Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Latin Prayers and their Translations

This site include a great number of Latin prayers and their English translations. I'm happy to see some of these that we don't use often in our daily lives. Take a look and hopefully they will enrich your life as well. Thanks to Soutenus for sharing these!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


A lot of discussion has gone into what an indulgence really is. Of course, it is NOT buying a chicken bone said to be that of St. Peter (which may or may not have been a serious abuse in the Catholic Church in the middle ages.) Instead, it is the remittance of temporal punishment for sin, and it comes in two forms - plenary and partial. Take a look at this from EWTN. It might be the best discussion of such I have ever seen. It also is definitely not easy, because who can honestly say their heart is completely removed from all attachment or desire for sin?

Spirit of Ecumencism

In the spirit of ecumenicism, as we draw advent to a close, read this great story about a Protestant minister and member of Congress willing to stand up for moral values. It strengthens my feeling that all Christians need more than ever to unify under Christ.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Continuing the Absurd

Recently, my wife was taking photographs for a journal of a child who lives down the street from us. She was still pregnant at the time, and the girl asked her how many children she would like to have. Jokingly, she said "oh, about seven or eight". Her mother jumped into the conversation to say "Don't you care about the world's population?"

This attitude has been developing for some time in our world. The fight against the unborn is following the same trend, as contraception and abortion are not being seen as a way to control climate change and make the world "a better place". We have probably all heard of the monstrous abuses conducted in China in the name of population control, but as Catholic online reports, it seems to be spreading. It's time for us as Catholics to stand up to this kind of nonsense.

Sometimes Catholics will say that they don't need to hear about abortion because it isn't applicable to their lives, so it should be kept out of homilies. They ignore the fact that all of us, even if we aren't having abortions personally, have a responsibility to use our money, time, writing,prayer, and other resources to fight against abortion, contraception, and population control.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Grey Areas

Fr. Andrew spoke in his homily this morning about grey areas and the Church. Sometimes when we think about what constitutes a sin or how to live our lives, or what is a mortal sin, we see grey areas. We wonder "how far can I go with this without it being sin?" Fr. Andrew correctly pointed out in his homily this morning that God - through his Word, but even more so through the Church has been specific as to what is right and wrong - so if we are talking about sexual issues (contraception, homosexuality, sex before marriage, etc.), life issues (abortion, euthanasia, etc.), or even the 10 commandments, the Church clearly defines right and wrong. Grey areas are things that we manufacture, many times in order to avoid responsibility for doing right when it seems burdensome or the cross seems too heavy.

I thought it was a very good homily. Now if only we could figure out one spelling for grey (gray) in English...

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

News of the Bizarre

Catholic Online reports that Barbara Boxer (obviously as nutty if not more so than Nancy Pelosi, but at least not Catholic) has compared abortion to Viagra. Well, Barbara, I will gladly give up my insurance discount for Viagra if you will give up insurance paying for abortion. I promise.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Happy Advent!

I hope everyone's Advent is going well! I had a few (well, technically two) thoughts and reflections today during our monthly Parish Catechesis.

Advent, is a time of waiting for the coming of our Savior Jesus Christ - not only in the sense of commemoration of His physical birth on Earth in Bethlehem, but also symbolically of his Second Coming. Thus, it is a time of anxiety, of restlessness, of awaiting hope to come.

I feel that the Advent Wreath does a very good job of personifying this in the candles we light each week. Slowly the darkness peels away, until the crescendo builds to Christmas Day, when our Lord and Savior was born.

My second thought was regarding the Blessed Virgin Mary. Today, we were read the Nativity Story, and told to attempt to personify ourselves as something present (I chose the perspective of the straw in the barn - but that's irrelevant). Our priest was remarking how all mothers could identify with Mary as a mother. This got me thinking about the anxiety our Blessed Mother must have felt throughout her pregnancy! I began to reflect on my own anxiety when preparing for my first baby - all of the shopping, decorating, and doctor appointments. However, I did not have to even consider, or try to understand, that I would be giving birth to the Savior of the World! How brave Mary was, and how much strength she must have embodied. Can you imagine if you were told that the child in your womb was destined to be the President of the United States? Now consider the task and responsibility of Mary the Mother of God!

Oh Blessed Mother Mary, pray for us.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Hebrews Chapter 3

Sorry I'm so slow about this, but here go my notes on Hebrews Chapter 3:

vs 1 - We need to see the word "confession" here as something somewhat deeper as Catholics...it incorporates all that we believe. Christ is the high priest of it all. "Confession" here reminds me of "profession" such as we do of the Creed at every mass.

vs 7-11 - these verses are extremely important (quoted from the Psalms) to Catholics. Every priest, deacon, and religious sister and brother in the world says these words every single day in the invitatory of the Liturgy of the Hours. That is how important they are to us. We can never lose faith and harden our hearts. We have a responsibility to the world to show forth the true light of Faith even in the face of adversity and in the world we live in where our Faith is ridiculed and persecuted.

vs 12+ - The author reflects here on the Psalm and its meaning to us as Christians. As we "share in Christ" through the Eucharist, his precious body and blood is given to us every mass and make us one with him - we become his Body through that Eucharist. With the graces we receive from that sacrament, how much more must we as Catholics not all into the hardening of hearts and unbelief we see in the story of the Jewish people following Moses.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

A Victory for Catholics!

Well, I don't want to exaggerate the extent of how we were involved, but all three major TV news sources (CNN, FOX, and MSNBC) reported that the Catholic Church was a heavy hand in negotiating with the House of Representatives including speaker Nancy Pelosi on the Health Care bill. It ended up that thanks to their efforts (again according to the news, we had a major impact) and to Democrats who were moral enough to stand up against abortion funding in the health care bill, we passed an amendment to limit funding to very specific cases (rape, incest, life of mother). Although I still can't support a bill that allows any abortions at all, at least the Church was active enough to bring this issue to the forefront and win a minor victory. Continue to pray for a total end to abortion and give thanks to the Lord for his mercy endures forever.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Hebrews Chapter 2

Continuing my thoughts on the Book of Hebrews from a Catholic perspective:

Chapter 2:

vs 1-4: Here we see a lot of focus on "what we have heard" - the oral tradition of the Early Church. Note the progression, Christ taught the Apostles (those who witnessed him) and they founded the "Apostolic Tradition", the oral tradition that by the time Hebrews is written the entire Church understands as the teaching of God.

vs 8: I can't help but notice this verse in light of the coming "Solemnity of Christ the King" towards the end of November, the last Sunday of Ordinary time. At the end of the Church calendar, we have celebrated the entire spiritual history of God's people, and how could we end in a more fitting manner than recognizing Christ as King, he whom the Father has "subjected all things and put them under his feet". This is especially important as we recognize Advent season coming up where we look not only for the coming of Christ's birth in the Church calendar, but also of his real second coming at the end of time.

vs 10,18: These two verses are some of those in the New Testament that reveal the Catholic idea of suffering and how we are perfected through that suffering. Not just Christ suffers for us, but as we suffer (except of course in punishment for wrongdoing), we share in the suffering of Christ in some deep and mysterious way.

