Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas Season

I'm fully into the Christmas spirit now, doing the Liturgy and the Hours and all really helps me keep the liturgical seasons first and foremost in my mind - every day I think about the birth and early years of Christ. I wanted to share something from the second reading in the Office of readings from a few days ago - on the Feast of the Holy Family. I think it is a wonderful way to think about these early years of Christ that we are now celebrating, and also about our Blessed Mother and St. Joseph.

This is a speech delivered at Nazareth by Pope Paul VI:

Nazareth is a kind of school where we may begin to discover what Christ’s life was like and even to understand his Gospel. Here we can observe and ponder the simple appeal of the way God’s Son came to be known, profound yet full of hidden meaning. And gradually we may even learn to imitate him.

Here we can learn to realise who Christ really is. And here we can sense and take account of the conditions and circumstances that surrounded and affected his life on earth: the places, the tenor of the times, the culture, the language, religious customs, in brief, everything which Jesus used to make himself known to the world. Here everything speaks to us, everything has meaning. Here we can learn the importance of spiritual discipline for all who wish to follow Christ and to live by the teachings of his Gospel.

How I would like to return to my childhood and attend the simple yet profound school that is Nazareth! How wonderful to be close to Mary, learning again the lesson of the true meaning of life, learning again God’s truths. But here we are only on pilgrimage. Time presses and I must set aside my desire to stay and carry on my education in the Gospel, for that education is never finished. But I cannot leave without recalling, briefly and in passing; some thoughts I take with me from Nazareth.

First, we learn from its silence. If only we could once again appreciate its great value. We need this wonderful state of mind, beset as we are by the cacophony of strident protests and conflicting claims so characteristic of these turbulent times. The silence of Nazareth should teach us how to meditate in peace and quiet, to reflect on the deeply spiritual, and to be open to the voice of God’s inner wisdom and the counsel of his true teachers. Nazareth can teach us the value of study and preparation, of meditation, of a well-ordered personal spiritual life, and of silent prayer that is known only to God.

Second, we learn about family life. May Nazareth serve as a model of what the family should be. May it show us the family’s holy and enduring character and exemplify its basic function in society: a community of love and sharing, beautiful for the problems it poses and the rewards it brings, in sum, the perfect setting for rearing children – and for this there is no substitute.

Finally, in Nazareth, the home of a craftsman’s son, we learn about work and the discipline it entails. I would especially like to recognise its value – demanding yet redeeming – and to give it proper respect. I would remind everyone that work has its own dignity. On the other hand, it is not an end in itself. Its value and free character, however, derive not only from its place in the economic system, as they say, but rather from the purpose it serves.

In closing, may I express my deep regard for people everywhere who work for a living. To them I would point out their great model, Christ their brother, our Lord and God, who is their prophet in every cause that promotes their well being.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Wonderful Christmas

I had a wonderful Christmas with all my family.  I just wanted to briefly discuss how wonderful I think midnight mass is.  We did all the smells and bells at our parish, even singing Adeste Fidelis in Latin.  I don't think I can overcome the emotions that I feel at that type of mass.  I almost teared up when we were singing Away in the Manger, just thinking about the Lord watching over our unborn child.  

Another thing that I have realized of late is that I automatically tear up every time I see the Blessed Virgin in a movie about the Life of Christ.  Thinking about the emotions she goes through just eat right at my heart, especially considering how I did not appreciate her and all her intervention on our behalf before I became Catholic.

I'm finishing up the book "The Faith of Millions" so I should be able to review that soon.  God bless you all!  Also, everyone should know that I am still reading your blogs at home on the Blackberry quite frequently but unfortunately Blogger isn't very friendly to commenting.  I am around though!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Midnight Mass

Christmas is finally upon us.  I'm about 3 hours away from Midnight Mass.  Remembering back to last year, I was just beginning to settle into RCIA and the process of becoming Catholic at this time of year.  The mass was so incredibly beautiful....just hard to describe without someone being there.  I'm really looking forward to seeing the mass again tonight, only this time through the eyes of someone who can take the Blessed Sacrament this year instead of as a Candidate for Confirmation.  

Merry Christmas everyone!  And let's keep the Mass in Christmas! :)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Advent

In today's office of readings, the first reading is from the Book of Isaiah the Prophet.  It is a very good prophecy of the coming of our Lord, perfect for the Advent season.  The second reading is from St. Hippolytus (one of his treatises against the heretics).  He emphasizes the importance of reading the scriptures for all of us - something that I think most of us could work on to improve.  That's another reason that I love the Liturgy of the Hours so much, I get to read several Psalms and scriptures each day, and it isn't just me picking and choosing what to read and when.  

In other news, a major issue that I've been praying hard about has been answered in a wonderful way by God!  

Monday, December 22, 2008

Monday of the Fourth Week of Advent

Well, I finally got the Christmas/Advent Liturgy of the Hours.  Just in time to do a couple before Christmas season begins.  I can't express how much more my life feels complete with the Liturgy at hand.  I need to get back into the daily routine of doing Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer, and the Office of Readings every day and more if I have time. 

Getting ready to go to my weekly confession, then I'll be ready to really bring on Christmas season.  Let's continue to pray for everyone and do what we can for the poor this year.  If you are Catholic, I highly recommend helping out as much as possible with the second collection for Catholic Community Services (I assume they do these everywhere, but at least those parishioners from our parish can do this!).  

Friday, December 19, 2008

Friday of the Third Week of Advent

I'm slowly trying to get to the point where I can post with home on the new Blackberry we have.  It's a little complicated as Blogger decided to make it extra hard for Blackberry users for some reason.  I do get to read most of your blogs from home, but I don't get to comment often.

Today, I have been thinking about a great spiritual hole that exists in my life right now.  About a week before Advent started, I ordered the Advent/Christmas Volume of the Liturgy of the Hours.  The company had some kind of screw up, and while I was not charged, I did not receive the LotH either.  So, last week I reordered it, this time from Amazon, but since it is Christmas, the mail is going very slow and I won't have it till next week probably.

I would have never imagined this, but being the first time since Lent that I have gone this long without being able to pray the LotH has been brutal.  It is like my relationship with God is somehow more distant when I am not structured and praying the Psalms and doing the readings regularly.  Luckily, the fact that we are having a child has drawn me closer to God, as has Advent season.  I would feel destitute had this happened during ordinary time.  

Monday, December 15, 2008

Monday of the Third Week of Advent

We are quickly approaching Christmas.  That being said, we found out some big news.  I am now a Father and Seraphina is a mother!  Baby is due around August, please pray for us! :)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Today,  I thought I would thrill my Protestant readers with a Martin Luther quote:

"There are almost as many sects and beliefs as there are heads; this one will not admit Baptism; that one rejects the Sacrament of the altar; another places another world between the present one and the day of judgment; some teach that Jesus Christ is not God. There is not an individual, however clownish he may be, who does not claim to be inspired by the Holy Ghost, and who does not put forth as prophecies his ravings and dreams." "An Meine Kritiker" (by Johannes Jorgensen, p. 181)

Yep, Luther, you pretty much summed up why personal interpretation outside of true Church authority is ludicrous :)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Thursday of the Second Week of Advent

Tomorrow is the Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe.  I encourage everyone to go to mass, and pray for the unborn.  Although I cannot vouch for everything this site has to say, it does raise some interesting points about the symbolism that might appear in the image on St. Juan Diego's tilma.  Someone out there more informed on the subject may want to comment, but it seems very plausible to me.  Anyway, the whole story of Our Lady's appearance to St. Juan Diego is a beautiful and amazing story. Read what was presented about the symbolism in the image:

 The Image of Our Lady is actually an Aztec 
    Pictograph which was read and understood
quickly by the Aztec Indians. 

