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.