vs. 14-15: I like to use these verses to reflect on the "mystery of faith" that we proclaim as a parish during each mass. Specifically, one of these four responses is "Dying you destroyed our death, rising you restored our life, Lord Jesus come in Glory". Very similar to the message in the latter part of vs. 14 and vs 15

vs 17: Christ is "Our High Priest". This makes me think quite a bit about our priesthood as individuals, but also those called to separate themselves from the world and become our pastors, bishops, and other clergy. Thinking about how we all serve and offer sacrifice in some way as priests (again with that distinction between what clergy do and what the laity do, but remembering that we are all priests and that is because we all offer sacrifice at mass of the Body and Blood of Christ to God the Father) but that Christ is our High Priest, at our head and obviously strongly involved in offering his own body and blood to the Father.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


I've been extremely busy lately. Let's see - work has taken me out of town for 3 of the last 4 weekends, the baby is growing at a tremendous rate, we just celebrated the 100th anniversary of our parish with the Bishop presiding over the mass! Shew....I need to get back on track in studying the book of Hebrews here. I really didn't forget about it.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Hebrews Chapter 1

Hebrews Chapter 1 seems to be a great defense of the deity of Christ. Obviously, the writer here contrasts Christ with the Angles and shows his superiority over them. - Vs 13 "But to what angel has he ever said, Sit at my right hand, till I make your enemies a stool for your feet". The writer also defends Christ's position as God by talking about how Christ was around since the beginning and through whom all things are created (vs. 2) and that he will be there till the end of time reigning in power with God the Father. And, finally, the writer acknowledges Christ as the Word of God (vs 1).

This is a great Chapter to show people who say "Christ is never called God in the Bible" - although you might want to start with his own statements where he calls himself God. They are usually the agnostic crowd who want to make the "Jesus was a good man" argument.

This reminds me of a few Catholic practices and prayers that I want to share with you, because I believe they fit so well with the theme of Hebrews 1:

1) The Glory Be - one of the most common prayers we as Catholics say, during the Liturgy of the Hours and the Rosary as well as in our day to day life. Glory Be to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, as it was in the Beginning, Is Now, and will be forever, Amen. This prayer also reflects the eternal nature of God - and the Trinity of which Christ is a part, making him true God.

2) Words from the Creed -
"through him all things were made"
"eternally begotten of the Father"
"the only Son of God"
"God from God, Light from Light, True God from True God"
"He is seated at the right hand of the Fahter"

3) Our reverance for the Gospel. Anyone who is not Catholic ever notice that we process the book of the Gospels in with the Priest? We do that out of reverance for Christ being the Word of God, especially through the Gospels. We also many times use incense around the Gospel book, bow to it before it is read, the Priest will kiss it after proclaiming the Gospel, and kiss the spot the Gospel book will sit before it is sat on the altar. All these are loving signs of our respect for Christ as the Word of God.

So that chapter was pretty brief, but it did point to a lot of Catholic practices I wanted to mention. I hope to keep going strong on this.


I've been inspired to re-read the Book of Hebrews and blog some about my thoughts on it within the framework of the Church's teaching. I plan to begin reading tonight, but I'm not sure if I am going to do section by section, chapter by chapter, or just a single post on the entire book. We'll see, but I am looking forward to hearing some comments.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Pray for me

Say a little prayer for me. Nothing major going on, but I do need to refocus on some spiritual things after last week - which was one of the most spiritual of my life leading into last weekend. Pray that I can retain that focus. Also, I'm almost finished with a book called "Maria of Guadalupe" which I hope to share a review of soon.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

St. Peter Claver

One of the things that struck me after becoming Catholic, since I believed I was part of the one true Church of Christ, was that Catholics actually had diversity among their ranks. There is a Catholic Church (even some underground) in every country in the world, and we are filled with tons of minorities. Worshipping next to Asians, Hispanics, American Indians, and Blacks was a very moving experience to me. Yesterday's Saint, Peter Claver, is very moving in this regard, especially how he followed slaves to their plantations in order to convince their masters to treat them fairly. The follwoing is from Catholic Online:

St. Peter Claver was born at Verdu, Catalonia, Spain, in 1580, of impoverished parents descended from ancient and distinguished families. He studied at the Jesuit college of Barcelona, entered the Jesuit novitiate at Tarragona in 1602 and took his final vows on August 8th, 1604. While studying philosophy at Majorca, the young religious was influenced by St. Alphonsus Rodriguez to go to the Indies and save "millions of perishing souls."

In 1610, he landed at Cartagena (modern Colombia), the principle slave market of the New World, where a thousand slaves were landed every month. After his ordination in 1616, he dedicated himself by special vow to the service of the Negro slaves-a work that was to last for thirty-three years. He labored unceasingly for the salvation of the Africanslaves and the abolition of the Negro slave trade, and the love he lavished on them was something that transcended the natural order.

Boarding the slave ships as they entered the harbor, he would hurry to the revolting inferno of the hold, and offer whatever poor refreshments he could afford; he would care for the sick and dying, and instruct the slaves through Negro catechists before administering the Sacraments. Through his efforts three hundred thousand souls entered the Church. Furthermore, he did not lose sight of his converts when they left the ships, but followed them to the plantations to which they were sent, encouraged them to live as Christians, and prevailed on their masters to treat them humanely. He died in 1654.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Xavier is no longer a Pagan!

Just kidding by the title, but he is now a certified Catholic after today's baptism! I wanted to share a couple pictures and two letters from the Godfather and Godmother:

From the Godmother

Dear Xavier,

Welcome to the family of the Catholic Church, a family that will give you the love, support, and courage you need on your earthy journey to Heaven. As your Godmother, I'm here to help you and your parents in any ay as part of that journey. Remember to stay strong in your faith and always diligent in your prayers to lead you on the path to Heaven. Know that you are in my prayers.

God bless,


From the Godfather:
Dear Xavier Thomas,
My dear Godson, it's such a pleasure tha tyou are finally here!! I was thrilled ten months ago to hear of your expected arrival, as I am thrilled on the eve of your baptism. I wish for you a life filled with a great faith in our Lord Jesus Christ and His Church. Please know that you will be in my daily thoughts and prayers and know that if there is any way I can help you, get in touch whenever. Always honor your parents and your Lord and our Lady and you will enjoy a life of fulfillment! With prayers, I remain yours ever, with much , much love. C

So those two were indeed beautiful. Here are some pictures now (you might have to click on some of them to get them to show up full size without cutting some of the picture off, depending on your resolution):

Dad and Son:

Mom and Son:
Godparents (click to enlarge):

Fr. Andrew begins the actual Baptism:
A closeup shot:

Can't tell who is happier me or Father Andrew (click to enlarge)!

All of us with the Lord Jesus present in the tabernacle behind us (click to enlarge)!

The best part?! He STILL smells like incense from the oil of baptism! It's awesome.

