Wednesday 28th September 2022

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September 9, 2022 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

Q. In chapter 19 of Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus forbids divorce, saying that “what God has joined together, no human being must separate.” When asked why Moses permitted divorce, Jesus responded, “Because of the hardness of your hearts Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. I say to you, whoever divorces his wife (unless the marriage is unlawful) and marries another commits adultery.” What did Jesus mean by saying “unless the marriage is unlawful”? — W.R., via e-mail.
A. Since Jesus unequivocally condemns divorce in Mark 10:2-12 and Luke 16:18, He can hardly be permitting it in the passage from Matt. 19:9. What He was probably discussing was an illicit sexual union, such as concubinage, which refers to the cohabitation of persons who are not legally married. Since those persons Jesus was talking about only appeared to be married, the question of divorce did not apply to them. Had they truly been married, they would have come under the prohibition of divorce that the Lord handed down in Mark and Luke.

Q. I have seen a prayer which says, “Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Sacred Heart of Jesus, with all its love, all its sufferings, and all its merits.” By what theological reasoning can I offer to the Father the Sacred Heart of Jesus, His love, sufferings, and merits? — R.M.V., North Carolina.
A. We’re not sure of the reasoning behind this prayer. We are more comfortable with the Morning Offering with which we begin each day: “O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer you my prayers, works, joys, and sufferings of this day, for all the intentions of the Sacred Heart, in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world, in reparation for my sins, for the intentions of all my associates, and in particular for the intentions of the Holy Father.”

Q. At least for me, the most reverent and sacred part of the Mass is the moment when the priest places the Body of my Lord on my tongue. But rather than being able to return to my pew and have a quiet, private, and intimate conversation with Him, I’m fighting to drown out the choir or, worse yet, the cantor who is in love with his or her voice. Please tell me at what other moment are we ever closer to our Lord than when He is in our mouth? What logic possesses the Church to distort this most sacred of moments with its endless obsession with singing? Please, give it a rest! — A.C., Tennessee.
A. Granted that some cantors go overboard in their singing at Mass, singing does have an important role in the liturgy. St. Paul said that we should sing “psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God” (Col. 3:16), and there is an ancient proverb that “whoever sings well prays twice over.” The General Instruction of the Roman Missal (n. 87) mentions four options for singing at Communion time, either by the choir alone or by the choir or a cantor with the people. However, the GIRM says that “when the distribution of Communion is over, if appropriate, the Priest and faithful pray quietly for some time” (n. 88).
Perhaps you could speak to your pastor and suggest some quiet time after Communion.

Q. Regarding the condition for gaining a plenary indulgence that says one must be free from all attachment to sin, even venial sin, I find this difficult to understand since we may give in to venial sins in moments of weakness when faced with daily problems. During his life, my husband loved God and tried to be faithful to the Commandments. However, at the time of his death he did not receive the sacraments since he died in a non-Catholic facility. He had a difficult death which I did not witness, and I trust that God’s mercy was with him. Also, could you tell me where I could obtain Gregorian Masses? — S.G. New York.
A. Being free from all attachment to sin is something we cannot know with absolute certainty, but remember that reception of Holy Communion takes away venial sins. So, perform the indulgenced work as soon as possible after receiving Communion, say, by praying before the Blessed Sacrament for half an hour, praying the rosary in church, making the stations of the cross, or taking part in Eucharistic Adoration.
It is unfortunate that your husband did not receive the Anointing of the Sick before his death, through no fault of his or yours, but you are correct to entrust him to the extravagant mercy of God. Love is the one thing necessary for us to get to Heaven and, since you know how much your husband loved God, have confidence that “the souls of the just are in the hand of God, and no torment shall touch them” (Wisdom 3:1).
For thirty days of Gregorian Masses, you can contact either Franciscan Missions, P.O. Box 130, Waterford, WI 53185 (phone 262-883-8153), or the National Shrine of Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, MA (phone 413-298-3931 or email shrine@marian.org).

Q. A friend gave me a 64-page booklet entitled The Father Speaks to His Children. It was written by Mother Eugenia (1907-1990) about her dialogue with God the Father and His feeling neglected because people are afraid of Him. There is an imprimatur by a bishop in Rome, dated March 13, 1989. Do you know anything about this booklet? — M.G., Wisconsin.
A. We have read the booklet, which contains Mother Eugenia’s recollection of messages given to her by the Father in 1932. She was only 25 at the time and was mother general of the Congregation of Our Lady of the Apostles, a missionary order that established over 70 institutions in Europe, Africa, and Asia, some of which assisted victims of leprosy.
After a decade of investigations, the Most Rev. Alexandre Caillot, bishop of Grenoble, France, declared that “supernatural and divine intervention seems to me to be the only logical and satisfactory explanation of the facts.” He went on to say, “I believe that the hand of God is in all this. After ten years of research, reflection, and prayer, I bless the Father for having deigned to choose my diocese as the place for such touching manifestations of His love.”
In her account, Mother Eugenia said that God “assumed the appearance of an ordinary man by placing His crown and His glory at His feet. He took the globe of the world and held it to His heart, supporting it with His left hand. He then sat next to me. I can say but a few words about His arrival and about the appearance He deigned to assume, and about His love. In my ignorance I do not have the words to express what He revealed to me.”
Among other things, said Mother Eugenia, the Father told her that He had come “to banish the excessive fear that my creatures have of Me, and to show them that my joy lies in being known and loved by my children, that is, by all mankind, present and future.” He told the nun that “I am coming to make myself known just as I am, so that men’s trust may increase together with their love for Me, their Father. I have but one concern: to watch over all men and love them as my children.”
Calling Himself the “ocean of charity,” the Father reportedly said that “all those who call Me by the name of Father, even if only once, will not perish, but will be sure of their eternal life among the chosen ones. And to you who will work for my glory and commit yourselves to making Me known, honored, and loved, I give the assurance that your reward will be great because I will count everything, even the smallest effort you make, and I will reward you a hundredfold in eternity.”

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Catholic Replies

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