Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Live By Faith

"I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me."
Galatians 2: 20
What doe is it mean to live by faith? For myself it means that my thoughts, deeds and actions are to be guided not by what I want, or think is right for me, but by Christ crucified. My spiritual being is attached to my Saviour. He is the footlight that assures me that I am well. It means that I abandon the world. I renounce my attachments to it. This does not mean that I will be free from pain & affliction, that I "will not have to drink from the cup" so to speak. On the contrary like Christ I will have to suffer too, and endure whatever tribulations that are necessary and then and only then will He save me. Psalm 107 says Then they cried to the Lord in their need and he rescued them from their distress. He led them forth from darkness and gloom and broke their chains to pieces. What chains bind us here in the USA in 2009. The chains are all the attachments, wealth, power, fame, greed, and materialism. If I die to those things then I die with Christ. Then truly I will live by faith, for Christ is all I need. It is all that anyone really needs. Allow the Crucified Christ to enter you through repentance, self-sacrifice, prayer and sacramental grace.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Mene, Tekel, Peres

Has America seen the writing on the wall? Ask yourself this question "Who brought on the current economic situation that millions of Americans wake up to"? The answer is you and me and just plain greed. The secular world has given up on what was the good life. A life based on prudence, justice, temperance piety, civility, and humility. The new definition of the good life is no longer defined by being but rather by doing. You are defined by wealth; where you live, the car you drive, the clothing you wear, the career you have, the power you have in controlling others, and what possessions you have. Americans demanded more of that pie, mortgaging everything just to claim a stake in it. Now the house of cards has tumbled and voices are crying out for the government to save them, let us have the good life. In the Book of Daniel, Belshazzar gives a banquet for thousands of his lords with whom he drank. (That must have been a hell of a party). They are using stolen silverware, namely gold & silver vessels that the old King Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the temple in Jerusalem. They start praising the gods of gold & silver (sort of like Bernie Madoff probably did) when God decides to leave the king a message. He literally shows the good king the writing on the wall . It took Daniel to interpret what the Our Mighty Lord has for the party king. He tells him his days are numbered and the kingdom is going be slashed in half and given to his enemies. You can read all this in the Book of Daniel Chapter 5 Has America grabbed for too much and now we are seeing the writing on the wall? Only time will tell.

Saints Peter & Paul

" In their apostolic mission, Saints Peter and Paul were obliged to face difficulties of every kind. But, far from deterring from their missionary activity, these difficulties reinforced their zeal for the Church's welfare and for the salvation of mankind. They were able to overcome every trial because their trust was not based on human resources but on the grace of the Lord, who delivers his friends from every evil and saves them for his kingdom. May our holy patrons Peter and Paul, sustain us and obtain for us that missionary zeal which made them witnesses of Christ to the ends of the then-known world" (Pope John Paul the Great)

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Who are the Laity?

There is a balance that is required in response to the Church and the role we play in it. In a sense it has every thing to do with the secular world and yet we are compelled to be merciful as our Father is merciful and to seek unity. Cardinal John Henry Newman when asked what he thought of the laity responded "well we would look pretty silly without them" I believe that it is our responsibility to reform the Church where it needs reform. In 1851 Newman said "What I desiderate in Catholics is the gift of bringing out what their religion is — I want a laity, not arrogant, not rash in speech, not disputatious, but men who know their religion, who enter into it, who know just where they stand, who know what they hold and what they do not, who know their creed so well that they can give an account of it, who know so much of history that they can defend it. I want an intelligent, well-instructed laity — I wish you to enlarge your knowledge, to cultivate your reason, to get an insight into the relation of truth to truth, to learn to view things as they are, to understand how faith and reason stand to each other, what are the bases and principles of Catholicism and where lies the main inconsistencies and absurdities of the Protestant theory. I have no apprehension you will be the worse Catholics for familiarity with these subjects, provided you cherish a vivid sense of God above and keep in mind that you have souls to be judged and saved. In all times the laity have been the measure of the Catholic spirit; they saved the Irish Church three centuries ago and they betrayed the Church in England. You ought to be able to bring out what you feel and what you mean, as well as to feel and mean it; to expose to the comprehension of others the fictions and fallacies of your opponents; to explain the charges brought against the Church, to the satisfaction, not, indeed, of bigots, but of men of sense, of whatever cast of opinion." We have to stand up, resolve to protect the sacred and not allow the creeping norms of the secular world to take over. That requires to be well read and understand our faith. To keep up with the Holy Father, to understand the theology and sometimes react with your gut feelings. Be prayerful, asking the Holy Spirit for the words and the courage to find the way. Paul said it Romans 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

