25th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C

St. Edward on the Lake, Lakeport, MI | DOWNLOAD AUDIO
September 18, 2016
Am 8:4-7; 1 Tim 2:1-8; Lk 16:1-13

Today, we have a simple and very important message before us because the readings are all about the choices we make in life.  Jesus says, “No servant can be the slave of two masters.”  First interesting thing about this statement is that Jesus doesn’t give a third alternative. There are only two paths in life – the one that leads closer to Christ and the one that leads away from Him.  In other words, when it comes to Christ, we cannot be neutral.  Either we live selfishly, or we live for Christ.  If we live selfishly, we actually contribute to a culture of selfishness, and accept a culture that holds money and material possessions as gods.  If we live for Christ, on the other hand, we live to help build up His Kingdom on Earth.  Those who think that they are simply neutral are only fooling themselves.

At the same time, Jesus reminds us that we don’t make this choice just once. Every day, in small matters and great ones, God gives us chances to exercise our love for Him, or our love for self.  The Christian life consists in an ongoing series of decisions in which we reinforce or undermine our basic choice to follow Christ.  To illustrate this point, Jesus shows us that we are just like the steward in the parable.

To some degree, we are like the unjust steward who squandered the gifts and opportunities that were given to him.  The master was unhappy, and so he was ready to dismiss him.  And so he goes about trying to regain the advantage.  Our Lord compliments him not for being dishonest, but for being shrewd (clever, proactive).  His point: we need to be just as proactive in putting ourselves in a good position to receive the gift of eternal life.  Because sooner or later, we will have to give an account of our lives and what we’ve done with what God has given to us.  And if we squander the gifts and opportunities that we’ve been given, then we too will be dismissed from God’s service.  So the question is: what are we going to do with the opportunities that God has given to us?  Will we choose to put our lives and talents at the service of God’s Kingdom, or will we use them to serve only ourselves?

I was recently introduced to the story of the Martyrs of Compiegne – sixteen Carmelite nuns who were faced with the ultimate decision of choosing Christ or themselves.  These religious sisters lived during the time of the French Revolution.  At the start of the Revolution, they were pressed to abandon their vocation and join the New France.  But the sisters chose to continue serving Christ.  This, of course, angered the revolutionaries, so their convent was forcibly shut down.  The nuns were forbidden to live in community or wear a habit.  Somehow, however, they still managed to come together for prayer, during which they continued to offer themselves to God.  They were discovered, arrested, and imprisoned.  Towards the end of the Reign of Terror, the entire community was condemned to death.  They were loaded onto a cart and brought to the guillotine.  On the way they sang the Veni Creator, the same ancient hymn sung whenever a young woman professes her vows in the Carmelite Order.  And as they were executed one by one, the only sound that could be heard was the sisters singing the Salve Regina, a hymn to Mary.  Two days later, the Reign of Terror came to an end.  These courageous women had chances to abandon their faith and preserve their lives, but they chose to faithfully serve only Christ, and now they enjoy eternal happiness with Him.

Like these holy women, we too often face pressure to abandon Christ and live selfishly.  This pressure comes from our culture, our government, perhaps even from someone in our family or circle of friends.  It can come even from ourselves.  Who are we going to choose to serve?  You know, our country was founded upon Christian principles, and there were times in our history when popular culture actually helped people to be true to their Christian mission.  We don’t live in a period like that anymore.  That means it’s up to us.  We have to make a conscious effort to live Christ-centered lives.  We have to choose to live for Christ.  And we have to be ready to make that choice over and over and over again.  Even the small choices we make each day can either draw us closer to Christ or push us away from Him.

These are the truths that we teach our young people here in our school and in our Religious Education program.  It is our teachers and catechists who make many sacrifices to make sure that this gets done.  And on this Catechetical Sunday, we honor them for their work in teaching the truths of our faith to our young people and encouraging them to live for Christ.  This is not an easy task, but it is an important one.  The salvation of our young people depends on them receiving the gift of faith and having it handed down to them.

