St Joseph's Church

Lincoln, New Hampshire

Category: From the Pastor’s Desk (page 1 of 5)

Death

Death is uncompromising reality and it is the only truth, and no one can escape death. If you are born, you are subject to die. But as Catholics we have reason to rejoice even in death because we believe in Resurrection. Why I write this reflection because this month the church has allotted for us to pray for all our near and dear departed souls. Many parts of the world the people go especially this month to the cemetery to light the candles and decorate the graves of the deceased. The cemetery reminds us of many things. It is the most peaceful place on earth, and when you stand there you feel the calmness and silence of the place. It will make you think about yourself and the people who lay there. First of all when we stand there it reminds us that we are not permanent here on earth, secondly reminds that we still have time to repent and do good things in order to have a peaceful death and gain the eternal reward. Cemetery also reminds us that God is not going to ask us how we died but rather how we lived when you were given the gift of life. We read in the Gospel as recorded by St. Mathew chapter 25;31-46 regarding the final judgement, there he mentions “the King will say to those on his right, Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me……..Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me etc.”  Here we have to pause a while and think which category that we belong RIGHT SIDE or LEFT SIDE Of the KING. These are the questions God is going to ask on the final judgement day, and basing on the answers you give will receive your reward. For this we have to be well prepared, and should grab every opportunity that comes along your way.

One day one of my friends asked me are you not afraid to live so close by the cemetery? (Because back in India the church, cemetery and rectory are in one compound), especially at night don’t you have strange feelings and some uneasiness to sleep.  My answer was why I need to get frightened and feel uneasy. If ever I do so, I just pray for the souls of all the departed, moreover I do offer Holy Mass for them and encourage the people to do the same, because they need our prayers and our spiritual support for their salvation. Then he proceeded to ask me, When you go to the cemetery, does it ever make you feel creepy? Especially around sundown, are you afraid that some ghost is going to lunge out from the grave and grab your ankle?  And here I asked a counter question to him, are you really believed in Jesus Christ, and His words?  Sometimes we have been trained in our culture to think that the dead aren’t really dead. But the Bible teaches the dead don’t come back, they go to heaven the dwelling place of God or other places (like Purgatory or Hell) according to the deed that they have done in their pilgrim journey here on earth, and not living the expectations of God. However they get mercy if we really pray for them and especially this month of November. That is why I encourage you all to pray everyday for the departed and offer Holy Masses for them for the purification of souls. One day we are going to embrace the reality of DEATH.  

Changes

Nearly everyone enjoys the change of seasons on Earth – from Summer to Fall, from Winter to Spring. Nevertheless, when some of us hear the word “change” it upsets us a lot and we say a big No to it. But in reality we are subjected to that phenomenon. One thing that we can be certain about is that our God is the same yesterday, today and forever. He never changes. His love for humanity never changes. He remains the same showering His splendid blessings on us out of His benevolence. Therefore we need to understand that everything happens for a reason whether it is good or bad in our life because God is going to do something extraordinary in our life when He calls us for a change.
I know, so many questions remain unanswered in front of us. We need to understand that God has equipped us for this evil world. He has given us the commandments to live by and strategies to look into, to live  this life in a more amazing and meaningful way. He has clothed us in full armor and His angels fight for us. He comforts us in times of trouble. So friends, don’t get upset about changes and brood over the things that are never going to benefit us, rather focus on your time God has given to you and do the best you can. Time never waits for us and it keeps on moving. Sometimes we wonder how did or where did these years go by and what did we do with the time and what did we achieve in life, and how many of our friends and relatives and our dear ones departed from this world leaving behind good things and at the same time a lot of pain. However, life has to move on, and we are led on by an unknown force (GOD) who energizes us to move forward. We can’t focus on both, God and on our idols, at the same time. We have to make a choice in our life in who we are going to put our hope in, because we can’t have both. One leads us to an everlasting life of peace, and the other leads us into darkness to be consumed by evil. So let us make wise decision  by choosing  God as primordial in our life so that we will never be worried and disappointed about the CHANGES.

