By: Rick Hernandez
I look up to the Heavens and offer grateful thanks to our Father for the gift of life. We are so blessed to be alive. Yet, I often wonder why I was created, what is it that I am called to accomplish in this world with my earthly life?
We know we are created for something, not for nothing, for we know God does everything with truthful and willful intent. Therefore, the reality of us being here tells us that we have something to do. There is a God-given mission for us, and that mission is personally ours.
The English word “mission” comes from the Latin word “missio,” which stands for “to be sent.” There is another word that we know also means “to be sent,” and that is the Greek word “apostolos,” translated to English as “apostle.” Therefore, when we have a mission, we are sent to fulfill it. We become apostles.
Just as we are unique, distinctly us, so is our apostolic mission unique. Only we can accomplish it faithfully while on this earth. But what is our apostolic mission? It is, in fact, simple. What is the greatest commandment?
The mission of love and mercy is collectively the same for us, yet its reality is notably different for every individual, a permutation uniquely ours.
We do not all interact with the same people daily; we do not all encounter the same situations. We all have a distinct lot in life and different gifts and capabilities. Yet, we all have the potential for loving, kind, and merciful action. Therefore, we must embrace the Works of Mercy.
Having this mission of love and mercy means that we are missionaries, sent, and being sent means we have a place where we are called to action. Where we live and where we work are our mission grounds. It is there where our mission of love and mercy must unfold. We will encounter opportunities to love, serve, minister, and console precisely where we are. All of these are part of our call. Do we acknowledge that?
We must become aware. We must learn to recognize God’s call for us to tend to His people. Whenever we have someone in front of us, we are called to love with God’s love. It is in those present moments where we have the opportunity to be like Christ on this earth. In those moments, only we can fulfill the mission; we should not shy away. After all, in the Eucharist, we are one family. In Him who loves us, we are all One.
The principal place where we must cultivate our mission of love and mercy is at home. There we must provide our family with love and safety. There we must pass along the teachings of Christ. It is there that we must develop merciful hearts. It is there where we must learn to recognize and acknowledge Christ in others. I cannot help but think of the example of the Holy Family.
Christ Jesus showed us how to accept the mission of love and mercy. He worked on his Father’s call to redeem us with zeal and with undying fervor. Christ used his earthly life to provide a means of Salvation to the faithful. In the humble Eucharist He remains, truly-present to provide us with the Grace we need.
Our Mother Mary showed us how to accept the mission of love and mercy. Her fiat was done in perfect faith, with full recognition, and without a doubt. Mary remaining a spiritual mother for us is an offering of love. She remains ready to comfort the faithful.
Our Dearest Saint Joseph showed us how to accept the mission of love and mercy. His obedience is displayed beautifully with a perfect humility born of the hope for Heaven. He obeyed so that the scriptures be fulfilled. He remains a spiritual father for us, ready to protect the faithful.
Looking at the three members of the Holy Family, we find the examples we need, each embracing the uniqueness of their mission. Can we embrace our call to work for the Kingdom of Heaven, that call that is uniquely ours? This world needs us now more than ever. We are called to love and mercy. Do we accept His call?
Let us pray:
Lord, you are always calling us to communion. You gather all to You. We humbly ask that You enrich us with the Love, Faith, and Charity we require to take care of Your people. Help us to recognize You in the face of our brothers and sisters, that we may serve them with open hearts and willing minds. That Your love may be recognized and exalted forever. Amen.
By: Laura Catherine Worhacz
Dearest Eucharistic Family,
How do we live out of this world and in the life of Jesus Christ? It is by the Holy Eucharist. With Mary and Saint Joseph, we have the model of the Eucharistic life.
I recall an encounter with a very holy woman of faith I knew years ago. I was pregnant with my second daughter, and this woman gently said to me, “so you are dying a second death.” It was an unusual congratulations for the news of pregnancy. However, I was already attending daily Mass and appreciated the blessing so much! Die a second death.
As we celebrate Father’s Day to reflect upon the greatest models of dying to self, we look to Saint Joseph and Mary. The Holy Family lived for the service of Jesus.
We read in the above excerpt Saint Joseph died in Jesus’s arms. This should be our center to live a happy death by way of Saint Joseph, now through the Eucharist. Saint Joseph will show us how to live in the seclusion of our contemplation while busy at work. The interior can be secured in God Our Father’s will, going about our daily duties in the peace of Christ while busy on earth. Here we find the way to live out of this world and in Heaven now through the Eucharist.
Yes, the privilege of bringing forth life is a call to die to self, a new death with each child, to live for another.
