Dear Good Shepherd Parish Family (and friends),
At last, the drought has been broken here in North Texas, with close to 5 inches falling in some folks’ yards! And, simultaneously, when this deluge comes in September, the Summer’s iron grip of 100+ degrees heat is usually vanquished (yes, please, Lord, let it be!). Yet, as the meteorological heat lessens, beware of the coming Electoral fire and brimstone!! This year’s election seems poised to be the beginning of a new civil war in the USA. Whoever “loses” will likely be out for blood. Whoever “wins” will be sorely tried to forego crowing and provoking anger from the “losers”. Beginning this Sunday (9/06), I will be adding an intercession in the Prayers of the People at Mass to plead for God’s mercy on us…every one of us. I will remind you of the biblical proverb, “the Wisdom of God is not accomplished by the anger of Man!”.
Here at GSAC, we are emerging from the Summer to begin preparing for a consultation on Saturday, October 17th. To be led by Fr. Ron McCrary, this event should be a wonderful opportunity to look at our life in Christ together, and to make some plans for our future. More to come on that! For now, please pray for the Vestry, who next Saturday will be meeting with Fr. McCrary to have an initial look at a “Relational Covenant” at GSAC. That Covenant will be part of our 10/17 gathering later on. Stay tuned!
Here’s “the rest of the story” (w/ peace to Paul Harvey):
(A) “YouTube Mass” back on for 9/05We had hoped to return to the Saturday taping of the Mass for Sundays last week. However, due to a family tragedy, Sara and I had to be away last Saturday. So, tomorrow, September 5th, we will begin again the YouTubing of the Mass for Sunday, 9/06. Thank you, Mr. Ben Bowen and Mrs. Sara Smith for making it happen. Hope those of you who cannot yet come to “live” Church on Sunday will avail yourself of this pre-recorded Mass. YOU are the reason we do it, after all.
(B) Mary the Virgin: the Labor of Love“Labor Day”- the first Monday in each year’s September- is not really a patriotic or religious festival. As near as I can tell, it is a relatively recent addition to the civic calendar, and is intended to honor the working man and woman with a day off work. (I do hope that those of you who work hard will be granted some time off Monday to celebrate!)
But, from a Christian standpoint, there is a “labor” which is all too often taken for granted. It begins with some 270 days of increasing discomfort and distress. It ends with a pain like no man will ever know. Then, it actually recommences and lasts as long as the earthly life of the laborer. Of course, I’m speaking of the labor of women in child-bearing, child-birthing, and child-raising.
No doubt, the “patron saint” of this labor is the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God.
Of course, Mary’s most recent official “Day” was August 15th. That day, known variously as “The Feast of the Assumption“, the Dormition (the “Going to Sleep”…in death), or “St. Mary the Virgin” honors the going up to Heaven of the Mother of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Some Protestants struggle with the honor of her being “assumed into Heaven”. I’m not sure how many of those same folk have difficulty with the “assumption” of Elijah the Prophet (in a fiery chariot), or Enoch (who one day walked off with God and never returned). Those two mighty men of God would no doubt agree that the Mother of Our Lord Jesus Christ deserves at least as much honor as they do!!
But, whether or not you can bring yourself to honor Mary’s “departure” to the Lord, perhaps you can join me in honoring her for her undoubted Labor of Love: the Incarnation of the Son of God.Without Mary, no human nature for Jesus! Without Mary, no guarantee that humility and obedience to the Word of the Lord brings joy and ‘great things’ for us. If God’s Son had no earthly mother: then, no Beatitude (blessed are the Meek…the Pure of Heart…), no miraculous celebration of Holy Matrimony…and no harbinger of Revelation’s “Spirit and the bride” who say “maranatha”…come Lord Jesus.
The Christian Life is to be a life of Sacrifice…even suffering…for the sake of the Kingdom of God. Our Lady, Mary of Nazareth, never ceases her sacrifice for our sake. She intercedes for us (yes, praying to God…not being a subject-goddess to be prayed to!). She is- in that sense- our “mother” to turn to when our own sorrows, sins, and confusions arise, and we need motherly tenderness.
So: Here’s to the Labor of Love by Mary. And, here’s to all the women before and after her, who also reflect the magnified glory of Jesus Christ through their strong prayer lives and their practical assistance to us. “Blessed are you among women. And, blessed is the Fruit of your womb, Jesus”.
(C) A CARD OF THANKS FROM JUDY HANKINSJudy Hankins asked me to convey her thanks for all your prayers during her surgeries and recuperations via this Thank You note she gave me to pass on to you. Here it is:
“While cleaning my home office, I found 22 Get Well Cards with prayers from my Church Family.When I came home the first time, I obviously read the cards. But, after a five hour surgery and other problems, my memory was almost goneI was overwhelmed by your caring. More importantly, it showed that David wanted me Home, and he knew your prayers were the answer!I still have some hurdles, but I have the strength to face them because I know you will still be praying for me.Thank you for all your prayers.God bless you,Judy