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The Great Schism

In 05 Homilies by Fr. Reid on 2016/10/14 at 12:00 AM

Perhaps the saddest event within our 2000 years of Christian history is the Great Schism of 1054, by which the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church was cleaved in half between East and West.

After a millennia of unity – albeit at times a very tense and strained unity – the Body of Christ no longer beat with one heart. Divided along cultural, theological, political and geographical lines, Rome and Constantinople were no longer sisters.
While there has been a general softening in hostilities between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches, and while recent popes have reached out with gestures of conciliation, this division between Eastern and Western Christianity remains unhealed.
Though centuries in its making, with facets that are many and varied, the real heart of the division between Catholics and the Orthodox is really papal authority.
Because the pope is the successor of St. Peter, the undisputed leader of the apostles and the rock upon whom Christ founded His Church, Catholics believe the pope to have authority over all bishops and patriarchs, whereas the Orthodox insist upon the absolute equality of the Bishop of Rome and the Patriarch of Constantinople.
Because unity on this issue of gravest importance has yet to be attained, this sad division remains. And division is precisely the theme of our Gospel today.
In words that may shock ears attuned to a culture that insists that “being nice,” is the highest virtue, our Lord says: “I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing! . . . Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division.”
So how do we reconcile these words from our merciful Lord, Whom we are accustomed to seeing so generously healing the sick and lame, and so gently calling children to Himself? Didn’t Jesus die for us all, and doesn’t He want all of us to be one body in Him?
Yes, Jesus did die for all mankind without exception. And yes, He does want us all to be united as one body. But that unity is not contingent upon Him, but rather upon us. If there is a division between Christ and us, it is not Christ’s fault.
Our Lord knew during His time on earth that He would be rejected and despised by many. Jesus knew there would be those people who, hardened by sin and selfishness, would turn away from Him and oppose Him to their own peril.
And the hard truth is that while our blessed Lord desires the salvation of all men more than anything else, He will allow us to damn ourselves if we fail to reconcile ourselves to Him and the Truth He has revealed through His Church.
My dear brothers and sisters, I cannot say it enough to you: we must never presume upon our salvation. Yes, salvation is a free gift given by God. Yes, God is merciful beyond measure and will pardon even the very gravest of sins if we are sorry for them.
But our redemption is a process with which we must cooperate. Specifically, we must conform our lives to our Lord’s teaching as it is divinely revealed to us through the Church. And we must beg pardon for those times that we fail.
So our work in the process of our own redemption is that of seeking out the Truth that our Lord has so lovingly revealed in the teachings of the Church and written upon our hearts, and then – by God’s grace, so freely given – doing our best to live by that Truth.
Our work in the process of our own redemption is a matter of coming to know Christ, to love Christ, and to be like Christ. If we hope to be saved, my dear brethren, then we must have a real relationship with the Savior!
Because Jesus Christ is our brother and friend, we must be intimate with Him in prayer. Because He is our savior, we must constantly thank and adore Him. And because Christ will be our Judge, we must obey Him and seek His mercy for our sins.
As the author of the Letter to the Hebrews tells us today, we must “rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us and persevere in running the race that lies before us, while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the leader and perfecter of faith.”
But as with all things, we must not think only of ourselves. True charity demands that we try to help others along the path of salvation. And so the life of the Christian is necessarily evangelical by nature – helping others to know the truth and live by it.
The primary way that we evangelize is by living our Catholic faith with authenticity, for we cannot hope that others will adopt our faith if we ourselves are failing to live it well. But living our faith with integrity is only the beginning.
In a society such as ours that is now embracing as normal and good a whole host of evil and perverse practices, and even taxing its citizens to pay for those evils, we must also be willing to engage in battle with evil.
In a society such as ours that understands contraception as a necessity, abortion as a fundamental right, pornography as a pastime, and same sex unions as a matter of equality, we must hold fast to and promote our Catholic teachings with all the more tenacity – for souls are being lost to these evils in our midst.
Indeed, my brothers and sisters, we must be so convinced of the Truth of what Christ teaches us through His Church that we are willing to suffer the loss of relationships with loved ones rather than deny or disobey it.
We must be willing to suffer the pain that division with others brings in order to remain true to Jesus and to help others know Him. That’s the meaning of today’s Gospel!
There can be no doubt that living our Catholic faith with integrity is difficult today because it requires nothing less than dying to ourselves so that Christ may live in us. Our faith demands that we suffer, for there is no Catholicism without the cross.
Moreover, our world is filled with many temptations and with so many charlatans who, tickling our ears with lies and half-truths, sow doubts in our faith and distort the truths of Christ’s teachings.
Yet we must not be discouraged, even when those we love turn away from us because of our adherence to our Catholic faith. We must not be discouraged even when we have to suffer for our faith, as did poor Jeremiah in our first reading.
For as Jesus told His disciples during His sermon on the mount: “Blessed are you when they insult you, and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in Heaven” (Mt 5:12).
Brethren, none of us likes to be at odds with others. None of us likes to suffer the pains of division or persecution. Certainly, we should never seek division with others, but being true disciples of Christ may necessitate it.
Our readings today ask us the question if we are willing to suffer division for our faith. For the sake of souls, let us resolve to suffer whatever divisions necessary in this life so that we may not suffer eternal division from Christ in the next.
18 August 2013

© Reverend Timothy Reid

Fr. Reid is the pastor of St. Ann Catholic Church, Charlotte, NC

Homilies from June 17, 2012 onward have audio.
To enable the audio, lease go directly to Fr. Reid’s homily homilies and select the matching date.

Link to Homilies:
http://stanncharlotte.org/content/index.php?option=com_content&view=section&id=8&Itemid=61

St. Dominic by Fr. Reid

In 05 Homilies by Fr. Reid on 2016/10/07 at 12:00 AM

• The great mendicant, St. Dominic, once said that “A man who governs his passions is master of the world. We must either command them, or be commanded by them. It is better to be a hammer than an anvil.”

• When it comes to the spiritual life, our passions are the intensely powerful feelings or desires that lead us into sin, particularly the capital sins of lust, anger, greed, and envy.

• When we give free reign to our passions, we fall prey to concupiscence, hedonism, unbridled pleasure-seeking, and in the worst cases, hatred.

• Thus, St. Dominic’s point is well taken, for all of us from time to time have felt the turbulent waves of sinful inclinations rise and crash within ourselves.