An Addition from Seraphina:
I posted some additional notes and pictures over on my personal blog!

Also, today's Gospel matched beautifully. If I may share:
Mark 7:31-37

Again Jesus left the district of Tyre
and went by way of Sidon to the Sea of Galilee,
into the district of the Decapolis.
And people brought to him a deaf man who had a speech impediment
and begged him to lay his hand on him.
He took him off by himself away from the crowd. He put his finger into the man’s ears and, spitting, touched his tongue; then he looked up to heaven and groaned, and said to him, Ephphatha!”— that is, “Be opened!” — And immediately the man’s ears were opened, his speech impediment was removed, and he spoke plainly.
He ordered them not to tell anyone.
But the more he ordered them not to,
the more they proclaimed it.
They were exceedingly astonished and they said,
“He has done all things well.
He makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”
The bold emphasis (which I added), is one of the parts of a Catholic Baptism, called the Ephphatha.
The priest takes a little spittle and touches the ears and nostrils of the candidate with it. For health reasons, the use of spittle may be omitted. This rite comes from Mark 7:33-35, when Jesus healed the deaf-mute:

Priest: Ephpheta, that is to say, Be opened, for an odour of sweetness. Be thou, devil, begone; for the judgement of God shall draw near.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

The Sacramental Way

I have been reading The Sacramental Way, which are selections from papers given at the first six National Liturgical Weeks, from 1940 to 1945. So far, I have cherry picked two sections (on Baptism and The Family) and found them to be most wonderful. However, as my husband well knows, I am very bad about picking up books and never finishing them.

Thus, I am going to blog about each section - a summary if you will of morsels I find particularly interesting and/or helpful (and I hope you all will feel the same).

Also, tomorrow is our son's Baptism...we are so excited!

Faithful Magazine for Catholic Girls

I wanted to share this magazine I kind of stumbled across. A brilliant and faithful young woman in the U.K. has created a magazine for young Catholic girls. It's really an amazing thing (she accepts submissions from other young women.) If you have a young daughter, relative, or friend who is Catholic and looking for something to help her in her faith, I highly recommend this online magazine!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

St. Cecilia

Lately I have been talking about relics and the incorruptables quite a bit. The other day I was listening to the SaintCast which had a great treatment of the incorruptables. He mentioned a book called "The Incorruptables" (is there an echo in here?) by Joan Carroll Cruz. I remembered that at the local used bookstore that I had seen that book and rushed up there to buy it! On a side note, I think I keep their religion section profitable.

I wanted to share a bit about St. Cecilia (a beautiful name that we might name a daughter some day), who was the first incorruptable, and I am borrowing heavily and citing her book.

St. Cecilia was one of the early martyrs of the Church. She died in 177 A.D (maybe even early enough to get in Foxe's Book of Martyr's - before the "evil Roman Catholic Church" took over and there were no saints until 1500 A.D.) Anyhow, she was a wealthy Roman who converted to Christianity. The emperor ordered her death because she would not sacrifice to the Roman Gods and they had to do it in private since a public death of a noble person would cause quite a stir. So, they sealed her up in her sauna room in her house and tried to gas her to death in a way. This didn't work, and she lived through it, so they sent in an Axe-man to chop off her head. He saw how beautiful and young she was and lost his gusto, so he tried to chop three times, and ended up not killing her...she slowly bled to death over the next few days in prayer and he ran as quickly as possible out of the house.

Of course, all this seems like such a legendary story, one that many would say was rediculous. Then, about 822 A.D., Pope Pascal I had a vision where the saint led him to her body. He moved it and had it placed in a Church. In 1599, her coffin was discovered during the remodeling of the Church. They opened it up, and there was St. Cecilia, preserved without any evidence of decomposition and EXACTLY how this 'legend' describes her death - with the axe marks and all. It was VERY heavily documented and several medical experts examined the body and wrote about it. You can read all about it in the book. So, (and despite the fact that many relics were taken of her blood soaked clothe and fragments of bone that were shattered onto her clothing by the axeman), they put her back in the tomb where it still is today, but beforehand they got a famous sculptor Stfano Maderno to come and sculpt her body. How beautiful she was!

The most amazing thing: St. Cecilia died in a position with one finger outstretched on her left hand and three on the right hand. Any clue? She was praying about the unity of God in the Trinity! (click on the picture for the full view)

Continuing my wife's thoughts

Laurence posted over at That the Bones You have Crushed May Thrill a post that I thought went with the thoughts about feminism and children that were started by my wife in the last post. He is talking about opposition to Church teaching on contraception by Tony Blair's wife.

I especially enjoyed this paragraph:

"Cherie. Take as an example of 'progress' the Blessed Mother of God, the Virgin Mary. After all, like all 'devout' Catholics you pray to her at Mass every Sunday. If Motherhood was good enough for the Blessed Virgin Mary, who accepted graciously the honour of being the Mother of God, when asked by the Archangel Gabriel, then why is the vocation to Motherhood now being presented by you, as something that undermines a woman's career. Believe me, lady, if the Blessed Virgin had responded to the question posed by the Archangel Gabriel by saying, "Oh blast. This has come at a really bad time! You see, I really had my heart set on being a lawyer and earning a fat pile of cash out of litigation and surrounding myself with houses and the odd yacht. Could you come back in 10 years time after I've done my law training? I am the handmaid of the Lord but the Lord will understand my personal ambitions, won't he?"...then you would not have been given the great Grace of being a Catholic, and neither would I."

The crazy feminist agenda.

Being that I am a techie new mother, I read a lot of parenting blogs. I found it to be of particular note that when this story of Michelle Duggar expecting her 19th baby, the interesting backlash in the comments of individuals who felt it was necessary for her to be limited in how many children she could have (for whatever reason). Here are some examples:
really pop? congratulations to the growing family? i think it's criminal having this many children w/ global population where it is ~ who thinks these kids are going to have access to their parents with 19 of them? plus really... this is the only fulfilling thing this woman can do w/ her life? to just keep reproducing? how about nurturing the ones you have already?!?

I still say this woman is addicted to being pregnant and the attention it gets her and the breastfeeding. I just can't imagine living in a family where the only path in life you're expected to take as a female is to constantly screw and pop out babies.

And there goes the planet earth... there's absolutely no need to give birth to this many kids.

I was really pleased to see them later run this article (Does a Woman's Right to Choose Apply to Michelle Duggar?) which opens a valid point to a lot of liberal feminists.

I really don't understand why feminists work against themselves. They say that their bodies are their own, to do what they want, and yet, when women do this, but not in light of their agenda, they get mad and throw stones.

Back when I was pregnant, I had to deal with a woman who attacked me joking about having a large family even. Here's an excerpt from my original post.
Related, but not directly, is a true story that occurred last (last) Thursday. I was doing a photo shoot with a ten year old girl and her parents. The girl, who was curious about my pregnancy, proceeded to ask me genuine questions such as "When are you going to have the baby?" and "Do you know if it's a boy or a girl?". She then asked (innocently enough) "How many children do you want to have?". I responded with "Oh, I don't know. Maybe two or three...who knows, maybe eight?" with the "maybe eight" bit in a quite joking tone of voice. Her mother then gave me quite the discriminating glare and responded with "Have you not considered the world's population?".

