Tuesday, May 25, 2021

An Eternal Exchange of Love

Dear Parishioners,

On this Trinity Sunday, I share some reflections on the Holy Trinity—this profound mystery of our faith.
First, we should realize that Jesus opened up for us the inner life of God.  He revealed that God was a Trinity of Persons.  Recall, the Jewish people were strict monotheists—Hear O Israel!  The Lord is our God, the Lord alone! (Dt. 6: 4)—and they held on to this belief despite being surrounded, invaded and conquered by various polytheistic cultures (e.g., Rome).  However, Jesus began to teach his disciples God is Father—His Father—and this must have caused significant concern for those around Him.  He equated Himself with God, His Father:  The Father and I are one.  (Jn. 10:30)  What exactly does He mean?  He also promised to send the Holy Spirit to His disciples once He was gone:  But I tell you the truth, it is better for you that I go. For if I do not go, the Advocate will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you (Jn. 16: 7).  There is no natural way that we could figure out on our own that God was a Trinity of Persons without Jesus revealing this mystery to us.

Next, we are told that God is love (1 Jn. 4:8)  Therefore, the experience of love itself seems to indicate that there should be a lover and a beloved.  Within the Trinity, the Father loves the Son from all eternity and the Son loves the Father from all eternity.  The love between the two is also a Person:  The Holy Spirit.  “God's very being is love. By sending his only Son and the Spirit of Love in the fullness of time, God has revealed his innermost secret:  God himself is an eternal exchange of love, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and he has destined us to share in that exchange.”  (Catechism of the Catholic Church, CCC # 221)

I contend that things in this world reflect and model for us certain eternal truthsalbeit imperfectlyand help us to understand some mysteries of our faith better.  Take the example of a family.  A husband loves his wife and the wife loves her husband.  Their love for each other can be manifest in a child who is the result of their love for each other.  In essence, there is a type of a trinitarian love involved here:  the love between husband, wife and child.  Again, the example is not perfect as God is uncreated, but it does shed some light on an otherwise complicated topic.

Another example from our life experience helps us with our understanding the Trinity.  Take H2O which can appear in nature as water, steam or ice.  All three have the same chemical composition but can appear in different forms depending on temperature.  This helps us to see how something can be three and one at the very same time.  Our belief in the Holy Trinity teaches that there are Three Divine Persons in the One True God.

Every time you make the Sign of the Cross, think about how we acknowledge our belief in the Holy Trinity.  By God’s immense love for us, we are invited to share in the life of the Trinity and to dwell one day within that eternal exchange of love. 

The whole idea can be mind-boggling.

Fr. Ed Namiotka

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

40 Hours of Eucharistic Adoration

Dear Parishioners,

Next month, on Tuesday, June 22nd, we will celebrate the feast day of our patron, St. Thomas More.  At that time our parish will also observe 40 Hours of Eucharistic Adoration beginning after the 11 AM Mass on Sunday, June 20th until the 9 AM Mass on June 22nd.  Following the 11 AM Mass on June 20th, the Blessed Sacrament will remain continually present on the altar for private prayer and adoration, except when a Mass is scheduled.  We will also have an evening Mass at 7 PM on Monday, June 21st, (in addition to our regular morning Mass at 9 AM). 

On Tuesday, June 22nd, we will close the 40 Hours at 9 AM with Holy Mass and a Eucharistic Procession.  More information will be given in the upcoming weeks.

I truly believe that when we take the time to be with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, it is a time of tremendous blessing not only for us as individuals but also for our families and for our entire parish family.  I do not ever want us to take for granted the great gift of the Real Presence of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist.  Time spent with Him is a grace-filled time.  We can express our love and adoration for Jesus, thankfulness for our blessings, and contrition for sin (our own and the sins of others).  We can also intercede for one another and petition the Lord for our various needs.  It is an invaluable time to spend with Jesus, truly present in the Most Blessed Sacrament.

When we come into the Lord’s presence, Jesus can do something to us.  We may think that we go to pray, to petition and to worship, or even that we are doing God a favor by spending some of our precious time with Him.  Our Lord Jesus, however, can transform us while we spend time with Him.  We do not need to worry about what prayers we should say, what spiritual readings we should be reading or what we should be doing in His Presence.  Just being with the Lord can be transforming.  He can soften our hearts, heal our wounds, inspire us and guide us.  He can give us an inner peace that nothing in this world can match.  Making the commitment to spend time with Him can truly transform us.

