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.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Wonderful Act of Contrition

I think Psalm 51 is a wonderful Act of Contrition for use during the sacrament of reconciliation. I'm going to post it in it's whole and encourage you to read, pray, and reflect on this Psalm:

Have mercy on me, God, in your kindness.
In your compassion blot out my offense.
O wash me more and more from my guilt
and cleanse me from my sin.

My offenses truly I know them;
my sin is always before me.
Against you, you alone, have I sinned;
what is evil in your sight I have done.

That you may be justified when you give sentence
and be without reproach when you judge.
O see, in guilt I was born,
a sinner was I conceived.

Indeed you love truth in the heart;
then in the secret of my heart teach me wisdom.
O purify me, then I shall be clean;
O wash me, I shall be whiter than snow.

Make me hear rejoicing and gladness
that the bones you have crushed may thrill.
From my sins turn away your face
and blot out all my guilt.

A pure heart create for me, O God,
put a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from your presence,
nor deprive me of your holy spirit.

Give me again the joy of your help;
with a spirit of fervor sustain me,
that I may teach transgressors your ways
and sinners may return to you.

O rescue me, God, my helper,
and my tongue shall ring out your goodness.
O Lord, open my lips
and my mouth shall declare your praise.

For in sacrifice you take no delight,
burnt offering from me you would refuse;
my sacrifice, a contrite spirit,
a humbled, contrite heart you will not spurn.

In your goodness, show favor to Zion;
rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.
Then you will be pleased with lawful sacrifice,
(burnt offerings wholly consumed),
then you will be offered young bulls on your altar.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen

Monday, August 18, 2008

Medical Science Versus Religion?

In another odd and peculiar story on CNN, we see the media once again trying to draw a distinction between medical science and faith that does not really exist.

Perhaps most disturbing is the quote

"Sise, a Catholic doctor working in a Catholic hospital, said miracles don't happen when medical evidence shows death is near.

"That's just not a realistic situation," he said."

First of all, I agree with the premise that doctors should lay the scientific cards on the table and tell family when something is very, very unlikely. But, to say that miracles don't happen AT ALL? That's obviously not true. Check out this story for instance. I'm kind of disturbed that a "Catholic doctor" said this.

Scraps from the Tables

Sunday's Gospel:

At that time, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon.
And behold, a Canaanite woman of that district came and called out,
“Have pity on me, Lord, Son of David!
My daughter is tormented by a demon.”
But Jesus did not say a word in answer to her.
Jesus’ disciples came and asked him,
“Send her away, for she keeps calling out after us.”
He said in reply,
“I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
But the woman came and did Jesus homage, saying, “Lord, help me.”
He said in reply,
“It is not right to take the food of the children
and throw it to the dogs.”
She said, “Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps
that fall from the table of their masters.”
Then Jesus said to her in reply,
“O woman, great is your faith!
Let it be done for you as you wish.”
And the woman’s daughter was healed from that hour.
Reflecting on this gospel, it made me think about the relationship between Catholics and Protestants. While the Catholic/Orthodox Church has all seven sacraments to receive God's Grace through, our Protestant brothers and sisters only have 2 (Baptism and Marriage). They do not get the "full feast" that we receive in the sacraments. At the same time, many of them have great faith, and as such, like the woman Jesus talks to here, they get part of that grace through the sacraments and other religious experiences (prayer, worship services, Bible Reading, etc.). Likewise, we should not limit what God would do for these individuals or belittle them as less than ourselves. As Christ said, "Let it be done for you as you wish".

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Paganism and Ecumenicalism

Seraphina and I were talking the other day about the Church's stance on other religions (non-Christian, Muslim, or Jewish), and how it synchs with Sacred Scripture. It seems as though God condemns paganism and idolatry over and over in the Bible. How then, could we say that something good comes out of these religions, especially since they do not know God? How is there a possibility (and how slight would it be?) that some in those religions might be saved.

Well, looking at the Scriptures, we noticed that many times God isn't condemning the fact that they don't know him as much as he is the fruits of that religion. In other words, what was so wrong with Paganism? As Romans 1 describes, it led to rampant immorality, something that God really hated.

Looking at other religions around the world, we can see that some (take Buddhism for instance) will have many elements that actually push people to do good and show love to their fellow man. These are the elements of religion that come from God. He does not condemn them for their good works. Ignorance in and of itself may not be the fault of the individual either. God's grace may be able to reach these individuals because they find God through Creation and see the inherent wrongness of immorality. Will they come into fullness with Christ? We can pray, but leave the judgment up to God himself. The wickedness of false religion comes in the downfall of morals that can so easily happen with it, but we shouldn't overlook the positives of other religions as well...

