, the Jews, then others =Gentiles. 2-We must all go out and invite others—“no one left behind”. 3-No “Ez passes” –this seemingly beguiling verse (Mt 22: 1-14) infers those graciously invited/allowed must follow Him, His Way !Any “false mercy” and presumptuousness must be avoided. Am I inviting others to His, the Lord’s Kingdom-Feast? Am I following His Way myself (or being presumptuous)?
Adult Bible Catechism Discussion—ALL are welcome to join us!
October 13, 2014: Man’s response to God’s Call= Faith Read in Bible Hebr. 11:1ff, 11:40, 12:2; Lk 1:42-48; 2 Tim 1:12 ; Paragraphs # 142-175 of The Catechism of the Catholic Church
October 20th, 2014: God’s Revelation—The Trinity - Catechism Paragraph #’s 198-227 232-260.
Sarah Golden of our parishioners here, in Warfordsburg, Pa., who once played organ for us, has now become Sr. Veronica Mary of the Wounds of Christ . This past week she was “invested” into the habit of a Poor Claire Nun ! We thank her for her sacrifice and pray and sacrifice for her and her parents, Randy and Lisa and her sisters and brothers.
Advice: We will be doing an upcoming in-pew Survey-Information form for your suggestions regarding Worship services, social outreach, grounds and maintenance and any changes you desire to recommend.
+ PEACE and Blessings + Father Jack Lombardi
September 28, 2014
This Sunday’s Gospel (Lk 16:19-31) Jesus challenges us as He did the Jewish leaders who assumed “they had it made” and needed no conversion away from sin or helping others outside the “establishment- Religion”. Are Catholics-- who now have so much—not only revelation and the Sacraments and the Lord’s Church in addition to so many material possessions--, in need of Jesus’ Challenge today? Avoid the “ABC’s” of Assumption: we got it made—“I’m not a murderer/ I go to church” mentality; Blind to our sins and omission of helping others; Changed God= He’s not mean anymore and He loves me the way I am” mentality …
God desires our Salvation and that means perfection—to become a saint by the continual conversion of totally turning to Him, away from sinful ,words and deeds…Think/respond: When was your last Confession? How have you helped others—heroically?
September 14, 2014
PlanJOY is a spiritual renewal process of our parish family thru social, service and spiritual opportunities in the next year.
At our last PlanJOY meeting we discussed how to revive our souls and our Parish in the upcoming year:
See the Calendar -- “This Week in our Parish” for events listed.
Welcome new parishioners—we are developing Welcome Folders for them and Sign-In Registrations;
Telephone all parishioners to invite into the PlanJOY Process;
Ask members from all Parish Groups to help plan and coordinate;
See Survey Form below wherein we will ask you to fill out in a couple weeks in-pew at Mass.
Remember and note the Coffee House/Concert Sept 26 and ABC: Adult Bible Catechism Class beginning Sept 29—all are welcome to join us!
If you have any suggestions in the renewal of our Parish please contact the Office!
Below are the three main questions we will ask for your opinion on:
Would you be willing to offer services or help in social, spiritual, or service activities?
⃝ Pastoral Council ⃝ Music /Choir ⃝ Religious Education ⃝ Ladies Group ⃝ Pro-Life ⃝ Men’s Group ⃝ Youth Groups ⃝ Finance Council
⃝ Liturgy ⃝ Sports and Recreation ⃝ Maintenance ⃝ Arts
⃝ Computer/ Office Skills ⃝ Grounds/Lands keeping ⃝ Crafts/ Homemaking
⃝ Event Organization ⃝Outreach/Service to Homebound or Poor
Please list any other talents or skills you could give:
2 What suggestions do you have for our parish
3-what would suggest change in our parish life? …
******************** ***** ******************************
The Exaltation of the Cross
Ideas to honor the Cross of Jesus… From Catholicculture.org…
+Study different symbols and types of crosses, history and/or significance. +Learn and pray the prayer to Christ Crucified; pray the Stations of the Cross. Memorize the prayer repeated at each station: We adore You, O Christ, and praise You, Because by Your Holy Cross You have redeemed the world. +Study the history of St. Helena and Constantine, especially St. Helena’s quest .+Display crucifixes prominently throughout your home. +Explain the meaning of the Sign of the Cross to your children and be sure that even the little ones are taught how to make it. +Encourage your children to make reparation for sin; read about sacramentals. +Teach your children a short ejaculatory prayer such as "Through the sign of the Cross deliver us from our enemies, O Lord…
August 17, 2014
Christians in Iraq
“Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still. Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the LORD.” (+ Psalm 4:4-5)
“You also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (+I Pt 2:5).
As you know Christians in Iraq, many Catholics, are being persecuted, hunted and killed as you read this.
We need to help them!
Let us remember St Paul's observation on this: “If One Part Of The Body Suffers, Then All The Other Parts Suffer With It. (I Cor 12: 26).
When any Christian suffers we should be in solidarity with them, not ignorant, living life as if nothing is happening; our very lives should change, as St Paul reminds us. Well, and good but you may ask: What can I do so far away?
There are Three Main Christian Practices:
Pray: in your daily prayer remember the Christians there—lift them up to God, do not forget them, ask for God’s mercy and action to them! Like the woman in this Sunday’s Gospel (Mt 15:21-28) we must be persistent in hearkening to Jesus and the Divine Trinity: “Pray without ceasing” (I Thes 5:17).
Sacrifice: fast, do good, costly deeds, send to Catholic Relief Services monies to help, etc. My sacrifice? I was a vegetarian for many years and now feel called, after “slacking” on this personal spiritual practice recently, to go back and practice again, so I will give up meat in direct union with the Christians suffering in Iraq (along w/ past reasons also). I mention this as a priest- leader—it may be meager, okay, but I challenge you to make a sacrifice also—do something that will cost you to give a pleasing, pure sacrifice to God in union with the Christians now suffering in Iraq and thru the whole world for their Faith! . Love hurts sometimes, like Christ’s Cross, so let us imitate Him and help His people!
Keep in solidarity: in your daily activities you may recall suffering Christians in Iraq and thru the world thru by: simplifying your life (the Christians there do not have luxuries we have); consciously loving others, being more patient, complaining less, being Christ like in all your words and deeds, and maybe placing a picture of the suffering Christians in your daily view to remind you of their plight.
