Some phrases are really tough to translate. Sometimes the translators aren't trying very hard. When those things overlap, you get passages like we have today. In Jesus' parable of the dishonest steward, we have a kind of anti-parable. We have the story of a man who, through fear, puts aside love of money for a greater good. "He praised the dishonest steward because he acted wisely (phronesis)."
When Jesus calls for us to imitate the steward, He's calling for us to imitate the virtue but not the intention. We ought not to love money for it's own sake but merely to use it with as much disinterest as we can. And so when Jesus calls for us to make friends ("associate ourselves") with dishonest wealth ("the wealth of unrighteousness"), He is calling for us to use money rather than love it so that when the world fails, we may be welcomed into the eternal dwellings ("eternal tents") of heaven. And that leads us to the next words of Jesus (in Lk 16:10), "The person who is trustworthy in very small matters is also trustworthy in great ones; and the person who is dishonest in very small matters is also dishonest in great ones." If we are trapped by love of money, then we will be dishonest in great matters as well! But if we are free of the love of wealth or power, then we will be ready to be trustworthy in great matters - like saving souls!
It's worth considering after reading about a tough passage like this one, whether or not God ever intended the Bible to be what some Christians make it to be. Does God want every one of us to read and understand the Bible? Does He expect us all to comprehend it? The Church would say that everyone ought to read the scriptures in order to encounter the Holy Spirit - not to understand them as a theologian or a scientist. God speaks through the Scriptures, but His words are a call to heaven, not scholarship.
Insights from Second Street
One of the buzzwords when I was in seminary was “pastoral style.” A priest was more “pastoral” if he was more casual at Mass. He was “rigid” if he was more formal. While one was clearly preferred, the idea was that the way in which the priest said Mass didn’t really matter - it was just a choice he made like which suit to wear to work. A type-A personality may wear one kind of suit and a less ambitious personality would choose another.
But that attitude is brand new to Catholicism. When you read basically anything about priesting before the 1960s, you come across a beautiful phrase in Latin, “ars celebrandi.” It translates to the “Art of the Celebration.” Unlike “pastoral style,” “ars celebrandi” doesn’t assume that there are lots of meaningless choices, it assumes that whatever choices exist, exist to add to the whole. The art of celebrating Mass is not about me as the priest and my personal taste! It’s about glorifying God.
Just look at the vestments - the sacred robes the priest wears. There are three basic styles: Roman, Gothic and Conical. None is better than the other… but one may well express a more excellent Ars Celebrandi at any given moment. If a priest only has so much money, should he buy the most beautiful vestment he can for that amount or should he rather insist on a certain style which may be less beautiful? That’s the major reason that I wear so many of the Roman (or fiddle-back) style vestments. I get far more beauty to honor God for my money.
The same can be said of the so-called “digitus.” That’s the practice of keeping my thumb and forefinger together after I’ve consecrated the Holy Eucharist. It’s done to prevent even the smallest crumb or particle from falling to the ground and being desecrated. It’s not a matter of personal style but of honoring and serving God. Sure, it means adjusting my gestures a little, but that’s easy to do for the Lord.
This “ars celebrandi” extends to every aspect of the Holy Mass - from where I cast my eyes to the location of the linens on the altar. To my mind, it’s the ultimate remedy for “clericalism.” Nothing at Mass should be about my “style,” everything should be about glorifying God!
by Tommy Myrick
It’s easy to see that there have been some changes at Mass. Father is chanting parts of the Mass that we used to rush right through, and there’s an invitation to the congregation to respond. It’s new. It’s different. It’s kind of terrifying. What are we supposed to sing? What’s the melody again? Why are we doing this? The answer is “active participation”.
People are often confused by that phrase. Does that mean we sing everything at Mass, including the hymns? Is that all that we’re required to do? Isn’t that the reason we now have lay people in the Sanctuary as Lectors and EMHC’s? The short answer to all of these questions is “no”.
The first document completed by the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council was the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium, in 1963. Briefly put, “Active participation” is meant for Catholics to “pray the Mass” instead of “pray at Mass”. The congregation has a role to play in the worship of God. We are responsible for participating in the Dialogue between the priest and the people. We have an obligation to be attentive and prayerful at Mass during the readings and prayers. Sometimes that means that we must be actively silent and contemplative.
To quote Pope John Paul II: “Active participation certainly means that, in gesture, word, song, and service, all the members of the community take part in an act of worship, which is anything but inert or passive. Yet active participation does not preclude the active passivity of silence, stillness, and listening: indeed, it demands it. … In a culture which neither favors nor fosters meditative quiet, the art of interior listening is learned only with difficulty. Here we see how the liturgy, though it must always be properly inculturated, must also be countercultural.”
Real “Active Participation” teaches us that the Mass is not about us - It’s about Christ and Christ crucified. We must seek to honor Him with our presence and our actions. When we can do that - then we can really say that we’re actively participating.
- Mrs. Phyllis Scott resigns as Principal of St. Mary's School • On Thursday, Mrs. Scott submitted her resignation to Fr. Ryan, effective immediately. Mrs. Jacque Horton has been named as acting principal and Mr. Chris Guillet has been appointed as the head of the search committee for a new permanent principal. Please pray for everyone invovled - especially our students.
- October 4th is a Basilican Feast Day • Our next indulgenced Basilican Feast Day is Friday, October 4th − The Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, Patron of the first Catholic Church in Natchitoches. Oct. 4th is also First Friday, so we’ll have the usual 6:30a Mass, Adoration from the end of Mass until Benediction at 5:15p, then an additional evening Mass at 6p. Both Masses will end with the proper prayers for the indulgence. All are welcome!