True Love

Do we really consider who God is? I think not when I hear of the limitations placed on Him and the way people think of Him. Let's consider a few things: God is pure spirit, not comprised of matter, He cannot be broken up or divided or have any part of Him subtracted from Him. Conversely, nothing can be added to Him, He is perfect in the truest sense of perfection. I believe that He deposited within His creation (us) the ability to comprehend, perhaps in a way that is only on one level, what perfection is. When we recognize something that is beautiful we are in essence seeing God. Everything that exists , exists because of Him, nothing exists without Him. God always existed, He always was, the name Yahweh which He said was His name translates I am. God needs nothing, unlike us. God is a Creator or rather the Creator. God created man in His image and likeness. That in itself tells you something. God who does not need you, still decided to create you. Why? I believe the reason is this: God is true love, perfect love and perfect love can do one and only one thing, give itself away. Perfect love can only be shared it cannot be kept. God created us because He is love, not the definition of love, not the essence of love, not the feeling of love. God is love and in His love He desires one thing to give Himself to us. There are no strings attached. Oh we can reject His love, run from it, deny it, but one thing we cannot do is prevent it. What would perfect love desire you to do with the Love he has for you? One and only one thing, share it with others. We couldn't quite figure that out so He sent us His son to show us. In everything we do our purpose is to give glory to God by perfecting the love we have, to be closer to the love He has. That is the reason we wake up every morning

Monday, June 22, 2009

LSU Player Wins It For His Dad

LSU 7 Texas 6

Mikie Matook singled in what was the winning run in the LSU Tigers game one win over Texas in the College World Series. The Sunday Advocate ran this story about Mikie and how he lost his dad on Father's Day. It's only fitting that he was the one to come up big to help defeat the Longhorns.

Mahtook gains inspiration from the father he lost 15 years ago today

OMAHA, Neb. — Memories are sketchy for Mikie Mahtook, but they’re safely tucked away somewhere in his mind and will always have a special place in his heart.

Taking a trip to a favorite pizza parlor. Setting up toy soldiers on the kitchen table. Remembering his dad as a gentle giant.

For those things Mahtook can’t clearly recall, there are pictures and “lots and lots of stories” from family members and strangers alike to bridge the gaps. That’s helped provide LSU’s dynamic freshman center fielder a photo album full of snapshot memories of his late father, Mikie Mahtook Sr.

Fifteen years ago today, Mikie Sr. sent his young wife, Mary Ann, to his mother’s house with 4-year-old Mikie Jr. and 2-year-old twin sisters Catherine and Christina for a family gathering.

There was always something going on at “The Big House,” the place where Mikie Sr. and six siblings grew up in Lafayette. That Tuesday was no different. Swimming, a barbecue and, as always, lots of family.

Then a phone call came that changed things forever.

While playing tennis at a local club with his brother Ronnie, Mikie Sr. collapsed. Although doctors on the scene tried to revive the 32-year-old former LSU football player, he died of cardiac arrest before his body had hit the ground. The ultimate diagnosis was cardiomyopathy, a viral condition that caused Mikie Sr.’s heart to enlarge and not function properly.

“We were all swimming with the family, and the last thing I remember was seeing people scrambling around and coming to get me,” said MaryAnn, an Oakdale native who met Mikie Sr. when she was a freshman at LSU. “I got to the hospital and they told me he was gone.”

Added Mikie Jr., “I remember the day that he died probably more vividly than I should.”

Since then, a lot of Father’s Days have come and gone, and Mikie Jr. has blossomed into a man and a vital member of the Tigers’ No. 1-ranked baseball team.

When LSU takes on Texas in the championship round of the 2009 College World Series this week, Mikie Jr. will be at the core of the Tigers’ bid for their first national championship since 2000.

That’s a notion Mikie Sr. would be giddy about.

While his father isn’t here to see it up close, Mikie Jr. says he has no doubt Mikie Sr. helped him reach this point. As a tribute, Mikie Jr. has his dad’s initials and LSU jersey number (54) etched on his cleats. There is a wall in his Baton Rouge apartment covered with photos of Mikie Sr., along with his LSU football helmet.