First, from their parents.  Our teachers and catechists are not the first teachers of the faith.  I am not the first teacher of the faith.  Parents are the first teachers of the faith to their children.  They are the first catechists and teachers.  But I and our teachers and catechists are here to support them.  That’s why in addition to honoring them, we pray for them and ask for God’s blessings upon them, that they might be good examples of the faith to our young people that they may one day receive the gift of salvation.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we are all called to live up to our faith by devoting ourselves wholeheartedly to the Lord and His ways. Our Christian faith is more than just a list of beliefs; it is what allows us to live in the way that God wants us to live.  Today, let’s ask Christ to strengthen our faith, that each and every one of us may become true children of our God, and all who see us may know that we truly belong to Him

18th Sunday After Pentecost (EF)

St. Edward on the Lake, Lakeport, MI | DOWNLOAD AUDIO
September 18, 2016
1 Cor 1:4-8; Mt 9:1-8

In today’s Gospel a poor paralytic is presented to Our Lord. He probably sought to ask for bodily health, but in the presence of the Lord, he realizes that he is a sinner and is brought to humiliation. Jesus has already read his heart and seeing his faith and humility He does not even wait for him to speak but suddenly says to him with kindness. “Be of good heart, son, thy sins are forgiven thee.” Then the first miracle has taken place. Jesus, who came to save souls, rightfully healed the soul before the body.

This is what matters most to God – our spiritual healing. Souls are God’s treasure.  He has created them in His image and likeness by an act of love and by an ever greater act of love He has redeemed them with the Blood of His only-begotten Son.  Once we understand this, we can no longer be indifferent to His love. Once we have a glimpse of God’s love, we will no longer desire anything but to be pleasing to Him.

This was always the desire of the saints. And this must be ours as well.  This means three things for us:

1. Conversion must be a daily work for us. Daily examination of conscience. Regular confession.  Constant resolve to turn away from that which displeases God.  We can never let up.  It must be our daily work.

2. We must pray for the conversion of all souls. The Divine Mercy prayer in which as ask God to have mercy on us and on the whole world must guide our spiritual life.

3. We must work for the conversion of all souls. St. Paul reminds us that we are one body, and when one member of the body is sick, we are all sick. No Catholic can be unconcerned about another.  Instead, he is obliged to work for the good of his neighbor’s soul.  If we ignore our neighbor’s salvation, we are not fulfilling our duty as Christians.

Jesus’ death on the Cross merited grace for us, and He could have imparted these graces to all of us immediately. But He willed that this grace would be administered through His Church using us as His instruments.  This is the mission of the Church. Pope Pius XII said “Not only the sacred ministers and those who have consecrated themselves to God in the religious life but also all the other members of Mystical Body of Jesus Christ have the obligation of working hard and constantly for the building and increase of this Body.”

Jesus wills to make use of His members to continue His redemptive work in the world. He could sanctify souls without help from anyone, just as He created everything out of nothing, but He wills to use us and our poor works. He invites us and begs us to sacrifice ourselves with Him for the salvation of others.  The salvation of our world and the many souls in it requires our prayers and works.  Let us continue to pray for each other and encourage each other to be faithful to the mission that God has given to each one of us.

Catechetical Sunday

Father Acervo’s Corner: September 18, 2016

1. Last week, Gene Grewe came into my office to let me know that he is moving to Mercy Village. Normally I wouldn’t pass along information like this so publicly, but Gene is such a long time fixture and active contributor at this parish that I knew that it wouldn’t take long for people to notice that he is not here and to wonder why. So I thought it important to let you all know.  I asked someone in his family if it would be alright for me to let everyone know about him, and he said that it would be.

As some of you know, Gene is the one who has been putting together the introductions to our readings at Mass for many years.  He has also been taking Holy Communion to residents at Blue Water Lodge (many of whom are younger than he is) and serving as a member of our Parish Council.  Like many of you, I have marveled at his faithfulness and dedication to service.  He is a lesson to all of us that we all have something to offer to the Lord whether we are young or old or somewhere in between.  I will try to get an address for him once he settles into his new residence.  I think it would be nice to let him know that we are praying for him and that we are grateful for all that he’s done for our parish.

2. Our parish picnic is finally underway this weekend! After months of planning and preparation, we are ready for our celebration. I want to thank our picnic committee and all of our volunteers for their hard work and enthusiasm toward this event.  Thanks also to everyone who supported the picnic through their donations, and to all who have been praying for its success.

