The constant refrain of so many Christians and anti-Christians is that Jesus spoke in parables and therefore “faith in Him should be simple.” Of course, the fables of Aesop are simply written. The wisdom of Confucius is simply spoken. But the fact that a brilliant teacher brilliantly communicates his brilliance to his students, doesn’t make the brilliance dull… GK Chesterton argued that the vast majority of philosophy was learned in the nursery with the fairy tales of children.
In reality, vast and lofty concepts like courage, honor, humility and love are fairly easy to communicate not because their simple, but because they are built into us by God from the beginning! Read what He says in this Gospel reading: “I will announce what has lain hidden from the foundation of the world.” Jesus isn’t making up something new! These great concepts are part of what Catholics call the “Natural Law.” It’s part of our creation by God.
Because God, in His Wisdom, made us as we are - we naturally long for courage and hope and love and justice and wisdom and truth. But that natural longing doesn’t make any of it simple. Quick - can anyone define “justice?” It should be simple right? Black’s Law Dictionary relies upon the deceptively simple maxim “to each his due.” But every country in the world has to spend thousands of pages and hours and years writing laws to explain what that means. When Jesus says “Love one another as I have loved you.” Are any of us so silly as to think that anything about that is simple or easy? Hopefully not!
While Jesus always teaches to His audience, He never pretends that His teachings are limited by them. We are limited, God is not. Faith may be stated simply - but it is not simple. Wisdom may be articulated simply - but it is not simple.
Awareness of our limitations is not a cause for despair. We could be tempted to worry that “Jesus’ teachings are too hard for me to understand.” We can be assured that they are! The practice of the Faith doesn’t require complete understanding (unlike so many of our Protestant brothers and sisters tend to believe). Rather, it requires prayer, penance, mercy and obedience. All of those require some know-how - but as anyone who has spent any time doing any of them will say, the understanding and power to do them well comes from God. Understanding is a gift of the Holy Spirit. It’s good in every way. But lack of understanding does not limit God in us - nothing can separate us from the Love of God!
Insights From Second Street
Prior to the reformation of the Roman Calendar in 1969, "Sundays Throughout the Year" were counted from Pentecost. So instead of the "Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time" we'd have the "Sixth Sunday after Pentecost." That older method helped to remind us that every day - while a blessing in itself - points us to something else, something greater. Technically, this green season is called "Time Throughout the Year," but it came to be known practically as “counted time” or “ordinary time” - from the Latin name for numbers: “ordinals.”
It's a real tragedy that in English “ordinary” doesn't mean "numbered," but "boring" or "unremarkable." No "day that the Lord has made" can ever be counted as unremarkable! While the poor translation of the name of this Liturgical Season from the Latin into the English is a mess, God has not failed to use it!
Saints are not made in the dramatic moments… Not really. We may be able to point to the day that St. Paul was martyred or that St. Francis established his order - but the real work of becoming a saint was the quiet - almost ordinary - daily life of prayer, penance, mercy and obedience that fueled their holiness. Pope St. John Paul II spent countless hours in prayer. He fasted and denied himself in the quiet. He served the poor, visited the sick and loved the sinner. For every dramatic moment in his life as a priest, bishop and pope, there were whole months of unseen - almost ordinary - holiness.
In our lives, too, we will have a few dramatic moments of holiness. But they will be fueled by ordinary moments of prayer, penance, mercy and obedience. It's that random Tuesday visit to the Church for prayer. It's that unremarkable Friday when you don't snap back at a rude co-worker. It's that Sunday when the sermon is not speaking to you and yet you pay attention all the more. It's that choice to fast when you don't have to and no one notices.
While the season of "Sundays Throughout the Year" is anything but ordinary and unremarkable, the ordinary times of our lives are in fact incredibly important. In fact, when we stand before the judgement of Almighty God, it's those ordinary moments that will speak for us when our great moments fail to do so. It is the ordinary moments of grace that we must seek. Only then can we - like Elijah in the Old Testament - recognize the presence of God in the gentle breeze. The Christian life is not a series of mountain tops, it's the journey from apex to valley with all the detours and reroutes and unexpected adventures along the way.
