Our Bishop Sam Jacobs designated 2008 as the “Year of the Family” in our Diocese. The Theme of this special year is “Family at the Heart of the Church.” The family is the first church. The family is the first community. Our community here at St. Genevieve’s is called our parish family. We often refer to the human race as the human family. The family is at the center, the heart of the church, at the center of the battle between good and evil.
In the Holy Bible throughout the Old Testament from the very beginning, its pages are filled with the history of mankind, the history of God’s Chosen People, from Creation until the Coming of the Awaited Messiah, the Savior. At the heart of this history is the story of many families with their joys and suffering, trials and triumphs. Adam and Eve and their children, Abraham and his family, Noah and his family are a few that come to mind. All different, all unique, all precious and special to God! Each person, each family has an important place in God’s Plan.
Almost 5 months ago we celebrated Christmas, the Birth of Jesus, Our Savior. When Jesus became a human, He did not leave His Divinity in Heaven. He came not to lower His Divinity, but to elevate our humanity. He was born into and became the center of the Holy Family. The Holy Family is the Heart of Christmas. Jesus entered into human history through the family, through the open heart and womb of Our Blessed Mother!
By His Incarnation, Jesus united Himself with every person. He labored with human hands and loved with a human heart! He truly became one of us and except for sin; he was like us in every respect.
Scripture tells us that we, the Church are the Body of Christ. Christ is the Head of the Body. The human body is made up of many parts and each part is important. The smallest part of the human body is a cell.
EACH FAMILY IS A LIVING CELL IN THE BODY OF CHRIST! EACH FAMILY IS A MINI-CHURCH!
Each Parish Family is part of the Diocese Family. All make up the Universal Church, the entire Body of Christ in the great family of nations. Just as every individual person is unique and special to God, so is every family.
After the Feast of the Holy Family, we as a Church Family walked the 40 days of Lent that brought us to Holy Week. There we relived the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus! Jesus, by His Birth, Death and Resurrection made us His sisters and brothers. His Father is Our Father. His Mother is Our Mother. Because of this simple yet profound fact, we are Heirs to the Kingdom of Heaven! We are all God’s children, one big family. When one of our family members hurts, we all hurt.
Normally a person comes into the world within a family. Most of us owe our very existence to our family. It is within the family that we are first loved and nurtured, encouraged to walk and talk. When a person comes into the world without a family he may develop an anguished sense of pain and loss that can burden him his whole life. The family has a fundamental role to play in the life of a person.
In a healthy family all the members give and receive unconditional love. This allows each person to grow in holiness and wholeness. Every human person is given gifts and talents by God. Each person is important and necessary to God’s Plan. A person goes forth from the family in order to realize a new family unit, in his particular vocation in life.
In this life, the reality is, there are no perfect families except the Holy Family, because families are made up of broken, wounded and sinful creatures. God created the world in perfect Order, but satan deceived Eve and Adam and their sin brought disorder into the world that is still with us today. There is no perfect family because we are all sinful and imperfect.
Families today are being stretched and torn apart by many factors in society. Immorality, difficulty in relationships and lack of spirituality are among the many reasons that families break down in crisis. There are many added pressures on today’s families that were unheard of one or two generations ago. To name a few, drugs, alcohol, promiscuity, pornography, keeping up with the neighbors, social acceptability, the need to excel, peer pressure, parents wanting to provide more for their children than they had, etc.
The family is under attack by the evil one. If he can destroy the family, he thinks he will destroy the Church. If he destroys the family there will be no future priests and Religious. We are in a crisis time, a challenging time.
In other places many churches have had to close and parishes have had to join other parishes because of the lack of priests. Here at St. Genevieve we now have only one priest where there used to be two or three!
Two things strengthen family life. 1st is Prayer. Prayer, both personel and family prayer. Prayer brings Christ into everyday life! Pray the Rosary, the Joyful Mysteries, the family that prays together, stays together still holds true! Parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, God has entrusted the passing on of our Faith to us!!
Parents are the 1st and most important teachers of our Catholic Faith to our children. Use the Catechism of the Catholic Church to learn and to teach our Faith. Through Baptism God is Our Father. Mary is Our Mother! We are children of GOD!!
To quote a very great Saint, His Holiness John Paul II the Great!, “Do not be Afraid! Open the doors of your hearts to Christ! If you begin to be afraid, turn to Mary, Seat of Wisdom!” Prayer raises our minds and hearts to God to ask Him for His Mercy and His Blessing!
The Holy Family is our model, our ideal to imitate. The Blessed Virgin Mary said ‘yes’ to God when the Archangel Gabriel came to Her, even though She did NOT fully understand. St. Joseph was disturbed until the Angel of God came to enlighten him. From that moment on he worked to protect, feed and shelter Mary and Jesus. Jesus was obedient to Mary and Joseph and They were obedient to God Our Father by living the Commandments and by living their faith. They lived in Divine Order.