This current persecution may fade sometime (hopefully) but the problem of Christian persecution thru the world will not : we must be vigilant and recall two things: 1- “how good we have it” in our beloved USA—with all our TV’s, air conditioning, food, entertainment, luxuries galore—there are others who hardly have anything—remember to LIVE in solidarity with them ;2---pray, march, fast for Religious Freedom here and everywhere, always!
“Educators and Evangelists”: We desire to revive our parishes and the world! We are looking for anyone who can help spread the Gospel to others, beginning here in our beloved churches and community and elsewhere. You don’t have to be an expert, only recall the maxim: “Where’s there a will there’s a way” .; Ie:, if you have desire, divine desire, to serve Our Lord, then you can help in this new venture! Yes, we have many dedicated educators and evangelists already but we need more!
What if someone gets sick or is unable to further help in social outreach, education, or spiritual formation activities? To use a sports analogy, “Is our bench deep enough” –do we have enough St Peter’s / St Patrick’s folks to fill in the blanks of volunteers and programs and help out?
The main goals of this new program are three: equip YOU in spiritual, social and service opportunities to form ourselves in Catholic-Christ-like ways and to assist those who look to us for help
We will be updating you with more info on this program soon and hope YOU will help!
Peace and Blessings + Father Jack Lombardi
August 10, 2014
Our Lady of La Salette …Pray for Us!
Last week at the Hagerstown abortion clinic I witnessed another very dramatic incident…
I was talking to a young lady who was very interested in our work, which is witnessing help to abortion-seekers. She was impressed we would do this even though she thought “people (seeking abortion) will do what they are gonna do” and that we or anyone cannot change them. She talked to us for about an hour. She had about eight face-piercings—actually, kinda cool looking, and was only eighteen years of age. She eventually went in the abortion clinic to her friend seeking an abortion to ask her to come out but her friend had already gone to see the abortion doctor. This friend we were talking to said she could never have an abortion now that she’s given birth to her beautiful daughter (and showed us pictures of here brightly smiling, age two). She had obviously personally witnessed the miraculousness of Life—and dignity of birth and of every single small person, radiantly emitting pride and thankfulness. We gave her a Rosary as she asked for one after seeing the bright colors and cross of Jesus—a sacramental-sign.
Later, after her friend seeking the abortion came out we tried to help her, offer assistance and referrals- counseling (if she did have an abortion, we did not know) and she whisked right by us like a train.
We were flummoxed. She then met her friend we were talking to and immediately embraced her on the busy street and began sobbing with lobster red face, tears streaming down her face. Cars whizzed by as time seemingly stood still and this scene was presented to us directly, by, I believe, God Himself.
They then got in the car to leave, with the young lady who originally sought an abortion in the back seat. I remember it distinctly: she took the Rosary given to her friend whom we were talking to so long and began putting it over her head, tears still streaming.
The car whisked off into seeming Eternity—the young lady wearing the holy Rosary, weeping.
We don’t always completely know how we affect others and/or what our Catholic-Christian Faith can do.
I looked around and saw an abortion counselor weeping—she saw the young lady who originally sought an abortion now wearing the Rosary.
Thank God for Sacramentals (a simple Rosary), the offering healing, fortitude in Faith, and that some choose life and others may eventually do so, or, at least, reach out for needed healing and reconciliation.
After this incident back home I read in an article about the dignity of marriage as God intended, and the challenges today that are immense: “Truth needs witnesses.”
I am thankful for those valiant abortion counselors and witnesses, and also for the “friend” who attempted to help her friend to choose another Path.
Just returning from our France Pilgrimage I also think of that stirring, unique image of Our Lady of La Salette (above), who wept at mankind’s sins for turning away from Sacredness.
May we assuage the Mother of Jesus /Our Lady of La Salette who not only weeps but also, has a new friend in that mother who did choose life and witnessing—and who now has a beautiful, holy child…
Father John J. Lombardi
August 3, 2014
Our Religious Freedom Pilgrimage 2014 was a success—and thanks to you and your support, donations and prayers we completed our Pilgrimage Walk of 100+ miles in France!
We 20 Pilgrims (more or less as we had some join us on The Way) prayed for you in (view a map!): We certainly did and saw and prayed a lot…
In PARIS we prayed at famous Notre Dame Cathedral (shimmering façade and stunning windows—and long line to enter!) and toured the Louvre Museum (struggled up to view the Mona Lisa), stayed near the Arc of Triumph, ate some wonderful meals, went up the wonderfully-lit Eiffel Tower (and didn’t have to wait!), worked at Mother Teresa’s Soup Kitchen and Home for mothers, walked along the Seine River, survived the Paris Metro subway (many times!), and enjoyed a cool fountain pool at famous Montmartre Sacred Heart Basilica overlooking Paris.
We took a train to Chartres Cathedral and witnessed a wedding there—tres beautiful! And enjoyed the famous stained glass windows, and then took a TGV high speed train to Aix.
Wow there is a beautiful central fountain there in the middle of the city and a man at a restaurant where we ate, seeing our bright yellow Pilgrimage shirts, asked for a blessing and we all gathered around him and prayed (translation by my French cousin Elizabeth) and he was very thankful—and hopefully healed !
We traveled by vans (yes we navigated safely and got lost only three times!) and enjoyed the lush blue-green waters of the Mediterranean Sea and jumped off a ledge into the harbor waters with locals.
We then went to Provence countryside to camp at my cousins’ friends who were absolutely heroic when a storm came and had to go sleep inside their house: 20 of us into their home—and they were joyful at us American guests, feting us with a delicious hamburger meal from their inside barbeque: we ate and slept well that night! Nearby their house we treated ourselves to a swim in a lovely creek and relaxed refreshed.
We then went to the Alps, which were indescribably beautiful, swimming at an Alpine Lake (once again blue-green waters) complete with huge mountain dog which seemed to be part lion, part bear, hugely friendly and gentle! At Notre Dame du Laus Shrine we heard a talk by a Benedictine Sister about the healing oil there and vision of the Blessed Virgin. We attended an evening candlelight procession praying the Rosary. A bunch of the kids got sick (who would think after walking, touring, packing, and traveling so much?!) but they rebounded after swimming in the Alps: resilience! Along the Way the youth (13) enjoyed playing cards and games at night—seemingly forgetting about tiredness and sleeping!
We then traveled to Notre Dame de La Salette where Our Lady appeared to two youth and wept over mankind’s sins of neglecting the Sabbath and Lord’s Name. Many were moved by all this, including the high Alps, a mountain hike, and the Shrine’s story, they counted this as their favorite stop.
