Deacon's Corner


Published in the St. Mary's Church Bulletin 

Week Of May 13th, 2018- 

   Merton goes on in the second section of The Living Bread to show how "in the sacrifice of the Eucharist... we are mystically present at the Holy Supper ... and mystically (united), into the sacrifice of the cross". We enter into the sacrifice of Christ not as victims but interiorly in "justice and mercy and goodness" by offering ourselves to God in atonement and the desire to change. "This sacrifice plunges us into the very life of God... not by thinking or imagining but by loving." The Mass, Merton reminds us, "is the greatest of all acts of worship" and is"our possession, our inheritance... our sacrifice" but most importantly and"above all it is pleasing to God". The fruit of this gift is "our love for one another, which is signified by the Eucharist and is the principal effect of this great sacrament".
~Deacon Dennis Donahue

Published in the St. Mary's Church Bulletin 

Week Of May 6th, 2018- 

   Merton entitles the first section of The Living Bread, "Unto the End" from John's Gospel and states that the Eucharist"opens up the depths of the meaning of these three words". This is so because in the Eucharist we are "united directly and sacramentally" ... "into a loving knowledge of God". This fruit well received awakens in us "a love beyond all human affection" and "a spiritual instinct to love Him in return" which is the total fulfillment of our "true selves".

Merton goes on to tell us that to be well received it is essential that we actively and intelligently participate in the liturgy of the Mass and express a "more purer and profound life of charity" which is an overflow of the Eucharistic Life. To maximize our Eucharistic Life it is very important to add a Life of Eucharistic Prayer through meditation, adoration and contemplation which 'prolongs our Mass and Communion mysteriously uniting us to the chorus of heaven in a profound and secret "liturgy"'.
~Deacon Dennis Donahue



Published in the St. Mary's Church Bulletin 

Week Of Apr. 29th, 2018- 

   As Christians, if we can get Sunday's right we get the Christian life right. As Catholics, the biggest aspect of getting Sunday's right is getting the Eucharist right. In The Living Bread, Thomas Merton writes that "the Blessed Eucharist is therefore the very hear of Christianity... the one mystery that contains all other mysteries in itself". Merton goes on to say, in the prologue, that "if we study what our faith teaches us about the Blessed Eucharist, we will appreciate the truth that is indeed the Living Bread, the "Bread of God which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world (John 6:33)"". Over the next five Sundays this Corner will summarize each of the 5 sections of Merton's excellent book as we conclude this Year of the Eucharist.
~Deacon Dennis Donahue



Published in the St. Mary's Church Bulletin 

Week Of Apr. 22nd, 2018- 

   The weekday Gospel readings this past week all were drawn from John 6, which contains The Bread of Life Discourse. While the three synoptic Gospels present the Eucharist in the context of the Last Supper, John provides the teaching on the Real Presence much earlier in Jesus ministry and in the context of the miraculous feeding of the multitudes. Understanding Jesus unequivocal teaching on the Real Presence is a cornerstone of our faith and should be meditated on frequently especially during Eastertide and in this Year of the Eucharist for our Dioceses. Take time each day over the next couple weeks to spend time pondering a few verses from John 6 each day and try to do so a couple times in front of the Tabernacle.
~Deacon Dennis Donahue



Published in the St. Mary's Church Bulletin 

Week Of Apr. 15th, 2018- 

   I was once asked in a room full of mental health professionals if I saw a therapist to stay so calm in my highly stressful work environment. I answered no, I go to monthly confession because it is far cheaper and more effective. I would propose to you now that far fewer Catholics saw a therapist, took psychotropic medication, expressed addictive behaviors and suffered life altering anxiety when we had long lines for weekly confession. This week's readings tell us why this is so and last week's Gospel tells us how this was made possible.

As a Deacon and Mental Health Professional, I would strongly suggest regular confession (monthly minimum) with the same confessor for everyone along with a good understanding of the traditional "12 Step" approach particularly the "serenity prayer". The addition of regular formal or informal spiritual direction further enhances the preventative effects. For those suffering more deeply the above combination has been found to strongly enhance the effect of therapeutics for those who truly engage and believe in them.
~Deacon Dennis Donahue



Published in the St. Mary's Church Bulletin 

Week Of Apr. 8th, 2018- 

   The 8th Day of Easter has the same Gospel reading each year taken from John's Gospel and detailing Jesus appearance to "doubting" Thomas. Thomas journey to full faith in the Resurrected Christ required a partial fulfillment of his condition to actual touch Christ. This was satisfied however by simply encountering the Risen Christ. His conversion to full faith is the same as Mary Magdalene and the other disciples of Christ, except for the Beloved Disciple (John) who believes without seeing. Jesus tells us that faith in Christ without seeing is more perfect and made possible by belief in the Scripture and the power of His Spirit dwelling in us. Jesus however accepts both journeys of faith if they are realized in each of us by making it our primary mission to share the Good News with the world. What "doubters" have you decided to speak to about the peace and joy of Christ this Eastertide?
~Deacon Dennis Donahue



Published in the St. Mary's Church Bulletin 

Week Of Apr. 1st, 2018- 

   In Mark's Gospel (16:9-15), Jesus interrupts the Apostles Easter dinner and rebukes their hardness of heart and failure to believe both Mary Magdalene and the Emmaus Disciples. Christ then instructs the Apostles to get out into the world and become missionary evangelists. If Jesus dropped in on your dinner table today would he find strong faith and missionary zeal or would he need to offer a similar rebuke and instructional reminder to those gathered? Take these 8 Days of Easter to ask Jesus to help your unbelief by meditating on the each days Gospel story of transformation and by personally sharing the Good News of Jesus. Christ has risen, Alleluia Alleluia! He has risen indeed, Alleluia Alleluia!
~Deacon Dennis Donahue