“It feels like he hasn’t been gone as long as he has,” Mikie Jr. said. “But he’s there with me all the time. Before every game I pray and ask him for help. Whenever there’s a big moment in the game or when I’m coming up to the plate, I say ‘Hey daddy, help me on this one.’ I feel like he’s definitely on the field with me. He’s in my back pocket.”

And never too far from his mind.

In LSU’s second game at the CWS, Mahtook blasted a three-run home run in the first inning to immediately put Arkansas on its heels.

“The minute I hit home plate and got to the dugout, he was in my head and I told him thank you,” Mikie Jr. said.

Since cracking the starting lineup for good in late March, Mikie Jr. has emerged as a five-tool big-league prospect. As much as he credits his dad for passing on athletic genes, the son acknowledges his dad’s calm, unpretentious personality also took root.

“Sometimes when the ball is in the air and I’m running after it, I think he helps clear my head,” Mikie Jr. said. “Thinking about him makes it so I don’t think about things too much and just use instinct and reaction.

“He’s the reason why I don’t feel any pressure. He helps me relax and stay calm and be able to play in the College World Series and not be nervous. I don’t put too much pressure on myself regardless of the situation.”

Indeed, pressure is a relatively measured term for a kid who lost his father before he started kindergarten. Not that Mahtook hasn’t encountered his shares of hurdles.

As a three-sport star at St. Thomas More in Lafayette, Mahtook drew plenty of attention from football and baseball recruiters by the time he was a junior.

He had his mind set on playing both sports in college and always dreamed of doing so at LSU.

But early in his junior football season, Mahtook’s plans took a painful detour. A dual-threat quarterback, he broke loose for a scramble near the end of the first half against Beau Chene and was knocked head over heels near the sideline.

Mahtook landed awkwardly on his left arm and shattered the radius and ulna. Surgery was required, and the arm needed 14 pins and two plates to repair.

“I don’t think anybody can break their arm more than I did,” Mahtook said. “They had to put my arm back together like a puzzle.”

As grizzly as the physical injury was, the collateral damage was just as hard to endure.

Eventually the arm healed and Mahtook got back to athletics. But mentally he struggled, and it didn’t help when recruiters took a step back to gauge his recovery.

His junior year on the diamond was OK but not spectacular. There was confusion among college suitors whether he wanted to play football, baseball or both, causing some schools to back off.

The injury left Mahtook at a crossroads, and he knew which path he wanted to follow.

“Getting hurt like I did put my life and career in perspective and made me realize maybe I just wanted to play baseball,” he said. “I wasn’t going to shy away from anything and was going to keep playing hard in football. But baseball was my first love.”

Still, it took awhile to completely separate from the idea of playing both sports in college.

LSU football coach Les Miles was willing to give Mahtook a shot as a preferred walk-on. Several other in-state schools, including Tulane and Louisiana-Lafayette, offered him the chance to play both.

But the strong lure of playing for the Tigers kept tugging at Mahtook’s heart.

After a face-to-face meeting with LSU baseball coach Paul Mainieri late in the 2007 football season, Mikie Jr. and Mary Ann both knew where the future was headed.

“We went into that summer after his junior year not knowing where things were going, and that was a pretty humbling time because of the expectations he had,” Mary Ann said. “Then, when we met with Coach Mainieri, he was brutally honest. He didn’t have a scholarship to offer right then, but he told Mikie, ‘You will be on the 30-man roster. You will have an opportunity to earn it and prove yourself.’ That meant a lot to both of us.”

So did an impassioned message to Mainieri from her son.

“Mikie looked at him and said ‘Coach Mainieri, since I was 8 years old, I’ve gone from football to basketball to baseball and never been able to commit 100 percent to baseball. I know when I commit 100 percent I’m going to the next level. I’m ready and I know I can.’ He said it with a lot of passion, so I knew where his heart was.”

Shortly before the 2008 Major League Baseball draft, when Mahtook was chosen by Florida in the 39th round, Mainieri offered a scholarship. He said the Tigers needed one young outfielder and it came down to Mahtook and Taylor Dugas, who wound up at Alabama.

Mahtook and Dugas are close friends. Dugas’ father, David, was one of the coaches of the Cajun Sluggers select summer team that became like a second family to the Mahtooks.