We then traveled back to Paris for our plane home and the surprise that we were to be “bumped” from our plane. We thought otherwise as we urged the gentleman Air France agent who saw our sixteen passports readied for him and all our bright shirts en masse and our spirit—and he got us on the plane without a hitch while multi- tasking with walkie talkie and cell phone and three hundred other people to deal with!
We did it—for Religious Freedom, God, and you and our beloved USA! Thank you/Merci beaucoups!
Bon Voyage!—Pere Jaques Lombardi, Pilgrim –The Pilgrimage Continues…
To see pictures, a slideshow and read the letters from Father, check out the blog, http://religiousfreedompilgrimage2014.blogspot.com/
July 13, 2014
Statement of Religious Freedom Walk-Pilgrimage-
Why we’re Going!
The Religious Freedom Walk 2014 in France (July 14-30) is a demonstration of Faith to those who see us marching ( 100 miles), of Catholics, other Christians, and all interested in civil liberties to stand up for their rights which are being threatened and to inspire others to action, prayer and penitential exercise of our Faith .
This year we will be Pilgrimaging in France, “The Eldest Daughter of the Church,”
to experience God’s beauty thru North-Central and South France, and Provence
and The Alps, via Sacred Shrines and soaring cathedrals and quaint towns and
villages to witness to all along The Way (Camino).
We are walking for YOU and for all!
Pilgrimage Prayer “Do everything calmly and peacefully. Do as much as you
can, as well as you can. Strive to see God in all things without exception, and
consent to His will joyously. Do everything for God, uniting yourself to Him in word and deed. Walk very simply with the Cross of the Lord and be at peace with yourself.”
+St. Francis de Sales
+Pilgrimage to France begins this Monday please pray for our pilgrims; you may follow them along the Path and see bulletin internet blogsite listed for frequent positing’s of their Travels for Religious Freedom Pilgrimage France 2014.
A very special thank you goes out to all of our donors who have helped in supporting our pilgrimage. Without you, our trip wouldn’t have been possible. Please pray for us as we walk for religious freedom!
Peace and Blessings + Pilgrim Fr. Jack Lombardi
Christ’s Refreshing Community
As the Archbishop found warm welcome here in our community, let us welcome other members, anyone, here—going out of our way to invite them into healthiness—positive and bright demeanor and conversation, holiness—a prayerful soul and spirit (yes, new folks may notice Christ really does live within us!), and broaden our boundaries to attract others for God (we’re not a clique but a community!).
In this Sunday’s Gospel Jesus refreshes us (Mt. 11: “Come to Me all you who are weary…”), and receiving His grace we need to actively refresh others thru Him, with Him, In Him! Oppositely it is easy to lapse into familiarity (just associating with “our own”); simply repeat things because “we’ve always done it that way” and become stuck and sterile; or sometimes emit an overly critical spirit and thereby become “un-refreshing” - and others may notice this. As Christians we should build up our Community, expand our limitations and vision, be creative, and always help one another with the
Graceful Re-Freshment that Christ gives us in each breath. Remember what Pope Benedict said: Christianity is a movement—and we should be moving others by our words, demeanor, actions and spiritual creativity to God and our Faith!
Peace and Blessings + Pilgrim Fr. Jack Lombardi
June 29, 2014
Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul
Saints Peter and Paul were both zealous for the Lord and evangelization: are you!?
I know I am excited about current World Cup Soccer—especially with Team USA “squeaking” in to the “knockout round”.
A lotta people around the world are thrilled about soccer—billions of folks, really.
That’s the way we should be about our Faith—and spreading it: excited. That’s what zeal means: excitement, passion.
Both Peter and Paul were converts to the Christian Faith and they showed it by knowing their Faith and inviting others into it.
Both men were passionate: will you be about your Faith?
Both men put Christ first in their lives above all: how can you?
Both saints invited others—gentiles and Jews and pagans into the Faith: do you go out to others?
Saints Peter and Paul also healed many by Christ’s powers: How can you allow yourself to heal others?
Peter is known as Leader of the Apostles and Paul as great evangelist: how can you lead and evangelize others?
Both men gave their very lives as Martyrs and died for the Faith: are you willing to be this radical in your love of Jesus?
Today in our morality, spirituality and lifestyles we are being challenged by “the world” to change and compromise our Faith—Peter and Paul did not. Rather they pledged their love of Jesus and The Church and taught and lived for the Lord and Church in their daily lives without watering down their Faith—we need do the same today when the Catholic –Christian Church is being challenged in so many ways, and you are in daily life.
Saint Peter was the type, like: Act before thinking. Sometimes that’s good, because we “overthink” and analyze too much and fail to do what is needed, so let’s remember Peter’s wondrous action -oriented personality and ask for zeal to be like him. And St Paul’s personality was like a “voice crying in the wilderness”: don’t be afraid to be prophetic and herald God’s Kingdom in this world!
This Sunday we are of course thankful for a pastoral visit and celebration of Holy Mass by Archbishop William Lori, our Shepherd here in the Archdiocese of Baltimore.
He is taking time for us to celebrate our Patron St Peter: let us remember him in our prayers and support him in his travels, shepherding and sanctifying all the day’s long!
Happy Feast Day, and St Peter: Pray for us!
Peace and Blessings + Father Jack Lombardi
June 22, 2014
The Most Holy Eucharist
While we certainly love Jesus in the Holy Eucharist, have you have thought of?...
1-Fasting: one hour at least before Mass.
2-Reconciling with someone as Jesus prescribes: “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there” (and go reconcile first) ...(St Mt. 5: 23-24).
3-Confessing your sins as St Paul prescribes: “A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself.” (I Cor. 11: 28-29)
4-Receiving reverently: Whether on the tongue or in the hand do you receive Jesus in respectful manner?
5-His Real Presence: The Holy Bread and Wine is really, verily Jesus Christ Himself, His Body and Blood and Soul and Divinity in the Eucharist?
6-Visit Him in Adoration—in a church, ours, St Peter’s, every Thursday, all day? Take some time for Him thru your week and life!
June 14, 2014
The Most Holy Trinity:
Do you think of, love, God enough?!
Three Divine Persons in One Uncreated Essence: This is God…
This weekend we celebrate Ultimate Reality life (See The Catechism of the Catholic Church, # 234). God, Himself the DivineTrinity. Many are seeking a kind of ultimate reality in and thru food, drugs or entertainment, other people. Always remember: you’ll hunger for More: God is that “more” because He is Infinite and will answer that thirst. Even in Heaven there will always be more to love and receive ecstasy from God’s boundless Bliss.