I don't think all the peculiar glares in the world could have infuriated me any more. To begin with, this is a person who doesn't know me from a stranger down the street (perhaps that's why it was so easy to be such a rude individual to me?). Additionally, what kind of point is she trying to make? That we should regulate how many children people are allowed to have like the Republic of China? Force abortions on individuals for the "good of the nation"? To top it all off, what kind of example is she setting for her daughter?
By the way, don't even get me started on the sustainability issue of having a lot of children...if the United States didn't consume to the point of gluttony, it would fix our problems. Population control isn't the answer - it's living a more reasonable life that doesn't consist of disposable, instantaneous, culture.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Imitation is the best compliment

Check out this anti-Catholic propaganda - especially the name of the website:


I got a good kick out of that.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Protestant Misunderstanding

As usual, someone (Internet Monk - whose name I find a little odd considering his sola scriptura leanings) with absolutely no clue about why Catholics or Orthodox have a communion of Saints (and obviously no real desire to find out as he would rather bash them with his own misconceptions and misunderstanding of the role of Sacred Scripture) writes a blog article about why we shouldn't pray to Mary and belittling a little girl (or at least the theology she comes from) for not having a complete understanding of her religion. His answer, that praying to Mary wasn't in scripture, which was pretty awful, considering that Orthodox do not believe in "Sola Scriptura" for good reason and that Mary was alive during the writing of almost the entire New Testament with perhaps a couple exceptions, shouldn't be so surprising to him that it didn't work. I also guess he's never read Revelation how the saints bring the prayers up to God...but what can you do? At the very least you would think he might know why we have all the books of the Bible rather than leaving out the ones Luther cut from the Bible....


Awesome video of ordination

Maybe it's because we just went to St. Patricks in New York City, but probably just because it is awesome on its own, I wanted to share this video of ordination in the Archdiocese of New York. From Happy Catholic.

More on Relics

I thought since last night I was talking about Saints and their bodies that this morning I would share a little more about relics. Relics can be 1st, 2nd, or 3rd class. A first class relic is a piece of a Saint's body (or their body) or an instrument used in Christ's crucifixion (cross, lance, nail, etc.). A second class relic is a piece of something owned by the Saint (such as clothing) or an instrument in their passion. A 3rd class relic is when something is touched to a first or second class relic (you can make these by touching an object to the tomb of a Saint. A great website on where some really cool relics are is here. As for the Incorruptibles, there are two good websites that I found that go into great detail about the incorruption of so many saints and has images of a lot of their bodies (or in St. Cecilia's case, who was the first incorruptible, a sculptor made a wonderful replica of her body then they put it back in the tomb.) These sites can be seen here and here.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Incorruptibles

My wife and I were just talking yesterday about how interesting it is that so many of the female Catholic Saints were so beautiful. My friend Squelly posted some pictures of Saint Bernadette, one of the "Incorruptables" (which include St. Francis Xavier!) whose bodies have never corrupted for one reason or another (I would say miraculous as would most, but the Vatican does not take an official stance on it). Look how beautiful she is (and click on the picture to see a larger version). What a wonderful and awesome evidence to our Faith. (Also I do recognize that her face and hands are "wax molds" but that doesn't change what they are images of)

I love my Pastor

Just a brief post, because I am thinking about it right now. I absolutely love our Priest, Father Andrew. He is brutally honest, sometime he says things that are kind of strange to most listeners, I believe, but that is part of his European background. However, I truly wish that everyone I talk to could hear his homilies every week, especially those I talk to who are not Catholic. He brings out such beautiful and wonderful points from the readings each week, and he is very honest about the Church, it's infallible teachings, and our relationship with the Protestant Church. I'm so thankful we found him.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Review: Divine Office for Dodos

So, I don't feel like too much of a Dodo, per se, but I did feel that although I am now very comfortable with the Liturgy of the Hours (Divine Office) that there were a few rough edges that I needed to iron out. This book is absolutely fantastic! The author does a wonderful job of explaining exactly how the office is prayed and irons out even the most minute of the confusing details. If you pray the office or are thinking about it, pick up her book and give it a read. It is almost like an easy to read instruction manual for the Liturgy of the Hours.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Two Thoughts

First, the Lutheran (Evangelical) Church has decided to follow in the footsteps of the Anglican mother Church in allowing openly gay priests within their midsts (although I'm not even sure if the Anglican's have ever definitively allowed that or not). I'm praying for the more "orthodox" Lutherans (oxymoron?) that they might think about coming home to Rome. The Catholic Church is once again looking more and more like one of the only people holding out in a new cultural war (see birth control).

Secondly, in today's gospel, we see those following Christ reject him because they could not understand his teaching on the Eucharist (John 6). They reject him and leave because these teachings are hard. I was thinking about this in terms of Protestants who can't accept that they must eat of his body and blood.....Father Andrew as usual stole thoughts out of my mind for his homily. Remember Peter's great words:

Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life;
and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God."

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The all new improved mass

As have been seen on a multitude of blogs across the United States, the conference of Bishops has released the examples of what will be changed for both the assembly and celebrant in the Roman Missal - including the responses. I, for one, am a big fan. The wording goes back to the more traditional, theological wording that was used in the 1960s (in fact, my friend brought over a missal from the 60s today and we were looking at how similar the language was.) It also removes some of the more "inclusive" language that muddies the distinction between priests and laity and some of the wordage that focuses on the people rather than the object of our worship, Christ. Bravo to the Bishops for a step in the right direction.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Visitation of Sisters Religious

A lot of people are beginning to talk about the upcoming "investigation" of the Vatican into female religious orders. Obviously, the Church is ready to step in and reign in some of the sisters that happen to be out in "left field" - especially considering how low womens' religious vocations are. Over at nunblog, a nun wrote a very nice post that i think is worth a read if you are interested in the issue from a sister's perspective.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Birthday Gift

I'm not sure how long this link will last, but we decided to get Xavier a birthday gift. That's right, 25 out of 27 St. Joseph books for children! We are going to order the other two as soon as we find them...but they are very awesome. I asked earlier and continue to ask, if you have any suggestions on family meditations or childrens' resources, especially Catholic, please pass them on! Xavier and Mom continue to do WONDERFUL! Thanks be to God!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Doing Great

Thanks again everyone for all the prayers! Baptism is set for September 6!

Here's a quick picture, Mom and Baby are doing great. This is an early one right after the delivery.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Praise to You, Lord Jesus Christ, King of Endless Glory

Praise be to God! Xavier is here with us now! Our first son was born at 11:30 on Thursday, August 13.