3. Our Golf Outing last weekend was a great success. Praise God that the rain stopped about half an hour before we started and held off for the rest of the outing. Thank you for all of your prayers!  I also want to thank all of the golfers.  We had over seventy golfers this year, which is by far the most we’ve ever had in the years that we’ve done this.  Thank you to our sponsors for supporting our outing, our benefactors for their donations of gifts and prizes, and to the Black River Country Club for hosting us again this year and for their hospitality.  And a special thanks to the Mayers and all those who helped us in the planning and preparation.  We haven’t crunched all the numbers at the time of this writing, but it looks like we raised around $4,500, which will go toward our faith formation programs.

4. Please remember that on Saturday, October 8, the 5:00 P.M. Mass will be offered at 6:00 P.M. on that day only. This is because we have two weddings that day at 2:00 P.M. and 4:00 P.M. Thanks for your understanding.

5. This weekend at the 9:30 A.M. Mass, we are observing Catechetical Sunday. The word “catechetical” means “to echo or resound”. So catechists are teachers who echo the truths of our faith to our young people in our school and Religious Education program.  In this annual observance, those who serve as catechists and teachers are given a special blessing to strengthen them in their important task.  It’s also an opportunity for us to thank them for the work that they do.  Our teachers and catechists make many sacrifices to teach the faith to our young people, and it’s important that we honor them for doing so.

It’s also a reminder that we all have a duty to hand on the faith and to witness to the Gospel.  This is especially true of parents who whom God had made the primary catechists of their children.  None of us should think that the job of handing on the faith belongs to someone else.  It’s everyone’s job.  But of course we can’t give what we don’t have, so each of us must make sure that we are committed to ongoing formation in our faith.

Yours in Christ,
Fr. Acervo

24th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C

St. Edward on the Lake, Lakeport, MI | DOWNLOAD AUDIO
September 11, 2016
Ex 32:7-11, 13-14; 1 Tim 1:12-17; Lk 15:1-32

The parable of the Prodigal Son which we hear in the Gospel today is one of those very familiar ones – those stories that we hear about when we are young and remember all our lives.  One of the dangers with being so familiar with a story is that we can become numb to its true meaning.  We can say to ourselves, “Yeah, I know that story”, and then maybe not pay full attention to it when we read it or hear it.  Sometimes, familiarity with a story can prevent us from reflecting on it and discovering new meaning.  That’s the thing about the Bible – we can read it over and over throughout our lives, and God might have something different to say to us every time.  The Prodigal Son is one of those stories because there are so many layers in it.  It’s been preached about over and over – what more can be said of it?  So maybe to help us get something more out of it, I think it’s good to look at it at a deeper level.

So obviously, we know the story – the son asks for his share of the inheritance from his father so he can leave home and go off and do his own thing.  Now the first thing here is that the son asks for his inheritance now.  Inheritances are typically given when a person dies, so essentially, he’s saying, “I want you to be dead so that I can get my inheritance”.  Scripture doesn’t record any resistance from his father, and so the son gets his inheritance and goes off on his own.

So many of us have family members who have abandoned the faith.  When that happens (actually every time we sin), we say to God, “Go away, so that I can do what I want”.  Oh, and give me what’s coming to me.  And God doesn’t offer us resistance.  He lets us exercise our free will.

Now the word “prodigal” means wasteful.  And that’s certainly what the son is.  He is wasteful: “he squandered his inheritance on a life of dissipation”.  He took what the father gave him and wasted it.  He spent it on worldly things, worldly indulgences, sinful indulgences, things that pass away, come and go.  He spent it on himself.  And then it hits him.  Oh dear.  What have I done?  Sometimes God lets us hit rock bottom before we come to our senses.

And so the son finally decides to come back to his father.  He even has his “I’m sorry” speech all rehearsed.  The thing is that he doesn’t get a chance to use it.  As he approaches home, the father sees him off in a distance.  He doesn’t wait for him; He goes out to embrace him.  The son starts to recite back his prepared speech, but the father interrupts him.  “Let’s celebrate because what was lost has been found”.  And the father doesn’t just arrange for a little celebration.  This is a big feast.  Give him the finest robe, a ring on his finger, take the fattened calf and slaughter it, music and dancing.

You and I might think like the other brother: “Don’t you think this is a little much?”  But that’s the love of the Father – it’s superabundant, overflowing.  You see the word prodigal also means “lavish”.  Extravagant.  Both the son and the father are prodigal.  The son was prodigal in the sense that he lavished everything on himself, and he ended miserable, destitute.  But the father was prodigal too except that he lavished everything on his son.  And not just the robe, the ring, the calf, the music, and the dancing.  He lavished his mercy and forgiveness upon his son.

