In the name of the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit, Amen. Like to welcome you all to our perseverance family conversation, I’m Father Ed Broom, from the Oblates of the Virgin Mary, and it’s great to be with you. We’d like to start our conversation by inviting Mary to be with us, especially this month of May. Month of May is the month of Mary. Mary is the Mother of God, Mary is the Mother of the Church and Mary is the mother of each and every one of us.
LET US PRAY
Also, we pray that beautiful prayer at the end of the Rosary, the Hail Holy Queen. We invoke Mary as our life, our sweetness, and our hope. Let’s turn to Mary and ask Mary to pray for us and to pray with us and pray that prayer which is known as the Hail Mary, the Angelic Salutation. Together: Hail Mary, full of grace the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
We always like to invite to accompany us in a perseverance family conversation our Spiritual Director. What a blessing it is for us to have as our Spiritual Director, the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit has many wonderful titles. Holy Spirit is known as the Paraclete. The Holy Spirit is also named in the Catechism of the Catholic Church as the Gift of gifts. We pray the Sequence on Pentecost; we invoke the Holy Spirit as the Sweet guest of our souls. The Holy Spirit is also our Consoler and our Counselor. The Holy Spirit is also our Sanctifier, and the Holy Spirit is our Interior Master.
Saint Paul in his letter to the Romans, chapter 8 reminds us of the power of the Holy Spirit to help us to pray better. Saint Paul says: “We don’t know how to pray we thought, but the Holy Spirit intercedes with ineffable groans so that we can say “Abba, Father”. So together, let’s pray the classical prayer to the Holy Spirit, and beg for a light and the fire of love to burn within their hearts as we pray. Come Holy Spirits fill the hearts of your faithful and enkindle within us the fire of your divine love, send forth your spirit, and though shalt renew the face of the earth. Let us pray: Oh God, who did instruct the hearts of your faithful by the light of the Holy Spirit. Grant us that by the same spirit we may be truly wise and ever rejoice in his consolation through the same Christ our Lord. Amen. Glory be to the Father, to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was the beginning is now and ever shall be world without end. Amen.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us. Saint Joseph, pray for us. Saint Michael the Archangel, pray for us. St. Gabriel, pray for us. Saint Raphael, pray for us. Saint John, the first Pope, pray for us. Saint Ignatius of Loyola, pray from us. Saint Francis Xavier, pray for us. Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, pray for us. All God’s angels and Saints, pray for us. In the name of the Father and of the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
My friends, this is the day the Lord has made, let us be glad and rejoice in it. After we pray together as a family because the family that prays together stays together. I promise to pray for you in my Mass today I’ve got mass at 12 noon as well as 6:00 PM. The Mass is the prayer part Excellence, the greatest of all prayers. I’d like to pray for you in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and offer these intentions. I will place you on the altar, that the family would be open to the inspirations of the Holy Spirit. Indeed, our sanctification depends in large part upon our openness and our ductility to the Holy Spirit. Perhaps you can pray this prayer. Come, Holy Spirit, come. Come, Holy Spirit, come through the heart of Mary.
Then I’d like to pray for all of our families. First, for our conversion. First words of Jesus in his public ministry in Mark chapter one verse 15, be converted, or repent because the Kingdom of God is at hand. The word in Greek is metanoia, “change of mind and heart and life”. Pray for conversion and our sanctification that will come about through the Holy Spirit who’s known as the Sanctifier. I’d like to pray for our salvation. Jesus said very clearly. What would it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his soul. The most important enterprise in our life is to save our souls.
I’d like to pray for those who will be dying within the next 24 hours, especially those who are not well prepared. For us, the most important moment in our lives is the moment that we die. That will determine for all eternity our destiny, either salvation or damnation. The stakes are very high. Let’s pray for the dying that they would have recourse to the infinite mercy of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
The month of May is the month of Mary. I’d like to offer a brief Marian reflection. And a challenge to all of us to get to know Mary more, love Mary, have recourse to Mary, to give our life to Jesus through Mary, and to be aware of Mary’s presence during the course of the day.
