Regína sacratíssimi Rosárii, ora pro nobis!

Ave Maria!

Sunday Within the Octave of the Ascension—17 May AD 2015

Our Lady Queen of the Apostles

Ordinary of the Mass
Sunday Mass Text - Latin
Sunday Mass Text - English
Mass - Queen of Apostles

“They will put you out of the synagogues: yea, the hour cometh, that whomsoever kills you will think that he doth a service to God.”[1]

    On Thursday we observed the feast of our Lord’s Ascension into heaven on the fortieth day after His Resurrection from the Dead.  We now look forward to Pentecost, the day on which the Holy Ghost descended upon the Apostles.  Nine days intervene between the Ascension and Pentecost, and we are wise to think of those days as a novena in preparation for this great feast.

    We have already received the Holy Ghost in the Sacrament of Confirmation, but every year the feast of Pentecost should remind us of our vocation as “soldiers of Christ” who should be prepared to live the Catholic Faith even in times of persecution.  The liturgy of the Mass is instructive as to how we are to prepare.

    Yesterday was the feast of Mary, the Queen of the Apostles, and we read just a little more of the Acts of the Apostles than we did on Thursday: 

    Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount that is called Olivet, which is nigh Jerusalem, within a sabbath day' s journey. [13] And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode Peter and John, James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James of Alpheus, and Simon Zelotes, and Jude the brother of James. [14] All these were persevering with one mind in prayer with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.[2]

    So we learn that the Apostles observed their novena together, in an upper room (perhaps the cenacle of the Last Supper), and that they made their novena with “Mary the mother of Jesus.”  This, of course, should be second nature to Catholics—everything we do is done best when done with the Blessed Mother.  After Holy Mass, I would suggest her Rosary as the ideal devotion for the novena.  This might be a good excuse to repeat the glorious mysteries every day if you are unable to pray more than five decades.

    Today’s Epistle gives us some additional pointers for our novena.[3]

    “Be prudent therefore, and watch in prayers.”  During this holy time, and, really, at all times, our lives should be lived in constant prayer.  Obviously, that does not mean the constant repetition of verbal prayers—we wouldn’t be able to concentrate on much else—but it does mean acknowledging God’s presence with us at all times.  As the Catechism teaches us, “God is everywhere,”[4] pure spirit that cannot be seen—pure spirit that cannot be limited by time or place.  In all things we must conduct ourselves, as it were, “with God in the room.”

    “Have a constant mutual charity among yourselves: for charity covers a multitude of sins.”  God loves us most when we love each other for love of Him.  That is one of the “Great Commandments of the Law.”[5]  It also makes a great deal of sense in times of persecution.  When times are hard, we must depend on one another: fellow Catholics, neighbors, and, above all, family members.  That means that we must practice mutual charity before any persecution begins in earnest.

    “As every man hath received grace, ministering the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.”  Often, the graces we receive vary from person to person, and we can be particularly helpful by freely sharing our particular graces with those around us.  Some are more compassionate, some are more learned, some are more prudent, some are more prayerful—we each have graces to share—and by sharing, we do greater good for God’s greater glory.

    “If any man speak, let him speak as the words of God: if any man minister, let him do it as of the power which God administers….”  This goes far beyond the work of the ordained ministry.  Each one of us should be familiar enough with the Sacred Scripture and the teachings of the Church to speak to those around us with “the words of God.”  We can minister to one another in the public prayers of the church and in the private prayers of our prayer groups and families.

    Our Lord’s words about persecution were not limited to the persecution of His followers in the early Church.  Pope Saint Pius X quite correctly observed before a group of seminarians that the Church is not just “One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic,” but it is also “Persecuted.”[6]  Persecution is a “mark” which denotes faithful Catholics and a faithful Church.

    History demonstrates that the teachings of Jesus Christ are not popular with self‑serving politicians and the power brokers of the world.  When the Church is true to Her mission, teaching God’s truth and demanding His morality there will be persecution. When the Church, Its people, or Its leaders are worldly, careless in morals, and lax in belief, the rulers of the world are on friendly terms, eager to hobnob and take pictures with priests and bishops.  Indeed, the worldly members of the Church are likely to side with the politicians and power brokers, joining in the persecution of those who actually keep the Catholic Faith.

    So, in preparing for this Pentecost, resolve to stand with the Holy Ghost, giving testimony on behalf of Jesus Christ, for “They will put you out of the synagogues: yea, the hour cometh, that whomsoever kills you will think that he doth a service to God.

    Persecution is a “mark” which denotes faithful Catholics—if and when it comes, wear it as a badge of honor, and an assurance of eternal life!









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