Sunday, August 10, 2008


This morning at mass, the Gospel acclamation was as follows:

Alleluia, Alleluia. I wait for the Lord, my soul waits for his word. Alleluia, alleluia.

As the Deacon holds up the Gospels in preparation for reading, I was just holding my breath, waiting for him to proclaim the living Word of God. Think about the acclamation. We wait for Christ in his Second coming, but even more immediately his presence in the Eucharist, but our souls are dying to hear him proclaimed through the Gospel, which is the Word of God, which is Him!

"Who else shall we go to? We know you have the words of Life!"

Reflections on Morning Prayer

Have you ever stayed on the beach where you can look out of your balcony and see the ocean? That's the position I'm in this week. This morning in the Psalmody, we prayed Psalm 93 in the Liturgy of the Hours while sitting out on the balcony. One of the verses in Psalm 93: "Greater than the roar of mighty waters, more glorious than the surgings of the sea, the Lord is glorious on high." When you actually pray that, looking out over how powerful and amazing the ocean really is, it strikes you in a special way. Our God is a powerful, loving, and gracious God. Talk about a good way to get me in the mood to go received the Eucharist at mass in an hour or so!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Evening Prayer

I just finished Evening Prayer. I would like to comment on the Magnificat, because it stuck out to me the most during the Liturgy of the Hours today. Specifically I would like to discuss how Mary's prayer is a wonderful model prayer for us as Christians today.

My soul magnifies the Lord,
And my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.

This is the ultimate of what we can do as Christians. Our praise and worship are really why we were created and why we have such wonderful blessings that will follow in the prayer. We should remember to keep this in our minds always and always be thankful for everything that happens to us, even when we don't think it is for the best. Christ's sacrifice and becoming our savior is so wonderful that we should constantly be thinking about the Invitatory to the hours: "Lord, Open my Lips and My Mouth Will Proclaim Your Praise".

For He has regarded the low estate of His handmaiden,

Indeed, how low are we without Christ?

For behold, henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.

Like the Mother of God, won't we always be called blessed by future generations of people for being chosen as his sanctified and priestly people?

For He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name. And His mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation.

The sacrifice he has done for us clearly shows his mercy towards us, and is the source of why we will always be his blessed people.

He has shown strength with His arm:
He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.

He has put down the mighty from their thrones,
and exalted those of low degree.

Think about what he did to the Roman Empire as prophesied in Daniel! And, he takes someone like humble fisherman and turns them into his Apostles. Note how they were spoken of by the educated Jews of the time. It's fascinating that a simple fisherman could be given the position to lead the early Church like Peter was. Likewise, he will lift us up if we humble ourselves before him. Pride goes before a fall, and as a Church we should remember to always seek out his mercy and grace, especially through the sacraments.

He has filled the hungry with good things;
and the rich He has sent empty away.
He has helped His servant Israel, in remembrance of His mercy;
As He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to His posterity forever.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen

Friday, August 8, 2008


Pray for Seraphina and I. We are on our first day of vacation. We have internet, and I hope to have it for the rest of the week. If so, you will get my reflections on the prayer and conversation we have during the week. I'm going to be praying the Liturgy of the Hours as much as possible. Probably some rosary and some Lectio Divina (Meditative Scripture Reading) in there too.

Peace be with you!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Prayer of Unity

Since I've had about 50% of my comments here by my Protestant Brothers and Sisters, I thought it would be wonderful if we would all commit ourselves to praying John 17 together with a pure heart and with the intention that God lead us all where we need to go. Pray, friends, that we can all be one body and glorify the Father through his Son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Our Lady of Fatima

Since this topic came up recently in discussions, I'd like to discuss Our Lady of Fatima - the event when Our Mother Mary appeared to people in Fatima.

Before I was Catholic, this story seemed incredulous to me. How could they claim that the Virgin Mary really showed up in Fatima? If you aren't familiar with the story, I highly recommend you go read about it.

I set out to quickly prove that this could never have happened. I mean, it didn't sync with anything in my faith at the time. Of course, the best option for me was to turn to scientific skeptics - the same people who refute things like the resurrection of Christ. I knew, doctrinally, that Mary could never have appeared to these people nor could they have seen what they supposedly did. 70,000 people witnessed something incredible there, not an easy thing to explain.

Unfortunately, I could not come to a good conclusion. I finally concluded that the best explanation for Fatima was "mass hallucination'. I publicly told people that's what I believed happened at Fatima. People were so in tune to wanting to see it that they actually did. The prophecies that were fulfilled (such as one sister dying after all the rest) were merely coincidental.

