18 Aug

Sacramental Grace

Continuing on the topic of grace, let's first consider sacramental grace. These graces flow from each of the seven sacraments respectively. Each sacrament is a font for a particular grace, which we refer to as sacramental. Sacraments are sensible signs instituted by our Lord Jesus; they symbolize and confer grace.

15 Aug

The Feast of the Assumption of Mary

"On November 1, 1950, Pope Pius XII solemnly proclaimed as a divinely revealed truth "that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever-virgin Mary, on the completion of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heaven."

By the fifth century, August fifteenth was kept at Jerusalem as the Commemoration of the Mother of God. In the sixth century the feast of Mary's Falling Asleep spread throughout the East Finally in the eighth century the day was celebrated as the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

"For Roman Catholic Christians, the belief in the Assumption of Mary flows immediately from the belief in her Immaculate Conception. Catholic Christians believe that if Mary was preserved from sin by the free gift of God, she would not be bound to experience the consequences of sin—death—in the same way we do. Mary's assumption shows the result of this freedom from sin—the immediate union of her whole being with her Son Jesus Christ with God at the end of her life." 

The Encyclical Munificentissimus Deus, before defining the dogma, reviewed the increasing awareness of this truth over the centuries, recalled the words of Holy Scripture which the fathers and theologians used to support their considerations and underlined this dogma's harmony with many other truths of the faith, such as Christ's resurrection and our own." Lives of the Saints, Augustine Kalberer, O.S.B.

"Hence the revered Mother of God, from all eternity joined in a hidden way with Jesus Christ in one and the same decree of predestination, immaculate in her conception, a most perfect virgin in her divine motherhood, the noble associate of the divine Redeemer who has won a complete triumph over sin and its consequences, finally obtained, as the supreme culmination of her privileges, that she should be preserved free from the corruption of the tomb and that, like her own Son, having overcome death, she might be taken up body and soul to the glory of heaven where, as Queen, she sits in splendor at the right hand of her Son, the immortal King of the Ages." — Munificentissimus Deus, Pope Pius XII 

Munificentissimus Deus

Deiparae Virginis Mariae

Homily on the Solemnity of the Assumption

Called, Like Mary, to Be Filled with God's Word

"Mary's Immaculate Body was, in a sense, the origin of sanctification of all mankind. Her flesh was used to form the flesh of her Son; the flesh which he used on the Cross to destroy death and sin, and which he gave to us that we might rise from the dead. Was this flesh, Mary's flesh, Christ's flesh, the instrument of our redemption and resurrection, to be subject to the corruption of the grave?" — Rev. James M. Keane, O.S.M.

"The womb that bore Jesus Christ, the hands that caressed him, the arms that embraced him, the breasts that nourished him, the heart that so loved him — it is impossible to think that these crumbled into dust." — Father Canice, OFM Cap. 

The Assumption of Our Lady

Mary's Death and Bodily Assumption

The Vatican Council on the Assumption of Our Lady

Her Assumption Befits the Mother of God

"The spiritual powers receive her with honors due to God,
and she who is truly the Mother of Life departs unto life,
the lamp of Light which no man can approach, the salvation
of the faithful and the hope of our souls (The Feast of Dormition, Great Vespers, Lete, Tone 2*)."

"A woman clothed with the sun, and the moon was under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars."

Hymn of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

The Crown of Twelve Stars

Beautiful, Glorious

Salve Regina

Novena Prayer for the Assumption of the Virgin Mary

Novena for the Solemnity of the Assumption



11 Aug

We Are All Kings and Queens

Fr. James speaking to young adults at Theology on Tap

Letters from a Pastor to His People- August 11, 2019

Dear Parishioners,

In response to Peter's question our Lord asks, "Who, then, is the faithful and prudent steward whom the master will put in charge of his servants to distribute the food allowance at the proper time?" (Luke 12:32-48). Jesus doesn't give an answer, but continues on with his exhortation to be vigilant. 

So, who has been put in charge?  Each one of us!  We have been put in charge.  We know this because of what Jesus says at the beginning of the Gospel: "Do not be afraid any longer, little flock, for your Father is pleased to give you the Kingdom." We have been given the kingdom.  We are kings and queens. 

11 Aug

God's Gate

The most famous tower in the Old Testament is Babel, meaning "God's gate." It was man's attempt to reach God on his own ability.  This failed.  But there is another tower that can help us reach God, and that is the Tower of David—Mary.

