On this octave of the Ascension, Dom Gueranger gives us this glimpse into the transformation that has occurred in the apostles:
Before the Ascension the disciples were as inconstant in their love as they were in their faith. Jesus could not trust them. But no sooner had He left them, than they became warmly devoted to Him. Instead of complaining of their bereavement, they returned full of joy to Jerusalem. The thought of their master’s triumph made them forget their own loss, and they hastened, as He bade them, to the cenacle, where they were to be endued with power from on high.
On this First Friday of the new year, we look forward to the installation of our Sacred Heart statue. He is 50 inches tall and arrived in Omaha on the First Friday of December, new and unpainted. The CMD Sisters finished painting him this week.
Slowly, but surely, we are transforming our plain box of a building into a Catholic chapel. Soon Fr. Geckle will start saying Mass on First Fridays for us. Deo gratias!
In this 20-minute sermon, Fr. Benedict Hughes, CMRI, explains the history of the devotion to the Sacred Heart.
Well, one explanation was given by Abbot Suger of St. Denis, back in the twelfth century “The dull mind rises to the truth through material things” and even more fully, in answering some of his own minimalist contemporaries (they had them then too) “To be sure, those who criticize us argue that holy mind, pure heart and faithful intention should suffice … These are, we agree, the things that matter most; yet we profess that we should also serve God with the external ornaments of sacred vessels, in all internal purity and in all external nobility, and nowhere is this to be done as much as in the service of the holy sacrifice. For it is incumbent upon us in every case to serve our redeemer in the most fitting way for in all things, without exception, he has not refused to provide for us, has united our nature with his in a single, admirable individual, and “setting us on his right hand” he has promised “that we will truly possess his kingdom” (Mtt. 25:33f.).” ~ Why Beauty in Church? Why Art?
Fresh flowers make a huge difference. We have decided on four simple bud vases of flowers placed in a staggered fashion on the upper and lower gradines.
We tried adding two larger flower arrangements on portable pillars on either side of the altar, but they seemed to distract from the altar and of course, were an additional expense that we could do without. These items help tremendously but are still manageable for us to do each Sunday. The altar itself requires a good bit of time to set up and take down, so all these things need to be kept in mind when deciding on artistic elements in a temporary setting such as many mission chapels like ours.
O most sweet Lady and our Mother, thou hast already left the earth and reached thy kingdom, where, as Queen, thou art enthroned above all the choirs of angels, as the Church sings: ‘She is exalted above the choirs of angels in the celestial kingdom.’ We well know that we sinners are not worthy to possess thee in this valley of darkness; but we also know that thou, in thy greatness, hast never forgotten us miserable creatures, and that by being exalted to such great glory thou hast never lost compassion for us poor children of Adam; nay, even that it is increased in thee. From the high throne, then, to which thou art exalted, turn, O Mary, thy compassionate eyes upon us, and pity us. Remember, also, that in leaving this world thou didst promise not to forget us. Look at us and succour us. See in the midst of what tempests and dangers we constantly are, and shall be until the end of our lives. By the merits of thy happy death obtain for us holy perseverance in the Divine friendship, that we may finally quit this life in God’s grace; and thus we also shall one day come to kiss thy feet in Paradise, and unite with the blessed spirits in praising thee and singing thy glories as thou deservest. Amen.