Fr. Eduard Perrone, "A Pastor's Descant" (Assumption Grotto News, March 8, 2015)
How was the Lord doing right about now, I wonder, in His original “Lent” of forty days in the desert? Raving hunger and thirst, and yet not half done. The Divine Office priests say daily reminds me that our Lord had, before His time, Moses and Elijah as the first observers of the long fast. The persistence and stamina needed to hold out for such a long time without food and drink is beyond the powers of imagining. Some medical people have reckoned that forty days is the extreme limit of time human nature can endure fasting–meaning by this the total fast. In any case, I believe that divine assistance must have been present to sustain our Lord’s humanity and these men for such a prolonged time of penance.On a much more modest scale I would think that divine assistance also comes to aid us in our far less stringent Lenten practices, if only we hold to them in due seriousness. This is not, in my opinion, presumption but a confident assertion of the goodness of God who inspires and perfects all our good works. Often we err on the ‘other’ side, lacking trust in divine benevolence and divine power to help us.
You may want to take a peek at the offerings in our Gift Shop, one of the well-kept secrets of our parish. This was started many years ago by Monsignor Sawher and a committee he assembled to make religious goods available to our parishioners while at the same time to bring added notice to our parish. It has been a successful venture in its purposes, being of great service to our people and to others outside the parish who shop there. Now there is also a developing website that you can preview at assumptiongrotto.org. This is a handsome page that has been developed for online shopping. (This site is not to be confused with the ordinary parish website assumptiongrotto.com which remains a source of other parish information.)I came to have a close look at the gift shop page because of the Easter choral and orchestral Mass which has a link on it intended to help our choir members learn their music at home, a supplement to their regular in-house practices. I thank Fr. John for making the audio files available to the choir in this unusual, up-to-date manner. The internet indeed has wonderful potential for many good uses. Little did I ever think it would be of service to our choir’s “long distance learning.”You may want to take a look at the gift shop site or, even better, come in the store itself and look over its many fine holdings.In my daily prayers I ask the Lord for many things, among which is the safeguarding of my parishioners, for their spiritual and material needs, for their protection against evil. I have the ‘professional’ duty to do this as your pastor, I suppose, but I take it on out of a genuine concern for the great burdens that are placed on your shoulders. If nothing else, each of you has to fight for the faith, must witness to the truth before hostile relatives and associates, and struggle against temptations to commit sin. Your Confirmation graces are often called upon to make you strong defenders of Christ. In our day where reigns so much confusion and where compromise (“being tolerant”) is the sole standard of right conduct, many persistent Christians suffer trials. I don’t foresee that this situation will lighten up in the near future. You may all have to bear greater witness to your faith. I pray for your perseverance both in professing the truth and in remaining, and growing, in grace. It’s becoming harder to be a true Catholic Christian and I want you to have the needed graces to remain faithful.Fr. Perrone