Trinity Sunday

06-12-2022

We have been taught, as children in the faith, the Holy Trinity consists of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. They are three persons of the same One God. We profess this at Mass each Sunday in the Nicene Creed and in the Apostles’ Creed when we pray the Rosary, Divine Mercy chaplet, and other devotions. I know that a theological topic such as this can be difficult to comprehend, but that is where faith comes in. This truly is a matter of faith.

We know that God is our Father in heaven. He created us and everything else, whether visible or invisible. We specifically profess that fact in the Nicene Creed, which has been our profession of faith since AD 325, the First Council of Nicaea. Yes, for nearly 1700 years, we have been professing the Nicene Creed, which has only undergone only minor revisions since its adoption.

We freely profess that there is only One God, and He is the Father Almighty. Meaning He is above everything and everyone. He is the maker of heaven and earth, and all other things, visible and invisible. We also believe that Jesus Christ is the only Begotten Son of God, that He is consubstantial with the Father. This means that Jesus is the same substance as God the Father. Jesus is divine, yet He was born of the Virgin Mary, who gave Him His humanity. He is fully God and fully man. He suffered and died to pay for our sins, so that we might spend eternity with God in heaven. This is known as the Beatific Vision, beholding God, face to face with our Creator, forever. Jesus also rose again, just as He said He would. He ascended into Heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father. Because Jesus came to know us and our tendencies, He witnessed our very real brokenness, in His infinite Love and Mercy, God sent us the Holy Spirit at our Baptism and Confirmation to continue to be with us, in us, so that we may always remember what Jesus taught us.

The Holy Trinity is the Only God, the God who created us and established the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. The next time that you profess that truth, think about who you are to God, who he created you to be. It’s a really good practice to ponder what we profess in the Creed from time to time. We are all precious to God and are meant to glorify Him by our lives. We have all of the tools necessary to become living saints. For God, nothing is impossible. Turn to Him for everything.

Lord, we thank You for all that You have done for us. We want to be the holy men and women You created us to be. Send us Your Holy Spirit to enkindle our hearts to desire holiness in our lives, that we may seek You, and glorify You in all that we do. We ask this in Jesus’ Holy Name. Amen.

Ms. Renee Valenzuela, OP

Excellent Video of Our Nuns and Sisters

This video offers great insight to the Dominican charism lived by active sisters and cloistered nuns in the Order of Preachers.

If you or someone you know might be interested in learning more, leave a comment below and I will help you find the right people who can help in the discernment process.

Ms. Renee Valenzuela, OP

Sixth Sunday of Easter bulletin Reflection

By Ms. C. A. Riley, OP

22 May 2022

Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid, for if you love me,so too, will the Father love you. The phrase “do not be afraid” appears 365 time in the Bible. Why? Are we a people who are afraid all the time and must be reminded of Jesus’ promise that through the Holy Spirit, He and the Father are always with us? When we are afraid, all we need to do is remember that Jesusdied so that we could live without fear, this is where our faith will set us free. All too often I see people worrying over this issue or that problem, instead of giving it up to God. We should always find peace and solace in the knowledge that Jesus gave himself up to death so we would not be afraid of it. He tells us this in the gospel, that He is going to the Father and needs to do this, so that the Father will send each of us the Holy Spirit as our advocate and guide in this life. 

What does it mean to be an advocate for someone? We read so many verses in the Bible of how God sends advocates to help others. Moses, Aaron, Noah, Ruth, Rebecca, Jonah, David, Mary, Jesus, the disciples and apostles. Yes, Jesus was the unblemished lamb sent by God to save us from sin and death. All of us as disciples of God are also advocates of his word, and when baptized we become Priest, Prophet, and King of the Church. It is our place now to be the advocates of those who need us today, so go out and do not be afraid to spread the good news to others.

Fifth Sunday of Easter, May 15, 2022

We are told that persecution and hardships strengthen us and help us conform more closely to Jesus. The selflessness and teaching of Paul and Barnabas attract large numbers of Gentiles to the faith. God will use us to bring others to Him if we cooperate with His grace and have the courage to trust His leading and not fear man’s opinion.