“Mikie is a bona fide major-league prospect,” Mainieri said. “He’s a tremendous athlete who does so many things well. He can run, throw, hit for power, hit for average, steal bases. In a couple of years, when he’s eligible for the draft, I think that will be reflective of the talent this kid has.”

Mainieri saw more than physical tools, though.

“For a young guy to grow up without a father is hard for me to comprehend,” Mainieri said. “It’s just remarkable to me that Mikie could grow up to be the type of person he has. He’s got a mother who has certainly been a strong influence, and he’s had great family support on both sides along the way.

“Everybody is challenged in life in one way or another and something like that makes everything else pale in comparison. Because of that, Mikie is not a kid who gets down on himself. He’s able to put things behind him and look to the future.”

Not without clinging passionately to a past that changed so dramatically before he formed lasting memories. Mom made sure her son knew, though.

“I’ve always kept his dad’s memory alive and never tried to hide it from Mikie,” Mary Ann Mahtook said. “I don’t think you should ever bury the memories. It’s very healthy to keep them alive.”

Added Mikie Jr., “My dad crosses my mind every day. When special days like Father’s Day come along, he’s already there. He’ll be in my heart forever.”


Friday, June 19, 2009

The Sacred Heart of Jesus

Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for your selves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light." Matthew 11:28-39
We who labor with our crosses and are burdened by sin can find rest and comfort in the Sacred Heart of Jesus. We can find peace in He whose side was pierced (But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out. John 19:34) His blood is the sign of the covenant that His dying redeemed us and the water is the living water of eternal life. ( In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.He that believes in me, as the scripture has said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.) John 37-38 Jesus yoke is His commandment of love. In His heart we will find mercy, compassion, gentleness, humility, patience, fortitude and all that is necessary to live the virtuous life.

The Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, graciously hear us.
God, the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us.
God, the Son, Redeemer of the World, have mercy on us.
God, the Holy Ghost, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, Son of the Eternal Father, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, formed in the womb of the Virgin Mother by the Holy Ghost, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, united substantially with the word of God, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, of infinite majesty, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, holy temple of God, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, tabernacle of the Most High, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, house of God and gate of heaven, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, glowing furnace of charity, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, vessel of justice and love, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, full of goodness and love, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, abyss of all virtues, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, most worthy of all praise, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, king and center of all hearts, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, in whom are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, in whom dwelleth all the fullness of the Divinity, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, in whom the Father is well pleased, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, of whose fullness we have all received, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, desire of the everlasting hills, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, patient and rich in mercy, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, rich to all who invoke Thee, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, fount of life and holiness, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, propitiation for our sins, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, saturated with revilings, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, crushed for our iniquities, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, made obedient unto death, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, pierced with a lance, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, source of all consolation, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, our life and resurrection, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, our peace and reconciliation, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, victim for our sins, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, salvation of those who hope in Thee, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, hope of those who die in Thee, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, delight of all saints, have mercy on us.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O Lord,
Lamb of God who takest away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.
V. Jesus, meek and humble of Heart.
R. Make our hearts like unto Thine.

Let us pray

Almighty and everlasting God, look upon the Heart of Thy well-beloved Son and upon the acts of praise and satisfaction which He renders unto Thee in the name of sinners; and do Thou, in Thy great goodness, grant pardon to them who seek Thy mercy, in the name of the same Thy Son, Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with Thee, world without end.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Examen

My blog entry for February 10th The Examen Prayer talks about what the Examen is about and recommends a book by Father Timothy Gallagher. The following video is religious and lay people discussing the Examen and various aspects of it. A reader also was kind enough to tell me of a website: www.examen.me where one can have an online journal based on the Examen, its pretty cool. Although I must confess that I do not do the Examen on a daily basis, it is a very good exercise for putting your spiritual life in focus and seeing what things you are doing that are moiving you towards God or moving you away from God. Life goes by so fast that we sometimes ignore our spiritual side and continue to make the same mistakes over and over (that describes me)

Monday, June 15, 2009

A Thorn in My Side

A thorn in the flesh was given to me[...]Three times I begged the Lord about this, that it might leave me but he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness." I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me. 2 Corinthians 7-9
Sometimes we are not aware of the goodness of God when that thorn is placed in our own flesh. Rather we become centered in this weakness, fighting with it, losing control rather than gaining it. For me it was not so obvious. My attempts to seek a perfect place in the practice of faith and in worshiping He, whom I love so much, has led me to quite the opposite. In the "aha" moment I realized that God was telling me something. At the altar where we are to meet Jesus, we must place as our sacrifice, not the thorn itself for we can never rid ourselves of it, but rather the hollow, selfish, divisive, and even evil works that come from centering our weakness. We must surrender it to allow Christ to dwell in us. Resting in this place where the comfort and love of our Father gives us confidence to be obedient and resolve to follow His commandments. To know your weakness is to know Christ at the cross.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

