Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Shrine at Lourdes Damaged By Flooding

According to climate scientists, one of the effects of global warming will be that it will rain excessively in some places, while causing drought in others. Is global warming to blame for the damaging floods that have inundated the shrine at Lourdes, France and caused millions of dollars in damages as well as ruined pilgrimages? Perhaps that is the cause. It certainly is not because of lack of prayers because Lourdes is one of the holiest of Catholic shrines, drawing millions of prayerful visitors each year.
So it must be the out of control climate which is causing disruptive weather throughout the world. Is climate change to blame for wildfires in Colorado, drought in parts of the world and excessive rainfall and killer tornadoes and storms?  Alaska has been having record breaking temperatures, a heat wave which is shattering records and causing an extreme wildfire danger in that state.
What's scary is that perhaps all the prayers in the world won't help once we hit the tipping point.
I hope that's not the case.  We literally keep "playing with fire," damaging the earth's atmosphere, increasing greenhouse gases and believing that that damage we do, will not affect us. So much pride, is  dangerous, foolish and ultimately costly.
Flooding reached the second floor of some hotels in Lourdes and pilgrimages had to be cancelled.
Clean-up has begun and the shrine will certainly need donations to help restore it. But this happened on a smaller scale in October of 2012. This time it has been called a catastrophe.
If this can happen at such a holy site, one wonders if things are out of control already with weather patterns and if the severe effects of global warming are beginnng already. Seems like an ominous sign. The waters at Lourdes were always associated with healing but now in the "new normal" the waters are destructive. Something is not right. It doesn't take a climate scientist to see that.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Corpus Christi Processions-in Russia, Rome and in the U.S.A.

Hope Reigns! Jesus lives! In Rome, Pope Francis led a Corpus Christi procession, through the streets of Rome.  After an absence of 95 years the Russian people were permitted to take part in a Corpus Christi procession through St. Petersburg from the Catholic churches of Our Lady of Lourdes to St. Catherine of Alexandria. Praise God! And on the great solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ I spent it at the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception in Huntington, NY where I heard an excellent lecture by Scripture scholar, professor and author, Dr. Brant Pitre. At the Denzer Lecture at the Seminary, Msgr. Henning, the rector, introduced Dr. Pitre and told us that having heard him speak sometime ago, he was anxious for him to come to the Seminary to speak. I could see why. His topic was fascinating, "Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist." He's an expert on this topic as he's written a book titled, "Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist: Unlocking the Secrets of the Last Supper."
Quoting from the Hebrew Scriptures, the New Testament and ancient Hebrew texts (Midrash Rabbah) Dr. Pitre made the connection between the heavenly manna given to the Jewish people during the Exodus to the heavenly bread- the "bread of the age to come," given to us by Jesus. Holy Communion just like the manna given to the ancient Isrealites, is both "daily and supernatural," by which we are fed and nourish at the table of the Lord.
After the lecture, Msgr. Richard Henning planned a beautiful Eucharistic Procession through the grounds of the Seminary which are magnificent. After the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and prayer, in the main chapel,  we were led first to the Rose Garden (which is generously maintained by the "Friends of the Seminary,") then to the Loggia and finally to the Crypt Chapel for a triple benediction. The wind blew, the Spirit was present and it was a glorious procession, with beautiful music, prayers, adoration of God and the faithful. Most impressive!
So that is how I spent the feast of Corpus Christi. A day well spent, in prayer, with friends (Friends of the Seminary), surrounded by beauty.

Resurrection is the key--
The flesh of the Son of Man, given as food, is his body in its glorious state after the Resurrection. With the Eucharist we digest, as it were, the 'secret' of the resurrection." Pope John Paul II- "Ecclesia de Eucharistia 18)