In my many struggles through life, I have grown in gratitude for all the imitators of St. Monica. I know that I have been blessed by the prayers and sacrifices of others. What difference would it make in our world if we all prayed and sacrificed for one another with true humility and endless perseverance?
In last weekend's Gospel we heard about many of the disciples of Jesus returning to their former way of life. "This saying is hard; who can accept it?" The disciples simply could not grasp how Jesus could give them his body to eat and his blood to drink. Seeing their reaction "Jesus then said to the twelve, 'Do you also want to leave?'"
Unfortunately, based upon statistical data, it appears that many Catholics today have made the decision to no longer accompany Jesus either. They do not come to the Eucharistic sacrifice and partake of the great gift given to us by our Lord.
For those who do attend Mass regularly, is there full, conscious, and active participation? Is there joy at being able to gather as a community of believers to receive the Lord in Word and in Sacrament?
Chapter six of John's Gospel is something we should read over and over again so that it can sink in and permeate every fiber of our being. It gives us the opportunity to allow God's grace to wash over us so that we truly grow in our love for the Eucharist. I firmly believe this is a profound key to our holiness.
Sharing in the Eucharistic celebration equips us for mission. In the second reading this weekend (Sep. 2, 2018) we will hear, "Be doers of the word and not hearers only, deluding yourselves." Quite simply, we put our faith into action.
My dear readers, I pray for holiness for each of us. Let us keep ourselves "unstained by the world." Let us be people of integrity who live authentic Christian lives. May the example of St. Augustine and St. Monica impact each of us in the unique ways we need to grow in holiness!
"This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me."
O Lord, may these words from the prophet Isaiah not apply to us.