Also: A lot of us (especially Americans) want variety—we get easily bored. Just think of all those TV stations or zillions of internet websites or kinds of bagels and cereals: and we still are unfulfilled. We have infinite variety within the Godhead (another name for the Trinity): God the Father- Creator; The Son-Redeemer-human-and-Divine Jesus Christ; a Holy Spirit Who enfires and soothes us. Now let Them satisfy you.
And, a lot desire the funniest, most intense experience, sometimes thru sex and other times thru extreme sports. Our Religion proposes a vivid description of the Three Divine Person’s relationship, as perichoresis, which means from Greek,“going around” . The Three uncreated Divine Person are “going around” interweaving/interpenetrating into and with One Another, as like in a Divine Dance-movement, and They invite us into their Divine motion, unity. Also think of a “triangular-circle” (Celtic-Irish Catholics inspire us with this Trinitarian, eternity image): we may join in that endless flow of Uncreated Love and be lifted out of our own sins, limitations and commotions and thereby experience a new kind of life
Pray daily: Most Holy Trinity –Father, Son and Holy Ghost help me to love You the most. Lead me more deeply into Your Unity / refresh me by Your Infinity and may Your Divinity always be my greatest desire: Amen!
Peace and Blessings + Father Jack Lombardi
June 8, 2014
JUNE is the Month of the Sacred Heart of Jesus: Do you know this Devotion? Catholicism may sometimes be caricatured as tough and sterile and rude—but this devotion is true to God and Catholicism promotes it!
This holy devotion became widely popularized when St. Margaret Mary Alacoque (1647-1690), a Visitation nun, had a personal revelation involving a series of visions of Our Lord as she prayed before the Blessed Sacrament.
Devotions are losing ground in Catholicism today—why not pick it up? This devotion stresses Jesus’ humanity/love/docility—why not flock to it? Think: God sometimes seems far off / distant /cold—here is a real devotion for that! Devotion means we must put our heart into it—so: practice this devotion! A Devotion is a pious practice / cultivating a love and faith within each person for continual spiritual life regarding God, the saints.
Part of The Sacred Heart Devotion is Reparation (atoning for sins and offenses). Although this is not “in” today, but it should be as there are many offenses against the Lord in today’s world .
In Christianity and Catholicism while God is both transcendent (above) and immanent (near) us, this devotion stresses His immanence—His nearness to us—even within us as we seek and receive, is pulsating, Sacred Blood from His Heart!
The Sacred Heart above all stresses His/God’s BURNING love for us!
+Get a Sacred Heart picture or icon or statue –display in your home/car/office!
+Gain a prayer –devotional book to link you to His Sacred Heart
+ “And He showed me that it was His great desire of being loved by men and of withdrawing them from the path of ruin into which Satan hurls such crowds of them, that made Him form the design of manifesting His Heart to men, with all the treasures of love, of mercy, of grace, of sanctification and salvation which it contains, in order that those who desire to render Him and procure for Him all the honor and love possible, might themselves be abundantly enriched with those divine treasures of which this Heart is the source.
Sacred Heart of Jesus: I place all my trust in You!
And remember during this beautiful summer season as you go on vacation to make Jesus in the Eucharist the center of your life and recreation—check out Masstimes.com for celebration of Mass at the local parish of your destination—go with Jesus!
Peace and Blessings ~ Father Jack Lombard
June 1, 2014
We celebrate today that Jesus goes to Heaven—The Ascension.
Here’s Some implications/inspirations:
Jesus’ Mission is fulfilled: He didn’t come here to stay here but shows thru the Ascension our Goal: Heaven. Jesus shows us He is like a baseball relief pitcher coming in to “finish the game”: “He is the closer”—He completes His mission. So--don’t fail , yourself--stay faithful to the End!
“You have to be perfect to enter Heaven”: My friend, Fred said that, so don’t assume anything less. The Bible says “Nothing impure will be in Heaven”( Rev 21:27) . Also, another friend, John, said he told his sometimes irritable mom, lovingly: “You have to leave that (anger/spite) here, in the waiting room (Purgatory)—they don’t allow that in Heaven.” Wow—that’s True Love—helping others to Heaven! So become like Jesus here, now—get rid of lust, avarice, anger, materialism and all the rest.
Our True Final home is Heaven, not here, so: don’t feel like you have to “grab” and do everything here below and, meanwhile look forward to Bliss (unending Happiness!)
Don’t stay stuck: Like Jesus ascend—don’t get overly attached to possessions, TV, food—rise up, ascend! +“Our citizenship is in Heaven” (Phil. 3:20 ): We are pilgrims which means, to travel thru this world A lotta times people ask me: What are you doing? (Or something like that.) I sometimes respond: “I’m trying to get to Heaven”: R U? Our True Final home is Heaven, not here. Visualize w/ your “inner eyes of your heart” becoming enlightened (Phil 1:18) so your whole soul / unconscious mind and heart are if attuned/anticipatory to Heaven and God’s Life and the Really Real! Martyrs go directly to Heaven: When we hear of persecuted Christians thru the world today let’s remember—they’re dying for the Faith which means they receive Heaven because of their great cost for the Lord!
+Peace and Blessings—Father Jack Lombardi
May 18, 2014
Anti-Christian: Wow—Let’s all Wake up! …
'If our faith costs us a television show then so be it,' said the Benham twins, Jason and David, whose Fall program was abruptly canceled by HGTV after a firestorm of protests including that they were against “gay marriage” and practicing Christians. These bright, affable and family guys, are pro-family, avid practitioners of values and virtues and not intolerant or bigoted, they are bright, forgiving (they say they feel sorry for the tv executives who cancelled the show and gave them no reason why they did, and the twins said they love all people, including homosexuals, however are against the ideology and bullying today by the gay agenda ideas. As I saw an interview with these strong, Christian men I thought: they are perfect spokesmen for Christianity and blend both compassion for homosexuals and also challenge to the intolerant, pushy and torrid movement that opposes Christians and those who support traditional marriage.
There was a “Black Mass” proposed by Harvard University last Monday. Fortunately due to outcry and Christian’s response it was cancelled!