November is so Special

The month of November is very special in many ways. We start the month with the celebration of All Saints Day, followed by All Souls Day, remembering all the departed ones and praying for them in a special way on November 2nd. Every Saint is like a ray of light streaming forth from the word of God. We honor these great champions of faith, not because they did great things but did the smallest things in an extraordinary manner. I feel this is the great opportunity that the church offers us to look into our holiness and to make ourselves the best children of God, and at the same time reminding us that we are obliged to pray for all our beloved departed who had gone before us to intercede on our behalf.

The Saints in Heaven are in full communion with God. Though they are enjoying their eternal reward, they are still very much concerned about us. They are entrusted with the important task of intercession. He wants them to bring our prayers to Him and, in return, to bring His grace to us, not because God did not want to bestow His grace directly, but to remind us that those who do the will of God here on earth will get a special privilege to be part of God’s salvific work.  They become powerful intercessors for us and participators in God’s divine action in the world. That is the reason many shrines are being erected on behalf of them in every part of the world. I would like to enumerate here some of the thoughts of the saints; St. Ignatius of Loyola says “If the Saints could do so, Why not I? Yes, I can surely become a Saint”. St. Alphonsus Ligourie says, “He who does not cherish a desire to achieve sanctity, may be Christian, but not a good Christian”. Saint Augustine says, “It is pleasant to see the Saints, to be with the Saints and to be a Saint”.  St. Thérèse of Lisieux says, “I want to spend my Heaven doing good on Earth.” Now Let us look into our possibilities, is there any way that I can be one? Surely if you have a wish and will and above all a commitment to God’s Holy Will.

All Souls Day is a day annually set aside by the Universal Church to remind us the value of recalling our dear departed brethren and praying for the repose of their souls. One of the harsh realities of life is that all life eventually comes to an end. However our consolation is in the Word of God. In the scripture (book of Wisdom) we read: “the Souls of the virtuous are in the hands of God. What better place could we go to after death than into the hands of God?” What a beautiful way to describe God’s care for us. Do you remember when you were small and your parents took you up in their arms? You were in the arms of your parents. When we die God takes us up in His hands. We are in the hands of God. It is grace and mercy we will receive from God when we die, anything else that we will receive in the next life is of our own making, not God’s, and we have time to repent and reform before death. It is grace and mercy God wants to give us. So it is good to pray for our dear ones who passed away from this world, because we don’t know in what state of life that they are being called from the face of the earth. So let us pray in the month of November everyday “Eternal rest, grant unto them O Lord and let perpetual light shine upon them. May the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.”

Practice Virtues

Virtues are gifts from God. When you practice them in your daily life you create a close relationship with Him. Virtues are like habits. They need to be practiced constantly in our daily life and in every given situation; they can be lost if they are neglected and not practiced. Start practicing today, begin by one virtue and you will feel so many other virtues accompanying it. The three most important virtues that need to be practiced are called theological virtues (Faith, Hope, and Charity) because they come from God and lead to God, like we come from God and we need to lead and direct ourselves and others to God, and that is our calling and that is our mission. The cardinal virtues are human virtues (Prudence, Justice, Fortitude, Temperance), acquired by education and good actions. Cardinal comes from cardo, the Latin word for hinge, meaning “that on which other things depend.”  Therefore we need both virtues theological and cardinal, to have a Holy life and to fight against the evils of this world. At any point if we are losing our vision to the Holiness, godliness, and virtuous life keep in mind that we are not practicing the virtues. So make sure that you don’t get lost in this busy world not finding the right direction towards Heaven. God has placed many virtues and saintly people around you to look into for your references. Start practicing from today the virtues because you are the CEO of your life and you decide your company’s (your LIFE’s) ups and downs, advantages and disadvantages. It is not too late dear CEOs as the saying goes “it is better late than never”. Last Sunday the Holy Catholic Church was blessed again with five Saints who are interceding for the whole world before the Heavenly throne constantly, who kept the virtues so close to their heart. Let me share with you what I read from the Vatican News:
“On 13th October in a sun-drenched St. Peter’s Square, and before thousands of pilgrims coming from all over the world, Pope Francis proclaimed five new Saints for the Church, namely St. John Henry Newman (England), St. Marguerite Bays (Switzerland), St. Giuseppina Vannini (Italy), St. Mariam Thresia (India), St. Dulce Lopes Pontes (Brazil), and praised their outstanding and virtuous life and their commitment to the kingdom of God. Pope Francis said “to be Saints is not a privilege for the few, but vocation for everyone and today we give thanks to the Lord for our new Saints. They walked by faith and now we invoke their intercession.”
Pope Francis also said “Noting that three of the new Saints canonized this Sunday were religious women, they show us that the consecrated life is a journey of love to the existential peripheries”. Laywoman, Marguerite Bays, on the other hand, “speaks to us of the power of simple prayer, enduring patience and silent self-giving”. Pope Francis concluded his homily by quoting Saint John Henry Newman, who described the holiness of daily life in these words: “The Christian has a deep, silent, hidden peace, which the world sees not… The Christian is cheerful, easy, kind, gentle, courteous, candid, unassuming; has no pretense… with so little that is unusual or striking in his bearing, that he may easily be taken at first sight for an ordinary man”. Let us ask God to be like that, said Pope Francis: “kind lights” amid the encircling gloom.

