Monday, August 18, 2014


Day Two of the retreat of the Bishops of New England.  Today we spoke about three more words from the Roman Canon: Vere (reflecting on preaching the truth to a skeptical world), Sanctus (on how to help people to be holier by making priests more holy) and Clementissime.

The last word comes from the opening line of the Roman Canon: To you, most merciful Father... What is this great mercy which comes from God and which we are called to show to one another? Here's an excerpt from this afternoon's conference:

It is a merciful love, patient enough to delay its wrath for the sake of a handful of just men.  A love which is kind and true, which makes the beloved stronger for the loving and which raises the dead from the grave, and showers mercy on the one who forgives others.

It is a mercy which is total, complete, abundant and beyond all measure.  It gives every time I ask, opens the door every time I knock, and provides for everything I need.

And its infectious.  

It rouses us from our beds in the middle of the night when we know someone needs a loaf of bread.  

It causes women and men to leave the world behind and seek only God’s will in a life of poverty, prayer, and the kind of joyful obedience that smiles when God calls you to pack it all up and move from Baltimore to Springfield, or Newark to Fall River!

It causes young seminarians to renounce fame and fortune and freedom to answer God’s call to serve his Church in the person of her Savior.  To pursue a life whose goal is to decrease that Christ might increase, and to so die to self that he might become like the Good Pastor, who lays down his very life for his sheep.

It causes Husbands and Wives to work second shifts to feed their kids, addicted hearts to abstain for one more day, Catholic Workers to cook a meal for fifty strangers on a hot summer night, Knights of Columbus to work their fingers to the bone to fix up the Church,  Food Pantry volunteers to unload heavy cases from the van, Outreach workers to listen patiently to the old lady who’s confused, CCD teachers to sit up late writing lesson plans, choristers to practice over and over, and penitents to cry in that box as they entrust their sins to God.

It makes us who we strive to be, and most miraculously of all, it even teaches us to remember the name of the lady who washes our floors just outside the door.