Tuesday, August 31, 2010

On Beauty

I haven't shared much with those of you in the world of blogging, but that is because of two things. In the beginning of August I began teaching Theology at a Catholic High School. This experience has truly been a blessing to me. I pray each day that the Holy Spirit will work through me to guide me in bringing the love of Christ to each of my 120+ students. It is challenging and time consuming (I commute about 130 miles a day), but in each day I find moments of true beauty, in the minds and hearts of the children I teach. I see God's reflection and it is stunning to me how beautiful it is. My prayer is to always be a servant, letting the message of the love of Christ be in the forefront of all I do. The second thing is that for the past several weekends I have either moving people, attending weddings, or busy with planning for my own classes which start next month. I miss sharing my daily reflections but hope to resume to more regular basis.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Congratulations Anthony & Judy

The son of my very good neighbors, Howard & Ginger - Anthony (also called Charlie) was married today at St. Joseph's Cathedral. We used to drive and pick up Anthony when he attended Catholic High School in Baton Rouge. He later would drive with our older daughter when she got her license. She attended St. Joseph's Academy which is located near Catholic High. Anthony was fine outstanding young man, a good student, cross country runner, and faithfully devout. We were exited when he was accepted at the United States Naval Academy. Not much longer he met his now beautiful wife Shaoli, (known as Judy). She too was also a midshipman at the Academy. The rest is history...today was a beautiful ceremony, followed by a wonderful reception at the Camelot Club (23rd floor overlooking the Mississippi River). God Bless Anthony & Judy. May He bring joy, peace, and happiness to them and may their love be fruitful.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Queen United in Mystery With Her Son

The most glorious Mother of Christ our Savior and our God, the giver of life and immortality, she is given life by him and shares bodily incorruptibility for all eternity with him who raised her from the grave and drew her up to him in a way that only he can understand.

All that the holy fathers say refers ultimately to Scripture as a foundation, which gives us the vivid image of the great Mother of God as being closely attached to her divine Son and always sharing his lot.

It is important to remember that from the second century onwards the holy fathers have been talking of the Virgin Mary as the new Eve for the new Adam: not equal to him, of course, but closely joined with him in the battle against the enemy, which ended in the triumph over sin and death that had been promised even in Paradise. The glorious resurrection of Christ is essential to this victory and its final prize, but the blessed Virgin’s share in that fight must also have ended in the glorification of her body. For as the Apostle says: When this mortal nature has put on immortality, then the scripture will be fulfilled that says “Death is swallowed up in victory”.

So then, the great Mother of God, so mysteriously united to Jesus Christ from all eternity by the same decree of predestination, immaculately conceived, an intact virgin throughout her divine motherhood, a noble associate of our Redeemer as he defeated sin and its consequences, received, as it were, the final crowning privilege of being preserved from the corruption of the grave and, following her Son in his victory over death, was brought, body and soul, to the highest glory of heaven, to shine as Queen at the right hand of that same Son, the immortal King of Age

Excerpt from the Crossroad Initiative

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Reason to Believe

How Far Would You Go to Help Your Fellow Man?

There is no greater love than to lay down one's life for one's friends. John 15:13

Maximilian Kolbe in a moral decision that reached the furthest boundary, martyrdom, imitated Christ in the greatest act of love. He did so during a time when governments and ideologies under the guise of ordering and aiding humanity, suppressed, persecuted, and exterminated millions of people.

To all of us today he is what counters the self absorbed, self centered, narcissistic society. Self giving is the true essence of love, it is the "stuff" that God is made of. We should closely examine those who would be willing to cross that line, far enough to give their life for another. Can we give half as much?

Can we show compassion for those in need, those hurting, those who fail at every day living, those who disappoint us, those who hurt us, those who don't look like us, those who don't think like us, those who are hungry, those who are lonely, those who cry out in desperation, those who no one hears? If you look around those people are near you everyday in your life. How far are you willing to go to serve those in need?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Prayer to Mary for the Grace of Love

For the Grace of Love
O Mary Dear Mother, how much I love thee! and yet in reality how little. Tho dost teach me what I ought to know, for thiou teachest me what Jesus is to me and what I ought to be for Jesus.

Dearly beloved Mother, how close to god thou art, and how utterly filled with Him! In the measure that we know God, we remind ourselves of thee.