And so the father in the parable is a symbol of God the Father. The prodigal son’s father spares no expense is rejoicing over his son’s return.  In the same way, the Father is overjoyed when one of his wayward children (one of us) turns away from sin and back towards Him.  To emphasize this, Jesus also tells the parable of the shepherd who finds the lost sheep.  Who leaves 99 to find 1?  And then when he finds that 1, he is overjoyed.

And then there’s the woman who loses the coin.  Who finds a penny, and then calls his friends and neighbors about it?  But this is who the Father is.  We are so often like the people in the First Reading, building idols for ourselves.  We are often like St. Paul who before his conversion sinned against his church.  We are often like the prodigal son turning away from the Father.  And yet each and every time, the Father can’t wait for us to return to Him.  And when we do, He is overjoyed.

Our conversion matters to God.  That’s why we preach it all the time.  It’s why the Church emphasizes the needs for confession – confession makes God happy.  People say all the time, “I don’t need to go to confession.  God knows I’m sorry”.  Confession is our turning back toward God.  It is our coming home.  It is us like the prodigal son coming to our senses and saying, “You know, things are better with him”.  And when we decide to return to Him, we see how much He wants to lavish his mercy and love upon each one of us.  Jesus says, “I tell you, in just the same way there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents.” Every celebration of the sacrament of penance is an opportunity for us to make Heaven rejoice, especially if we’ve been away for a long time.  Today, let’s accept our Heavenly Father’s call to return to Him, thinking about how overjoyed He will be when we come to Him.

17th Sunday After Pentecost (EF)

St. Edward on the Lake, Lakeport, MI | DOWNLOAD AUDIO
September 11, 2016
Eph 4:1-6; Mt 22:34-36

St. Therese of Lisieux is one of my favorite saints simply because of the simplicity of her spirituality.  Sometimes, we can make things more complicated than they need to be and if we are not careful, that can lead to scrupulosity.  St. Therese rightly discerned that her vocation was simply to love, and the same is true for all of us.  Now, our particular vocation might be to the priesthood or married life or consecrated life, but our general vocation is to love.  Our universal call is to holiness, but holiness is union with God, and God is love.  So we are all called to love.  St. Paul in the Epistle says that we are to live in such a way that we are “worthy of the vocation in which you are called”.  And so part of the Christian life entails learning how to love.  Jesus of course gives us the example.  It looks like the Cross.

As we all know, “love” is a word that is often used and often misused.  The problem is that in the English language, we use the same word (love) to describe our feelings toward God, family, and ice cream.  We don’t have different words that allow us to distinguish the different kinds of love.  The love that St. Paul is talking about here is the same love the Jesus taught by His words and especially by His example.

“What is the great commandment of the law?”  Jesus is asked this question by the Pharisee.  Man is always trying to minimize everything to the least common denominator.  I know that there are ten Commandments, but which is the one that I really have to follow?  Jesus is way ahead of the Pharisee.  He says that the great commandment is, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, and soul…AND…love your neighbor as yourself.”  The Pharisee asked for one.  He got two.  That’s because the two are inseparable.  You cannot love God without loving your neighbor, and you can’t love your neighbor is you don’t love God.  That’s because, as Jesus says, the whole law and everything that the prophets taught depend on these two.  And what is the common factor in these two?  Love.

Love is not simply an emotion or a feeling.  To love is to sacrifice as Christ sacrificed His life for us.  “With all humility and mildness, with patience,” we have to bear with one another’s faults preserving the unity of the Church through the sacrifice of our own will.  That is what it is to love, and this is what we are called to.  It means giving ourselves for the good of others not counting the cost.  It also means sacrificing my own will for the greater good.

Unfortunately, there are so many agendas in the Church.  I remember when I was still working as an engineer, and I had made my decision to leave the workforce and enter the seminary.  I remember as my last days at work were approaching and how I had become frustrated with office politics.  I remember being so happy to leave the politics behind as I entered the seminary.  Little did I know that the politics in the Church would often times be much worse.

And so love of God involves learning the will of God through prayer and meditation and living it in our lives.  The sacrifice of our own will is often the hardest sacrifice to make.  That’s why it often bears the most fruit – in marriage, in the Church, and in every other relationship.  Through this Holy Eucharist, may God give us the strength to deny ourselves out of love for Him.