Revelation speaks of a new heavenly Jerusalem in which death and sadness will be no more. Jesus’ rule of love makes all things new. Jesus says he will be glorified. Who would think His being tortured and crucified would glorify Him? Yet, the Resurrection gave stark confirmation of Jesus’ divinity.  Isaiah 55:9 tells us, “For as the heavens are higher than the earth. So are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

Jesus, in John’s gospel, commands us to love one another as He has loved us. “This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (Jn. 13:35) All today’s readings point to the power of love to transform our lives and influence those around us to seek the Lord. Do we exude the sweetness of His love? Love requires us to consider the welfare of others first. This is a challenge for us to submit our will to the will of God, who is Love itself.

Mrs. Marilyn Pipkin, OP

GOOD SHEPHERD SUNDAY

May 8, 2022

Christ the Victim, Christ the Priest.  Christ the Shepherd, Christ the Lamb

Christ throughout his life played paradoxical roles.  Christ is all in all; and is all things to all people.  He is the Good Shepherd who, in the spring, goes into the meadows and fields and gathers the wee lambs into his arms and places them on his shoulders, bringing them back to the sheepfold where they will be safe and secure.

The Good Shepherd lays down his life for his sheep.  He himself said, I have the power to lay down my life, and I have the power to take it up again.  No one takes it from me.

My sheep hear my voice and follow me.  We must take up our cross and follow him facing possible persecution, calumny, slander, rejection, insults; all the things the Savior suffered.  No servant is greater than his Master.  We believe and hope in the resurrection of the body and life everlasting.  We must not grow discouraged and weary waiting with hope strung out over the years awaiting his coming.  Satan just loves it when we grow discouraged.

The Good Shepherd will return and call us home.  We will recognize the shepherd’s voice and follow him home.  What a glorious home coming!  The Book of Revelation today tells us, “The one who sits on the throne will shelter them.  They will not hunger or thirst anymore, nor will the sun or any heat strike them.  For the Lamb who is in the center of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to springs of life-giving water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

Mrs. Peggy Brechtel, OP

Reflection for Divine Mercy Sunday April 24, 2022

Jesus speaks clearly to us when he says that he desires Mercy not sacrifice. Jesus does not withhold his mercy from us, so why should we withhold our Mercy from others? We can think of several reasons why not to forgive someone, not to stop and assist the poor and suffering, we’re too busy, to overwhelmed to become involved. It’s easy to say, “I’ll give a donation; how much can I write a check for?”

Jesus says, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall be shown Mercy.” We are living the call of Christ to be merciful; Jesus is the model for us to be living vessels of mercy, a source of happiness that lifts others out of despair; a source of hope and joy that embraces all good works. Feeding the hungry, visiting the sick and praying for the prisoner. Christ has been each one of these. We see him daily on the street, do you just pass him by?

Christ compassion unfolds when we love one another and bring his Mercy to others. Jesus wants our hearts and when we give him our hearts, we will discover the goodness of God within us. We are living the call of Christ to have Mercy. All of us will be judged by our Mercy and Charity and how we treated each other. Jesus is Mercy and Compassion.

Mrs. Denise Fedie, OP

A Reflection for Easter

Ezekiel 36:16—28

In this reading from the prophet Ezekiel, the Lord speaks to him about Israel defiling the land with their conduct and deeds. I look at the world we live in today and we aren’t any different. We also defile this land that the Lord has given us. We murder, we steal, we defame, we do all kinds of terrible things to each other, which defiles us as a people, defiles our nation, makes us an abomination in the eyes of God. And what we do to the least of us, we do to Christ. It’s a sobering thought.

But, despite our behavior, God’s love for us is still immeasurable. We are His people, His bride, and we comprise His body. He cleaves to us, just as a man leaves his parents to cleave to his wife. God fulfils His promise to sprinkle water and make us clean. Through baptism, He marks us as His own, placing an indelible mark on our souls. He replaces our hearts with new hearts and puts a new spirit in us. All we have to do is let Him. Can we do that? Let God make you new. Let Him refresh your spirit and breathe new life into you. This renewal could happen at every Mass.