• Sometimes it can feel like our passions – particularly those that inflame our lower appetites – are tyrants that must be obeyed. Emotions, especially when they are strong, can lead us to say and do all sorts of things that we know are wrong and sinful.

• Thus, it is so very important that every man of God learn how to govern his passions so as not to be a slave to them, for it is not God’s will that we be at the mercy of our emotions and passions, but rather that we learn self-control and restraint so that we may protect ourselves from sin.

• Truly, my friends, in our day and age, I cannot stress enough to you how important it is to guard ourselves from sin. Sin not only distorts and perverts our true selves, but it offends God. Moreover, as St. Paul wrote to the Romans, “the wages of sin is death” (Rom 6:23).

• Thus, as true followers of Christ, we must be willing to endure all types of suffering and punishments rather than commit sin, for the sufferings of this world are only temporary, but the suffering that we will have to endure for our un-repented mortal sins is eternal.

• There is a hell, my friends, and it would do us good to try to avoid it! This requires that we fight. While God’s grace is constantly trying to pull upward, our passions and sinful inclinations drag us downward, and thus we must be vigilant in fighting these passions.

• Our second reading from the Letter of St. James talks about what falling prey to our sinful passions can do to us, while the first reading from the Book of Wisdom gives us an example of how sin can harden our hearts and blind us to truth and goodness.

• St. James tells us that “where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every foul practice.” He then asks: “Where do the wars and where do the conflicts among you come from? Is it not from your passions that make war within your members?”

• The point St. James is making is that if we fail to fight against our sinful passions and inclinations, we will lose our inner peace, making us vulnerable to falling even deeper into sin.

• Rather than sating our desires, giving in to our passions, my friends, simply inflames them all the more. And when the sins we commit are mortal, it robs us of our interior peace because our Lord, Who entered our souls at baptism, flees from us until we make a good confession and are absolved from our sins.

• Further, the more we give into our sinful passions and inclinations, the less able we are to see the Truth and act in accord with it. Sin hardens our hearts, and if we fail to fight the sin in our life, our hearts will harden to the point that we begin to hate that which is good and holy.

• We see a very clear example of this in the first reading from the Book of Wisdom. This reading tells the story of wicked men who wish to cause suffering to a just man. While this passage is often understood to be a prophecy of Jesus’ passion and death, it shows us clearly how sin can devastate us morally.

• The wicked men mentioned in this passage want to harm the just man because he is just. They know of his innocence and goodness, but their sins have hardened their hearts to such a degree that the just man’s very presence is a reproach to them.

• While it is a very normal human feeling not to like some people, if we actually hate another person and wish them harm, then there is something seriously wrong with us, namely, that we have given in to our sinful passions to such a degree that we are now mastered by them.

• The good news is that it is never God’s will that we persist in our sinfulness. As the Divine Physician, He is capable of healing us and restoring us to full spiritual health. But in order for this to happen, we must align our wills with His most holy will.

• Last week I mentioned that if we suffer from a weak will, we can strengthen our wills through fasting and penances. Every time we choose, out of love for God, to voluntarily deny ourselves something we desire, our wills grow stronger, rendering us more capable of saying no to our passions and sinful desires as they arise.

• But there is an even more fundamental step we must take first if we truly wish to strengthen our wills and protect ourselves from sin, and this we read about in today’s Gospel. It is this: we must learn to be humble and charitable.

• In the Gospel today Jesus says to the 12 apostles: “If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.” Then taking a child and embracing him, Jesus tells the 12 that they must be ready to  receive such a child in His name.

• In these words and actions of Jesus, we see these two virtues humility and charity extolled.

• St. John Vianney once said that: “Humility is to the various virtues what the chain is in a rosary. Take away the chain and the beads are scattered; remove humility, and all virtues vanish.”

• Thus, humility is the root of every other virtue. Humility nourishes our soul and makes us capable of receiving God’s grace so that the virtues can take root and grow in our souls.

• Moreover, humility helps us to see how truly weak we are, and thus it induces us to seek our Lord’s strength and protection all the more when we’re bombarded by temptation.

• Charity, on the other hand, is the form of all the virtues. Whereas humility prepares us to receive the other virtues, charity helps to perfect the other virtues within us.

• Because charity is the most important and most powerful of all virtues, the more we grow in charity, the more the other virtues naturally grow within us as well, including the virtues of temperance, chastity, and meekness, which help us to control our passions.

• The more we grow in humility, the more we see God and ourselves as we truly are. The more we grow in charity, the more we love God for Who He Is. The more that we know God and love God, the more we want to serve Him and avoid offending Him.

• My dear friends, let us learn to turn away from sin by strengthening ourselves against our passions and sinful inclinations through growing in the virtues of humility and charity.

• Let us avoid sin at all cost, not only because sin has the power to distort and destroy our souls, but also out of our love for God, Whom we should love above all things.

Copyright 2010 by Reverend Timothy S. Reid

Reverend Reid is pastor of St. Ann’s Catholic  Church in Charlotte, NC

St. Bernadette Souborious

In 05 Homilies by Fr. Reid on 2016/10/07 at 12:00 AM

After a wonderful pilgrimage to France, it’s so very good to be home and with all of you again. I am very grateful to all of you who prayed for us while we were away. Please know that I was praying for all of you in the holy sites we visited.

Truly, this pilgrimage to France was a tremendous opportunity to pray, to visit very holy places, and to honor our Lady and learn more about her and the saints.

On this particular trip the saint who captivated me the most was the humble St. Bernadette Soubirous, and the place that made the greatest impression upon was Lourdes, Bernadette’s hometown.

Born in 1844 into a pious family, Bernadette’s early years were relatively happy and peaceful. But financial devastation was visited upon her family when she was 9 or 10, and the Soubirous family fell increasingly deeper into debt and penury as Bernadette grew into adolescence. They all suffered terribly from their poverty.

Eventually the family became homeless and was forced to move into a single-room dwelling that was once the city jail of Lourdes, but it had been abandoned because it was deemed unfit for the prisoners.

Throughout her childhood Bernadette was small and sickly, and she was considered mentally dull – so much so that by the age of 14, she had still not yet been allowed to receive her first Holy Communion.

But it was at the age of 14 that something happened to Bernadette that not only changed her life and that of her family, but that changed the town of Lourdes and indeed the whole world.

While out collecting firewood near a grotto alongside a river on February 11, 1858, the Mother of God appeared to Bernadette. Dressed in white with a blue sash and with golden roses on her shoes, the Blessed Virgin Mary invited Bernadette to come back to the grotto every day for a fortnight.

