Carmelite Events

A Homily by Fr. Thomas McGinnis, O.Carm.

Sister Helena - Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Father Mario sent along a homily which he came across among his papers, an original, typed and noted by Father Thomas McGinnis.O.Carm. Many of the Sisters will remember Father McGinnis from the classes he gave to the novices, retreats and days of recollection, profession ceremonies, and his days as a chaplain in Avila. Some of the Sisters have collected his homilies. Father Mario sent this along calling it "a very good find, vintage McGinnis in its style and depth." Read and relish!

From the scriptures that are put before us on this Wednesday in the 10th week of Ordinary Time, I will underscore just one sentence for our meditation. St. Paul, writing to his converts in the Greek city of Corinth, announces: “IT IS NOT THAT WE ARE ENTITLED OF OURSELVES TO TAKE CREDIT FOR ANYTHING…OUR SOLE CREDIT IS FROM GOD.” OUR ONLY MERIT IS FROM GOD – AND OF OURSELVES WE CANNOT TAKE MERIT FOR ANYTHING. This is really a basic element of that faith which we hold, that faith which was “once delivered to the saints” – that ultimately, inevitably, everything that is good within us and around us is the Gift of God. Yet, it is a truth that demands frequent repetition…because there seems always to be a sentiment within us that wants to announce: I DID IT – I HAVE IT: there is something that is thoroughly good and thoroughly mine, and it is in reward for that something that God, then, gives all other good things to me.

But the truth is that we cannot anticipate the action of God – we can’t make even the “first and tiniest move:” God and the Gift of God must always come first. It is only in response to his gift that anything good is possible in our life. You find that same idea expressed very profoundly in the weekday Preface which will introduce the Eucharistic Prayer for us this morning. After we have announced that we are “lifting up our hearts and giving thanks to the Lord,” we pray: FATHER, YOU HAVE NO NEED OF OUR PRAISE – FOR OUR DESIRE TO THANK YOU IS ITSELF YOUR GIFT – OUR PRAYER ADDS NOTHING TO YOUR GREATNESS – RATHER IT MAKES US GROW IN YOUR GRACE.

The appearances are different: it looks and feels like the initiative does come from us: after all, our feet bring us to Church – we find our pew – kneel down – bless ourselves – pray – listen – offer ourselves as a “living sacrifice of praise.” It looks like: WE DO IT. But, the truth is that GOD DOES IT. IT IS ALL HIS GIFT. Our only contribution is to let him live and act within us – not to set up a wall vs. his mysterious and loving plan.

So we cannot take credit for anything – says the Apostle – all our credit is from God. May that sentiment serve as our spiritual motto here at Mass – and away from here, as this 12th day of June unfolds.

 (All punctuation and capitalization are in the original text.)


Sr. Raphael commented on 11-Dec-2015 10:33 AM
Thank you, Fr. Mario, for sharing Fr.'s homily! He is fondly remembered by so many!
I think of Fr. McGinnis every Mon. of week IV at the conclusion of evening prayer in ordinary time - he used it as part of one of his homilies and I can still hear his voice praying it with his own flourish!

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