I want to thank especially God but also the intercession of all the Saints. I probably could never remember everyone who I asked for prayers, but especially thankful to the prayers of

Blessed Mary Ever-Virgin
St. Maximillian Kolbe
St. Francis Xavier
St. Faustina
St. Gerard
St. Joseph

Also thanks to all of you who prayed for us! Say a prayer to God and to St. Maximillian (patron Saint of Pro-Life movement) about the pro-life movement and prayers that more children will be born and less killed in the womb.

Pictures maybe soon (at least from the baptism!)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Assumption of the Blessed Virgin

Well, we are getting very close to having our son. The doctor says it should be any minute now that we go into real labor (already had a couple false hopes). Since the Assumption of Mary is coming up on Saturday, I wanted to share a little note from the "Workbook for lectors and gospel readers" about the gospel for the vigil of that feast this year:

Luke 11:27-28
While Jesus was speaking, a woman from the crowd called out and said to him, "Blessed is the womb that carried you and the breasts at which you nursed." He replied, "Rather, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it."

Commentary on Gospel from the workbook:

"The two verses that compose the Gospel reading on the Vigil of the solemnity of the Assumption are found in the section of Luke that narrates the journey of Jesus and his disciples to Jerusalem. Immediately prior to these verses, Jesus casts out a demon, speaks about Satan, and teaches about the effects of unclean spirits. In the midst of his teaching, an unidentified woman in the crowd interrupts Jesus, raising her voice to say "Blessed is the womb". Jesus's response is not necessarily meant as a rebuke or denial of her words. Instead his teaching is appropriately understood as completing the woman's words. As relates to Mary, the woman's statement praises and honors Mary for her role as his mother. Jesus's statement makes it clear that Mary is also blessed because she heard the word of God and responded obediently to it.

Because we all will not physically carry Jesus in the womb, Mary stands as a model of holiness for us; her hearing of the word stands in stark contrast to the evil disobedience of the demons and unclean spirits. Through her obedience she has shown she is with Jesus, not against him; she gathers others with Jesus to be one with God (verses 22-23), thus making her the Mother of God and the Mother of the Church.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Positive Story about Population Growth

This is one of the few stories I've seen in the media lately to be mostly positive about population growth and to have good news for some of the wealthier countries!

Notice that the increasing population is to have "largely GOOD implications" for these countries.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Sunday's Readings

From last Sunday's readings:

Reading 1
Ex 16:2-4, 12-15

The whole Israelite community grumbled against Moses and Aaron.
The Israelites said to them,
“Would that we had died at the LORD’s hand in the land of Egypt,
as we sat by our fleshpots and ate our fill of bread!
But you had to lead us into this desert
to make the whole community die of famine!”

Then the LORD said to Moses,
“I will now rain down bread from heaven for you.
Each day the people are to go out and gather their daily portion;
thus will I test them,
to see whether they follow my instructions or not.

“I have heard the grumbling of the Israelites.
Tell them: In the evening twilight you shall eat flesh,
and in the morning you shall have your fill of bread,
so that you may know that I, the LORD, am your God.”

In the evening quail came up and covered the camp.
In the morning a dew lay all about the camp,
and when the dew evaporated, there on the surface of the desert
were fine flakes like hoarfrost on the ground.
On seeing it, the Israelites asked one another, “What is this?”
for they did not know what it was.
But Moses told them,
“This is the bread that the LORD has given you to eat.”

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 78:3-4, 23-24, 25, 54

R. (24b) The Lord gave them bread from heaven.
What we have heard and know,
and what our fathers have declared to us,
We will declare to the generation to come
the glorious deeds of the LORD and his strength
and the wonders that he wrought.
R. The Lord gave them bread from heaven.
He commanded the skies above
and opened the doors of heaven;
he rained manna upon them for food
and gave them heavenly bread.
R. The Lord gave them bread from heaven.
Man ate the bread of angels,
food he sent them in abundance.
And he brought them to his holy land,
to the mountains his right hand had won.
R. The Lord gave them bread from heaven.

Reading II
Eph 4:17, 20-24

Brothers and sisters:
I declare and testify in the Lord
that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do,
in the futility of their minds;
that is not how you learned Christ,
assuming that you have heard of him and were taught in him,
as truth is in Jesus,
that you should put away the old self of your former way of life,
corrupted through deceitful desires,
and be renewed in the spirit of your minds,
and put on the new self,
created in God’s way in righteousness and holiness of truth.

Jn 6:24-35

When the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there,
they themselves got into boats
and came to Capernaum looking for Jesus.
And when they found him across the sea they said to him,
“Rabbi, when did you get here?”
Jesus answered them and said,
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
you are looking for me not because you saw signs
but because you ate the loaves and were filled.
Do not work for food that perishes
but for the food that endures for eternal life,
which the Son of Man will give you.
For on him the Father, God, has set his seal.”
So they said to him,
“What can we do to accomplish the works of God?”
Jesus answered and said to them,
“This is the work of God, that you believe in the one he sent.”
So they said to him,
“What sign can you do, that we may see and believe in you?
What can you do?
Our ancestors ate manna in the desert, as it is written:
He gave them bread from heaven to eat.
So Jesus said to them,
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
it was not Moses who gave the bread from heaven;
my Father gives you the true bread from heaven.
For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven
and gives life to the world.”

So they said to him,
“Sir, give us this bread always.”
Jesus said to them,
“I am the bread of life;
whoever comes to me will never hunger,
and whoever believes in me will never thirst.”

So in thinking about these readings, I was trying to piece them together in my head at Mass. It is interesting that when the people murmured in the Old Testament, God gave them bread from Heaven, Manna. Later, as people's sins piled up, God gave them another bread from Heaven, Christ, in order that they might be saved from their sins. Instead of treating us like we deserve in both cases, God turns around and gives us the most wonderful gift he can, in our case Christ really present in the Eucharist as the Bread of Life. So, St. Paul writes in the 2nd reading, we should really think about how to live and what we should be doing. Turn away from sin and do so no more, because of the great gift we received from God. Through his graces (largely imparted to us by the sacraments), we can overcome sin and be with him forever.

Sunday, August 2, 2009


Check out this post over at Army of Martyrs where he takes a look at the difference between idol worship and Christians who use images as sacramentals. He breaks it down in a slightly different way than I've thought about it before.

Great Response

I have to share the response my friend had who is also a convert...I'll leave her anonymous until she approves:

Oh brother. :roll: They never get tired of trying to find the ONE reason you left to say, "Aha!! THAT's the real reason!" because, you know, it couldn't be for any sound doctrinal reasons. :roll: :roll: :roll:

It's interesting to me how she has to emphasize the fact that she had "genuine curiosity" about your blog, as if to convince you, and perhaps herself, that she wasn't really snooping or looking for something to point her finger at. And who knows, maybe she wasn't, but it's so odd how CoC people can't say something normal like, "Hey I was reading your blog and i saw xyz." They have to set it up with defensive claims about their sincerity or their genuine concern, etc. Blech! Of course, what makes it worse is I know so many times they really believe themselves, they don't know any other way but guilt and manipulation and so they think this is what is normal. They still know to start with defensive action, because you tend to think other people will think about you the way you think about them, and they are so used to thinking the worst about others that they put up a defense before you even say anything assuming you will be thinking the worst about them. *shudder* It's such a depressing and joyless way of looking at the world and people around them.