Between February and April of 1858, Our Lady appeared to Bernadette 18 times, and she revealed herself as the Immaculate Conception, confirming a dogmatic teaching that had been solemnly proclaimed just 4 years earlier by Pope Pius IX.

Over the course of the apparitions, our Lady gave several messages to Bernadette that led the small town of Lourdes to become one of the most important religious shrines in the whole world, hosting 5 million visitors each year.

One of the key messages our Lady gave to Bernadette is that that we must be willing to pray and to do penance for sinners.

And like so many other saints, St. Bernadette suffered greatly throughout her life, offering up all that she endured for sinners until she died in 1879 – praying for the conversion of sinners and making reparation for their sins.

In addition to poverty and frequent illnesses, as the apparitions to Bernadette occurred, she was subject to many humiliations and tough examinations by various authorities.

And for years after the apparitions, inquisitive townspeople and visitors alike constantly harassed her.

But Bernadette bore all these things with equanimity, eventually entering a convent in Nevers, where she died at the age of 35 after a long and extremely painful illness.

Through all that she suffered, St. Bernadette was steadfast in making a sacrifice of herself for the sake of sinners. And it is for this reason, and not because she received apparitions from Our Lady, that St. Bernadette is a great saint.

Bernadette is a great saint because she imitated Jesus so well by suffering for the sake of sinners.

In our first reading from Isaiah we hear of the prophecy that tells of how Jesus will give His life as an offering for sin. Isaiah prophesies of how our Lord will justify sinners through His suffering.

Our Gospel confirms this prophecy as Jesus tells His apostles that He did not come to the earth to be served, but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many.

And Jesus did this because He is our great and merciful high priest, our priest who sympathizes with our weaknesses – even though He Himself never committed a sin.

In His great love for all souls, even those He knew would turn away from Him and ostracize and persecute Him, Jesus our great high priest was willing to mount the altar of the cross and humbly offer Himself in sacrifice for our sins so that we might be saved.

And it is for this reason that the author of the Letter to the Hebrews tells us that we should “confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help.”

Think about it: if Christ was willing to die such an awful death for us, is there anything necessary for our salvation that He would ever deny us?

Truly, my dear brothers and sisters, there is no sin, no matter how great and terrible we may think it is, that our Lord is unwilling to forgive. His mercy is like a vast ocean, and our sins are like a drop of water that is quickly lost in the greatness of His mercy.

And so as we meditate on today’s readings, we should understand that we have nothing to fear from God if we are willing to turn away from our sins and humbly confess them in the great Sacrament of Reconciliation. For God wants to show us His great mercy!

So please, my dear brothers and sisters, make use of this great sacrament. Go to confession, repent of your sins, and do your best to make reparation for them.

Our dear and blessed Lord will never deny mercy to anyone who asks for it with integrity.

And if your sins are great, then take consolation in the fact that your repentance and conversion will give our Lord and the saints & angels even greater joy and satisfaction!

But let us, too, meditate on the life of humble and great St. Bernadette. And like her, may be willing to imitate our Lord by offering all that we suffer in this life not only in reparation for our own sins, but also for the sake of sinners everywhere.

May we pray daily that those who are in a state of mortal sin may repent and be reconciled with our Lord through His never-ending mercy. And may we be willing to suffer whatever our Lord allows so that sinners may be converted.

St. Bernadette once wrote the following brief prayer: “O Jesus, keep me under the standard of your cross. Let me not just look at you crucified but have you living in my heart.”

Truly, my brothers and sisters, it is by imitating our Lord through a willingness to suffer for others that He comes to live so deeply in our hearts. May this simple prayer of St. Bernadette become our prayer too.

O Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make our hearts like unto thine. St. Bernadette, pray for us.
21 October 2012

© Reverend Timothy Reid

Fr. Reid is the pastor of St. Ann Catholic Church, Charlotte, NC

Homilies from June 17, 2012 onward have audio .
To enable the audio, please go directly to Fr. Reid’s homily homilies and select the matching date.

Link to Homilies:
http://stanncharlotte.org/content/index.php?option=com_content&view=section&id=8&Itemid=61

 

Capacity for Sanctity – given in Chartres, France

In 05 Homilies by Fr. Reid on 2016/09/29 at 12:00 AM

The west rose window of the magnificent cathedral of this city depicts the Last Judgment. Dating from the early 13th century, Christ is in the center sitting in judgment and displaying His 5 wounds – the price of our redemption. He is surrounded by the 4 Evangelists and angels as well. The 12 apostles can be seen on the right and left. We can also see scenes of the resurrection of the dead, St. Michael the Archangel weighing souls in his scales, the redeemed being led by an angel into Paradise – symbolized by the bosom of Abraham – while a demon leads the souls of the damned into hell.

The second reading from the Letter to the Hebrews reminds us, too, that judgment is something we will all face, for: “no creature is concealed from Him, but everything is naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must render an account.” But for those of us who know and love our Lord, judgment is not something to dread. For while we may naturally and rightly fear the damnation our sins deserve, we know that God is merciful, and we hope in that mercy. So as we consider the Last Judgment that we’ve seen so magnificently spelled out for us in the stone and glass of the Cathedral of Chartres, we should seek to prepare ourselves for what lies ahead for us all.

In today’s Gospel we have the story of the rich man who asks Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life. The first requirement, Jesus tells us, is to follow the commandments. Of course implicit in this instruction is the requirement that we beg pardon for the times we break the commandments. Certainly if we wish to inherit eternal life, we must confess our sins and do our best to make reparation for them. Truly, the saints show us that the path to Heaven is always by means of confession and penance. If confession and penance are not part of your life on earth, do not expect Heaven to be a part of your life in eternity.

But there is more that Jesus tells the rich man. In addition to keeping the commandments, Jesus tells him he must sell his things, give to the poor, and follow Jesus. Note well how St. Mark tells us that Jesus speaks to the rich man with love: “Jesus, looking at him, loved him.” And indeed Jesus loves all souls. He more than sees the goodness in us all. Jesus sees the inestimable value of every human soul, made in His image and likeness.

While our Lord knows the capacity of the human soul for goodness, for sanctity, He also knows full well the obstacles that hold us down. Jesus knows well the sinful inclinations that enslave us. And we see this when the rich man walks away sad, unwilling to part with his many possessions. Jesus says: “how hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!…Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God!”

Why is it hard to enter the Kingdom of God? The simple answer is that we love ourselves more than we love God. In our sinfulness we seek to serve ourselves more than we serve God.

