He is Greater than I.
Something I think about at this time each year when the daylight hours are maxed out is the phrase John the Baptist uttered upon Hearing that Jesus (his cousin btw) had begun His ministry. John was ‘da man’ up until then, but since he was the prophet that was proclaiming the immanent arrival of Jesus, once Jesus arrived, well, then John is out of work. Which is fine by him. Though he had just one more thing to do: be martyred. It makes me think of how much I want people to see Jesus in me, and not me. I cringe as I remember all the times I acted like such a fool. Head shaking, sigh making, eye closing behaviors. Only because Jesus says to me “What? I’ve forgiven you; what are you talking about?” am I able to let it go. He’s like one of those good friends who you just know isn’t going to give up on you. No, not ‘like’ a good friend: totally and completely the best ‘friend’ you can have. I say that because yesterday was the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and I was reading in the ‘About this day’ section in the office app I have, and it says that the feast of the Sacred Heart was to honor the ‘human’ nature of Jesus. It really struck me, cause I always think of the feast of the sacred heart, and my mind goes to those images of Jesus’ with his heart coming out of his chest on fire, with thorns, etc. and I get a bit distracted by the image, so I never got the whole point – He has more love for me than any one of those really good friends that I know I have on this earth. Anyway, it was a great day yesterday thinking about that all day.
And then I read that because this year the Feast of the Birth of John the Baptist is today-Saturday June 24th, and that usually the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary falls on the Saturday after the Feast of Corpus Christi (today), that the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary will NOT be celebrated this year! IDK.
Anyway, I decided to get up early, to enjoy the extra daylight hours in this gorgeous Northern California, Marin County region, and take what I call a “Rosary Walk” where I pray all the 20 mysteries of the Rosary as I walk somewhere. Then I was able to hit the 8:30am Mass at the Mission. Really anointed morning. So here is this month editorial from the North Coast Catholic which I wrote yesterday, and all the pictures i took on my walk…
The Mysteries of July
The best thing I got from the Napa Institute, held at the Meritage Resort every year in July, is the Rosary that they give all attendees. Mine is about six years old and it’s still holding up. I guess I like it because it’s not a cheap rosary, and it’s not delicate. But mostly because the Institute logo on the little plastic pouch that contains it reminds me of the truth that the “world renowned” speakers and famous Clergy who gather to offer their gifted exhortations about how to prepare for the “Next America” have their priorities straight. I may have forgotten all the talks from years past, but I haven’t forgotten that it’s all ‘just talk’ unless you pick up the most powerful weapon outside of the Mass and fight hard. We need to take a stand and fight to defend the Faith and the Faithful, but if we think we can do it on our own power, and without constant prayer, we’re just about as dumb as a post.
July is here! An entire month of potential and possibility. It’s a time for recreation, vacation, and the celebration of the birth of our great nation. It’s also a good time to do some spiritual house cleaning. Since daylight hours are abundant, we have an opportunity to spend a little extra time in quiet prayer. Still not enough time? I have the answer; replace all your entertainment, with recreation. It’s a good idea to reflect on the difference between entertainment, and recreation.
The English word “entertainment” comes from the Latin inter (among or across) and tenere (hold or keep). Entertainment is that which holds interest and attention. The English word “recreation” is also from the Latin re (again) and creare (make or beget) recreation is what renews and revitalizes us.
The basic difference is that recreation produces good fruit; peace, clarity, patience, and the growth of virtue. In short, I experience the fullness of life’s beauty. With entertainment on the other hand I could spend hours and have just the opposite effect and wonder where all the time went. People, we’ve got to shut down our screens every day and spend more time beholding the vistas of God’s creation. Think about, it we live in one of the most beautiful regions of the entire world. It’s really not that hard.
Although I just found out one excellent use of all screens big and small: ‘Formed’. Formed is the best library of inspiration and information about our Catholic Faith I have ever seen. I had always hoped that all the great video, audio, and print resources generated from the New Evangelization would be able to be accessed in one place. Well this is pretty close in my opinion. The priests all heard about it at the Clergy week in early June, and the good people at the Augustine Institute (creators of ‘Formed’) have offered to give our entire diocese (every single Catholic) two free months of the streaming service (it works like Netflix). Even though you can sign up any time for a trial to be able to stream the “33 Days to Morning Glory” on your smart phone or home screen, the months of September and October will be free for all of us. Have you done the 33 day preparation for consecration to Jesus Christ through Mary yet? Don’t wait until September! This is a perfect month to do it at home or with a few friends. In order to do your consecration on August 15th the Feast of Mary’s Assumption, you can start on July 13th!
The fortnight of freedom prayer Vigil concludes on July 4th, our country’s Independence Day, as faithful Catholics join together in prayer and presence to bring attention to the freedom we possess in this country to practice our religion publicly and without interference from the government.
On July 1 we celebrate the feast of St. Junipero Serra, the apostle of California. He founded the first of the 21 California Missions in San Diego 248 years ago. At one point during the first few months in San Diego a group of 20 Natives attacked Serra’s party which included Spanish soldiers. Serra holding statues of Jesus and Mary, responded with heartfelt prayers that God might save both sides from casualties. As California Catholics we owe a great deal to Saint Serra and all who have gone before us to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to this end of the earth.
On July 16 we celebrate the feast of our Lady of Mount Carmel. Many times my wife and I attended the novena of masses at the Mother of God Carmel in Marinwood leading up to the celebration of the feast. Our children have vivid memories of warm summer nights at the monastery. Our children were invested in the brown scapular from an early age. Though they were young they understood in their own way the special nature of receiving Our Lady’s Brown Scapular.
And don’t forget, the 100th anniversary of the July 13th Fatima apparition, where Our Lady’s pivotal message was given to the children (read the account in this issue). Mary appeared as Our Lady of Mt. Carmel on the final day, October 13th!
“Receive, my beloved son, this Scapular of thy Order. It shall be a special sign of salvation, a protection in danger, and a pledge of peace. Whosoever dies wearing this Scapular shall not suffer eternal fire.”