Nice response!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Why Did I leave?

Wow....some people are a little stubborn (and I think some of you stubborn people are reading this blog right now). My wife recently joked in her blog that she was depressed as being simply a housewife in the "Church of Christ" denomination; especially because of their ill treatment and well-documented disdain for women and their role in society. So she gets and email saying (I read your blog and I am concerned you only left the CoC because of that and blah blah blah (insert random and poorly worded apologetics here).

I must say, I don't question the intentions of the person who contacted her, but I do question the reasoning. I think we must have mentioned a million times the doctrinal and serious reasons why we left to a multitude of people, but yet they refuse to listen and actually hear why we left. It basically comes down to either 1) we were lazy, 2) We were mad at people, 3) we listened to someone's family, or 4) we had some sort of dark sin in our life that made us leave. I guess it is a defense mechanism.

Open your ears people!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Busted Halo and our Catholic Culture

I really enjoyed this article.....and I think we should keep in mind that we should refrain from questioning other people's consciences and motives, while adamently disagreeing with what they are trying to do in public life.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Backing Politicians

A lot of Catholics have been backing President Obama, including a new associate pastor who took up the position at the parish that we left a few months back. Here is his blog.

I responded to his post by saying:

Unfortunately, you are missing a large part of the issue. While Cheney and Bush would not be my first choices to speak at Catholic Universities, and maybe they should not, that in no way makes it acceptable for Obama to speak at Notre Dame.

Also, you are missing the point that the Church has taught consistently and often from many venues that while Capital Punishment and torture and just war theory are wrong, that Catholics are free to disagree, while Abortion and Euthanasia remain the highest priority. Your balancing act simply does not work.

Excerpt from “Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion - General Principles” L’espresso, June 2004 by Joseph Ratzinger:

“. Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion. While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia.

Many of these people (not him specifically) have mentioned to me that it is great to have a black president and how much that will bring the country together. Where were these people, pray tell, when Alan Keyes ran for President? Of course, a black Catholic, anti-abortion, third degree Knight of Columbus wasn't so heavily supported was he?

Expression of Religion - New York Part 2

Well since I still don't have all the pictures that I want on this computer to start really talking about neat things, I wanted to share my happiness at seeing so many people openly expressing their religion. On the streets of New York we saw nuns, priests, MANY orthodox Jews, Orthodox priests, and Muslim spiritual leaders. It was really cool to see so many expressing their religion openly and getting to meet a lot of open Catholics. I also got a chance to go to St. Patrick's Cathedral for Sunday mass (and receive communion from the celebrant, Archbishop Dolan!), I invaded a Filipino Catholic Chapel right before they locked it up, saw the Church of the Precious Blood (where people were praying in Vietnamese, which was really moving to me because it really expressed the Catholicity of the Catholic Church...be sure to check out photos under the link), and went to another small Church where mass was being celebrated and another priest standing in the back got to ask my wife about our baby!

Also, we blew a lot of money in the Gift Shop for St. Patricks! Such awesome stuff and it also fed my addiction to Holy Cards. Hopefully pictures to come soon!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

New York, New York

Well, I have been absent from blogging for some time, and that is because my wife and I took a last minute trip to New York City before our baby is due (About 20 more days now!) and for our anniversary that was on the 21st. However, I had some really great spiritual experiences while I was there (including Sunday mass) that I would like to share with you guys over a series of blog posts. Some of them I hope to do tonight, but we'll see how tired I get.

The first experience I really want to share though is that on the train to New York we had the wonderful experience of having a woman and her son in front of us reading the Bible and to the right of us was another traveling family one of whom was reading the Bible and the other was working through her daily prayer book! Wonderful indeed and uplifting to see such spirituality in public. Combine that with my wife and I doing the rosary and we indeed had a spiritual train car and that made me want to blog about one of the positive things I saw in humanity today!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Cultural Commentary at the Doctor's Office

A sad state of what our culture has developed into was commentated on today by our nurse. My wife was at an OBGYN appointment (she was having a small procedure done today which was somewhat private and we both felt more comfortable without me there) and went in without me. The nurse said "Isn't your boyfriend coming back with you?"

Of course, we have been married for 4 years and both have wedding rings on constantly, but that doesn't mean anything. It is more acceptable to insult a married woman and assume she is committing fornication and became pregnant than it is to assume that a pregnant woman is married - what does that say about the state and meaning of the sacrament of marriage in our society?

Now, I must just put one little note here and state that I do not believe it is a good idea to make unmarried girls feel bad who are going through with their pregnancies. Quite the contrary, they need the most encouragement and hope and nothing negative at all said to them. Why couldn't the nurse just say "partner"? Or, does that fall into another level of demeaning the sacrament, since it has tonage of the gay "marriage" issue?

"You have the words of everlasting life"

In John 6 when the Jews abandoned Jesus, he turned to his disciples and said "Will you also leave me?" Peter turned to him and responded "Lord, to whom shall we go, You have the Words of Everlasting Life".

This was always taught to me as a Protestant to mean that we had to listen to God's word in the New Testament and that through those we could enter Heaven. That is true, but it also avoids the immediate context of these words. What specific words did Jesus say that were the "words of everlasting life"?

"Unless you eat my body and drink my blood you cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven"

"Amen Amen I say to you, Unless you eat my body and drink my blood you cannot enter into Heaven"

I think it's pretty self explanatory.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

What is the Church

Mel over at "There's No Place Like Home" had an interesting post where she began exploring the term Church and what exactly the Church is. Catholics obviously have a simple answer to this (although maybe the meaning is much deeper than the simple statement of the marks of the Church) - that the Church is One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic. I found a great article over on EWTN about these marks of the Church and wanted to share it, especially because Mel strikes on a lot of the same points in a roundabout way (Note how the author there ties in a discussion of the Eucharist with Unity!)

Friday, July 10, 2009

God in our hands.....

As a prologue to this post, I might want to mention (or refresh this blog's memory, if I talked about this before) about my journey from taking Christ's body in my hand to receiving Him on the tongue. When I finished RCIA, the norm (at this specific parish) was to teach candidates and catechumens to receive the Lord in their hands and then to consume the host from there. I never had a problem with this (still don't have a problem with it because I am not a Bishop and must rely on their decisions) but soon I developed a problem that was either a deeper issue in my conscience or God trying to tell me something. Everytime I received the host, I felt like I had crumbs or residue left on my hand...it was so bad that I was tempted to lick my hand every time, and I just felt wrong about it. Thus, I started recieving on the tongue, and I must say that it does allow me to approach Christ with a lot more reverence than previously, even if it is just because my mind isn't focused on holding Christ, potentially dropping his Body and Blood, etc.

Well, I've enjoyed reading about the debates about how the Eucharist should be received, and I must say that I come down on the side of taking it on the tongue, and perhaps even kneeling. Altar servers used to hold plates under the chin to make sure none of the precious Body was lost as well. I think this at least reminds us of the importance of the Eucharist and what we are doing.

