Letter from the Prefect | 4th Sunday of Advent

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Dearest Friends,

The Holy Bible says that man was created in God’s image and likeness. What in man corresponds most to God’s being is his capacity to love. We resemble God most by the manner we love.

The most intensely passionate natures, like those of Therese and Ignatius, are perhaps more drawn toward God as the only sufficient object than are gentler saints like Anselm or more versatile natures like that of Bernard. Great mystics do have tender worldly loves, but often they take the form of intense family attachments of a very domestic type. It is touchingly evident, however, that the saints often loved each other dearly and even “fell in love.” The mystics remind us that God is the greatest lover of all. Being chosen for a direct experience of this overwhelming love can be intoxicating, or a kind of madness. Teresa of Avila once noted that she had “been going around as if drunk.”

Perhaps the mostly distinctively Christian form of love springs from the commandment to love those who are not loveable. “But I say to you that hear: Love your enemies, do good to them that hate you. Bless them that curse you, and pray for them that calumniate you” (Luke 6:27).

In our own present time, Love, unfortunately, has become one of the most misunderstood and confused word in any language. Some want it to mean nothing more than the attraction between the sexes. Others see it only as desire and its satisfaction. And when others speak of it, love seems synonymous with sex. It’s all so sad because love understood as any of these is hardly love. It is confused: the wrapper is taken for the content.

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Letter from the Prefect | 3rd Sunday of Advent: Gaudete Sunday (December 15, 2013)

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Dearest Friends,

Joy is one of the most elusive of all human experiences. You can’t catch it when you want it and you lose it even when you are already touching it with your fingertips. But when one gives up chasing it, it alights on one’s soul, like a butterfly, and changes the world for that person; the ordinary becomes extraordinary, the drab colorful and the workaday special. And one is taken aback, always in surprise, because joy comes when you least expect it.

Joy can come from many sources, most of which are ordinary and simple. Joy can come from a smile, a kind word, the sunrise after a nightlong rain, a flower that blooms, a long-lost friend met in a busy thoroughfare, a good meal, a moment of recognition. Sometimes, it also comes from silence. But joy comes, it does come.

The only condition is that one must be ready and open to welcome joy. One must never lose sense of wonderment and awe, the capacity for surprise and playfulness, and an open heart for appreciation. Joy does not come to those who have turned stiff or to those who have remained but superficial. Joy comes when we are most childlike.

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Letter from the Prefect | Immaculate Conception / 2nd Sunday of Advent

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Dearest Friends,

Mary, who is virtually the only venerated feminine image of the divine to be found in the monotheistic religions, ought to be of particular interest in our era as we struggle to modify or enrich patriarchal traditions. Within the tradition of Holy Mother Church itself, it is striking to realize how early, how complete, and how warmly loving is the picture of Mary and her role in salvation history. Mary has been always been seen by the Saints as Regina Caeli – Queen of Heaven and Corde Ecclesiae – Heart of the Church.

The Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen once pointed to the fact: that if one could make his own mother, wouldn’t he make her perfect, wouldn’t he love her so much that he would protect her from any harm, from any fall, from any blemish? Well, the Son of God did create His own mother!” To add to this, Blessed John Duns Scotus, a son of St. Francis – a member of the greatest defenders of Our Lady’s singular privilege – stated: “Potuit, decuit, ergo fecit… roughly translated – God could do it, He should do it, and by golly God did do it!” Our Blessed Mother was saved by God in an extraordinary way for she was preserved from mortal sin. Whereas we are picked up after the fall and cleansed, Mary was prevented from falling and thus was stainless.

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Letter from the Prefect | 1st Sunday of Advent

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Dearest Friends,

Once again, Holy Mother Church starts a new Liturgical Year through the Season of Advent. This new beginning has always been one of expectation, prayer, and penance. I intend to reproduce here the introduction to the Season of Advent found in The Roman Missal which encapsulates the whole beauty of this season.

The Liturgical texts used during the four weeks of the season of Advent remind the faithful of the “Absence of Christ.” The Collects of Advent do not end with, “through our Lord Jesus Christ,” as during the rest of the year. In a spirit of penance and prayer we await the Mediator, the God-Man, preparing for His coming in the flesh, and also for His second coming as our Judge. The Masses for Advent strike a note of preparation and repentance mingled with joy and hope; hence, although the penitential purple is worn and the Gloria is omitted, the joyous Alleluia is retained. The readings from the Old Testament contained in the Introit, Gradual, Offertory, and Communion of the Masses taken mostly from the prophecies of Isaias and from the Psalms, give eloquent expression to the longing of all nations for a Redeemer.
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November Letter from the Prefect

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Dearest Friends,

Every November, Holy Mother Church recognizes this month as the month when we commemorate all the Saints and all the Poor souls in Purgatory. With that in mind, permit me to reflect on Death, a silent and inevitable companion in our lives. As you read this, please do remember to always pray to St. Joseph and all the forgotten members of Christ’s faithful.

Death is always painful when it comes because it means that a person is cut off from the world of the living. It means that between the dead and the living there comes a distance much farther than the farthest point on this earth. When a person lives, one can always hope he will come back home sooner or later; but when a person is dead, one can only hope to join him someday.

There is something final in death which no one ever likes. When death comes, it’s all over for the person this side of life. No matter how miserable one’s life may have been, death appears always terrifying. Life is just too beautiful to end in death.

But our faith teaches us that death is the necessary passage to Eternal Life. Jesus said, “Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit” (John 12:24).

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