We must also understand that God created us for Himself. So it’s part of our human nature to long for him. But in our selfishness we often mistake this longing for something else, and we try to sate this longing with things of the earth. This breeds attachments to earthly things, much like we see in the rich man.

How do we get around this? How do we pass through the eye of the needle to enter the Kingdom of God? Like the author of our first reading from the Book of Wisdom, we must seek the gift of wisdom and the virtue of prudence, for it is wisdom and prudence that set us firmly on the path to God. Wisdom is the gift that helps us know that there’s more to life than this world can offer. And prudence is the virtue that helps us to choose always the virtuous action in every situation.

Wisdom and prudence together help us to realize that true wealth is to believe in God and to know His goodness, to hope in Heaven and His mercy without reserve, and to love our Lord above all else. Wisdom and prudence also help us remember that ultimately salvation is a free gift from our Lord. And while we participate in our redemption and will choose Heaven or hell by the way we live our earthly lives, it is God who saves us.

So while it is impossible for us to reach Heaven on our own, all things are possible for God. Our role is simply to give ourselves to Him, to trust in Him, to live for Him, and to serve Him. May our Lady of Chartres help us always so that we might be saved at the Last Judgment.

 

14 October 2012

© Reverend Timothy Reid

Fr. Reid is the pastor of St. Ann Catholic Church, Charlotte, NC

Homilies from June 17, 2012 onward have audio .
To enable the audio, please go directly to Fr. Reid’s homily homilies and select the matching date.

Link to Homilies:
http://stanncharlotte.org/content/index.php?option=com_content&view=section&id=8&Itemid=61

 

Body and Blood of Christ

In 05 Homilies by Fr. Reid on 2016/09/29 at 12:00 AM

The great Carmelite mystic, St. John of the Cross, once wrote that: “Love is paid only with love itself” (cf. Spiritual Canticle).
This beautiful thought has been the fodder of much meditation by the generations of Carmelites who have followed St. John of the Cross, most notably St. Thérèse of Lisieux, who wrote famously in her autobiography that: “Love is repaid by love alone.”
The point that both St. John and St. Thérèse are making is that when we are confronted with an act of love, most especially the gratuitous love our Lord showed us by His passion, death and resurrection, the soul who is true to Him has one legitimate response: to love in return. For no other response will do!
There is no bartering with love, no equivalent that can compare. One who loves is only satisfied when his beloved loves him in return. Indeed, centuries of poets and playwrights alike have written of the terrible suffering occasioned by unrequited love.
Unrequited love is painful because love costs us. Love, by its very nature, is sacrificial; it’s self-giving. When we love someone, we don’t just give them gifts; we give them our very selves. Whatever gifts we give to our beloved are simply symbols of ourselves.
So when the love we offer is rejected, the pain is acute for we feel quite deeply that our entire self has been rejected. And yet when our love is accepted and returned in kind, is there any greater joy that man can experience?
That sharing of love is what makes marriage not only beautiful but holy! For sharing in love makes us more like God, Who Is Love Itself. Indeed, love – when exercised properly and legitimately – has the power to transform our souls, to make them lovely!
Today Holy Mother Church celebrates one of Her great feasts of love: the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ.
For in the Eucharist we find Love Himself loving us by sacrificing His very self for us. The Eucharist is a sign that our Lord desires to be with us at all times, and that He is willing to go to the greatest lengths to unite us with Himself.
Imagine: the Lord of all creation condescends to become bread and wine – food and drink not only for our consumption, but for our salvation. Incredible, isn’t it?
Yet should we really be surprised? For God’s very nature is love. Indeed, in his first epistle St. John the Evangelist tells us God is Love Itself (I John 4:8). But St. John goes further by teaching us that “he who abides in love abides in God, and God in Him.”
Created in God’s image and likeness, all of us are called to a vocation of love: to be love in the world, and ultimately to enter into a Communion of Love with the Holy Trinity for all eternity. To abide with Him in love is the reason why God created us.
No matter what specific plan our Lord has willed for our lives, all of us are called to love Him in return.
Last Sunday as we honored the Holy Trinity, I mentioned that we cannot acknowledge the truth of the Most Holy Trinity without worshiping the Most Holy Trinity. The ineffable mystery of our 1 God being 3 divine Persons actually demands our worship!
Truly, in the face of the beautiful mystery of the Trinity, we can see that God alone is to be worshiped and adored, and that our entire lives – even the smallest details of them – must be ordered to worshiping Him and doing His will.
This mystery of Our Lord giving us His body, blood, soul, and divinity in Holy Communion is further confirmation of this truth! For what further proof can God give us of His love outside of the Eucharist!
We get a sense of the gratuitousness of God’s love in Holy Communion in today’s Gospel story in which our Lord feeds thousands of people with 2 fish and 5 loaves of bread.
And we get a small sense of our duty to repay our Lord for His love in the first reading. After routing his foes, Abram goes to the high priest Melchizedek, who brings out bread and wine and blesses Abram.
In return, Abram gives to Melchizedek a tenth of the booty he has collected, a symbol of his gratitude and his recognition of God’s saving power.
But if Abram gave the high priest 10% in return for the gift of ordinary bread and wine, should not we give our Lord our entire selves for the gift of the Eucharist, which is not simply bread and wine, but His very Body and Blood?
Thus our lives here on earth should be one continual act of love to God. And so it is that we must constantly seek to honor and please the Lord with everything that we do.
Last Sunday as we considered the ineffable greatness of the Most Holy Trinity, I asked you to examine the way you worship our Triune Lord.
Today, as we consider this remarkable gift of love the Lord gives us in the Eucharist, I ask you to consider the way you approach and receive our Lord in Holy Communion.
Are you as loving, reverent and receptive to our Lord as possible when you receive?
A couple of years ago we began using the altar rail at all the Masses. This decision wasmade after a great deal of thought and prayer in the hopes of impressing upon all of you the
supreme seriousness of receiving Holy Communion as reverently as possible.