Now I look back on this and wonder why I could come to this conclusion. I so desperately wanted to believe that it was all fake, but couldn't do it in a logical fashion. Maybe you can, but I will forever be a true believer in Fatima.

Daily Mass

To those who read Joseph and I's blog, I encourage you to attend Daily Mass! 

Monday, August 4, 2008

Vain and Repetitious Prayer

Once upon at time, I was taught and believed that Catholics prayed "vain and repetitious prayers". Obviously they had to because they relied so much on written prayers - their entire liturgy (ok, maybe I didn't realize this much) was formed using set prayers for given occasions, they prayed the rosary (repeating the Hail Mary), many times they used personal prayer books with written prayers...oh my, how much more could they do?

At the same time, my prayer life was pretty pathetic. As a Protestant, one of my worst habits was my lack of a real, substantial prayer life. It wasn't because I didn't want to have one. I really did. I prayed in the morning, before meals, before bed, during Church services, etc. The real problem was that my prayers were vain and repetitious. I couldn't think of anything except the standard prayer and I would pray the same ones all the time! Even if I had a special intention, I'd just stick it obtusely into my form prayer.

Then I became Catholic. WHAM! It hit me up side the head like a 2X4. The prayers had so much depth, there were so many thousands of them, and they were all so beautiful when you paid attention to the words, focusing you on Christ. I realized that the very Catholic prayers that I thought were so vain actually turned out to kick me out of my own dry repetitious prayer. I especially think about this when I pray the Liturgy of the Hours.

Please Note: I am not taking up the doctrinal question of vain and repetitious here. Thus, I won't go into detail about how the Psalms were prayers of the Faithful, how songs that we sing are prayers, how scripture reading is a form of prayer, how Christ was specifically targeting a Pagan practice when he referred to Vain and Repetitious prayers, etc. All that is for another time I guess.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

The Beauty of the Mass

Just wanted to think out loud a little about a comment I made earlier. It seems like no matter how bad your day might be or no matter what might be getting you down, going to the Mass always lifts me up. I would say that this is probably true of all forms of worship, but sadly I know better. I can remember times when it was a burden to drag myself to certain services because of fighting, the lack of a good message, the relative unimportance I placed on hearing a 90 minute sermon with versus 2 minutes of the important "The Lord's Supper". Please note here that I am not saying this is the case in every other type of worship besides Catholic. I know that out there people take a lot out of various types of worship, and all types of honest worship are in some sense good.

As I stated earlier, I am a fan of short homilies (sermons). I love how Catholics keep them relatively short because it helps focus my mind on the two important parts of the Mass (the way it is divided) - the Liturgy of the Word (3 Bible readings, usually one Old Testament, one New Testament, and the most important - The Gospel!) and the Liturgy of the Eucharist (where we make the Eucharistic Sacrifice and consume Christ's body and blood!).

The wonderful thing about this mass is that within about 3 years (if you go to daily mass, at least) you will hear the entire Bible. You hear all of one gospel every year (Matthew, Mark, or Luke) and also parts of John during each year.

Since it is a liturgical form of worship, there are strict rules on the worship that help to maintain at least basic consistency from time to time, to focus our minds on the most important things (The Holy Trinity, and especially Christ).

I'm absolutely beaming each time I leave!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Stewards of Our Bodies

As much as I heard in the Protestant Church about not drinking alcohol and not smoking, we rarely heard about what is probably an even more severe health problem, gluttony. With the majority (Around 65%!) of the country being overweight, and almost 35% being obese, we have opened our bodies to incredible risk of heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, etc. etc. etc. Something I love about the Catholic Church is that it puts a more balanced emphasis on all these things. You can have a glass of wine with dinner, but you should not torture your body with 100 Cheeseburgers a day.

With that in mind, I'm slightly overweight (not obese) and Seraphina was nearing the max of her healthy weight. We decided to shed some pounds and eat healthier foods. Please pray for us and keep us in your hearts.

Being a good steward of your body is important to God!

Edit by Seraphina:
If you're curious about what Joseph and I are eating, I'm keeping track of it on my other blog.

Six Quirks - Religious Style

I was tagged by Sara. Some of these will overlap other things that I have said in the past. Anyway, here are my six religious quirks.

1) When I take the Body of Christ by hand, I feel like I have particles stuck on my hand, so I always have to take it by mouth.

2) I love kneeling and think we should kneel through the entire service.

3) I only like to worship in older style architectural buildings.

4) Organ music makes me giddy.

5) I want to slap everyone who talks during mass.

6) I like mass to be as long as possible, while I prefer the Homily to be as short and to the point as possible. I think that keeps our focus on the Gospel and the Eucharist.