Great to see you here this morning. No better way to begin the New Year. Last night we had a pretty good turnout for our bilingual 11 p.m. Mass and Benediction. I woke up this morning to Sacred Heart radio. There was a program on time management for Catholics. I should have gotten right up, but I decided just to lay in bed and listen to it.
The author, Dave Durand, had some interesting points – that time management is not so much about becoming a success, getting a lot done, but achieving ones priorities. For example a top priority should be ones family, but Durand said that a study indicated that the average husband spends only two minutes per day in serious conversation with his wife. I cannot believe that is true – I certainly hope it is not the case with any of the couples here. He also said that the average adult spends between 28 and 32 hours per week watching television. It’s not that we don’t have time, but that we are using it on the wrong things.
It is customary on New Years to make resolutions. Most of them we don’t keep – for example to not eat so much food high in fat and salt content. That resolution usually lasts until the afternoon bowl games. But there is one resolution I hope we will all make and keep, that is, to give God the proper priority in our lives. You are certainly doing it by being at Mass this morning. This is the greatest prayer because it is Jesus’ saving sacrifice we participate in. But also to separate one hour a week for prayer before Jesus truly present in the Blessed Sacrament. Posted on the bulletin boards are sheets indicating the hours we most need committed adorers and pull-off slips with the numbers to call in order to sign up.
By prayer we can achieve things otherwise impossible. I remember when I was a young priest, ordained maybe eight or nine years. A man came to me who was broken up, crying. He told me that his wife had left. “Father,” he said, “I am a one woman man. She is the only one I every loved and the only one I ever will. I she leaves me, I will be completely alone.”
The news saddened me because I like this couple a lot. I called the wife, but got nowhere. Finally, I told the man that there was a newly ordained priest at the Cathedral. “He’s just out of the seminary. Maybe he has some new ideas.”
A few weeks later I saw the man and asked him what the priest had recommended. I was thinking maybe some new counseling approach or psychological insight. He told me that the priest said to come into the Cathedral every day and light a candle at a certain altar and to pray at least fifteen minutes. And to do that for thirty days. Well, it turned out that after thirty days, she came back.
I was quite happy, but then as time passed, I lost track of the couple. A few years after I returned from Peru, I ran into them. They were smiling like newly weds. That was twenty years later. Prayer can accomplish things beyond our greatest dreams.
On today’s feast of the Mary, Mother of God, we take her as our example of prayer. Today’s reading says, “Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.” If we want to get our lives back in order as we begin the new year 2004, we need to ask her intercession to make prayer the first priority in our lives.
Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C
Bulletin: Wedding in Arandas
(Plus pictures of Blessed Luis' Granddaughters)
Protestants paying more attention to Virgin Mary