This week is National N.F.P. awareness week… The Church is so often accused of being “too negative.” In a world like ours, where sin is so prevalent, it seems a little odd that people are surprised by that… Still, for every sin the Church condemns, there is a right practice that She proposes and encourages.
Contrary to popular opinion, contraception is just as bad as Pope Paul VI predicted it would be. It’s just as devastating to families and to society. Throughout history and to this very day, the Church has advised us to welcome children lovingly as a gift from the Lord. She’s never seen a need to regulate birth. We’re living in the richest moment in the history of the world. Fewer people are starving, fewer are malnourished, fewer have reason to fear from want than ever before in human history! And yet, we are obsessed with maintaining our level of comfort and our lifestyle even at the expense of sharing with God in the creation of new life!
Still, the Church speaks to each age in its own circumstances and doctors have spent the past fifty years developing an astoundingly detailed understanding of who we are as biological creations. God has made the woman remarkable! He has not made her always ready to conceive new life. Rather, it would seem that God has consciously made the woman fertile only for a part of each of her natural cycles. This is astounding and not something that makes sense as a result of Darwin’s theory. God has built in to the woman’s body both purposes of the sacrament of marriage! At times, she can conceive and bear children and, at other times, the marital act is entirely ordered to the unity of the spouses separate from the possibility of new life. It’s astounding if you think about it…
Using only the knowledge of God’s creation, a couple can morally and virtuously regulate the possibility of children. There’s no need for “the pill” which is a Class I carcinogen and expensive to boot. There’s no need for an artificial barrier which makes the man a new Onan. There’s only a need to look at what God made and see that it is very good.
NFP - Natural Family Planning - is proven to be as effective as any method of artificial birth control on the market without the cost and without the sin. More information is online at CCLI.org.
(There are couples in the parish willing to share their experience and to teach NFP. Contact the Parish Office for more info.)
JULY 29th IS A BASILICAN FEAST DAY Tuesday, July 29th, is the anniversary of the Establishment of the Diocese of Natchitoches. A Plenary Indulgence has been extended by the Holy Father for our Church. We will have a simple Mass at 6:30a and a festal Mass at 6p. Both Masses will end with the proper prayers for the Plenary Indulgence. All are welcome!
MBIC SOUP KITCHEN IN NEED! The Food Pantry for the MBIC Soup Kitchen is in need of items. Anyone interested in donating non-perishable items and/or canned goods can drop these items off at the Parish Office Monday-Thursday between 8a-11a and 1p-4p. For more information, feel free to contact the Office at 318-352-3422.
DON’T NEGLECT THE SOULS OF THE SICK Don’t forget to call the priest when someone you love becomes seriously or chronically ill. The difficult time of physical decline is so much more spiritually beneficial with the assistance of the sacraments. Don’t assume father knows - call the office!
SPECIAL SATURDAY MASSES FOR JUNE & JULY ONLY Continuing until Sat, 7/26, Fr. Ryan will offer an additional Saturday evening Mass at St. Mary’s School at 5:30p. The Mass will count for your weekend obligation. All are welcome.
PRIESTHOOD & RELIGIOUS LIFE Until you’re married or dead, every Catholic owes God the courtesy of considering a life dedicated to the Church as a priest, a nun or a religious brother. Every parent owes their child encouragement in discerning that life. And every Catholic is waiting for the heroism of the young. ForYourVocation.org or (318)757-3834.
TAA GUN RAFFLE The St. Mary’s Tiger Athletic Association is sponsoring a year long gun raffle. There are 104 prizes and every ticket has 104 chances to win. Guns range from 9mm handguns to hunting rifles to Shotguns. A complete list of prizes and draw dates can be obtained from St. Mary’s School or from any member of the TAA. Tickets are limited and cost $100 each. The 1st drawing will be Wednesday, October 1st.
- Saturdays of June & July, 5:30p Additional Saturday Evening Masses at St. Mary’s Chapel
- Sat, 7/26, 9am, Grandparents-Grandkids Brunch in the Parish Hall in Honor of Ss. Joachim & Anne, Grandparents of Jesus
- Sat-Sun, 7/26-7/27, Blessing of Grandparents at all Masses
- Tue, 7/29, Indulgenced Feast Day in Honor of the Founding of the Diocese of Natchitoches, Holy Mass @ 6:30a & 6p
- Tue, 8/5, Indulgenced Feast Day - Feast of Our Lady of the Snows, Holy Mass @ 6:30a & 6p
- Wed, 8/6, Parish Supper & Wed. Night Adult Catechism begins, 5-7p @ St. Mary’s
- Sat, 8/9, Day of Enrichment for Deacons in Honor of St. Lawrence
- Wed, 8/13, Wed. Night Adult Catechism, 6-7p @ St. Mary’s
Our Sunday Collection last week was $8,687.
