Fr. FelixI belong to the Servant Brothers of the Home of the Mother since its foundation in 1990, and have been a priest for 25 years. I am licensed in Pharmacy from the University of Madrid and hold a doctorate in Dogmatic Theology from Holy Cross University in Rome. I am committed to the lay apostolate and give retreats for youth and adults.

Fr. Félix López is author and editor of the Blog "God’s Plan for the Family".

Benedict XVI, in his apostolic exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis, has several points dedicated to pointing out the relationship between the two sacraments. Obviously, since the Eucharist is the sacramental memorial of the Paschal mystery of Christ, all the other sacraments are linked to it.

Fr Colm PowersFr. Colum Power, born in Cork, Ireland, in 1965, is a Servant Priest of the Home of the Mother. He obtained a Master's degree in literature in 1991 and a doctorate in the History of the Church in 2013. He is author of A Touch of the Gardener's Hand, Honey from the Lion's Carcass, and James Joyce's Catholic Categories. He devotes his time to apostolic activities for the youth organized by the Servant Brothers of the Home of the Mother. Fr. Colum Power is author and editor of the FFA blog "Random Reflections".

    Every year our temples are invaded by numerous crowds of non-believers. We could call it, "the annual invasion of the atheists." 

    There is theoretical atheism and there is practical atheism. Theoretical atheists are those who declare themselves to be non-believers. Practical atheists may believe that "there has to be something out there somewhere," but in fact they live as if God didn't exist. 

    Catholic churches are God's temples, but they also belong to God's people in general and to God's local parochial community in particular. It is they, the members of the local community, who pay for the temple's maintenance, and their ancestors paid for its construction. They practice their faith weekly on Sundays in their local temples and in some cases daily by attendance at daily Mass and the praying of the rosary and other devotions. 

    Every year their temples, God's temples, are invaded by hordes of atheists. It is not just that they do not know God; they do not want to know God. 

    And the parishioners complain to the priest: "There were people drinking coca cola and eating pringles," "People were using their cellphones and tablets," "Two 10-year-old boys were fighting on the floor and when I tried to stop them their parents turned on me," "There were people talking during the hymns and the whole ceremony," "The little girls making their First Communion were covered in makeup," "I saw a 15-year-old boy putting the consecrated host into his pocket." 

    What can we do? What should we do? How must we live this? 

    John 2, 13-17 comes to mind: "When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple courts he found people selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said, 'Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!' His disciples remembered that it is written: 'Zeal for your house will consume me.'" 

    I read a testimony once about a woman who went on pilgrimage to the Holy Land. She wanted to do the Via Crucis, the Way of the Cross, in the footsteps of the Savior, walking the very same Via Dolorosa, the Path of Pain, that Christ himself walked from Pilate's Praetorium to the Hill of Calvary under the burden of the cross on which He was to be nailed. 

    When she got there, she discovered that the atmosphere was not favorable to prayer. She was surrounded by crowds of noisy people shouting and buying and selling, people who clearly did not have a single thought to spare for God. Discouraged, she decided to return to her hotel. In that very moment, a thought came to her mind. Perhaps it would be better to say that a voice spoke to her heart, saying: "It was like this when I did it too." 

    Realizing that it was the voice of Christ, or at least an inspiration from the Holy Spirit, which amounts to the same thing, she decided to persist with her intention to pray. In the midst of the noise, the indifference, the contempt, there was at least one heart seeking Christ. 

    When she reached the Hill of Calvary enshrined in its temple, she heard with a new penetration Christ's words on the cross, "Forgive them, Father, they know not what they do." Forgive them, Father, they neither know nor wish to know what they are doing. 

    (The writer of this article once spent an entire Christmas morning asleep in church for the duration of three Masses: "The drunk on the back bench, forgive him, Father, he knows not what he does; forgive him, Father, he neither knows nor wants to know what he is doing"). 

    In last Sunday's Gospel passage, Jesus said, "Whoever loves me will keep my word. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home in him. Whoever does not love me will not keep my word" (Jn. 14, 23-24). Christ is seeking out people who will listen to his word, who will respond to his love, who will accept his company, like that pilgrim lady on the streets of Jerusalem, like us during raucous First Holy Communion ceremonies. He seeks out souls who will listen to his word, who will obey his teaching, so that He and the Father may enter our hearts and live in us. That's what communion means. 

    Last Sunday happened to be a First Holy Communion ceremony in my parish. I said everything I have written here in the homily. About a dozen people got up and left. It's not always necessary to expel people from the temple with a whip in hand; sometimes the simple truth and the call to conversion is sufficient. 

    But that pilgrim lady's experience in the Holy Land provides a light by which to live the annual invasion of the atheists, and by which to live our entire lives in these atheistic times. Christ is not distracted by the noise and the indifference and the superficiality. His focus is on your heart, in the hope of finding that your focus is on His. 

 

GlennFFAGlenn Fong is from Cali, Colombia but is currently living in Florida. He has been married to Sandra since 2001 and counting...(yes, it is possible! Marriage is supposed to be forever!), and they have been blessed with two children. Glenn studied Systems Engineering at San Buenaventura University in Cali, Colombia and now works for a multinational company as an Analyst-Developer. He is not a writer, but his passion for Christ and His Church propel him to write about many different topics. Glenn is author and editor of the Blog "It´s for Real".Glenn is author and editor of the Blog "It's for Real".

You can read Glenn's blog in spanish here: http://gfongm.wordpress.com

Have you ever wondered what would be in your life if your loved ones were missing?

