We go more deeply into September which has brought us a great variety of weather; from 100 to much cooler temperatures. The school year has begun and our students are preparing themselves for many opportunities to learn and to grow. Meetings also are beginning and plans for parish life are unfolding as committees get more active.
I am looking at some activities for the month also. I will be home Sept. 16th for a wedding which should conclude my obligations elsewhere for marriages. Please pray for that young couple; as entering into marriage in this culture is not well supported.
Here in the parish we are looking forward to the bake sale in a few weeks. It is a simple event and yet I am looking forward to it to see how St. Peter does it. At St. Casimir we will begin a monthly Monday Mass which I am fitting in when I am here on a Monday. That doesn’t happen that often, so watch the bulletin for those dates.
Another date and event that I am looking at is a 8 day Ignatian silent directed retreat. That seems like a mouthful. Retreats are when we step back from daily life and activities. One that is directed means that a director has planned out the program of prayer and reflection. This retreat is based on what St. Ignatius wrote five hundred years ago. Of course silent means that outside of meeting with the director you are to be silent in spirit and mind, let alone talking with whoever may be in the hallway, lunch room or out on the walking paths. I have not tried this format of retreat before and I have not been to the Broomtree retreat center either. I have heard good things, so I hope my friends were not kidding when they encouraged me to go to South Dakota in October. So keep my trip there and back and the retreat itself in prayer.
One of the greatest prayers is the Mass. So let us continue looking more deeply at the Mass with the help of Denis McNamara’s article “In the Form of a Sacrificial Meal” (Catechetical Review April 2023).
“The Mass fulfills this traditional sacrificial pattern with the re-presentation of the death and Resurrection of Christ in liturgical action through an efficacious rite that introduces people into the reality of the saving event. But unlike other rituals, like family traditions or graduation ceremonies, a true liturgical rite has words and gestures established by Christ and therefore has a ‘supra-human origin’ that can only be performed by a ‘qualified agent…one invested, by the same divine authority that created the rite, with a particular power…to perform the rite.’ And so the Mass, prefigured by God in the Old Testament with power given by Christ to the apostles in the New, is continued through the centuries by apostolic succession and is enacted by priests who are given divine authority at ordination. In the Eucharistic liturgy the Mass provides ‘the perfect type of ritual remembrance; the qualified person, the priest, solemnly reads the sacred account telling of the Divine act that is to be actualized in the rite; at the same time the priest, identifying himself with [God] himself, re-enacts the gestures and re-pronounces exactly the divine words’. In this mimodrama, the priest does what Christ did, taking bread and wine and equating it with Christ through the same words spoken: ‘this is my body’ and ‘this is my blood.”
Reading through such a paragraph we are reminded of what goes on at Mass; of what we are a part of that perhaps we can take for granted. May this revival deepen our understanding.