My parish invited a very orthodox and dynamic priest to give a mission prior to Christmas. Fr. Bernard Luedtke is a missionary priest. He attended a seminary in Rome and he knew the late Holy Father John Paul II as well as Mother Teresa, Fr. John Hardon and our present Holy Father Benedict XVI.
We have had many missions at our church but this is by far the most compelling...the one that left me so happy to be Catholic!
The following are notes I took at the mission. I know I will not do Father's talk any justice but I hope I get across the gist of his talks.
Father "Ben" likes to give definitions for words.
LOVE - Christ crucified
WISDOM - Knowledge permeated with love.
Father Ben's talk started at the Garden of Eden and ended in a stable in Bethlehem.
-The devil in the form of a serpent tempted Eve to replace the Holy Trinity of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, with Me, Myself and I. In other words, Adam and Eve told God they didn't need Him.
-Interesting sideline that Fr. mentioned: At the time Rome fell, one of the poets wrote that the "sewers flowed with the blood of their children". Could that have been abortion he was alluding to?
-Father Ben told us that God is always present. That is why He identified Himself as "I Am". Therefore, sanctifying grace is present at every Mass where we enter into God's time and we are present at Jesus' sacrifice. We are transported to Calvary. We enter into God's "I Am" at the Mass.
God sees each one of us individually. When Jesus died to redeem, He did it for me, as He did it for you, the individual.
Father Ben taught us to offer our sufferings and they will help alleviate Jesus' sufferings in the present time as we unite our sufferings with Jesus as He suffers.
Jesus will continue to be crucified until time ceases to be and we are with Him in Heaven.
-Meditation: Father told us to pick a moment in Jesus' life and actually bring your thoughts and mind to that moment in time. With his help, we were able to meditate on the crucifixion. We closed our eyes and Father Ben led us up the path to calvary. In my mind's eye, I was able to see the people taunting Jesus as He is crucified. I saw the pain our Blessed Mother suffered along with her Son.
-Father Ben also gave us an example of his meditation of the Nativity. As you know Bethlehem means "House of Bread" and manger is a derivative of the word "mangiare" ...to eat.
-When you read in the Gospel that Jesus is saying "Amen, Amen" it means, He is telling us to listen carefully and get it straight.
-The beauty of the Eucharist - it fills the void in us and satisfies us.
-Real freedom comes from not being attached to material things. He gave us an example how people start looking like things they love. Father had recently seen a contest where the person looked like their dog.
That is the reason we should love something above us...like God.