            THE SUN
            She was greater than the dreaded 
            Huitzilopochtli, their sun-god of war.

            CRESCENT MOON  
            She had clearly crushed Quetzalcoatl, 
            the feathered serpent moon-

            THE MANTLE
            She was greater than the stars of heaven which they worshipped.  
            She was a virgin and the Queen of the heavens for Virgo rests over 
            her womb and the northern crown upon her head. She appeared on 
           December 12, 1531 and the stars that she wore are the constellations 
           of the stars that appeared in the sky that day!

            She was a Queen because she wears the color of royalty.

            Her God was that of the Spanish Missionaries, Jesus Christ her son 
            who died on the cross for all mankind.

6.         THE BLACK BELT
            She was with child because she wore the Aztec Maternity Belt.

            She was the Mother of God because the flower was a special sy
life, movement and deity-the center of the universe.

            She was not God but clearly there was one greater than Her and she 
            pointed her finger to the cross on her brooch.

            She is the Queen of the Earth because she is wearing a contour map 
            of Mexico telling the Indians exactly where the apparition took place.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Wednesday of the Second Week of Advent

So, recovering from a sinus infection as I am, I could not sleep all night last night.  Instead, I read the second Ann Rice book "Christ the Lord - The Road to Cana".  Here we find Christ at 30 years old.  This book follows him from right before his baptism to the wedding feast at Cana.  I must admit that I was slightly weirded by some of the dialogue in this one, the fact that Christ was attracted to a woman, among other things.  But, he was tempted in all ways like we were, so I assume he did have attraction to women, and he handles it very well in the book.  

Interestingly, my complaint about the first book - that it was poorly written - has begun to develop some in this book.  The writing style is significantly better (still not the best written book I have ever read), but I think the author is developing Christ's mind as he matures, and thus brings up the style of her writing a notch or two.  

Overall, I think this one was a little better than the first, but now I will have to wait for the third one to come out before I can finish the story up.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Tuesday of the Second Week of Advent

Book Review - Christ the Lord - Out of Egypt

I have never read an Ann Rice book before this one.  And, to be quite honest, I highly doubt I would like any of her other books.  She has a very poor writing style (probably similar to mine in that it isn't complex enough to really be good literature).  That being said, Christ the Lord out of Egypt (her first in a trilogy? of the life of Christ) deals with Christ between the ages of 7 and 8 years old.  It is a reasonably interesting and thought provoking book, making you think quite a bit about what the young family life of Jesus must have been like.  Mary, for instance, is forbidden to enter the synagogue in Nazereth because they believe she was impregnated outside of marriage.  Whether or not these things are true, what traditions or legends they are based off of, etc. is really irrelevant, because I don't think the book is pushing it on us as truth, but rather trying to enlarge our minds about what Christ must have been like and how he developed into the great teacher we see in the New Testament.  

It's an interesting read, and I picked up the second book tonight.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Immaculate Conception

How wonderful today's Holy Day of Obligation is.   One thing I have definitely done is grown in my devotion to Mary over the last year.  I've said this once before, unlike many Protestants who convert, the moment I became Catholic, I had absolutely no problem asking Mary for her intercessions.  I can remember kneeling in prayer asking the Blessed Mother to pray for me to make it through the RCIA process last year.  And here I am, celebrating one of her feast days, closer than ever to her.  I've done this before, but again I strongly recommend that if you have petitions to put before God, ask Mary to pray for you.  

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Second Sunday of Advent

I've decided that until we upgrade our Blackberry, it is pretty much going to be impossible for me to post every day, which kind of bums me out.  I did make a mental post every day this week though, too bad I can't share my thoughts with you guys!  

Anyway, today I just wanted to reflect a little on the growth of the Church.  We've heard a lot about Churches shrinking (and the Catholic Church is growing immensely in certain areas of the world and stagnant in others).  But, on the local level we found out that we went from 700 households to 800 households in the last year....that's a net gain of 100 Households in just  a year!  That also doesn't include all our college students (which make up an awfully large portion of our parish since it is a University Parish.  Thanks be to God for this type of growth!  And with so many enrolled in RCIA classes this year, we are bound to grow again.  

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Wednesday of the First Week of Advent

I can't believe I forgot to mention this last Sunday, but I just realized I did.  Last Sunday was the first mass I attended with the intention of becoming Catholic.  (Last year when I decided to become Catholic, the first mass I attended was the First Sunday of Advent).  I re-read last year's Year A readings and the responsorial Psalm...and even the prayers in my missal.  I could not believe how much I remembered, and the feelings came flooding back about how Biblical the mass was when I was actually paying attention.  Thanks be to God!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Tuesday of the First Week of Advent

I recently finished Pope John Paul II's Crossing the Threshhold of Hope.  If you havn't read the book, I highly recommend it.  Basically, a reporter sent the Holy Father several questions regarding Our Faith, many of which were very hard hitting.  He covers issues like suffering, salvation, those ouside the Church, etc.  He did a superb job of answering these questions, although many times he seemed to get off track of the original question and the reporter was a little soft on bringing him back to the original.  Much of his being "off track", however, I think flowed from his immense theological understanding that, quite frankly could leave me in the dust. While I think he tried to keep his answers to something the lay person could appreciate, his genius shines forth a little too much, making it a difficult and time consuming read, but definitely one that all Catholics should do if they get the opportunity.  

Monday, December 1, 2008

Monday of the First Week of Advent

Last night Seraphina and I started our decorations for Christmas (Sorry all you hard corers that don't like to do it until the 24th....).  We put up our tree, our wreath on our front door, and set up our nativity set, all of which were extremely beautiful and came from her family.  It is so wonderful being able to decorate for Christmas (this is only the second year I have done it since my old Protestant denomination did not celebrate Christmas).  We decided that until Christmas, our nativity set will not be a nativity set but rather an advent set.  So, here is how we set it up (I took pictures, and will upload them later):

Mary and Joseph are both facing an angel hanging on the wall so that it looks like the angel is speaking to them.  The wise men are coming from the East and are gathered together meeting with each other, on their way to meet the Christ when he is born.  The shephards are slightly closer to where the manger will be, and are on their way with all the animals.

We thought this was a good way to remind ourselves that it was still advent and that we are preparing for Christ (both to celebrate his birth and watching for his second coming).  

Sunday, November 30, 2008

First Sunday of Advent

On this first Sunday of Advent, Seraphina and I prayed for our marriage.  We hope that God continues to give us a wonderful and blessed marriage.  We also pray that we be open to children always and that we will some day be blessed with some.  

I think this was an important time to sit back and think about where our marriage stands and how it has progressed over the last few years.  We have been married about 3 1/2 years now, and being Catholic obviously made our relationship much stronger.  God bless you all here at the beginning of Advent and  let's all look forward to a wonderful Christmas celebration.

PS:  I was really ready for Advent and this special time...getting a little tired of the "ordinary" :)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Advent Calendar

Sarah and I are making our Advent wreath tonight, and we thought it would be a good idea to have a calendar to pray by each day. After looking at several, we decided it would be better to make our own.  So, we created a calendar that had each day of Advent with the name of a family member, friend, our priests, etc. on it and we plan to pray for that individual each day of Advent.  What will you be praying through advent?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Busy Bee

Hi Everyone.  I've been extremely busy, but I will be back around soon.  I think I will try to blog through advent, but no  promises on whether or not it is every day.  No internet at the house now...so I will be limited to when I am working/studying/at coffee places.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Blogging Advent

Earlier this year, I wrote a blog post every day for Lent about my own reflections or things that I was thinking about.  I am pondering if I would be able to do the same thing during Advent Season, and I think I might very well try it.  Maybe I won't be perfect, but it would give me some focus and help me to remember the reason for that season.  So, that's something to look forward to.  How have you guys all been?  Extremely busy on my end.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Administrator Martin

When I went to South Carolina to visit Mass, I thought it was very interesting that they were without a Bishop, so in the Eucharistic prayer they mentioned "Administrator Martin".  Well, it just so happens that he now has to respond to a rogue priest denying communion to Obama voters.  Sorry McCainiacs, but that's just not what the Church has taught.  Thankfully Administrator Martin has stood up against this type of abuse, but I think this whole situation also ties in with some of our pre-election conversations.