What I am requesting from you, my parishioners, is that you plan to dedicate one hour sometime during these three days with the Lord in adoration.  (This should be in addition to any time attending Mass, when possible.)  This devotion will continue for two nights—around the clock—and I need your help and cooperation in order to do this.  Could you please think about dedicating an hour in prayer before the Most Blessed Sacrament?  Why not encourage members of your family to pray as a family for an hour?  Perhaps a group or organization within the parish can make a holy hour together (choir, Knights of Columbus, St. Vincent de Paul Society, Small Christian Communities, Faith and Justice Team, catechists, lectors, extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, etc.).  I especially need a few insomniacs or night owls to cover the late hours!  Sign-up sheets will be made available in the coming weeks so that all hours are covered and Jesus is never left alone.

Please assist me in making this a special time for our parish as we adore our Eucharistic Lord.

Fr. Ed Namiotka

St. Thomas More

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Preparing for the Holy Spirit

Dear Parishioners,

After His Resurrection, Jesus appeared to His disciples and told them:  “. . . You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)

As Christians, we first received the Holy Spirit when we were baptized.  In Jerusalem, St. Peter declared to the crowd: "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." (Acts 2:38)  St. Paul also reminds us:  “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?”  (1 Cor. 6:19) 

In Confirmation, the same Holy Spirit is once again given to us.  According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church:  “It is evident from its celebration that the effect of the sacrament of Confirmation is the full outpouring of the Holy Spirit as once granted to the apostles on the day of Pentecost.”  (#1302)

In Jerusalem after Jesus’ Ascension, the apostles were assembled in the upper room as a community.  They remained there in prayer together with Mary, the mother of Jesus, in preparation for the descent of the Holy Spirit upon them at Pentecost. (See Acts 1:13-14)
Each year we should prepare similarly as we approach Pentecost SundayThe idea of a novena—nine consecutive days of prayer—took place in the early Church between Ascension Thursday and Pentecost Sunday.  We should pray for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon ourselves, our families, our parish, the Church, our nation, and our entire world.  We need the Holy Spirit to guide us, to strengthen us, to protect us and to fill us with His love.

Pray for the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit to fill your lives.  The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit (See Isaiah 11:2) are wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord.  The fruits of the Holy Spirit, according to the Catechism (#1832), are “perfections that the Holy Spirit forms in us as the first fruits of eternal glory.  The tradition of the Church lists twelve of them: ‘charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control, chastity.’" (Gal. 5:22-23)

Remember that the Holy Spirit is a Person—the third Person of the Blessed Trinity.  Sometimes the limited images (tongues of fire, a dove, etc.) used to describe this mysterious Person may restrict our thinking and understanding.  We should strive to know and truly love this mysterious Person.  There should be a certain intimate relationship that we establish with the Holy Spirit through prayer.

Begin praying that the Holy Spirit fills the hearts of all believers and enkindles in them the fire of His love more fully!

Fr. Ed Namiotka

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Mother's Day!

Dear Parishioners,

I wish a Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers this weekend. 

For most people there is a special bond between mother and child.  Our mothers carry us in their wombs for nine months.  They endure the pangs of birth.  They feed us, bathe us, clean up after us, teach us, comfort us, caress us and, most importantly, love us.

How often they are willing to sacrifice for us!

Thanks moms for your strength, patience and ability to make things better by your calming and reassuring presence.  Whenever we take you for granted or forget what you have done for us over the years, we apologize.  You deserve better from us.

We love you!

Those who have lost their earthly mothers, please remember to pray for them and have Masses offered for them.  Our faith teaches us, whether they are in purgatory or in heaven, they can pray for us!  Let’s aid them in getting to heaven by offering our prayers, Masses and sacrifices for them. 

In addition to our biological (or adoptive) mothers, I think that it is also important to remember to honor our Spiritual Mother as well.  Our Blessed Lady should play an essential role in the lives of Catholics and indeed all Christians.  She was given to us as our mother through St. John at the foot of the cross: 

When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, behold, your son.’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother.’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.  (John 19: 26-27)

We honor Our Lady as our Queen and Mother.  She continues to intercede for her children here on earth and we place our confident hope and trust in her.

We need to ask her continually to pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death.  Pray her rosary and meditate upon the mysteries of our faith.  We desire to share eternity with her and her Son Jesus in His Heavenly reign.

Whether biologicaladoptive or spiritualHappy Mother’s Day to all our mothers!  Thanks for loving us!

Fr. Ed Namiotka