St. Anthony of Padua

This is a picture of the Basilica of St. Anthony in Padua, Italy. My wife & I were blessed to have gone on a pilgrimage there last April. There are countless biographies on the web about St. Anthony. He was a disciple of St. Francis becoming a Franciscan at 26 years old, a Doctor of the Church, a tremendous preacher, who had some remarkable miracles attributed to him. He was so beloved by those that knew him, that he was canonized a saint less than a year after his death. He is the patron saint of "lost articles" At Padua also took place the famous miracle of the amputated foot, which Franciscan writers attribute to St. Anthony. A young man, Leonardo by name, in a fit of anger kicked his own mother. Repentant, he confessed his fault to St. Anthony who said to him: "The foot of him who kicks his mother deserves to be cut off." Leonardo ran home and cut off his foot. Learning of this, St. Anthony took the amputated member of the unfortunate youth and miraculosly rejoined it. At the Basilica there are hundreds of letters posted on a wall thanking St. Anthony for his intercession. They are updated daily. He said "Attribute to God every good that you have received. If you take credit for something that does not belong to you, you will be guilty of theft." God is the source of all goodness. I at times forget that, I at times think that I am responsible for goodness, I at times seek my own glory & honor, not giving it to the rightful owner. St. Anthony, Pray for us.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Pope Benedict XVI General Audience June 10, 2009


While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them." ACTS 13:2 Paul & Barnabas were the "tag team" of the early fledgling Church, first preaching in Antioch then sent away to bring the Good News to the Gentiles .After a miracle at Lystra, the people wanted to offer sacrifice to them as gods—Barnabas being Zeus, and Paul, Hermes—but the two said, “We are of the same nature as you, human beings. We proclaim to you good news that you should turn from these idols to the living God” ACTS 14:8-18 There are, in many ways, similiarities to the work Paul & Barnabas did and the work needed today. The Gentile world of 2009 is the secularists whose "philosophy" has many gods and considers that the idea of the true God becoming man a silly notion. Oh, to be sure, there are places today where we are welcomed but the prevailing attitude towards Christians will get get you "kicked out of town" throughout the fruited plain . That includes universities, public schools, and any place where the "tolerant" liberal mindset won't tolerate you, the public square. We must be up to the task of evangelizing, ever persistent in enduring the hardships we face. The Gospel of Jesus Christ must be proclaimed each and every day by the life we live. If we listen closely we can hear the voice of the Blessed Virgin Mary calling our name. She is the model by which we should follow, she embraces each and every one of us through the Church. She was from the beginning obedient to God's will, cooperated with the Holy Spirit, was compassionate & loving to her son Jesus, suffered with Him at the Cross, rejoiced at the Victory of the Ressurection, filled with the Holy Spirit at the Pentecost, and joined Him in Heaven. We can embark on our journey like Paul & Barnabas did receptive to the graces of the Holy Spirit and encouraged by Mary our Mother.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A Moral Compass

