Catholic Prayers for the New Evangelization

"Catholic Prayers for the New Evangelization"

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Sunday, May 11, 2008

Homily Pentecost 2008

On Tuesday, September 10th, 1946…
while travelling to her annual retreat at a convent in the Himalaya Mountains
Mother Theresa of Calcutta experienced a mystical encounter with J. C.

She described it as
“a call within my vocation…a second calling…
a calling to give up even Loreto where I was very happy
and to go out in the streets to serve the poorest of the poor.”

Mother Theresa described this day in her life as the Day of Inspiration
the day on which her new order – the Missionaries of Charity – began.

With the guidance of her spiritual director, Mother discerned and prayed
about what the Lord was calling her to do.
When the priest believed it was a calling from the Lord, he helped her to pursue it.
So, Mother wrote a letter to the Archbishop of Calcutta.

She would write dozens of letters over the coming 15 months…
letters which are complied in a book called Come, Be My Light…
until January 1948 when the Archbishop finally gave permission
for her to pursue the founding her new order.

Even more painful waiting would follow…
as Mother sought the permission and followed the procedures of the Vatican.

All the while, Mother Theresa remained convinced
that the calling she received came from Jesus Himself.
Truly the Holy Spirit was at work in the young nun…
and truly the Holy Spirit has been at work in the MCs for over 50 years…
as the fruits of her labors blossom throughout the world.

The Archbishop and the Cardinals…from their own perspective…
also knew that spiritual experiences and callings must be discerned.
The Holy Spirit also gives inspiration to the pastors of the Church
guiding the Church in the direction that is best for all
and revealing the will of God in our midst.

As the Holy Spirit inspired Mother’s vocation and her radical “call within a call”
so the Spirit continues to inspire great and wonderful gifts
in the hearts of people throughout the Church.

When I was in New York for the Holy Father’s Mass in Yankee Stadium,
a New York City detective
who had worked a security detail at the youth rally the night before
commented enthusiastically to my friends about the Pope’s visit.

“The Church is not ,” he said, “the Church is alive, the Church is young!”

The Church is very much alive and forever young at heart
as the Holy Spirit continues to inspire various spiritual gifts
and, through the members of Christ's Body, to renew the face of the earth.

The Church is alive in every Catholic family
that lives the truth of God’s plan for marriage and family life.

The Church is alive in every Catholic college and university
where the truth is sought in faith.

The Church is alive wherever pastors and teachers pass on the fullness of the faith
to coming generations.

The Church is alive where young people pack stadiums and seminary grounds
not to see a rock star or a sports hero…but the Pope!

The Church is alive where authors and writers use their talents and the media
to evangelize the nations in the name of Jesus.

The Church is alive is soup kitchens and Catholic Worker houses
across the fruited plain and throughout the world
where the face of Christ is seen in the suffering and forgotten of society.

The Church is alive in seminaries where good men are being formed well
to be shepherds in the person of Christ in the 21st Century.

An obvious excitement for the faith has recently filled the Church in the U. S.
and it has not come from any human accomplishment.

The extraordinary atmosphere of zeal and joy which filled New York last month
was not created by the crowds nor even by the Holy Father.
Of all people, the Pope knows the excitement is not about him!

What we have witnessed is the unsurpassable grace of the Holy Spirit
at work in a remarkable way through the Vicar of Christ.

The life of the Church is vibrant…
and the world is filled with the presence of the H. S.!

Sadly, there are those who cite or claim the inspiration of the Spirit
to justify behavior or ideas which is anything but holy.
Sometimes individuals encourage us to “be open to the movement of the Spirit”
who, it is claimed, is challenging us to move in a new direction,
even in a way contrary to the existing teaching of the Church.

We must be vigilant in such situations
and remember that the Spirit cannot contradict itself.
The Holy Spirit could not have inspired the Second Vatican Council
in any way contrary to the inspiration He gave to the previous 20 councils.
The Holy Spirit does not inspire in some people
an understanding that runs contrary to the truth taught by the Church.

We must also beware of those who claim to have received charismatic gifts
and who in turn flaunt them in an air of superiority
or use them with a sense of unique knowledge of God’s plan.

Certainly, the Spirit inspires wisdom and different spiritual gifts in many people.
At the same time, the Spirit guides the Church into all truth
and inspires her teaching authority…
and so we look to her for the sure path to holiness.
The Spirit is one and His inspiration is consistent truth.

Spiritual gifts and apparitions must be tested and discerned well
as the Bishop of Calcutta did in the case of Mother Theresa.
In the end, what is truly from God will endure in lasting peace
and will always resonate with the truth taught by His Church.
All else is the deception of the enemy.

The Lord calls us today
to open our hearts to receive the grace of the Holy Spirit in abundance
and to use the gift of our intellect to discern and seek the truth.

Filled with the Spirit and grounded in truth,
we shall find the joy and peace for which our hearts long…
joy and peace which only comes from the Lord
joy and peace which the world cannot give…
and which it cannot ever take away.

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