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 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. "