IN HONOR OF ST. PATRICK’S DAY WE WILL HAVE LIVE ENTERTAINMENT AT OUR FISH FRY THIS WEEK. You will want to invite your friends and neighbors to come not only for a great Lenten meal but to enjoy some Irish music from “MADIGAN’S ATTIC.” (St. Blase is not responsible if you throw your back out doing a jig!) I hope to see you there.
In honor of that other popular saint whose feast day is Saturday (St. Joseph), it is expected that Pope Francis will release his apostolic exhortation on the family. This document will be the result of the Synod of Bishops that convened in the fall of 2014 and 2015. As to what the Pope will say, as of the time I am writing this, there has been much speculation but no credible leaks. We will all
find out together – – kind of like a family!
This is “Reconciliation Week.” Lent is the appropriate time to celebrate this sacrament. St. Michael will have a communal celebration of the Sacrament of Penance on Monday at 11:00 A.M.; St. Isidore will be the following evening, Tuesday, at 7:00 P.M.; and St. Martin de Porres will celebrate communal reconciliation on Friday, at 7:00 P.M. For a complete listing of Reconciliation liturgies in our area visit the Central Macomb Vicariate website: www.cmvic.net.
Though it doesn’t seem possible, NEXT WEEK IS HOLY WEEK! If you have never participated in the Sacred Triduum in its entirety perhaps this is the year. Plan today to pray with us as we celebrate Holy Thursday with the Mass of the Lord’s Supper at 7:00 P.M. This liturgy is followed by adoration until 11:00 P.M. The liturgy of Good Friday is at 1:00 P.M. The Easter Vigil will begin at 8:30 P.M. This is our holiest time of the year. Come, let us worship.
This week’s mercy moment(s) come from Charles Dickens. The first allows me to pursue some amateur literary criticism. One of the “great mysteries” of A Christmas Carol is the precise business of Ebenezer Scrooge. He is a keeper of accounts, yet also engages in loaning money and trades on the stock market. This makes his line of work difficult to pinpoint. I suggest this ambiguity is deliberate on Dickens’ part. Early in the novel Scrooge is approached by two gentlemen seeking donations for the poor. “’It’s not my business,’ Scrooge returned. ‘It’s enough for a man to understand his own business, and not to interfere with other people’s. Mine occupies me constantly.’”
That same night this exchange takes place between Scrooge and his late partner, Jacob Marley. “’But you were always a good man of business, Jacob,’ faltered Scrooge, who now began to apply this to himself. ‘Business!’ cried the Ghost, wringing its hands again. ‘Mankind was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were, all, my business. The deals of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!’”
Later, in the presence of the Ghost of Christmas Past, Dickens will think of his neglect towards his clerk, Bob Cratchit, while he reminisces about how gracious and kind the man who apprenticed him was. With the Ghost of Christmas Present Scrooge is stung by his own words as he looks upon Tiny Tim, “If they would rather die,” said Scrooge, “they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.”’ By the story’s end a converted Scrooge learns how to keep Christmas and Dickens adds, “May this truly be said of us, and all of us.” Thus the entire story can be read through the lens of “business.” Scrooge’s line of work is purposively vague because no matter our trade, profession or vocation, mankind is our business; charity, mercy, forbearance and benevolence are all our business. This is the business that must occupy us constantly.
Good old “CD” makes for a great lead in to Holy Week. Here are more Dickensian quotes on mercy.
O, if the deeds of human creatures could be traced to their source, how beautiful would even death appear; for how much charity, mercy, and purified affection would be seen to have their growth in dusty graves! (Master Humphrey’s Clock)
When death strikes down the innocent and young, for every fragile form from which he lets the panting spirit free, a hundred virtues rise, in shapes of mercy, charity, and love, to walk the world and bless it. Of every tear that sorrowing mortals shed on such green graves, some good is born, some gentler nature comes. (The Old Curiosity Shop)
Without strong affection and humanity of heart, and gratitude to that Being whose code is Mercy, and whose great attribute is Benevolence to all things that breathe, happiness can never be attained.” (Oliver Twist)