From Fox News (via my friend Stephanie):

""Father Newman's statements do not adequately reflect the Catholic Church's teachings. Any comments or statements to the contrary are repudiated," said Msgr. Martin Laughlin, administrator of the Charleston Diocese, which is currently without a bishop. 

Catholic dioceses in the U.S. have issued various rulings on whether Catholics who support abortion can receive communion. 

"The Church hasn't said as a body what this individual priest has said, namely that anybody who has voted for Barack Obama shouldn't go to communion," said Father Jonathan Morris, a Catholic priest and FOX News contributor."

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Catholic Radio

I've been an XM Radio subscriber for quite some time now.  Recently, XM and Sirius merged together to form the same company.  As a result, we got some of their programming, and I was most excited to see earlier this week Catholic Radio was now available.  

I have never listened to Catholic Radio before, but now I must say that I truly did not know what I was missing.  It is absolutely amazing.  Because I also like EWTN, I am going to compare the two so maybe you can get an understanding of the difference.  EWTN to me seems like it is a combination of two things:  1)  Church Teaching and 2)  Apologetics.  Basically, that's what we get all the time, and that is great on one hand.  Catholic Radio, on the other hand, is in general a collection of shows where people share their own life experiences (not journeys, but just events in their lives from day to day), the latest news in the Catholic Church, and they have people call in to exchange thoughts and feelings about their daily lives.  There is also some Catholic comedy that goes on, especially in the show called "The Catholic Guy".  It's actually much better for me to just sit back and listen to, since most of what EWTN has to say I have heard over and over again - this is more applicable to those who are comfortable in their faith and just want to hear exchanges of Catholic daily life.  

No one should take this as me saying that I don't like EWTN, I just think both these formats serve a very different purpose.  The Holy Father does an ad welcoming listeners to Catholic Radio as well, which is really awesome since I love his accent!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Cops and Robbers

They finally nabbed one of those guys trying to steal the host.  I'm not sure if this was a Catholic Church or not, but it certainly is good that they got him.  This is a good time to think about purgatory and penance after confession also, because even though we can now forgive this man and pray for him, he should still have to carry out a sentence of punishment for the crime.  Hopefully this deters others from making the same sacriligious mistake.

Ebbs and Flows

My friend The Catholic Journeyman left a post over on his blog about Catholic bloggers.  I highly recommend you fellow bloggers to go check it out and respond.  I would like to thresh out my thoughts a little more about myself too.  As I have been writing on this blog for a few months now, I notice that it parallels my spiritual life in many ways.  I think mine (and most people's) spirituality ebbs and flows, like a tide coming in and out.  Each time it comes in, however, it is stronger than before in my case, I feel closer and closer to God.  Each time it goes out, it doesn't go as far, and I don't get as distracted as I used to.  I don't fall into temptation as often as I used to.  Closer and closer we come until eventually we can be with God in Heaven (purgatory might help out here too).  Even the saints would write about "Dark nights of the soul".  We need to pray for one another and with one another to grow in faith and love and hope.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Looking Back

Looking back at my blog posts, I labeled them all.  I then made a couple charts using all labels that appeared more than 5 times.  Keep in mind that the Pie Chart isn't too accurate because labels actually overlap.  It just lets you see categories compared to each other.  I havn't really done that much on politics after all.  So, I'll take everyone's suggestions and keep it mixed. 

Daily Mass

Joseph once vocalized to me when we had waited until a Sunday to attend again "It feels like I haven't been to Mass in forever!"

Unfortunately, do to my more tumultuous schedule this semester, my Daily Mass goings have been much less frequent. However, I do make the time to still try to go at least once in the week, and whenever I do I can't help but feel so much more in harmony with the rest of my life. It allows me to take just a half an hour and completely focus on spiritual things.

I am digressing. Perhaps a post on this at a later time.

What I wanted to post for everyone is a homily spoken by one of our parish priests. It was in reference to the readings on Thursday, November 6th, 2008.

Today's parables include the theme of repentance, but they change the way repentance sounds. We often think of repentance as a change of direction in our lives - and that's a good picture of what it means. But, we lose a deeper sense of this change if we begin to badger ourselves, or others, with the notion that sinners must abandon their sins before God will forgive them; and the lost must figure out a way to get themselves found before a heavenly search and rescue effort begins. As St. Augustine pointed out, that's like waiting to get healthy before you go to the doctor and deal with what ails you. Today, our Lord shows us that repentance is the deep trust that our Good Shepherd has already come to us and gathered us in his arms; that God, pictured as a searching woman, has sought us out and found us. After all, a lost sheep doesn't have to prove it's the one with the wooliest coat before the shepherd goes after it, and a lost coin can't make sincere prayers to get the woman of the house looking for it. But, because the sheep is precious, the shepherd searches; because the coin is valuable, the woman picks up the broom and won't rest until it's found. Repentance is the joy of being found and refusing to wander away, the deep trust that we are sought after by God and brought home safely in the life of Jesus Christ.

Even as I type this out I can't help but heave a sigh of relief. Perhaps so much time in a Fundamentalist Protestant Church made me doubt the ability God's grace and occasionally, I need to be reminded of its far reach.

Glory to God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit - Amen!

What Catholics Really Believe

It's been a while since I have done a book review, so here goes one.  I just finished up "What Catholics Really Believe:  52 Answers to Common Misconceptions About the Catholic Faith" by Karl Keating.  Overall, this book is fairly good at presenting apologetics in a very simple, easy to understand manner.  Actually, it was a little too simple for me, but I imagine it would be great for a non-Catholic or someone who does not know a lot about their faith.  It also would be great for someone who has their faith challenged frequently (non-Catholic spouse, friends, family, etc.) because it clearly explains ways to answer these types of typical misunderstandings.  

There are several negatives to the book though.  First, I would much more highly recommend his "Catholicism and Fundamentalism" because it is much more in-depth, and answers many of the same charges in a more systematic way, targeting the responses at those who are generally challenging our faith - fundamentalists.  Secondly, Keating has the bad habit of being quite antagonizing when he responds to these challenges that he sees as common.  His writing style and attitude come off in a way that is likely to put off many readers, especially those who may be mistaken about the faith honestly and hold false conceptions, they may feel that he is unfair to their position or belittling of their intelligence.  If you have read any of his other works, you will be familiar with what I am talking about.  

Finally, there are a few questions that I think he inadequately answers by putting the real answers off and instead just discussing them in light of things that other Christians believe.  His discussion on the rosary and prayers for the dead were both inadequate, in my opinion.  Again, this could be a useful tool or a quick refresher course for those wanting to learn more about Church teaching or being challenged by a non-Catholic friend or family member.  

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Soul Searching

I've been having some thoughts about this blog and wondering where to go with it.  It's main purpose has always been to talk about my journey into Catholicism.  That being said, I get the most discussion and response when I talk about politics - something that I have a Masters degree in (Political Science).  So the real question is, should I switch the purpose of this blog to a political commentary from a Catholic view blog?  Or, should I keep it mixed between personal journey/Church teaching and politics?  Or, should I just quit talking about politics period?  I'd welcome my readers inputs into what you like to hear about here, and I'll be doing some deep thinking about what direction I really want to go.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


Growing up in a Church of Christ (Evangelical) background, one of their favorite topics to squabble endlessly about was the topic of when divorce and remarriage was permissible. Of course, this simplifies a lot when you become Catholic because we don't believe there can be such a thing as a divorce - at all.