Yes, we should definitely renew our baptismal promises to Him this Easter. Renounce Satan and all his empty works. Let God know that we are His, even though we are not worthy; He knows that we fall, and He invites us to repent. Let us return love for Love this year. Pray earnestly for your own renewal and that of others. The Lord is patiently waiting for your response, but don’t delay. We don’t know the time or the season when the Lord will return. It’s better to be prepared, our lamps full of oil. Please, do it today. Let God renew you. The hard work is already done. Jesus has died on the cross and risen today. The gift of salvation is possible and all we need to do is accept it. That’s what we’re doing when we allow God to breathe new life into us. Afterward, we see things and people differently, therefore our responses will be different. This is how we get there, together, as His people. May our Risen Lord bless you abundantly this Easter.

Ms. Renee Valenzuela, OP

Reflection for Palm Sunday, April 10, 2022

The question that always haunts me during Lent and Passion Week: “Why – why would Jesus suffer like this for us, for me?”  It is a question that has echoed through time.  Many centuries before Christ the Psalmist wrote in Psalms 8:4, “What is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?”   

We look around and see our own failings and weaknesses on display.  We see the atrocities that human beings do to each other.  We see families being torn apart – men, women and children longing for love, yet unable to give or receive the love they need.  Seeing this and often experiencing this pain, we can understand the temptation to embrace cynicism.   

It is not surprising that many people find it hard to understand why the creator of the universe, the creator of stars, galaxies, black holes, supernovae, plate tectonics and volcanoes, can actually love us enough to be beaten, ridiculed and nailed to a cross.

In spite of all of this, here we are – the people of God, in the Church, willing to walk with Christ this Holy Week.  Palm Sunday begins with Christ entering Jerusalem with crowds praising and adoring Him and it ends with His death on the Cross.  If the story ended there, it would be a fit ending for a cynic.  Cynicism will not allow the hope of a Resurrection.  Cynicism can only laugh at the foolishness of the crowd who loved Jesus on the day He entered Jerusalem.  Cynicism could never comprehend the love of God nor and His willingness to suffer for His frail and beloved children.  However, our Lord did, in fact, suffer and die for you and for me.

We begin the Holy Week with love for Christ in our hope of His Resurrection and His Love – which passes all understanding.

Mrs. Helen Hawkins, OP

A Dominican Saint with an Unimaginable Life Story

St. Margaret of Castello, OP – 1287-1320

St. Margaret of Castello was born in 1287 in Metola, Italy to noble parents. Her father was a famous military hero, and her parents were determined to have a son to carry on the family’s military reputation. When the news was told that their newborn was a daughter, born blind, hunchbacked, dwarfed, and lame, Margaret’s parents were embarrassed. Margaret was kept in seclusion on the upper floor of the family castle in the hopes that her existence would be kept secret, in an attempt to avoid embarrassment to the family’s reputation.

When Margaret was six years old, she was accidentally discovered by a guest of the manor. Her parents took further actions to hide her from others. Determined to keep her out of the public eye, her parents moved her to a small chapel on a remote part of the estate manor. They built a room without a door attached to the side of the chapel and walled Margaret inside this room. She lived there in seclusion for the next 14 years, never allowed to come out. Her food and other necessities were passed to her through one of two small windows. Another window opened into the interior of the chapel and allowed her to hear Mass and receive Holy Communion. During this imprisonment, a local priest took upon himself the duty to educate her. (On the internet, you can view the room attached to the manor chapel where Margaret lived for 14 years. A door to the left of the chapel was added centuries later – here). 

After years of living in this enclosure, her parents heard rumors of miraculous cures occurring at a shrine in nearby Citta di Castello, Italy. Margaret’s parents made a pilgrimage to the shrine expecting a healing, taking Margaret with them in secret. They waited in the shrine for a few short minutes, but nothing happened; they quickly gave up and left in secrecy, abandoning Margaret in the shrine. They returned to their manor, never to see her again. 

Margaret, abandoned and homeless in a strange town, had to beg to survive. Over time, while living on the streets of Castello as a beggar, she became known for her holiness. She often preached to her fellow beggars and helped guide them spiritually. She preached a message of joy and thankfulness, despite all their suffering. She noted that, as beggars, they were able to mimic the Holy Family by living in poverty and exile. 

Her reputation for holiness continued to grow in Castello and she was asked to join a monastery of contemplative cloistered nuns in the town. Joining the monastery was initially a great joy for Margaret, but things quickly changed. As a nun, Margaret was intent on living the cloistered life exactly as written in their rule of life. In contrast, the nuns were largely ignoring their rule, living lavishly and lax. Soon the nuns became resentful of Margaret, claiming that Margaret was going too far in her piety and obedience. Margaret unintentionally exposed their corruption, so they expelled her from the monastery. 

