WITH ST. MARY'S
THE THIRTIETH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
Recognize and love God's incredible power.
THIRTIETH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
At the 10:30 AM Mass this Sunday, October 29th, St. Mary's will be offering Communion under both species: in addition to receiving communion through the species of bread, we will begin offering communion also through the species of wine only at this Mass for now. It is not necessary to receive communion under both species; as the Catechism of the Catholic Church states, "Communion under the Species of Bread alone makes it possible to receive all the fruit of Eucharistic Grace." The Doctrine of Concomitance states that Jesus Christ is fully present (Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity) under both species. For any additional questions, please consult the Norms for the Distribution and Reception of Holy Communion under Both Kinds in the Dioceses of the United States of America.
READ THIS SUNDAY'S MESSAGE
When we approach the sacrament of confession and prepare ourselves through an examination of conscience, there are plenty of ways in which we can consider which sins we have committed. The best thing to do is to look at the Ten Commandments, since these were directly given to humanity by God and consist of the most important Laws for us. Another list to consider is the seven deadly sins, since they consist of sins that seem to naturally generate other sins. When we go to confession, we are in a state of remorse, but we shouldn’t simply seek out repentance because of our fear of God’s Wrath or the consequence of the Law. Instead, the Law exists to maximize the joy and meaning that we can obtain through living a life properly ordered according to the will of God.Fear of the Lord is an incredible gift and virtue, and virtues are those things in direct opposition to vices, which are sins. Fear of the Lord keeps us humble, allows us to remember that we are subservient to God and beholden to His Will alone. But as is the case with most of our language, things that might apply to humanity do not apply in the same way to God; fear is one such example. To be fearful of someone else is to not trust them, to know that at any moment, they can inflict upon you pain, discomfort, or any other negative emotion. Fear is a biological response to potentially life-threatening situations, which is why we are usually afraid of the unknown. On the other hand, fear can also be conflated with intimidation, and there are times when intimidation is good for us. To be fearful of an authority figure is simply to recognize their capacity over you; it does not necessarily mean that they will abuse their authority. When we consider the gift of Fear of the Lord, we are not “terrified” or spooked out by the presence of God; rather, we are intimidated by His awesome power. He uses that power to love, nothing more. We hear multiple references in this Sunday’s readings, though, to the “Wrath” of God, the consequence of severe disobedience. Wrath is usually what instills fear within us when it comes to another human, and wrath is one of the seven deadly sins. But the Wrath of God is not like the wrath of Man. The Wrath of God is not a sin on the part of God, but the fullest expression of His divine power when combating the power that sin has over His creation. We do not want to find ourselves in the crossfire between the fearful power of Supreme Goodness and the corrupting power of sin; this is why it is absolutely crucial that we work to rid ourselves of sin in this life.
To want to rid ourselves of sin is an inherent good. To go to the sacrament of confession is an inherent good. But God’s Law, which guides us as we enter the confessional, was not given to merely keep us in check or to keep us afraid of what God might do if we are disobedient. The Law is meant to keep us truly happy, fulfilled, and blessed according to how we were created. If we enter into the confessional with the Laws commanded by God to Moses on our mind, we should also enter into the confessional with the greatest law on our mind, which was held sacred by the Jews and which Christ confirmed in his public teaching: you shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is a positive law, something we must do, rather than something we must not do. This is a direction, a calling, an expectation, a responsibility. How do we do it? Christ tells us: love your neighbor as yourself. Love God’s creation as He loves us. This is not based in any fear, but only in the overwhelming power of sincere love.