Weekly Musings from the Priest Administrator
Saint James Church, St. Augustine, FL
A Catholic Community of the Personal Ordinariate
of the Chair of Saint Peter

The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Happy Mother's Day, everyone!

Wrapping our minds - and souls - around the idea that the mother of the Lord Jesus Christ is also in a very real sense our own spiritual mother tends to bend us, if we're not cradle Catholics (and sometimes even if we are), to the point of breaking. Which is a shame, really, since the Gospel of John, chapter 19 makes it very clear that from the cross, "ex-cruxis" (as in excruciating) Jesus in his very last will and testament, so to speak, bestowed Mary upon "the beloved disciple" John as his own mother. He really meant it. Wasn't joshing around. You don't "josh around" when you're utterly at the end of your endurance to cleave to earthly life. The Lord was suffocating in his own lung fluids, no longer able to thrust up on agonized nailed feet to catch another breath. He had no time or energy to waste. And just before declaring, "it is finished", commending his spirit to the Father, he forever forged a relationship between his earthly mother and not only the disciple and apostle John, but all the "Beloved" in the Lord. Nothing in the Fourth Gospel was written frivolously or for narrow purpose, as there was so much to record had there been opportunity (see John 21:24-25). In the world of educational/instructional theory they call it use of "economy and power." The lesson plan had better be (gee, and I guess this applies to sermons, too Smirk) to the point and free of side-shows. And the detail about John taking Mary into his home - and she taking John into her heart! - wasn't an idle point of interest. You and I are included in that "bestowal", and so I say again, "Happy Mother's Day, Mary, we love you!"

And hey, if you're into the Rapture bit, all the better. Mary was effectively "Raptured" into the Divine Life of the Trinity, not as a member of it, mind you - that would be heresy - but completely immersed and participating in It. Just like you and I are promised as our own destiny, if we will but have it! This is the meaning of the Assumption. Our Mother has gone on before, and we follow. In the meantime, like the ancient Buddhist notion of the Bodhisattva, Our Lady has one foot in the Heavens and one foot in this sorrowful, wandering world (Samsara, in Sanskrit), there to help as any good mother would.

And now moving on. Please be aware that the local cathedral basilica is putting on a full court press to get ALL its members to partake of the ALPHA program experience. I think this is fantastic! We have talked and even once met about the ALPHA program in the past, but we really don't have a sufficiently large critical mass of members and others to pull it off ourselves - yet. However, I am quite sure that the cathedral would WELCOME any degree of participation in their own upcoming Fall offerings by St. James members and affiliates, and it would be a great opportunity for us to actually get involved with something that has been around for over a quarter century. It actually started in the Anglican/Church of England world with London barrister and CoE minister, Nicky Gumble, and in the past couple of years the Catholic Church has signed on as well. The national bishops' conference is touting ALPHA for all Catholics, and I'd love to tell you more! What I might suggest is that you come to our end-of-month after Mass fellowship on August 27th, and allow me to brief you more on how you can get involved with the cathedral's program. In the meantime you can Google ALPHA and just follow the quick links to the program's website to learn more. I have truly been struck at the swiftness by which the local diocese has latched on to this program, and I fully expect that Ordinariate HQ in Houston will be shortly doing the same (at least if *I* have anything to say about it!). Please consider making this a priority, I would welcome any and all inquiries from our members and friends.

And with that I must close. I hope to see many of you on this upcoming Sunday, just ONE SHORT DAY AWAY FROM THE NEAR TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE WE'RE ABOUT TO EXPERIENCE HERE IN NORTHEAST FLORIDA @ ABOUT 90% TOTALITY. It should be quite a show, even if we don't live in the path of 100% solar occlusion like the folks up in South Carolina. We certainly live in interesting times. Come out to Mass this weekend, and make it even more interesting!

God bless and love you all,

Fr. Nicholas A. Marziani, Jr., D.Min.