manhood

Fathers

Here is my homily from Father’s Day 2018:

Fatherhood is under attack. The easiest way to see this is in tv sitcoms; older tv shows had a father who was wise and cared for his children, such as the father on Leave It to Beaver. Yet watching tv now, the father is usually seen as the buffoon or the comic relief. The role of the father is something that is mocked. Media will downplay the role of the father, but fatherhood should not be abandoned so easily. All men are created by God to be fathers, so the question for each man is “how is God calling me to live out fatherhood?” As a married man, as a celibate priest, as a single man. God did not create men to be bachelors, to simply take the most comfortable route and to live for oneself, being a slave to passion.

You are being watched. Ultimately, of course, God is always present to us and we know we will be judged, but right now we are being watched by other people as well. Children are little sponges ready to learn and they do that by looking for routines, mimic words and actions, and they need a good model to help them with this. The world is watching and our Lord calls us to be the mustard seed in an environment which is often opposed to God. So, fathers, we need to realize that we have a role as teacher. Sometimes we will need to sit down and explain what is going on at Mass, how we pray, why we believe certain things and live a certain way, and other times just our simple actions speak volumes to those around us.

Another duty of Fathers is to be a pray-er. St. Therese of Lisieux said that when she saw her father pray she knew what the saints in heaven looked like. Shouldn’t we hope our children can say the same about us? Do our children catch us praying? Fathers must share the Faith with others. This does not need to be anything too complicated, but a family Rosary, or some time before the Blessed Sacrament or going over the Sunday readings perhaps. Getting to know the true superheroes: the saints in heaven.

To be a father is to be a spiritual warrior and protector. Protect your spouse and children. Be a man of prayer, be a man of the Sacraments. Go to confession every month. Get to daily mass and visit Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. If we deny that we are in the midst of spiritual battle, we are fooling ourselves. One of the first vestments I put on for mass is called the amice. There is a prayer I say when putting it on: “place upon my head, O Lord, the helmet of salvation that I may overcome the assault of the devil”. It is a central part of the fatherly vocation of the priest to lead in battle, to provide the nourishment of the sacraments, to pray and offer sacrifice, to mediate between God and the people. Fathers of families are called to continue this in the home-the domestic church, and they can do this with the strength offered through the Sacraments.

Fathers, we are living in difficult times, but we shouldn’t be afraid. We need to be good examples and teach so that our actions and words match; we need to have a prayer life, because thankfully we are not in this alone—we have God who is often described as a faithful warrior, we have the Saints who have gone before us, and we have each other to help in the hardships, rejoice in the successes, and lift each other up when we fall. The psalm today tells us, “The just one shall flourish like the palm tree, like a cedar of Lebanon shall he grow.” To be close to the Lord and living in anticipation of the judgment is to give strength for this journey. What man does not want to be strong? We can only be strong if we are humble enough to live our lives holding nothing back from God, giving ourselves entirely, and repenting in the Sacrament of Confession when we fall. The Sacraments were given to us to strengthen us on this journey of life, and we will need that strength and courage helping others to come to know, love, and serve God.

Your example, your prayers, your life can be that mustard seed that we heard about in the Gospel. The world awaits: “ A secret, an open secret: these world crises are crises of saints”(St Josemaria Escriva, The Way, 301). The difficulties we face are the mettle God uses to make us become saints. It may not feel like much is happening at times; it may seem that it would be easier to just give in, but those tiny actions, those tiny words are those tiny seeds that can take root and lead to the growth of a tree. If you have tried your best and your children have left the faith, keep praying, keep being a strong example of faith, do not allow false peace in the family to be your driving force, but live to please God, not man. It is a spiritual battle for souls-don’t give up! Men, we have a lot of work ahead of us, and we need a good father figure to help us. Saint Joseph is that father for all of us. He can really help fill the void if you have had an abusive or absent father, or perhaps your father died and you really need some fatherly affection and help. If your father has died, do not neglect to continue to pray for his soul. The man who became the foster father of Christ did not have an easy path; he was a man of action-hard work and silent discretion, a man of prayer, and a man who protected his family. A man’s man. So, we ask that the Head of the Holy Family and the Pillar of Families intercede for us and help us on our journey—Saint Joseph, pray for us.