Here are some simple points to remember for the future (as we will need to): It’s a definite sacrilege, attack on Christianity. Satanism is a promotion of dis-order. This originally was billed as an educational learning event—which is cover for mocking the Catholic Mass. Think about it: would anyone tolerate anti-gay speech or actions, burning of the Koran or promote anti-Jewish beliefs? No one can countenance this in the name of “education”. The “black mass” usually uses a Consecrated Host- which need be taken illicitly from a Catholic Church –does anyone promote this? Satanism is always dangerous, never to be fooled with, but is gaining acceptance today in a “tolerance-multi-cultural world” as Satanists are streamlined even in the U.S. Military: are you alarmed? We need to continue to: pray, fast, vigil, protect the Holy Eucharist, and continue to write letters/emails, warn youth and others of dangers of Satanism. Thank God, literally, it was stopped!
As Satan attacks Christianity so also Islamic militants attack us and “the Girls of Nigeria”--- 300 Christian youth who were kidnapped nearly a month ago. Some Muslims are crying out--Zudi Jasser, of the American Islamic forum for democracy and Harris Zafar of the Amidaya Muslim Community are very good spokesman, who say the problem of Islamic terrorism has gotten worse and we all need to call Islamic leaders to reform and decry terrorism, and not hide them or fail to address the problem. We can both respect Moslems and also call for reform in such terror policies. Another way to say, remember it: respect and protect. That’s the American Way!
Peace and Blessings…Father Jack Lombardi
May 11th, 2014
Our World Today
“The thief comes to steal and slaughter and destroy--I came that they might have life, life abundant (St. Jn. 10:10).
It’s all right there in one powerful verse—we see our civilization deliberating and choosing between Light and Darkness. Here’s some examples…
At the abortion clinic in Hagerstown on Thursday I met two men: one was a Harley smoking guy w/ lots of tattoos and another man literally a smoking Satanist who cursed me. The Harley guy repeatedly tried to convince his girlfriend not to have an abortion (in and out of the clinic-office)
One man was giving Life and the other promoting death.
Jesus is on the side of life—life abundant (Jn 10:10)—the Devil tries to STEAL.
Chiara DiBlasio daughter of New York City mayor Bill recently received an award for working thru her depression and addictions, and she said: But a lack of gratitude wasn’t my only problem. I was the problem. I was not born a happy person.” And daily she struggled to go into life and overcome bleakness…We all may get depressed in life-- Where is Jesus Christ the Lord of Life in all this?
I was just given the Book “The Catholic Guide to Depression” by Catholic psychiatrist Aaron Keriaty M.D. Pope John Paul is quoted in advising all to seek help, be connected in human, psychological moral and spiritual levels. And also: spiritual reading especially on the Psalms; participation in the Eucharist where the Word/Bread of Life comes to us; praying the Rosary helps us get closer to the Mother of Mary. There is help …Many saints were melancholy-ish and either overcame their depression or used it /went thru it to discover God and abundant Life in Him—will you? Keriaty in his book also recommends spiritual direction, Confession, prayer, suffering-unifying with Jesus and making a holy daily routine, forming a Plan for Life, and living the virtues.
In her book, “Learning to Walk in the Dark “ theologian Barbara Brown Taylor observes how St John of the Cross “befriends darkness” says that “the dark night is God’s best gift to you, intended for your liberation. It is about freeing you from your ideas and fears about God, your attachment to all benefits you have been promised for believing in God, your devotion to spiritual practices that are supposed to make you feel closer to God, your dedication to doing all the right things about God—all these are substitutes for God”. When in need or humiliation we can need God more intensely.
America is now a Culture of drugs. This is stealing and slaughter of human youthful life. Satan is intoxicating kids today so they don’t have to deal with life and so they don’t even get a chance at Abundant Life. At Beans and Bread Catholic outreach center and soup kitchen, inner city of Baltimore, a homeless man testified before hundreds how he recovered from drugs and the streets, and is now helping others –during his talk before all those dressed up and “The Board of Directors”—in his jeans and polished beard he was filled with light! Jesus offers abundant life and asks us to pass it on.
A-“Black Mass” is planned in Cambridge Mass by a Harvard University group, now advertised as an educational learning experiment. NOTE: The “Black Mass” is an established ritual designed to denigrate Catholic Christianity and promote Satanism—the opposite of a Culture of Life. Oppositely at our First Holy Communion two weeks ago, the children were filled with joy and beauty and radiated Love to others: remember all those snapshots because we saw innocence and Life?
Peace and Blessings – Father Jack Lombardi
May 4th, 2014
Heaven and The Resurrection
I recently saw “Heaven is Real” –the movie, on a most un-heavenly of days—last Tuesday, when it was cold, rainy and bleak. That made the movie all the better.
This is the story of Colton Burpo, a boy (now teen), who claims to have gone to heaven while being near death after a serious sickness and operation. The movie and family (in the book) attempts to prove this heavenly journey by: after meeting his grandfather in Heaven, Colton correctly picked out his grandfather’s picture as a young man except that he never saw him --Colton said people in Heaven aren’t old they’re all young. Colton, who had one living sister at the time shared knowledge about another “ sister” he met in Heaven—who actually died during a miscarriage prior to Colton, and thus impossible for Colton to know about her - and telling his flummoxed parents about the heavenly family experience. Colton also claims to have seen his parents “from above” during his operation in various states of emotions—and correctly describing the parents’ actions to them. There’s some cheesiness and flatness to acting and screenplay but it is very sincere and refreshingly different in our “Terminator” obsessed world. Counter cultural. See it/read the book.
Here’s some other messages of the movie/book: Lots of people there. And lots of Light.
Don’t overthink…trust more.
Heaven should change us and our ways here below.
“Pray. Hope. Don’t worry”=Padre Pio
This past week we buried Joshua Zane Finney, a young man of 24 years, who died from an auto accident.
We wish to help his family and also reach out to any young people, folks away from the Lord and our Church—to go to “the periphery” as the Pope says, and help all heal and receive the Mercy and Presence of Jesus Christ.
Keep praying and Blessed Easter Season
+Fr. Jack Lombardi
April 27, 2014
I am so happy Pope John Paul has been named a saint!---along with Pope John XXIII. John Paul “the Great” survived communism, poverty, sniper attacks, parental deaths and family troubles, then became a college professor playwright, got tow doctoral degrees, became a priest and then bishop, and eventually Pope! His story is one of drama, manliness, heroic service and Godly anointing—almost a Hoy scrpt—but real and even more dramatic—and romantic—because it involves God and His people!