SEVEN SORROWS OF MARY
Today I’d like to go through very quickly the Seven Sorrows of Mary. I mentioned them yesterday. By means of this statue that had the seven swords piercing the heart of Mary. Let’s go through this Seven Sorrows of Mary and hopefully you’ll be able to memorize them.
1. FIRST SORROW OF MARY: THE PROPHECY OF SIMEON. He takes the child in his arms and says: “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and the rise of many in Israel. He’ll be a sign of contradiction. Then he looks at Mary and says, and behold, a Sword of Sorrow will Pierce your heart, so that the thoughts of many will be revealed.
2. SECOND SORROW OF MARY: THE FLIGHT INTO EGYPT. When the wicked King Herod plots to kill Jesus, St Joseph receives a dream to get up and to flee into Egypt. Jesus in the arms of Mary and Joseph flee in Egypt to be spared from being massacred by the wicked king Herod.
3. THIRD SORROW OF MARY: THE CHILD JESUS IS LOST FOR THREE DAYS. Mary and Joseph find Jesus in the temple. Mary says: “Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been seeking him for you with sorrow”, Jesus said, “Why were you seeking me? Did you not know that it had to be about my father’s business?” And they did not understand these words of his Jesus. With that, Jesus was subject to them, and he grew in wisdom and age and grace before God and men.
4. FOURTH SORROW OF MARY: THE WAY OF THE CROSS (also the Fourth Station) Mary meets Jesus carrying his cross on the way to Calvary to be crucified.
5. FIFTH SORROW OF MARY: THE CRUCIFIXION OF JESUS. Jesus is nailed to the cross and he hangs on the cross about to die. At the foot of the Cross is Saint John the Evangelist and his Blessed Mother. Jesus says, “Woman, behold thy son, Son, behold thy mother.” From that moment the beloved disciple took Mary into his home.
6. SIXTH SORROW: JESUS BREATHES FORTH HIS SPIRIT. Jesus breathed forth his spirit, “Father into your hands, I commend my spirit”. And the nails are taken out of the hands and feet of Jesus. And he’s lowered into the arms have his mother. A depiction of this would be the Pieta of Michelangelo. Jesus, his mangled, lacerated, bloody body, laying limp in the arms of his mother, the Sorrowful Mother.
7. SEVENTH SORROW OF MARY: THE BURIAL OF JESUS. In the seventh sorrow of Mary, Jesus’ body is transported to the tomb that was given by Joseph of Arimathea. His body is buried in the tomb.
My friends, those are the Seven Sorrows of Mary. The little Francisco Marto and his sister, two of the youngest canonized Saints, Jacinta became a little victim soul in the words of Pope John Paul II. Francisco, a little Mystic, liked to spend time consoling the Heart of Jesus and consoling the Heart of Mary.
I’d like to introduce you to perhaps a different devotion. And the devotion is the Seven Sorrows of Mary. Many of you have my book, Total Consecration to Jesus through the Mysteries of the Rosary. The last part of my book, Total consecration to Jesus through Mary through the mysteries of the Rosary, I give a meditation on the Seven Sorrows of Mary.
REFLECTION: PREACHING AND TEACHING:
My style in preaching and teaching and sharing with you is, I like to take the biblical passage, give a summary of it, then I’d like to give an interpretation and application. So three steps in our teaching summary of the biblical text, interpretation of it, then application to our lives.
The Church offers us today the 18th chapter of the Acts of Apostles verse 1 to 8. I am inviting you also as you, read and meditate upon the Acts of the Apostles, be more and more aware of the Presence of the Holy Spirit. Tomorrow we will start the Novena in preparation for the Feast of Pentecost. Novena means “nine”. That powerful Novena that took place about 2000 years ago, in which the Apostles and Mary prayed in silence, they fasted, then the Holy Spirit came down upon them in tongues of fire. There was a radical transformation of the lives the Apostles, they would no longer be the same person. That came about to the prayers of Mary and the powerful presence of the Holy Spirit. Let’s move into the reading today and I would like to give you a summary of the text.
