Weekly Reflection

Experience God's Presence

Weekly Reflection


October 1, 2023

Year of Mary
October 1, 2022 to December 8, 2023

“The Rosary is the ‘weapon’ for these times.” St. Padre Pio

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

On October 7 each year, Holy Mother Church celebrates one of the great military victories of Christian history, which is the victory of the Christian League over the Ottoman navy in 1571. Despite being vastly outnumbered, the Catholic forces, under the leadership of Don Juan of Austria, both annihilated the Ottoman navy and liberated the tens-of-thousands of kidnapped Christians who were enslaved to row their ships. The victory was so stunning and unexpected, that even Don Juan considered it to be a miracle. As the ships deployed to engage the Ottomans in battle, Pope St. Pius the Fifth implored Catholics throughout Europe to pray the Rosary. In Thanksgiving for this victory, the same Pope instituted the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary on October 7. In addition, the entire month of October is dedicated to the Rosary.

The Rosary is a powerful weapon.

The Rosary is a scripture-based prayer. The heart of the Rosary is meditating upon the mysteries of Christ’s life. Each mystery begins with the Our Father, and continues with ten Hail Marys. The repitition of the prayers helps to calm the heart and mind, and also to draw the person praying into reflecting on the mystery itself.
Saints throughout history have found the Rosary to be a powerful prayer. It is a powerful way of restoring order to your spiritual life. In fact, St. Francis de Sales teaches that “the Rosary is the greatest method of prayer.” It is also a powerful tool for growing in holiness and rooting out sin. One who faithfully and devotedly prayers the Rosary will find that habits of sin are soon overcome.

The Rosary precedes every Mass celebrated at Holy Trinity and St. Gregory. If it’s been a while since you’ve prayed the Rosary or if you have never learned how to pray it, come to Mass early and learn. I usually pray the Rosary by taking a walk about parish grounds. I offer it as a thanksgiving for the people who come to Mass, the volunteers that keep the parish going, and as a supplication that more people come to Mass.
“Say the Holy Rosary!
Blessed be that monotony of Hail Marys
which purifies the monotony of your sins!”
St. Josemaria Escriva
Fr. Bill

September 24, 2023

Year of Mary
October 1, 2022 to December 8, 2023

“Behold, I send an angel before you
to guard you on the way and to bring you
to the place that I have prepared”
Exodus 23:20 (ESV).

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

This Friday, September 29, Holy Mother Church celebrates the Feasts of the Archangels. Shortly after, on Monday, October 2, is the liturgical celebration of the Holy Guardian Angels.

We do not talk about angels often enough. And there are many misunderstandings about what angels are and what their role is. The word “angel” literally means “messenger.” And we see this often in Sacred Scripture. Throughout the Old Testament, God sends angels to bring important messages to His people. The angels also have a role in bringing messages back to God.

Something to notice is that almost every time an angel appears in the Bible, the first words are “do not be afraid.” This tells us that angels aren’t cute, cuddling and harmless as they are often depicted on greeting cards and works of art. Rather, angels are mighty and fearsome.

This helps us to understand the second role of angels, and that is as heavenly protectors. The angel of the Lord was sent to protect and watch over the Hebrew people during the Exodus, and the archangel Raphael was sent to protect Tobias on his journey in the book of Tobit.

Lastly, angels offer ceaseless worship before the throne of God in heaven.

As messengers, angels should be called upon as powerful partners in prayer. We should be asking our own Guardian Angel to pray for us and to help us.

As mighty and fearsome protectors, we should be calling upon our Guardian Angels in times of danger and temptation. But it is important to realize that our Guardian Angels will respect our free will and permit us to experience the consequences of our actions. So it is not a failure of our Guardian Angel if we deliberately place ourselves in the occasion of sin, and act surprised when our Guardian Angel does not prevent us from sinning.

Our angels are also primarily concerned about spiritual dangers, rather than physical dangers. Although they are powerful protectors from both kinds of dangers.

Lastly, angels help us to offer God fitting worship. Although we do not usually see them at Mass, nonetheless they gather with us. We use their songs in our worship of God such as when we sing “Glory to God in the highest,” which the angels sang at the birth of Jesus. Scripture also shows us that the angels ceaselessly sing “Alleluia, alleluia,” and “Holy, Holy, Holy…” around God’s throne in heaven. Both Eucharistic Prayers One and Four highlight the role that angels have in our own acts of worship.

May the Lord send His Holy Angels to watch over you,
Fr. Bill

September 17, 2023

Year of Mary
October 1, 2022 to December 8, 2023

Hear to Serve ...
Whether We Live or Die

In his Letter to the Romans, St. Paul tells us, “Brothers and sisters: None of us lives for oneself, and no one dies for oneself. For if we live, we live for the Lord, and if we die, we die for the Lord; so then, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.”

Truer words were never spoken. I believe all of us as Catholics, as all Christians, would like nothing better to be said about us or inscribed on our tombstones than that we truly lived and died for the Lord.

Even though at our baptism we became part of God’s family, brothers and sisters to Christ, we all know how very, very hard it can be to live and die for the Lord. Well, one thing we have to do is to have a rock-solid, steady relationship with Jesus. If we don’t have that solid personal relationship with Jesus, we will never live for Him or much less, die for Him.

The way to develop that solid relationship with Jesus is through prayer. We have to pray. If we don’t have a prayer life, nothing else is going to happen. Now just as living up to St. Paul’s letter to the Romans this week is hard, praying and having a prayer life can be just as chal-lenging to say the least.