Even though Jesus and Mary were perfect and St. Joseph became a great Saint, their lives involved joys, sacrifice, suffering, trials, tribulation, false accusation, persecution, death on a Cross! Their lives were not exempt from troubles and ours are not exempt either. We can begin to bring Divine Order into our lives, into our families when we put God first.
The father should be the holy head of the family. The mother should be the holy heart of the family. Today there are many one parent families for various reasons. Many grandparents are rearing their grandchildren. This fact alone is not new. In past generations many young women died in childbirth, some men died young and left several children to be reared by spouses or grandparents. There was always a strong family support system nearby in times of crisis. This is no longer as common as it once was but still can be found among our families here on the bayous. We are blessed in that way.
What can we do to protect our families, to strengthen our families, to keep our families and its members close to God and to one another?
PRAYER MUST BECOME THE DOMINANT, THE FIRST AND THE PRIMARY ELEMENT IN THE FAMILY!
Prayer makes Jesus Present among us because He said, “Where two or three are gathered in My Name, I am among them.” MT 18:20
Prayer by the family. Prayer for the family. Prayer with the family. Prayer is the highest form of action. It is a time when all can bow their heads in humble submission together and pray, as Jesus did, to Our FATHER!
Prayer is talking to God, sometimes in silence from your heart. There can be no greater example or lasting memory than for a child to experience its parents or parent turning to God in prayer. The greatest gift a parent or grandparent can give to a child is to teach them about God’s LOVE and constant Presence. The family is strengthened and becomes closer when the family prays together.
It is NEVER TOO LATE TO START. This can begin as simply as a prayer before meals, a morning offering, evening prayer before sleep, a Rosary, an Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be, or an Act of Contrition before going to sleep.
When we instill daily prayer in the hearts and lives of our children, we give them a gift that becomes a lifelong habit. In and through prayer we come to discover in a simple and yet profound way, our dependence on God Who loves us! God is with us in the high moments and in the low moments of our lives, on the mountain tops and in the low valleys.
Parents if your relationship is shaky for any reason, I encourage you; I challenge you, PRAY TOGETHER, every day even if it is only five minutes! Forgive one another as God forgives you! We all have faults.
I promise you that your prayer time will grow and your forgiveness and love for one another will grow. Your love for God and obedience of Him will grow. You will become more aware of your own faults than that of your spouse. And Peace and healing will come into your home. You will grow closer to God and to one another and this will be the living example that your children see. For those who have chosen the single life you are all part of a family.
We are chosen by God to love. Real sacrificial love to be lived in the family. Father, mother and children. Family is given to us by God as a gift. The church family is made up of all the basic family units; thus the church family will be as strong as the basic family unit. It is our hope that we can help families to refocus on their relationship with God and with one another.
As a Church Family we can only hope to help families cope with the pressures of daily life and to learn once more what the core values are that will bring them closer to God and to each other.
I encourage you all to consecrate yourselves, your marriage, your home, your children to Our Mother’s Immaculate Heart and the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Ask for Their Help and Protection. God is ALL-POWERFUL; there is nothing that HE cannot do!
Why Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary? Jesus came to us through Mary, the perfect vessel! How can we do better than go to Her, who is Our Mother?
I thought my relationship with God was fine until I asked Our Mother to help me to renew my relationship with Her.
Mary’s Immaculate Heart, the Heart of Our Mother is the open Doorway to deepest Union with the Most Holy Blessed Trinity.
The Kingdom of Heaven here on the earth is experienced through and in this Holy Union. In this deepest Holy Union, not only does God dwell in us as in a holy tabernacle, but we, though mysteriously, we, our human body and immortal soul, dwell, ABIDE IN HIM!!! Through Our Mother I was brought into this holy union that I did not know existed on this earth!
Jesus said, “Where I go and make My dwelling place, I will bring my Father.” Close your eyes and imagine this: The Three Persons of the Most Holy Blessed Trinity, Our Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are constantly giving Love to one another. At the same time, They are constantly receiving Love from one another. This makes Them One. Their Love continually pours out.
Picture Jesus going from house to house down a street. He knocks at each door. He has an allotted portion of love for each person. He is filled with Love for each person and is looking for an open heart. Many do not answer his knock on the door. When someone does answer, Jesus not only gives to that person his allotted portion of Love, but He gives to the person with the open heart the portion that was for those who did not open the door.
When we come to Jesus through Mary’s Immaculate Heart we experience the closest Union with God allowed to souls upon this earth. Jesus came to us the first time through Mary. Why not continually? This is God’s Will in perfect Order.
When we give our selves to Mary, our hearts & souls open to Jesus. That is why total Consecration to Mary is important. All She does and desires is God’s Will. She is the only human being who cooperated fully with God. Divine Order reigned in Her soul and life. She was totally submissive and obedient to God. There was no disorder in Her. She was created perfect, Immaculate by God because She was chosen to be the living Tabernacle where Jesus would be conceived by the Power of the Holy Spirit. Mary’s Immaculate Heart is the Doorway to deepest Union with God. Jesus Came to us through Her! Why not go to Jesus through Mary, Our Mother??