We are in the 18th chapter, verse one to eight of the Acts of the Apostles. Paul preaches in Athens, which was the Greek city known for its culture and civilization. Greece, where you had the great philosophers Aristotle, Socrates, Plato and many others. Paul preaches in the Areopagus. Homiletically, it was a perfect homily! At the end of his homily, Paul preaches about the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, that Jesus truly rose from the dead. Many people started to scoff and make fun of, Saint Paul said. We’ll listen to you about this on another day. A few were converted, Dionysius and Damaris, but most were not. So, Paul travels from. Athens to Corinth.
Now when he goes to Corinth, he meets with two friends, Priscilla and Aquila. Claudius had told all the Jews to leave Rome. So, Priscilla and Aquila leave, and they end up in Corinth. This is a married couple, who have dedicated themselves to their work and to the preaching of the Word of God. I think there’s a lot in that. And this is the promotion of the laity, that not only are priests and bishops and nuns called to promote the Kingdom, but also laity. This is called the universal call to holiness. That all of us, whether we’re religious nun in the convent, or a Bishop the head of a diocese, or married people with their children, we are all called by friends to pursue a life of holiness. The 5th chapter of the document Lumen Gentium and Vatican II is what is called the “universal call to holiness”.
Paul meets up with Priscilla Aquila and they bond! First of all, Priscilla and Aquila, they shared the same work or profession of Saint Paul. They were tent makers. So Paul and Priscilla Aquila worked together to make tents. I’d like to highlight this point, that they work hard. My friends, let’s step back and analyze our own lives. What is your work ethic? As a result of a Original Sin of Adam and Eve, God meted out on Adam this command: “…you will earn your bread by the sweat of your brows”. There is this universal called the holiness, but also there’s this universal called to work.
Saint Paul will go on to say work out your salvation in fear and in trembling. Saint Paul will also say: “He who does not work should not eat”. One of the Capital Sins is that of sloth or laziness. Maybe you’ve heard this saying: “idleness is the workshop of the devil”. If you don’t have anything to do, then the devil will give you a lot to do. John Bosco said that the vacation was the harvest ground to the devil for his young people.
Let’s step back and look at their own lives. How do you use the 24 hours? Do you apply yourselves to your work, your task at hand in a way that is pleasing to God? Now think we have to divide our work into three specific categories.
a. MANUAL LABOR. The first is the importance of physical manual labor. We are called to use her hands; physical manual work is good for us. I remember as a child that during the course of the week, Monday through Friday, we would work hard at our school and our schoolwork. But Saturday I wanted that to be my day off, to be able to play baseball, play sports. But often my father had another idea. He would let us sleep in a little bit, mom would prepare us a wholesome breakfast, then we would go out into the yard into the garage, onto the lawn and we’d be working most of the morning. My father often say by lunch we’d be finished our work, but sometimes the work would extend into the early afternoon.
So in the certain sense, I hated Saturdays, especially Saturday morning because I thought that this Saturday should have been mine. But it was a day in which my father insisted that we work. My father was with us. He was both working and supervising our work. Sometimes it would be cutting the grass, other times you would be pulling up weeds, other times it be cleaning the garage, other time being cleaning the inside of the house, other times, you might be cleaning the bathrooms. Other times it might be washing or even simonizing in the cars. We would work and I felt interiorly perturbed about this. But now they look back in retrospect, this segment in my life when I was a teenager. I recognize the intelligence and the wisdom of my father and. In educating us, not simply educating us intellectually, but educating us in the importance of work. We might call that the work ethic. The importance of the work ethic! So invite all of us to step back and ask ourselves: What is your work ethic?
