I. What Does It Truly Mean To Live In God’s Kingdom? The Beatitudes Christ gives us in today’s Gospel call us to be more than our human nature allows. We don’t need to worry about human nature, because if we seek God in all things, God will fill our lacking nature with His love and grace so we may “be holy because [He] is holy.” (1 Peter 1:14-16) We must dedicate ourselves every day to be meek, forgiving, humble, merciful, and clean of heart. We are children of God and we should always be peacemakers. Incivility, brashness and “un”-Christian behavior has enveloped our Nation. Reflect on Pope Francis’ “Rejoice and Be Glad: On the Call to Holiness in Today’s World;” he meditates on each of the beatitudes individually. Because it falls on a Sunday this year, we will be using the readings from All Saints’ Day, November 1, this weekend. Masses at the Cathedral will be at 8:30am and 11:00am, with the anticipatory Mass on Saturday at 4:30pm. May all the Saints in heaven pray for us!
II. Cast An Informed Vote: Election Day for the Nation is this Tuesday, November 3rd and I urge you to cast your ballot. We have this wonderful and obligatory right in America to freely elect our government officials. I also urge you to pray and diligently discern for whom you will cast your vote. But, that decision is yours. Let the Spirit guide you. You should make that decision based on what is best for you, your family, the community and the nation. So many would say there is only one way to go, but that decision is for you to make. Our Catholic Bishops (USCCB) offer us reflections and considerations—www.faithfulcitizenship.org—with special emphasis on “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship.” It is our duty and privilege to place an informed vote.
III. Election Day Prayer Vigil: Saint Stephen Cathedral will offer a time of prayer for our Nation and for our Election Process on Tuesday, November 3. The day will begin with Mass at 7:00am, then we will pause to have the church building sanitized. At 8:30am we will have Exposition and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament all morning until 11:30am, with the opportunity to pray the Sorrowful mysteries of the Rosary at 10:00am. We will celebrate Mass again at 12:05pm. You are invited to spend time in the Presence of our Lord to pray for unity and peace for our country, as well as a smooth transition regardless of whom the people of the United States elect.
IV. One Vocation Leads to Another: Today begins National Vocation Awareness Week. Did you know that in our country, compared to 60 years ago, there are 20,000 fewer priests and 129,000 fewer religious sisters? At the same time, the Catholic population has grown steadily. During Vocation Awareness Week, please pray that young people in today’s society will hear and respond “yes” to God’s invitation. Have you tapped a young person on the shoulder to say, “I think God may be calling you to become a priest or a sister/nun?” “Let us not forget that Christian marriage is a vocation to holiness in the full sense of the word, and that the example of parents is the first condition favorable for the flowering of priestly and religious vocations” (Pope Benedict XV). Did you know the rosary is prayed every day by a family in the Cathedral of Saint Stephen for vocations? This is part of the Matthew 9 Mission. A special thanks to Nathan & Amanda Reffitt for coordinating this effort. You may sign up for the same day each month by contacting [email protected] or call the parish office. Meditate on Matthew 9:38 during this Vocation Awareness Week. November 1–7.
V. Solemn Vespers (official Evening Prayer of the Church): everyone is invited to participate in evening prayer, November 2nd, as we pray the Psalms and remember loved ones who have died throughout the years. We especially invite those who have lost loved ones this past year. Our Prayer Service, begins at 6:00 pm. Everyone is invited! May they rest in peace.
VI. A Month of “Re-Membering:” All Saints, All Souls, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day, and the Feast of Christ the King are about remembering. Note that in the Jewish Scriptures, there was a golden thread of remembering, in order to keep alive the memory of spiritual ancestors, communal trials and trauma, and moments of peace and prosperity. If our faith is to grow, it is imperative we remember what God has done for us individually and through our family of faith; we, too, recall the ebb and flow of sin and grace, darkness and light in our own lives. Let us not forget, despite it all, how God has blessed us beyond measure. To remember is to celebrate God’s faithfulness with gratitude! Eucharist is our chief way to express thankfulness! Our All Souls Day Masses will be at 7:00am and 12:05pm, with Vespers (the official evening prayer of the Church) at 6:00pm. Everyone is welcome and invited!
VII. “Father of Charity:” feeding the needy from the monastery, caring for sick people in the monastery, and beginning a home for abandoned children, Saint Martin de Porres (1579-1639) is called the “father of charity.” At a time in history when there was much racial tension and violence, Martin stood up and took action. He is considered the patron saint of racial justice. We celebrate his feast this Tuesday, November 3rd. Blessed Sacrament Chapel honors him as their patron. Saint Martin de Porres, pray for us and our country during this turbulent time.