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2017 Reflections - these are older reflections newly added to this website.

Visiting with Jesus when He visits us!

 When you last received Jesus in your hand or on your tongue, what were you thinking? I'll bet you weren't thinking about Jesus... or only vaguely so. I know I have periods when I am barely there mentally. I sing in a choir, and when I receive Him, I try to swallow the Sacred Host is soon as possible, so I can sing the next hymn. But it is no excuse for not paying attention.

The thought occured to me, when the Holy Father was visiting England, that at each city, people were elated for him to be there, and they waved and smiled. When have we last smiled for Jesus? When have we last dressed up for Him? And most important, when have we truly been in the State of Grace, free from all sin even the little ones, as we approached the altar to receive Him?

So many people try to tell me that it is impossible for people to be free of sin. No, that is not impossible, but we don't have to talk about that, if that makes one uncomfortable. That is between you and our Savior! But try, at least, as a way to make that moment of reception is perfect as possible. Make it a habit to sin no more and pretty soon, especially with His help, you may succeed.

I don't have to give you lessons how to receive Holy Communion, except to urge you to do so with attention and devotion. You're not going up there to receive the host, you are going up there to receive none other than the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. And when you speak to anyone about this, I hear so many people falter and refer to Him as "the host" - when you receive Him, He is, whether on your hand, tongue or in your heart, the Body of Christ, and received under either species, you have received him entirely, in Body and Blood.

When He comes to you in this way, be attentive, and aware. Thank Him for His great Gift to you, the Gift of Himself! He died on the Cross for us so that we may have life everlasting. Never take the Body and Blood of Christ lightly or in vain. As you thank Him, at the same time please thank His Mother. The Blessed Virgin Mary, taken body and soul into Heaven upon her passing, because she was conceived without original sin (this is a matter of Catholic dogma!) is our mother as well. She gave birth to Him so that He could begin the process of the redemption of our souls. This process consisted of his Word (teachings, miracles, etc.) and His Sacrifice (the Cross).

It pains me that so many people have gone astray. They have abandoned Him, and they have not made an effort to ask for forgiveness. They rebel against the Catholic Church, by whose teaching their were raised, against the Holy Father, and the Magisterium (Bishops), they stopped receiving the Sacraments, and their souls are effectively dead, or close to it. They have already left! So come back, come back so that He can reach out to you, as you are reaching for Him. When you ask for foregiveness, He will grant it. Yes you can. You should. Your eternal life may be at stake! He will reach out to you until the point of your death, and if then you still haven't reached out to Him, I pray that He has mercy on your soul. I pray frequently for those who have no one to pray for them, for the people who are utterly lost. Let us all pray for those unfortunate souls.

We can do all of this and more when we receive Him, no matter what else we are doing. Prayer doesn't need to take hours, but it does need to take a succinct intention and attention to His Holy Will. In fact, if you truly have no time to pray that very minute, just ask Him to carry on your prayer for you. He is so perfect, so far superior to what we can do. He can accomplish infinitely more.

May God bless you and keep you!

Fred Schaeffer, OFS
September 21, 2010
FR2-536

 

 

 

Jesus, our Brother

I was re-reading a book by Fr. Benedict Groeschel, CFR, "A Priest Forever." This is the beautiful story of Father Eugene Hamilton, who passed away from cancer on his ordination day to the priesthood. Not a day goes by that I do not receive a prayer request from or about people who suffer from this disease that is often terminal. In this book, the author tells of the visit of Pope John Paul II in 1995 to St. Joseph's Seminary at Dunwoodie (NY), where fellow seminarians included Eugene's name in the prayer intentions prayed by the Holy Father, while Eugene was in the hospital. And Eugene recalled at the time how overwhelmed he was with the intercessions where he was mentioned, and the sense of gratitude he felt that we are really never alone in our trials and suffering.

WE ARE NEVER ALONE in trials and suffering - Jesus, our Brother, is always at our side, helping us get over the anguish and pain no matter how we feel about Him. Some people have lost all faith somewhere between their Baptism and the current experiences, and feel even more abandoned when a deadly disease comes their way. Jesus is so close ... they need only whisper that they are sorry for having offended Him, and when the opportunity arises to make a good Act of Contrition before a priest. Hospitalized people cannot always receive Sacramental absolution, as not all hospitals have priests nearby who can get there in time when a person is dying. We hope they can, but God understands a hearty "I'm Sorry" as a dying declaration in prayer, when one is at death's door. God listens, and He sees in our hearts and He knows our inner disposition. But when a person is still able to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation and priests are available, then penitents should avail themselves of this beautiful Sacrament.

We, in general, have no idea when a person dies, what his or her inner disposition was at the point of passing. It is not important for us to know, but it is important for the dying soul to be genuinely sorry for any mortal sins that haven't been confessed and forgiven. We do not know if a soul not sorry for mortal sins can get into that state called Heaven. We can only depend on God's mercy and compassion, and we know He has plenty of that. So we hope that many souls are nevertheless saved.

Our Protestant brothers and sisters would have us believe that once a person is Baptised, that person is saved. What about the person who leads a life of crime? That just doesn't make sense to save that this soul is nevertheless saved. Baptism gives everyone the potential to be saved, but we have to do our very best to sin no more. And people keep telling me that is impossible. Well, it is not. Look at the Saints and Blesseds - they sinned once in a while, sure, but not major stuff.

The time at the end of one's life may be short, this is why it is so important to prepare by keeping close to a God who loves us dearly, by attending at least Sunday Mass, and receiving the Holy Eucharist. Do non-Catholics get to Heaven - sure, but they have to live a holy life too, in their own way. So we can all get on the right track, and it is my hope that you will not postpone this effort. God bless you.

Fred Schaeffer, OFS
September 13, 2010
FR2-534

Secular Franciscan Order
Ordo Franciscanus Sæcularis

CIOFS is back online!

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Our Local Fraternity:
Divine Mercy Fraternity
Vero Beach, FL

 

Officers as of 1/10/2016

 

Minister:
Fred Schaeffer, OFS
Vice-Minister:
Helen Caldarone, OFS
Secretary:
Mary "Jean" McGovern, OFS
Treasurer:
(Vacant)
Formation Director: 
Donna Haro, OFS


Councillors at Large: 
Jack Reddy, OFS

 

 
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