The altar rail is a great reminder that we are not equal to God, and that we should alwaysapproach Him with as much respect and reverence as we can muster.
At the same time, it’s important to give some thought to how we receive, i.e., in the hand oron the tongue. I realize this is a delicate personal issue for many of you, and I don’t mean to offend any of you, but please hear me out on this. My goal here is to foster and deepen the love you have for God and the way you express it to Him.
While it is the right of Catholics in this country to receive either way, Holy Mother Church has a clear preference for Communion on the tongue. Receiving on the tongue is Church’s long-standing tradition, and it is the norm for receiving Holy Communion.
Practically speaking, receiving on the tongue eliminates the possibility of losing tiny particles of the Host, which so often stick to our hands when we receive in the hand, and so it helps prevent sacrilege.
Moreover, receiving on the tongue rather than in the hand reminds us implicitly that the food we receive in Holy Communion is no ordinary food that we should handle like any thing else we put into our mouths.
But more importantly, receiving on the tongue fosters the sense of utter receptivity that we, the Bride of Christ, should have for Christ our bridegroom. In receiving in this manner, we allow the Lord to feed us, while we simply receive the gift.
I bring up receiving on the tongue and kneeling for this very reason: our exterior actions in receiving Holy Communion help us to cultivate our interior disposition toward the Eucharist. Our actions shape our beliefs!
As concerns our interior disposition, in addition to being clean of grave sin and in full agreement with the Church’s teachings, we should receive our Lord with gratitude and love. We are the bride approaching our bridegroom!
Of course you are free to exercise your right to receive either way. However, if you do choose to receive on the hand, aside from ensuring that your hands are clean and that you’re using both hands, please be sure to consume any particles of the Host left on your hand.
But most importantly, regardless of how you receive, make sure that your soul is clean! No matter what, do not receive Holy Communion if you are aware of any un-confessed grave sin on your soul. And receive our Lord thoughtfully, and with great love.
So as we make our way to the altar rail, kneel down and await our Lord, like the 5 wise virgins who had full flasks of oil, we must have hearts full of love and devotion, minds that are recollected and focused on Him alone, and souls prepared for union with Him.
My dear brothers and sisters, love is repaid by love alone. May we repay our Lord’s love shown to us in this great gift of self by always receiving the Eucharist with the utmost reverence, devotion, and gratitude.
02 June 2013

© Reverend Timothy Reid

Fr. Reid is the pastor of St. Ann Catholic Church, Charlotte, NC

Homilies from June 17, 2012 onward have audio.
To enable the audio, lease go directly to Fr. Reid’s homily homilies and select the matching date.

 

Mt. Zion

In 05 Homilies by Fr. Reid on 2016/09/29 at 12:00 AM

Just outside of the old walled city of Jerusalem is Mt. Zion, a place of tremendous significance to Jews and Christians alike. Historically Mt. Zion signified an old Jebusite fortress just to the southeast of the current city walls of Jerusalem that King David conquered, and afterwards Mt. Zion came to designate not only that fortress, but the City of David as well (cf. 1 Kings 8:1). However, over time the geographic designation for Zion has moved around a bit, and its significance has expanded in meaning. When David’s son, Solomon, built the Temple, Mt. Zion came to signify the Temple and its surrounding environs – what we typically call now the Temple Mount (cf. Ps 2:6, 132: 13-14) – which is a little to the north of the City of David.

Eventually Zion came to be used interchangeably with the city of Jerusalem (cf. Is 40:9) as well as with the whole Israelite people (cf. Zech 9:13). So to both Jew and Christian alike, Mt. Zion is more than a geographic location. It is also a spiritual ideal for which the faithful soul hopes and longs. In its most important sense, Mt. Zion refers to the City of God, the New and Heavenly Jerusalem – the place we all hope to see one day (cf. Hebrews 12:22, Rev 14:1). Of course we all hope to see Mt. Zion, the New and Heavenly Jerusalem, some day because to do so is to see God Himself – Who is the fulfillment of all our hopes and desires, and the end for which all men have been created. Indeed Psalm 48 refers to Mt. Zion as the “true pole of the earth, the Great King’s city”; it is here that God dwells amongst its citadels. So for both Jews and Christians, Mt. Zion is the place of meeting and encountering our Lord.

Today in modern Jerusalem the geographic Mt. Zion is the place of King David’s tomb as well as the location of the Upper Room, which for us Catholics is one of the holiest and important sites in the world. In the Upper Room our Lord instituted the Eucharist and Holy Orders at the Last Supper. It was in the Upper Room that He appeared to the apostles after His resurrection to commission them and to institute the Sacrament of Reconciliation. And of course after our Lord’s ascension into Heaven, it was in the Upper Room that Our Lady and the apostles experienced the power of Pentecost, which gave birth to the Church. Thus Mt. Zion is a place of powerful and life-giving encounters with our Lord.

Most interesting, though, amongst the sites of this holy mountain is an abbey of Benedictine monks that sits atop the modern-day Mt. Zion: Dormition Abbey, an abbey dedicated to Our Lady and themystery of her death and assumption, body and soul, into Heaven. It is believed by many that Dormition Abbey marks the place where Mary died. Whether or not thisis factual really doesn’t matter as much as the great symbol of faith we find in Our Lady’s ultimate encounter with our Lord in death being ascribed to this holy place.

As we begin this holy season of Advent, we are called as God’s people to prepare ourselves toencounter our Lord: both in His coming at the end of time, and more proximately in His coming as man in great mystery of the Incarnation. In our first reading from the Prophet Isaiah we hear about Zion, the Lord’s mountain, from which“shall go forth instruction and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.” We are called to climb this mountain “to the house of the God of Jacob, that He may instruct us in Hisways, and we may walk in His paths.” We are called to do this with vigilance, with great preparation, “for at an hour [we] do not expect, theSon of Man will come.” And I submit to you today that the best preparation for our Lord’s coming is signified for us atop the modern-day Mt. Zion in that beautiful abbey basilica dedicated to Our Lady.

As Mt. Zion first referred to a fortress, it seems quite fitting to me that sitting atop Mt. Zion today is a building dedicated to the greatest fortress of the Lord: His Immaculate Mother. Truly, He whom the world cannot contain, confined Himself to the womb of the pure and lowly virgin of Nazareth. And because of her purity and humility, she, who is as fair as the moon and bright as the sun, is also as awesome as an army in battle array. So the best way to be well prepared for our Lord’s coming is to entrust ourselves humbly to the power of His Mother and to imitate her virtues – most especially her purity. In His Sermon on the Mount, as He spelled out the Beatitudes, Jesus said: “blessed are the clean of heart, for they shall see God.”

Certainly, St. Paul exhorts us to practice purity and refrain from all sins of the flesh in our second reading today. But even more than just being free from lust, being clean of heart is a matter of having our passions and desires rightly ordered, that is, ordered according to God’s will and design. So being clean of heart is ultimately a matter of desiring what our Lord desires for us. It’s a matter of being detached from the things of this world and intent on the things of Heaven. It’s a matter of being well prepared for our encounter with the Lord at the end of our lives. Advent is a time of year that we focus on this ultimate encounter with our Lord, and it is a time for us to properly order our desires and passions in accordance with God’s will through prayer and fasting.