So, the "scripture scholars" over in the Protestant side will come back asking about Matthew 19 and what it means. I'm linking this blog post from "Biblical Evidence from Catholicism" just to let him make a point so I don't have to ramble all day. You might want to read up about what an annulment really is in order to understand this argument in its totality.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

McCaniacs succeed in at least one thing

Well, it's time to put the election behind us. Let's pray and hope that Obama leads our country in the right direction. The apocalypse didn't happen yet.

I thought I would share this interesting tidbit from the exit polling data. Among Catholics, the breakdown was as follows:

19% of all voters were White Catholics.
12% of all voters were Catholics who attend weekly or more.
14% of all voters were Catholics who attend less often than once a week.
McCain won 52%-47% over Obama with White Catholics
McCain won 50%-49% over Obama with Catholics who attend weekly or more
Obama won 58-40% over Catholics who attend less often.

Also wanted to pass along something Renee said in the comments below:
"The USCCB urge us to write to our State politicians opposing FOCA as soon as possible."

So, get to writing folks.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I Voted

Cast my vote for Chuck Baldwin of the Constitution Party today. Here's the:

Seven Principles of the Constitution Party are:

1. Life: For all human beings, from conception to natural death;
2. Liberty: Freedom of conscience and actions for the self-governed individual;
3. Family: One husband and one wife with their children as divinely instituted;
4. Property: Each individual's right to own and steward personal property without government burden;
5. Constitution: and Bill of Rights interpreted according to the actual intent of the Founding Fathers;
6. States' Rights: Everything not specifically delegated by the Constitution to the federal government is reserved for the state and local jurisdictions;
7. American Sovereignty: American government committed to the protection of the borders, trade, and common defense of Americans, and not entangled in foreign alliances.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Ruling Out McCain?

Here is a nice article which I totally agree with from Bishop Tobin of Rhode Island.

Note the following quotation:

"I don’t know about you, dear reader, but I could never vote for a candidate – of any party for any office – who supports laws that promote or allow the death of thousands of children in the hideous crime of abortion. I just don’t want that on my conscience. "

Friday, October 31, 2008

Pray for Christians in Turkey

Pray for Christians in Turkey. I was just listening to a story on the BBC about Catholics living in Tarsus (St. Paul's birthplace). The Church there is actually operated by the government as a museum and they refuse to allow Christians to celebrate the mass in it. Therefore, Catholics must travel over an hour away to the next city just to attend mass. Please pray that this situation changes, and that the government there allows more freedom with regards to religion.

Also, there are scheduled dialogues between Muslim and Christian leaders there. Pray for this effort, that we can all become closer as God's children.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Psychological Tests for New Priest

So, I just heard on BBC that Pope Benedict just approved new psychological tests for people who are discerning the priesthood. I still have not made up my mind about this (and really don't know enough about it), but I am curious about your opinions:

Is it a good idea to subject priests to a psychological test before the priesthood? What would rule out a candidate? According to the BBC, it is to make sure people discerning can "control their sexual urges". That sounds fine, since a priest should be able to do such (towards males or females). I'm kind of interested in this new movement though.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Evangelicals and Politics of Fear

This article from MSNBC describes some of the fear tactics some evangelicals and others on the Christian right are beginning to try to use against Obama. Sadly, I recognize some of these tactics as things I have seen certain Catholics participate in. We should be ashamed to participate in these kind of smear campaigns.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Trying another angle

Ok. One more bone to pick about the political situation. For you McCain supporters, I've heard over and over that I cannot support a Presidential candidate who supports an intrinsic evil (although Cardinal Ratzinger prior to becoming the Holy Father clearly wrote that there are situations where you can vote for someone who supports abortion as long as that isn't the specific reason you are voting for them and that there are balancing issues).

Here's the problem. McCain also supports intrinsic evil, in the form of abortion. McCain does support abortion in certain cases, and even if those are politically debateable, the Church has not allowed debate on them. So, let's make a logical argument here:

A) I cannot vote for a candidate who supports an intrinsic evil
B) Abortion in any case is an intrinsic evil
C) McCain supports abortion in some cases
D) McCain supports an intrinsic evil
E) I cannot vote for McCain

Now, I reject this hypothesis, because everyone turning this into a single issue election is, quite frankly, wrong to do so and bind it on others. (In other words, if your conscience won't allow you to vote for someone who supports abortion, or forces you to choose the one who supports "less" abortion, then that is your choice.) I've chosen to support the candidate, who to my knowledge, does not support any intrinsic evil, including killing innocent (unborn also) in Iraq.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Fueling the Fire

On Jimmy Akin's Blog, he had a nice post that falls in line with most of your thinking my friends (subtle joke about McCain here). What caught my attention, however was a nice comment (first one) by a fellow named Diogenes. I've selected a few juicy tidbits but highly recommend going over to read the whole debate.

"Indeed, the pro-life ploy is perfectly demonic: in holding out the illusionary possibility of destroying an evil an even greater evil is fed. But what can be more evil than killing babies? It is that which is the cause of this killing and myriad other evils. Indeed, as atrocious as abortion is, it is nonetheless a symptom. Our nation is not vicious because it allows abortion, rather it allows abortion because the nation is vicious.


The urgent case in point shows an example of this culture of death. One would think U.S. pro-lifers would care about the Iraqi unborn just as much as they care about other unborn babies. A baby in-utero is neither Christian nor Moslem, neither American nor Iraqi. In Iraq how many unborn have died along with the millions of civilians that have been killed or maimed by the USA’s destruction of infrastructure, aerial bombing, and depleted uranium bombs. These depleted uranium bombs also have the added "military" advantage of causing spontaneous abortions and birth defects. However, I’ve yet to hear one single denouncement of this from the "traditional Catholic" pulpits I frequent, and only extremely rarely from the "Christian pro-lifers" I encounter. Indeed, the pro-life movement’s new found darling, Mrs. Palin, is silent on the Iraqi special needs children debilitated by our special bombs. Of course, Bomb-Bomb-Iran McCain couldn't care less. He is the same fellow who bombed innocent civilians in North Vietnam when we decided to shift from risking our own soldier’s lives and concentrate our military efforts on terrorist blanket bombing of North Vietnam population centers. Anyone that supports a candidate that gleefully looks forward to the bombing of innocent civilians (born or unborn, Christian or Moslem) in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and the devil knows where, is not pro-life, and surely not a good Christian!"

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Big Response (The Big Bologna)

So over the last few days I have received multiple comments, emails, facebook messages, and everything else about my decision not to vote from my Catholic friends. These ranged from supportive of my decision to and excellent post emphasizing the duty of voting to those who have been unceasingly trying to convince me that I must vote for John McCain. So, here is a response to the latter of the two.

First of all, as per voting. I also believe that I have a duty to vote. In fact, the catechism says (2240) "Submission to authority and co-responsibility for the common good make it morally obligatory to pay taxes, to exercise the right to vote, and to defend one's country".

That's pretty plain, and I think I mentioned that in my post before last, when I said I felt it was my civic duty as a Catholic (and as a Knight of Columbus) to vote, and I will. I will walk in the booth with a voting ballot and I will make the selections that I can morally make with my own conscience. However, my conscience will not allow me to vote for someone who supports an evil that puts life at risk without good reason. I cannot vote for Obama because of his stance on abortion. I cannot vote for McCain because of his stance on the war (where many innocent children are dying every day, something that I truly believe to be intrinsic evil) and his stance on the death penalty, which the Catechism describes as only morally acceptable only when there is no other way to prevent the person from harming others. Capital punishment, in the words of Pope John Paul II is morally acceptable only very rarely, if ever at all in our modern society.