Holy Eucharist is God in Fullness...God Our Father...Jesus...Holy Spirit...The Most Holy Blessed Trinity! They are ONE and cannot be separated!
Going through Mary’s Immaculate Heart leads us to deeper understanding of God and deepest Union with God, The Most Holy Blessed Trinity! Consecration to Mary leads us to Adoration of God! For through Our Mother we come to understand the Love God has for us.
We cannot have the fullness of God without PRIESTS!!! Because priests have said yes to God, we have in Confession the forgiveness of our sins. Because priests have said yes to God we receive Jesus in fullness in Holy Communion. By virtue of our Baptism we are living Tabernacles where God dwells! Yes we are all on a daily mystical journey in a most ordinary life! May we look for and see Jesus in one another because HE IS IN EACH ONE OF US!
Last Saturday two weeks ago we celebrated the 10th Anniversary of Our Mother’s Visitations to us in Theriot. We also celebrate today, the 18th Anniversary of the Blessing of the Brides of the Most Blessed Trinity. My family is very supportive of this Mission, a great blessing! We have a web site where all the history of our Apostolate and all of Our Blessed Mother’s Messages can be found and printed. We invite you to go to the site. There is also a Summary Letter that Fr. Dean, Buddy, Lin and myself with 20 other Consecrated Brides brought to Rome in October of 2003. Under obedience to Our Mother we placed this into the hands of Cardinal Arinizi` to be given to Our Holy Father, John Paul II.
There are now over 800 worldwide who have offered themselves as victim souls for priests. Many thousands daily pray the Morning Offering through out the world. Only God can do the impossible. Our Mother explains it in this way:
“God always provides for the needs of His Church. This is needed now, so it happens now. This (so many to offer themselves as victim souls for priests) has never happened before in the history of Our Church. It is needed now so it happens now! You simply have responded to God’s Call.”
We did not understand why a Mission to pray for Priests was needed when this all began in 1987. Now we do understand.
I will close by reading part of the letter we brought to His Holiness. Our Mother’s Words to Her priest sons:
Our Mother's main message to Priests: Our Mother says over & over: "My Precious and Most Beloved Sons: I love you. I love you. I love you! I come to you in love. I come to bring you love. Come home to your Mother. I await you. I call you to holiness. Turn to Me. I long to hold you. I will help you. I will help to wash you clean like a mother who washes her children clean when she calls them in for supper after they have played in the dust and dirt all day. Go to Confession to your brother priest. I give to you My own Heart. I need you My sons. My Son Jesus needs you. You represent My Son Jesus as no one else can. You have been chosen. Your life, your ministry as a holy priest is the highest calling on this earth. Your life must be a living example of true holiness. Come home to Your Mother's Heart.”
"To the world you are a shepherd, to Me Your Mother you are My own little lambs. I love you. Come home My beloved sons. Come back to Me with all your heart. I love you. Mother of all hearts. I have many Titles, I am one Mother, Your Mother, Mother of Divine Love. My Son Jesus in Holy Communion is Divine Love. I have been Crowned with a special crown for you alone My sons, My priests. Crowned by the Most Holy Blessed Trinity, by Our Beloved Father; by My Beloved Son, Jesus and by My Beloved Spouse, the Holy Spirit. There is One God in Three Persons. I love, worship and adore God. In humble submission and in obedience I accept this Crown of all Crowns for your benefit My beloved priest sons.”
"It is the desire of Our God that I be known as Patroness of Priests under the Title, Mother of Divine Love. I receive this honor in total love for My God and for you My beloved priest sons. Through this mission of Divine Love the Church of My Son Jesus; the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church; My beloved Church will be made one again. It will be restored to holiness and wholeness. This is the new springtime that My beloved son, His Holiness, Our Holy Father John Paul II is awaiting. He is the greatest Saint of your times. Love him! Obey him. He speaks for My Son Jesus and for Me, Your Mother. I am Your Mother just as if I gave birth to you for I gave birth to your vocation as a holy priest. Where are you, My sons? Where are you? I am with you at all times. Where do you bring Me? Come home. I love you. I love you. I love you. Your Mother, Mother of Divine Love."
To us Our Mother says: "PRAY! PRAY! PRAY! PRAY! Embrace your little crosses. Join your sufferings to the suffering of My Son Jesus. Offer these sufferings and sacrifices for My beloved priest sons.
My priests are My Hands in this world. Help Me to mend My Hands. When you pray for holy priests you are praying for yourselves and your children for many generations. Be converted. Repent of your sins. Forgive one another My children. Go to Confession to My priest sons. In the Holy Confessional you encounter My Son Jesus. My Son Jesus in Confession is DIVINE MERCY. Receive My Son Jesus with a clean soul in Holy Communion. My Son Jesus in Holy Communion is DIVINE LOVE. Love one another as I love you. All missions will come together in this Mission of My Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart, this Mission of the Sacred and Eucharistic Heart of My Beloved Son Jesus, this Mission of Divine Love."
I invite you all to come on the Last Saturdays to pray with us for our priests. The rosary begins at 2 p.m. May God bless our families! Remember the family that prays together stays together.