In addition to trying to imitate our Lady’s purity, if we wish to be well prepared for meeting the Lord, we must entrust ourselves entirely to her as her children. As a loving mother Mary understands our weaknesses, and when we entrust ourselves to her loving care, she helps to correct our faults and failings through the power of the Holy Spirit. Our Lady also obtains for us the grace we need to carry our crosses with courage and dignity, and to profit by them. In short, if we give ourselves to her, Mary works to make us holy. For the past two summers, I’ve encouraged all of you to consecrate yourselves to Mary. Consecrating oneself to Mary is a matter of giving her full permission to take on her motherly role of forming us into ever more perfect likenesses of her Son, Jesus. And hundreds of you have done this!

But so that our parish family may be even more closely bound to Our Lady, and thus more perfectly united with our Lord, I am going to consecrate our parish to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception – just as Bishop Jugis consecrated our diocese and the Holy Father consecrated the entire world to her Immaculate Heart this past October. In preparation for this, I have put a novena prayer into my weekly bulletin article that I’m asking all of you to pray from today, December 1st, until December 9th, which is the day we’re celebrating the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception this year. That evening during the 7 p.m. Mass I will offer the Prayer of Consecration for our entire parish family. In addition to praying the novena prayer for 9 days, I also ask that you give up something as a fast during this novena period as a means of strengthening your prayer – just as you would give up something for Lent.

I ask you to join me in this as an act of charity toward your fellow parishioners, and as an act of love to Our Lady. My brothers and sisters, our Lord is coming to meet us! May we climb Mt. Zion joyfully this Advent and be well prepared for meeting Him by dedicating ourselves to His Immaculate Mother. May she, who is our life, our sweetness, and our hope, protect us and sustain us always in her maternal love. Immaculate Heart of Mary, Cause of Our Joy, pray for us! 01 December 2013 © Reverend Timothy Reid Fr. Reid is the pastor of St. Ann Catholic Church, Charlotte, NC Homilies from June 17, 2012 onward have audio. To enable the audio, lease go directly to Fr. Reid’s homily homilies and select the matching date. Link to Homilies: http://stanncharlotte.org/content/index.php?option=com_content&view=section&id=8&Itemid=61

An Opportunity to Expand Our Soul

In 05 Homilies by Fr. Reid on 2016/09/23 at 12:00 AM

• The great Cistercian abbot, St. Bernard of Clairvaux, once wrote that, “The capacity of any one’s soul is judged by the amount of love one possesses” (SBoC: Song of Songs, 27:10).
• His point was that, even though our souls are not material in nature, they have a spiritual capacity to expand or contract, and the more one practices the virtues – especially charity – the more the soul expands.
• And as the soul expands, the soul becomes a more spacious dwelling place for God, and consequently it takes on a greater likeness to God.
• As Christians who have received the presence of our Trinitarian Lord within our souls through baptism, it is both a duty and a privilege to make sufficient room within our souls so that our Lord can be comfortable and not cramped!
• This past week with the celebration of Ash Wednesday, we moved into the holy season of Lent, which is the time of the year that Holy Mother Church especially encourages us to do all that we can to expand our souls.
• On this first Sunday of Lent, we are given a little primer on how the process of soul- expansion begins! In our Gospel today we are given the curious story of Jesus going out into the desert immediately after His baptism in the Jordan River.
• In a biblical sense, the desert can be understood as a place of solitude. It’s a place to retreat from the world so that one may be purified by prayer and fasting.
• We see this in the story of Moses, of how he was alone for 40 days in the desert before proclaiming the Law on Mt. Sinai (cf. Ex 34:28). We see it, too, with the prophet Elijah, who journeyed for 40 days through the desert as well (cf. I Kings 19:5-8).
• And now, before proclaiming the Good News of the Gospel publicly and beginning His ministry of preaching, teaching, and healing, Jesus spends 40 days in the desert to prepare Himself by fasting and prayer.
• Obviously, by proclaiming this Gospel story on the 1st Sunday of Lent, the Church is making a connection between our Lord’s 40 days of prayer and fasting in the desert and the 40 days of Lent.
• Just as Christ prepared for His public ministry by 40 days of prayer and fasting, we are to prepare ourselves for a life of holiness during these 40 days of Lent.
• Truly, in Lent we are called to follow our Lord out of the world and into the desert so that we too might fast and pray in earnest. We are called to separate ourselves from worldly concerns and attachments as much as possible.
• If we are to be like Christ, if we are to be holy and shine forth as His presence in our dark and fallen world, then we must be purified by prayer and fasting.
• For these practices of prayer and fasting that, along with alms giving, we embrace during Lent, are absolutely essential to growth in holiness and expanding our souls.
• And it is the expansive soul that shines the light of Christ most brightly out into the world!
• But note well that our Lord’s time in the desert wasn’t a cozy retreat. Quite the opposite! It
was a period of intense spiritual warfare in which He was sorely tried by the devil.
• And this is because the evil one understands the importance of prayer and fasting and how
conducive they are to expanding one’s soul!
• Thus, he’s been busy tempting people to sin from the beginning of human history, as we see in our first reading from Genesis in which Adam and Eve are tempted by the serpent to effects disastrous for us all.
• But temptations to sin, even those that come directly from the devil, should not overly frighten us. For truly, going through this type of experience is part of the process of growing in holiness! Remember: we must be tried in order to be made true!
• So part of being a good soldier for Christ is recognizing that the temptations to sin that form the fabric of our every day lives, especially those that come from the devil, give us a chance to take a step forward in holiness and deliver a defeat to the great enemy of our souls. But we must be willing to fight!
• The beautiful thing about today’s Gospel story is that in allowing Himself to be tempted, Jesus shows us how to overcome the temptations we suffer so that we can be victorious.
• We can imagine how weak Jesus must have felt after praying and fasting for 40 days and nights, but despite the physical weakness He may have felt, there is an interior fortitude that is developed through fasting and prayer.
• By the practice of denying oneself through fasting those things that we enjoy, we learn to master our wills so that we have the courage to turn away from sin – no matter how enticing it might be.
• And by focusing our attention on God through prayer, we learn to submit ourselves to our Lord’s humble yoke, and we develop the good habit of trusting in His grace – knowing that it is only by God’s grace that we will ever conquer sin and grow in holiness.
• In prayer we come to know God, we come to trust God, and we receive the grace to give ourselves to Him, just as a bride gives herself whole-heartedly to her bridegroom.
• Jesus shows us that, by preparing ourselves through prayer and fasting, God gives us the fortitude to stare down the devil, and see through and counter his lies and half-truths.
• Jesus shows us that, if we humble ourselves before God through these important spiritual
practices of prayer and fasting, God gives us the grace to overcome the evil in our lives.
• So, my brothers and sisters, if we want to have those expansive souls in which our Lord rests
easily and comfortably, we must begin to grow in holiness by practicing prayer and fasting
with determination.
• And as temptations to sin are presented to us, whether from the world, the flesh, or the devil,
may we trust in God’s grace and mercy to give us the courage necessary to conquer them.
• St. Bernard of Clairvaux, pray for us!