Pope John XXIII was a simple man and yet became cardinal of Venice and then elected pope and surprisingly called the Second Vatican Council to reform the Roman Catholic Religion and “update it”. He was known as approachable and one time went to a jail, asked to see “the worst” and even went a step further in entering a murder’s cell and embracing him.
Let us all seek holiness—in our own ways, where we are and thank God for these two holy men to inspire and lead us!
It is with joy that I announce to you that Archbishop Lori has appointed me pastor here at our parishes, beginning May 1 (12 Noon!) for a term of six years.
This is excellent for our communities--- in such shortage-of-priest times, and an Easter Present for me as I am thankful to be here!
I thank you for all your help and inspiration so far and look forward to the same in the future.
“I can do all things thru Christ Who strengthens Me.” +St Paul / Philippians 4:13
Keep praying and Blessed Easter Season! +Fr. Jack Lombardi
April 13th, 2014:
Holiest week of the year!
You get excited about “March madness” (basketball), baseball and sports, Springtime (finally) food and losing weight (some of us), fashions (slave to?), thrilled with the latest politics and news—Crime and healthcare, and “go to lengths” about school and work and summer vacations (def. needed!), but what about This Holy Week which is filled with joy and sorrow, drama, the Lord’s Passion, Death and Resurrection?! Okay, convinced? Er, maybe? All right, then, since you are a Catholic-Christian, whose Faith beautifully re-presents all this joy and sorrow—and Salvation: how will you show love to the Lord Jesus Christ Who enters Jerusalem to die and rise for you?! Here are some tips:
Pray: Spend 10 minutes a day in silent prayer/adoration (see especially St Bernard’s prayer to Wounds of Christ on insert)..
Attend Services (see schedule) this week—many!
Fast: Give up some food/drink and hunger for Jesus and His Eucharist.
Do Penance: Wake up earlier; kneel while praying; turn the cheek; be/practice silence.
Read the Bible –especially the Gospels’ endings of Jesus’ Passion.
Give alms: Give some food or clothing or gift to the poor/needy.
Confession: Make one to Jesus’ and His Church—soon (See times on schedule).
Divine Mercy: Pray the Chaplet and prepare with heart for Divine Mercy Sunday and Pope John Paul’s Canonization and Pope John XIII.
Practice the Passion by entering into it—mindfully, liturgically, daily and with your whole heart!
Message From the Faith, Appel and McCusker Families on the Prevent Child Abuse Walk.
The families of Bella Evangeline (Maria) Appel, Invite you
to the 4th annual Walk to End Child Abuse. We have tried
to turn a horrific tragedy into a Legacy for Bella through education,
awareness, and prevention so others may never have to suffer the pain & heartache of losing a child to abuse. If we can save the life of just one child then Bella's death will not have been in vain. Join us at 'Widmeyer Park on April 26th. The 5k Run @ 9 am with registration and Walk will start @ 10 am with Resource tables by area services to provide you with valuable information and avail you. There will be food and entertainment. We are honored with a special guest this year; William (Billy) Travis. Some of you may know Billy or heard about him via the news media, a victim of severe child abuse leaving him unable to talk, along with other severe disabilities. We will be honoring him with a medal and his parents with a plaque, to show our deep appreciation for the love and care they have given to Billy. Join us in welcoming them to our community and showing our appreciation.
May God's Blessings be with you
The families of Bella Evangeline (Maria) Appel
11-27-2009 to 01-09-2010
Please Stand 'Up & Be A 'Voice For Those 'Who Cannot Speak!
Registrations are in back of Church and outside after Mass.
Peace and Blessings – Father Jack Lombardi
April 6th, 2014
What’s going on around here?
That’s what you should ask when seeing the news these days.
Case in Point: At the University of Michigan a display which shows “Abortion is a gift from God” and which states “abortion as a life sustaining measure” is now being allowed, while the school is disallowing the current documentary-movie “Honor Diaries,” which highlights violence against (Muslim) women--this cannot be shown.
One display shows violence and so does the other, but one is disallowed. A two-word response is apt here: double standard. This is our culture’s coarseness and tendency toward darkness and death.
Abortions cause death and violence but are, today, politically correct—allowed-even-legislated, but revealing /showing violence to Muslim women is impolitic.
Today people show what they want you to believe and what they want you to put “stock” in. Such people apparently don’t believe in dignified life for Muslim women as well and unborn babies. How crude.
Jesus comes along (remember, this is 2000 years ago) and shows dignity to both women (remember the “outlawed” Samaritan woman at the well?) and also the unborn (by honoring the Commandments—“Choose life then” (Bk. Of Deut.) and further, resurrects a dead man—Lazarus: Now, shouldn’t we dignify all human life in whatever form or “disguise,” and also prophetically defend those who are violated against?
As stated above there is, in life, a trajectory toward coarseness, decay and chaos: this began in the Garden of Eden with Satan and progresses thru, atheism and Renaissance rebellion against God; Enlightenment attacks on supernatural life; modern-totalitarianism and government-statism - control; attacks on Religion (especially paradoxical when against life-giving Spiritualties like Catholicism) and the banishing of God and The Ten Commandants from culture and life. Even the current movie “Noah” points to this (see review inside) in emphasizing darkness and mayhem versus God’s Love and Convent. Rather, now and always: Cling to the King: Jesus Christ!
Three kinds of death can be meditated upon form this Sunday’s Gospel (St Jn. 11:1-45)…
Death of Lazarus: Shows ravages of sin (“the wages of sin is death”-Rm’s) and also power of Jesus over death. So: We should all be ready for this oncoming judgment -- reform now!
Death of Jesus: Lazarus’ death is a preview of Jesus’ death and Resurrection So be devoted to Jesus’ Death and Resurrection. We’ve taken so much out of devotion we need more feeling toward the Lord—show Him and pray often!
Our Death : we are all going to die and, along the Way “we die a thousand deaths”-meaning we should die to self before we physically die.
A way we can do this is to recall St Paul’s Admonition: “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires”. (Gal 5:24). Die to self to live for God—especially, now, IN Lent!
Peace and Blessings – Father Jack Lombardi
March 30, 2014
Lent… Laetare Sunday is Joyful Sunday of lent: meaning we are two thirds thru: So celebrate and keep on keeping on!
In St. Lk 9:23 Jesus Himself says deny yourselves and pick up your Cross, and St Paul says athletes deny themselves to train body and soul: So, why not you if you are trying to become holy and be free?