Now let's talk specifically about the Republican Party for a little while. I'm not convinced that John McCain is the "lesser of the two evils". We have had Republican Presidents in 28 of the last 40 years (yes, only 12 years of Democratic presidents). Guess what has happened in that time? Roe V. Wade, the growth of abortion, and an increase in the intrinsic evil that all of us hate. If abortion was illegal and did not exist in the country, how many votes do you think the Republican party would receive? Very few. So, what's the best way to keep winning elections? Keep the issue of abortion on the table. It drives us away from a party who cares more for the poor and has traditionally been anti capital punishment (the current lackluster candidate notwithstanding). Republicans can stomp and scream and shout about gay marriage and anti abortion amendments till the cows come home, but eventually they have to do something about it.

So, sorry but I can't vote for either one. I might, however, find one of these candidates that I can vote for.

Update: I think I've found my man and he's actually more conservative on the abortion issue than McCain (not that hard to do).

Friday, October 17, 2008

Elections...One last time

I'm hoping this is my last political post of the year. I listened to McCain and Obama speak at the Catholic non-profit tonight. I must say that even though I am still adamently against both of these candidates, I can't imagine where these personalities have been over the last year. I honestly thought it was the best speech for both candidate that I have heard, even though it was a little over the top in humor.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Blog Action Day

I had no idea, but according to the Liturgy Blog today is "Blog Action Day" which means we should use our blogs to target a specific issue and this year is poverty. I encourage you to ask St. Francis for his intercession on behalf of the poor, ask for help for the poor in the daily mass intentions, say a rosary for the poor, and give some money to a charity that benefits them. It is a real problem, not only in other countries, but also in the United States, even in my home state of West Virginia, where we experienced extreme poverty on a service trip last April in the Southern part of the state. Please pray for all these, and do what you can - even though I know many of you might be going through financial difficulties of your own. Even if it is just to provide a sandwich for a homeless person in your town!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

CoC to KoC

Well, last night I received my first degree in the Knights of Columbus. I can't speak about the ceremony, but it was great. I'm happy to have come this far in my spiritual journey, and I am looking forward to working with my fellow Knights to combat poverty, mental health, and enjoy our dedication to the Blessed Virgin. If you are a Catholic male, think about joining. If you are a Catholic female, think about becoming a Catholic Daughter. If you are neither, pray that we might have a positive impact on the world, each other, but especially the least fortunate.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Why I have decided not to vote for President

So, last night at mass our Parish handed out the US Conference of Catholic Bishop's Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship. It reminded me that I should definitely remember to participate in political life as much as possible, and I think that includes voting to some extent, and as a person's conscience dictates:

In the Catholic Tradition, responsible citizenship is a virtue, and participation
in political life is a moral obligation. This obligation is rooted in our baptismal
commitment to follow Jesus Christ and to bear Christian witness in all we do. As
the Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us, “It is necessary that all participate,
each according to his position and role, in promoting the common good. This
obligation is inherent in the dignity of the human person. . . . As far as possible
citizens should take an active part in public life” (nos. 1913-1915).

That being said, I will definitely go to the polls and vote for officials (governor, senator, house of representatives, local elections) that my conscience allows me to vote for. Those who I find are upholding many or most of the values of the Church and also going beyond principles to actually help people in other ways. Community development (especially downtowns, eliminating driving, and increasing public transportation) is very important to me as well, so it will help me form my mind on local candidates especially.

I decided to read it in light of the pressing Presidential election though, and this is what I found:

As Catholics we are not single-issue voters. A candidate’s position on a single
issue is not sufficient to guarantee a voter’s support. Yet a candidate’s position on a
single issue that involves an intrinsic evil, such as support for legal abortion or the
promotion of racism, may legitimately lead a voter to disqualify a candidate from
receiving support.


The second is the misuse of these necessary moral distinctions as a way of
dismissing or ignoring other serious threats to human life and dignity. Racism and
other unjust discrimination, the use of the death penalty, resorting to unjust war,
the use of torture,4 war crimes, the failure to respond to those who are suffering
from hunger or a lack of health care, or an unjust immigration policy are all serious
moral issues that challenge our consciences and require us to act. These are not
optional concerns which can be dismissed. Catholics are urged to seriously consider
Church teaching on these issues. Although choices about how best to respond
to these and other compelling threats to human life and dignity are matters for
principled debate and decision, this does not make them optional concerns or
permit Catholics to dismiss or ignore Church teaching on these important issues.
Clearly not every Catholic can be actively involved on each of these concerns,
but we need to support one another as our community of faith defends human life
and dignity wherever it is threatened. We are not factions, but one family of faith
fulfilling the mission of Jesus Christ.


It must be noted also that a well-formed Christian conscience
does not permit one to vote for a political program or an
individual law which contradicts the fundamental contents
of faith and morals. The Christian faith is an integral unity,
and thus it is incoherent to isolate some particular element to
the detriment of the whole of Catholic doctrine. A political
commitment to a single isolated aspect of the Church’s social
doctrine does not exhaust one’s responsibility towards the
common good. (Doctrinal Note on Some Questions Regarding the
Participation of Catholics in Political Life, no. 4)

Frankly, neither candidate has illustrated to me a dedication to right to life issues on abortion or any other of the important life issues. Nor has McCain demonstrated to me that he genuinely cares or wants to improve the war situation (outside of "winning), health care, the economic situation of the poor, immigrants, etc. etc. etc.

I cannot vote for either one of them with a clean conscience. That's my personal decision, no one else's, and it is not something I would bind on anyone or ask anyone to try to bind on me. In fact, I have chosen to:

When all candidates hold a position in favor of an intrinsic evil, the
conscientious voter faces a dilemma. The voter may decide to take the
extraordinary step of not voting for any candidate or, after careful deliberation,
may decide to vote for the candidate
deemed less likely to advance such
a morally flawed position and more
likely to pursue other authentic
human goods.

because I really don't know which one will be less likely to advance a morally flawed position, as they both seem to me to be extremely morally flawed!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Development of Doctrine

One thing we are accused of as Catholics is inventing new doctrines or teaching the "traditions of men". Part of the reason behind this is that others don't understand the development of doctrine. In today's Liturgy of the Hours, the second reading is from the first instruction by Saint Vincent of Lerins. Remebering that the Church is the Body of Christ, pay attention to what might be the best definition of development of doctrine I have ever read:

Is there to be no development of religion in the Church of Christ? Certainly, there is to be development and on the largest scale.

Who can be so grudging to men, so full of hate for God, as to try to prevent it? But it must truly be development of the faith, not alteration of the faith. Development means that each thing expands to be itself, while alteration means that a thing is changed from one thing into another.

The understanding, knowledge and wisdom of one and all, of individuals as well as of the whole Church, ought then to make great and vigorous progress with the passing of the ages and the centuries, but only along its own line of development, that is, with the same doctrine, the same meaning and the same import.

The religion of souls should follow the law of development of bodies. Though bodies develop and unfold their component parts with the passing of the years, they always remain what they were. There is a great difference between the flower of childhood and the maturity of age, but those who become old are the very same people who were once young. Though the condition and appearance of one and the same individual may change, it is one and the same nature, one and the same person.

The tiny members of unweaned children and the grown members of young men are still the same members. Men have the same number of limbs as children. Whatever develops at a later age was already present in seminal form; there is nothing new in old age that was not already latent in childhood.

There is no doubt, then, that the legitimate and correct rule of development, the established and wonderful order of growth, is this: in older people the fullness of years always brings to completion those members and forms that the wisdom of the Creator fashioned beforehand in their earlier years.