The tower of David is a reference to Mary's physical beauty, her strength, security, steadfastness, and inaccessible womanhood.  Vigilance and ascent are other attributes of a tower.  We need to be vigilant in the spiritual life; on the lookout for pitfalls and sins that will lead us away from God and make us fall back into ourselves and, ultimately, into Hell.  We are, instead, to ascend upwards to God.  We cannot do this on our own, but only through the assistance of the Blessed Mother.  The Tower of David rises high into the Jerusalem sky. 

11 Aug

Gospel August 11, 2019

In the nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, the first reading is from the Book of Wisdom (18:6-9). The author’s purpose in writing was to strengthen the faith of his coreligionists in Alexandria and to help them rediscover and maintain the richness of their heritage and traditions. The reader is reminded of what God accomplished through the exodus event. The people were delivered out of bondage, given their ultimate freedom, and set upon their own land. The annual Passover was a living memorial to the God who saves, provides for, delivers, and protects his people.

11 Aug

Redemption Won By Death

Among the heroes we see on the big screen, Captain America holds a privileged place. He's the hero of the most memorable war, World War II. He came from an Irish family but lost both of his parents at a young age. He wanted to join the army at the outbreak of war but was denied because of his frail stature. Yet, what caught the eye of the head of an experimental serum, Dr. Reinstein, was the tremendous virtue of Steve Roger's heart.

04 Aug

Everything You Do Has Purpose In God's Eyes

Fr. James just married this couple at St. Juliana Parish

Letters from a Pastor to His People- August 4, 2019

Dear Parishioners,

In most of my political science and philosophy courses from college and seminary Plato's The Republic was discussed.  The part that received the most attention was the allegory of the cave.  I won't go into detail, but the gist of the "cave" (and platonic philosophy in general) is that there are forms above.  That is, everything on this earth is but a shadow of something higher, in the supernatural or metaphysical realm.  There is a deeper or higher meaning to what we see in existence.  For Plato and Socrates, living well means living with these higher forms in mind; not narrowing our vision only to things before us.  

04 Aug

dit dit dit DAH

Among Beethoven's masterful innovations to music was making the final movement of a symphony as strong, if not stronger, than the first movement.  In the prior Baroque and Classical periods, the opening of the symphony was the tour de force and each movement slowly subsided in energy and ingenuity.  Most everyone is familiar with the first movement of Beethoven's 5th, in particular the motif dit dit dit DAH.  Following the tradition, Beethoven designed the opening to captivate the listener, to draw him in.  But listen to the fourth and final movement of the Symphony no.5 in C Minor (which happens to be one of my favorite pieces in all classical music).  People did not walk out of Beethoven's music hall ready for bed.  They were exhilarated. 

Is this not an analogy for the Catholic life?  Our baptism is the captivating opening movement.  We are drawn in.  The crescendo is initiated.  And just as that famous motif repeats throughout Beethoven's fifth symphony, the promptings of grace inaugurated at baptism resonate through our life, bringing us peace and joy.  At last, Catholics do not end their lives with a whimper, fading off into oblivion like the final movements of the earlier musical epochs.  No, we end triumphantly.  We are carried off to the ever-expanding Trinity from whence we came.  Our life lived in baptism and through the sacraments on this earth continues on into the next, now glorified.  The end of the Catholic life is even greater than the beginning, an ode to joy. 

04 Aug

Gospel August 4, 2019

In the Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, the first reading is from the Book of Ecclesiastes (1:2, 2:21-23). Vanity or hebel (Hebrew) repeated six times literally translated as “breath” or “vapor.” Therefore, Qoheleth, the author of this Book uses “vanity” to refer to things in life that are transient, transitory, fleeting, and insubstantial. For this author, riches, power, pleasures are worthless and empty. Only God gives meaning to life.

04 Aug

On the Topic of Grace

On the topic of grace, Mother Church has written many things to say about God's grace, from the great saints, St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Teresa of Avila to the councils of the Church Fathers. In the seminary, we take a course that includes a section on grace. It is a very fascinating topic, one that could be pondered for a lifetime. Yet, we should not let any daunting topic, such as grace, just by its sheer magnitude, be a reason for us not to ask the questions and seek the answer to, "what is grace?"