Especially, amidst so much materialism, gadgets and busyness. “Subtraction means addition”: when you fast (deny stomach/appetite) and get hungry you attach to the Lord and build discipline. When you give up TV or gadgets for a while you gain peace and add in strength. If not now, when? Lent is a time to get ready for Easter and you can by withholding food or sensual stimulation or sleep or esteem—and combine your sacrifice into Christ’s—and also think of the poor, and persecuted Christians with hardly anything!
Divine Mercy Sunday - April 27 -
Second Sunday of Easter—when Pope John Paul II and John XIII will be canonized saints-- is a time to recognize God’s Compassion in our lives—especially in the Sacrament of Reconciliation/Confession.
We will be having special Confessions that day 11pm-12pm, and Welcome Luncheon at 1.30pm for all friends and family of yours who may not be attending Mass, or “fallen away” or otherwise non-churched. Please let us know by calling Rectory-Office (or sign ups in back of church) so we can invite and include them in this Beautiful Day’s Glory and Peace.
You should take a retreat: Why not?...
I just got back from a four day retreat where I was with Trappists monks for prayer, Gregorian chant, reconciliation, spiritual direction and fuga mundi—“flee the world,” –you know, get away from it all! I was praying for you and thinking during retreat.
I thought to myself: Why do so few people make a retreat? Here’s some common objections (and answers):
I don’t need it: Aren’t you sometimes “run down” and stressed –and overdone with TV or news or tabloids or appointments? Don’t you desire to get away from it all? Then take the plunge! I enjoyed watching the cows in pastures filled with snow and saw beautiful bald eagles down by the Shenandoah River again—flew right over my head many times—seemingly hunting or just trying to impress me (I was). They’re always noble. This and all the vast beautiful spaces erased my worries and stress and impressed Gods’ Love and ornamenting fertile gifts to surround me in peace and tranquility.
That’s not for me: You may imagine constant prayer and angelic holy rollers, a rarified chapel and meager meals... No, I actually ate well (even the lima beans) and the silent meals are fun. You wonder about what the other people do for a living, if they’ll drop a spoon on the floor loudly or if you’re chewing too loudly; after a while you really like the silence. I did try to pray a lot though. Each day I made myself --instead of bunking up in my comfy room and getting lazy, go to each of the monk’s prayers, 5 in all--and lost weight walking to the chapel from the guest house!
The chapel has a humble feel and has that incense odor and observe the monks give that profound, waist-level bow to the Lord when they come to or leave the chapel—an inspiration in itself. So, retreats are “something different”—something for you! After all you’ve gone to strange places, met different people—so why not make a retreat?
Can’t afford it? Wait: $30 a night ain’t bad for an eternal investment! They even took an IOU from me!
Can’t get anyone to take care of (pick one or more): kids/job/ appointments: What about the pope making yearly retreats? And those other 7 people I was with on retreat? That’s part of a retreat—letting go of stuff so you can go back to it better. After a while away, I actually missed, active ministry and thought of ways to re-do things, try new ideas and improve old ones (hopefully)! So when you retreat, remember: Detachment helps us re-attach in better ways!
I Wouldn’t’ know what to do: Not a mystic? Can’t read the Bible or focus? Well, stop “booby-trapping yourself” -- just go and let someone else be the expert—like the Holy Spirit.. And the time flies by. Try for a weekend, or an overnight or one day retreat. Make it simple while there: go to Mass, take a walk, bring a book/Bible; re-engage yourself with God, make and examination of conscience or ”life review,” a Confession, and you’ll feel great, whole again, refreshed. Whenever I get to Holy Cross /Shenandoah and hear the chanting monks and see the mountains I immediately think: Why have I waited so long to get back here? This is a 1ooo yr tradition Cistercian-monasticism open to all –“Eternity is just down the street!”
Okay; think: You “Treat yourself” to a nite out or ball game or special vacation, or you go on workshops or overnights with friends—now: what about time with God (and your soul) ?
I got up each nite for vigils at 3am. Somehow I found it easy—after all, Jesus died for me, so I can make a little sacrifice and foster discipline.
Insights: you’ll gain these amidst the slowness and silence. The spiritual director I visited said to me when I shared some challenges in my life: God has blessed you many ways; He will again bless you and empower you to overcome more! And when I was critiquing one person and their limitations, he reflected: Think about your own limitations and how they accept you. During and after this visit I was immediately freed, graced and gained strength to live Jesus’ Life more in my own life!
Okay, so plan a retreat: It’s not just for priests anymore. Some of our parishioners are going soon. You won’t regret it. You usually think: I’m too busy (that’s just the reason TO go.)
Peace and Blessings – Father Jack Lombardi
March 16, 2014
Mark Zuckerburg, famous founder of Facebook, has a motto: “The journey is 1 per cent finished”
IE: Get cracking.
What is the essence of life (for some, especially those trying to sell things)?: Keep changing. Update. Remodel.
Christianity and Catholicism insist, especially in Lent: same old story as Facebook/Zuckerburg—we Christians have just begun, keep changing and going higher, get freed from sin and embrace Him-the-Christ.
So, to put it a bit differently: Union or Slavery—which one are you choosing?
We are all called to godly-spiritual-divine-eternal union—and we all look for, and seek it, in something or someone, all the time—we are meant for oneness. We are on the prowl for completion and wholeness. Doesn’t the frenziedness of the world around you show you that? You know-- the omnipresent media, “being wired” and getting “hooked up,” video game exhilaration; the drug addiction rise; seemingly endless gadgets to purchase; more appointments and jobs and buying more things and even stress (albeit adrenalin in a negative form) show you humans will always find a way to be in union with something, or someone?
Lent is time especially for detaching, purification, freeing from harmful –wrongful attachments—from the sinful and dangerous and temporary kinds of union and, oppositely, for joining up to Christ and God the Trinity Who promise True ongoing Union. The Gospel this Sunday (Matthew 17:2) shows us Deep Union: Jesus’ Transfiguration, The manifestation of His Loving-Radiant Divinity. And St Peter, our Patron, gets it right, Union, that is, when he exclaims: “It is good to be here.”
St Augustine who sought union in many wrongful ways in the fourth century, puts it this way: “You made us for Yourself O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee, O God.”
Yes, we humans are restless, seeking union-completion, in many wrong ways, yet Lent (which means Spring, Springing, emerging!) allows us time to free ourselves and join our weary souls to Him!