I bring all of this up because a fellow convert from the Church of Christ recently blogged about another unintended consequence of receiving in the hand. Check out his post.

Thursday, July 9, 2009


I just wanted to share a little of the readings from the Didache about the Eucharist from yesterday's Office of Readings from the Liturgy of the Hours. It is very interesting to see how the first century Church viewed the Eucharist. Compare this to the Eucharistic prayers said today by the priests, and also notice the requirement to go to confession before receiving the Body and Blood:

Celebrate the Eucharist as follows: Say over the cup: “we give you thanks, Father, for the holy vine of David, your servant, which you made known to us through Jesus your servant. To you be glory for ever.”
Over the broken bread say: “we give you thanks, Father, for the life and the knowledge which you have revealed to us through Jesus your servant. To you be glory for ever. As this broken bread scattered on the mountains was gathered and became one, so too, may your Church be gathered together from the ends of the earth into your kingdom. For glory and power are yours through Jesus Christ for ever.”
Do not let anyone eat or drink of your eucharist except those who have been baptised in the name of the Lord. For the statement of the Lord applies here also: Do not give to dogs what is holy.
When you finish the meal, offer thanks in this manner: “We thank you, holy Father, for your name which you enshrined in our hearts. We thank you for the knowledge and faith and immortality which you revealed to us through your servant Jesus. To you be glory for ever. Almighty ruler, you created all things for the sake of your name; you gave men food and drink to enjoy so that they might give you thanks. Now you have favoured us through Jesus your servant with spiritual food and drink as well as with eternal life. Above all we thank you because you are mighty. To you be glory for ever.
“Remember, Lord, your Church and deliver her from all evil. Perfect her in your love; and, once she has been sanctified, gather her together from the four winds into the kingdom which you have prepared for her. For power and glory are yours for ever.
“May grace come and this world pass away! Hosanna to the God of David. If anyone is holy, let him come. If anyone is not, let him repent. Maranatha. Amen.”
On the Lord’s day, when you have been gathered together, break bread and celebrate the Eucharist. But first confess your sins so that your offering may be pure. If anyone has a quarrel with his neighbour, that person should not join you until he has been reconciled. Your sacrifice must not be defiled. In this regard, the Lord has said: In every place and time offer me a pure sacrifice. I am a great king, says the Lord, and my name is great among the nations.

Weird Science...

Ok... I am very skeptical about this, but I just saw the weirdest news story I have ever seen and want to share it, especially to see if anyone has a better explanation or can tell me it is just a basic forgery or something. Apparently, (supposedly) they found a Byzantine Church from the 5th Century AD in Connecticut. Is this an April Fools joke? Via Nicene Truth.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Fundamentalist Dialogue

I wanted to share the Office of Readings from yesterday's Liturgy of the Hours. I thought it was so telling about our relationship to our brothers and sisters who are Fundamentalists and deny our baptism is valid or that we are truly Christians (Catholics that is). It reminds me so much of how I used to feel when I was Protestant and reminds me that no matter what I think we have to reach out in ecumenical dialogue at all times and love our brothers and sisters in Christ even when they err from Church teaching. To think that this was written 1700 years or so ago and in a time where fundamentalism didn't even exist is somewhat mind boggling. He also brings out some Church teaching that we should note is ancient - that there is only one baptism and that non-Catholics are still our Brothers and Sisters.

From a discourse on the psalms by Saint Augustine, bishop
Whether they like it or not, those who are outside the church are our brothers
We entreat you, brothers, as earnestly as we are able, to have charity, not only for one another, but also for those who are outside the Church. Of these some are still pagans, who have not yet made an act of faith in Christ. Others are separated, insofar as they are joined with us in professing faith in Christ, our head, but are yet divided from the unity of his body. My friends, we must grieve over these as over our brothers; and they will only cease to be so when they no longer say "our Father".
The prophet refers to some men saying: When they say to you: You are not our brothers, you are to tell them: You are our brothers. Consider whom he intended by these words. Were they the pagans? Hardly; for nowhere either in Scripture or in our traditional manner of speaking do we find them called our brothers. Nor could it refer to the Jews, who do not believe in Christ. Read Saint Paul and you will see that when he speaks of “brothers,” without any qualification, he refers always to Christians. For example, he says: Why do you judge your brother or why do you despise your brother? And again: You perform iniquity and common fraud, and this against your brothers.
Those then who tell us: You are not our brothers, are saying that we are pagans. That is why they want to baptise us again, claiming that we do not have what they can give. Hence their error of denying that we are their brothers. Why then did the prophet tell us: Say to them: You are our brothers? It is because we acknowledge in them that which we do not repeat. By not recognising our baptism, they deny that we are their brothers; on the other hand, when we do not repeat their baptism but acknowledge it to be our own, we are saying to them: You are our brothers.
If they say, “Why do you seek us? What do you want of us?” we should reply: You are our brothers. They may say, “Leave us alone. We have nothing to do with you.” But we have everything to do with you, for we are one in our belief in Christ; and so we should be in one body, under one head.
And so, dear brothers, we entreat you on their behalf, in the name of the very source of our love, by whose milk we are nourished, and whose bread is our strength, in the name of Christ our Lord and his gentle love. For it is time now for us to show them great love and abundant compassion by praying to God for them. May he one day give them a clear mind to repent and to realise that they have nothing now but the sickness of their hatred, and the stronger they think they are, the weaker they become. We entreat you then to pray for them, for they are weak, given to the wisdom of the flesh, to fleshly and carnal things, but yet they are our brothers. They celebrate the same sacraments as we, not indeed with us, but still the same. They respond with the same Amen, not with us, but still the same. And so pour out your hearts for them in prayer to God

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Over a Year

Well, I've been blogging for over a year now. It's very interesting to look back and see the flow and shape this blog has taken on over the last 12 months. I've met a lot of wonderful people and am looking forward to meeting a lot more. Thank you everyone for visiting and I hope, since we are once again getting internet at home, that I will be able to post a lot more about my Catholic Journey in the upcoming month!

Monday, June 29, 2009

St. Paul's Bones

Interestingly, the Pope has announced two cool discoveries about St. Paul over the last few days, and this one is especially neat on the Feast Day of Sts. Peter and Paul. Scientific testing has indicated that the relics we venerate as St. Paul's really seem to be his.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Gay Marriage Thing

As we know, most Protestants don't recognize the Sacraments (at least not as being Sacraments). However, the Church holds that Protestants have two legitimate sacraments - baptism and marriage. They are missing out on the other five. It struck me as I was thinking about gay marriage and the outcry that fundamentalists and other groups have put up in opposition that these groups are actually defending the sacrament as instituted by God. When you listen to their discussion of the issue, they are VERY close to understanding the sacramental nature of marriage - that God instituted it as something between man and woman, I just don't think they have come to an appreciation the access we get to God's grace through that sacrament. Anyway, here's hoping that maybe some dialogue could open up about this issue.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Be Not Afraid

Yesterday Father Andrew got me thinking about the meaning of the gospel in our own lives. Here is the Gospel:

Mark 4:

8 On that day, as evening drew on, he said to them, "Let us cross to the other side."
Leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat just as he was. And other boats were with him.
A violent squall came up and waves were breaking over the boat, so that it was already filling up.
Jesus was in the stern, asleep on a cushion. They woke him and said to him, "Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?"
He woke up, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, "Quiet! Be still!" 9 The wind ceased and there was great calm.
Then he asked them, "Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?"
10 They were filled with great awe and said to one another, "Who then is this whom even wind and sea obey?"