© Reverend Timothy Reid

Fr. Reid is the pastor of St. Ann Catholic Church, Charlotte, NC

Homilies from June 17, 2012 onward have audio.
To enable the audio, lease go directly to Fr. Reid’s homily homilies and select the matching date.

Link to Homilies:
http://stanncharlotte.org/content/index.php?option=com_content&view=section&id=8&Itemid=61

Good and Evil

In 05 Homilies by Fr. Reid on 2016/09/23 at 12:00 AM

• Every man’s soul is like a universe unto itself. Eternal in nature and capable of transcending time and space, our souls are mysterious and limitless.
• Within each soul are both light-giving stars and beautiful planets, as well as ice- shrouded moons and black holes.
• Each of us is capable of great good, of beautiful acts of virtue. We see this today in the steadfastness of Mary and the other women, in the fidelity of St. John, in the generosity of Joseph of Arimathea, and even in the repentance of the good thief.
• Yet each of us is also capable of unspeakable evil. We see this so clearly today in the betrayal of Judas, in the murderous rage of the chief priests, in the cowardice of Pilate, and in the cruelty of the Roman soldiers.
• And yet Christ makes a gift of Himself nonetheless for all of us, saint and sinner alike: a gift of redemption of which all men may partake – if only we are humble enough to ask for it, and contrite enough to receive it.
• In considering the Passion narrative, we may try to content ourselves with the belief that we’re not as bad as those angry people who clamored for Barabbas’ release and screamed for our Lord’s crucifixion – and maybe we aren’t as bad as they were.
• But even if we aren’t as bad as we could be, can we honestly say that we are as good as we should be? Do we truly measure up to the demands of Christian discipleship?
• Of all the deaths this world has ever witnessed, Jesus’ death on a cross is the most extraordinary. This is so not because of the unjust brutality in which it was carried out, but rather because of the love with which Jesus accepted and allowed it.
• In dying as He did, Jesus shows us what true love is. Though completely innocent and without sin, Jesus willingly sacrificed Himself, suffering the most cruel, inhumane, and unjust of deaths.
• In so doing, Jesus shows us that true love is, by nature, both sacrificial and long- suffering. True love gives all of itself. And honestly, a love of this type demands a response. To remain unmoved in the face of such love is to deny a part of our humanity!
• If we are to be good disciples of Christ by imitating Him in all ways, then we must be willing to give Christ and His Church the fullness of our love and devotion, seeking complete union with Him, and begging pardon for the times we fail to love as we should.
• Ultimately, as we ponder Christ’s love for us poured out in His passion, we must realize that Christianity is a not a religion that can be practiced well by half-measures. Our Christian faith demands that we give Christ our all.
• This is done not so much by great works on our part as it is by great love.
• Over the course of Holy Week, we will see in beautiful detail just how much our Lord
loves us as He becomes for us both priest and victim, offering Himself for our sins.
• We will see Christ’s love shine forth as He gives us the twin gifts of the priesthood and
the Eucharist; as He endures His agony in the Garden, in His arrest, trial, and crucifixion,
and we will see His love pour out of His wounds in all it’s crimson glory as He dies.
• And as we see this, we must ask ourselves this week: How will I love Him in return?
• May we each be given the grace this Holy Week to love our Lord with all our hearts, all
our souls, all our minds, and all our strength – for His glory, and for our own salvation!

© Reverend Timothy Reid

Fr. Reid is the pastor of St. Ann Catholic Church, Charlotte, NC

Homilies from June 17, 2012 onward have audio.
To enable the audio, lease go directly to Fr. Reid’s homily homilies and select the matching date.

Link to Homilies:
http://stanncharlotte.org/content/index.php?option=com_content&view=section&id=8&Itemid=61

St. Kateri Tekakwitha, “Lily of the Mohawks”

In 05 Homilies by Fr. Reid on 2016/09/16 at 12:00 AM

Known as the “Lily of the Mohawks,” Kateri lived a life of holiness and virtue, despite obstacles and opposition within her tribe.

Kateri was born in Auriesville, N.Y., in 1656 to a Christian Algonquin woman and a pagan Mohawk chief. When she was a child, a smallpox epidemic attacked her tribe and both her parents died. She was left with permanent scars on her face and impaired eyesight. Her uncle, who had now become chief of the tribe, adopted her and her aunts began planning her marriage while she was still very young.

When three Jesuit fathers were visiting the tribe in 1667 and staying in the tent of her uncle, they spoke to her of Christ, and though she did not ask to be baptized, she believed in Jesus with an incredible intensity. She also realized that she was called into an intimate union with God as a consecrated virgin.

Kateri had to struggle to maintain her faith amid the opposition of her tribe who ridiculed her for it and ostracized her for refusing the marriage that had been planned for her. When Kateri was 18, Father Jacques de Lamberville returned to the Mohawk village, and she asked to be baptized.

The life of the Mohawk village had become violent and debauchery was commonplace. Realizing that this was proving too dangerous to her life and her call to perpetual virginity, Kateri escaped to the town of Caughnawaga in Quebec, near Montreal, where she grew in holiness and devotion to the Blessed Sacrament.

Kateri lived out the last years of her short life there, practicing austere penance and constant prayer. She was said to have reached the highest levels of mystical union with God, and many miracles were attributed to her while she was still alive.

She died on April 17, 1680, at the age of 24. Witnesses reported that within minutes of her death, the scars from smallpox completely vanished and her face shone with radiant beauty.

Devotion to Kateri began immediately after her death and her body, enshrined in Caughnawaga, is visited by many pilgrims each year. She was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1980, and she was canonized by Pope Benedict XVI in 2012.