- Anyone interested in Altar Serving or singing in the Basilican Choir • Please contact Tommy Myrick at (318)352-3422 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Interested in Becoming Catholic • Anyone interested in the Catholic Faith is encouraged to come and speak with Fr. Ryan. There is absolutely no obligation and no cost. Both private and group-based instruction is available. Our group meetings will begin Sun, Sept. 22nd @ 10a in the Parish Office. Call the office for more information.
- The Women's Resource Center Gala for Life is Sept 26th • Our only Crisis Pregnancy Center in the area will host its annual Celebration of Life Fundraising Gala on Thursday, Sept. 26 at the Events Center. Actor/director Stephen Baldwin will be the guest speaker. The program starts at 6:30 p.m. Baldwin has made a name for himself as a celebrity without compromising his values and committed Christian faith. Tickets are $25 and may be purchased by calling (318)357-8888.
- Reminder! • Holy Mass is offered at 8a on Mondays in the St. Mary’s School Chapel. All are welcome!
- Wed, 9/25, CCD Classes, 6p @ St. Mary’s School
- Fri, 9/27, St. Mary’s Football Game, 6p @ Arcadia
- Tues, 10/1, Diocesan Finance Workshop, KC Hall, 6p
- Wed, 10/2, F3 Night & CCD Classes, 5-7p @ St. Mary’s School
- Fri, 10/4, Basilican Feast Day/First Friday, St. Francis of Assisi,
- Sat, 10/5, SMS Alumni Weekend
- Wed, 10/9, CCD Classes, 6p @ St. Mary’s School
- Fri, 10/11, St. Mary’s Football Game, 6p @ Block
- Tu-Sa, 10/15-10/19, Parish Directory Photos, Tu-Fr 2p-9p & Sa 10a-5p
- Wed, 10/16, CCD Classes, 6p @ St. Mary’s School
Within the Sanctuary
Sat, 9/21, 4p Mike Bouchie, (Lector) • Eve James, Mary K. Hicks, Nita Maggio, Joanne Yankowski, (EMHC) • J.&D.Thibodaux, (Altar Boys)
Sun, 9/22, 9a Joe Cunningham, Sr., (Lector) • Michael King, Buddy Giering, Alyssa Odom, (EMHC) • S.&T.Lirette, (Altar Boys)
Sun, 9/22, 11aJohn Laborde, (Lector) • Barbara Laborde, Joseph Sklar, Chris Maggio, (EMHC) • I.Lovemore, D.Thompson, E.Norwood, (Altar Boys)
Sat 9/28, 4p Levi Thompson, (Lector) • Elaine Bacon, David Bouchie, Carl Henry, Jimmy Gunter, (EMHC) • C.J.Bouchie, M.Thibodaux, (Altar Boys)
Sun 9/29, 9a Sydney Frederick, (Lector) • Ed Smith, Cindy Smith, Emelda Odom, (EMHC) • Reagan & Ryan Cunningham, BB.Behrendsen, (Altar Boys)
Sun 9/29, 11a Karen Apponey, (Lector) • Graham Ragland, Linda Lee, Tara Whitehead, (EMHC) • V.Maggio, M.Leone, S.Maggio, (Altar Boys)
Memorials & Prayer Intentions
The Sanctuary Candles this week are offered for a Special Intention by The Hebert Family
The Sanctuary Flowers this week are offered in memory of Alison B. Webb & Kathleen A. Breazeale by their loving family.
- Sat 4p John Joseph Lowrey
- Sun 9a Thomas E. Porter & Alison Breazeale Webb
- Sun 11a Pro Populo
- Mon 6:30a Joe Sampite
- Mon 8a Sylvian LeVasseur
- Tue 6:30a Nicholas Swanson
- Wed 6:30a Yvonne Campobasso
- Thu 6:30a Dorthy Benefield
- Thu 9a SMS Students & Faculty
- Fri 6:30a Red & Sadie Thomas
- Sat 8a Sadie Stroud
Pope Francis' Prayer Intentions for this Month are that people today, often overwhelmed by noise, may rediscover the value of silence and listen to the voice of God and their brothers and sisters. And that, Christians suffering persecution in many parts of the world, may by their witness, be prophets of Christ’s love.
Please pray for our Sick & Suffering:
Lolette Allen, Lauren Bienvenu, Mark Birch, Bill Boone, Tripp Bostick, Dewitt Booty, Chad Bouchie, Flo Brouillette, Bailey Byrd, Carolyn Carter, Emilia Cofio, Johnny Cox, Kim Cunningham, Lela Mae Dalme, Joe Davis, John DeFee, Marguerite Felchle, Alma Fernandez, Reba Friday, Tom Foshee, Anne Giering, Lillian Giering, Sophie Gill, Kitty Guillet, Joyce Hayne, Deborah G. Hernandaz, Pam Kerry, Mary Keyser, Martha LaCaze, Daniel Laroux, Brooklyn Leach, Clay LeGros, Jaden Eli Lodridge, Joseph Longo, Johnnie Mallory, Lisa Mack, Faris Michael, Meg Michael, Mary Moss, Barbie Neuhauser, Shane Niette, Jo Norwood, Mary Odom, Judy Risty, Sharon Roach, Wes Rollo, Makaehan Ross, Shirley Roy, Amanda Rozman, Joseph Ryan, Donna Slaughter, Brent Trichel, Sue Van Hook, Billie Vercher, Jessica Warner, Janine Waters, & Ruthie J. Wallboughly
Our Sunday Collection last week was $7000.
Thank you for your generous return to our Lord!
For more information on our finances, click here.