Monday, August 21, 2006

Assumption 2006: Photo Post 10 (Assumption Day Homily of Fr. Eduard Perrone)

This photo post will feature a few pictures taken during the evening Mass by Jeff Williams. Some of the most stunning pictures will come in the next few days as I bring you photos taken during this Mass. But, I want to bring you the homily for that Mass now.

Fr. Perrone delivered an awesome sermon, and as usual, very straightforward. I encourage all who are visiting this blog to take a few minutes to read what the pastor of Assumption Grotto parish had to say on the Feast of the Assumption! Emphasis is mine, but only to draw your attention to key parts with the hopes you will read it in its entirety.

Within this post are various statues you would have seen near the grotto as he spoke, the last being a closeup of the BVM as she is brought out in procession each year on Assumption. My next post will begin with that procession for the 7:00pm Mass.

Click on any photo to enlarge.

Assumption 2006 Homily of Fr. Eduard Perrone

It would not be unreasonable to say that our country at this time is heavily involved in war. Simply because the strife is on foreign soil does not abstract from the reality of our engagement in a war. All of us, even if in so small degree, are affected by it. The moral, economic, and sociological consequences of the conflict now in progress concern everyone’s life.

How one views the present state of affairs puts him on one side or other of a divide: whether the war is justified or not; whether its alleged gain is worth the human sacrifice and other facets of our investment in it; whether it is at root about protecting human rights and freedom, or political hegemony or about economics. These, of course, are only a few of many questions that we are made to confront and attempt to answer, however inept we may be to grasp the whole truth about them.

The role of religion in this war is a topic that is often lightly passed over. This is not surprising since we have a marked reluctance to bring religion into the public forum: it’s considered impolite and incorrect. But the cold fact is that religion is indeed a significant factor–if not in actuality the dominant factor–in the terrible strife and killing that’s reported in our daily news. The religion of Islam is contending against what is perceived as its enemies. It is religious belief that is fueling the mission to encounter, conquer and destroy the forces that are perceived to be inimical to it. This is a hard fact and doesn’t depend upon anyone’s assessment of the religion of Islam itself. Jews and Christians are being viewed as a menace to the faith of the Moslem. It is not a question of whether or not we are bad people getting our just desserts; it is a matter of being non-Moslem. There is not then a racial issue which accounts for this war; nor an economic matter; nor even a moral issue in the strict sense of the term–as if the degeneracy of the West (its greed, its turpitude, its moral softness) were the primary factor accounting for the hostility. It is rather, as I have said, a religious issue which is at the root of the conflict. We may not want to face this squarely, but it should not be denied for that reason.

We are rightly hesitant to explain it in this way. Christians have cultivated a somewhat refined sensitivity about the subject of war and killing. Our Lord had some points of teaching about it and the history of Christianity has engaged, willingly or not, in some fierce conflicts. The Gospel of Christ has profoundly affected our nation, its policies and our mores, even though its influence is not often acknowledged. The very idea of engaging in a war where religion is the predominant cause tends to make us diffident and apologetic. And so we turn to other explanations to try to account for this war.

Thus far I have brought the subject of religion to bear on this war only in one aspect. It’s not my intention to dwell further on that except to make it the stepping stone to a broader religious matter that concerns the war and which bears on our celebration of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Somewhere along the line, in our insistence that religion be kept subdued (if spoken of at all), we have allowed ourselves to overlook and even dismiss some basic doctrines of Christianity. We have become so intimidated by the pressure to fit in with the secularist worldview that we may find ourselves ill disposed to assert them. Thus we have the waffling, the compromising, and the evasion of moral issues that persistently confront us, such as abortion, euthanasia, gay marriage, promiscuity, pornography and so on. We tend not to speak out on these issues, even though they are moral teachings of Christ and His Church. This reticence betrays a sickness of spirit, an unbecoming self-consciousness, and a self-defeating withdrawal from cause of Christ. Cowardice, boredom, apathy (which are the rotted fruits of our sensuality and luxury) are killing our spiritual lives. It seems that Christians are fast losing the will to be what they are and to apologize to the world for what they profess to believe. This slackness of spirit has made us poor Christians, if not even apostates, traitors. And surely this is a consequence far more grave than being at war.