I would divide our work ethic into three different categories. FIRST, it would be, using our hands and add this to the equation. We may have some elderly people that are following us who are no longer working. It’s important that we find some time to do physical exercise every week; walking, calisthenics, tennis, swimming, climbing. These physical exercises, this physical exertion is very important for us. It is incumbent upon us to recognize that our body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. We should try to maintain our health by physical exercise and by proper eating, and by good sleep habits. Don’t forget that our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit.
b. SECOND. The second realm of work is intellectual work. I really believe, my friends, that we have to work on cultivating our mind. How important it is is to have A well-educated, well-formed mind, even though we’re adults, we probably no longer go to high school or college or post-graduate studies, probably not, it’s important for us to cultivate our minds. We should all have at our disposal good books. We should all apply ourselves to good reading.
c .THIRD. The third area of work would be the spiritual work, which is related to our prayer and to our Holy Hour. So that’s one point I’d like to lay in your heart in the first reading.
PREACHING THE WORD OF GOD
The second part of the reading we say Saint Paul dedicating himself with preaching the Word of God. Preaching the word of God. I’d like to talk about that in the next few minutes. Preaching, preaching, communicating the Word of God to others. Let’s talk about that and how it can be done.
Now, we as priests, according to the documents of Vatican II and on the Priesthood Presbyterorum Ordinis is the document from Vatican II, highlights the fact that the priest principal obligation is doubled; the “Two-P’s” – to pray and to preach.
To pray and to preach. Do remember when there was that discussions in the early church About the widows being neglected, and the apostles came together, and they prayed, and they decided to choose deacons, among which would be Stephen and Phillip. It says it’s not right for us to neglect preaching the Word of God, to wait on tables. They instituted the deaconate so that the Apostles were the first bishops and priests could dedicate themselves principally to two tasks, to praying and to preaching.
I’d like to talk about that briefly and I’d like to highlight for you Five different elements on how we can be good teachers and preachers. And How YOU can do it? Because you was lay people, once you’re baptized, you’re anointed with holy chrism as priest, prophet and king. PRIEST: It’s called the common priesthood of the faithful. You called the offer sacrifices specially to unite yourself with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. As KING, we’re called to govern our passions. Either we govern or dominate our passions, or they will dominate us and we will become slaves of our passions.
The prophetic role means that we’re called also to preach the Word of God. In a certain sense, my friends, I’ve admired at times, seeing the Jehovah Witnesses and the Mormons walking Through the streets knocking on doors, trying to preach their message. I admire their Apostolic zeal. Pope Francis over the past few weeks and his General Audience on Wednesday, is encouraging we as Catholics to have Apostolic zeal. My apostolic zeal means to have courage to go out and bring the Good News to the whole world. Pope Francis took, in his last General Audience, St. Francis Xavier as a model for apostolic zeal and a model of a missionary. So much so that Pope Francis said that Francis Xavier is the is the most famous missionary in the modern world. When he sent Ignatius sent him to India, he said these words: “Go set all on fire”. Jesus said: “I’ve come to cast fire on the earth, and I’m not at peace until that fire being enkindled.
Those who have done the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius of Loyola have done the Call of the King; the grace not to be deaf to the call of the King. The called the earthly king is a springboard to be open to hearing the call of the Eternal King. The Eternal King what’s the salvation of the whole world. The last words of Jesus Christ before he ascends into heaven, He says, “…go out to all nations and teach them all they’ve taught you, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and the Holy Spirit. And behold, I am with you always, even until the end of the world”. Those were the last words of Jesus, the missionary mandate, and Francis Xavier took that very seriously.
So, in honor of Saint Paul and his preaching, being totally absorbed in his preaching. I like to highlight what I believe to be the “Big 5” qualities of being a good preacher and teacher. I applied this to myself, but also applied to you because you as baptized, you’re anointed as priest, prophet and king.
The first point is what Venerable Archbishop Fulton J Sheen said. He was great to missionary. He was the head of the Propagation of Faith, which would be the missionary work of the Church. Fulton Sheen says first come, then go. We want to be a good preacher and teacher of the Word of God, the gospel, then we have to spend time with Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Fulton Sheen at the end of his life dedicate himself to giving retreats to priests and bishops. He would say to them, when you preach, they don’t always listen to you, but when I preach, they do listen! And the reason is because the Hour of Power! Fulton Sheen more than 50 years as. PRIEST never missed his Holy Hour. He called that the Hour of Power. So, we have to spend time with Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, He is our best friend!