Thank you for your generous return to our Lord!
For more information on our finances, click here.
Within the Sanctuary
Sat 7/19 4p Elaine Bacon, (Lector) • Nita Maggio, Kathleen Hicks, (EMHC-CI) • Dylan Bennett, Jeremy Friedel, (Altar Boys)
Sun 7/20 9a Rebecca Lavespere, (Lector) • James Durham, (EMHC-CI) • Anthony & Christopher & Stephen & Thomas Lirette, (Altar Boys)
Sun 7/20 11a Joe Payne Williams, (Lector) • Joseph Sklar, (EMHC-CI) • Edward Norwood, Michael Leone, Dillon Thompson, (Altar Boys)
Sat, 7/26 4p Mike Bouchie, (Lector) • Jimmy Gunter, Carl Henry, (EMHC-CI) • C.J.Bouchie, (Altar Boys)
Sun, 7/27 9a Joe Cunningham, Sr., (Lector) • Michael King, (EMHC-CI) • Reagan & Ryan Cunningham, Ashton Behrendsen, (Altar Boys)
Sun, 7/27 11a Greg Burke, (Lector) • Lucile Ingram, (EMHC-CI) • Vincent & Sam Maggio, Cole Fisher, (Altar Boys)
*Altar Boys who are not scheduled may serve if space permits. Come to the Sacristy 10 minutes before Mass.
Memorials & Prayer Intentions
- Sat 4p: N.L. Vercher & John Bacon
- Sat 5:30p: Mae Desadier
- Sun 9a: Sylvian LaVasseur
- Sun 11a: Pro Populo
- Sun 5p: Calvert Scott
- Mon 6:30a: Red & Sadie Thomas
- Tue 6:30a: Dorothy Benefield
- Wed 6:30a: Mary Jean Thomas
- Thu 6:30a: Essie Mae Huckaby
- Fri 6:30a: Jean Lee
- Sat 8a: Lauren Bienvenu
Pope Francis' Prayer Intentions for this Month are that sports may always be occasions of human fraternity and growth. And that, the Holy Spirit may support the work of the laity who proclaim the Gospel in the poorest countries.
Please pray for our Recently Deceased: Mrs. Selma Diaz Shivers
Please pray for our Sick & Suffering: Lolette Allen, William Lynn Basco, Lauren Bienvenu, Kathy Bostick, Tripp Bostick, Chad Bouchie, Mar-Lou Brasher, Marion Brossette, Flo Brouillette, Bailey Byrd, Carolyn Carter, Lauren Clancey, Emilia Cofio, Woody Cox, Kim Cunningham, Lela Mae Dalme, Joe Davis, John DeFee, Richard DeVargas, Angela Eversall, Marguerite Felchle, Tom Foshee, Reba Friday, Paula Gagymad, Vicki Gahagan, Patsy Gallion, Sophie Gill, Christi Gootee, Joyce Hayne, Deborah G. Hernandez, Sue Van Hook, Kalita Jones, EvaGrace Keyser, Mary Keyser, Paul Keyser, Gary Kilgore, Martha LaCaze, Jheanny Ladao, Jaden Eli Lodridge, Patricia Loftin, Joseph Longo, Lisa Mack, Dominic Majorie, Danny Manuel, Dave McGee, Faris Michael, Meg Michael, Lacey Mitchum, Mary Moss, Shane Niette, Mary Odom, Sharon Roach, Wes Rollo, Makaehan Ross, Shirley Roy, Joseph Ryan, Donna Slaughter, Clay Thompson, Ren Todtenbier, Brent Trichel, Rosalind Trussell, Patricia Vazquez, Billie Vercher, Julien Vienne, Ruthie J. Wallboughly, Tyler Ward, Jessica Warner, Janine Waters, & Glen & Mary Williams