Our parenting comes with responsibilities that are only equipped through Christ. In our imperfections, love can still shine through, charity can find its way to a child, and they will know they are loved.
There are so many young people that are not practicing the faith, even though they came from sacrificial parents. If this is your heartbreak, please trust that all you have given your child will be made known to them by your prayer. With hope, they will return to the faith, and the experience they have had will strengthen them evermore to discern the spirits.
Father Angelus Shaughnessy OFM Cap. has passed on. He was a favorite priest of my heart. I loved to listen to his homilies on EWTN and learned so much from him. He often shared stories of his upbringing. He was born into a large Catholic family; some of his siblings also entered religious life. He said one of his greatest memories was of his father calling his mother “Sweet love.” This is something that echoes in my mind. He said the greatest gift parents can give their children is to genuinely love each other.
With all the challenges life may bring, financial stress, family disagreements, and sickness, Christ will get us through. Making daily Mass the center of our lives is essential to find this pathway to death, now through the Eucharist.
Saint Joseph, father and guardian of a happy death, help us now, while on earth, to die to ourselves so we may live for others and leave a mark of faith in this world by the witness of our love for the Blessed Sacrament.
Remember to wish your pastors and all the special priests in your life a Happy Father’s Day. Remember all who have served as father figures and our own fathers for doing the best they could do in raising us. We remember and pray for all who have lost their fathers to death from this life. May their presence be alive and well and with us in the Eucharist. Speak to them there in the quiet of the beating heart of Jesus Christ, where we find the relationship not gone but changed into the resurrection!
“DIE IN MY LOVE”
Praise God Our Almighty Father
Growing up, my mom would often say to me:
“Lo mejor que Dios hizo fue un día detrás del otro.” …which roughly translates to: “The best thing God did was to make one day after the next.”
I usually heard this nugget of wisdom really late at night, when some unfinished task stared me in my weary eyes -- when I had done everything in my power to finish something, yet it was not enough.
“Go to sleep, my darling; tomorrow will be another day.” Sometimes I was so tired that I listened. But often, I would go on a bit longer…try just a little bit more.
For most of my life, I have described myself as a “night owl”. Even as a young girl, I found that the hours between midnight and 2am were the most productive. I would usually rearrange my bedroom furniture then -- when the silence of the night allowed bouts of creativity to flow uninterrupted. Later in college, I would do my best studying during those hours, often pulling “all-nighters” with my friends. I would then sleep in the whole weekend and catch up on rest.
After I became a mom, my “night-owl” status, while handy for a little while (i.e., late-night feedings), started to become a hindrance in my life. I found myself caught up in a catch-22. I was too tired to be creative, yet… for some reason, I felt the need to stay up. So, without me knowing exactly when, my status changed from “night-owl” to “insomniac”. I went from actively choosing to be up because inspiration was flowing to finding myself flipping through cable channels (or later social media), waiting to be overcome by sleep.
I’ve gotten better at going to bed at a reasonable time, but the other night, my husband, who was trying to fall asleep as I kept “reading” (phone browsing), asked me…
“Why do you fight falling asleep?”
I was taken aback… The truth was staring me right in the eyes.
Did you ever have to wrestle a baby long enough until he/she stops fighting against sleep? I remember feeling them slowly melting into my arms, giving in…finally falling asleep. That was me!
After praying about it, I realized what was holding me back… fear of death -- but not of actually dying during the night. Going to sleep requires a kind of surrender, a loss of control. I was afraid of letting go.
The Night Prayer in the Liturgy of the Hours has the following prayer:
We also pray the last words Jesus spoke from the Cross before He died:
There is something of death each time we go to sleep….but we know that is not the end of the story…
So yes, there is a kind of death each night, but it is not a death we should fear or avoid; it is the kind of death that brings life.
“Give us this day our daily bread….” What we receive from God each day must be offered back to Him each night. Jesus, the Bread of Life, wants to come and be buried in the ground of our hearts.
I think I can safely say, “My mom was right!” What a gift it is that God made one day after the next and that we have an opportunity to do this every day. Each day, a little at a time, as we grow in holiness, our hearts are cleansed and purified.
I do not know if learning to peacefully surrender my spirit into the arms of God each night is preparing me for the final surrender of my earthly life, but I do know that there is great wisdom in taking things one day at a time.