Number two, spending time with Christ, but we also, my friends, we have to find time, which Christ in reading and meditating upon the Bible and most specificallyt the very heart of the Bible, which would be THE GOSPELS! Getting to know Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. That’s right, getting to know the four Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
The third means for which we can learn how to preach and teach the Word of God. Would be a suggestion of Saint Augustine. Saint Augustine says that a good teacher should love what he’s teaching and love the students that God has placed in his charge. Very interesting, isn’t it? Augustine says we should love what we’re teaching your preaching and love those that God has placed in our in our charge. When we say love, what we’re preaching or teaching what we’re really loving the Person in the message of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. And we should love the people that God has placed in our path.
Our desire by preaching by word and also by our example is our desire to bring people to Christ. What a beautiful example we find in Saint Andrew. Saint Andrew met Jesus then he ran to his brother Simon Peter and he brought Simon Peter to Jesus. Then he is going to try to introduce the Greeks to Jesus. Andrew is always talking about Jesus, trying to introduce people to Jesus! We should pray for that same apostolic zeal of Andrew and Francis Xavier to really want to bring all people to Christ. As Ignatius said to Francis Xavier, “go set all on fire”.
The fourth point I like to make is. We should step back now, my friends, and look at our social environment, our social contacts. Who are the people that God is placed in our path? And in your case is probably going to be, first and foremost, would be your own family. The family is known as the domestic church. Families, the basic building block of society. The family is the basic cell and as John Paul II says, the way the family goes is the way society goes. Step back and see what are ways in which you can preach or teach the Gospel message in your own family?
Maybe something as simple as “Why don’t we sit down for dinner and will say a short prayer”. Maybe, you say “before we retire, let’s say a decade of the Rosary”. Start with something small and the principle of graduality you can start to add to it. Then it might be your work environment. Perhaps there’s one person, a colleague, that’s working with you, that is seeking for the truth. You might give him a book, you might even invite him to listen to one of our perseverance conversations. You might give him a New Testament. There are many ways, my friends, that we can preach and teach and transmit. The Word of God.
SOCIAL CONTACTS AND FAMILY MEMBERS. The third area would be your social contacts as well as your family members. Perhaps there’s a family member of yours? There is honestly seeking for the truth. Then once you’ve targeted individuals in your family, in your work environment and then in your social contacts, then have the courage to talk to them about God. And the last thing you’d like to say would be before trying to teach your preach or transmit the word of God to them, pray to Mary, pray to the Holy Spirit.
Mother Teresa of Calcutta, better said St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta, who founded the Missionaries of Charity – both John Paul II and Mother Teresa were perhaps the greatest missionaries last century -Mother Teresa said: “Mary was actually the first Missionary of Charity”. Mother Teresa said: “…after Mary conceived Jesus of the power of the Holy Spirit, then Mary got up and in haste traveled about 55 miles to Ain Karim to the Hill Country to visit her cousin Saint Elizabeth, who was with child. And there we said Shalom. She greeted Elizabeth “Shalom”, which means peace be with you. Mart communicated the word of God to Elizabeth and John the Baptist.
My friends, my message is this and honor of Saint Paul in his preaching, dedicating himself totally to the preaching of the Word of God. We’re called to pray to the teach. First is: “First come and then go”. Spending time with Christ! The second would be, Reading and meditating upon the Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The third is following the advice of Saint Augustine; to love what we teach and to love those who were teach. The 4th is to get to know our own social environment. And the 5th would be before we preach or teach to pray to Mary and to the Holy Spirit.
Following the exhortation of Pope Francis on Apostolic Zeal. Following and in the footsteps of Saint Francis Xavier, let us pray for the grace to preach and teach the Word of God. Jesus said: “Go out to all the world, teach them what I taught, and I will be with you always, even until the end of time”. Amen. And may, God bless you, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.