Community and Fellowship

Father Acervo’s Corner: September 11, 2016

1. Here’s one final reminder that next Sunday, September 18 is our parish picnic. The celebration begins with the 11:30 A.M. Mass, which also serves as our Mass for Disabled Persons. We will be having a sign language interpreter as well as assistance for those in need.  After Mass, everyone is invited over to the parish hall.  First we will begin with the Living Rosary out in the field.  Following that, food will be served.  There will be games, a petting zoo, Euchre and horseshoe tournaments, music, a bounce house, and lots of fun.  I hope that you will all join us as we celebrate our parish and our community.

2. One of the things that our Leadership Team has been working on this summer is helping to identify our parish’s purpose, values, and vision. It’s easy for anyone to get locked into day to day activities that sometimes, we lose sight of what we are supposed to be doing and where we’re going. I don’t necessarily think that that has happened to us, but it’s always good to have a vision and to remind ourselves what we are all about.  Knowing our purpose, values, and vision will help shape our activities so that we’re doing what is good and not doing things just for the sake of doing them.  It will also help us to see what we need to do more of and what needs are not being attended to.

One of the values that was discussed what COMMUNITY: “We are a family bound together by faith, moving toward our common goal of becoming saints.  We seek to expand our boundaries by personally inviting all to join us”.  This idea of a family with a common goal of holiness is something that we value as a parish, and we look to bring others into this family.

Another value is FELLOWSHIP: “We seek to strengthen the bonds of our community by praying, worshipping, and working together and inviting everyone to participate in our parish and school life”.  While the parish picnic raises some money to help with parish operations, it’s not a very big fundraiser.  From the time that we started the parish picnic in 2013, this has always been first and foremost an opportunity to build this community and to invite others into it.  Like any family, the parish needs all of its members to pull together.  The challenge is that we can belong to a parish without knowing most of the other members.  Many people only come to the church on the weekend, and many only go to one particular Mass.  Events like the picnic allow us to meet one another and build our bonds, which is important for any family.

3. Our community also includes those who are not able to be with us every weekend. This includes our military men and women and those who are away at college. We are looking for your help to make sure that they know that this is their family too.  If you have any family members who are in the military serving at home or abroad or if your son or daughter is away at college, let us know. In the main vestibule, you will find a place where you can write their names and leave them for us.  If they have an address where we can contact them, please write it down so that we can reach out to them and let them know that we are thinking and praying for them.

4. On Thursday, September 29 at 1:00 P.M., we will be having a Traditional (Extraordinary Form) Wedding Mass. It will be a Low Mass for Richard Palmer and Katie Price who asked to be married in the Traditional Form. This, I believe, will be the first Tridentine wedding here since the late 60’s.  If anyone is interested in seeing it, the couple has said that they don’t mind any extra guests (I told them that they wouldn’t have to feed everyone who comes).

The wedding exhortation alone is worth hearing.  It is something that the priest reads to the couple at the beginning of the Rite of Marriage (which takes place before the Mass instead of during it) to remind them of the importance and the seriousness of what they are about to enter into.  Sadly, the new Rite of Marriage does not contain this exhortation, but I have used parts of it in my own wedding homilies.

5. Speaking of weddings, on Saturday, October 8, we will be having two weddings – one at 2:00 P.M. and one at 4:00 P.M. In order to allow time for each wedding (which includes pictures afterwards), the normal 5:00 P.M. Mass will be at 6:00 P.M. that day (there will be no confessions before the Mass). All lectors and altar servers, please note the time change.  Thank you all for your understanding.

Yours in Christ,
Fr. Acervo

23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C

St. Edward on the Lake, Lakeport, MI | DOWNLOAD AUDIO
September 4, 2016
Wis 9:13-18b; Phmn 9-10, 12-17; Lk 14:25-33

Success always involves a little risk.  Whether it’s starting a new job, buying a new house, leaving home for the first time, there is often something that we have to risk in order to be successful.  Discipleship, in order for it to be successful, also needs to involve a little risk now and then – to leave behind something that is familiar, something that is comfortable in order to receive something greater.  Whether you are going to follow our Lord in the priesthood, or religious life, or in holy matrimony, or consecrated single life, discipleship involves risk.  In fact, in the Gospel today, Jesus says that if you’re not willing to risk everything in order to follow Him, then you cannot follow Him

Many of you know the story of Mother Angelica. I’ve told it before.  After a very troubled childhood, she entered Order of St. Clare where she thought she would live the cloistered life hidden away from the world for the rest of her days.  Yet she was moved through prayer to build a monastery.  Build a monastery?  That alone would have probably brought on some ridicule.   And if that wasn’t enough, she was inspired to start a television station for God.  A cloistered nun.  TV station.  But with $200 and a lot of faith, she left the quietness of monastery life and build her TV station which before long would become a worldwide, Catholic media network.