If you watch or read the news on any given day you will see human beings committing some of the most atrocious acts of immorality upon each other. There was a man who hired someone on Craigslist to rape his wife. This was for his own sexual pleasure while the violent act took place. How do we develop human beings like that? If we flash back to their wedding day, did this man even have a clue what his vows meant. What lessons did he learn about marriage and responsibility and manhood and morality, while he was growing up? I think it's very easy to chalk this up to an evil and perverted mind, but I don't think that's the case. He had some sense of order in his life, a computer which he knew how to surf the internet, he knew what Craigslist was, he did get married, so obviously he recognized and believed that it was important. How about Bernie Madoff, who scammed people of billions of dollars? He was obviously very intelligent, amiable and personable. He was even a philanthropist, giving money to various charities, this was a part of his scheme, to project an certain image. Was Mr. Madoff absent the day that they taught that cheating & lying to people was immoral. Mr. Robert Allen Stanford did not concern himself with those retired couples who would eventually lose their retirements after putting faith in investing in his company. Again how did he deal with that? Surely he had to have had a conscience of some sort. One could even attribute our current economic disaster to greed - from the producers and the consumers. People who put faith in secular institutions like the government or the president better beware. It is apparent that these institutions are not beholden to any kind of moral code. Money, power and control are what is important to them. They can appear very intelligent, personable and amiable. They can tell you what you what you would like to hear. They may be Ivy League educated, but as Leo Buscgalia once wrote something to this effect, and I am paraphrasing. There were many highly intelligent, college degreed, doctors, professionals, educators and the like who stood by or assisted with Hitler's evil in Auschwitz and other death camps. This all brings me this point. Without faith in God, who is the final arbiter of Justice, without a moral & ethical code to live by, without a spiritual compass and barometer by which one guides one's life, the door is wide open for Satan to take over. There are far too many things to entice oneself. Far too many opportunities for Satan to deceive into believing that wealth, power, fame, lust and pleasure are more important than human beings and can be attained at any cost regardless of the consequences. The United States is paying for its investment in the secular world with its disregard for the Creator and message of Jesus Christ. The prophets of the Old Testament warned of the consequences, and they were laughed at or chastised or worse. Pray for our country, for conversion, for strength and courage to do what is right.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

What God Wants

You suffer and you want to bear it in silence. It doesn't matter if you complain; it's the natural reaction of our poor flesh; as long as your will wants, now and always, only what God wants. St. Josémaria Escriva

Monday, June 8, 2009

By What Authority

The History Channel, Discovery Channel, A&E and Biography Channels have for years been producing documentaries about God, the Church, Jesus Christ, the saints and the popes. Their marketing department has told them that there are a great deal of Christians out there in tv land who are interested in knowing this stuff. True to their audience they give them what they want. I have noted that these programs show up in droves during Holy Week and Easter and at Christmastime. They parade out programs like "Who Jesus Really Is" "The Truth Behind Jesus" and then proceed to tell us from a purely secular prospective their interpretation of Christ's life. They are very good in how they weave the truth with their beliefs. They always point out what Christians believe and purporting they support theses beliefs. Then comes the "so called experts" BEWARE MY FRIENDS FOR SO CALLED EXPERTS. Their qualifications are a. ex-Catholics, b. have grudge with the Church, c. prominent Protestants who have grudge with Church or anti-Catholic, or atheists who think Christians are a bunch of people living in a fairy tale. One such SO CALLED EXPERT is Gary Wills. Mr. Wills is a virtual expert on everything Catholic. The secular media loves to drag this guy out every time there's something going on. He wrote a scathing book on Pope Pius IX, criticizing him for his actions during the reign of terror by Hitler and his Nazi's. His book was refuted by Rabbi David G. Dalin in the book The Myth of Hitler's Pope. Mr. Wills has written books with these authoritive titles "What Jesus Meant", "What Paul Meant" and "What The Gospels Meant". To date no one has written a book on "What Gary Wills Meant" In the video on the Papacy produced by the A&E Biography, he lends his expertise, with comments on the various popes, then tells us how the Church has it wrong regarding homosexuality and gay marriage. "They are just off the mark" according to Mr. Wills. BEWARE OF SO CALLED EXPERTS. Just for the record SO CALLED EXPERTS have been advising us about things like the necessity of the Iraq war, the stock market, Fannie Mae, the economy, education, disasters, crime, and a myriad of things that they got wrong, and/or are getting worse. I personally don't care about secular SO CALLED EXPERTS. I do care about people like Gary Wills, he is entitled to his opinion, I give him that much, but he has no authority in the Church's teachings, none, zero, nada. Gary Wills has an agenda and an axe to grind and dozens of secular outlets that will give him an opportunity. His goal is one of tearing down and planting seeds of doubt. Gary Wills is all about Gary Wills and not about Jesus Christ and the Good News of Salvation.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