— Catholic News Agency

St. Thomas Aquinas

In 05 Homilies by Fr. Reid on 2016/09/16 at 12:00 AM

 

This week Holy Mother Church celebrates the feast day of one of her most beloved and important saints: St. Thomas Aquinas, who, even though he died in 1274, continues to influence the Church with his philosophy and theology.
Originally, St. Thomas’ feast day fell on March 7th – the day he died. But in the reform of the liturgical calendar, his feast day was moved to January 28th, which is the day his relics were transferred to Toulouse in 1369, where they remain to this day.
When we think of St. Thomas Aquinas, most of us think of his scholarly accomplishments and the important theological works that he produced. For this reason St. Thomas Aquinas is the patron saint of universities and students.
But in addition to his keen intellect and his patronage of scholarly pursuits, St. Thomas is also a great patron for those struggling with sins of the flesh.
When St. Thomas decided to become a Dominican, his family strenuously opposed him, for they wanted him to become a politically powerful churchman, something that would not be possible in a religious order as new as the Dominicans were in St. Thomas’ day.
Wishing to be free from family opposition, St. Thomas asked to be sent away to Paris, but his two brothers, both knights, captured Thomas en route to Paris and took him prisoner.
When Thomas steadfastly refused to give up the idea of being a Dominican, his brothers sent a woman of ill repute into his room to tempt him to break his vow of chastity, and hopefully thereby dissuade him from following his vocation.
When this woman entered his room, St. Thomas picked up a burning stick from the fireplace and chased her out. Then, falling on his knees, he prayed to be delivered from these trials.
Immediately, St. Thomas was enveloped in a mystical experience in which angels girded him with a cord of chastity, saying as they did so: “On God’s behalf we gird thee with the girdle of chastity, a girdle that no attack will ever destroy.”
From that time forward St. Thomas never again experienced the temptations of the flesh, and it is for this reason that he is a powerful intercessor for those struggling with the temptations of the flesh.
Last Sunday I spoke at length about marriage and the marital act, and how a disordered view of the marital act has not only distorted our society’s understanding of marriage, but has also led to the acceptance and proliferation of abortion and same sex unions.
This week I want to focus on the solution to these terrible problems in our society: chastity.
As a priest and confessor, it seems to me that of all of God’s wonderful gifts to humanity, thegift of our sexuality is the one that is most often misunderstood and misused – so much so
that our society is drowning in a sea of licentiousness and lust.

Truly, chastity has become a forgotten and even discarded virtue in our world today, eventhough it is one of the most beautiful and helpful of the virtues.
We see this very clearly in the movies, television shows, and music being produced today –so much of which extols and encourages lustful acts as healthy, normal, and even virtuous.
But as Catholics we know that there is nothing healthy or virtuous about any sinful behavior!Sin always wounds us! Yet we must do more than simply believe the truth.
No, my brothers and sisters, in response to the terrible sexual vices we see being promoted inall segments of the arts and entertainment of our culture, we must live the truth of human sexuality by learning to be pure and chaste, and we must encourage others to do the same!
And good St. Thomas Aquinas can and will help us in this difficult battle!
There was a message from Our Lady of Fatima that more souls go to hell for the sin of lust than any other. However, this does not mean that it’s the worst sin, only the most popular.But nevertheless, lust – in whatever form it comes – must be avoided at all costs.
Because they are pleasurable, sins of the flesh easily become habits that enslave us to sin.
As we habitually give ourselves to these sins over time, our understanding of human natureand human sexuality becomes distorted, and then we begin to treat other people as objects
rather than treat them with the dignity proper to all human beings.

This is why we need chastity. Chastity is the virtue that helps us fight lust and moderates ourdesire for sexual pleasure, which is so alluring and so easily corrupted.
Chastity is the successful integration of sexuality within a person so that we don’t misuse thisprecious gift. It is an enduring orderliness among all of one’s sexual instincts, emotions, thoughts, and desires. Thus, chastity subdues our impure inclinations and desires which allow the vice of lust to get a foothold within us.
In short, chastity, like all of the virtues, is a reflection of Who God Is: He is PURE LOVE! To say that something is pure is to say that it’s “authentic, simple, wholly itself, true.”
Having a chaste love or a pure love means loving with authenticity, wholly, and with truth, i.e., according to God’s will. Thus, chastity reveals to us the true nature of conjugal love.
Because our sexuality is the part of our humanity most easily corrupted, chastity can be very difficult to attain – and thus we need help! And that’s where St. Thomas comes into play.
If you pick up a bulletin today after Mass, you’ll notice in my weekly letter that I wrote about the Angelic Warfare Confraternity, which is a supernatural fellowship of men and women bound to one another in love and dedicated to pursuing and promoting chastity together under the powerful patronage of St. Thomas Aquinas and the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Obviously, the Blessed Virgin Mary is a powerful intercessor, and as the all-pure one, she is the perfect intercessor for those striving for chastity.
As for St. Thomas, throughout his life his behavior and demeanor proved that he had received a special grace of chastity and purity from our Lord – a grace that he is now ready and willing to share with others through the communion of saints.
By becoming a member of the Angelic Warfare Confraternity, one places himself into the hands of St. Thomas and our Lady, and enjoys their intercession in fighting the sin of lust.
But there are certain responsibilities for the Confraternity members, namely: to guard one’s own purity, to seek the truth, to pray the Rosary daily, to wear a chastity cord or the medal of the Confraternity, and to pray prayers for chastity on a daily basis.
The Confraternity is open to all confirmed Catholics who are in full communion with the Catholic Church. To become a member, one has to be enrolled.
Therefore, I am planning an enrollment ceremony for all of you who are interested in becoming members on Thursday, March 7th – the original feast day of St. Thomas Aquinas.
In the next several weeks I will be providing information about the Angelic Warfare Confraternity and the enrollment ceremony in the bulletin and on the parish website.
If you are a baptized and confirmed Catholic, regardless of whether you struggle with chastity or not, I encourage you to think about becoming a member of the Angelic Warfare Confraternity, for there are many graces for those who are members.
So please take a bulletin home and learn more about the Confraternity.
May we all strive for purity and chastity: for our own sake, and the sake of our society at large.
St. Thomas Aquinas, pray for us.
27 January 2013

© Reverend Timothy Reid

Fr. Reid is the pastor of St. Ann Catholic Church, Charlotte, NC

Homilies from June 17, 2012 onward have audio.
To enable the audio, lease go directly to Fr. Reid’s homily homilies and select the matching date.