So what will I do when night falls, and well-dug patterns of sinful behavior beckon me to not let go? I will come running to the arms of my Mother. I will grab my rosary beads and ask Mary to rock me to sleep while singing her song. I will tell her of my day, of every unfinished task I am afraid to let go of. Little by little, Hail Mary after Hail Mary, I will let go of my fears and hold on to hope. It is in the safety of her Immaculate Heart where I will learn to trust and let go.
Image by Pixabay
By: Rick Hernandez
Of the many gifts I have been privileged to receive on this Earth, I am genuinely grateful for each of the many great teachers that have left their mark in my life. From their efforts, I like to think that I have learned to be open-minded and curious. I have learned to hypothesize and test, searching deeper when an answer eludes me or is unsatisfactory. I have learned that where work and effort are required, there is an opportunity for growth.
A good teacher can en-kindle these fires in your mind to search for meaning, to search for truth, and we know these are things that can definitively change the course of any life.
Growing up in the Catholic faith, I always thought of Christ Jesus as “My Lord.” That was the title that always stuck to my mind whenever I figured Jesus on this Earth.
I imagined this benevolent King, working and sacrificing for the good of His people, a servant King. As truthful and beautiful as that image is, it is incomplete, for Christ Jesus is more than a King.
Our Lord Jesus is “Priest, Prophet, and King.” This is called the “Threefold Office” of Our Lord. This is important to know because it presents a much more complete description of the mission of Christ Jesus.
A servant king works for the good of his people; he provides the kingdom subjects with safety and comfort, but not necessarily with growth. For that, we need something different from a king.
A priest sacrifices for the people, providing the flock with a means to make amends for wrongdoings and giving thanks but does not necessarily foster personal growth. For that, we need something different from a priest.
Personal growth is usually nurtured by “teachers,” not “kings” nor “priests,” and that is where Christ Jesus’s office of “Prophet” comes to the forefront.
The word “prophet” translates from the Ancient Greek word “prophḗtēs” as “one who speaks for a God,” or more formally as “one who speaks with Godly authority.”
“Rabbi” is the title most often used in the Bible to address Christ Jesus. “Rabbi” is an Aramaic word that can translate directly to “great one” (one who deserves respect) or more to the point to “teacher” (one who deserves to be heard).
Christ Jesus, as a Prophet, teaches us the way to a faithful and moral life. Our Lord came to establish the Kingdom, redeem us from our sin, and teach us the way to Heaven. With His most sacred life, he offers the perfect example of righteous living.
During His time on Earth, He was a Prophet, for He taught with His Godly authority; He was a Great One, deserving of great respect and was, most of all, worthy of being heard, a teacher to us all. With His words, we are taught the way to Him. He is the most perfect teacher indeed.
But... any good teacher will tell us that they can only teach us if we are willing to learn. A keen open mind is the bare minimum requirement for becoming a student. But as always, minimums are not enough with Our Lord.
Our Lord is not looking for students but for disciples. A Master/Disciple relationship is freely chosen by both teacher and disciple and bonds to the same level as a father and son. Jesus pulled His disciples from all walks of life. He called out to them and asked if they were willing to follow, to learn, to suffer...
Jesus called His disciples to greatness, and He was going to personally teach them.
Like it was for the original twelve Apostles, to be a disciple of our Lord means being called to something greater. It is a call that is not free or without effort. We are called to eagerly bring all that we are, our strengths and weaknesses, and offer ourselves to Our Heavenly Master. We obediently submit to His teachings. Sacrifices will be asked of us. We are no longer ours but His.
The standards for our lives become different from the non-believers. When we are disciples of our Lord Jesus, our lives are meant to be faithful, hopeful, loving, and consistent. The world needs His disciples.
When we internalize Christ’s teachings, we go beyond discipleship and are called into the apostolic life. We go from disciples (those who learn) to apostles (those who are sent, those who teach). When the students are ready and know the material well, they are now able to teach.
Are we learning well? There is a whole world out there that is waiting for our apostolic work. Our Mother Church is waiting to teach us well, in communion with one another. The Eucharist is waiting to nourish us and provide us with the Grace needed for every day. With the help from the Holy Spirit now within us, it is time to work for the Kingdom.
Our Heavenly Teacher is calling us to greatness. How will we respond?
Let us pray:
Our Good and Mighty Teacher, we offer You our very lives that You may impart in us Your great teachings, that we may learn to be like You, that we may be able to love like You. Help us to do this with a joyful heart and a willing mind. May we be always open to the promptings of Your Holy Spirit, that we may be true disciples, new apostles sent into the world. Amen.
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We are Ivonne J. Hernandez, Rick Hernandez and Laura Worhacz, Lay Associates of the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament, and brothers and sisters in Christ.
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