If, however, the human form were to turn into some shape that did not belong to its own nature, or ever if something were added to the sum of its members or subtracted from it, the whole body would necessarily perish or become grotesque or at least be enfeebled. In the same way, the doctrine of the Christian religion should properly follow these laws of development, that is, by becoming firmer over the years, more ample in the course of time, more exalted as it advances in age.

In ancient times our ancestors sowed the good seed in the harvest field of the Church. It would be very wrong and unfitting if we, their descendants, were to reap, not the genuine wheat of truth but the intrusive growth of error.

On the contrary, what is right and fitting is this: there should be no inconsistency between first and last, but we should reap true doctrine from the growth of true teaching, so that when, in the course of time, those first sowings yield an increase, it may flourish and be tended in our day also.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Worrisome Political Stuff

Ok. I hate to talk about politics. I believe as a Catholic that you can vote according to your own conscience with reference to what the Catholic Bishops have requested you to consider. While an anti-abortion position might be the most important thing in the world, I can't judge how someone else chooses to balance or not balance their positions. The Catholic Church has not endorsed a political candidate nor should it. That leads me to the following article on Catholic Online.

Apparently, Dr. Cafardi has felt it necessary to resign from his post at Franciscan U. because he supports Obama. People are heralding this as a decision that he had to make, and somehow trying to paint him as an unfaithful Catholic or a terrible professor. The following quote, for instance and from the link above, bothers me to no end:

The departure of Nicholas Cafardi removes the immediacy of dealing with the inherent contradiction of having on the Institutional Board of Franciscan University a man who has taken such a controversial position.

I'm sorry but you can't dictate your politics to every other Catholic on the face of the planet nor make his choice for President a "controversial position". I'm both Republican and Pro-Life, but on some angle he may be correct - the Republican Party is trying to hold conservatives hostage with the "pro-life" position while conducting a war, supporting the death penalty, neglecting the poor, harming the environment, etc. There is a balance out there, and while I will most likely end up voting for John McCain come November, this man has a right to his opinion and he may very well be correct and we should wake up and smell the coffee - even if just to put pressure on them to make the correct choices. McCain hasn't been out there vehemently defending the unborn either, as far as I have seen.

Hopefully the article is correct that no pressure was put on this professor to resign. If so, the Church had better be very careful about any money they might be sending to Franciscan University.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

A Letter to Myself

During RCIA last year we wrote a letter to ourselves, which our Deacon mailed to us 6 months later. I received mine recently and thought I would share it with you as part of my Catholic Journey:

Dear Joseph the Worker,

Today I am so excited about taking my first communion. Every day I think about the words "I am not worthy to receive you but only say the word and I shall be healed". I know when I read this I will still not be worthy but I pray that I will have been receiving Christ for the last six months in the Eucharist.

-Joseph the Worker

Monday, October 6, 2008

Roots of Premillenial Theory

I was reading the book "Lives of the Popes" written in the 15th Century today. Very interestingly, the author had this to say:

What shall I say about the most foul teaching of Cerinthus? He said Christ's Kingdom would come after a thousand years and would be on Earth; hence in Greek he was called a "chiliast". Since he was intolerant of lusts and desires, he held out the prospect of sensual pleasures, an abundance of food and plenty of women, in the holy promises of the kingdom to come. Nepos, a Bishop in parts of Egypt, also believed this. He said that the saints would reign on Earth with Christ amid every delight and pleasure of the body. the followers of this filthy sect were called Nepotians.

Now, even if there is no direct link between these heretics and the premillenial theology that we hear today, it is very interesting that this worldly Kingdom and 1000 year reign of Christ was given no merit at all among the Early Church, and by the 15th Century, it seemed to be a very perverse idea indeed.

Spiritual Journeys

Just the other day, Jennifer shared her spiritual journey with me via the comments below. I just finished reading it and had a few thoughts. First, it is interesting to note how similar so many convert stories are to each other. Her story and mine had many similarities. Especially striking to me was how the Pentecostals and the Independent Baptists attempted to trace themselves through the same heretical groups that I saw the Church of Christ try to trace themselves through and the same false sense of history among all these groups as well. A good spiritual journey that touches on these issues in the Church of Christ and fully explores the significance is here.

Her spiritual journey was wonderful. I wish you all the luck in the world Jennifer and I will pray for you often and thanks for sharing with me. I completed RCIA last year and I had many of the same feelings as you going into it. Waiting a year to receive the sacraments is tough but well worth it when you get to the other side. Just a reminder to all my readers (I've heard from many of you) that my spiritual journey is available here.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Prosperity Gospel

The whole idea behind the "Prosperity Gospel" has been something very interesting to me. It came up because I just stumbled upon this article which describes how the Prosperity Gospel might be driving people to foreclose on their homes now.

The basic idea behind prosperity theology is that God will financially bless those who follow him and are obedient to his teachings. It is prominant among African American evangelicals today (Pentecostals most typically, most famous individual I know of who touts it is T.D. Banks) and to me it seems as though it has its roots in the "Calvanist Work Ethic" - whereby the Calvanist was thought to work harder in order to please God and thereby would be financially successful. It seems as though as a country we have always believed that God somehow blesses Godly countries with financial prosperity more than others as well.

My first exposure to it had to be within the Church of Christ denomination. Now clearly, they did not teach this verbally, but it seemed to be an underlying position, especially among the more conservative "anti" groups. Instead of catering and helping the poor (the very ones that Jesus went out and talked to), we instead ignored them or tried to keep them away because they were just bums wanting our money. They should go out and get jobs for themselves.

When I became Catholic, I realized how foolish I had been. The poor are so important - being human beings - and they need our love and help. Jesus constantly went to the poor and encouraged us to do the same. All people are not just bums because they are homeless - some have addictions, mental problems, and other issues that we can't even imagine that prevent them from functioning properly in society. Jesus went to those people. Think about Lazarus, for instance, who rests in Abraham's bosom. Compare him to the rich man who, well didn't make it. The rich are portrayed more often than not as negative in the New Testament (of course that doesn't mean it is always negative, but there is a lot of temptation once you have money, and it might be hard to live a Godly life and become rich.) The actual advice Jesus gave was to give all your money away and follow him! Some of our Saints have done this, like St. Francis.

Let's pray for those who are losing their homes because of faulty theology, and for all the poor.

St. Francis, pray for us.

Just for Fun

Click here and get a good laugh - Catholic related obviously.

Catholic Influence

I was just watching my favorite television show, The Great Heresies on EWTN. I was just thinking about how amazing it is that so many Protestant beliefs, the ones they take for granted, such as the true nature of Christ (man and God) and the concept of the Trinity are all developments of Catholic councils in the early centuries. It blows my mind because I believed in these things as a Protestant, but never had real "sola scriptura" backing for it. Only with the interpretation of the Church did it ever become clear.

Also, today is the Feast Day (well yesterday technically) of the Guardian Angels. Say a prayer asking for protection and guidance from your Guardian Angel today!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Today's Feast

Today is the feast day of the Archangels Michael, Raphael, and Gabriel. I highly reccommend reading the second reading from today's Office of Readings in the Liturgy of the Hours. It is from a sermon by Pope St. Gregory, which I have copied below (from universalis). It's a wonderful way to think about and understand more about the angels.

