Fr. Bloomfield's Blog

I am a Roman Catholic Priest of the Archdiocese of Detroit, currently assigned to Divine Child Parish in Dearborn, Michigan. When I manage to keep the page updated, hopefully something interesting can be found here!

Monday, November 14, 2005

Faith Seeking Understanding for November 6, 2005

I have been gone this week, visiting my sister, brother-in-law, and niece in California. Thank you so much for your prayers for safe travel. Thank you also for your kind show of thanks in last week’s Michigan Catholic for Fr. George and me. God’s goodness is simply indescribable, and I am grateful to be able to share Him with all of you here at St. John Neumann as one of your priests.

Unfortunately, while I was gone, I also missed the first phase of Whole Community Catechesis Festivals. I am eager to explore the beautiful and extensive teachings of the Church with you in this new format. As we prepare for Advent, the materials from the first Festival should encourage and assist us in celebrating this season well. The Church only gives us four weeks of the Sacred Liturgy to prepare for the celebration of the Birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. Advent has traditionally been a penitential season, providing the Church an opportunity to reflect on the reasons for the Incarnation, as well as recognizing the perfect humility demonstrated by the Second Person of the Trinity in becoming man.

We celebrate the feasts of St. Leo the Great (November 10), St. Martin of Tours (the 11th), and St. Josaphat (the 12th). Wednesday, November 9, is the Feast of the Dedication of the Basilica of St. John at the Lateran. The Lateran Basilica – not St. Peter’s – is the Cathedral Church of the Diocese of Rome. The first church building on the Lateran hill dates to the very early fourth century; the current building is from the late middle ages. Among the most famous relics kept in the basilica are the table of the Last Supper and the skulls of Sts. Peter and Paul.

St. Martin of Tours is the patron of Europe, as well as the patron of soldiers and chaplains. In particular, the name “chaplain” originates from the legend of St. Martin: while a soldier and a catechumen (studying for baptism), he saw a poor, freezing beggar, to whom he gave half of his expensive military cloak – slicing it in two with his sword. While asleep that evening, he had a vision of our Lord, clothed with half his cloak, thanking him for his charity. The other half of the cloak remained a prized relic of the Church in France; in fact, the cloak was kept under strict guard by a priest, and would be venerated before crucial battles. In Latin, the cloak is called a “cappa,” kept in the “cappella,” and guarded by the “cappellanus.” For the French, this became “chapelain,” and hence the English “chaplain.” We also celebrate Veterans’ Day on the 11th, commemorating the armistice of the First World War. Don’t forget to thank a Veteran for his or her service to our country this week!

We also vote this week. Voting is a right that is exercised too little by most Americans; as Catholics, we recognize an obligation to make use of this right. Voting, however, is not simply a right. When we vote, we must make our choices according to the truth – as taught by God through Divine Revelation and interpreted by the Magisterium (teaching authority) of the Church. Our Faith must inform our vote, since our Faith is at the very heart of who we are as Catholics. When we separate the truth of Christ from our public acts, our society is doomed. Examine a candidate’s position in light of Faith: are his or her positions consistent with the Church’s teaching on abortion, euthanasia, homosexual “unions,” and other direct attacks on innocent human life? Christ will not ask how faithful we were to a political party, or to an ideology – He asks us to be always faithful to Him.