This week we begin offering more opportunities for the Sacrament of Confession. I urge all our parishioners to receive this Sacrament of Mercy before our Easter celebration! Recently, Pope Francis said that Confession "is going to praise God, because I -- the sinner -- have been saved by him," who always waits and always forgives "with tenderness." Make plans today to praise our good Lord in this beautiful Sacrament before Easter!
This Sunday the Church of St. Paul in Zumbrota hosts their annual St. Patrick’s Ham Dinner at the Zumbrota VFW. All the food is great, especially the homemade desserts! There will also be a silent auction. I encourage you come to the St. Patrick’s Ham Dinner and enjoy a great meal!
This week I offer an inspiring sermon from Pope St. Leo the Great (b.c..400-d.461). He reigned as pope from 440-461. He was an eloquent preacher and great writer. Many of his sermons are part of the prayers of the Church in the Breviary. He is best remembered for his courage in the face of notorious barbarian invader, Attila the Hun. In the year 452, St. Leo convinced Attila to stop his planned invasion of Rome and to leave Italy. Theologically, he is best known for writing what is known as the ‘Tome of Leo’. St. Leo wrote this document to form the conversation at the Council of Chalcedon. The topic of the Tome concerned the union of two natures of Jesus Christ, which we call the hypostatic union. St. Leo’s Tome was the decisive factor in this Council and his writing on this matter led the way to deeper understanding of the union of the natures of Christ. One can rightly say, it still impacts us today! I encourage you to look it up online.
Here is a sermon St. Leo gave during Lent during his life many centuries ago and it still speaks to us today:
“In the gospel of John the Lord says: In this will all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love for each other. In a letter of the same apostle we read: Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God; he who does not love does not know God, for God is love. The faithful should therefore enter into themselves and make a true judgment on their attitudes of mind and heart. If they find some store of love’s fruit in their hearts, they must not doubt God’s presence within them. If they would increase their capacity to receive so great a guest, they should practice greater generosity in doing good, with persevering charity.
If God is love, charity should know no limit, for God cannot be confined. Any time is the right time for works of charity, but these days of Lent provide a special encouragement. Those who want to be present at the Lord’s Passover in holiness of mind and body should seek above all to win this grace, for charity contains all other virtues and As we prepare to celebrate that greatest of all mysteries, by which the blood of Jesus Christ did away with our sins, let us first of all make ready the sacrificial offerings of works of mercy. In this way we shall give to those who have sinned against us what God in his goodness has already given us.
Let us now extend to the poor and those afflicted in different ways a more open-handed generosity, so that God may be thanked through many voices and the relief of the needy supported by our fasting. No act of devotion on the part of the faithful gives God more pleasure than that which is lavished on his poor. Where he finds charity with its loving concern, there he recognizes the reflection of his own fatherly care.
In these acts of giving do not fear a lack of means. A generous spirit is itself great wealth. There can be no shortage of material for generosity where it is Christ who feeds and Christ who is fed. In all this activity there is present the hand of him who multiplies the bread by breaking it, and increasing it by giving it away.
The giver of alms should be free from anxiety and full of joy. His gain will be greatest when he keeps back least for himself. The holy apostle Paul tells us: He who provides seed for the sower will also provide bread for eating; he will provide you with more seed, and will increase the harvest of your goodness, in Christ Jesus our Lord, who lives and reigns with the Father and the Holy Spirit for ever and ever. Amen.”
Through the intercession of Our Lady of Good Help, St. Joseph, St.
Michael and St. Paul, may God bless us with the grace we need to
love God above all and our neighbors as ourselves!