Mother of God, obtain for me the grace of loving my Jesus, the grace of loving thee. Amen

Monday, August 9, 2010

Teresa Benedict of The Cross -Edith Stein

Edith Stein was born in Breslau on 12 October 1891, the youngest of 11, as her family were celebrating Yom Kippur, that most important Jewish festival, the Feast of Atonement. "More than anything else, this helped make the youngest child very precious to her mother." Being born on this day was like a foreshadowing to Edith, a future Carmelite nun. Before she reached her second birthday her father died suddenly, leaving Edith’s mother to raise the seven remaining children (four had died in childhood) and to manage the family business. Brought up on the Psalms and Proverbs, Stein considered her mother a living example of the strong woman of Proverbs 31, who rises early to care for her family and trade in the marketplace. By her teenage years, Stein no longer practiced her Jewish faith and considered herself an atheist, but she continued to admire her mother’s attitude of total openness toward God. Edith went on to teach philosophy for some years amid difficulties during she converted to Catholicism and received new life in Christ through baptism, and was pursued under the veil of a nun until, as an exile thrust into captivity under a nefarious regime hostile to the dignity both of men and of faith, she was killed by lethal gas at the death camp Oswiecim or Auschwitz near Cracow in Poland.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Father Barron on Anne Rice

Anne Rice's recent de-conversion in an announcement that she had opted out of Christianity. I don't really know Anne Rice, nor I must confess have I ever read any of her books. Never been much of a vampire fan.
Read Father Barron's take.

Faith of Our Fathers

Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen. Because of it the ancients were well attested.

By faith Abraham, when put to the test, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was ready to offer his only son, of whom it was said,“Through Isaac descendants shall bear your name.” He reasoned that God was able to raise even from the dead, and he received Isaac back as a symbol."

Faith is never a blind leap. Faith is a trust and movement - always a response of the will to God's call. We trust in the certitude that God is always true. Those who choose to walk in faith, walk with God. His faithfulness has been ever present from Abraham to those who seek Him today. Seek the Faith of our Fathers.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Creating and Not Creating

Since on the seventh day God was finished with the work he had been doing, he rested on the seventh day from all the work he had undertaken. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work he had done in creation." Genesis 2:2-3

If you read the above passage only in a strict literal sense you would do two things: 1) make God out to be less than He really is. The word "rested" is of course silly when applied to a Being who is beyond the realm of matter. 2) You would miss what is really being said here: the passage contrasts the difference between creating and not-creating. Creating is done strictly by God, He literally "created" the universe out of nothing. We humans do not have anything comparable to that since all our personal creating has to start with something - a painter; paint, a potter; clay, even a philosopher starts with an idea. Another point to remember is that God is outside the realm of time. The author who is divinely inspired by God, but a human being can only describe the events in a sequence because we humans live within the realm of time. Time is the measurement of change - thus the author writes creation takes place over a week - 6 days to be precise and on the 7th day, God is not creating.(when we are not working, we are resting).

So what is the point here? God contrasts creating and not creating by declaring that when He is not creating we are to consider that time Holy. Holy not because of anything man has done but Holy because everything that God did. Thus we humans, in our task of creating, (we are co-creators in human life)that is living our lives, describe this time as work (not just in the sense of Capitalistic work of producing). We are engaged in human things, things that are done for man by man. The word for that is "liturgy" (translates to people's work or public works). All things beyond (the non-creating by God) are Holy and thus man has a choice - continue the work of man or join God in His work, His liturgy, which is the ultimate reason God created us. We call this worship - and as Catholics there is the Mass. The Liturgy of the Word (Sacred Scripture -God's Word) and the Liturgy of the Eucharist - God's gift to humanity, His only begotten Son, The Word Incarnate, the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus. In my humble opinion our understanding of life can only be truly appreciated if we see ourselves in relationship with God the Creator. He is the Creator and we are the created.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Transfiguration and Personal Encounter

Today we reminded of God's glory as we celebrate the feast of the Transfiguration. In Luke's Gospel, we find that Jesus has taken his closest disciples to go "up the mountain to pray." That is an important insight into understanding what is taking place. In prayer one prepares oneself to encounter God. We can encounter God in all things in creation, but in prayer we encounter Him on a personal level.
For Jesus close circle this encounter was to include a brief display of His glory. Oh, to have been there and witnessed His radiance. Jesus demonstrates in a lesson in salvation history, that he was united to Old Law and fulfilled the Prophesies, yet He was something more, more brilliant, the true Light from true Light. We may never have an encounter here on earth like the Transfiguration, but in prayer God exposes His true beauty in small doses. These grace moments have been experienced by even the least of us. The veil between heaven and earth is lifted when we encounter God through the Eucharist. We can only witness this by being prayer and receptive to His grace and to desire an encounter with Him. Jesus took his disciples up the mountain to pray, He seeks that you make that journey too.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Father Barron on Anti-Catholicism

St. Josemaria Escriva' on Prayer

A Catholic, without prayer? It is the same as a soldier without arms.

True prayer which absorbs the whole individual benefits not so much from the solitude of the desert as from interior recollection.

Do not be discouraged. However unworthy the person is, however imperfect the prayer turns out to be, if it is offered with humility and perseverance, God always hears it.

