Sunday, July 26, 2020

Sunday Sermon, July 26th -- The Glorious St Ann, Grandmother of God (Father Ryan Erlenbush - Corpus Christi Parish)

"Those he foreknew he also predestined"

If it is true that God prepares the way for his grace in each of our lives and in the history of salvation, how much more true is this of the circumstances immediately tied to his Incarnation.  Although St Ann and Joachim (the parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary) are not part of the very mystery of the Incarnation itself, the way that St Joseph and Mary are, they are tied to that great fulfillment of the birth of the Messiah in a unique way from among all the saints.

We consider the history of St Ann, who was childless for some 20 years before conceiving the Immaculate Conception and becoming the mother of the Mother of God. St Ann and St Joachim are special patrons for those married couples who are childless or who suffer difficult pregnancies or miscarriage, they are also great patrons for all parents and likewise for grandparents.

Special acts of devotion to St Ann are a mini-novena of Hail Mary's said nine times in honor of the nine months between Mary's conception and her birth, as well as dedicating Tuesdays to St Ann. St Ann is the best of all grandmothers, and Jesus was the best of all grandsons. Imagine the tender devotion, reverence and love which our Lord has for St Ann! Surely, she will be a most powerful intercessor in all our needs!

Adult Ed, July 24th -- Catholic Commentary on the Apocalypse, Session 8, The Seven Plagues and the Whore of Babylon, Chapters 15-18 (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

Outline of Session 8:  Commentary on Revelation chapters 15-18. The return to the sets of seven. Who is the whore of Babylon and what does she symbolize for the early Church, for today, and for the end of time? What is the city of Babylon on the Seven Hills? How do Catholics respond to Protestant accusations based on these chapters of Revelation.

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Sunday Sermon, July 19th -- Moving into the Second Age of the Spiritual Life, Infused Contemplation (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi)

"The Spirit comes to the aid of our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes with inexpressible groanings."

St Paul refers to the transition from the first age of the spiritual life (the age of beginners) to the second age (the age of the proficients). We are all called to reach the age of the perfect, but in today's sermon we will consider only this transition from the first to the second age.

In the first age, we are very active in our prayer and when making our meditations. In this time, we might benefit from focusing on whether I am physically attentive to prayer with my body (sitting upright or kneeling or standing etc, in a place that is conducive to meditation, etc), whether I am mentally attentive to prayer (thinking about what I'm saying, focusing the mind on the mysteries, etc), and whether my heart is dedicated to the prayer through love (and this is the deeper goal of prayer - not to accomplish anything else or be productive, but simply to love God more).

Learning to humbly accept distractions in prayer, not seeking to uproot them but simply bearing with them patiently, is a great means of moving into the second age of the spiritual life.  In this age of the proficients, the Spirit comes to our aid and he prays within us. Prayer will no longer be so much our active work, but rather the soul is more passive as God pours his grace into our soul.

We follow the doctrine of St Teresa of Avila.

Adult Ed, July 16th -- Catholic Commentary on the Apocalypse, Session 7, The Sea and Land Beasts, 666, and the Antichrist, Chapters 13-14 (Part 7 of 9, Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi)

Outline of Session 7:  Commentary on Revelation chapters 13-14. Who or what do the Sea Beast and Land Beast represent? The mysterious number 666 and it’s meaning in the first century as well as for the end times. Discussion of the Antichrist from Revelation and other books of Scripture.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Sunday Sermon, July 12th -- Why did Jesus speak in parables? (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

The Disciples asked Jesus, "Why do you speak to them in parables?"

Flannery O'Connor was famous for her reply when someone asked her, "Can you just tell me in one or two sentences what each of your short stories means?" "If I could have said it any more clearly, I would have!" 
So also with the parables of Jesus - We often are tempted to seek the simple "moral" of the story or the simple "meaning" of the metaphor, but the purpose of the parable is to bring us to meditate on the deep truths contained therein.
Further, parables often bring an opportunity for conversion even for those who are most hard of heart.

Lastly, we consider how Jesus established the hierarchical Church by speaking in parables to the crowds, but explaining the faith more fully to his Apostles who would then teach the people after our Lord's Ascension. Further, notice that Jesus didn't write any book of the Bible, which indicates that he did not intend to teach "sola scriptura" or the "Bible alone" - the Bible itself comes from the teaching authority of the Church (and the New Testament was written by the first Bishops, the Apostles).

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Adult Ed, July 9th -- Catholic Commentary on the Apocalypse, Session 6, The Woman and the Dragon, Chapter 12 (Part 6 of 9, Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

Outline of Session 6:  Commentary on Revelation chapters 12-14. These chapters are the heart of the book of Revelation. The Woman who stands for Israel, the Church, and Mary. The Dragon who is Satan as well as the Sea Beast and Land Beast. The mysterious number 666 and it’s meaning in the first century as well as for the end times. 
[In fact, we only covered chapter 12, the Woman and the Dragon]

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Sunday Sermon, July 5th -- How to Become Meek (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

"Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart."

Of all the virtues which Jesus desires we should learn from him, meekness and humility stand out as being especially set before us.  We all desire all the virtues, but meekness and humility are the most necessary, especially for establishing the foundation of our spiritual life.

Humility is primarily in our relation to God, meekness to our neighbor. Meekness restrains anger, even as clemency makes us gentle in correcting faults. We recognize that no one will ever be too meek, and there is never a situation in which is was good for our soul to become angry. Never be angry, but always be meek.

We discuss the advice of St Francis de Sales in how to become meek - especially through learning to be gentle with ourselves so as to become gentle with others. If we conquer the passion of anger and become truly meek, we will quickly progress in the pursuit of holiness.

Adult Ed, July 2nd -- Catholic Commentary on the Apocalypse, Session 5, The Seven Trumpets, The Two Witnesses, Chapters 8-11 (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

Outline of Session 5:  Commentary on Revelation chapters 8-11. The punishments upon the earth in the seven trumpets as bringing about the victory of the Lamb. The two witnesses, Enoch and Elijah. 

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Sunday Sermon, June 28th -- What Does Religious Liberty Really Mean? (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

We are in the midst of the week of religious liberty, called for by the US Bishops from the vigil of the feast of Sts John Fisher and Thomas More to the Solemnity of Sts Peter and Paul (June 21-29).

Religious Liberty has been a hot topic over the past decade -- the Obama Administration (and Joe Biden, in particular) was notorious for threatening the freedom of the Church, but President Trump has been a real champion of religious liberty both in our nation and throughout the world.

But what does the Church really mean by "religious liberty"? And did the Catholic Church violate freedom of religion with the Crusades or the punishment of heretics in the Middle Ages. We answer both these objections (the Crusades were not religious wars for us, but were defensive wars trying to stop Islamic terrorism and extensive slavery; the punishment of heretics also was not limiting religious freedom but only insisting that those who claim to be Catholic Christians could not teach doctrines contrary to the Catholic Church).

Further, we discuss true and false notions of "freedom" in relation to following one's conscience, and why the Church insists that we can never use force to convert someone to our beliefs.  Finally, we look to how we can preserve religious liberty in our nation: By voting for political candidates who defend religious liberty, and by remaining united in prayer.