As an example of this timid and eviscerated faith, I offer a doctrine demonstrated repeatedly in the bible, Old Testament and New, but which rarely is averted to today. It’s a teaching that was reintroduced into Catholic consciousness by the Blessed Virgin Mary herself (at Fatima). It’s simply this: war is a punishment for sin. One can imagine the indignation, the ridicule and the embarrassment of some Christians upon hearing this simple statement of faith. War may be safely taken as the inhumanity and unreasonableness of men which can be resolved by discussion, diplomacy and accords. But the thought that our personal sins are related to war as cause and effect is derided and dismissed as unrealistic and naive.

Intellectual pride has always been an obstacle for seeing the truth in its fullness and for acquiring that wisdom which can evaluate things in the divine perspective. Many gifted but haughty persons have missed comprehending some basics of faith or morals that have been readily perceived and accepted by the less brilliant. That fervent prayer, especially the daily rosary, and works of penance made in reparation for sin are powerful and effective spiritual means for the attainment of peace used to be tenet accepted by Catholics everywhere. This is no longer the case. We have become high-minded in our analysis of the causes of war and in the solutions we propose for peace. If people–and I mean our people–would stop offending God by their crimes and would begin to live as true Christians in obedience to Christ and His commandments, with prayer and penances for the sins committed by humanity, the world would not be in its present state of crisis. This facile but real analysis of the causes and the solution of the present conflict is not the one to be aired on the daily news. Nor, sad to say, is it the one likely to be preached from our pulpits. If war is the consequence of sin (and one notes that sin is now very public and widespread) and if prayer (especially the daily rosary) with the offering of one’s trials, hardships, daily annoyances (as well as acts of self-denial) are the means to stopping war and restoring order and peace, then much becomes clear to us. It would then be evident that the war now in progress witnesses that we are sinning mightily and that we are neither praying nor being penitential as the present situation warrants.

This spiritual analysis of the cause and the solution for war (rather than the accustomed political or economic one) indicates that our primary concern should not be the war that’s waged by armed conflict but the war that’s waged against God. The mission of the Church and the teachings of our faith would be falsified if they were taken merely as means to some pragmatic and worldly end (such as world peace) however desirable a thing that may be. The purpose of being Christian is not in the first place in order to live well in this world, but to live eternally well in the next. Our principal work therefore must be the conversion of men’s minds to Christ’s truth and their hearts to His laws. If God were not affronted by our sins there would be that essential peace in men’s souls which would inevitably result in their harmony with others. Only as a consequence of concord with God is peace among men attainable. War, however horrible, is not the same as hell. Hell is the eternal, irrevocable reality of unmitigated suffering. Christ and our Blessed Lady have directed us to avoid this definitive and ultimate failure through the means given us by the Church.

The Catholic Church has all the means to bring about the healing of humanity and a season of peace for the world. We have Confession to remit our sins; Holy Mass to be made one with God; prayer and good works to beseech God’s mercy on ourselves and on the whole world. Then too we have the Woman.

The Blessed Virgin Mary is the Queen of Peace who now lives in intimate union with God, having been assumed into heaven body and soul. From there she receives our prayers, purifies them, intensifies them and powerfully intercedes with Christ in obtaining grace. We implore the Holy Virgin Mary of the Assumption at this shrine to attend to our needs. We are hungering for peace of soul and for peace in the world. And as we have already contributed much to the sins that have caused misery, we want now to become agents of reparation for peace.

May Holy Mary hear the pleas we make today, and make us return to God. Thus will she show us her reign on earth (as in heaven) as the Queen of Peace.


Assumption 2006: Introductory Photo Post

Assumption 2006: Photo Post 1
Assumption 2006: Photo Post 2
Assumption 2006: Photo Post 3
Assumption 2006: Photo Post 4
Assumption 2006: Photo Post 5
Assumption 2006: Photo Post 6
Assumption 2006: Photo Post 7
Assumption 2006: Photo Post 8
Assumption 2006: Photo Post 9

Photo Post 23: Final Accumulative Photo Post for Assumption 2006

Assumption 2005 Collection