And then of course, there’s Mother Teresa – Blessed Teresa of Calcutta – who is going to be canonized a saint tomorrow.  Mother Teresa was born in Macedonia, but traveled to India to become a nun.  She served as a teacher, but was inspired to devote her life to helping the poor.  But not just the poor – the poorest of the poor.  She went into areas that no one else would want to go, ministering to people no one else wanted to go to.  She risked not only leaving home or even the familiarity of where she was, but even her life.  But she did it because this is what God was calling her to do.  She also went before powerful government leaders and spoke with great courage about the evils of contraception and abortion.  Again, she did it because this is what God was calling her to do.

These are beautiful stories of discipleship and reminders that discipleship isn’t simply about loving Jesus; it’s about being willing to give up – to risk – whatever it takes, endure whatever is necessary in order to belong to Him.  Discipleship is supposed to hurt, just like love hurts sometimes.  It might shock us to hear Jesus’ words in today’s Gospel.  Is He really calling us to hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even ourselves?  Of course not!  Remember Jesus calls us to love our neighbor as ourselves and even to love our enemies.  What He’s doing here is emphasizing how much we are to love God over everything else.  That it’s not just God first and others second; it’s that God is first and is way far ahead in first place.

Note that Jesus is not just speaking to His Apostles or His inner circle; He’s speaking to the crowd that’s following Him.  He’s speaking to everyone.  So the good news is that the invitation to follow Him is for everybody.  However, He’s also saying that to follow Him is going to take everything that we have and then some.  That’s why He says, count the cost before undertaking the duties of discipleship.  Take a look at your spiritual inventory and see if you have what is necessary to follow Him.  Consider hard what is required to be a Christian because it’s not going to be easy.

So what hope is there for us then who want to be disciples?  Well it starts with humility – the same humility that we talked about last weekend.  I know I look at myself and say, “I don’t have what it takes.  I do this a lot, I do that all the time.  I know I’m supposed to this but I don’t often enough.”  OK, we acknowledge that when we count the cost of what it takes to commit ourselves to the Lord, I mean really commit ourselves to the Lord, we come to realize that we don’t have enough.  Fine.  This is where I need to recognize how much I need the Lord, that if I want to follow Him, if I want to get to where He wants to lead me, if I want to reach my final goal (which is Heaven), I need Jesus.  That’s really what true wisdom is all about.  The world says, “You don’t need Jesus.  You can find happiness and success on your own”.  Some even say that Jesus, faith, religion are obstacles to happiness.  This supposedly is an enlightened mind according to the world.  But this is foolish.  True wisdom is recognizing that I need God.

The First Reading from Wisdom supports this point.  The author tells us that as much as we want to strive for heavenly things, our fallen human nature often times gets in the way.  Ain’t that the truth?  Not only are we constantly giving into sin, we are so immersed in this world that it’s easy for us to forget about our true home, which is Heaven.  That’s the source of frustration for those who love God and want to truly know Him and be in union with Him.  What allows us to have any possibility for advancing in the spiritual life is the wisdom of God and the Holy Spirit – both of which are gifts from God.  These are what make straight the paths for us.  They make clear the way to God.

Which leads to the second thing after humility – grace.  On my own, I do not have what it takes to truly follow the Lord as He calls me to.  I need supernatural help.  That’s what grace is – supernatural help.  And where I find supernatural help is in the sacraments.  That’s the definition of a sacrament – outward signs instituted by Christ to give grace.  Jesus gave us the seven sacraments so that I can receive the grace that I need to keep following Him.

Are we willing to do whatever it takes to follow the Lord?  Our Lord already gives us everything that we need.  He gives holy men and women like Mother Angelica and Mother Teresa.  He gives us the sacraments.  He gives us Himself in the Eucharist.  What are we willing to give up in return?

"I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me" (Galatians 2:20).