"You should be aware that the word “angel” denotes a function rather than a nature. Those holy spirits of heaven have indeed always been spirits. They can only be called angels when they deliver some message. Moreover, those who deliver messages of lesser importance are called angels; and those who proclaim messages of supreme importance are called archangels. And so it was that not merely an angel but the archangel Gabriel was sent to the Virgin Mary. It was only fitting that the highest angel should come to announce the greatest of all messages.Some angels are given proper names to denote the service they are empowered to perform. In that holy city, where perfect knowledge flows from the vision of almighty God, those who have no names may easily be known. But personal names are assigned to some, not because they could not be known without them, but rather to denote their ministry when they came among us. Thus, Michael means “Who is like God”; Gabriel is “The Strength of God”; and Raphael is “God’s Remedy.”Whenever some act of wondrous power must be performed, Michael is sent, so that his action and his name may make it clear that no one can do what God does by his superior power. So also our ancient foe desired in his pride to be like God, saying: I will ascend into heaven; I will exalt my throne above the stars of heaven; I will be like the Most High. He will be allowed to remain in power until the end of the world when he will be destroyed in the final punishment. Then, he will fight with the archangel Michael, as we are told by John: A battle was fought with Michael the archangel.So too Gabriel, who is called God’s strength, was sent to Mary. He came to announce the One who appeared as a humble man to quell the cosmic powers. Thus God’s strength announced the coming of the Lord of the heavenly powers, mighty in battle. Raphael means, as I have said, God’s remedy, for when he touched Tobit’s eyes in order to cure him, he banished the darkness of his blindness. Thus, since he is to heal, he is rightly called God’s remedy."

Saturday, September 27, 2008


I had the chance to revisit RCIA last Thursday - this time as a guest speaker. Man was it weird to me. Since RCIA is in our chapel/library of the Newman Center, it is in the same place each year. Sitting there with all those candidates and catechumens (this was the first class and we already had over 15 - about half of which had never been baptized! That means we're on target to break last year's 24 candidates and catechumens!) flooded back vivid memories of my first day in RCIA last November; the nervousness, the paranoia of not knowing what you are doing. All that passed very quickly in the hands of our Deacon and the Catechism.

I almost broke down in tears thinking about how badly I wanted to get finished with the process last year and start taking the Eucharist. And now I'm here, and can even share experiences with others! There was another former Sunday School teacher (like me) in the class. I got to talk to him quite a bit after I shared my experiences and background.

Anyway, please pray for candidates and catechumens everywhere.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Journey Home

I was watching the latest episode of The Journey Home (and for you Protestants who read my blog, there are episodes out there for just about every denomination under the sun, including several former CoC ministers who have been on) and Marcus Grodi, the host, did a special where he shared 10 verses that he came across during his Spiritual Journey that just stuck out in his mind and made him think deeply about himself as an evangelical Presbyterian. I encourage you to listen to the whole program, but I just wanted to share the verses, encourage you to read them, and maybe share a reflection or two of my own. I'll use the NAB version. My comments in red.

Prov. 3:5,6: Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your path.

This passage struck both he and I because as "sola scriptura" Christians, we had both relied on our own understanding and knowledge of scriptures and our personal interpretations (informed of course by our own traditions, but we wouldn't admit that).

I Tim 3:15: But if I should be delayed, you should know how to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of truth. .

Again, what is the pillar and foundation of truth? Not the Bible alone, but rather the Church, the guardian of sacred scripture. This also ties in a lot with my discoveries concerning the Canon of scripture and its development when I was in my "conversion" process.

II Tim 3:14-17: But you, remain faithful to what you have learned and believed, because you know from whom you learned it, and that from infancy you have known (the) sacred scriptures, which are capable of giving you wisdom for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for refutation, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that one who belongs to God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

The fact that Paul is talking about the Old Testament scriptures is kind of mind blowing when you think of the context this scripture is generally used in.

II Thes 2:15: Therefore, brothers, stand firm and hold fast to the traditions that you were taught, either by an oral statement or by a letter of ours.

The two parts of Sacred Tradition stand here in this verse side by side - Oral Tradition and Sacred Scripture, both intrusted to the Church as the Pillar and Foundation of Truth.

Matt 16:13-19: Jesus said to him in reply, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."

I always wondered later why I fought so hard against Jesus saying this was Peter he was founding the Church on since 1) He names him Rock and says he will build his Church on the rock (in his native tongue there is no masculine/feminine distinction btw, and the Greek would be proper to use both in that sentence structure even when talking about the same person) 2) Other scriptures show us the Church is founded on the Apostles and Prophets with Christ being the chief cornerstone, and 3) Ever wonder what he could bind and loose and why it happened on Earth before it happened in Heaven?

John 14:15,16: And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth, which the world cannot accept, because it neither sees nor knows it. But you know it, because it remains with you, and will be in you.

Interesting that the Holy Spirit would be with the Church always! It didn't leave after the first century and stop guiding the Church.

Rev 14:13: I heard a voice from heaven say, "Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on." "Yes," said the Spirit, "let them find rest from their labors, for their works accompany them.

Our works accompany us to Heaven?! BTW, Marcus points out that this is part of the Presbyterian Funeral liturgy. I had no idea but that is interesting.

John 15:4: Remain in me, as I remain in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me.

The same word remain is sometimes translated "abide". This same word is used in John 6:56 where he tells us how to abide in him: Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.

Col 1:24: Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the church,

I'm still meditating on this one myself. Not sure what I have comprehended so far.

Luke 1:46-49: And Mary said: "My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior. For he has looked upon his handmaid's lowliness; behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed.

On a more personal level, I've sometimes thought about how in the CoC Mary was so disregarded and ignored. I wonder if that might be why so many women feel disrespected who have left or are still in the CoC. I think a relationship with our Blessed Mother is a key step towards understanding the wonders of women and a true love for their suffering and work for God.

Now go listen to the whole show because he's a lot better than I am !

Cultural Commentary

I ran into this story and was once again thinking that this is what we relegate our babies too in a culture of abortion, trash.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Pray for us

Mel writes: "Still trying to work through the "pray for us" part of the Hail Mary. I've read quite a bit and have even started another blog as a place for "book reports." Any suggestions? It may all boil down to a matter of faith in the Marian doctrines, which I do not have." in the comments of the post below this one. Thought I would just try to answer this a tiny bit.

First, I think you can separate this idea of praying for us from other Marian teachings like her perpetual virginity, immaculate conception, assumption, coronation, etc. This one really has little to do with that, although those might all be reasons why we might choose to ask Mary for her intercessions. This idea revolves directly around the idea of "communion of the Saints".

We believe that those who are Saints are with God. That being said, we ask them for their prayers on our behalf. The best example that I think helps someone understand is how we ask our friends and neighbors to pray for us. I might ask Mel to pray for me, and likewise she might ask me. But, because of their being in Heaven with God and the nature of their lives, they are especially close to us all (being in communion with the whole Church includes those saints who have passed out of this life and into the next) and because of that special relationship we ask them for their prayers on our behalf. All this, of course, works through God's grace. Our Lady, as the Mother of Christ, has a special position where of course he would want to listen to her requests - we can see this in the wedding feast at Cana. That makes her often beseeched by those in need.