God is Love in the Trinity

The Mystery of The Trinity

In Matthew 28:19 Jesus instructs the apostles: "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." Thus clearly the idea of a Trinitarian doctrine was espoused by Jesus himself. I have repeatedly stated throughout my postings that one of the most misunderstood and often lacking component of modern Theology especially from our Protestant brethren is the dynamic of mystery. To me personally, the idea that you could fully understand God's ways from a book, and know emphatically how He thought, is a stretch that I cannot fathom. The Trinitarian doctrine is very difficult to grasp. When the Divine became flesh, we entered a realm that was beyond total human comprehension. God is who He is, and His plan for the universe is full of mystery. Yet the the Father, Son and Holy Spirit was understood by those in the early Church. The Didache, an early Christian treatise, whose author was unknown, but reads as an Apostolic instruction manual, states in the Sacrament of Baptism. "After the foregoing instructions, baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, in living [running] water. . . . If you have neither, pour water three times on the head, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit". This document has been estimated to be written circa 70 A.D.. Justin Martyr wrote in his First Apology "We will prove that we worship him reasonably; for we have learned that he is the Son of the true God himself, that he holds a second place, and the Spirit of prophecy a third. For this they accuse us of madness, saying that we attribute to a crucified man a place second to the unchangeable and eternal God, the Creator of all things; but they are ignorant of the mystery which lies therein" St Patrick's breastplate read "I bind to myself today the strong power of an invocation of the Trinity—the faith of the Trinity in unity, the Creator of the universe" In the Nicene Creed of which in it's present form came about in 381 A.D. We believe in the Holy Spirit,the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. God's l0ve from the father to the Son to the Holy Spirit is the model of love that we as Christians seek to emulate. It is the blueprint of what a family is, central to our life as Christians. It is a mystery, yet something that we should not ignore nor fear to delve into.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Patron Saint of Germany

St. Boniface is the patron saint to Pope Benedict XVI's homeland Germany. He was a missionary who brought the faith to the Frankish during the 8th century. It is believed that he was responsible for the practice of putting up Christmas trees. In a dramatic story St. Boniface was at the summit of Mount Gudenberg at Geismar, near Fritzlar in Germany. Many Hessians had converted to Christianity. However, some continued secretly and some openly to continue various pagan practices, while others “forsook all the profane practices of heathenism." There was a tree there that the pagans of old worshiped at known as Thor's Oak. St. Boniface cut a notch in it to prepare to cut it down when suddenly the tree began to burst open and it fell to the ground. In the spot where the stump remained a fir tree grew and St. Boniface saw that as a sign of God's new symbol the "evergreen" tree like Christ himself was life to others even in the darkest times. Frisia was located on the cost of the North Sea. St. Boniface had attempted to convert them to Christianity, but was frustrated because they were at war. He had never relinquished his hope of converting the Frisians, and in 754 he set out with a small retinue for Frisia. He baptized a great number and summoned a general meeting for confirmation at a place not far from Dokkum, between Franeker and Groningen. Instead of his converts, however, a group of armed inhabitants appeared who slew the aged archbishop. According to their own law (The Lex Frisionum), the Frisians had the right to kill him, since he had destroyed their shrines. Boniface's hagiographer reports that the Frisians killed the saint because they believed the chests he carried with him contained gold and other riches, but were dismayed when they discovered that there were only the bishop's books contained within. His remains were eventually buried in the abbey of Fulda after resting for some time in Utrecht, and they are entombed within a shrine beneath the high altar of Fulda cathedral. The forcible conversion of Germany up to the Elbe River was executed by Charlemagne, who destroyed the Saxons' independence, though not that of the Frisians, in the last decades of the eighth century.His grave soon became a sanctuary, to which the faithful came in crowds especially on his feast and during the Octave. England is supposed to have been the first place where his matyrdom was celebrated on a fixed day. Other countries followed. On 11 June, 1874, Pope Pius IX extended the celebration to the entire world. Brewers, tailors, and file-cutters have chosen St. Boniface as their patron, also various cities in Germany.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Requiem in Pacem Deeny