I think the practical lesson that I took from this story is that we should never be distressed and afraid. Whenever terrible things happen in our life, we should turn to Christ and say, "Yes, I know you are here with me, I should not be afraid of anything." This is the mindframe that all the martyrs from the earliest Christians down to those being martyred in India and China today have had. Why be afriad of anything when Christ dwells with us?

As Catholics this point comes home even harder because we know we have Christ with us present in the tabernacle in every Church in the world. We also know that every time we go to mass we have an opportunity to receive Christ into our bodies in a real way. Shouldn't that make us go out into the world and realize that nothing can truly harm us and that all setbacks are just temporary? If only our faith could grow to that level, evangelism, catechisis, and other important roles of the laity would be easy to perform.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Ark of the Covenant

I was recently listening to Open Line with Fr. Mitch Pacwa and he took a call from an Evangelical Christian about why Catholics refer to Blessed Mary Ever-Virgin as the Ark of the New Covenant. Sparing you all the details about why (you can read that here), I wanted to note something very interesting he said. You can either take it as coincidence, or like most of us Catholics do, as a theological significance.

In the Septuagint, the word when David "leaps for joy" as the Ark of the Covenant returns to Jerusalem is the same word as the Gospel writers chose to use for John the Baptist "leaping" in his mother's womb when Mary and the unborn Jesus come during the Visitation.

I thought that was pretty neat.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Prayer after Communion

During this Octave of Corpus Christi (The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ), I wanted to share some words from Father Andrew's homily yesterday. He noted that we should make sure and take time to pray after Holy Communion knowing that we are as close to Christ as we will ever be when we take the Eucharist. He also reminded us to stop in front of Catholic Churches to say a prayer and remember that Christ always dwells in a real way in the tabernacle of every Church in the world. As he said, knowing that God really dwells in the tabernacle, we should be crawling into Church on our hands and knees.

I wanted to share with everyone a prayer that I do after I receive Holy Communion every day. I think it's absolutely beautiful, especially when you consider that we have become united with Christ in a real way when we receive him the the Holy Eucharist:

Dear Lord,
help me to remove from my mind every thought
or opinion which You would not sanction,
every feeling form my heart which You would not approve.
Grant that I may spend the hours of the day
gladly working with You according to Your will.
Help me just for today and be with me in it.
In the long hours of work,
that I may not grow weary or slack in serving You.
In conversations,
that they may not be to me occasions of uncharitableness.
In the day's worries and disappointments,
that I may be patient with myself and with those around me.
In moments of fatigue and illness,
that I may be mindful of others rather than of myself.
In temptations, that I may be generous and loyal,
so that when the day is over I may lay it at Your feet,
with its successes which are all Yours,
and its failures which are all my own,
and feel that life is real and peaceful,
and blessed when spent with You as the Guest of my soul.


Friday, June 12, 2009

St. Gianna

I wanted to share this biography of St. Gianna Beretta Molla from the Vatican's biography of her. Her story and how she became a Saint is in some ways a response to the conversation that Matt and I had in the comments earlier about abortion and the life of the Mother. I recently heard about her on a SaintCast and I had never heard about her before. Her story moves me greatly.

Gianna Beretta was born in Magenta (Milan) October 4, 1922. Already as a youth she willingly accepted the gift of faith and the clearly Christian education that she received from her excellent parents. As a result, she experienced life as a marvellous gift from God, had a strong faith in Providence and was convinced of the necessity and effectiveness of prayer.

She diligently dedicated herself to studies during the years of her secondary and university education, while, at the same time, applying her faith through generous apostolic service among the youth of Catholic Action and charitable work among the elderly and needy as a member of the St. Vincent de Paul Society. After earning degrees in Medicine and Surgery from the University of Pavia in 1949, she opened a medical clinic in Mesero (near Magenta) in 1950. She specialized in Pediatrics at the University of Milan in 1952 and there after gave special attention to mothers, babies, the elderly and poor.

While working in the field of medicine-which she considered a “mission” and practiced as such-she increased her generous service to Catholic Action, especially among the “very young” and, at the same time, expressed her joie de vivre and love of creation through skiing and mountaineering. Through her prayers and those of others, she reflected upon her vocation, which she also considered a gift from God. Having chosen the vocation of marriage, she embraced it with complete enthusiasm and wholly dedicated herself “to forming a truly Christian family”.

She became engaged to Pietro Molla and was radiant with joy and happiness during the time of their engagement, for which she thanked and praised the Lord. They were married on September 24, 1955, in the Basilica of St. Martin in Magenta, and she became a happy wife. In November 1956, to her great joy, she became the mother of Pierluigi, in December 1957 of Mariolina; in July 1959 of Laura. With simplicity and equilibrium she harmonized the demands of mother, wife, doctor and her passion for life.

In September 1961 towards the end of the second month of pregnancy, she was touched by suffering and the mystery of pain; she had developed a fibroma in her uterus. Before the required surgical operation, and conscious of the risk that her continued pregnancy brought, she pleaded with the surgeon to save the life of the child she was carrying, and entrusted herself to prayer and Providence. The life was saved, for which she thanked the Lord. She spent the seven months remaining until the birth of the child in incomparable strength of spirit and unrelenting dedication to her tasks as mother and doctor. She worried that the baby in her womb might be born in pain, and she asked God to prevent that.

A few days before the child was due, although trusting as always in Providence, she was ready to give her life in order to save that of her child: “If you must decided between me and the child, do not hesitate: choose the child - I insist on it. Save him”. On the morning of April 21, 1962, Gianna Emanuela was born. Despite all efforts and treatments to save both of them, on the morning of April 28, amid unspeakable pain and after repeated exclamations of “Jesus, I love you. Jesus, I love you», the mother died. She was 39 years old. Her funeral was an occasion of profound grief, faith and prayer. The Servant of God lies in the cemetery of Mesero (4 km from Magenta).

“Conscious immolation», was the phrase used by Pope Paul VI to define the act of Blessed Gianna, remembering her at the Sunday Angelus of September 23, 1973, as: “A young mother from the diocese of Milan, who, to give life to her daughter, sacrificed her own, with conscious immolation”. The Holy Father in these words clearly refers to Christ on Calvary and in the Eucharist.

Gianna was beatified by Pope John Paul II on April 24, 1994, during the international Year of the Family.

St. Gianna, pray for us!