Our Lord sent out his disciples to preach, and when they came back he gathered them together and invited them to go with him to a desert place where they could rest... What marvelous things Jesus would ask them and tell them! Well, the Gospel is always relevant to the present day.

How lovable is the scene of the Annunciation. How often we have meditated on this! Mary is recollected in prayer. She is using all her senses and her faculties to speak to God. It is in prayer that she comes to know the divine Will. And with prayer she makes it the life of her life. Do not forget the example of the Virgin Mary.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Simplicty of St. Francis

St. Jean Vianney - The Cure d'Ars

"All the good works in the world are not equal to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass because they are the works of men; but the Mass is the work of God. Martyrdom is nothing in comparison for it is but the sacrifice of man to God; but the Mass is the sacrifice of God for man."

"You cannot please both God and the world at the same time, They are utterly opposed to each other in their thoughts, their desires, and their actions."

"I throw myself at the foot of the Tabernacle like a dog at the foot of his Master."

"Prayer is to our soul what rain is to the soil. Fertilize the soil ever so richly, it will remain barren unless fed by frequent rains."

St. Jean Vianney pray for us.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Father Leo Clifford - The Three Things

Reflections by Fr. Leo Clifford, O.F.M.
Uploaded by Catholic. - Explore more family videos.

Sometimes God Asks Us to Walk on Water

"When the disciples saw him walking on the sea they were terrified.“It is a ghost,” they said, and they cried out in fear.At once Jesus spoke to them, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”Peter said to him in reply,“Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.”He said, “Come.” Matthew 14:25-28

Faith is not a blind leap as some have suggested. Faith does not require you to believe something that is contrary to Natural Law or to logic. When Jesus tests Peter on the water, it is Peter who first asks Jesus "command me to come to you on the water" Peter is asking is this as reasonable thing, given that Jesus could do it. The point of this is not that we are going to be able to cross the oceans and the seas in our Nike sandals. What Jesus is asking is this: can you respond to my call? You may not be asked to walk on water but rather to be there for someone in need, or to be a mother or father, or teach, or to support a family, to be a missionary to the poor, or give your life entirely as a priest. It is reasonable to consider that we all have some vocation (the word means calling), and the one calling us is Jesus. Are you able to hear His call? Are you listening or is His voice drowned out by the noise of the material world. In my humble opinion, the most significant action one can take in one's life, after of course having faith, is to listen carefully for the call of Jesus, so that your gifts contribute to His Kingdom, the Body of Christ, and you fulfill your life's calling.

Monday, August 2, 2010

St. Eusebius of Vercelli

Born in Sardinia at the beginning of the 4th Century, he was born into the rapidly changing world of the late Roman Empire. As he grew up he saw Christianity go from being an illegal religion to one tolerated, and then the official religion of the empire. He became a priest of the Church of Rome and was chosen to be the first bishop of his home town of Vercelli. He evangelized Sardinia and was the first in the West to promote the common life for clergy: he combined the observation of a monastic way of life with the distinctively clerical tasks of care for souls and celebration of the sacred liturgy. Eusebius gave his priests the common life, which would later be called canons regular and spread throughout the Church. The Emperor Constantius persecuted him for his loyalty to the Catholic faith and drove him into exile where he greatly suffered. Returning to Sardinia, he worked tirelessly against the Arians for the restoration of the Catholic faith. He died in 371.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Beautiful Litany of the Saints

Vanity of Vanities

Today's first reading for the Sunday Liturgy of the Word is from Ecclesiastes, one the great "wisdom" books of the Bible. Ecclesiastes is the name given to the book of Holy Scripture which usually follows the Proverbs; the Hebrew Qoheleth probably has the same meaning. The word preacher, however, is not meant to suggest a congregation nor a public speech, but only the solemn announcement of sublime truths.

Vanity of vanities, says Qoheleth,
vanity of vanities! All things are vanity!

Here is one who has labored with wisdom and knowledge and skill, and yet to another who has not labored over it, he must leave property.
This also is vanity and a great misfortune.
For what profit comes to man from all the toil and anxiety of heart with which he has labored under the sun?
All his days sorrow and grief are his occupation;
even at night his mind is not at rest.
This also is vanity.

In the frantic pace of the modern society we labor for things that are of no value, to whom it really matters. You get older and you don't have the energy or time to play with all toys you've accumulated, or perhaps your health robs you of those things too. What about those people who have had their life savings lost by unscrupulous people like Bernard Madoff who stole billions of dollars, or Enron and the Stanford Group?

Jesus the Wise Teacher warns us today " Thus will it be for all who store up treasure for themselves but are not rich in what matters to God.”

The saints, whose lives are the examples by which we may learn, never put much emphasis on the material stuff of this world. Once you have tasted the sweetness of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the riches of this world pale by comparison. Work for the true treasure - God's Kingdom.