During the Easter Vigil (and hopefully as individuals we pray this more often), we pray the Litany of the Saints (responses in black, and this can differ a tiny bit):

Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.
God the Father of Heaven,
have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world,
have mercy on us.
God the Holy Spirit,
have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God,
have mercy on us.
Holy Mary,
pray for us.
Holy Mother of God,
pray for us.
Holy Virgin of virgins,
pray for us.
St. Michael,
pray for us.
St. Gabriel,
pray for us.
St. Raphael,
pray for us.
All you holy Angels and Archangels,
pray for us.
All you holy orders of blessed Spirits,
pray for us.
St. John the Baptist,
pray for us.
St. Joseph,
pray for us.
All you holy Patriarchs and Prophets,
pray for us.
St. Peter,
pray for us.
St. Paul,
pray for us.
St. Andrew,
pray for us.
St. James,
pray for us.
St. John,
pray for us. .
St. Thomas,
pray for us.
St. James,
pray for us.
St. Philip,
pray for us. .
St. Bartholomew,
pray for us.
St. Matthew,
pray for us.
St. Simon,
pray for us.
St. Thaddeus,
pray for us.
St. Matthias,
pray for us.
St. Barnabas,
pray for us.
St. Luke,
pray for us.
St. Mark,
pray for us.
All you holy Apostles and Evangelists,
pray for us.
All you holy Disciples of the Lord,
pray for us.
All you holy Innocents,
pray for us.
St. Stephen,
pray for us.
St. Lawrence,
pray for us.
St. Vincent,
pray for us.
Sts. Fabian and Sebastian,
pray for us. .
Sts. John and Paul,
pray for us. .
Sts. Cosmas and Damian,
pray for us.
Sts. Gervase and Protase,
pray for us.
All you holy Martyrs,
pray for us.
St. Sylvester,
pray for us.
St. Gregory,
pray for us. .
St. Ambrose,
pray for us.
St. Augustine,
pray for us.
St. Jerome,
pray for us.
St. Martin,
pray for us.
St. Nicholas,
pray for us.
All you holy Bishops and Confessors,
pray for us.
All you holy Doctors,
pray for us.
St. Anthony,
pray for us.
St. Benedict,
pray for us.
St. Bernard,
pray for us.
St. Dominic,
pray for us.
St. Francis,
pray for us.
All you holy Priests and Levites,
pray for us.
All you holy Monks and Hermits,
pray for us.
St. Mary Magdalen,
pray for us.
St. Agatha,
pray for us.
St. Lucy,
pray for us.
St. Agnes,
pray for us.
St. Cecilia,
pray for us.
St. Catherine,
pray for us.
St. Anastasia,
pray for us.
All you holy Virgins and Widows,
pray for us.
All you Holy Men and Women, Saints of God,
make intercession for us.
Be merciful,
spare us, O Lord. .
Be merciful,
graciously hear us, O Lord. .
From all evil, O Lord,
deliver us.
From all sin,
deliver us.
From your wrath,
deliver us.
From sudden and unprovided death,
deliver us.
From the snares of the devil,
deliver us.
From anger, and hatred, and all ill-will,
deliver us.
From the spirit of fornication,
deliver us.
From lightning and tempest,
deliver us.
From the scourge of earthquake,
deliver us.
From plague, famine and war,
deliver us.
From everlasting death,
deliver us.
Through the mystery of your holy Incarnation,
deliver us.
Through your Coming,
deliver us.
Through your Nativity,
deliver us.
Through your Baptism and holy Fasting,
deliver us.
Through your Cross and Passion,
deliver us.
Through your Death and Burial,
deliver us.
Through your holy Resurrection,
deliver us.
Through your admirable Ascension,
deliver us.
Through the coming of the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete,
In the day of judgment,
deliver us.
We sinners,
we beseech you, hear us.
That you would spare us,
we beseech you, hear us.
That you would pardon us,
we beseech you, hear us.
That you would bring us to true penance,
we beseech you, hear us.
That you would deign to govern and preserve your holy Church,
we beseech you, hear us.
That you would deign to preserve our Apostolic Prelate, and all orders of the Church in holy religion,
we beseech you, hear us.
That you would deign to humble the enemies of Holy Church,
we beseech you, hear us.
That you would deign to give peace and true concord to Christian kings and princes,
we beseech you, hear us.
That you would deign to grant peace and unity to all Christian people,
we beseech you, hear us.
That you would deign to call back to the unity of the Church all who have strayed from the truth and lead all unbelievers to the light of the Gospel,
we beseech you, hear us.
That you would deign to confirm and preserve us in your holy service,
we beseech you, hear us.
That you would lift up our minds to heavenly desires,
we beseech you, hear us.
That you would render eternal blessings to all our benefactors,
we beseech you, hear us.
That you would deliver our souls and the souls of our brethren, relations and benefactors, from eternal damnation,
we beseech you, hear us.
That you would deign to give and preserve the fruits of the earth,
we beseech you, hear us.
That you would deign to grant eternal rest to all the faithful departed,
we beseech you, hear us.
That you would deign graciously to hear us,
we beseech you, hear us.
Son of God,
we beseech you, hear us.
Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world,
spare us, O Lord. .
Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world,
graciously hear us, O Lord. .
Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world,
have mercy on us. .
Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

Mary, Mother of God

How much do you love your mother? Very much assuming she is a wonderful Mother like most are. That being said, what would you do for her? Everything in the world.

That got me to thinking about Mary. I had a mother who left when I was 2 years old. I have only seen her 3-4 times since then. A terrible mother. Christ's mother loved him and cared for him his entire life, even until the cross where she sat at the foot and mourned him. How much does he love her? How hard would he try to do whatever she asks? Obviously from the Wedding Feast at Cana and thereafter, we see that he tried his hardest to do everything for her, something natural to a son who loves his mother. When we ask for her intercession, who better could we go to to ask her son for a favor? No one. And the entire prayer focuses on her son, who allows her to be sinless.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.

Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God,

Pray for us Sinners, Now and at the Hour of Our Death.


Monday, September 1, 2008

The Holy Father's Prayer Intentions

Pope Benedict's prayer intentions for September:
General That those who are forced to leave home and country because of war or oppression may be supported by Christians in the defense and protection of their rights.
Mission That faithful to the sacrament of matrimony, every Christian family may cultivate the values of love and communion in order to be a small evangelizing community, sensitive and open to the material and spiritual needs of others.

Please pray for these things.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Jesus Image REALLY IS Seen on the Wings of a Moth

Ok. Jesus isn't on this moth like a painting. Instead, we should see his image in all of his Creation. Every animal, including the amazing moth actually shows his image.

I've been extremely busy catching up with work this week, this was just my quick thought I wanted to share.

Monday, August 25, 2008

St. Louis of France

St. Louis is one of my favorite Saints. Something about the fact that he was a King and yet spent so much of his life seeking God and trying to reform the country into a better place. I wish we had more politicians today who put Christian values first and try to reform our state into something God would be pleased with - something that loves and respects everyone in society.

Sunday, August 24, 2008


So, over the last couple of days (Friday night and Saturday), we held a young adults retreat here at our parish. What an event. It was so wonderful and drew us so close with each other and more importantly with God, that I just thought I would share the schedule of events, in this order:

Friday's Daily Mass
Opening Prayer
Knights of Columbus/Catholic Daughters provided Dinner and talked about service activities
Lectio Divina
Praying the Rosary
Cooking Breakfast with Each Other
Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament for an hour
A short talk on service and discussion of our service activities in the past
Cooking Lunch for the Homeless
Catholic Jeopardy
Journaling about Our Experiences over the Weekend
Each member of the retreat prayed over each other individual who attended
Our Priest laid his hands on us and prayed over us and blessed us.
We ended with the Vigil Mass.

What an experience!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Why I boycott the Olympics

I cannot, in good conscience support the Olympic games and have tried my best to ignore coverage of them in the media and watch them on television. The human rights violations being perpetrated by the Chinese government are immense. Some might criticize this decision of mine, because the United States is also obviously a violator. Would I watch an Olympics here? Probably so. Unfortunately these Olympics have become a great burden on the Chinese citizens who care about the human rights of their fellow countrymen, this article even describes two older women who were arrested for petitioning to protest in an area set up by the government for that purpose.

I was also somewhat disappointed in Pope Benedict's comments leading up to the Olympics and felt he really should have taken a much harder line stand on it, but he probably knows better than I do.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Abandoned Baby Might be Put to Death

Did that headline shock you? I saw this on CNN and thought that's what I was reading. As a sad commentary on society, I said to myself "I should have expected they would start doing this to babies after they came out of the womb sooner or later." Luckily, it was a whale and not a human being.