Monday 22nd January 2018

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A Leaven In The World . . . 2018: Year Of Marriage, Family And The Sanctity Of Life

January 1, 2018 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK

Looking back in time can cause regret. We have all fallen short of God’s call to holiness as sinners in some ways. Doing so can also serve to reveal the Lord’s providential and loving hand at work in our lives. As Oscar Wilde wrote, “The only difference between the saint and the sinner is that every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future.”
The passing of an old year into the history books is just such an occasion for us to choose to see the gift of the time which makes up the days of our lives through the perspective of faith.
As I look back I say, to all of our print readers and online visitors of 2017, thank you for including us among your trusted sources for Catholic news and views. This column began almost twenty years ago and continued along with my active and reserve Navy service through an Iraq deployment in 2007. Ten years ago I returned from that intense period in a combat zone with a prayer that the Lord lead us “through fire and through water” and that He did, “bringing us relief” with a safe return home for the vast majority of our military. We will never forget the fallen and recognize their selfless gift of life in the service of our nation.
I started a blog while deployed which began with the name “Oasis of Peace” and ended by being brought under the name of a longstanding online project called MCITL or “Meeting Christ in the Liturgy.” The many thousands of well-wishers and visitors of those first days were never counted and their numbers are known only to God. We praise and worship Him, who “makes all things new,” and implore Him also for rich blessings for all friends and visitors of MCITL in the New Year of 2018.
Our faith calls us to look back upon the past year through the lens of the centenary celebration of Our Lady’s apparitions at Fatima. Her message will never grow old and its perennial relevance to pray the rosary and to offer sacrifices for sinners must continue to guide us toward Heaven as she beckons us.
The Fatima centenary of last year points ahead to the Humanae Vitae anniversary of the new year, as we have learned from the eldest of the visionaries. Sr. Lucia warned us that the Evil One would attack life and the family:
“. . . the final battle between the Lord and the reign of Satan will be about marriage and the family. Don’t be afraid because anyone who operates for the sanctity of marriage and the family will always be contended and opposed in every way, because this is the decisive issue . . . however, Our Lady has already crushed its head.”
What more important mission could there be for all of us than the fight to defend the sacredness of marriage as the place for bringing new life into the world? In His goodness our Lord provides the opportunity to do so though the 50th anniversary of Humanae Vitae which we will mark in this coming New Year.
Many of us will journey to Washington, D.C., for the annual March for Life in this first month of the New Year to speak out and witness in defense of the innocent life of each child in the womb. Those who cannot travel to the nation’s capital will have ample opportunities at home to march in local demonstrations or participate in parish holy hours in support of the marchers.
We cannot give what we do not have. reading Humanae Vitae, in our parish setting with others or on our own, is necessary if we are to sincerely evangelize others in its truth. The exclusion of the use of artificial contraception is only one element of the teaching. Married couples are in need of grasping all the riches of marriage life if they are to embrace it fully and joyfully.
The marital act is always ordered toward new life, even though for grave reasons a couple may have recourse to the woman’s cycle through abstaining during her fertile periods.
Each year begins liturgically with the solemnity celebrating Our Lady’s Divine Maternity. The Lord’s first nine months in the womb culminating with the Christmas feast of His birth just past leads us to turn to Mary and seek her intercession. The month in which we do so is the door, in Latin “ianua,” of the entire year ahead.
We acclaim Mary as our Mother in order to be more faithful to God, who gives her to us as He claims her for Himself. “Behold your Mother,” He said from the cross with His dying words. May we never let them cease to ring in our ears all our days of life, pilgrims on this earth.
We can always turn to the rich teaching on the Scriptures in the Catechism to help us in our meditation:
“Holy Mary, Mother of God: With Elizabeth we marvel, ‘And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?’ Because she gives us Jesus, her son, Mary is Mother of God and our mother; we can entrust all our cares and petitions to her: she prays for us as she prayed for herself: ‘Let it be to me according to your word.’ By entrusting ourselves to her prayer, we abandon ourselves to the will of God together with her: ‘Thy will be done.’
“Pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death: By asking Mary to pray for us, we acknowledge ourselves to be poor sinners and we address ourselves to the ‘Mother of Mercy,’ the All-Holy One. We give ourselves over to her now, in the today of our lives. And our trust broadens further, already at the present moment, to surrender ‘the hour of our death’ wholly to her care. May she be there as she was at her son’s death on the cross. May she welcome us as our mother at the hour of our passing to lead us to her son, Jesus, in paradise.” (CCC 2677)
“Mary, Mother of God, pray for us now and at the hour of our death.”
Happy New Year 2018.
Through the intercession of Mary, Mother of God, may Almighty God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, bless you and all of us, now and always, world without end. Amen.
Thank you for reading and praised be Jesus Christ, now and forever.
@MCITLFrAphorism

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