Home Community Experiencing God’s Life Through The Ordinary – August Edition

Experiencing God’s Life Through The Ordinary – August Edition

Experiencing God's Life Through The Ordinary - August Edition Burien news

By Xandria Eykel.

“Knowing Jesus is the best gift that anyone can ever receive. That we have encountered Him is the best thing that has happened in our lives. And making Him known by our words and deeds is our greatest joy.” (Jorge Mario Bergoglio).

Our city is blessed to have the Puget Sound at its border and a public park offering people access to enjoy this gift. Soaking in the sunshine on the cool shores of the Sound awakens in us a “primordial connection” with the life-giving elements of sun and water.

The Ordinary Time of the Church is also life-giving, bringing forth into focus the fundamental elements of life, ETERNAL LIFE. In the words of Jesus Himself, as He prays to the Father, He states that “this is eternal life, that they know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” (John 17:3). To know the Father and His son, Jesus Christ, IS eternal life. We do not have to wait to die to have eternal life physically. Eternal life can be experienced on THIS side of Heaven. That is one of the many beautiful truths that give the faithful hope. The mission of the Church is to make this Truth known to all the nations. The bearers of this Truth are the holy men and women throughout the ages, of which all baptized Christians are called to be: Called to be holy, called to be saints.

The Church, in its wisdom, gives to the faithful saints, helping them along their journey to their eternal home. The liturgical calendar is filled with feast days celebrating not only special life events of Jesus and other pivotal people in His ministry but also honoring ordinary men and women who, throughout the centuries, practiced heroic virtue and lived in fidelity to God’s grace. In the months of Ordinary Time, the liturgical calendar is filled with feast days providing abundant opportunities to deepen, enrich, and strengthen the life of the faithful.

In August alone, the Church celebrates the Feast of Jesus’ Transfiguration (August 6th), Mary’s Assumption (August 15th), John the Baptist’s Passion (August 29th), the apostle Bartholomew (August 24th), Edith Stein (August 9th), Clare of Assisi (August 11th), Maximilian Kolbe (August 14th), Monica of Hippo (August 27th), Augustine of Hippo (August 28th), and many more. These feast days are celebrated in Thanksgiving Mass. These special days are visibly marked in the Church with the changing of the linen and vestment colors reflecting the event. For example, Jesus’ Transfiguration is a feast day of the highest rank, and the church vestments are white, symbolizing joy and purity resulting from faith. Whereas the church vestments are red on the feast days of John the Baptist’s Passion and Bartholomew, symbolizing life and blood spilled in their martyrdom.

Feast days that fall on the Lord’s Day, Sunday, are not celebrated in Thanksgiving Mass unless, of course, it is one of Jesus’ feast days. For example, Maximilian Kolbe’s feast day is August 14th. This year (2022), August 14th falls on a Sunday, meaning Maximilian Kolbe’s feast day is not celebrated in Mass. No feast days “trump” the Lord’s Day because, ultimately, all holy events and people lead to Jesus Christ. All feast days culminate to focus unequivocally on Jesus’ passion, death, and resurrection.

During Mass, the saint’s heroic virtue is remembered; the faithful ask God the Father that they may merit what that saint has gained through his/her heroic virtue by the grace of the Holy Spirit through Jesus Christ. These saints have a special place in the Body of Christ, the Church. These ordinary, virtuous men and women have persevered in faith and served as examples for all Christians, encouraging the faithful to fight the good fight, finish the race, and to keep the faith with the certitude that they will be rewarded by God (2 Timothy 4). Their lives are witness to that Truth. Many saints have died defending the Truth. On August 29th, the Church celebrates the Feast of John the Baptist’s Passion. John spoke up against King Herod for divorcing his wife and marrying his sister-in-law. As a result, John was imprisoned and then beheaded because he spoke the Truth about marriage and defended the dignity of marriage. (Matthew 14:1-12)
Saints can play an active role in the life of the faithful through their intercessory prayers and friendship. The Church teaches that the communion of saints includes: the holy ones who have passed on from this world in friendship with Jesus Christ (also known as the Church triumphant), the faithful who have passed on from this world but are awaiting entry into God’s full presence, and those of us living on earth who continue to do battle with sin (also known as the Church militant). Together, we are the Body of Christ. Contrary to conventional wisdom, saints who have passed on from this world are fully alive (now living). Jesus said, “He who believes in Me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in Me will never die.” (John 11:25-26). Therefore, nurturing a friendship with specific saints and asking for their prayers is no different than asking a pastor or friend. More amazingly, because the faithful are “surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses” (Hebrews 12:1), we are assured that their fervent prayers are very powerful (James 5:16).

Each saint’s story is a fascinating one. They lived at different times, in different places, with different life circumstances, from all walks of life. Many struggled to overcome sinful tendencies and temptations, giving the faithful many real and relatable saints from which to choose as a friend and companions. It is reassuring to know that “every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future.” (Oscar Wilde) The lives of the saints up and down history make known to the world and future generations who God is.

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