This is why I want to recommend a book to you. It’s called “Prayer For Beginners” by Peter Kreeft. It doesn’t matter if your prayer life is at the beginning stages of life, or you are a seasoned prayer warrior doing rosaries and novenas that would make the Bishop envious, there is something in this book that will help you. One thing I know for sure is that learning to pray better is never ending.

Peter Kreeft tells us he wrote this book for the Marthas of the world, for people with little time to pray and for those who keep finding excuses not to pray. The author realizes that we are very busy, distracted people, and sometimes, let’s face it, we are not very holy. (If you’re like your Deacon, you’re raising your hand right now.) You do not have to have an advanced degree in theology to read this book; it's written for us, the people in the everyday world. The chapters are short and to the point with everyday examples of what we face in the world before us. It is the kind of book that you can take your time reading.

The chapter I especially liked was titled, Patience, Forgiving Ourselves for Failure. The author talked about how we want to become holy all at once and go faster than the Grace of God which then leads to our demise. The chapter also brings up an interesting point about sin. Kreeft states that we like to think about our sins the way the devil wants us to think about them, rather than the way God wants us to think about our sins. God wants us to worry about our sins before we sin but the devil wants us to worry about them after we sin. God wants us to feel free to repent, while the devil wants us to feel free to sin.

I cannot say enough good things about this book. I urge you all to get it. I would also like to hear your comments and thoughts about the book. And as always, I give you the Deacon’s guarantee: If you get this book and find absolutely nothing of value in it, I will pray for you twice as hard.

Let us improve and steady our relationship with Jesus so we can remember that in life and death, we are the Lord’s.
Deo Gratias,
Deacon Gary

September 10, 2023

Year of Mary
October 1, 2022 to December 8, 2023

“If you warn the wicked to turn from his way… you will deliver your soul.” Ezekiel 33:9
Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Muscles that are never challenged, never grow stronger. Analogously, we cannot grow spiritually if we are not challenged. Christ wants to make us better disciples, so we should expect the words of his Gospel not only to comfort, but also to challenge.

This Sunday’s Gospel begins with these challenging words, “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault…” (Matthew 18:15). The plain meaning of Jesus’ words is that he expects his followers to confront wrongdoing. While this Gospel requirement has never been easy to put into practice, at present times it seems to be particularly unpopular. But nevertheless, these are Jesus’ words.

Based upon this passage of the Gospel, the Christian tradition has taught that “admonishing the sinner” is one of the seven Spiritual Works of Mercy.”

How exactly is admonishing the sinner merciful?

The first thing that we have to keep in mind is that sinful behaviors cause great harm. They cause harm to others. They cause offense to God. And, up-on reflection, they harm the sinner himself. So ad-monition is first of all a mercy, since it seeks to re-duce harm to others, seeks to prevent offending God, and seeks to draw someone else to a better life.

When I read this passage, I think of myself not as the one who is sent to “go and tell the faults,” but rather I think of myself as the “one who commits the sins against others.” Everyone has been in the position at some point when they have inadvertently caused harm or offense to someone else. At times, I feel I have a particular skill at unintentionally “stepping in it.” I trust your goodwill that you would not cause this hurt to another person, if you had known better. People often do not know the harm that their words, actions, and behaviors cause to other people.

So it is merciful to admonish them, since it brings them to a greater self-knowledge and provides them with the opportunity to repair the harm that they have caused. When admonishment or fraternal correction is done well, it becomes an occasion of grace for both people involved. It is true that many people do not receive admonishment well, even admonishment that is offered in the most charitable way possible. However, Christ makes it clear that we are not responsible for the result. We are not responsible for how the other person responds to our admonishment. We are simply responsible for offering those words with humility and loving charity.
Fr. Bill

September 3, 2023

Year of Mary
October 1, 2022 to December 8, 2023

“Be still and know that I am God” Psalm 46:10

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

After the conclusion of the “Prayers of the Faithful,” the gifts of bread and wine are brought forward and the priest prepares the altar for the celebration of the Eucharist. The preparation of the altar concludes with this exchange of prayers: The priest says, “Pray, brothers and sisters, that my sac-ifice and yours may be acceptable to God the almighty Father.”

And the people respond, “May the Lord accept the sacrifice at your hands for the praise and glory of his name, for our good and good of all his holy Church.”

Notice that there are two parts of the sacrifice: the priest’s part of the sacrifice and the people’s part of the sacrifice. Both sacrifices are offered. Both sacrifices matter. What you bring to Mass to offer to God matters.

What’s your sacrifice? The traditional “Morning Offering Prayer” teaches us what we can offer to God, “O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart Mary, I offer you this day, with all its prayers, works, joys and sufferings…”

As the priest is preparing the bread and wine, the people should be using their imagination to put their own sacrifices on the altar. What have you prayed for this week? Who have you prayed for this week? Place that on the altar. This is the place in Mass to offer to God our personal intentions. How have you worked this week? How have you served others this week? How have you lived out your vocation this week? Place all of that on the altar. What have you experienced in the past week as a blessing and a gift from God? Place that on the altar. What have you suffered this week? What we suffer is an invitation to share in Christ’s Cross, and what we suffer should be placed on the altar.

With just a few moments of reflection, we can see that day-to-day life provides a rich offering to God. And this is what Saint Paul means in today’s second reading, “I urge you brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship” (Romans 12:1).

Everything offered to God “in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass” is received by the Fa-ther, transfigured, and returned to us as a rich blessing. The bread and wine are offered to God and returned to us as the Body and Blood of Jesus in the Eucharist. This is no less true with our “prayers, works, joys and suffering…” The more we bring to Mass, the more we get out of Mass.
Fr. Bill


2023 Archived

2022 Archived