Posted by: fvbcdm | February 25, 2014

Feast of Saint Luigi Versiglia (25 February 2014)

Up in the extreme northeastern corner of the state of Louisiana, just south of the Arkansas line and on the banks of the Mississippi River, there is the town of Lake Providence where I started school seventy years ago. The little Catholic school was operated by a group of Sisters called the Daughters of the Cross. I fell totally in love with my second-grade teacher, Sister Fidelis, with whom I corresponded until her death just a few years ago, when she was 96.

In the gospel of today’s Mass, Our Divine Lord teaches the world the Our Father, or the Lord’s Prayer, as it’s called. That brings me back to those very early years in my life, because even though I started school when I was not quite five years old, I think that I already knew the Our Father and the Hail Mary before that. My father attended Mass every day when he could, and we had our prayers at home as well. In any case, it is a momentous event when the parents or teachers of a young child begin to teach him or her the basic prayers of our Catholic faith. Nowadays, we have a new program for introducing people to our Catholic faith. It is called the RCIA: the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. And one of the steps along the way toward full admittance into the Church is the presentation of the Our Father to those preparing to become Catholics. Since we have the tremendous privilege of praying not just as we think good, but rather as God wills, we see the Our Father as one of our Lord’s great gifts to us.

Man is essentially religious, so that every culture, every civilization has formulated its religion, its prayers, its rituals of worship. But only we Catholics have a religion, a Church, a sacramental system, and a system of prayer given to us by God himself. This is a tremendous privilege and a great help on the way of our salvation. And since we find Our Divine Lord teaching the world the Our Father in the gospel of today’s Mass, we can celebrate today as a kind of little feast of the Lord’s Prayer. Every time we attend Mass, we pray the Our Father, and I hope that we use it much more frequently than that. If we use it as we should, it will bring us to the tender, childlike, intimate relationship with God the Father that Jesus has and that he wants us to have, too.  It is true that the almighty God is our Creator, our Maker, our Lawgiver, our Judge, the Ground of our Being.  But above all, he is our Father, and it is this title that Jesus asks us to use in addressing his heavenly Father and ours.  If we sufficiently meditate upon God as our Father, we are led to behave as his sons and daughters: devoted, grateful, obedient, loving.  This is the kind of religion that Jesus wants us to practice, the religion of his gospel; the religion that God the Son exercises toward God the Father.  Thank you for seeking God’s truth.  God bless you.  Father Victor Brown, O.P.

Note:  This message was composed some years ago.

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