Have you started analyzing your life if you were left alone in this life?

A few days ago, my wife went on a pilgrimage known as “In the footsteps of the Apostle Paul,” and I was in charge of the household and our children...

I don't know if you ever wanted to be alone for a while, a few hours, or a few days to be able to disconnect from the world, and to have a few hours to "regain strength."

The fact is that at the time my wife was away, I had time to meditate while working alone at home.

At first, I only saw that I had the responsibility of having the work and the house up to date; I only saw the responsibility of having the school uniforms of my children clean and ironed, of having them food, and of having the house in order and clean ... And I don't know if I achieved these goals, but as the days were going, I began to see different things ... I no longer only saw the responsibilities and obligations, but I wanted to do a personal exercise.

The exercise consisted of imagining that I was alone at home, and that my wife and children would no longer return ... I imagined what it would be like to be alone in life. I did not do it to martyrize myself, but to try to understand even more the love and warmth of my family.

And it all started one morning when the alarm beeped, and I woke up. I looked at the side of the bed, and the place where my wife should be was empty. Then, I sent my children to school and during the day I continued with the exercise.

When I had to move inside the house, I could only see the emptiness. I just listened to silence. The laughs were not there. The scolding did not exist. The jokes and pranks had vanished… 

We know very well what the habits of our loved ones are. We know where they sit, what they smell like, what they play, their voices, their hobbies, their gestures… But I realized that none of that thinks were in the house anymore.

I went to the kitchen, and it was empty. I walked into the living room, there was no one. I entered my children's rooms, nobody was occupying them. I entered my room, and only saw an empty bed, and a full closet… The house was lifeless.

I began to think: "What if all my days were the same?" "What if my family no longer existed?"

Imagine yourselves waking up in the morning and not seeing anyone, not talking to anyone, not having anyone to help, not having anyone to care for you, not having anyone who with their own presences fill you with love, not having no one with whom to argue, or with whom to reconcile.

And it was then, in the middle of this exercise, I could feel “physically” the reality of many people abandoned by their families, of some who live alone because not even they can bear themselves; I could see the reality of people who live alone and because their selfishness do not allow anyone to be part of their existence… And I could feel the pain of the absence of my wife and my children because the mornings no longer had colors, nor did the afternoon coffee taste good. The days have been eternal, and all the moments were the same… absolute loneliness.

Yes, I know it was only an exercise, but doing this kind of ... let us call it "mini retreat", I could feel (literally, feel) the absence of my loved ones.

This exercise became more real because during that time nobody knocked on the door, I did not receive a call from anyone, nobody worried about me in case we needed something, not a greeting, the office meeting was cancelled, not even a missed call, or a scam call or of some seller… How sad for those people who live alone and helpless, and never even receive someone's visit!

This exercise has helped me a lot to be able to appreciate and value much more having a wife who loves me and takes care of me, and knowing that my children, thank God, will return after school…

Yes, I well know perfectly that I am not perfect, on the contrary, I am full of defects, but this exercise made me see a reality that I had never considered… (hmmm… It must be that I am getting old) … It allowed me to draw as a conclusion that time is a treasure, time is like gold, and should not be wasted losing it in banalities, rather, the exhortation is to make the most of time to love our wives / husbands and children, and all our family and friends.

Time is going very fast, and we do not know when the Lord will call us to leave this world, but by the time the time comes, we better would like to be perfectly prepared.

Although we know and believe our time on this earth is limited, we do not do everything well, we still make mistakes, and this, even if it is without intention, hurts our loved ones very much, and can generate very painful wounds which can take a long time to heal.

Let us reconcile with those whom we have hurt, or who have hurt us; let us ask for forgiveness, let us visit those who have been forgotten either for lack of love or for excess of resentment. God, our God, is a God of Love and Mercy, and he expects that from us to be instruments of His love and mercy everywhere, on time and out of time.

Now that we are in the midst of Advent and Christmas is approaching, these important dates are coming, such as the season of Advent and Christmas, have we thought about the loneliness in which many of our brothers and sisters are living around the world? And let's not just talk about those who have been abandoned for x or y reason. Let us also think about the loneliness of people who have had to leave their land, their homes, their families, their friends ... due to political situations, or because of a better job opportunity, or for whatever other reason…

Have we ever thought about the loneliness of the one who is totally alone in the world? Have we started to think what is would be like for us that we could be in that situation?

And it is on these very special dates when the heart wrinkles more, and it is the time when more people need to feel the warmth of family and friends… Let us not wait to be alone in this world, to be able to feel the helplessness of our brothers and sisters; let's work from today to make humanity happier.

I dare you to do this exercise. Do you dare?

May God, Saint Joseph and Blessed Mary bless us and protect us.

¡Laudetur Iesus Christus!

iFong

 

DaneBairdDane Baird has been a witness member of the Home of the Mother for over 3 years. He has two daughters, Jean and Susannah. The newest addition to the family is Halo, wonder-dog! His profession is teaching autistic children and he enjoys acting in several parish and diocesan ministries, as well as supporting the Home of the Mother.

His blog is called "Fathers Floreat!" Floreat is a word he heard on retreat, it is latin for to flourish, to bloom. Men should be blossoming according to God's plan.

In Psalm 42, a deer ‘longs’ for ‘streams.’ This seems unusual. Most deer know where water is and don’t really long for water. In a familiar manner, the deer normally approaches the water gingerly, as if he is appreciating it; maybe he is listening to the pleasant sound of water cascading along the stream’s banks, or, he is imagining the taste of the water and how it will quench the deer’s thirst.