My friends in Christ, let us practice the virtues and leave a good legacy behind for the future generations.

The Need for Holy Eucharist

Missing the Holy Eucharist means like losing something very important, as if something is missing in life. It is the same feeling with many Catholics all over the world. I have heard many people saying that after receiving Jesus in the Holy Eucharist it is like consuming a great energy drink and it really rejuvenates their spiritual and physical body to start the day etc. Personally speaking I had a deep yearning to receive Christ every day after my First Holy Communion and I used to go to church with my grandmother every single day and if I were late in the morning or forgetting about she would come knocking at my door to wake me up and asking me to get ready for church, which she never did with her other grandchildren. Perhaps, she (my grandmother who is now in Heaven) is very fond of me and wanted me to become a priest someday. Now that I am a priest I owe it all to my grandmother who played a decisive role in modeling me into one. As young boy she taught me to adore and love the Eucharistic Lord daily to have grace upon grace. Sometimes you may find it funny but it is the truth.
Each of us is called to be a living sign of the Lord’s presence, and it can be accomplished only when we pay more attention to the Eucharistic Lord. His inevitable presence is there in every Eucharistic celebration, believe it or not. We don’t always notice that because our mind wanders in different directions or spins in 360 degree during the celebration of the Holy Eucharist. The Lord wants to be present in our world through each one of us. We are all aware of our capacity to hide the Lord as well as reveal Him. At the end of our day, it can be good to rewind and think about the blessings where the Lord has been gracing us with His presence, and then quietly give thanks for that. I would like to share with you some of the experiences of our parishioners who attend the Holy Mass daily.

“Receiving Jesus in everyday of my life gives me much relief and peace, I feel I am blessed” by Fred Germain Sr.

“I desire to receive Jesus everyday to express my love for Him, and to unite my works, joys and suffering to His sacrifice and through His goodness I have mercy.” By a faithful.

“I feel full of gratitude and love. I feel His presence within me, and also His mother. She also comes into the stable of my soul and makes it worthy to receive Him. Without Her “YES” we would not have the Body and Blood of Jesus” By Fred Mehrmann

“I look at the Holy host in my hand and try to fathom that I hold the timeless, infinite, creator who chooses to allow me to consume His very being, and thereby become a part of my very essence in a real and physical manner. Mind boggling!!.” By Chuck B. from North Dakota

“I say to Jesus “My Lord and My God” have mercy on me a sinner. May Your Body and Blood keep me safe for Eternal Life. I thank you for your love for me.” By a faithful.

“When I receive Jesus in communion I feel so blessed and at peace. It makes my day and gives me strength to face whatever comes my way.” By a faithful.

« Older posts