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Prayer Keeps Faith Alive

Christ with the Eucharist
Vicente Juan Masip, 16th century

Faith is like a fire within us.  A fire will go out unless we put fuel on it.  Prayer provides the best fuel for doing this.  We want to keep our hunger and thirst for the Holy Eucharist, the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.  This requires a tremendous about of faith, a belief in the unseen.

Allow me to share a story that has helped me greatly in the past 60 years to hunger for Christ in the Eucharist.  In the early 1950s, a Father Robert Green, a member of the Maryknoll Mission Society, found himself in a miserable prison cell in Communist China.  The police had taken away everything religious from his person.  However, Father Greene had smuggled in a small piece of consecrated Host in a small match box.

Almost on a daily basis, his captors tortured the priest go break his spirit and have him deny Christ.  From the start, the priest began to center all his prayers around the Lord in the match box.  One of his favorite prayers came to be one of spiritual Communion. . . “Lord, since I cannot receive you sacramentally, come, at least, spiritually into my soul.”  This prayer gave fuel to his yearning for the Holy Eucharist.

During the weekdays, especially in our dark hours, we could use this prayer to keep alive our hunger and thirst for the Christ of the Eucharist.  Imagine what an enthusiastic welcome the Lord would receive from us on weekends when we received Holy Communion!

In his solitude, Father Greene had a unique way of praying, a method I often use in my dark hours.  He broke five matchsticks into ten pieces and placed them on his rough table.  As he whispered a Hail Mary, he would move one stick to the side.  He imagined himself in a Cathedral before the statue of Mary.  In his desperate plight, he prayed without distractions.

Try this method of prayer, especially if we find prayer difficult, our hearts filled with sadness.  Imagine ourselves in a Communist prison.  It’s cold, our bodies weak from poor food.  Father Greene came home, his heart aflame with love for the Eucharistic Christ.  He wrote a book, “Calvary in China”.

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Of Note: 

With the start of the Olympics this weekend, I thought I would update you on the progress of our Blog!  This humble Bulletin has now been read in 71 Countries via the World Wide Web!!!  God Bless each of you!

Fr. George Mc Kenna

July 28, 2012 Posted by | Bulletins | 4 Comments

Keep Holy The Sabbath Day

Postcard from a friend
Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris

In Jerusalem, the Jewish Sabbath begins on Friday evening at sundown.  Traffic disappears from the boulevards.  All business shops close.  A grand silence falls on the City.  Shortly afterwards, huge crowds of Jewish people, dressed in their best clothes, fill the boulevards on their way to pray at the Wailing Wall in the Old City.  I have often witnessed this inspiring start of the Jewish Sabbath.

My Christian Sabbath, in Chicago, became more precious to me.  Of course, here in the USA, because of our many cultures, we can’t shut down all activities.  However, we, as individuals, can shut down our minds in some ways to give attention to God.  For example, we can avoid shopping, cutting the lawn, and washing the car.

In His Wisdom, God gave us the commandment, “Keep Holy The Sabbath Day.”  On this one Special Day, we can rest from the stress of work days, and think of the good of our souls.  Make the Great Prayer of the Sabbath Day be our faithful attendance at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.  Keep God alive in our hearts and community!

I suggest some ways to keep alive in our hearts the beauty and richness of the Mass.  Cardinal Newman said, “It’s the Mass that matters.”  Consider that God give us 168 hours in the week and only asks us to give him one hour of worship in all those days.  Rejoice in our hearts to go and give Our Creator the Perfect Sacrifice of His Son.

Try to arrive at Church 15 minutes before Mass begins to settle our mind.  Come dressed in our best or near best clothes in honor of the Great Happening about to take place.  Get a seat close to the altar.  Read the Scriptures of the day.  We can ask ourselves, “What is God going to say to me today?”  Yes, the Scriptures are God’s message to us today, not just for people 2000 years ago.

God will speak to us in other ways, in the words of the Mass or the homily.  We can go home with powerful thoughts to help us through the week ahead.  If possible, stay after Mass to speak with the Eucharistic Christ still present in our hearts.

Fr. George Mc Kenna

July 21, 2012 Posted by | Bulletins | 5 Comments