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A Leaven In The World … Dear 30 Million Catholics OnLeave

September 16, 2019 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK

Our present catechetical emergency requires all hands on deck. The new evangelization proposed by Pope John Paul II and carried forward by Benedict XVI targets the over 30 million baptized and lapsed Catholics, or as they are sometimes affectionately called, “Catholics on Leave.”
Many of the faithful are returning through the Church’s most powerful means of saving souls, the traditional Latin Mass. It is also a rich source for vocations. A growing group of young men who attend the Mass each week in my parish are discerning the priesthood.
Many of those currently away from the practice of the faith can be reached where we interact with them on a regular basis: through the Church’s ministry at weddings and funerals. My recent experience with the tragic demise of a young man in his 20s provided such an opportunity.
Grieving with those who mourn and assuring them of the Church’s power to commend all to the mercy of God is crucial. As well, true charity seeks the salvation of every soul, including those who mourn.
Here I provide my comments on the occasion in the hope that it may be of help to priests and deacons likewise motivated to reach and save souls at funeral home services or requiem Masses.
“Your hearts are breaking.
“You have come in great numbers today to mourn together as those who knew and loved N.
“This is good and right.
“The finality of death, N.’s death, is a tremendous burden to accept and now to live with.
“You love him.
“He loves you too.
“Does he not speak now to you, and to me, to all of us?
“If he could speak words to you now, would he not in love share the truth he knows?
“What I am you will be; what you are, I once was.
“Some of his family members asked me to come today, and I come not to represent myself but One who is Truth Himself, the Truth that teaches in love we must always speak the truth, no matter how hard, to one another.
“I come today not to speak for myself but for One who also died, in my flesh and yours and N.’s: with everything that makes us truly human beings
“He also died, young, tragically, painfully as a condemned criminal: His mother and only a few friends stayed with Him until the end.
“Many of you once practiced the Faith, some still do and you know this Man to be Jesus Christ, Who died to conquer death for us.
“The end of the story was that He rose from the dead, and the risen Lord Jesus in doing so destroyed death and restored life for N. and for all of us: the glorified life that will never end in Heaven.
“But there is more: there is something all of us must do to accept His love and salvation in Him.
“Just as you responded and respond in love to N., so must we respond with the love of friendship to the one who loves N. and each of us more than we could ever love one another, for He is God and His love is divine: never-ending, all powerful, merciful and saving.
“There is more you can do out of love for N. which did not die with him and will remain as long as you live
“And it can continue beyond this world which today is revealed also as a vale of tears, for mourning is always with us in this life, though in His mercy God may allow us to forget the pain at times.
“In Christ, in the Church, with all joined in the Body of Christ we commend all who have died to the mercy of God: today with the power of Baptism we do so for N.; God’s perfect love is merciful, forgiving all of our sins so that we can live with Him forever. That is our most fervent prayer for N. and for all who have died.
“It is a sad consequence of both our weakness unaided by God’s grace and our free will that sometimes we do sin and say no to God’s love.
“Jesus Christ has given us a particular means to pray for the dead: what we Catholics call the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
“I will remember N. at the altar together with all who have died through the prayer of Christ Himself, suffering, dying and rising for N. and for all of us, particularly in the holy Mass on Sundays, when we celebrate the Resurrection of the Lord and grow in the grace of our own victory over death because of His Divine Life.
“We do not just keep the Lord’s Day holy, as we must if we sincerely want to present ourselves as loving God and obeying Him when our lives on earth also end.
“He teaches, ‘If you love Me you will obey My commandments.’
“We offer in the Mass the perfect prayer for N. Attend Mass faithfully on Sundays and in the most loving way made possible by Jesus, who is perfect and divine love, pray for N. and intercede for him.
“In our practice of the faith we both love God, as He commanded, and love others, including N. and all who have died, in God’s merciful and life-giving love.
“The Lord also teaches, ‘If you eat my flesh and drink my blood you will live forever’ and so the Church teaches that our graced reception of the Eucharist is necessary to enter into Heaven. The greatest gift of the Lord and the greatest assurance of salvation is His Body and Blood in the Eucharist, His self-giving in death and Resurrection for our sakes at every holy Mass.
“This is God’s saving love in action today, here and now. It calls for our response, for He condemned those who responded to Him with lukewarmness.
“If you have been away I invite you to return to the embrace of the Father through Jesus in His Church. There is no other more powerful way on earth to show love for N. and to intercede for his salvation. This is love: the Lord will show us the way.”
Thank you for reading and praised be Jesus Christ, now and forever.
@IntroiboAdAltar

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