Managing Our Angels & Our Demons.

The Memorial of the Holy Guardian Angels.

First & second lessons from the common, third lesson from the proper, according to the ordinary form of the Roman Rite:

• Exodus 23: 20-23.
• Psalm 91: 1-6, 10-11.
• Matthew 18: 1-5, 10.

The Third Class Feast of the Holy Guardian Angels.

Lessons from the proper, according to the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite:

• Exodus 23: 20-23.
• Psalm 90 (91): 11-12.
• Matthew 18: 1-10.

The Eighteenth Friday after Pentecost; the Feast of the Holy Bishop & Martyr Cyprian; the Feast of the Holy Martyr Justina; and, the Feast of the Holy Andrew, Fool for Christ.

First & second lessons from the pentecostarion, second & fourth from the menaion,* according to the Ruthenian recension of the Byzantine Rite:

• Phillipians 1: 27—2: 4.
• I Timothy 1: 12-17.
• Luke 6: 17-23.
• John 10: 9-16.

9:19 AM 10/2/2015 — I don't have to tell you, I'm sure, that there are a lot of intentions to be recommended to your prayers today: we have the victims of the terrible shooting yesterday in Oregon; we have Deacon Ray, who has always been with us here on First Friday and First Saturday, but who is now suffering from the effects of a serious accident, and may not ever be back with us here again, though we will not stop praying for that; and, of course, those who have been good enough to enroll themselves or their loved ones in our Perpetual and Yearly Mass Associations, for whom our First Friday and First Saturday Mass have always been offered. Father Paul is in North Dakota meeting with his bishop along with the other priests of his diocese, and will be there for the next ten days, so we should also remember to ask our Lord to protect him during his journey.
     Today is also the Memorial of the Guardian Angels, and those of you who attend Holy Mass every day will recognize today's Gospel lesson, since it's the same as the one we heard last Tuesday on the Feast of the Archangels. And I've only got one homily on angels, and I'm not going to repeat it for you, especially since you've been spoiled with a homily every day this week, and we certainly don't want you spoiled. But, given that there may be people here today for First Friday who have not been here the rest of the week, I'll remind you of only one small bit from Tuesday regarding the place of the angels, particularly our guardian angels, in the Communion of the Saints: that even when we're not thinking of them—even if we've gone for many years without giving them any thought or asking for their help and protection—they're still there, protecting us, praying for us, staying the hand of God's justice when we sin, rejoicing for us with every temptation resisted; and, while it may seem schmaltzy and childish and just a lot of pious pap, I happen to believe that, whenever we fail to meet our obligations in our daily prayers and spiritual exercises, our Guardian Angel finishes the prayers for us.
     We don't often feel their presence, just as we don't often feel the presence of Our Lord Himself, especially in those dark nights through which we pass several times in our lives. But, as I've said to many of you in confession, we can't make the mistake of regarding our spiritual exercises or liturgical obligations as some form of therapeutic activity. We don't pray, we don't offer the Holy Sacrifice, we don't perform our spiritual exercises every day in order to feel good about ourselves and get some sort of inner enlightenment; we do these things because God deserves our worship and we owe these things to Him. If they make us feel content and give us some sort of inner peace, all well and good; but, if they don't, too bad; we still have to plow ahead and do them, invoking that all-illusive virtue of Hope we've spoken so often about here so many times to remind us that all dark nights are passing if we keep faith and persevere.
     Tomorrow is, of course, First Saturday. The special First Saturday program that we started this year is over for the season, so there will be no special schedule or guest speaker—it's just me—and it will be the same schedule as today: Rosary and confessions at 11:30, Holy Mass at Noon, followed by a Holy Hour and confessions afterward; there will probably be no homily, since both you and I have had enough for one week. But it's also a major event day here at the Shrine, as we're hosting the celebration of the Virgin of the Barangay, which is a Filipino devotion. They will arrive at 9:30, have confessions and Rosary at 10:30, and Holy Mass 11:30 followed by Exposition and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament; so, they will have the monstrance we typically use in this chapel upstairs. I don't know if their Eucharistic Adoration will be a full Holy Hour, but I tend to think it won't since they've scheduled a lot of things to happen after that, including a procession with the image of the Virgin of the Barangay; so, I've already brought the small monstrance we use in the Holy House over here so that we can have our Holy Hour tomorrow here in the Blessed Sacrament chapel. The fly in the ointment is that it's a Saturday, so there's no staff here, which means that I and the two good people who volunteer to help me have to set up the upper Shrine ourselves, and be on hand to help whatever group is up there with the execution of their activities, supervise the Mass, prepare the gifts for the offertory, and take up the collection; it's not just a matter of setting up for them and leaving them to do their own thing; so, tomorrow is another one of those days in which I have to be two places at once, which may impact my availability for confessions here both before Mass and during the Holy Hour, especially since Father Paul is not here to help me, and isn't always able to assist me even when he is here, as you know. But I'll do the best I can. It's the perennial problem that some of you, I'm sure, have experienced in your own jobs: that the people who sit in offices and schedule things, even with the best of intentions, are never the ones who actually have to do them, and don't have a clue what really goes on. But, therein lies a lesson in itself: there isn't one of us who hasn't thought, from time to time, “The world would be such a better place if I were emperor.” But none of us are, and the desire to want to control all of life around us is one of the most common of our spiritual faults.
     It's First Friday, so let us turn to the Most Sacred Heart of our Blessed Lord Jesus. Let us place before him all our anxieties and concerns in this world, which often seems to us to be a world gone mad. Couple that with the individual concerns that are particular to each of us—in our homes, our jobs, our families and relationships—and we have plenty to place before our Lord today and every day. As we observed yesterday on the Memorial of the Little Flower, true spiritual maturity lies in our ability to abandon ourselves to Providence in the certain faith that our Lord imposes no obligation on us without providing the grace we need to see it through, maybe not without difficulty, maybe not without pain or hardship, maybe not without succumbing to the temptation of complaining about it;—like I just did—but, God's grace is always there. It's just a question of whether we are willing to empty ourselves enough let it work within us.
     We will expose our Lord in the Blessed Eucharist after our post-Communion Prayer, pray the Litany of the Sacred Heart, continue with confessions during the Holy Hour for those who could not confess before Mass, and will have Benediction at 1:30.

* The lessons from the menaion are for the Martyr Cyprian; there are no lessons for the other saints.