Margaret was now back on the streets of Castello. Since she had been kicked out of the monastery, many townspeople were skeptical of her. The nuns spread false rumors about Margaret to support their actions. Over time, the truth was revealed. The townspeople realized that it was the nuns who were being inauthentic. The people noticed that Margaret always spoke about her time in the monastery with gratitude while the nuns always spread evil rumors about Margaret. Eventually, the townspeople began to see the wicked truth about the nuns and the true holiness of Margaret. Not long after this incident, the monastery of nuns closed in scandal and the site eventually became a monastery for Dominican nuns.  

Margaret’s reputation grew and soon Castello citizens invited her into their homes. It was now an honor to have Margaret live with them. She passed from family to family in this way, a homeless beggar now being adopted by the citizens of the city. At each home where Margaret stayed, the families reported physical healings, spiritual healings, mended relationships, and a sense of peace while Margaret was with them. In multiple interviews as part of her canonization process, the families reported that everywhere she went, things got better.

In one of the homes where Margaret stayed, she met a member of the Mantellata. The Mantellata were a group of women, often widowed, who led a life of prayer, penance, and charity devoted to the Dominican Order as lay members. In our time, we would refer to them as the Dominican Laity. Becoming a member of the Mantellata led her to meet the Dominican friars in Castello where she received spiritual guidance and the habit of the Dominican order. As a member of the Dominican laity, she devoted herself to tending to the sick and dying and visiting prisoners in the city jail for the rest of her life.

Margaret forgave her parents for their ill-treatment of her and always treated others with great care. Her cheerfulness stemmed from her conviction that God loves each person infinitely, for He has made each person in His own image and likeness. Despite her suffering, Saint Margaret remained serene, thankful, cheerful, and courageous. She never became bitter, complained, criticized others, or became discouraged. She preached through her joy and gratitude and through her service to the poor and imprisoned. 

Margaret died on April 13, 1320, at the age of 33. As a member of the Mantellata, Margaret was buried in the Dominican tertiary habit. At the time of her death, the Dominican friars intended for her to be buried in the chapel of the Dominican convent, but the townspeople of Castello, recognizing her holiness, demanded that she be laid to rest in the town church so that all may have the opportunity to venerate her as a saint. (You can still view her incorrupt body in Castello at the altar of St. Dominic’s Church). More than 200 miracles have been credited to her intercession. She was beatified in 1609. Thus, the daughter that nobody wanted is now one of the glorious saints of the Church. Margaret was canonized in April of 2021 by Pope Francis. Her feast day is April 13.

Br. John Steilberg, OP

The Obligations of Love

The weekend of 30 Apr – 1 May 2022

On the physical plain, our physical plain, we can only express love in concrete ways.  One way is through words.  There are stronger ways though, better ways – through our actions.  Then there is the ultimate way to express our love for another:   to give our lives for them.  On our physical plain, there can be no better way to express love than this.

Peter was asked three times if he loved Jesus.  Jesus tells him three times what he must do if the love he has for Jesus is true:  Peter must feed Jesus’ sheep.  This will take a lot of effort and a fair amount of time and pain.  

When Peter is pulled before the Sanhedrin, he is accused of spreading the news of Jesus throughout Jerusalem.  The Sanhedrin tells Peter to cut it out and lets him go.  This is the beginning of Peter’s obligation of love to Jesus.  Where will it end?

Peter is told that he has a choice – now – but that there will come a day when there will no longer be a choice.  A day when he will stretch out his hands and others will take him to where he would rather not go.  Love – true love – can have a heavy price even though it is given and accepted freely.

Are we ready?  Will we, too, work the will of He-Who-Loved-Us-First, despite its cost in effort, time, and even pain?  Ultimately, will we stretch out our hands and allow others to lead us to where we’d rather not go?  Is the love from God and the love we give to God worth such a high price?  Oh, yes.  Yes, it is.  All the saints attest to it, Jesus attests to it – the whole triune God attests to it.  It will not be easy; but what a life it will be!  What could be more adventurous?  More fun?!  It will be so, so worth it!

Ms. Cathie Lambert, OP

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