“Don’t say ‘Thats the way I am- it’s my character.’ It’s your lack of character. Esto Vir- Be a man!”  -The Way, 4

Do you see? That cable – strand upon strand, many of them woven tightly together – is strong enough to lift enormous weights. You and your brothers, with wills united to carry out God’s will, can overcome all obstacles.” – The Way 480

Saint Andrew, the Protoclete

Today is the Feast of Saint Andrew, the Apostle. Today there are a few guest writers. The first section is from Benedict XVI and a general audience he gave on Saint Andrew (text taken from here). Then there are some words by Saint Josemaría Escrivá. At the very end I posted a homily written by Blessed John Henry Newman.

BENEDICT XVI

GENERAL AUDIENCE

Wednesday, 14 June 2006

Andrew, the Protoclete

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

In the last two catecheses we spoke about the figure of St Peter. Now, in the measure that sources allow us, we want to know the other 11 Apostles a bit better. Therefore, today we shall speak of Simon Peter’s brother, St Andrew, who was also one of the Twelve.

The first striking characteristic of Andrew is his name:  it is not Hebrew, as might have been expected, but Greek, indicative of a certain cultural openness in his family that cannot be ignored. We are in Galilee, where the Greek language and culture are quite present. Andrew comes second in the list of the Twelve, as in Matthew (10: 1-4) and in Luke (6: 13-16); or fourth, as in Mark (3: 13-18) and in the Acts (1: 13-14). In any case, he certainly enjoyed great prestige within the early Christian communities. (more…)

Fraternal Correction

Last evening I was with some brother priests and we were bantering back and forth about what time we wake up to begin our days. Recently I also have been getting some input from another brother priest about the need to make sure I have some down time each week to rest and recuperate a little bit. This, combined with the feast of today, St Bartholomew, has made me really think about fraternal correction, both being the recipient, but also being able to give fraternal correction. I have been praying about this, and I was doing some looking online to see what I could find.
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Ordination to the Priesthood, Mass of Thanksgiving

I am realizing how long it has been since I posted. I was ordained a priest of Jesus Christ on May 27th at Blessed Sacrament Cathedral by the Most Reverend Mark L. Bartchak, bishop of Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown. The next day I offered a solemn Mass of Thanksgiving. I offered the Mass of Paul VI/Novus Ordo ad orientem. A schola sang some beautiful palestrina parts, andI had an assistant priest, two deacons, about ten servers, and thirteen concelebrants. At the end I was speechless, I was so profoundly moved. My good friend and [now]brother-priest, Fr Ananias Buccicone who was my assistant priest, just gave me a big hug.
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Be a Man

This is the very first homily I preached, at Solemn Vespers of Pentecost, to a Men’s retreat.

 

The majority of you have come here after a day and a night of a men’s retreat. This is good. And yet some others have gathered here in prayer as well. Let this not distract you men, but rather help you focus. We believe in the “Communion of Saints” which includes the saints in Heaven who pray for us, the souls in purgatory who rely on our prayers, and our brothers and sisters across the world. We are united in prayer most especially in the Eucharist. There is no competition between male and female:there is complementarity.

Now I want to address the men here, and to the women, I encourage each of you: please pray for your husband(if you are married), your father, your sons, and your brothers. Please pray especially to St Joseph that he may help us men to be faithful and courageous.
Men, we are inherently visual creatures. We are constantly on the go or seeking, we are distracted and captivated by beauty. Due to our fallen nature, the devil often uses this to steer us from the path of virtue and holiness. The beauty in liturgy is meant to captivate us-to be a genuine sign of the beauty of God’s revelation. All of creation glorifies God, and in using all these things-vestments, incense, bells, a certain harmony in movement, chanting, musical instruments like the organ, God uses our senses to be captivated by His love and His call to each of us to become a saint. Every fiber of our lives is meant to glorify God! (more…)