I read a recent business article in The New York Times (March 2: “Rose Colored Words, but Gray Outcomes” ) which stated that we must have goals but not just “dreamy ones,” wherein we only hope or desire, without knowing obstacles to overcome, otherwise we will give up when the “going gets rough” –finding ourselves unrealistic or unprepared. Disciples of Christ both have goals, yes, Divine Union, and also know and overcome personal obstacles.
Here’s my Top Ten Ways We Seek Wrongful Union and get harmfully attached (you may choose one or some of these phenomenon): materialism (constantly prowling for clothes or things); drugs—illegal and prescription (seeking pleasure away from a difficult situation); eating + drink (wherein we have no moderation here-- eating-drinking for pleasure in itself vs. basic nourishment); people-(wrong-harmful relationships, sexual or abusive ones or over-reliance in some); technology (constantly checking messages/ wired/ “hooked on the grid”); pornography ( as “streamlined” on TV and internet); sports (watching them or playing excessively); TV-video’s—(large plasma TV’s warmth falsely soothes souls and fosters addiction); work-aholism (overdoing it) and stress—yes attached to “negative exhilaration”.
The Catholic Church wisely gives us the Transfiguration Gospel in our Lenten Journey precisely to show us both the Goal—Divine Union—and that we must climb the Mountain of Holiness by leaving false unions behind: Keep climbing—Higher! And, besides, we also are given each week, Holy Communion with this Lord Jesus Christ.
Peace and Blessings – Father Jack Lombardi
Sunday March 9, 2014
Sometimes---especially in Lent, we gotta “subtract to add”. You know, like subtract junk thru Spring cleaning and add in new furnishings. Or: Strip away sins and add God and prayer. Another way to describe this, Lenten-wise, is purification. We all need an annual purification of our hearts/minds/souls and Lent (the word means Spring) is a way to refresh our relationship with God. This doesn’t just come thru dreamy desiring but thru concrete disciplinary ways—like prayer, fasting and almsgiving. Another beautiful- necessary and great way is thru the Sacrament of Confession—subtracting sins and adding Grace into our soul. Here’s an enthusiastic message, from Bishop Mark Davies in England about CONFESSION—
“I would like to ask you: when was the last time you made your Confession?” This is the question Pope Francis has recently put to us. The Holy Father continued: “Is it “two days, two weeks, two years, twenty years, forty years?”… Do not lose another day. Go, the priest will be good. Jesus receives you, he receives you with much love. Be courageous and go to Confession!” (General Audience of the Holy Father, 19th February 2014).
Pope Francis says in his simple and direct teaching. “When one is line for Confession,” he reflects, we feel those things which weigh on our hearts; “but when one finishes Confession one leaves free, grand, beautiful, forgiven, candid, happy. This is the beauty of Confession!” This is the Sacrament which Christ gives us for our salvation; for the forgiveness of sins after Baptism; and to enable you and me to reach the holiness, the perfection of charity which is the goal of our Christian lives. Confession is the moment when I have to put aside all illusions about myself and about the state of my Christian life and be ready to say “Father, these are my sins.” This is where I have gone wrong! Confession is a “reality check” when I recognize how far I still have to go in the Christian life and receive the grace to go forward. In our Emeritus Pope Benedict’s words: “we must accept our frailty but keep on going, not giving up but moving forward and becoming converted ever anew” (Pope Benedict XVI 17th Febr. 2007).
The sincere Confession of our sins is the moment when we put aside the illusions we can all so easily entertain about ourselves. The Holy Father explained, “the Pope is also a sinner.” Pope Francis reminds us that confessing our sins can involve shame. But he calls it a “good shame,” for our sins are the one thing of which we should be ashamed! However, it is in the very moment we confess them (in the Holy Father’s words) God sends “a brother to bestow his pardon, the certainty of his forgiveness in the name of the Church …” Through the ministry of the priest, God holds us “in a new embrace and regenerates us and allows us to rise again and resume our journey”. Holy Father reminds us: “it is Jesus Himself who awaits us in this great and beautiful Sacrament: have courage and go to Confession!” + Mark, Bishop of Shrewsbury
+Peace and Blessings~ Fr Jack Lombardi…
March 2, 2014:
“Turn back to the Lord” is the theme of our Mini-Mission March 29-April 1—and can be the focus of your Lent.
These Forty Days are a special time of year to get closer to God, turn away from sin and love Him in our neighbor. We all can grow away from the Lord and His Way: NOW is the time to…
Pray more: Spend ten minutes each day with God in silence /adoration;
Fast more: Lose some weight (!) and discipline your mind and body
Do good deeds: Go out to Jesus in the poor, sick and dying—and your family
Do you Love God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength?
So now, beginning this Ash Wednesday, make SACRIFICES in imitating Christ’s, and grow back into the Lord’s Image and Love!
May all the souls of the faithful departed rest in Peace: Amen!
What I learned about death and dying this week. May we all learn and grow into Our Lord’s Passion Death and Resurrection .
This week we buried/said Masses for Regina Unger, Hazel Souders and Harold McCusker.
They—and their families gathered around them—taught me how to die in dignity and grace.
1-At Regina Unger ‘s passing I learned how she requested of her family, to pray the Ave Maria/Hail Mary, and open a window at the moment of her death. Sure enough, the family was gathered there and when she was passing they were praying the Hail Mary, and then witnessed, The Soul go thru a window—this was from one of the family members. It was a grace-filled moment. I recalled before this, how effective the Hail Mary, soothing and graceful, when pray slowly, comforts souls. When I heard this story and how the praying daughter actually witnessed the soul moving on, I was joyful. What a blessing!
2-A few days before Hazel’s passing. I myself witnessed her Soul brightened when I walked in she heard my voice! She knew who I was even though in pain. I noticed the day she died her loving sons, Danny and Raymond beside her and grandson Tye. Their devotion and love was obvious and bright, of the great love they had for their mother/grandmother. On the blanket covering her was an icon of Jesus the Good Shepherd: how beautiful and comforting for all: Faith is the foundation of their lives—and passing from this life to the next!
3-I visited many times Harold McCusker in the hospital ICU. And also witnessed his suffering and family—extended family-- in those small rooms gathered—overcoming hardships. They were all there—son and daughters and wife, Cora, and grandchildren, sometimes sad and also telling stories and filled with good memories. This taught me: overcome challenges and rally around and soothe the fainthearted—be a family of faith!