Willadene "Deeny" Rawley went to her eternal home on June 1st. She was my sister-in-law's mother-in-law. The grandmother of my nephew Joe Rawley, who is a television reporter for WRNO in New Orleans and former producer at WAFB in Baton Rouge. "Deeny" was a wonderful person who served the Diocese of Lake Charles in a big way. Here is her obituary :
Willadene (Deeny) Vincent Rawley, 91, passed away at 12:15 p.m., Monday, June 1, 2009, in her home, with all of her family present.
She was born in Oakdale, LA, on Feb. 23, 1918 to Floyd Vincent, Sr. and Ina Bordelon Vincent. The family moved back to Lake Charles when she was 6 months old. She was a member of a pioneer Southwest Louisiana family, being a descendent of Pierre Vincent, who migrated from St. Martinville to settle at what is now Vincent Settlement. Deeny was educated at St. Charles Academy, graduating in 1935, and she then attended Vincent’s Business College. Deeny was a legal secretary in Lake Charles for 39 years, and is a charter member of the Lake Charles Legal Secretaries Assn. In 1968, she was named the “Legal Secretary of the Year” for the state of Louisiana.
Deeny was one of the leading volunteers who served the Cathedral parish in a number of different roles. When the Diocese of Lake Charles was established, she became Bishop Jude Speyrer’s first secretary, assuming that position on March 1, 1980 and retaining it until June of 1984, when she retired for the second time. She was a member of the Cathedral parish’s pastoral council, as well as secretary of that body. She was a lay Minister of the Eucharist for many years, a member of the Ladies Altar Society for the parish, and of Court Lady of the Lake 695, Catholic Daughters of the Americas. She further served the diocese by being a member of the Advisory Board for the Lake Charles Seamen’s Center, while also serving as secretary for the Lake Charles Heart Assn.
In 1984 the diocese recognized Deeny’s service to the church by decorating her with the Devoted Service Medal, and in 1991 she was decorated with the Pro Ecclesia Et Pontifice award from Pope John Paul II, and received the Diocesan Evangelizer of the Year award in 1997. Deeny carried on a tradition of church service which had been built up over several generations in Southwest Louisiana.
Mrs. Rawley was predeceased by her parents, Ina Bordelon Vincent and Floyd J. Vincent, Sr.; sister, Mrs. Vida Vincent Pumpelly; brother, Floyd J. Vincent, Jr.; husband, Lt. James X. Rawley. She is survived by one son, James X. Rawley Jr.; daughter-in-law, Lynne Meole Rawley of Lake Charles; grandson, Joseph N. Rawley of New Orleans; sister, Ione M. (Tookey) Vincent; niece, Jane Pumpelly Brumby and husband, David; nephew, Glenn Pumpelly and wife, Audra; brother-in-law, Robert J. Pumpelly, all of Lake Charles, as well as numerous great nieces, great nephews and cousins.
Her funeral will be 10 a.m. Thursday, June 4, 2009 at Immaculate Conception Cathedral. Msgr. Harry Grieg and Fr. Aubrey Guilbeau will officiate. Burial will be in Orange Grove Cemetery. Visitation will be at Hixson Funeral Home in Lake Charles on Wednesday from 3-9 p.m with rosary at 6 p.m. Visitation will resume Thursday morning at 8 a.m. and continue until time of service. Words of comfort may be shared at www.mem.com

Monday, June 1, 2009

Millvina Dean

Then the king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was named Shiphrah and the other Puah, "When you serve as midwife to the Hebrew women and see them on the birthstool, if it is a son, you shall kill him, but if it is a daughter, she shall live." But the midwives feared God and did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but let the male children live. Exodus1:15-17
Now a man from the house of Levi went and took as his wife a Levite woman. The woman conceived and bore a son, and when she saw that he was a fine child, she hid him three months. When she could hide him no longer, she took for him a basket made of bulrushes and daubed it with bitumen and pitch and placed it among the reeds by the river bank. And his sister stood at a distance to know what would be done to him. Now the daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the river, while her young women walked beside the river. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her servant woman, and she took it. When she opened it, she saw the child, and behold, the baby was crying. She took pity on him and said, "This is one of the Hebrews’ children." Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, "Shall I go and call you a nurse from the Hebrew women to nurse the child for you?" And Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, "Go." So the girl went and called the child’s mother. And Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, "Take this child away and nurse him for me, and I will give you your wages." So the woman took the child and nursed him. When the child grew up, she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son. She named him Moses, "Because," she said, "I drew him out of the water." Exodus 2:1-10 On April 15, 1912 the super luxury liner "Titanic" struck an iceberg, Bertram Dean placed his wife Georgetta, 2 year old son Bert and 9 week old daughter Millvina on one of the few available lifeboats and watched them slowly faded in the dark of night. Bertram perished with 1,516 others in freezing waters of the Atlantic Ocean. His family survived and yesterday 97 year old Millvina Dean died quietly in a nursing home in Hampshire, England. At the bleakest times when all is lost, hope springs up. For Moses it was his mother, who hid him and the Pharaoh's daughter, for Millvina it was her father. We who look for the hope of eternal life, when things look bleak, are reminded Christ broke through the dark of night and brought with him a new dawn where one will never thirst, for we now have living waters.